Published on August 15th, 2011 | by Mark Smith
American Gambling & Politics
What is happening to American politics and politicians? It is a known historical fact that nations always rise and fall, and now more than ever is there mounting evidence of the decline of the American empire. Losing the prized triple A credit rating for the country previously synonym with the risk free rate, is not small misfortune. As American politicians do not seem to be able to agree on anything, including the budget, freedom of speech and online poker among many topics, it is unfortunately the wrong time to lack political unison in this hour of global crisis.
Online Gambling Inquisition
Take the example of online poker, what is the benefit for the country when the Government establishes an Inquisition against online gambling operators? Like the Prohibition before, attempting to ban such web games from the people’s place of abode is a ridiculous effort to restrict freedom, an effort which can only fail. Maybe it is time for the French to take back the Statue of Liberty, as her symbolism is currently lost to the inhabitants of New York and the United States of America.
As a reminder of the recent events in this regard, the FBI and DOJ initiated operation Black Friday on April 15th 2011, shutting down and persecuting the major US online poker rooms. Three months later the dust has not settled and only a handful of smaller poker rooms are still able to offer real money online poker games to American residents. Apart from other number one online poker rooms, Pokerstars has managed to survive outside the US quite well. Other major brand names like Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker are on the verge of bankruptcy with no online presence left at this time. As a consequence, European rooms are benefiting from this exodus of players.
An American Game
How humiliating it is to witness regulated online gaming markets such as France or Italy, where millions of gamers can freely play online poker whenever they choose. After all, poker was invented in the United States, starting in New Orleans and then spreading west with the Mississippi steam boats. Poker is truly an American game, and online poker to is an American game as the USA was by far the biggest market for online poker and one of the first countries to popularize the game on the Web.
It seems that Congress is not able to make major decisions nowadays and this is why they have not made a significant improvement in gambling laws in the past decade. The last substantial law is the UIGEA passed in 2006 and this is the law that enforcement agencies have used to prosecute some of these offshore gambling operators. But not only does this law not address the question of online gambling legality directly, in addition it was voted through a tricky political maneuver. Hence UIGEA is neither pertinent nor credible. Congress knows that all too well and this is why they have since debated a new online gambling law, without fruition yet. Let’s just hope that they get their act together sooner than later.