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Online Poker Legalization Bill Coming Next Week

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the expected-to-pass-the-full-house dept.

Crime 168

GovTechGuy writes "Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) could introduce his bill to legalize online poker as soon as next week. The bill would legalize the game in all 50 states, but sites could only be set up in states where gambling is already legal, so they can be licensed through existing gaming commissions. States could choose to opt-out of the law and ban online poker by referendum or a vote of the state legislature. The bill would also create a federal regulatory body to oversee the game."

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168 comments

You lie!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487530)

I'm going to bet my life savings to call your bluff.

I can't believe it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487532)

Must... resist... urge to agree... with... Republican!

Re:I can't believe it... (-1, Flamebait)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487546)

This bill would not be necessary if Republicans had not banned it in 2006.

So...better late than never to the logic train.

Re:I can't believe it... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487634)

This bill would not be necessary if Republicans had not banned it in 2006.

So...better late than never to the logic train.

194 Democrats in the house voted for it, and 1 voted against. In the senate, the only Democrat who did not vote for it was Akaka, from Hawaii, who did not cast a vote.

But, I know, it's easier to blame Republicans than actually do any research.

Re:I can't believe it... (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487666)

That is one heck of a "But, Clinton". Just because the idiots from the other side of the isle voted for it does not change he stupidity of banning it in the first place.

Re:I can't believe it... (2)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488856)

It certainly changes the stupidity of blaming either party for it as if the other wouldn't have also done it.

Re:I can't believe it... (1)

Shark (78448) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488482)

The bill would also create a federal regulatory body to oversee the game.

Basically, they just wanted to put their greedy little hands in the business. Unregulated business does not benefit the government and its insatiable need to grow. On this basic principle (and look at the voting record for this specific example) the republicrats and demoblicans entirely agree.

It's exactly the same principle as the mafia's protection racket only they get to write the laws, so they do it legally.

Re:I can't believe it... (2)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488866)

You know, I'm ok with the government regulating gambling. I like knowing the dice are only as loaded as the house admits (i.e. by the design of the game, rather than by fraud).

Re:I can't believe it... (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487594)

Fear not. I'm sure they will tack on a last-minute amendment outlawing food banks, or some such.

Re:I can't believe it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487638)

That makes sense. [youtube.com]

Re:I can't believe it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488518)

The rickroll trolls, still better than the goatse trolls

gambling should be lllegal in every state. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487622)

For population control purposes.

Re:gambling should be lllegal in every state. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487682)

How does gambling impact the size of the population?

I am generally for harm reduction, and as such believe that gambling, prostitution and most drugs should be legal, well regulated and discouraged.

Re:gambling should be lllegal in every state. (1)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488080)

What do you mean by "well regulated and discouraged"? I don't quite see the strict division between illegal and regulated. I would suppose the way most people now get, say, opiates (in a black market) would still be illegal if opiates are merely "well regulated and discouraged". I'm supposing the way you're imagining these things being capable of being legally bought would be in the case of them being bought from licensed proprietors. Either it would cost so much from these sellers that people would still get it on the black market and therefore it would still be illegal for them, or it would cost so little that the discouragement against buying opiates would be less than if there were no licensed proprietors.

If you legalised opiates in such a way as to thereby make it sufficiently cheap, I would certainly buy it whenever I am in pain. They work very nicely. But because they are illegal for me to buy them without a prescription, they cost a lot of money for me to secure them, so I don't. Making these things illegal in various ways is the way that they are discouraged, it seems to me.

Re:gambling should be lllegal in every state. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488394)

You don't think that smoking is legal, regulated, and discouraged? It can be done.

Re:gambling should be lllegal in every state. (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488888)

Opiates are legal, well regulated and discouraged. Ever heard of morphine, vicodin, oxycontin, and codeine? Certain SPECIFIC opiates are illegal, but as a class opiates are "well regulated and discouraged." The fact that specific opiates (heroin being the prime case as it has minimal upsides relative to other opiates and a whole shit ton of downsides) are illegal doesn't change that designation.

Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487534)

It makes sense. If you can play offline poker in a state, then I see no reason why online poker should be any different. Not to mention, maybe now a lot of the stuff can go from underground to legal, thus enabling the government to take a cut (not that I generally like seeing the government get a cut, but I'd rather them than some illegal casino because at least then the money has a chance of going to something potentially good like NASA).

