Sometimes a problem is not a problem when looked at a different point of view. Let me explain. If I saw a lightning bolt hit a tree did the tree make the choice to get in the way of a natural phenomena or did the tree have the right to exist in its environment without being struck by lightening?
Both arguments can be made all though the facts remain the same, that the tree was struck by lightening. The same arguments can be applied to the legalising of online poker which I was writing about yesterday.
So I may have been wrong to assume that I am right in the respect of online poker being an activity no worst than listening to punk rock music or playing Farmville on Facebook. Both can be addictive to certain susceptible people but on the whole both can be harmless pass time with no really troubling effect on the wider society.
However, if you look how Indonesia approach the youngsters who listen to punk rock music or how Zynga’s profit is bolstered by the activities of people playing Farmville, clearly show that a lot of people do take these activities seriously and are preparing to crack skulls or invest serious money to make sure the future is the way, those who are interested in the outcome, desire.
Therefore here are the points that should be considered when deciding what to do with online poker.
1. Online poker accounts are difficult to manage. There are loads of stories of children using their parents credit card to open online accounts to play poker or bet on casino games. By making online poker legal in the US could lead to problems with bogus accounts created by children.
2. Online poker will lead to more people gambling and will eventually lead to lots of people becoming problem gamblers. This is a strong argument but it was once said that prohibiting alcohol would lead to a better society and look where that got the US? Prohibition of anything leads to criminal activity and needs to be justified on many fronts. Restricting grown adults from playing online poker is an option but is it a worth while option?
3. If online poker is legal it would need to be regulated. Who would do the regulation? If it is the government then it could be seen as ‘socialist’ and the US has large elements of the population that see anything run by the government as inherently evil.
If it is regulated by a body that is private or a collection of state legislators and others, who would make the decision to populate the body that does the regulation? Also, would regulation lead to restriction of trade?
Regulation will also need financing. Who will collect the money to provide the finances to police online poker?
Due to international agreements online poker maybe available to providers who are not US based. Therefore there could be problems over ownership and governance. As anyone can set up a poker site that cost pennies it could lead to all sorts of individuals looking for a way to make some quick bucks, but who maybe less than appropriate as a taker of cash.
4. Tax revenue will be generated by online poker. Is it right for the government both State and Federal to profit from the losses of other? Since profits are determined by the losses made by other is it not in the government interest to make sure there are a load of losers.
5. Online poker could create problems for live venue’s, in the sense that you do not have to travel miles for a game of poker.
So overall, online poker may have some things going for it. It also has a lot of things against it such as ease of access, governance and regulation. If all those points could be made safe then it maybe OK to legalise. If it cannot then keeping online poker illegal maybe the best option.