Upcoming Online Poker Hearing Hopes to Change Old Thinking
From the outside looking in, one might find it incredibly contradictory that the United States holds state-by-state lotteries, where a player’s odds of winning a jackpot are literally longer than one in a million, yet gambling that isn’t state-sponsored is pushed out into the desert or outright restricted over the Internet.
In fact, the view is just as skewed from the inside looking out, at least according to some US Congresspeople like Barney Frank, Ron Paul and other state representatives who claim allowing online gambling is in the government’s best interest.
The push for legalized online gambling was dealt an incredibly bad hand in 2006, when Congress outlawed online wagering with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. And then in 2011, the current Justice Department flashed back to prohibition-era tactics and indicted the heads of three of the biggest U.S.-friendly poker sites, charging bank fraud and money laundering.
Since the big crackdown last April, which is now called “Black Friday,” Americans’ gambling accounts have dropped from over 2 million to fewer than 500,000, and the numbers are expected to keep declining. Is there any hope on the horizon for citizens of the supposed freest nation on earth?
The only current news on the horizon is a hearing to be held on October 25, 2011, discussing the merits of online gambling. Of course, Congress’ handling of gambling legislation thus far has turned some true believers into cynics. Many expect more of the same, more likening online gambling to the end of the world while insisting, underhandedly, that America was founded on puritan principles and other odds and ends about “families and terrorism” – basically just more our-religion-doesn’t-allow-gambling-so-we-won’t-let-you-gamble hokum coming from those in charge.
Online US casinos are all but extinct now, and many of the world’s e-banking systems are too terrified to open up a back door for America’s gamblers.
Hopefully, the US House Subcommittee for Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will take a healthy step in the right direction and at least present an argument that differs slightly from the Salem Witch Trial logic used by many in Congress today.
House Resolution 2366 is a bill that’s making the rounds in the House of Representatives currently, focusing on online poker in the US and aiming to clean up previous legislation. HR 2366 is known as the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act.
In an economy where jobs are scarce and tax revenue is dwindling, states in America are actually increasing their lottery efforts. They’re offering more scratchers, more pick-3 and pick-7 drawings, more all-around games of chance offered to citizens in order to raise revenue. But not online gambling?
The upcoming hearing will discuss the inanity of the current anti-gambling laws and also push HR 2366 as a common-sense solution to not only legalize gambling but also regulate it, transforming online gambling into more of a state-sponsored effort like the lotteries over a hundred million citizens never win.
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is currently lobbying Washington for change, and this subcommittee hearing should be the first step in a long process. Only time will tell if change is truly on the way, but logic usually gets the better of politicians, even if it does take a long time.
Tags: Online Gambling , Poker , Lottery , Congress
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