It’s been exactly three months since April 15, or “Black Friday”, when the U.S. government began its war on poker by shutting off U.S. access to the three biggest internet poker world’s sites and networks: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and CEREUS (UB.com and Absolute Poker).
Just a few weeks later, DoylesRoom, betED, TruePoker, and a handful of other sites were shut off to Americans, too. Now, many poker sites that weren’t originally targeted, like the Merge Network and the Cake Network, have voluntarily left the U.S., with only a few sites remaining that accept U.S. poker players (Bodog and Carbon Poker chief among them).
Barack Obama: Poker hypocrite?
Blogging for Forbes, Daniel Freedman calls out President Obama, an avowed poker player, for the hypocrisy of this action
“In the Chicago Senate he played in a regular poker game with Republicans and Democrats every Wednesday evening (they started at 7:00pm and often went to 2:00 am),” Freedman explains. “And during the 2008 campaign he listed being ‘a pretty good poker player’ as a ‘hidden talent.’”
“Now, if U.S. citizens want to enjoy an American game (poker was developed in the Wild West) on the Internet (also developed in the U.S.) they can only do it in foreign countries.”
More lawmakers getting on board
Many other lawmakers are now starting to say the same thing: It’s not only hypocritical to restrict Americans’ access to online poker, but it’s costing us a ton of money, too.
U.S. Representative Jared Polis recently spoke out in favor of regulating online gambling, writing editorial for the Wall Street Journal that’s been widely repeated.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement currently spends millions of dollars trying to shut down and prosecute Internet gaming sites, but they remain a casual click away for any interested gambler,” Polis writes. “Legalizing and regulating online gaming, as Reps. John Campbell (R., Calif.) and Jim McDermott (D., Wash.) have proposed, would generate $42 billion in additional revenue over the next decade.”
Republican Presidential candidate Gary Johnson is even saying directly to voters that he’ll legalize online poker if he’s elected. Johnson is such a longshot, though, that some suspect he may just be saying what young voters want to hear (he’s also pledging to legalize marijuana).
And Joe Barton’s online poker bill is getting more support, too. Three new co-sponsors have added their names to the bill: Per EGR, Democrats Jim Moran, Rob Andrews, and the previously mentioned Jared Polis are now on board, bringing the total number of co-sponsors for the bill to 14.
For the moment, though, Obama’s federal government continues to take an ultra hard-line against all forms of online gambling. Check out this story about the FBI completely cleaning out a suspected internet gambling parlor in Virginia, where federal agents “carried out dozens of computers, cash money and safes, and detained customers, who were handcuffed and photographed.”