Re:Makes sense (1)

katyngate (1800438) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487668)

So, the money illegal casinos get is all going to be spent on terrorism, child porn and drugs?

Re:Makes sense (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488176)

Why drag out those when organized crime has such a rich range of its own nefarious activities? Drugs yes, but also guns... bribes... kickbacks... actually when you think about it, the major difference is that when it's taxed, a small portion of it goes to programmes instead of just the politicians.

Re:Makes sense (3, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487672)

It makes sense. If you can play offline poker in a state, then I see no reason why online poker should be any different.

I guess the difference is who gets the taxation revenues. The politicians in State A hate to think of their citizens gambling in an online casino that funds State B.

Taking all bets (2)

athe!st (1782368) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487540)

What are the odds of this passing?

Re:Taking all bets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487784)

Exactly

x = money(pro-gambling businesses) / money(contra-gambling businesses)

It's what's left of your "democracy". Enjoy it.

P.S.: Biggest proof ever, that life-forms ultimately only work for themselves. Even when they help someone else to reach that goal.
P.P.S: ...aaand you're still gonna ignore it. Which will be nice for me, when I get to abuse you and you'll still yell "DEMOCRACY!!" </barney stintson>

Re:Taking all bets (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488072)

We're going to ignore it because it oversimplifies things. Its not just about money, its about getting reelected, and getting reelected is only partly related to money.

The beast is HUNGRY!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487548)

The bill would also create a federal regulatory body to oversee the game.

The beast is hungry for more power!

Re:The beast is HUNGRY!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487828)

The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother! I call him Gamblor, and it's time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!

Gambling... (-1, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487556)

This is a cleverly concealed tax for people who are bad at math.

Re:Gambling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487604)

Well they are going to play anyway... Might as well tax it.

Or as my uncle once told me 'dont cut uncle sam out of his cut'

Re:Gambling... (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487678)

I have no problem with taxes on morons. It adds an evolutionary pressure for the population to get smarter.

Re:Gambling... (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487696)

Only if people with a higher tax burden are less likely to successfully reproduce, which I find implausible.

Re:Gambling... (1)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487820)

Statistics show this to be the opposite. People with lower income (and thus having a lower tax burden) tend to reproduce more than those more well off. Moreover, people with a lower income are more likely to gamble away what little they have (high rollers are a minority). Online poker has lower buy-ins than brick and mortar card rooms, making it even more likely that lower income populations will play. I am a firm believer in personal responsibility, so I don't believe that online poker should be banned for this reason; however, it should be regulated to prevent money from funneling to unsavory endeavors (terrorism, human trafficking, etc.)

Re:Gambling... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487932)

Oddly enough, lower income people are also very religious, which tends to tell people to "keep the baby" and use "natural berth control" methods. They also advocate for large families
They are also generally republican and tend to believe in the American dream.
So see... it is our culture not the individuals state of well being that causes people to gamble.

Re:Gambling... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487756)

I don't think you need to be a rocket scientist to know that gambling sites take in more money than they give out. While of course people wouldn't mind getting rich, I think it's a fundamental misunderstanding that so many do it for the outcome. Many, if not most people are hooked on the gambling itself, seeing the lights spin, the excitement of the dealer flipping the cards, your heart racing as you wonder if they'll call your bluff or not.

One of my former colleagues is a pretty serious snowboarder, knows a lot of people that went on to do it professionally and many of them play poker for quite serious amounts of money - even the ones that are just breaking even or less. Why? Because of the adrenaline rush, it's exactly the same people that need to do a 720 double backflip to get their kicks. The only time I've done anything similar is when I bought my apartment, thousands of dollars flying in bidding rounds. Honestly I'm not made to throw that kind of money around, but I can see the rush as my heart was pounding.

Re:Gambling... (1)

Lexx Greatrex (1160847) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487772)

This is a cleverly concealed tax for people who are bad at math.

According to the Feds [forbes.com] , online gambling is the crème de la crème of money laundering methods. Does this law mean that the US government is prepared to tolerate money laundering so long as they get a cut?

Re:Gambling... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487938)

You're looking at it backwards. The reason so many gambling sites are used for money laundering is because it's illegal. The old meme of "When X is outlawed, only outlaws will do X" applies here.

You had a big example of that, during the prohibition.

Re:Gambling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488148)

You didn't even read the Forbes article, did you?

