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Democrats Government The Almighty Buck The Internet Games

House Proposes Legalizing, Taxing Online Gambling 473

Posted by Soulskill
from the twenty-bucks-says-it-gets-shot-down dept.
eldavojohn writes "Passed in 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is set to go into effect June 1. New efforts by Democrats in the House of Representatives aim not only to stop that but to legalize and tax Internet gambling. Jim McDermott (D-WA), said, 'This is a huge boon to the state governments. If you look across the country you're seeing programs cut. In Arizona, they just cut out a program for children's health for 40,000 kids. Here's a source of money.' Basically, the bill proposes that for each state, a 6% cut would be taken from all wagers and go to the state in which the bet was made online, while federal would get 2%. They estimate in the next decade this would amount to $30 billion for state and tribal governments and $42 billion for the federal government in new taxes. Banks and casinos appear to be very much on board, while the usual crowd (Republicans, Focus on the Family, Think of the Children) gathered in opposition to the move."
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House Proposes Legalizing, Taxing Online Gambling

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  • Tendency to agree... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ls671 (1122017) * on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:06PM (#31986672) Homepage

    I have a tendency to agree. Despite the social problems gambling brings. Just like alcohol, it seems better to tax it instead of watching the profits go somewhere else.

    • Oh yeah? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:09PM (#31986702)

      Ten bucks says you're wrong, sucka!

      • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:4, Funny)

        by wjousts (1529427) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:15PM (#31986778)
        Hey, I want $0.60 of that in tax.
        • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by TrisexualPuppy (976893) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:33PM (#31988046)
          So, about a "6% cut from all wagers..." Which wagers would these be? Win or lose? If every wager is taxed, I can see this being a BIG problem.

          I'm not the kind of girl to support a Neo-Con Republican Congress, but I'm in support of most of this previous anti-gambling legislation. We are once again looking at a tax on the stupid/poor. When the poorly paid people believe in their gambling as being some sort of "investment," they aren't able to spend money on life's necessities and BAM! are more likely to hit the ruts. Crime rates go up. Welfare costs go up to keep these guys afloat.
          • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by wjousts (1529427) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:50PM (#31988264)

            So, about a "6% cut from all wagers..." Which wagers would these be? Win or lose?

            My grandmother used to like to bet on the horses, and, in the UK at least, with some bookies you paid tax on the wager itself (with no tax on the winnings), at others you paid tax on the winnings (or nothing if you lose).

            So paying taxes itself, was a bit of a gamble.

    • by 2obvious4u (871996) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:12PM (#31986746)
      I agree too, I would rather pay for freedom than either not have it or have to fight for it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        I object to gambling for the same reason I object to handing a beer to an alcoholic. It's enabling their disease and you are the pimp.

        If a private person wants to run gambling halls, that's fine with me, but the government should take a higher moral stance. The government should not be running Lotteries to prey upon gambling addicts. I've seen a lot of lives destroyed via their addiction to the State Lotto. Instead the government should be providing assistance to these people to help them stop (as we do

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          The addicts will gamble, with this the states and federal government will get monies to help deal with addiction.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MaskedSlacker (911878)

            Really, that's what you think they're going to spend it on? Just like with tobacco taxes, right?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lorenlal (164133)

          If a private person wants to run gambling halls, that's fine with me, but the government should take a higher moral stance.

          You mean - If someone wants to run a gambling organization that is not subject to any regulation, that's cool? You mean like old school, mobster type jobs where if you didn't pay you ended up getting fitted for concrete insoles? Personally, I think that *responsible regulation* is the proper course here. That way, folks who choose to gamble are able to in a safe environment. And, who's to say the government should take a "higher moral stance?" According to some, smoking and alcohol are "immoral." I gu

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by melikamp (631205)

          I would never again gamble online, because there is absolutely no way to tell if I am being scammed, but I am strongly in favor of legalizing and taxing online gambling, for one reason:

          I would like to judge the measure by consequences. If it is made illegal, people will still gamble just as much in off-shore casinos. Nothing at all can be achieved here as far as the human behavior goes. A punishment for a petty crime like that can only be slight (this is no black-and-white matter, like possession of x gram

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by terjeber (856226)

          I object to gambling for the same reason I object to handing a beer to an alcoholic

          Your objection is dumb, immature, not thought through and misses the mark by a mile. If you want to make them "equivalent", then you'd have to say that you object to gambling for the same reason you object to the sale of alcohol. Otherwise you are claiming that all those who gamble are addicts, which is plainly wrong and a rather arrogant assumption.

          Just change your opinion, it is dumb.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MobyDisk (75490)

        John Hancock [wikipedia.org] just rolled over in his grave, since he fought a war based on the belief that you don't pay for freedom. [ushistory.org]

    • by flitty (981864) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:17PM (#31986826)
      Agreed. Opening such activities to sunlight allows for better regulation and restrictions.
      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Agreed. Opening such activities to sunlight allows for better regulation and restrictions."

