Poker Can Help the Economy

I got a note today from the Poker Player’s Alliance (of which I am a member), urging me to support legalization of online poker on Change.gov, the website that Obama’s administration is using to take the pulse of the American public on issues relating to government.

Okay, before anyone jumps on me for having my priorities out of whack, yes, I do think there are much higher priorities than legalizing online poker, namely ending the war in Iraq, closing Guantanamo Bay, fixing a drastically broken health care system, and bolstering an economy that’s currently flying without a net. However, legalizing and regulating online poker could conceivably have a positive effect on the economy.

Here’s what I had to say in the topic contents at Change.gov:

As an accomplished poker player himself, I hope that President Obama recognizes that online poker is more a game of skill than a game of luck, and that legalizing and regulating online poker is just one more way that people can infuse money into the flagging economy. Millions of Americans play online poker already, and the money that could be made from taxing those online games is a staggering amount.

As I write this on a Wednesday afternoon, just one of the online poker sites is hosting nearly 175,000 people on over 42,000 virtual tables. Imagine if those 42,000 tables were hosted by an American company and taxed at $1 (for round numbers), along with any other tables that are generated on that site each day. Then consider that numerous American companies would be in this business space and the number of Americans playing online poker would easily increase with the repeal of the UIGEA, and it’s easy to see how regulation and taxation of online poker could generate millions of dollars *per day* to benefit the economy.

Or, we could keep the current system, continue to force banks to reject transactions that they could be making money on, continue to stigmatize skillful online poker players while honoring much more random Internet gambling systems, and continue to encourage an offshore shadow industry with no oversight.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

What do you think?

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PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker

It’s that time of year again. I’m registering for the WBCoOP, assuming the Powers That Be approve this entry. I entered 2007 and 2005, as well, but didn’t do so well either time. This year has been better for me in the world of play money tournaments; the highlight was one of the giant freerolls that PokerStars hosts, the Hubble No-Limit Tournament. Out of 12,000 people I took 5th place. Yow! Here’s a paste from the results e-mail (emphasis mine.)

PokerStars Tournament #95460789, No Limit Hold’em
Freeroll Super Satellite
12000 players
Target Tournament #95435810
99 tickets to the target tournament

Tournament started – 2008/07/17 – 22:32:00 (ET)
Tournament finished – 2008/07/18 – 01:43:32 (ET)
1: SirKenin (Unmouse me heathen), (qualified for the target tournament)
2: edabbott (orlando ), (qualified for the target tournament)
3: aleman 72 (berisso), (qualified for the target tournament)
4: mariellexx (cornwall), (qualified for the target tournament)
5: Lytspeed (Federal Heights), (qualified for the target tournament)

I’m hopeful that the incoming Democratic presidential administration and Congress will repeal or at least revise the stupid law (link goes to PDF file) hindering online poker that were passed in October of 2006. I hear that Obama is a pretty good poker player himself. Here’s hoping the Poker Players Alliance, of which I am a member, will gain some traction in the next few years.

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PokerStars Blogger Championship

It’s time once again for the PokerStars.com Blogger Championship, and though I haven’t said much about poker recently, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on my mind.

I’m still livid about the legislation banning U.S. funds transfers to online poker sites that was passed at about this time last year, but I’m pleased that the Poker Player’s Alliance continues to lobby for changes to the laws, and that former Senator Alfonse D’Amato stepped up to the plate to chair the Alliance.

I will probably not even place in the Blogger Championship, but I will play anyway, and I will have fun doing it. I hope to see you there.

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