Why online poker legislation has been doomed in the US

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Aug 26, 2011 Posted in Online Poker News, Op-Ed | 1 Comment »

As I sit down to write this article it’s now over four months since Black Friday first ripped away my ability to play online poker, and in all honesty, except for a few thousand serious online poker players nothing has really changed for the 99.99% of the US population who see the inability to play online poker somewhere between a good thing and a minor nuisance.

This is why online poker legislation has always been doomed in this country; the arguments that were being put forth, while completely logical to serious poker players, were so backwards to the vast majority of the population that they were dismissed entirely. Seriously, 99.99% of the population doesn’t care if poker is luck or skill, or precisely the amount of skill involved in the game.

But now that online poker is banned, and many US players have seen their online accounts frozen in limbo –with little to no chance of being returned– we are actually getting into the crux of the argument, and into talking points that even non-poker players can understand:

* Why is the government saying it’s ok to gamble virtually anywhere in the United States but not online?

* Why is the government passing up the tax revenue and job creation benefits of legalizing online poker in the US?

* Why is the government not regulating this industry; insuring the safety of the players who do participate in these games?

Now that online poker is effectively banned in the US, opponents of the game have moved on to their next social issue, and the vocal minority now resides on the other side of the debate! Before Black Friday the loudest voices were coming from the people who wanted online poker banned outright, with their cherry-picked and fabricated talking points.

We can now point to the difference between a PokerStars and a Full Tilt Poker as a means of saying this is what you get with a reputable, regulated, company like PokerStars, compared to what can occur in an unregulated market –Full Tilt Poker. We can point out the number of jobs and tax revenue that has been lost overseas; we can question the hypocrisy of allowing state lotteries and casinos across the US, but not allow online gaming; now that Black Friday has shown us that online poker is simply not a big deal to most people, we can choose the arguments that make sense to these people, and simply discard the luck vs. skill debate in poker for theoretical debates.

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One Response to “Why online poker legislation has been doomed in the US”

  1. Tino says:

    The question of jobs could easily be a condition of licenced/regulated online gambling in the USA. No jobs for US citizens, no licence to offer online poker. The revenue each room make from such a huge market would easily offset paying wages with benefits.

    A legal marketplace would slowly expand bringing in even more revenue to the game, which would provide a decent amount of taxable revenue.

    The argument of regulation would take too long is just complete and utter garbage. There are already a lot of rules and regulations in place for land based casinos and a few tweaks and some cannibalisation would make it quite an easy task. Maybe from federal to state level could get somewhat complicated, I don’t know enough about the US legal system to fully understand the implications of that.

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