        Now...to start figuring out how to set up a gambling server to run from home!!

        I'll happily pay the taxes....

        Maybe some type of weekly lottery would be an easy program to put together!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CyberBill (526285)
      Agree. People are already playing online poker. It is better to have our government reap the tax benefits and for the profits to go to a US-based casino rather than just shipping the money outside of the country.
    • by martas (1439879) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:32PM (#31987070)
      totally. next up, weed *fingers crossed*
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        California is looking at a big budget deficit and is starting to wonder if taxed marijuana wouldn't be a fair tradeoff. You might not have to cross your fingers for too long if people start getting motivated enough.
  • what a great idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:08PM (#31986694) Homepage Journal
    what better way to fund state governments than predating upon the weaknesses of your citizens.
    • by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:12PM (#31986750) Homepage Journal

      Don't they already do that?

      • yes, they are doing it, but this further measure would just compound the harm.
        • by EdZ (755139)
          Really? Here in the UK, online gambling is perfectly A-OK (we even have a national lottery, with justuner 1/3 of the proceeds going to charity). We have one 'mega casino', and everyone makes fun of it. The US has no legalised gambling. And a whole CITY dedicated to hundreds casinos that dwarf the UK's one 'mega' casino.
          Seems to me that online gambling is the least of people's worries.
          • by BobMcD (601576)

            We have one 'mega casino', and everyone makes fun of it. The US has no legalised gambling. And a whole CITY dedicated to hundreds casinos that dwarf the UK's one 'mega' casino.

            Seems to me that online gambling is the least of people's worries.

            Is it at all possible that the online gambling is displacing the desire for in-person gambling?

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:16PM (#31986808) Homepage Journal
      I know. But its so much worse of an idea than forbidding citizens from doing something they enjoy or care about, sending some to jail for such excellent reasons as otherwise they might be poorer, driving the behavior underground where the poor saps can be robbed with no recourse, and then not get any taxes from it at all. That would be not nearly as bad.
      Your point is so excellent.
      • by vxice (1690200) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:32PM (#31987072)
        I do wish people would stop using the taxation argument about legalizing it. If the only reason to legalize an activity is to tax it then it really shouldn't be legal anyways. Take for example murder, lets legalize it and tax it right? No. There are good reasons it is illegal. In the case of gambling there is no good reason for it to be illegal unless you're a pompous religious prick out to save everyones soul, that's the reason enough it should be legal and arguing about the taxation is just opening yourself to abuse by the gov't. Look at alcohol, the gov't taxes the hell out of it because it was illegal and they did us the favor of legalizing it for the taxes. They took something from us that they had no grounds to and then charged us to get it back. It will be the same with this or marijuana. We will all be so glad that the gov't has given us back a privilege they stole from us that we will accept their higher taxation.
        • Re:what a great idea (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mooingyak (720677) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:08PM (#31987642)

          I do wish people would stop using the taxation argument about legalizing it. If the only reason to legalize an activity is to tax it then it really shouldn't be legal anyways. Take for example murder, lets legalize it and tax it right? No. There are good reasons it is illegal.

          The taxation argument typically applies for things where people are going to do it whether it's legal or not, and generally fall in the victimless crimes category (gambling, pot, prostitution, etc). When the law is not a deterrent it basically means that all the revenue is going to end up in the hands of organized crime. If you can't stop people from doing something, you might as well allow it instead and take a slice of the pie.

          The moral aspect of the issue is actually irrelevant. Certainly murder is something that organized crime is involved in, but it is my belief that the illegality of murder is in fact a deterrent for it. While most people wouldn't do it because they believe it's flat out wrong, there are people who would probably do it if they thought they could get away with it.

        • Re:what a great idea (Score:5, Interesting)

          by svtdragon (917476) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:35PM (#31988076)
          Taxation in some of the cases you mention is win-win: alcohol, pot, etc. Vice taxes work because they add a financial disincentive to an objectively harmful activity (unless you're talking a glass of wine a day, a la Europe) to increase the short-term cost, effectively substituting for obviating the long-term cost.

          In other words, we tax cigarettes now to deter you from smoking, but in the event that we can't do that, we use the increased revenues to pay for the increase in health costs that you rack up when you get lung cancer later. And yes, we pay for your lung cancer because you're likely on Medicare.

          As to drugs, the idea of "legalize and tax" misses much of the point. That should be "legalize, regulate, and tax," where regulation is the process of telling you, the consumer, what you're getting, which in the case of drugs can minimize things like overdoses.

