Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Natural Constituency For Libertarians

As many of you know, I enjoy playing poker. I also play online- only the free games. I really don't like the idea playing for cash online, because it's not the full game. If I'm going to play for cash, I want to be able to see real, live human beings in front of me, so that I can read them. It's a big component of the game.

But, if people want to play poker online for cash, they should have that right in America. It's your money. It's your life.

Online poker sites have sadly been located offshore, as they are banned from operation in the US. Imagine the tax revenue they could be bringing to our country! Now there is increased talk of extending the bans on online poker to include playing, not just operation, in the United States.

A new lobbying group, the Poker Players Alliance, has emerged to oppose any bans on online poker. There are some familiar faces leading the lobbying. From a Poker Players Alliance press release:
Three of the biggest names in poker-Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Greg Raymer-and Radley Balko of the Cato Institute joined Bolcerek on the panel, each explaining why efforts to ban online gambling are misguided.

"We are here today to speak about the growing threat to poker as it relates to the online game," said Bolcerek. "We are here to defend the game and express our opposition to Congress' efforts to kill the sport and restrict our civil liberties."

This is a natural constituency for the Libertarian Party to pick up nationally. The timing is good- Texas Hold 'Em is an enormous fad nationally.

At the same time, it is of interest to me is that the various state governments are very happy to have lottery gambling which they control. The state lotteries tend to take about 60-70% as their cut. They advertise on TV & radio encouraging people to play. I haven't heard any calls from Congress to the states to give up their lotteries. Internet gambling sites, on the other hand, take about 10% as their cut. If nothing else, the state lotteries are guilty of a sort of price gouging.

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