Even if you have no interest in Internet gambling, you should take a moment to ponder how Congress’s latest attempt to ban the online activity will play out. We may learn a lot about the government’s power to control online lives.
The new law is going to be tested both online and in the courts. The biggest test of the law will come in the online poker world.
- There is already a legal president in the US that poker is a game of skill, and therefore is not gambling.
- PokerStars, one of the world’s largest poker sites, has already announced that it will continue to accept funds and make payouts for US customers.
- One of the most popular online payment services for poker players, Neteller, will continue to handle transactions for US customers. Neteller is based in Canada.
In my early days on the Net, somebody pointed out to me that the nature of networks is to route traffic around trouble. That innate ability of networks to find the groves where information and activity flows freely is the biggest hindrance governments face in trying to control what people say and do online. The Internet is inherently a libertarian environment. This law presents a opportunity to see if that concept is true.
As a side note: The bill doesn’t ban online, state-run lotteries or placing online horse racing bets.