          However, all that's arguably separate from issues like gambling which, while an addictive behavior, is not objectively harmful beyond the addiction. Most other vice taxes are regressive, but they serve a long-term benefit in disincentivizing the often-physically-unhealthy vice, whereas taxing gambling provides the disincentive to an activity that causes little objective harm. This makes gambling unique (at least so far as I can see) among the vices that we'd regulate in this manner.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by lgw (121541)

            In other words, we tax cigarettes now to deter you from smoking, but in the event that we can't do that, we use the increased revenues to pay for the increase in health costs that you rack up when you get lung cancer later. And yes, we pay for your lung cancer because you're likely on Medicare.

            This meme needs to die. Smokers do not have higher lifetime health-care costs. Everyone dies of something (usually something expensive), and lung cancer is an average-cost way to die.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        The government doesn't have to outlaw gambling. It just needs to stop being the Pimp (i.e. stop selling Lotto tickets). The ends (funding programs) don't justify the means (sucking money from addicts). It's immoral.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      The big money is all in gambling, prostitution and drugs... 1 down, 2 to go!

      But seriously, when a voluntary activity adversely affect society, criminalizing it won't stop the harm. The best way to provide funding to ameliorate the harm caused is to tax the hell out of it, which has the side effect of also discouraging it.
    • by v1 (525388)

      what better way to fund state governments than predating upon the weaknesses of your citizens.

      and how does this differ than the state run lotteries or state licensed bars? those are proving to be a tremendous source of state income, and because they're out in the open, subject to close public and legal scrutiny, their ratio of problems-solved to problems-created is very positive.

      Too many people seem to think that 100% of gambling is bad. It's like alcohol. Too much of anything is bad. In the end, gambli

  • by lcoscare (1121345) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:11PM (#31986724)
    why "Republicans" are against this?? Aren't they supposed to be in favor of small goverment and fewer regulations? This is exactly why the tea parties are becoming so big, we should be able to do what we want with our own money in a free society, as long as it doesn't harm anyone else. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson Who cares? "It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
    • Unfortunately gambling effects everyone the person knows. It affects the families of gamblers as they resort to lying, stealing, and other means of getting money so they can continue to gamble. It interferes with work.

      Yes, there are those who aren't compulsive gamblers and can put it aside any time they want. But for those who can't, this is a bad thing.

      • by lcoscare (1121345) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:20PM (#31986874)
        I guess it's much better to outlaw it and make these compulsive gamblers go underground, likley run by organized crime. And prohibition has worked out fantastically well every time it's been tried in the US. Look at how much safer we are thanks to the war on drugs, compared to say Holland or Canada.
      • by jfengel (409917) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:20PM (#31986880) Homepage Journal

        You'd think that it would come under the auspices of the "personal responsibility" the Republicans are so keen to chant about. Except when it's something they're opposed to, in which case "personal responsibility" is apparently insufficient.

      • by flitty (981864) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:22PM (#31986914)

        It affects the families of gamblers as they resort to lying, stealing, and other means of getting money so they can continue to gamble. It interferes with work.

        1. Lying isn't inherently bad on its own.
        2. There are laws against stealing already.
        3. "other means of getting money", if they aren't illegal, are a problem how?
        4. "It interferes with work", and they get fired. this doesn't affect me anymore than the guy who shows up drunk. In fact, it affects me less-so, considering the drunk guy could get me killed/injured.

        There are laws to take care of the effects of gambling addiction. The addiction itself should not be outlawed.

        • Lying *not* inherently bad? According to what standard?

          I understand the whole thing that House MD spouts off about "everybody lies," it doesn't mean that it's ever the right thing to do - it just shows how screwed up humanity is.
          • by flitty (981864) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:37PM (#31987166)
            If you can't think of a lie that was less harmful than the truth, you're only lying to yourself.
            • I'm not saying that doesn't occur. It just doesn't disprove my point.

              You appear to be equating harmful with evil, which isn't always necessarily the case, either. More evil is done because we don't want to hurt someone than otherwise.
          • by Zerth (26112) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:53PM (#31987406)

            Lying *not* inherently bad? According to what standard?

            "Does this make me look fat?".

            Blatant lie("No")
            Better lie("The other one looks better")
            Truth("No, your fat makes you look fat, and your haircut is atrocious")

            Which response has the highest net outcome for all parties? Unless the person asking has a truth fetish, they probably want to hear the better lie.

            Polite society functions on lies of omission and white lies.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Hatta (162192)

              Telling the truth has the best outcome. By telling the truth you discover whether your significant other is psychotic or not. That allows you to make your escape before anything serious like marriage or kids happens.

              If you don't want an honest answer, just don't ask. If that makes me not part of "polite society", so be it. I'd rather be part of an honest society.

      • by ndogg (158021) <the...rhorn@@@gmail...com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:27PM (#31986984) Homepage Journal

        Unfortunately alcohol effects everyone the person knows. It affects the families of alcoholics as they resort to lying, stealing, and other means of getting money so they can continue to drink. It interferes with work.

