BLOG – A Response to Senator Spencer Bachus

BLOG – A Response to Senator Spencer Bachus

Friday, 30 July 2010

Spencer Bachus, steadfast in his opposition to online poker during the meeting regarding Barney Frank’s HR 2267 bill to reform the US online poker system, said: “I don’t want to keep pressing the issue” to which Frank replied “I put it to you that you do.”

To quote Andrew Feldman of ESPN Poker: “I never considered getting into politics... until watching the last two days.” HR 2267 passed with a vote of almost 2-1 and while it is nowhere near the final table (Obama’s desk in the Oval Office), the bill has now cashed with an above-average stack.

One thing bothered me about the debate in the House Financial Services Committee over the past two days, and that thing is Spencer Bachus. The 62-year-old Alabama representative took a stance against online poker that bordered on prejudice but fortunately his dated and overly conservative views were largely ignored. Despite Frank’s wit, quoted in my opening paragraph, I feel Bachus was not reprimanded enough – allow me, I do love weaving my words in a rebuttal or, as the kids say, a “diss”.

Bachus is opposed to gambling. Fine. It’s a stance many people have and if you are truly anti-gambling then I can see why poker would fall under your radar. I mean, it’s not like Bachus has ever gambled in a way similar to poker in his life... sorry, what’s that, Wikipedia?

“In 2007, Bachus made trades with a number of short term stock options, betting that stocks would rise or fall for a quick profit or loss. Bachus made up to $160,000, including a bet in March that the stock market would drop that earned him between $15,000 and $50,000.” (Read more about Bachus's stock market trading in these piecesTime Magazine and The Wall Street Journal.

Not only did he play the stock market, which is the “legitimate occupation” that is by far the most similar to poker but he made a side bet on it. He. Made. A. Prop. Bet. About. Gambling. He gambled on gambling. That’s meta-gambling!

Of course, he would argue that the stock market isn’t gambling because someone with superior skills and decision-making can show a long-term profit over inferior opponents. Actually, I know a card game similar to that... it’s called poker. But you can’t play poker online in the US, can you Bachus? No, if that was allowed then 14 and 15-year-old kids would be losing all their money online.

Two things, Spencer – what money do you think they have to lose? Also, if your teenage child is gambling online, don’t you think you should do something about it? I don’t know, act like a parent?

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