Let’s help the economy…and play poker!

March 8, 2009

Every once in a while, the prospect of legalizing something illegal – or mostly illegal in many parts of the country – pops up with big numbers accompanying the initiative to illustrate how much money the government could raise if it would just “be cool.” Recently, we saw this in California with the legalization of marijuana, and how the regulating of it by the state could bring in huge sums of money to help them out of their incredible financial crisis.

Well now, a new analysis found our country could rake in about $52 billion by 2019 if online gambling were regulated, as has ben proposed in new federal legislation. “A missed opportunity,” it’s being declared.

As if politicians weren’t hypocritical enough when the stock market is heading straight down the tubes. But aside from the fact that these same politicians would probably condemn the practice of gambling in its entirety if the circumstances were different, and we were back in an election year, the current point they make is valid.

In fact, the analysis also showed that despite numerous attempts to prohibit gambling online across the country, the numbers have only increased and will continue to increase. That’ll team ‘em to try and cut out our fun!

Seriously, though, the online gambling ban is a failure. It was doomed to fail from the beginning. It was like trying to put a cap on Internet porn, or mp3 torrent downloading People who want to do these things or see these things will continue to do it regardless of the law if they know there’s an incredibly slim chance of them getting caught.

And I for one say make the change. I can understand not wanting to legalize gambling, including poker rooms, in actual cities or states. Down here in Florida, there are “arcades” where you can essential gamble (poker, slots, etc…) and win gift cards to stores. The windows are covered in black, you see plumes of smoke coming out of the places…they just emit shadiness. Having casinos will undoubtedly draw certain people to them, and probably draw businesses that cater to similar clientele. I’m trying hard not to stereotype here, but it’s a fact. Less than desirables find their ways to casinos.

But Internet gambling? What’s the harm? People do it all the time in home poker games. There are major U.S. cities dedicated to taking your money through gambling. Why not just let people do whatever they want within the four walls of their own home? Who does that hurt?

Nobody, except probably religious fundamentalists, and hard-line conservative politicians…who are catering to religious fundamentalists.

I love poker, and from time to time I definitely get the urge to jump online and hit up a Texas Hold ‘em tournament, just to see how I’ll do. Sometimes I’ll head on over to a free site and play just to hone my skills…and I HATE playing for free in live games. I never do it. But playing online is different.

There’s something about playing online for free that doesn’t seem like I’m wasting my time.  It feels like I’m bettering my technical skills, even if I’m shielded more or less from reading people by a pane of glass and who know how many miles of distance.  And, it can be just plain fun.  I’ll be honest, even when playing against artificial intelligence, I’ll pump my fist and cheer when I take a huge all-in the same as if there were stakes on the table.

And if my love for playing poker can help lift us out of our horrible recession….let’s do it. I’ll bring my own stimulus to the table and check raise all night!