        Yes, there are those who aren't alcoholics and can put it aside any time they want. But for those who can't, this is a bad thing.

        Are you really making that argument? History tells us that the best way to mitigate the consequences of such behavior is not to ban it completely (and thus creating unregulated black markets), but rather to legalize it, and regulate it so that it's under the purview of the law.

      • Gambling doesn't affect the families of the gamblers. Lying and stealing do. What you are trying to show is that gambling leads to lying and stealing. This could be true for a subset of people, but I would contend that people like that are predisposed to lying and stealing and will end up doing so regardless (similar to any addictive personality). It is beyond the scope of government at any level to regulate down to that level, as it then will necessarily impede the rights of all.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bjbroderick (1019016)
        This is what sucks about America right now. Minority rule. Yes, gambling affects the people around the gambler. So? Do something about it! Get him to meetings, or an asylum. Stop making your problems the nations problems. And if you really think your poor hard luck brother in law is going to quit betting because it's illegal, you are nuts. 40 years of this bullshit thinking has put us in the toilet. Less government, yes! But more importantly, some top down government please.
    • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:19PM (#31986868)

      ...why "Republicans" are against this?? Aren't they supposed to be in favor of small goverment and fewer regulations?

      Only if you believe the crap they've been spewing out. The GOP is as much big-government as Democrats are, just in slightly different ways.

    • by jfengel (409917)

      In theory, the Tea Partiers aren't in the thrall of the Christian Right as the rest of the Republican party is. They want lower taxes and are willing to cut services to do it. (Unsurprising, as they are on average wealthier than your average American, and so don't need the services they want to see cut.)

      In practice, the Tea Partiers will oppose it on tax grounds, and hope nobody notices that it's precisely what the Christian Right wants.

    • by gujo-odori (473191) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:26PM (#31986958)

      Not all Republicans. Granted, I'm a nominal Republican but really more of a Libertarian, but still, not all Republicans.

      There are some who trot out an argument reminiscent of "Think of the children!" (I have three, thanks, and I should imagine that by the time they're old enough to set foot in a casino they'll already be decent poker players, if they're interested) that is basically that "Since some people will gamble uncontrollably, we have to make online gambling illegal for everyone." Never mind that most people in the U.S live not far from a legal bricks-n-mortar casino, and bookies aren't exactly hard to find, either. Or that it's quite easy to ruin your life through excessive use of alcohol or tobacco, yet those remain legal.

      Just because some small percentage of the population cannot restrain itself for whatever reason(s), I just can't see that as a reason to ban it for the rest. Heck, some people drive their cars in extremely irresponsible ways and cause others to be killed or maimed for life, but we don't see any (rational) people calling for cars to be made illegal because of that.

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        Just because some small percentage of the population cannot restrain itself for whatever reason(s), I just can't see that as a reason to ban it for the rest. Heck, some people drive their cars in extremely irresponsible ways and cause others to be killed or maimed for life, but we don't see any (rational) people calling for cars to be made illegal because of that.

        I'm conflicted. On the one hand, we agree. On the other, this analogy is so bad that I really have to argue with it:

        Gambling is available, much in the same way as operating vehicles at reckless speeds is: At heavily regulated, specialized venues for it.

        What the analogy dictates is removing the speed limits on highways, because occasionally people speed.

        Doesn't track, logic-wise, when we have a perfectly-workable solution with sufficient barriers to keep all but the most painfully addicted people from fal

    • Republicans are against this because this about getting more money from the people. How exactly is this suggestion "fewer regulations" as far as I can see it is just different regulations. Of course, it will also be set up in such a way so as to make it harder for new people to enter the business, thus protecting the entrenched interests.
    • by ravenspear (756059) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:37PM (#31987162)
      we should be able to do what we want

      Republicans are for that only if it doesn't conflict with their religious morals. That means if you like to gamble, if you like to look at pr0n, if you like to use colorful language, if you are gay, or if you like to something on Sunday morning that doesn't involve going to church, well then you are SOL.
    • I don't know why Republicans are opposed to this (special interests or something like that, I'm sure), but I do know in some cases gambling can be bad. I lived in one place where the residents generally were obsessed with gambling. Their favorite vacation spot was Las Vegas. Also, they were not very good at it. If gambling had become legal in that place wholesale before the residents got a chance to get used to *not* losing all their money in the excitement, there would have been very serious social pro
    • why "Republicans" are against this??

