With Congress and now the President signing into law (HR 4954, title VIII) that it will be illegal for US credit card companies to facilitate transactions for the purposes of gambling, business opportunity abounds!
Our well-intentioned lawmakers have found that we are freely choosing to do something they don’t want us to do. So what is a lawmaker to do about it? Create a new law, of course! But social engineering rarely works, and this will be no exception.
The fact is that many major US credit card agencies have already been denying payments to online gaming sites for years. Yet, customers have found their way to these sites anyway – often through fairly obtuse payment mechanisms.
The gambling sites are already hosted off shore, because facilitating the gambling is already illegal. Now that sending money to them is also illegal, what will happen is that a bank or some other “legitimate” business will spring up offshore too. It will be real and reputable, which is okay for US companies to do business with. But, it will create business relationships with the online gaming companies to make it incredibly easy for customers to get their money into the gambling sites. Of course, they will do this for a modest fee. Everyone will know that the offshore company is breaking the US law. But, it is offshore (just like the gambling site itself) and can do whatever it wishes. The US credit card companies will want the transactions to go through, because they want their own slice of the money. So they will claim to be bewildered and befuddled about how to distinguish “gambling” from “honest business”.
In the end, poker players will still play online. There is just too large of a market for this need to go un-served. Players will just have to pay someone else a cut through this weird, new type of money-laundering scheme. When does it stop? If we ban enough businesses, all business will eventually be done from Antigua.
I thought this was a good article: http://www.casinocitytimes.com/news/article.cfm?contentID=161472