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From the Comedy Genius Who Brought You the Knee Slapper, Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

2 October 2010 by Devon Chappell

“Hey Everybody! I’ve got an idea… I know how we’re hard-core in-debt and all, So I was thinking… instead of  legalizing, regulating, and taxing the billions of dollars circulating in the online gambling and online poker markets, and  then using that influx of dough to breathe life back into our economy and public school systems…. How about we SPEND millions of dollars to track every tiny cross-border electronic money transfer and drown ourselves in yet another bean-counting mire of futility!! Whatya say!? Are you with me?!”

These extremely paraphrased sentiments are loosely, though pointedly, expressing the vision behind the Treasury Department’s proposal to require banks to track and report all electronic money transfers to and from the U.S., and no longer just the $10,000 and higher amounts that is presently required. They also want the social security numbers of those making the transfers as well.

This proposal is slated to root out monies heading overseas to organized crime rings and terrorist organizations. The sad truth of it all is; that the more the U.S. denies the growing financial presence that online gambling and internet poker represents, and does not regulate the industry, the more that organized crime can get a foot-hold in the market. It’s a catch22 that leaves American online poker players, a community growing in thousands by the day, in the lurch and vulnerable to unethical practices from unregulated online casinos – not to mention vulnerable to being criminalized for participating in such a time-honored and friendly tradition as that of enjoying some hands of poker.

The Treasury Department doesn’t seem to have an issue with a bunch of guys hanging out in a smokey basement, eating pretzels, and playing Texas Hold’em for some extra spending money. Nor do they have issue with those same guys going into a regulated land based casino and taking advantage of the free drinks.

So, perhaps this is a case of bureaucracy being severely behind the times and not being aware of the Web 2.0 shift that has taken place with the U.S. population, and the entire world at that. Hello – Facebook? Hello – Twitter? People are inclined to meet friends and socialize online more then ever. And so now, those guys in the basement are now wanting to also meet up online, play a couple hands and have a good “old-fashioned” time. And as for their wives? Well, many of them are upstairs getting social with one another while playing bingo online.

Also, the increased frequency of people from other countries and cultures meeting and fostering substantial online friendships is also being completely underestimated by “the powers that be”. The people of the world playing online poker together is surely an activity every self-respecting diplomat can get behind.

OK, so maybe I’m pushing the envelope a bit with my “Online poker can save the world” routine. But ignoring the vastness in the reach of online gambling and online poker, and spending 33 million dollars on trying to criminalize the “guys in the basement”, certainly isn’t going to save the world from organized crime or strengthen our already wounded economy.

One Response to “From the Comedy Genius Who Brought You the Knee Slapper, Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act”

  1. […] last possible chance for the Frank and the Democrats to try to release us all from the clutches of UIGEA, not to mention generating some much needed revenue from online […]