      They're against regulation and big government, unless their own monetary interests are at risk. We're talking about casino owners and big shots, who are greatly threatened by competition. We saw evidence of this recently in Ohio where casino gambling was legalized by way of a constitutional amendment. Casino owners in other states (Republicans) were among the bigger donors to proxy organizations who fought the legalization. It makes sense: once three or four casinos ar
  • How? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:12PM (#31986738)
    Given that many of the current online gambling sites are run anonymously by organized criminal networks outside the US, how would collection or enforcement work? Would gamblers be obliged to write how much they won on their annual tax returns, like we're supposed to note purchases made online?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      More likely, the international ones would still be illegailized and the commercial casino interests in the US(Harrah's, Bally's, Caesar's) would open legitimate front ends.
    • Re:How? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:23PM (#31986924)

      Given that many of the current online gambling sites are run anonymously by organized criminal networks outside the US, how would collection or enforcement work?

      Many gambling sites that don't allow Americans are taxed and regulated in Europe. Some (such as PartyGaming) are traded on the London Stock Exchange. It's better for business if they are legitimate...they won't even hesitate to follow all the regulations.

      Would gamblers be obliged to write how much they won on their annual tax returns, like we're supposed to note purchases made online?

      My guess is if you win/lose more than a certain amount, the gambling site will send a form to the IRS and to you at the end of the year detailing how much money you won/lost. This is what the brick and mortar casinos do in the U.S.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Skuld-Chan (302449)

      Its like I had a friend who was a missionary in Italy - he said the church would only rent from people who had paid all the taxes on property so nothing was illegal (and other necessary paperwork). He quickly found that the only people who did this were members of organized crime families.

      Which worked well in some regards - people didn't park in front of there place, it was really well kept etc.

    • Re:How? (Score:5, Informative)

      by kramerd (1227006) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:47PM (#31987306)

      Its more likely that in order to be legal, these would have to be US based gambling sites. You would receive tax documentation showing losses and gains on an individual basis. You might even have to prove your identity (scan your driver's license/passport) just to be allowed to gamble.

      From a gambler's perspective, most money lines are already in favor of the house. An even money bet (like the point spread bet or the under/over )might get you -103 to -112, depending on the place. While the payouts are even money, the odds of winning are not, and the house makes a profit by trying to get roughly equal amounts of betting on each possible outcome (adjusting the line as necessary). Professional gamblers are able to tell when the line is favorable to a specific bet. Adding a (6% state + 2% federal) tax on wagers (even though winnings would also be taxed as income whether you remove the winnings from your account or not) means that if you bet $110 on an even money proposition and are in the 25% tax bracket, your after tax winnings are only $69. In order to break even this way, you would have to win these propositions 61.5% of the time. The best gamblers win about that much, because the line is distinguished by people who bet on who they want to win, not on who is likely to win. Gambling sites are fantastic at finding where to draw the line to get the most action, but professional gamblers are not going to play just to break even.

      As the summary notes, it would end up being a source of money, just not for those participating.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's a tax on deposits made into an online casino. Huge difference.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:13PM (#31986756)

    a) Instead of showing ANY fiscal restraint, the governments kept expanding to take advantage of the property tax bubble.
    b) low interest rates pushed forward a lot of activity in the home building market, creating a lot of jobs which will not be replaced.
    c) the executive class, whose pay has increased from 50x average to 450x average is actively shipping jobs overseas (to the tune of thousands).
    d) the long term trend is wages will stagnate or drop towards those in BRIC. (brazil, russia, india, china). This means the value of houses, etc. will drop because people will have a smaller amount of money for paying for property. Smaller incomes also mean smaller taxes for the governments.

    So the long term trend is lower property taxes, lower property values, fewer jobs, lower paying jobs.

    The governments are going to absolutely hate it, but they are going to have to cut a lot of programs outside of welfare/unemployment benefit programs to prevent social unrest.

    People's expectations of living in a 3,000 square foot house are going to have to reset back to 1600 square foot houses (or even the 1100 square foot houses prevalent in the 1950's.

    And that's ignoring the scarily fast advances in robotics lately. An entire swath of basic manual jobs are on the verge of going away in a few years.

    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:24PM (#31986938)

      So the executive class is making 100 times what they were and corporations are making more for their investors by getting cheap labor. And the average person gets screwed.

      The thing here is, what you describe is not less wealth coming into the US, but the wealth coming into the US being less distributed among the populace. For example, you mention advances in robotics as a minus, but they're actually a productivity plus. They save time and allow for faster, cheaper manufacturing. You assume that profit won't make it's way to normal people.

      What generally happens in situations like this is wealth disparity grows, then comes to a head, then there's a revolution. This could be a real revolution that redistributes the wealth by killing the rich, or it can be a social one like the new deal. Executives and the people who own companies are making 100 times more? Tax them 95 times more and redistribute that money back into the populace. Heck, they pay a tiny fraction of what they did in taxes in the 70's, we can sure reverse that and put the money into government programs. In fact, that's a much more likely solution than a populace putting up with greatly decreased standards of living and reduced government programs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The solution to revolution is creating a straw man early on before the process really takes hold, then you can control the revolution, even have them believing that you stand for their interests while they continue to vote against their own benefit while fervently attacking any real opposition. There are examples of this throughout history, and even not so historically. I am not going to Godwin my argument, but the basis lies in example there, and several other prominent places.

