I don’t write too much about online poker, simply because I’ve been too busy to write about much of anything these days, between work, school, and the rest of the banalities of life. However, it’s hard to ignore the subject on the day that the U.S. government essentially shut it all down. Charged with fraud and money laundering, three major online poker sites have effectively been shuttered, as far as U.S. players go.
Online poker in the U.S. has had a pretty absurd history, even before today, start in 2006 when the ban was inserted into a piece of completely unrelated legislation. To argue that those that play poker online are either criminals or victims is pretty ridiculous: players wager their own money using their own free will on a game of skill. Of all the issues facing the U.S. today, online poker seems to be rather unimportant. Especially considering that the purveyors of online poker are practically begging to be regulated and taxed, in order to gain legitimacy. Not that online poker sites had much trouble getting U.S. players before today.
Of course, gambling addiction is a serious issue, and more needs to be done to keep kids from accessing gambling sites. These are exactly the kinds of issues that could be addressed if online poker were regulated by the government, with tax revenue that could partially go towards gambling treatment. Today’s actions, however, will no more eradicate online poker than making marijuana illegal has ended drug addiction. With everything going on in the world today, it seems hard to argue that the guy playing a few five buck online poker tourneys a month is such a scourge that it requires the immediate and full attention from the government.
I’ll end with a comment about this action found on Reddit: “Aren’t the CEOs of Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, and Fannie Mae still walking around free?”
PokerApril 15, 2011