Concessions In WTO Online Gambling Case Showing Damages
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In what may be the first in a series of dangerous concessions the U.S. has given to the EU in order to withdraw its commitments at the WTO for recreational online gambling is about to happen.
Suez Energy North America Inc, a subsidiary of a Parisian company that financed the Suez Canal, is proposing new natural gas terminals located eight and ten miles off the shore of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. That plan includes utilizing super tankers that will deliver liquefied natural gas to the terminals where it will be converted to gas and be delivered to massive pipelines directly into Port Everglades where it will tie into existing state gas pipelines.
The platforms will be deep-water ports supported by buoys, turrets, anchors and pipes, where it will be delivered to South Florida Power plants.
The result, aside from the obvious possible hazards of explosions, hurricane damage, and a variety of environmental problems, will also cut off approximately 2.9 miles of deep-water fishing surrounding the sites.
Environmentalists are concerned that such a project, with its extensive use of anchor chains, will disrupt and disturb about 140 acres of underwater sea life, including nearby coral. Sea Turtle hatchlings that use the area as a refuge from predators will no longer have that safety. Fear is high that the extra shipping would cause the killing of whales and sea turtles by striking them as they move about the area.
It is estimated that ship and port operations would take in about 43.6 million gallons of seawater every day, discharging it at a much higher temperature than the surrounding water, which will affect the algae and larval fish in the area. Air pollution will be generated through the burning of natural gas, and the potential for damage to the Florida coast could be devastating.
Tile-fish, golden crab and coral will all be affected. Fisherman and boating enthusiasts will be not allowed near the area once the project begins. If approved, the platforms are expected to be in operation in 2010-11.
Americans should demand that their government take a hard look at any deals made by the USTR that will ultimately bring harm to this country such as the one stated above, and question whether it is wise to trade off these important areas just to deny foreign companies the right to provide a service they are legally entitled to provide via a long-standing treaty signed by the U.S.
Internet gambling is allowed in the United States and it is active in this area. The government has taken a position that it is illegal and is denying foreign operators the right to do this, at the same time allowing domestic companies to provide this service. This form of protectionism is going to cost Americans so much in so many different ways that one must wonder what the motivating forces behind the U.S. decision really is. To look at the issue objectively, why would the U.S. say it is illegal, yet license domestic companies the right to conduct this type of gambling, yet deny foreigners the same rights.
Americans, workers, environmentalists, corporations, complete industries that have nothing to do with gambling, must question the sanity of this unusual and biased approach the USTR has taken, and then weigh the costs of this withdrawal of services against the more simple method of relaxing the prohibition and abiding by its treaties.
Competition Causing Rhode Island To Consider Full Casino Gambling
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The state of Massachusetts is nearing the point where full casino gambling could be coming. That is making Rhode Island panic, and quickly change their stance on the issue.
State Senator John J. Tassoni Jr. wants to amend the state constitution in Rhode Island to allow full casino gambling at Newport Grand and Twin River. The additions would include blackjack, roulette, and craps.
“I think it is time. We don’t have enough revenue for the budget…..Status quo can no longer be accepted. We need to make sure we are on the head of the train, not the caboose,” said Tassoni.
There apparently is two states that want to be at the head of that train. Massachusetts has had many conversations about full casino gambling. Whichever of the two states changes their laws first will have a big advantage over the other in terms of winning over customers.
Twin River could certainly use the increased revenue. They are flirting with bankruptcy at the present time. They have not requested that the state change their gambling laws, but Senator Tassoni has taken it upon himself to make the proposal.
Casino expansion is nothing new around the country. Many states in the past couple of years have relaxed their gambling laws and are using casino expansion as a tool to fight the recession.
Nebraska Lawmaker Looks To Technicality To Stop Gambling Bill
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A Nebraska politician has found an interesting way to show he is an opponent of expanded casino gambling in his state. He is citing a technicality in the state constitution that keeps proposed Bills from having more than one subject.
It is the contention of Senator Tony Fulton of Lincoln that the gambling Bill that would bring slot machines to racetracks in Nebraska is unconstitutional because of its multiple subjects. He details his concerns in a legal challenge of the proposed Bill.
According to Fulton, the Bill deals with giving authority to a commission to regulate the machines, placement of the machines, and creating a system to distribute revenue from the machines. While most would consider that one subject with several different areas, Fulton sees it differently.
In this years legislative session, lawmakers will try to decide whether or not the voters of Nebraska should have a say in the issue. If the answer is yes, it will be on the ballot in 2010.
The Bill’s intention is to help state racetracks that have been struggling the past few years. Members within the racing community have voiced their concerns, and Senator Russ Karpisek has responded.