The poker sites weren't being used for money laundering, they're committing the money laundering in order to get payments to and from their players processed.

Re:Gambling... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488400)

I admit I hadn't; I had read about something similar some time ago and assume it was the same.

But that only reinforces my point: they're only laundering money "to avoid restrictions," meaning, because it's illegal.

Re:Gambling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36489298)

If they did what is alledged it's because the law is strange. It made it illegal to transfer money to poker sites but not illegal to play or to withdraw money. If they did launder money it was to get money on the sites to do something that was legal for them to do. It's kinda messed up.

Re:Gambling... (1)

Lexx Greatrex (1160847) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488942)

You're looking at it backwards. The reason so many gambling sites are used for money laundering is because it's illegal. The old meme of "When X is outlawed, only outlaws will do X" applies here.

You had a big example of that, during the prohibition.

Your argument is preposterous... by the same logic the failure to enforce prohibition is justification to decriminalise hard drugs or other abuse-related activities. Just because criminals commit murder does not mean we should legalise it.

Re:Gambling... (0)

ElizabethGreene (1185405) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487894)

Poker is not gambling. It's a game of skill as much as golf, bowling, or any other individual sport. Why this is not obvious to everyone I do not understand.

Re:Gambling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487998)

Poker is not gambling. It's a game of skill as much as golf, bowling, or any other individual sport. Why this is not obvious to everyone I do not understand.

That must be quite a "skill" you've got there to know what card is coming next from the shuffled deck. Either that, or your ass is cheating...

Re:Gambling... (3, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488146)

Poker is not gambling. It's a game of skill as much as golf, bowling, or any other individual sport. Why this is not obvious to everyone I do not understand.

If you do not understand, then you may not be in the best position to explain to those who believe it is, at least predominantly, a game of chance.

Is there skill involved? Of course. You need to be able to weigh your odds on a non-emotional level. But that goes along with learning what a straight is and whether or not it beats a full house. That's not particularly 'skill'. The skill element comes from gaming your co-players. Reading their tells, faking your own, bluffing, etc. However, your actions therein may influence the game - then again, it may not. Thus: chance.

The point at which things become rather difficult is when proponents of "poker isn't gambling" point to the professional poker players who, when pitted against a random bunch of other poker players, tend to win far more often than a random selection would dictate. Thus their skill at influencing the game outweighs the chances.
But this is only against such a random selection of other poker players and only when they're human. Pitted against a computer, their results suddenly fall well within a bell curve of chance.

Compare this to golf and bowling, which you cited, where you are far more in direct control of how the game is played. Yes, a sudden gust of wind can throw the ball off course (in golf, perhaps in bowling if it's the hurricane season) - but the course you're presented with is known beforehand. It's not a randomly dealt course, and you don't have to read the other player's 'tells', you can see exactly where his ball went.
( Surprisingly, you didn't mention chess; also considered a sport, and also not uncontroversially so. But almost universally considered a game of skill rather than chance. )

So is it skill, or is it chance?
I'd say it's a little of both, with chance being predominant in the game's actual elements, and skill being predominant in its (human) players.

This presents a bit of a problem as the laws currently are sort of black-and-white. It's either a game of chance or a game of skill with nothing in between. So when a bunch of experts from both sides of the fence speak up during the latest debate on this and once again decide that it's more chance than skill, by however narrow a margin, the law says it's a game of chance and all regulations thus apply.

But those same regulations can't exactly be bent to a situation where it would be declared that poker is 55% chance and 45% skill and thus 55% of the regulations apply.

To much chagrin of both poker site operators as those looking to welcome 'taxing' the games played.

In the end, though, a highly skilled poker player can still lose against somebody who never played before and sat down just for kicks. A well-trained marathon runner, however, is not going to lose against a couch potato short of an external influence.

That's why it's not obvious to everyone that poker is not a game of chance, and thus it's not obvious to everyone that playing poker with an ante is not gambling.

Re:Gambling... (1)

Feltope (927486) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488576)

Poker is a game of skill.

Being able to read another players tells etc are skills as well.(good) Businessmen, salesmen, doctors, anyone in customer service have well developed skills in reading other people.

