. . . Tuesday June 1, 2004

House Rules

Here’s the rub (or one of them) when it comes to gambling in casinos: They can kick you out no matter what. They don’t need a reason. You can, in fact, be booted from a casino for playing too well and winning too much. Card-counting is a perfect example. Players get too good at the game and they get banned from premises. And casinos don’t need no stinkin’ rules to back up the ban. You’re out.

Is the Justice Department employing a similar model when it comes to dealing with online casinos? So far, it is not at all clear, in legal terms, that the U.S. government has the right to regulate online, offshore casinos. So the Feds are going after anyone who exchanges cash or does business with these operations (not unlike the way they freeze terror or drug funds).

If you’re against online gambling, then maybe this all makes sense. The Discovery Channel agrees to take some ads from an online casino, but then the Feds move in and sieze the money. No cash for Discovery. No ads for the online casino. Sounds pretty effective. The strong-arming has convinced many media conglomerates to stop taking calls from offshore casinos. (Not unlike some other strong-arming convinced a media conglomerate to silence Howard Stern.)

But is there a law to back this up?

Concentration is important!