BLOG – Land of the Free? Washington state bans online poker

BLOG – Land of the Free? Washington state bans online poker

Monday, 15 November 2010

It’s easy to become dismissive of the bleak horizon for the US with regards to online poker. The UIGEA seems to have done not a whole heap of anything to the poker economy with Full Tilt and PokerStars thriving and a record-breaking 2010 WSOP. Don’t get too relaxed about the whole thing though – bad stuff is happening.

The state of Washington recently made it a felony to play online poker – the first of the fifty to do so – and this meant that PokerStars was forced to cease operations there. Now Full Tilt Poker has followed suit (pun intended I guess) and we can expect to see every other US-friendly site move out of Washington too.

I’m starting to sound a bit American myself here, admittedly; harping on about democracy and freedom and all that jazz but I watched Team America: World Police the other day and I’m feeling satirical.

Seriously, though – is it not ironic that on a weekend where we’re meant to respect those who died for our freedom, the supposed ‘Land of the Free’ (I wish I could make those quotation marks bigger and somehow more sarcastic on your screens) thinks that if a US citizen wants to spend $200 playing the Sunday Million that they should be fined and jailed.
Jesus Christ, America. Come on.

Chairman of the Poker Players’ Alliance and former US senator Alfonse D’Amato said: “We are extremely disappointed in the... ruling, given the clear evidence that... legislature never sought to regulate Internet poker as it does brick-and-mortar card rooms and Internet horse racing, but instead simply banned online poker and... criminalized the players.”
Let’s take a hypothetical situation – say poker is not a game of skill. It is, instead, like blackjack or Frustration: pure luck, out-and-out-gambling degeneracy, as the US Government thinks it is. Even if this were the case, why should it be illegal?

Because people can lose money on it? Well... yeah. Stuff costs money; especially any sort of leisure or entertainment. A $100 deposit can last even a recreational player a week or two and he’ll get hours of enjoyment. It’s like seeing a movie or taking your family to dinner. Things cost money, it’s how the world works.

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