I disagree with the computer thing. A novice player (we would call them a level 1 thinker) would get crushed by a computer I am sure. The computer can be programmed with high knowledge of probabilities etc. and thus always make the right mathematical choice. Against a seasoned player those mathematically right choices will get confused by bluffs, stop-n-goes, pitches, stealing. etc. because they are hard to factor in and as the computer model adapts and updates its internal probabilities and begins to catch the pro the pro can simply switch gears and continue to crush the computer (rinse and repeat). It is not hard to destroy a mathematical poker model.

When they start lumping in crap like blackjack into the equation is when things get really screwy. Blackjack is not poker. (I don't know that they have said otherwise)

The PPA has been trying to get legislation passed for years (since it was banned) for this. All of use that play poker professionally, or semi-professionally have been screaming for protection for this. Legalize it and regulate it so we can play in piece. I don't have a problem paying my taxes and do so. Most players I know don't really give it a second thought they have to pay taxes and they know it. It is the weekend warrior donkey that might not be paying his taxes.

Although it is true that any player no matter their skill level can sit down and win a bunch of money from the best player in the world it won't happen consistently. Almost all of us keep databases of our hands (online play) some are massive. I average ~3000 hands a day last year. That is obviously just over 1 mil. hands. I know exactly what my win rate is and I also know that I "swing" sometimes I have cold times and sometimes I have hot times. It happens. That does not change the fact that the game is a game of skill not luck. Mathematically models don't usually concern themselves with 10, 100, 1000, or even 10000 hands. A decent mathematical model of a player is a min. of about 20k hands. (this is a disputed figure many people feel differently about this) personally I would say 100k hands at any given buy-in level is a good measure of your abilities at that level. Also by that time your numbers will be your numbers and you don't have to worry about calculating your standard deviation etc.

Poker is a game of memory, math (statistics and probabilities), and social skills like reading people. It has not now nor will it ever be and I can't wait for them to turn it back on full power so I can get back to augmenting my income with it.

A Note about them shutting down PokerStars and FullTilt:
PokerStars did the right thing and had all the money in other accounts so the player's money was safe. When the government came knocking they were able to say this is our player's money accounts let us give them their money.

FullTilt did not. They screwed the pooch big time. (after telling us all that the money was separate a while back).

Sorry I rambled on so much.

Re:Gambling... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488664)

There is a BIG difference between online poker (as it stands today) and offline poker.

With online poker you dont get ANY of the normal signals (body language etc) that good players use to tell what the other player might be thinking, what their hand might be etc. I did hear though that some sites are looking into using webcam technology to both provide this (i.e. people who are being filmed and shown to other players would give away clues) and to allow verification that a real human being is playing and not a computer.

That said, I DO support this bill and want to see online poker legalized. And I see no reason FullTilt or PokerStars couldn't set up shop in a gambling-friendly locale if that's what it takes to become legal under the new law. (or promise big bucks to a state that's not openly hostile to gambling but doesn't have an established gambling industry to challenge the "upstarts")

Re:Gambling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488704)

Sure an amateur could win at poker against pros over a short sample size. Amateur golf players can also beat professionals at single holes and even rounds, but over the course of the weekend or throughout a year, the pro is going to excel. The same is true in poker. You can argue that poker is higher variance, but you can't argue that it isn't predominantly skill.

Re:Gambling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488938)

In the end, though, a highly skilled poker player can still lose against somebody who never played before and sat down just for kicks. A well-trained marathon runner, however, is not going to lose against a couch potato short of an external influence.

That's why it's not obvious to everyone that poker is not a game of chance, and thus it's not obvious to everyone that playing poker with an ante is not gambling.

when this novice wins, what are you referring to? one hand? your marathon runner can trip, fall and lose one leg of that race.

if you pit a pro/expert against a novice poker player, the novice will lose in time. period. Look up how Andy Beal did (which I'd hardly consider a novice)

Re:Gambling... (1)

afnofear (1839744) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488956)

