"War on Wager" Update

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

In a comment to Super Sunday's post on the Bush Administration's "port security-related" crackdown on Internet gambling, a professional gambler reports that "thousands of professional gamblers (like myself) have a good deal of money that is frozen indefinitely in Neteller accounts pending resolution of this 'investigation'."

The Register filed this short report on the matter today:

The FBI has frozen access to Neteller accounts as part of its ongoing investigation into the company.

Neteller provides electronic wallet services which were popular with gambling sites because they allowed US residents to gamble without using credit cards which would give away their home addresses - most gambling sites took this action to try and stop US citizens using their services.

According to USA Today, FBI agent Neil Donovan said the funds were being kept as evidence. He told the paper some customers may get their money back.

An update on the Neteller website warns US members that it can no longer accept their funds or transfer them to gambling sites. The site also says it will no longer accept US residents as new members of Neteller. The company has also stopped peer-to-peer transactions.

US authorities arrested two former executives of the company in January. They were charged not under new US legislation, but for "conspiring to transfer funds with the intent to promote illegal gambling".

The two are due to appear in court 14 February in New York.

The company is based in the Isle of Man and is regulated by the Financial Services Authority. [bold added]
An earlier story from USA Today goes into still more detail, including this:
"The truth is that the money is in limbo and the companies are not required to refund any money until a successful prosecution or settlement takes place," says Michael Tew, principal of gaming consultant CapitalHQ. "This could take years." ... [bold added]
Got that? The same wartime President, George W. Bush, whose administration recently pressured Kenya to release Sheikh Sharif Ahmad, whom we had just helped capture in Africa, is going to put the lives of some of those he has sworn to protect on hold for years. Wage war against America in the name of your religion and get a slap on the wrist. Gamble for a living and get your assets frozen for the sake of a religious prohibition against betting. And, to add insult to injury, you are being yanked around because of a law passed for the alleged purpose of fighting the war!

Were our President only so effective at waging war against the Islamofascists as he is at tyrannizing some of his own citizens! Unfortunately, he is not and cannot be, since he thinks that religion is the "bedrock" on which America was founded.

-- CAV


Nicholas Provenzo said...

When I think about this conservative holy war against online gaming, it brings me back to the fall election debate over whether or not America is threatened with the underpinnings of theocracy. If I recall, one side of the debate argued that since America has undergone an erosion of things such as the “blue laws” since the 1950s, the anti-conservative Objectivists are overstating the threat of religion in politics.

When I read your coverage of gaming issues, I am reminded just how wrong the above position is. No, the religious are not trying to shut down the malls on Sunday, but they are showing evidence of injecting their dogma into new realms, such as the alleged threat of online gaming.

Another story caught my eye the other day that parallels the gaming issue. Apparently, a production company makes adult films is some of Atlanta’s posh suburbs and has been doing so for some time. There have been no complaints over this filming; neighbors even expressed incredulity when informed that such movie making has taken place literally right next door to them.

Yet when a local news team interviewed community leaders about the filming (leaders who had no prior knowledge sex movies were being made in their communities, i.e. there have been no complaints), these leaders immediately decried the producer’s lack of decent morality and threatened them with zoning violations for “engaging in commerce” in violation of local zoning codes.

For what? The story made it implicitly clear that the adult film producers are not disturbing anyone’s peace. And while anyone is free to disapprove of sex films, I’m at a loss to see what right anyone has to prevent adults from filming them on private property and in a way that does not disturb their neighbors.

Add that to the injection of religious dogma in debates over genetic research, the instruction of science in the schools, and even how the war is prosecuted and how America frames the enemy, and all I see is an appalling increase in the role of religious mysticism in American life.

Gus Van Horn said...

And if there is not yet an actual increase of mysticism, there is at the very least a strong effort by the GOP to halt and reverse the rolling-back of the influence of government-enforced religion on our daily lives.

How best to explain why we see things like this, but we don't yet have the Blue Laws back? The GOP knows that they can't yet get away with their full agenda openly. It is in this respect, guile, that the GOP is more dangerous than the Dhimmocrats.