If you gamble online, the federal government wants you to stop, presumably so you’ll go gamble in Las Vegas or Atlantic City instead. The WSJ reports:
The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve issued rules that bar financial companies from processing payments connected to most gambling Web sites, effectively making Internet gambling illegal.
The rules, issued Wednesday, give companies until Dec. 1, 2009, to comply with a ban that covers credit-card transactions, electronic transfers and checks related to Internet gambling.
What exactly is covered by the ban? Online poker? InTrade? It seems the answer is: “It depends.”
The rules don’t define an illegal gambling transaction, relying instead on state law on the matter.. There are exemptions in the law, including online betting on horse racing, interstate lotteries and fantasy sports.
Haven’t we been down this road before? Reality check: Bans on Internet gambling always fail because both bettors and Internet bookies are infinitely more flexible than the government in finding ways to pass money back and forth. Expect to see an uptick in foreign banks acting as middlemen.
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