Over on this other blog I do, I wrote that EU (European Union) Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson is in Washington D.C. trying to talk influential U.S. Congresspeople to overturn a U.S. ban on Internet gambling.
It would appear that Mandelson's concerns are being driven by far more direct reasons than the cause of Internet freedom.
Several offshore gambling firms believe the prohibition runs counter to World Trade Organization agreements the U.S. is a signatory to. Agreements that in essence, establish open environments for companies to provide services across borders to other signatory nations.
Sure seems the gambling firms are pissed. Not only do they want the law reversed, but they want as much as $100 billion in compensation for what they view as usurption of their trade rights.
I'm of two minds on this. I think that Internet gambling prohibitions only invite the shady characters in, but there is something to be said for Internet freedoms. The current law strikes me as pure demagoguery aimed to appeal to moral absolutists.
I mean, if you play online poker and bet this month's mortgage payment, you are a jerk. But who is the government to keep you from being a jerk with your money?
Hey it's your money. So what do you think?