Politics will keep online poker off 2012 agenda

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Oct 11, 2011 Posted in Op-Ed | No Comments »

There are two things I follow pretty seriously, poker (of course) and politics. As an amateur political buff, I find it shocking that so many advocacy groups are coming out of the woodwork calling for online poker legislation. The reason this is such a head-scratcher to me is two-fold:

1. 2012 in an election year and fighting gambling is sacrosanct to the Republican base

2. Timing! With the Full Tilt poker saga still unfolding the timing couldn’t be worse for online poker legislation

Now, I’ve been fairly critical of the approach taken by groups like the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) who continue to push the absurd argument of “skill vs. luck”. The argument isn’t absurd because it’s wrong, it’s absurd because the opposition has no interest in mathematical data (seriously, they think Dinosaurs and Men coexisted, numbers mean NOTHING to these people) and say things like, “not even the best poker player can predict what card is coming next”! Yes, this was actually said by Chad Hills –Focus on the Family mouthpiece and resident gambling expert.

So, even in a good year I have a hard time seeing online poker legislation passing in the US, in an election year, where the Republican Party will have to play to its base it’s a near impossibility. Whether they brush off their opposition/antipathy towards any online poker legislation by pointing at Full Tilt Poker or by simply deflecting the question with “We need to focus on bigger issues like JOBS” is moot since they simply can’t be seen as pro-gambling during an election year, especially with the President on the ballot.

What this means is that online poker in the US will likely be waiting until 2013 at the earliest before a bill moves through Congress –something could happen at the state level before this but thus far states seem to be half-assing any online poker legislation, basically looking at online poker as a cash-grab for their depleted coffers.

If a bill passes in 2013 that means we are likely looking at 2015 before USA poker sites are once again up-and-running in the US. So, if you have been relying on online poker for your income may I suggest looking into PocketFives.com’s relocation program, there seem to be plenty of beautiful spots in Vancouver, Costa Rica, and even Malta.

I’m hopeful that I’m wrong about this, and that Congress will see the benefit in reemploying thousands of professional online poker players, not to mention the 10,000 or so high-tech jobs and $42 billion in revenue over 10 years that have been projected by independent groups.

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