Online Poker Now a Matter of “National Security”

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

In December, the U.S. Trade Office announced it had reached an agreement with Europe, Japan, and Canada that would involve the U.S. making major trade concessions in order to both keep its ban on Internet gambling, and simultaneously allow exemptions to that ban for state lotteries and horse racing. The agreement meant that the U.S. was willing to force U.S consumers and businesses to pay so that the federal government could prevent U.S. citizens from playing poker online.

Strangely, the federal government also refused to release the terms of the settlement. So Ed Brayton filed a FOIA request with the U.S. Trade Office to release the terms of the settlement. They responded this week. They have refused to disclose the details "in the interests of national security."

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9 Responses to “Online Poker Now a Matter of “National Security””

  1. #1 |  Frank N Stein | 

    It has become obvious that “in the interests of national security” has become the new “interstate commerce clause”; a blanket justification for the government to do (or hide) whatever it wants. Is there a legal avenue to challenge the denial of a FOIA request? Is that something the Supreme Court could (if it wanted to) decide on?

  2. #2 |  LibertyPlease | 

    Makes sense if you allow that “Nation” has come to mean “the State”. In this case denying the FOIA request does help secure the Nation’s interests from the prying eyes of mere citizens.

    It’s their Nation, we’re just paying for it.

  3. #3 |  James Bond | 

    You do realize that poker funds terrorism, don’t you?

  4. #4 |  Ben | 

    I agree with Frank. All you have to do is say “National Security” or the like and you can hide anything you want. I wish there was some way to fix this. But if the sheep here in the USA keep voting for the candidites shoved down our throats by the parties, nothing will change, short of being changed by armed revolution.

  5. #5 |  El Mike’s Internet News Blog » Blog Archive » Online Gambling Deals Between US And Other Countries Are A Matter Of National Security? | 

    […] a Freedom of Information Act request to get the actual agreement between the countries. And, as The Agitator points out, the US Trade Representative has denied the request, claiming that the agreement is […]

  6. #6 |  Dan | 

    I’m so sick of the hypocrisy. My home state of Washington passed a ban on internet gambling before the US Congress. Interestingly enough, the State Senator who sponsored the ban is from the legislative district that has the most brick and morter casinos in the state. Interestingly enough, many of those same casinos show up on her donation public disclosures.

    In my mind, the cause and effect is clear: Casino donates to political candidate-political candidate passes legislation to give casino a poker monopoly.

    I’d tie this back to the Drew Carey video posted yesterday, we have it pretty darn good in America, we have to work fewer hours to provide the really important things in life.

    It seems that government also has it too good. Our government has so much more than it needs to conduct the business most of us expect from government, that it has time to legislate on every conceivable behavior.

    My message to government everywhere is this: You are not smarter than I am, and you are no better qualified than I am to make decisions about my behavior.

  7. #7 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    “My message to government everywhere is this: You are not smarter than I am, and you are no better qualified than I am to make decisions about my behavior.”

    YES WE ARE!!!! Now shut up and give us your money before we send a SWAT team to your house to shoot your dogs…or stick you on a scale and ban you from buying fast food!

  8. #8 |  Erin | 


    I think your mother would be proud….

  9. #9 |  Mobile Gaming | 

    According to a Canadian news report, In 2006, the WTO had ruled against a U.S. ban that stops American banks and credit card companies from processing payments to online gambling businesses outside the country.

    Washington responded by doing a deal with the EU, Japan, Canada and others in December to allow it to effectively opt out of WTO rules on gambling in return for offering them compensation in other areas.

    Meanwhile, European gambling companies were forced out of the U.S. market by President Bush’s October 2006 ban on transferring payments.