Sunday, May 03, 2009

Don't Tread On My Pixels

In this article you can see that California is pushing things thru and using their heads that this online poker thing is going to be around whether they like it or not. Granted the online poker room would only be available to those within the Golden State, it’s a step towards government loosening the harsh outlooks on this “shady” card game.

Only, it’s not shady, there’s little to no societal backlash from someone overplaying Ace-King on the button . It is a game played by billions, some more serious than others. It is a game of skill as proven by several court cases and smart people with initials after their name up at a university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Whether the game is played over the internet, at a state-regulated card club, or at guy’s/girl’s night with a spread of food and sarcasm for the person that brought those nasty Wal-Mart cheese puffs again, the only need is regulation to assure a fair game.

The US Congress is trying to repel these online gambling laws after the current laws (UIGEA) would not have passed if it wasn’t attached to another piece of legislation.

Why must the State of the Minnesota use similar backhand approaches to please a few anti-gambling people. 1961 Wire Act? This is citing concrete law that would have no legal arguments that would tie up the courts with litigation, thus costing the state hundreds of thousands in legal fees? Please Mr. John Willems, director of Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, tell me during a time that our state’s budget runs deep in red numbers, and the nation’s economy looking for a boost, that you decide to dig up a law, twist the puzzle piece enough so it fits to your definition of the law.

If I understood one iota of journalism I’d love to ask interview questions like:

-Who or what spurred this action?
-Who benefits from the ban?
-Who was being hurt by online poker enough that a state agency decided to attempt to censor the internet?
-If Senator Barney is successful in overturning the UIGEA at the national level, what will the state’s response be?
-Why am I able to play the lottery, a gambling device that carries zero skill, but you worry about people applying their poker skills online?
-Did you research lawyer’s opinions on the subject before deciding to send letters to private companies asking for a ban on certain sites?

There are probably more probing questions laying out there for the Chris Matthews of the world to sit down across a leather backed chair sitting face-to-face, listen and respond to but since this fight for my right to play online poker hits close to home, I could not be subjective enough.

My hopes are that cooler, more logical heads prevail and people like Mr. Willems see that there are zero benefits to such a ban, but the consequences of public backlash will far outweigh whatever was sought to be beneficial for those who don't understand that people want the freedom to spend their earned money however they see fit.

Thanks to the PPA for their articles and links.

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