    • Aside from your post being grossly offtopic, I have several questions for you.

      a) Instead of showing ANY fiscal restraint, the governments kept expanding to take advantage of the property tax bubble.

      Tell me, when was the last time our government showed fiscal restraint and how did that help us? Any times when we had two ongoing wars?

      b) low interest rates pushed forward a lot of activity in the home building market, creating a lot of jobs which will not be replaced.

      At least where I live this is no longer an issue. The home market is repairing itself. While it might not be permanent, home builders are hardly something to worry about. It'd be equivalent to worrying about the all the poor software developers that lost their jobs during the dot com bust. Th

      • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:00PM (#31987522)

        A) nothing I can address here.

        B) This is really common knowledge. Yahoo had a big piece on 10 areas who are hit really hard by the double whammy. Large liabilities committed to on the assumption that the good times would not end, high unemployment, no demand for new housing (so no new housing jobs). Many houses under water, being foreclosed).

        C) First-- are you really that out of the loop? This has been commonly known for over a decade. But okay.. I'll google it for you.
              http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20060621/ [epi.org]
              The wealthy pay a lower tax *rate* than everyone else at this point too. The secret is "fixed" state taxes like auto fees, property tax, etc. run 12% on poorest but only comprise .3% on the wealthiest (same dollar amount). Social security caps at just over $100k (15% on you and me-- under 1% on the wealthy). Likewise the "property tax" benefit only benefits you to the amount that it exceeds the standard deduction. A person with a $4k property tax bill saves almost nothing (a few hundred) while a person with a $20k bill saves almost $6,000.
        http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html [ucsc.edu]

        "As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers)."

        I can't find it now, but a later source (2008, 2009) said the top 1% now owned 42.7% (and the next had 42.3%) putting the top 20% at an incredble 95% of the wealth.

        Our GINI index is close to most 3rd world countries now.

        D) Again, this is fairly common knowledge. Surprised you are ignorant of it.
        http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/beckerposner/2010/04/american-wage-stagnationposner.html [typepad.com]
        "Between 1997 and 2008, median U.S. household income fell by 4 percent after adjustment for inflation. It presumably did not rise in 2009, and may not in 2010 either. A median is not an average; average income rose because the incomes of high earners rose, and so the effect was to increase the inequality of the income distribution..."

        E) If you can buy a device that can do any manual labor that a human can do for $100,000, then why hire a human. We are very close. You don't have to pay social security taxes for the work it does. It doesn't call in sick (it may break once in a while but will probably be modular and easy to fix). It's close. A decade. They can already pick random objects out of bins, toss things in the air and catch them, assemble things faster than humans.

        We are running out of jobs to step up to. Most of the jobs we can step up to based on intellect or training. Many of those jobs have a couple billion new humans who are smart enough to do those jobs and happy to do them for under $30,000 a year. It could be a paradise-- no need for most to work, essentially free food and lodging- or it could be pretty hellish.

  • Nice to see the land of the free to get an another check in the checklist of things its free people are free to do.

  • Poor Tax (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alaren (682568) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:19PM (#31986872)

    Gambling is a fascinating issue; tar-and-feathering opponents as the "usual crowd" is pretty facile.

    For example, "the lottery" has regularly been shown to basically be a "poor tax." Isn't there a "usual crowd" who speaks out against regressive taxation? Aren't they leftists?

    The relative value of gambling is a worthwhile discussion (insurance is a kind of gamble, as is the stock market, right?). Arguments that it is just "another form of entertainment" have real analogues to the arguments we have about MMORPGs and the relative "addiction factor" involved there. The "let's make some revenue appear out of nowhere" argument is also an interesting one to have when talking about legalizing and taxing certain recreational drugs.

    Lots of interesting issues. Let's avoid turning every single proposal into a political witch-hunt, okay?

    • Re:Poor Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Killer Orca (1373645) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:27PM (#31986974)

      For example, "the lottery" has regularly been shown to basically be a "poor tax." Isn't there a "usual crowd" who speaks out against regressive taxation? Aren't they leftists?

      I would actually argue it is more of a "stupid tax" but I also feel that way about most forms of gambling.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HarvardAce (771954)

        I would actually argue it is more of a "stupid tax" but I also feel that way about most forms of gambling.

        Participating in a lottery is not necessarily a "stupid" proposition, depending on the circumstances. I'm also not talking about cases where the payout of a particular lottery is great enough that the expected value of a lottery ticket is greater than the cost of a ticket. I'm speaking more to the personal utility of a particular sum of money (let's call it f(x), where "x" represents a sum of money, and the result is the utility of that sum of money). For a particular person, that function is most likely

  • 8% of every wager? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:21PM (#31986890)

    That sounds pretty extortionate. Consider that many games have a return rate in the high 90%s.

