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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Drawing the Line

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An article carried on PokerNews referenced the State of Indiana wanting to institute a program addressing youth gambling. Even though Indiana is my home state, they do some dumb things at times but this is far from their most egregious act. You'd have thought Indiana was implementing a return to the Inquisition.

Over the last year we were regaled in the media with the Preacher's kid [1]. The short version is that he was this brilliant lad with a great future that was captured by the evils of on-line gambling. He then proved his brilliance by botching a bank robbery and then blaming everybody but himself. And Daddy joined the P.R. Campaign.

If there was a program that could provide 100% success, what would be the impact on on-line rooms? They would probably have to go to the third or fourth further decimal in their annual report. Instead, they should print up some nice brochures about problem gambling and join with the state in looking like a responsible entity for a chump change printing bill. They could also point out to the state that disallowing credit cards makes their verification process doubly difficult. And, they could have a nice P.R. type show going around to the local media hyping their cause in the name of saving our youth. I might not believe the P.R. person any more than that new-age health reporter with her cure of the week; but it beats the heck out of other poker coverage they're likely to get.

At best, problem gambling programs at any level in the gambling industry are strictly P.R. It is a lip service program with no impact on the bottom line. Smart casinos have supported ineffective programs for eons. Why isn't the on-line business learning from such pros? Drawing the line would entail supporting poker in the online platform and having lobbyist continually work with the playing public, in the form of surveys and polls, and promoting safe gaming habits. The end result comes to parents drawing the line and realizing they need to be more aware of what their children are doing online and in other environments and take an active stance in working with their children instead of placing blame in other areas.

PokerWorks and other poker news sites have made an impassioned plea for us to support poker's campaign with the Senate. And that is a great idea. But, grass-roots lobbying alone isn't the answer. Telling politicians they are wrong is a fool's errand. The way to make them back down is to get some favorable press. The Dot-Nets have advertising money clout and need to use it. The industry needs spokespersons that can get on the 6 o'clock news to show they aren't money laundering crooks and more. Then, the polls will back down. Until then the government has a free shot with no downside. The logic of our cause means nothing without exposure to people with no idea of what it is all about, which then makes politicians start considering the downside of their actions.

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[1] If your memory is as bad as mine: this was Gregory Hogan, Jr. He was a student at Lehigh University who robbed a bank to pay online gambling debts. If his poker plans were as weak as his bank robbing ones, he was destined for failure. He actually went into the bank with two fraternity brothers waiting for him to make a normal bank transaction in their own SUV. He has been sentenced to ten-years by Judge William H. Platt. And Gregory Hogan, Jr. considers it a bad beat-missing the fact that we often put bad beats on ourselves from our hand selection. And he played the hammer (7-2 off suit) when a bank robbing he did go. His only link with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was a propensity to jump off the cliff. More detail of ‘bank robbing gone bad' are here. Remember, stealing is legal at the poker table, not at the local bank.

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