It's Latin for Voice of the People. The Congress of the United States purports itself to be the same. Have you written to your Congressperson and Senators about the pending poker legislation? I have, and the response is typically a form letter response that beats around the bush attempting to ignore me in the politest way possible. Well, this time they fooled me. The congressperson and both Senators were going to support the legislation. The Congressman is a low-rent entity but the two Senators (Indiana) are influential individuals and one is supposed to have Presidential aspirations. They expressed their outrage that some youth might blow his college fund on poker. And felt that the correct thing was to protect America from this offshore devil. All three-Democrat and Republican-were ready to protect us all from demon poker just like they protected us from demon rum.
CNBC had a recent poll and found that 91% of the populace would be happy to see online poker regulated and not banned. Additionally, they found that if the government were to license such activity, the federal coffers would receive $3.3-Billion in revenue with the states getting an additional Billion. Although, that does little to encourage me as they always seem to find a way to blow the funds. The state lotteries were set up to fund improved education and that fell by the wayside.
The biggest lobby against the online poker issue is the Indian casinos-former Abramoff clients-who evidently want to scalp us without any competition. Now I am part Indian-sadly, not enough to get a cut on oil profits-and am amazed with the Indian tribes that have come out of the woodwork to come up with a bit of land for a reservation in demographically suitable locations. But, what the heck, we're entitled to a laugh too. The part they seem to miss is that it is a small component of the population that are 'serious' gamblers. Most of these establishments can't stay in business catering to the once a year player who comes to drop a small amount of money and visit the buffet. Vegas can but the casino in Green Bay, Wisconsin isn't much in the way of a destination resort beyond a few hundred miles. Online poker builds serious gamblers who frequently visit Foxwoods and other Indian sites for the sole purpose of throwing a nice chunk of rake to the tribe. I wonder what they'll win if they actually win...
Last week, I stopped for gas and visited their convenience mart for a coffee to go. The lady in the line ahead of me paid for her groceries with a state credit card for those getting assistance. She then proceeded to get 5-bucks worth of 'Quick Picks' from our lottery. We left the store and I watched her climb into a much nicer car than I drive. And, my Congress folks are worried about that college student blowing his own funds?
I also have a former tenant that is a gambler. Just recently he showed up on my doorstep to borrow gas money for the following week and if I could loan him a bit extra he wanted to stop at the OTB on his way home. He'd been to our local riverboat and blown his entire paycheck. In all the time I've known him he's never set at a poker table-real or online. There are people with gambling issues in all walks of life who will find a place to gamble with or without new legislation.
If they are interested in protecting us from ourselves, then do the job properly. Shut down the lotteries which pray on the low income more than any other group, and shut down the local casinos and off-track betting licenses that just pay lip service to the compulsive gambling issue. Then, they'll get my support in protecting our college youth from demon poker.
So, among the other types I've already mentioned you also have folks like me. I am retired and put $300 into online sites a number of years ago. I played at the lowest limits and have, over the years, shown a fair profit and put the $300 back in my bank account. I proceeded to kind of donate a good part of the rest to an online friend that came up with health and work issues; the bit that's left is scattered over several poker sites where I still play a bit of low rent poker - my choice on a way to use the bit of found money. I could easily have lost all that over the period and so what. It is cheaper by far than a cable TV bill and brought me far more enjoyment. I am not and have never been a serious gambler. I enjoy it as recreation and mental challenge. And, it has cost me nothing. And now, if I lived in Washington State, I'd be a felon. And, while the federal government isn't quite ready to stop my activity, they do want me to have to sneak around to play a bit of harmless poker. How silly does it get? Let us again treat the symptom and not the disease?
You need to write your representatives or you'll deserve the outcome!
And, please, use a little more effort than an obvious form letter.