Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Insert Head in Sand

I have to admit that I've been surprised by the general reaction so far in the media and what-not to the Goodlatte bill that the House is voting on today. It's one of those issues that I'm obviously close to, perhaps too close, as it's close to unfathomable to me that such legislation would ever pass. Aside from glaring, blatant carve outs for things like lotteries and horse racing and fantasy sports, the whole enforcement side of things is left pretty hazy and undefined, as far as who would exactly be responsible for protecting the children and ensuring that the evils of gambling are held at bay. (Except, you know, for the love of Jebus keep buying lotto tickets and propping up state governments everywhere.)

The surprising part (for me at least) is that I forget that most people consider poker to be the same as playing craps or blackjack or slots. The average non-poker-playing monkey sees absolutely no difference between those pursuits. So I keep expecting to see the media tear the proposed legislation apart for the farce that it is, yet all we get are more and more soundbites such as:

"There are no needle marks. There's no alcohol on the breath. You just click the mouse and lose your house," - John Kindt, business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The sad (and scary) thing is that he's apparently not in the crazed minority on the issue. You'd think that people would be rational and logical, weigh the pros and cons of either banning Internet gambling or taxing and regulating it, and come to some sort of decision. But it's looking more and more like people would prefer to just jerk their knees, waggle their finger and demand that Satan get thee hence, and be done with worrying about the nasty evils of "gambling". And a shit ton of people actually feel that way.

Even if it passes in the House (which isn't guaranteed), it'll be much more difficult to ram some version of it through in the Senate. And the longer it drags out the more likely that some of the more conservative, anti-gambling elements of Congress get rotated out, as all signs point to a general dissatisfaction with the job performances of the current bosses. So I can't say that I'm actually that worried about a ban on Internet gambling being passed anytime in the near future.

Just surprised.


C.L. Russo said...

Rep. Leach was on C-SPAN this morning talking about the bill. I didn't get to hear too much of it, but you might be able to hear/see it sometime later today or on the weekend, as they tend to re-run things quite a bit.

Drizztdj said...

You'd think they would do some kind of study/benchmarking of how problem gamblers are losing their money or why poker is less of a gamble then their beloved lottery.

ZeRat11 said...

Part of the problem is that poker is generally considered gambling and gambling is generally considered evil. Even if many of the more conservative anti-gambling politicians lose their seat, their replacements, regardless of their personal opinions on gambling, are going to have a hard time saying no to any anti-gambling legislation. Their enemies would instantly turn them into "pro-gambling" advocates who are out to destroy our American way of life and aren’t morally fit to be in government. Until poker players get a significant lobbing force we’re going to see more of these types of bills.

kurokitty said...

Yeah, this one is tricky. But there are efforts being made. Howard Lederer told the bloggers group Saturday at Caesar's that he and some others have already talked to Leach and others and he felt their efforts may be changing the minds of how some senators view poker. He said they soon will be making a second push at Capitol Hill. He suggested that players contact their representatives, anything helps.

C.L. Russo said...

Well, unless he talked to Leach after nine am this morning, I think Howard's got a long way to go to convince Mr. Leach.

He tied online poker with terrorist money laundering. If this argument builds up steam the bill is as good as passed.

I can't believe that politicians can say that poker is more of a risk/threat to problem gamblers than state lotteries with a straight face. Then again, hypocrisy is so freaking endemic these days.