Karpisek, of Wilber, sponsored the Bill and he believes there is nothing unconstitutional about it. He feels in the end that the challenge will be lost and lawmakers will proceed with putting the issue on the 2010 ballot.
Comal County Wants To Seize Gambling Property For Misdemeanors
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Many of the illegal gambling operations that are taking place in Texas end up in misdemeanor charges. Since the offenses are not serious in nature, they are not considered felony offenses.
Even with that in mind, Comal County, Texas authorities are seeking to make life harder on people who commit these misdemeanor crimes. The county is lobbying the state to allow the seizure of the actual property where the crimes are taking place.
Currently, officers can only seize the items that are used in the gambling operations. They have no jurisdiction to seize the actual location. Authorities have sited the high cost of storage spaces as their reasons for wanting to seize the property.
“It would act as a greater deterrent for criminals, and with the seizure of this property we would get an instant storage spot for the machines themselves,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Greg Parker.
There has been heavy opposition to this proposed change. Angry citizens have voiced their disgust with the idea. “The police in this county (Comal) should be worried about more important things than gambling. There are people out there selling drugs to our kids and these people are concerned with misdemeanor gambling criminals,” said Fran Triskle, a resident of the county.
Still, despite the opposition, the county commissioners continue to push forward with their efforts. They will be attempting to get the legislature to change this law in the upcoming session.
Problem Gambling Treatment Receiving A Boost From Operators In UK
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The UK is showing the rest of the world how to effectively legalize and regulate both online and land based gambling. They also are letting it be known that if gambling operators do not play by the rules, the laws will become stricter.
The Responsibility in Gambling Trust charity was established for gambling operators to donate money for research and treatment in the area of problem gambling. The charity is falling short of their projected financial goal for the year.
Now that gambling operators have shunned their responsibility to donate adequate amounts to the charity, the government is about to make life a whole lot more difficult for these operators. They are planning on forcing the operators to pay a levy to fund the problem gambling treatment.
Tomorrow proposals of the government are going to be published, and the levy is one of those proposals. Since the operators did not voluntarily take care of their business, they will now be forced to do so.
The government in the UK has already taken a strict stance with gambling issues. They addressed advertising in the middle part of 2008, and now are setting their sites on making sure the proper research can be done to help treat problem gambling.
They do have some of the most liberal gambling laws in the world, but they have been responsible in their efforts. They regulate every aspect of their gambling industry, and, in turn, they receive plenty of revenue money to help deal with financial shortcomings.
Clinton, Other Candidates, Must Take Position on Internet Gambling
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Hillary Clinton has received the support of some powerful and influential gambling executives in Las Vegas. Her campaign has announced the formation of the Nevada Business Leadership Council which is headed by Jan Jones, a former Las Vegas Mayor and a current lobbyist for Harrah’s Entertainment.
Phil Satre, former chairman and CEO of Harrah’s, Howard Lefkowitz, CEO of Vegas.com, Henry Terry, Executive Director of Human Resourses of Playlv Gaming Operations, Punam Mather, Senior VP of MGM/Mirage Group Corp are also members.
In light of these endorsements, some suggest that it is a good time to question Sen. Clinton on her stance regarding Internet gambling. A powerful politician such as Clinton could be the deciding factor when decisions about Internet gambling reach the stage of legalization if she were to become the next president.
Senator Clinton’s Nevada Presidential Campaign is headed by Rory Reid, son of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada.
Senator Clinton supports labor and believes a strong business community is in the countries best interest. With the endorsements of those mentioned above, analysts believe it should be made clear by her on which side of the Internet gambling issue she stands.
“Idle talk and comments are not good enough,” said Casino Gambling Web’s analyst, Gordon Price. “A definitive position on this issue is necessary not only from Clinton, but of all the potential candidates. No politician should be allowed to answer ‘We will look further into the subject’, or ‘we are studying it’, a simple yes or no answer is needed because this possibly could be the single most important issue that will effect the future of international treaties.
“We must all remember that it was Harrah’s that contributed a reported $50k to then Senator Bill Frist prior to the enactment of the UIGEA, and as this is perceived to be directly related to the effort of Frist and his cronies to implement this awful bill,” Price said, “Clinton should make her thoughts on the subject clear.
“All of the candidates must be made to take a position on this issue.”
Elaine Wynn, wife of Steve Wynn, and Director of Wynn Casino, last summer joined the Barack Obama campaign.
Sheldon Adelson, billionaire owner of the Venetian Hotel And Casino is a heavy contributor to the Republican Party and supports many GOP causes and candidates.