You could not be more wrong. You speak of reading tells and bluffing as if they do not represent skill. In a game of chess or similar skill based wargame, or all forms of football with which I am familiar, a key to defense is reading the play is it unfolds. For the attacking side, the ability to mask the intentions of the play furthers the likelihood of a try, goal, or touchdown. The same is true of poker. To this end, you did not mention the ability to understand bets. This goes beyond reading tells. When one places a bet, one creates a control zone. The bet indicates to the table a strength. A player must decipher the legitimacy of the bet, against the size of the pot, the players remaining in the hand, the strength - or potential - of your hand, and the amount of chips each player has. Similarly, the defensive structure of a football side - or defensive positioning of pieces in a wargame - exists not just to protect, but to discourage play from entering an area. As such a control zone is created. Dissuaded from attacking a certain area, the play must shift to another avenue. An avenue the defending side prefers. This is reflected in poker by a bet dissuading - or encouraging through false weakness - a call or raise. There are a great number of people who have made a terrific living by playing poker. In addition, some students play poker to finance their life while studying. You might argue that they are the statistically fortunate. I disagree, they are has skillz. I has skillz. These tremendous abilities allow those who own to win. Luck, fortune, chance, all play their part - as they do in sport, with the changing of a strong wind playing a HUGE part in football. However, the ability to factor in the various winds of fate is a part of any sport. The good tactician, halfback, quaterback, no. 10, or poker player similarly must accommodate and understand this concept if they are to succeed.

Re:Gambling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488970)

You are arguing that when you reduce the game of poker to a game of chance by using a computer then it is a game of chance. It is a game of skill, your ending argument about a marathon runner, how about applying that to a game of chess, a smart novice could defeat a veteran master on their very first game, yet you considered that a game of skill. Your argument is all over the place and you admit it fails in reality against human players.

Golf could be deconstructed the same way where random variables such as wind, orientation of the grass, random imperfections in the ball and clubs dominate over the skill of the player thus making it a game of chance more akin to roulette than poker. Yet this is not so in reality, just like in reality poker is a game of skill.

Re:Gambling... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36489014)

"Is there skill involved? Of course."

Yep, you need computer skilled friends, so that you can share an Online Poker table and show each other your hands to drain the other suckers at the table.

Re:Gambling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488212)

In real life maybe but online? The whole social side of bluffing and such is totally lost online. You might as well hook up a bot to play the odds.

Re:Gambling... (1)

rnswebx (473058) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488238)

To say that poker is pure skill is simply untrue. A perfect example that comes to mind is Chris Moneymaker winning the 2003 WSOP? You can honestly say, straight faced, that he was the best poker player in that tournament? I didn't think so.

Perhaps you should watch some more poker on TV, or head down to your local card room more often; poker is not all skill. All it takes is a little luck on one or two hands and the tides turn. In that moment when you shoved all in with AK suited, and you get a ridiculous call with 4-3 off, the skill it took to get you to that point is thrown out the window when the flop comes 443.

Re:Gambling... (1)

Feltope (927486) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488460)

In that moment when you shoved all in with AK suited, and you get a ridiculous call with 4-3 off, the skill it took to get you to that point is thrown out the window when the flop comes 443.

People run hot and cold sometimes that is true. (Moneymaker ran hot as a nova during the WSOP)

The above quote is a very bad example of why people think poker is luck.

AKs vs. 43o is only a 65% favorite. That is all. Not much is it.

Your a bunch of math guys around here. Here are the numbers. (whips open poker stove)

    21,423,686 games 19.485 secs 1,099,496 games/sec

Board:
Dead:

        equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 65.843% 65.56% 00.28% 14045162 60932.00 { AKs }
Hand 1: 34.157% 33.87% 00.28% 7256660 60932.00 { 43o }

leave usa if your that good at math (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488066)

Surely a little math would proove you would have made more $$ and have a better free life outside usa.

Gambling should be illegal in all states. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487602)

There is no reasonable reason why it's illegal in any state. Puritan rules are utterly stupid. Along with dumbass blue laws.

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (2, Interesting)

johncandale (1430587) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487654)

You know crime rates go through the roof around casinos right? http://www.uga.edu/news/newsbureau/releases/1999releases/gambling.html [uga.edu] Also I think your title was meant to be "should be legal"

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (5, Funny)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487684)

"go through the roof" = +8%. You sir have very low roofs.

Also, there may be some bias: there usually is quite heavy security around the casinos, which leads to more crimes being detected and reported (and prosecuted), for the same amount of crimes committed.

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487706)

Add in the cameras and off duty cops used for that security and I bet it covers all or most of that 8%.

Lots of unreported crime when no one is watching.

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (1)

johncandale (1430587) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488154)

Now who is being biased? Source that shows increased crime rate is from increased police presence or you are just blowing smoke. Also 8% is a huge crime increase for a neighborhood

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487692)

So then crime rates will shoot up around free wifi if we make internet poker legal?

An 8% increase is not crime rates going through the roof. Considering the link to the paper is dead, this seems like rather poor evidence all around.