    Previously a hundred dollars could go through dozens of wagers before being reduced by half on average. Now, that same hundred will provide much fewer wagers for the the same game.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:21PM (#31986902) Homepage

    I am actually more of a social conservative than most of these groups, and I fully support legalizing and taxing this. If you want people to be responsible, they have to have freedom. It's just that simple. A society where people don't engage in victimless crimes because the state is putting a gun to their head isn't a more moral society, it's just one where we pretend that everything is hunky dory.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I am actually more of a social conservative than most of these groups, and I fully support legalizing and taxing this. If you want people to be responsible, they have to have freedom. It's just that simple. A society where people don't engage in victimless crimes because the state is putting a gun to their head isn't a more moral society, it's just one where we pretend that everything is hunky dory.

      I'm not in favor of taxing it for the sake of increasing government revenue.

      However I agree with your second s

  • Regulation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wjousts (1529427) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:22PM (#31986916)

    It seems to me that it would be inherently hard to monitor online gambling to ensure that the people running the online casino are actually playing fair. After all, it would be fairly trivial to set up a website to take peoples money but behind the scenes code it such that nobody ever wins. Of course, if nobody ever wins anything, they'll eventually stop playing, but you could easily set rules to feedback just enough money to keep them interested. Maybe return 80 cents on the dollar, but have code make sure that nobody can ever break even.

    How would the federal government handle this? Do they insist on seeing the full source code running on every online casino site? If they do, how do they know the code the casino gives them is the actual production code? Basically, it would be too easy to load the dice at an online casino and take everybody's money.

    This isn't a comment on the morality of gambling in general, or whether or not it's a good thing. It just seems like it'll be too easy to rip people off using some [not even that] clever coding.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wjousts (1529427)
      Just replying to myself to add. I guess there isn't a problem for online casinos taking bets on, for example, sports. Something they have no control over. I also guess there's no problem if an online casino works only as a venue for players to bet against each other (example: poker) with the casino taking a cut (unless they hire their own players who are given some additional advantage by the code running the game). I was thinking more along the lines of online roulette, online slot machines, or online crap
    • Nobody ever beats the house anyway, given a long enough period of time. The best way for a casino to make money is to play fairly thus encouraging them to come back...like the "near-miss" feature on slot machines does.
    • congratulations you just figured out the basic premise of being the house in gambling. All the games are already set so that the house has the advantage. In different games it is a different margin but in the end the house plays many more games against many more people so that the law of large numbers sets in and they will always win, by how much will vary slightly but in the end they win. You didn't think Vegas paid for all of its showgirls by paying gamblers to win money did you? Also you don't need e
  • Video Game Assets (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kiehlster (844523) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:29PM (#31987008) Homepage
    How might such a law affect video game assets in the face of taking gambles? If I buy, with real money, a bunch of in-game loot and then take a gamble on successfully defeating the other team [slashdot.org], or open up a second-life gambling casino [alphavilleherald.com], what would the government tax me on? my video game fees? my profits from selling loot?
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Obviously the government would apply a capital gains tax whenever you convert the virtual assets into real dollars. The virtual property itself has no value to the government, and should not be taxed.
  • Last I heard, you can still trade stocks and futures. Maybe all they need to do to bring everything into line is to create a new kind of derivative that shows results and settles hourly. Then have wall street run it.
  • I'm all in favor of taxing stupidity... do the Republicans, Focus on the Family, and Think of the Children all oppose this because it places an undue tax burden on their members?
  • Isn't the US already getting massively fined for blocking overseas gambling? Will they now tax overseas gambling wagers and eliminate this fine, or is this only allowed for state-side operations? I would consider the $100 billion fine reduction to be a bigger boon than the tax revenue.

    Relevant link: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/07/10/12/1411242/US-Faces-100-Billion-Fine-For-Web-Gambling-Ban?art_pos=11 [slashdot.org]

  • Summary Is Wrong! (Score:5, Informative)

    by coolmoose25 (1057210) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:40PM (#31987206)
    The summary stated that they would take 6% for state and 2% for Fed on each WAGER... That is incorrect... they are taking 6%/2% of your DEPOSIT in the online gaming account. If they took 6%/2% of your WAGERS, you'd be broke in no time!

