For those of you who don’t know, Gov. Scott tweeted 6 days ago that he would like to maintain the “internet gaming” ban in Florida, and would furthermore support re-instituting the national band that so many poker players have tried to break.
As a poker player, and a tech-savvy one at that, this rubs me in the most wrong of ways. As such, I have forged this letter.
It is with the utmost respect I write to you, but please understand that as a registered voter, I must make my thoughts known to you regarding your tweet on the internet gaming ban.
Maintaining any sort of ban, whether it be statewide or nationwide, on “internet gaming” (and particularly online poker) is ludicrous and antiquated.
I know all the excuses, and I don’t mind diffusing them one by one.
“But what if children were able to access it?”
– That responsibility should fall on the parent or guardian of the child, as well as the institution offering online gaming. If a pornography site can get away with a simple pop up asking Yes or No to the “Over 18″ (or 21, depending) question, why are you sanctioning so much harder about simple online gaming? I’m sure that pop up has deterred every would-be underage smut viewer from proceeding.
“But the money will go overseas!”
– It might, but it wouldn’t if you allowed more virtual casinos to be based in the US aside from the brick-and-motars. And furthermore, so what? I can by French Champagne, Swedish Furniture, and Chinese Ginseng online if I so choose. As a consumer, I should not have the government telling me how and where I can spend my money. Of course I would RATHER buy American, but when you limit my options I sometimes have no choice.
“But what if someone has an addiction to it?”
– What about shoppers and hoarders… Should we outlaw Amazon and eBay? Again, what about the countless pornographic sites out there; I’d bet there are a lot more porno addicts than gaming addicts. I mean, are you going to prevent the morbidly obese from ordering pizza on the internet next?
Here’s the bottom line: it’s an online world now. I can buy groceries on a website and have them delivered. I can redecorate my house from my computer. I can watch movies and view live concerts from the comfort of my own home. It is unfair that as a poker player, my favorite pastime is deemed “illegal” when it comes to enjoying it on the internet. If you’re going to force me to go to casinos to play poker, you should have to pay my for my gas. And I should be allowed to not wear pants.
Furthermore, I still maintain that poker is not gambling; it is a game of skill. It is the only casino game where there is no house player, and thus no house advantage. Sure, casinos and sites both take a rake of the pots, but that is to be expected as the players are taking advantage of their resources, space, or bandwidth. It’s a business. But at that table, it’s a chess match. It is you, reason your opponent, anticipating their next move, running the odds through your head. It is so much more than crossing your fingers for that ball to land on 24 Black, or picking the fastest horse. It is a challenge; a skill that can be learned. For a good poker player, it has nothing to do with luck.
In conclusion, just because you don’t understand something, or don’t have the infrastructure in place to support it, does not mean you should ban it outright, making those who enjoy it feel like criminals. I simply get more enjoyment out of $100 Poker Tournament than a $100 pair of shoes. That is no crime.
I implore you to take the proper steps… Repeal current legislative bans. Encourage US-based poker websites. Create safeguards to protect both children and potential addicts. Let our government get their piece of this very large pie.
We players are loyal. We are not criminals or addicts. We are your doctor, your landscaper, and your neighbor. We have rights, and we have voices.
A. Scott Murrell