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (1)

vaporland (713337) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488964)

So then crime rates will shoot up around free wifi if we make internet poker legal?

The big crime increase will come from all the noobs being scammed by the folks who play dirty by rigging or hacking [google.com] online poker systems.

When I was in high school (1976) I wrote a poker program that cheated. I used to challenge the stupid rednecks who hated my geekiness to play the computer for real money. My program would let them win for a little while, and then take them to the cleaners.

It was pretty amusing, so I never ever play video poker or other electronic games of chance for real money.

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (0)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487736)

It's fun to blame things on Puritans, something like a teenager hating on his parents for not letting him go to the party. Gambling is also illegal in many nations with no Puritans and largely different histories though, including most Asian nations (say, Thailand, China, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia...which is more than half the world's population I've just listed, none because of the evil effect of Puritans)

Gambling demonstratively can be a compulsion that ruins individual lives for a great number of people. Of course that's a "reason" to make it illegal, whether or not you do agree with laws against gambling.

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (4, Insightful)

todrules (882424) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488472)

So can drinking and sex... Oh, wait, I see where you going with this now. You want those to be outlawed, too.

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488698)

Cars ruins and destroys lives for a great number of people. Should we outlaw the use of cars?
What you do with your free time and your own money is up to you, you are in control and no one should have the right to tell you otherwise. So please stfu.

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36489102)

Most of those countries listed are either totalitarian states or fundamentalist Islamic ones.

Just to make things clear they are following the same model as Puritans, so you are basically disproving your own position by citing them.

Re:Gambling should be illegal in all states. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487794)

Puritan rules are utterly stupid.

I read this as "People should be able to defecate/have sex (possibly with animals)/etc in public.

Hey, you said Puritan rules are stupid!

Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd") is a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications logically to an absurd consequence.

Now, if you hadn't used a universal modifier, I wouldn't be able to do this. I hope this teaches you to always use words like "most" or "some" in a vast majority of situations.

create a federal regulatory body (2)

johncandale (1430587) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487626)

No No No. Why need to a create a federal regulatory body? For interstate taxing? That is why you are forcing it to be run in a state with a gaming commission. everything else is ok. But get back to me when this is actually close to passing.

Re:create a federal regulatory body (0)

MicroRoller (1923300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487770)

Online poker needs to reach a wide audience, Intrastate poker would suck. The great thing about the international poker sites was you could jump on any time of the day and have over 100k people playing.

There are a ton of different games and different stakes. The more people that are playing, the better chance the games you want to play will be running at the stakes you play.

The whole UIGEA thing was a bad idea. They should have just worked out a way that the big sites could operate legally in the US and receive deposits and find a way to charge them for it. The big sites would have been happy to pay.

Just one more regulatory body, please! (1)

paulo.casanova (2222146) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487650)

The bill would also create a federal regulatory body to oversee the game

Ahhh... well, I'm pretty sure there are not enough regulatory bodies out there already... I wonder, has anyone actually counted the number of federal regulatory bodies / organizations / commissions / etc... and how many people work there? And how much it costs? Do we need 128 bit arithmetic for that?

Oh, and, BTW, how many of those have usefulness different than zero?

online??? yeah, about that bridge your're selling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487660)

unless the random function is a separate signed binary from some regulatory authority that absolutely guarantees it is authentic and not tampered with, no one in their right mind should go near it.

  Actually I'd prefer some sort of ticket system like kerberos that also proves that not only was the signed random function used to generate the hand, that that randomness produced the current "transaction" ( card ) and was not distrubed "in transit" from the random function to your "hand"
and the audit of that should also be signed and sent to a 3rd party.

The entire audit of all players should be public after the game with all signatures provided so they can be validated by the user and by the governing authority.

But of COURSE none of that will be in the bill.

Re:online??? yeah, about that bridge your're selli (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487728)

This is not regulation we need. That is something players can get by spending their dollars at an establishment that does that. If anything strong labeling regulation is needed, so players can determine what sort of system they are playing against. More information helps markets be more efficient. Which is why so many big companies are against labeling laws more than regulation they can easily corrupt.

Re:online??? yeah, about that bridge your're selli (1)

MicroRoller (1923300) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487872)

There really isn't an incentive for the sites to rig the games but there is an incentive for them to have fair games. That's why sites have their RNG's independently audited.

