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Online Gambling Sites Won’t Touch Timothy Geithner Exit Bets

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Mar/20/2009
Timothy Geithner

The online gambling industry is doing everything possible to avoid any missteps with the U.S. Government, realizing that the Obama Administration brings new hope to an industry that was all but banished during Bush's eight years in office.

One of the bets deemed "off limits" by many of the leading Internet gambling outlets:  "Will Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner be ousted within the next 6 months?"

"One of the biggest problems that plagued the (online gambling) industry was blowhards appearing on all the morning talk shows and in the most read magazines taking potshots at the U.S. Government," said one industry operator, who wished not to be named.

This operator expressed concern to Gambling911.com that offering bets on a Geithner early exit would only provoke animosity towards the industry.

"We need to work with (Congressman) Barney Frank and Mr. Geithner to help get the UIGEA repealed."

The UIGEA or Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act has effectively made it "illegal" for the banking sector to knowingly allow transactions for the purpose of betting on the Web.  However, the regulations do not distinguish between the so-called "legal" Internet wagers (state lotteries and horse racing) and the "illegal" (online poker). 

Congressman Frank has argued that the banks are not equipped to make such a determination. 

Internet gambling, a multi billion a year industry and growing, is being viewed by some in Washington as a significant and untaxed industry that can help aid the U.S. declining economy.

"I think if we do this right we should make online gaming legal and subject it to a reasonable taxation like anything else," Frank told Gambling911.com.  "This does not conflict to our effort to stimulate the economy.  This isn't bad for the economy."

Price Waterhouse Cooper has estimated the industry to be valued at $38 billion. 

"Much of that money is from sports betting, the rest from online poker and casinos," Joe Brennan, Jr., founder of The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association told Gambling911.com.  His trade organization is also trying to have the UIGEA overthrown on the basis that it is "Unconstitutional".

RJ Bell, president of the handicapping information Web site Pregame.com, estimates that more than $12 billion will be wagered on the 64 games of the NCAA tournament, for which only 1 percent of that total is going to be bet offline in places such as Las Vegas.

"We (the industry) is looking to work closely with the Treasury Department in finding ways the U.S. Government can embrace this activity," said Payton O'Brien of Gambling911.com

Still, while much of the industry wishes to be in good favor with the U.S. Treasury Secretary, whether it's Timothy Geithner or someone else, that hasn't stopped a few online gambling ventures from offering bets on his early exit.

On Intrade, an Irish-based betting firm that takes bets from U.S. citizens, users are betting on a futures contract that pays out if Mr. Geithner is out of his job by June 30. Right now, the futures contract shows a low probability of that happening - it's currently at 15 percent, or $1.50.

Most of the anger being lodged towards Geithner involves recent revelations that AIG executives received massive multi-million dollar bonuses last week with U.S. taxpayers money.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher 

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