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Internet Poker Players Can Thank Republicans

28 December 2010 by admin

You would never think to hear a phrase like that. Online poker players actually thanking Republicans, the bane of their online poker existence. But that is the general feeling of online poker players towards Republicans for not allowing Senator Harry Reid’s online poker regulation bill to pass in the recent lame duck session.

With Reid’s online poker bill not passing, online poker professionals will not have to worry about being out of work for a minimum of fifteen years, which was one of the stipulations in Reid’s bill. According to his bill, all online poker playing would have to stop for at least fifteen months while lawmakers toddled around creating the framework for regulation.

But really the feeling is not surprising. Yes, a lot of naïve online poker enthusiasts and online gambling enthusiasts in general were ready to throw a ticker tape parade for Reid, but any online poker worth his or her chips saw that Reid was only using his so-called online poker bill as a gesture. And it was a gesture towards those in the Nevada gaming industry who backed him in the recent mid-term elections, because without them Reid was likely not to be re-elected. And he was only narrowly re-elected.

Reid was never in favor of an online gambling regulation, be it online poker, online blackjack or any other form of online gambling. He did not make a sudden turn around or have a change of heart towards poker. And he certainly was not secretly creating the future of online poker regulation while outwardly decrying such a form of entertainment. The man just does not like online gambling—his bill was a way of trying to pay back those in the Nevada.

Another reason online poker professionals have to rejoice in Reid’s bill not passing is that they can still play on their favored sites, such as PokerStars and Full Tilt. Granted this is unregulated and unprotected play, but it is still playing. Had Reid’s bill passed, online poker players would not only have had to cease playing for at least fifteen months, but such favored sites would have been left out of Reid’s regulation. According to his bill, online casino businesses that had had a brick and mortar operation for at least five years would have been able to apply for licensing. Such a stipulation means that well-known and well-established online poker sites would not be allowed to apply for a license in the US, thus cutting players off from sites they have played on for years. All in favor of the Nevada gaming industry who would all but have a monopoly on the online poker market, a market they do not have experience in operating in.

Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz sums up the potential fist hold Nevada would have best: “Imagine that a playoff system was finally put in place in college football, but Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, Ohio State and Texas were unable to play in the playoffs. That is what it would be like to create online poker legislation the excluded current sites accepting US players.”

And it is not that online poker players in the US do not want their favorite online game to be unregulated. An online poker professional who only refers to himself as Doug said, “I want the laws changed regarding online poker, but I do not want to lose my income for a long period of time. If they are going to change the laws, they need to do it the right way, and ensure that the companies that have been servicing us Americans continue to do so.”

This is how many professional online poker players feel. This is why they were not in favor of Reid’s bill passing. They saw it for what it was—a way for Reid to pay back his backers for scratching his back in the mid-term election. Yes, Reid’s bill would have been better than nothing, but it was not the answer that online poker pros were looking for or really needed. Reid was looking for a quick fix to pay back his backers. And in honesty, I do not believe the man really wanted his own online poker regulation bill to pass anyway. After all word of his bill was released early; and that early release is probably what gave anti-online gambling lawmakers time to squash Reid’s bill—which I believe he intended to happen anyway.

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