Unlike other casino games, in poker you're playing against other players, not against the house. The house makes money buy taking a small portion of the pot or tournament buy-in.

Nothing... but the obvious [Re:online??? yeah...] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488014)

There really isn't an incentive for the sites to rig the games ...

that is, no incentive other than the trivially obvious one, of making huge piles of money the easy way, by cheating their customers. But we all know that a business wouldn't cheat their customers, even if it's easy. Businesses always think of the long term, always, without exception. Of course they do.

(Or was that original statement intended to be sarcastic, and I missed it? in that case, whoosh!)

Re:Nothing... but the obvious [Re:online??? yeah.. (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488190)

As the parent post saidp though, the RNG wouldn't be tampered with - They might tamper with the bids(showing a lower pot than was actually created, keeping the difference), but tampering the RNG wouldn't help unless you had shills playing(which *also* might be possible).

Re:Nothing... but the obvious [Re:online??? yeah.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488378)

When you buy an ipod or order a tv from Amazon do you expect that sometimes you'll open the box and find it full of rocks instead?

Re:Nothing... but the obvious [Re:online??? yeah.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36489012)

Online poker is legal here in BC,Canada and there has never been a push to make it illegal, offshore or otherwise AFAIK.

http://www.bclc.com/cm/eCasino/landing.htm (This is the BC Lottery Commission's website, eg the regulator.)
"British Columbians currently spend an estimated $87 million each year gambling on approximately 2000 available unregulated offshore internet gambling websites. PlayNow.com will offer online players the option to play casino-style games such as blackjack, roulette, and poker on a secure and regulated website while helping to keep online gaming revenues in British Columbia."

Also one of the channels on Shaw cable frequently shoes the pokerstars.net live tournaments (or maybe it was some other site, but it was live) so it's not like there is any real move against it.

Personally though, I'm someone who easily gets stuck in gambling-addict mode, so I won't go near these sites, even the free-to-play/no-real-money one.

I do see one large loophole, and this problem exists in every form of online gaming (including MMO's and Xbox Live), in that multiple states/countries require being regulated by their own states, thus building virtual fences and making it impossible for players from anywhere around the world from playing in the same instance together. Let's say Nevada,USA and BC,Canada make the same requirements of having to be registered in with their respective regulators, this means that players in their countries can't play together.

So the proposed laws might not go far enough, they would need to have a third party "OK'd regulators" in foreign countries as well. NGCB and BCLC could designate each other as "OK'd" and thus allow players in their regulated areas to play on each others turf. Not on the list, then expect your monies to be seized.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if it was the banks or credit card companies that pushed for the original ban since online forms of gambling are a source of fraud, particularly money laundering.

Big casinos (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487674)

Las Vegas et al were the ones who lobbied hard to ban online gambling because it competed with their profits. Now that they see how much money could be made from such gambling arenas, they're lobbying hard to re-legalize it but in such a way that ensures that they're the only game in town.

It's the U.S.'s pro govt imposed monopolist mentality all over again.

Re:Big casinos (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487710)

Except the moved it away from Aruba, ignored the WTO, and now want to legalize it INSIDE the US. I mean why let those dirty foreigners have access to gambling money. Better that dirty Americans have it.

I feel like scatching my ass (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487768)

Is that OK? Has anyone legalised it yet? It's really important that I know if Senator John Johnson III has passed a bill saying that it's no longer illegal for me to scratch my ass.

Re:I feel like scatching my ass (5, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487810)

The next sound you hear will be the Ass Police pounding on your back door.

Re:I feel like scatching my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488120)

I really wish your would have included a "pun not intended" with that.

Re:I feel like scatching my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488740)

HAH!

Casino funded bill. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36487802)

This will likely pass because it cuts out the existing poker sites by requiring the limitation to states allowing gambling. In other words, the idiots who didn't come up with this are given time to build their "legal" options and the upstart innovators are basically blocked.

This bill seems like a NOP (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487804)

This law makes it legal everywhere... except where state legislatures or voters vote to make it illegal. So all of the states that already ban it will vote to ban it (or maybe they'll just argue that having already banned it they have already made the vote and don't need another), and all of those that allow it will continue to allow it. Net effect, zero.

I don't really care about on-line gambling one way or another, but it seems silly to waste time and effort on a law that will ultimately change nothing. I suspect that the Representative's intent was to legalize it everywhere, period, using the fact that federal law overrides state laws, but had to insert the opt-out provision as a compromise to mollify opponents, but the net effect is to make the bill pointless.

