Frist, Kyl, Goodlatte, Leach and other supporters of the poker prohibition act either failed to consider or chose to ignore the fact that passage of the act would affect more than poker players and poker sites.
There is an enormous industry built around poker's popularity right now, including magazines, television programming, and video games. Contrary to the laughable claim by the World Poker Tour that they are solely to thank for the boom
, it is undeniable that online
poker has driven the market.
People watch WPT or WSOP or Poker Superstars or any one of the other poker shows on television, get fired up, and race to their computers to pull or snap off a huge bluff. Those same people, who are hundreds of miles from a B&M casino spend lots of money on books and magazines to improve their game, which they play exclusively online. Maybe they buy video games for their kids so the kids can also play poker, without risking any real money. Now that those people can't play online, the industry they help support will suffer and most likely die.
Companies will stop buying ads, and will no longer spread money around the magazines and television shows that, for the last few years, has cascaded into employment for film crews, printers, editors, writers, and too many other jobs to list.
Bill Frist and his allies have, with one cynical, blatant, base-pandering move, hurt the livelihood of thousands of people -- perhaps more. Too many poker bloggers to count will lose enormous amounts of income, now that affiliate and advertising opportunities will almost certainly go away. Hell, this could mean the end of CardSquad, and WWdN
readers are going to be pissed
if I have to put all of my poker writing back there.
Over the last few days, I've clipped the following posts from Bloglines, which inspired this post:
- Up for Poker has a magnificent, must-read commentary on the latest form of prohibition, which puts this into an historical context.
- BLUFF magazine has a lot to lose if poker's growth and popularity in the United States is slowed or crushered. They've issued a statement, as has the PPA (who really dropped the ball on this one. This is why we joined, guys. This is why we joined.) You can read them together at Poker Gazette.
- BG makes a very good point about why it's hard for him to get worked up about this.
- Scurvydog wrote a post about how this will affect a lot more than his ability to play in a Wheetie or a Mook, and it is a very good representation of what I've read all over the pokerblog-o-sphere.
Scurvydog's post is what finally pushed me to sit down and write this. By taking away yet another one of our freedoms, the party of smaller government once again steps on the necks of anyone who is not ultra-wealthy or a multi-national corporation. Haven't we had enough?
The bottom line is, everyone who is not in the base Frist was pandering to when he jammed this through on Friday sees it for what it is, but that doesn't change one cold, hard reality: this bill's passage affects far more than just players or site operators. Poker is a huge business in America, and the unintended consequences of this bill's passage won't be truly felt for months. But when they finally are felt, it will hurt a lot of people who don't even play that much (if any) online poker. A lot of good people will suddenly be looking for new ways to support themselves and their families. For a government established by and for "the people," this Congress sure seems to have lost its way.Image of Mustard Man provided in futile effort to "lighten things up."