    Given this level of taxation, I'd be in favor, just for the legalization aspect alone... I'm generally not in favor of "feeding the beast" with more tax revenues, but if it gets me legal online gaming, then I'm okay with it.
  • The proposed rate (depending how you read the write-up either 6% total, or 6% plus 2%) has either been set by someone who has no understanding of the math behind gambling or by someone who is looking to deliberately kill on-line wagering while not appearing to do so. A 6% (or 8%) government rake on top of the the existing house edge (or house rake for games where you don't play against the house) will crush players, making virtually every gambler a short-term loser.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:44PM (#31987274) Homepage Journal

    Basically, the bill proposes that for each state, a 6% cut would be taken from all wagers

    First, what? Of all wagers, win or lose? Right now, you can hypothetically wager for an indefinite amount of time if the odds of winning are 50/50 (which they aren't but play along) and you never fall to zero. If each transaction is taxed, then you lose 6% on each hand, automatically, no matter what? I hope that's just poorly written.

    Second, I'm against expanding gambling. Proponents point to Las Vegas and think that Spitsville, Arkansas will be just like that if only they legalize Keno. Well, no. What always happens is that the people who can least afford new, expensive habits end up losing everything. Crime goes up. Social service costs go up. Law enforcement costs go up. And the expenses are never covered by the trickle of tax revenue. Seriously, if you're against regressive taxes, then you kind of have to be against the realities of gambling. Warren Buffett isn't going to go broke on the craps tables, but Joe Sixpack very well might.

    But more than that, I hate the outright lies told by the gambling lobbyists when they're trying to get it legalized. I lived in Missouri when they were voting on whether to add riverboat gambling. The idea is that all the taxes from it would go to education. How can you vote against that and take money away from the kids? Well, they were kind of telling the truth. What really happened was that if the education budget was $X (I forget the actual numbers involved), and the tax revenue from gambling was $Y, then the new education budget was still exactly $X. The difference was that $Y of it came from gambling, and the rest came from the general fund as usual. Furthermore, the total amount of taxes collected did not go up, as a lot of the hypothetical extra revenue was lost to decreased sales taxes, lowered property values, etc., while service expenditures went up quite a bit. A couple of years into the grand experiment, it looked like Missouri was losing about 3*$Y from their bottom line. The casino's owners, on the other hand, were quite happy to export the revenues to their own state and let someone else clean up the mess.

    I'm pretty libertarian in my views. If you want to do something and it doesn't harm anyone but yourself, then have at. Contrary to the tone of the summary, I have no moral objections to gambling whatsoever. In practice, though, gambling seems to cause a lot of collateral damage around its participants. I guess I lump it in with smoking in restaurants; although I understand the arguments for allowing it, I have to admit that I've enjoyed not having it around anymore.

  • "The bill calls for a 6 percent tax on all deposits to be paid to state and tribal governments made by residents of their jurisdiction. For example, if someone living in Missouri puts $1,000 into an online gambling account anywhere in the country, $60 would go to Missouri's state government."

    Imagine if you had to hand over six percent of the money in your pocket as taxes just to be allowed in the door of a casino. Incredible horseshit, no? To even suggest it is ludicrous. And yet there it is.

    I'm glad
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:48PM (#31987332) Homepage

    Why is it totally different when something is done "over the internet?" Gambling is illegal in person, but it is legal if a network cable is involved?

    Suppose I setup a gambling room where everyone goes into their own stall and gambles "over the internet." If they will, I will give them their winnings right away, then take the payment over the phone. Maybe I offer this service for free and just profit by selling drinks. Of course, maybe they are actually playing against the person in the stall next to them, but that's legal now because it is was "over the internet."

    I'm not against this bill per se, but it is silly that if you did the same exact thing, but without the internet involved it would be illegal.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:55PM (#31987444)
    What group is he talking about when he mentions "Think of the Children" as one of the "usual crowd gathered in opposition"? When I googled for a non-profit called "Think of the Children", the only thing that came up is a group that works to help orphans in Vietnam. I really can't see them taking a stand on this (and I checked their website.
    Part of the problem with the summary (besides listing a group that as far as I can tell doesn't exist) is that it lumps all of the opposition to this into one group. Focus on the Family opposes this because of the documented negative effects that gambling often has on families when one or both of the parents gamble away the money needed to take care of their children (whether that is a sufficient reason to outlaw gambling is another question, as is whether outlawing gambling actually addresses the real problem in those situations). The point is that it makes sense for Focus on the Family to oppose anything that moves gambling further into the "acceptable" social area.
    Republicans in general are more likely to oppose this as a new tax than because of its legalizing online gambling. Do you really think that this won't be used as an excuse for the government to monitor everyone's internet usage because some people are avoiding the tax?
  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:40PM (#31988144) Journal
    I've noticed that whenever a story that is likely to be viewed as favorable by most Slashdot users and it pertains to Democrats, the label is prominently displayed. However, when there's one that would be viewed negatively, it's hidden. This article for instance. [slashdot.org] There's not one single mention of Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo's party affiliation. By the way, he's a Democrat. I'm not a D or a R (I'm more libertarian than anything else), but I just find the duplicity on this site frustrating.

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