Re:This bill seems like a NOP (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488426)

This bill is about online poker, not gambling.

Gambling is when you play games of chance. Poker is a game of skill.

Re:This bill seems like a NOP (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488696)

If it shifts the decision to the states, it's already a good thing, even if the states decide to maintain the status quo for now. People have different preferences everywhere, and eventually this may well lead to decriminalizing this in some more liberal states. If Bible Belt wants to stick to it, I don't see a problem with that, either.

Why not just legalize and walk away? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36487836)

Why do we need YET ANOTHER big government agency to regulate something that has been completely self-regulated, and successfully so, up until now?

Oh that's right. The big government wants its rake, too.

Re:Why not just legalize and walk away? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488636)

Self regulated? Yeah right... Every state that has legalized gambling has a state level agency regulating it (for example: NGC [wikipedia.org] and there are a lot of regulations.

So we are going to create bigger government (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488286)

What he wants to do is create a new taxing agency and have everyone in the world who wishes to cater to follow the arbitrary rules of that new agency. SInce there does not appear to be any direct income to the federal government, I assume he expect the tax payers to fund this new and innovative level of government.

Furthermore he expects all these firms who may ot conduct any business int he US, US citizens have to call them, are going to have to pay protection money to the organized crime syndicates that control the varied states in which gambling is legal. This would be like a US company having to pay the Russian mob before a Russian citizen can order a widget from the US company. What would happen is if a Russian party did receive goods form the US, they would pay a tarrif on when it entered the country. This is what should happen, use the rules we have. I can tell you that many cities in texas have a number of thinly veiled gambling houses and the laws are not being enforced.

I think that US citizens should be able to link foreign sites an gamble as they please. If the money or good are drawn from foreign sources and brought into the US, that is legal. If the good are US domestic that may be a problem. If the web sites are registered local then that might also be a problem as the US government can and will take it. The taking does not necessarily limit the ability to gamble.

Also, in case you don't know, the skill thing is a nod to the many irrational christians in texas. They are experts in situational ethics so that, for instance, preventing a the termination of fetus at 4 weeks requires huge amounts of taxpayer funding, but not taxpayer funding is required to prevent the baby from dying at 1 year. Gambling is bad, but if he can fool enough people into thinking that poker is skills it won't hurt their brains, even though most gambling houses will kick you out if you really use skill.

Re:So we are going to create bigger government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488538)

What are you talking about? You've never played online poker, have you. The poker site takes a small percentage of each pot - the poker site couldn't care less if players are skillful or not. The same applies to brick and mortar casinos that host poker games.

Loophole fail. (1)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 2 years ago | (#36488448)

Once it's legal and regulated at the federal level like he's proposing, the states have no power over it unless they want to face multitudes of costly federal court battles over attempts to regulate interstate commerce.

I worked for a Casino vendor (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488594)

The online and offline gaming scene is highly corrupt. In countries where it *is* legal, certification agencies have no clue what they're doing. Getting certified is more a matter of money and politics than whether or not you cheat players (which most companies do!).

Online gambling is nearly impossible to regulate. It's way too easy to cheat people without getting caught which is why I believe it should remain illegal.

Another Step Towards Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488738)

I thought.. great! Somebody that understands the way the internet works. (If you make it illegal, people will do it illegally, similar to the war on drugs.) The part about per state regulation was the cherry. Then the last part of the summary made me run for my tin-foil hat! Any government oversight beyond promoting security and assigning names/numbers is a foot in the door towards INTERNET CENSORSHIP in the USA. Like the kind of crap they pull in the East...

BitCoins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36488990)

These sites need to accept bitcoins for transactions

I can't stand brick and mortar casinos (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#36489276)

I'm a good poker player. Online I've increased my initial buyin by over 100000% until they shut em down with no luckboxing a MTT. Live poker has downfalls I don't like. You cannot mute a racist hatemonger at a poker table, and you can't walk away from the table if it is a tournament. Live does not let you play for low buyins if you're not psyched up for medium play. Live rarely has tournaments and sit and gos. Live has a bigger rake than online. There's a lot of reasons why I like online vs casinos. I'll still play live, yes, with friends for fun. But if I'm at a table of people who aren't my friends, it just isn't fun.
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