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The Feds Reach Is Long With Gambling
By Tony George

I had recently wrote an article ranting about the recent arrests of John Lefebvre and Steve Lawrence, both of Canada, who were taken into custody as owners of Netteller and jailed. Both are out on a $5 million bond and must remain within a specified jurisdiction until their trial, which should be very interesting to the gaming community. The two men have pleaded "Not Guilty" to various charges including money laundering. All this for processing monies to on-line sportsbooks, poker rooms and casino's. Meanwhile many Americans dollars have been seized for "evidence" in prosecuting them. Funds that are rightly the property of individuals. Is anyone paying attention to this blatant disregard by our government of our civil liberties?

Money laundering are the KEYWORDS for seeing exactly what this is. That is nothing more than US authorities saying that money was not taxed! Unclaimed income or monies derived from gambling that is unclaimed income is what it boils down to. Federal authorities want to tax these funds and get their greedy little mits on it to pay for a War that nobody wants, and more fat cat spending this country does not need. Big Daddy Government that has not had their hand in the cookie jar except for Las Vegas (State of Nevada), Atlantic City and State lotteries, wants their piece of the $200 billion dollar betting pool. This War in Iraq is getting expensive folks, and Uncle Sam and the right wingers are simply consumed by greed, power and control, especially with the current administration. Pass some legislation and control it, work with offshore companies to report funds coming into the US in the form of gambling revenues, they do it in Vegas. If you win more than $3000 in Las Vegas, you are issued a 1099 form on the spot! What is so hard about that? A little more bookwork for the Sportsbooks and Poker Rooms and on-line gambling sites? So be it, because the downside of them shutting down amounts to billions of dollars, I cannot imagine they would leave those kinds of dollars idle for long. If they do, someone who can build a better mousetrap will step in and gobble them up, trust me.

The passing of anti-gambling legislation, which was attached to a Port Security Bill late in 2006, in an underhanded manner by legislators, since it could not pass on its own merit, gave the green light for the Justice Department to go hog wild arresting various business professionals in the gaming industry. They have others running scared with their tail between their legs. These recent actions put the gaming world on notice, and is destroying many viable companies and shutting down others to a mere trickle. If you cannot feed the animal, it dies. If Netteller, Paypal and even Investment Banks in the US cannot transfer funds in and or out of these places without the fear of getting arrested, your fun and games is about to cease on-line. Are you going to take that?

A few notes for authorities. You WILL NOT stop gambling, however you will bring local bookies who are illegal back into the mix more than they are now, and organized crime some more cash now to operate again, as many a sports bettor was offshore, in a regulated book, controlled by local and national governments, just not the United States. This adds issues to a problem or degenerate gambler. At least at a book, you can only wager what you have in your account, thus some discipline for a guy who lost his shirt on Sunday and wants to triple it up on Monday. A local book will take the bet with no up front money and thus putting this guy deeper in debt chasing losses. A tragic tale told more than once by losing gamblers. At an offshore sportsbook, you have a controlled line, and an account with only the money you have in it to bet. I have never known an offshore sportsbook to break your kneecaps for welching on a bet, because it is impossible to do so. I cannot say the same about other shady characters who take bets illegally in the US. They are criminals in no uncertain terms, and you are now forced to associate with them again if you want to bet $50 on the Bulls for instance.

Another noteworthy item. My business, sports handicapping, is doing just fine although I am very concerned about the overall picture. The Super Bowl sales were awesome, and people are pounding my hoops picks daily. The actions of a few over the hill, zealous representatives who have no clue about the reality or size of what they are trying to shut down, are futile at best. Amazing how these same lawmakers rake in the cash from powerball and state lottery winnings with smiles on their fat faces when they can tell the voters they have money for education, tax reform, and new roads with gambling taxes. It is all hunky dory when that happens to benefit them come election time. The chances of you and I winning the powerball is as about as likely as Rex Grossman breaking Dan Marino's passing records and getting into the Hall of Fame. It is the biggest sucker bet of the century and local and federal governments support them to the hilt. When 5 million people bet on a powerball ticket, and only 1 wins, folks, that is a bad bet and a worthless investment, supported by legislators. That is because they get 40% of the winnings in taxes! You taking a calculated risk on a sports bet by using someone like me, or a poker hand, is somehow worse than buying a lottery ticket. You buying Enron stock is legal but betting $50 on the Colts to win the Super Bowl is simply over the top and people who are located with a business in a country legal to take that wager need to be jailed!

An estimated 5 Billion dollars was bet on the Super Bowl. Do you honestly think the US Government is going to shut down the beast? Do you think hundreds of thousands of tax paying Americans are going to stand by on idle while their Senators and Congressmen are legislating morality, and destroying civil liberties such as freedom of choice? I sense a swell of criticism and a grassroots effort to turn the tide on this one. I for one have been all over my government representatives by calling and e-mailing them. I read an article in the LA Times where the writer suggested the government is protecting all of us from ourselves, that we do not know right or wrong, and need to be herded like brainless cattle and led around by the nose. We are told what to watch on TV, when to smoke, never gamble on-line, and the list goes on and on. I agree with this writer, legislating morality is not what we as US citizens signed up for, and that is not what we have kids dying in Iraq for. They are dying to give the Iraq people FREEDOM and the rights that a free democracy is suppose to be built on that we enjoy here in the US. That is what spreading democracy around the world is suppose to do, yet politicians violate yours and mine here everyday for the sake of partisan politics. How much longer are we going to take it? Get off the sidelines and into the game folks, otherwise just accept the outcome.

It is up to you and I to make things change. I strongly urge all who read this, on a gaming site no doubt, to take the time to see the light and then act on it. Contact your lawmakers in your State that work at the Federal level and voice your concerns and urge change. I also urge high profile, and for lack of a better term, rich people like Calvin Arye at Bo Dog to hire attorney's in the US and to create a dialogue for change with a fair reporting act of some sort in terms of dollars being wired into the US from gambling proceeds. Remember folks, alittle bit of something (winnings), is better than a whole lot of nothing. There is a large pool of rich guys in this business that can afford some high priced attorneys to chum the water in Washington and make some changes to this anti-gambling law that is clearly a violation of our rights! They need to do their part as well, but you can also do yours, there is strength in numbers.


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