Reason Magazine blog (who else?):
It’-s too bad Europe, Japan, and Canada caved. Here’-s hoping little Antigua stays plucky.
A few observations:
First, and most obviously, the U.S. government is so hellbent on policing the online habits of its citizens, it’-s willing to pay what will likely be tens of billions of dollars of money in trade reparations—taken from same said U.S. citizens in tax receipts—to maintain its dumb ban on consensual online wagering.
Second, the U.S. could have resolved all of this and preserved its precious gambling prohibition by simply making the prohibition uniform. But that wouldn’-t do. Just as important as the ban on Internet gambling itself were the carve-outs for politically-protected special interest groups. Think state lotteries, or the horse racing industry, which has over the years given generously to the campaigns of people like Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who decry the immorality of online poker while also supporting carveouts for the ponies. So the tens of billions the U.S. government is paying to settle the trade dispute is not only to preserve the gambling ban, it’-s to preserve the congressionally-granted monopoly on online wagering for interests with more political clout than poker players.
Finally, U.S. Trade Office flack Gretchen Hamel apparently told Reuters she “-isn’-t going to get into”- the terms of the settlement. Pardon? Is the settlement not being paid with public funds? Aren’-t the people who negotiated the settlement employees of the U.S. government? On what grounds does the U.S. Trade Office feel it’-s entitled to withhold this information?
Previously: The European Commission dealt a blow to European online gaming companies Monday when it accepted a U.S. offer of openings in other sectors as compensation for closing the U.S. gambling market to foreign firms.
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