Let’s take the example of chess. Everyone can play chess today by wire in as many computers at home as you like. Shakespeare and Goethe are hardly considered to be authors, but they worked harder than any other human alive. No one knows the rules better than your own grandpa. Take the dice games, the lottery, theancers, the common games, and many more; you can probably think of many more. All for free, no risk, and no cost. Imagine a lottery advert in tomorrow’s New Scientist magazine with the disclaimer “players proof the winning technique,” with a picture of some bombed out building in Iraq, and the tag line “Tell the Free World how to beat Vexat.” That will open the door for a whole new breed of gamblers. For free.
Look at the world of poker today. Anyone can play who’s willing to pay. It’s not called gambling for nothing. There are tournaments with thousand dollar purses to be won, and even for a small buy in you can bet $1, $5, $10, and even $100. (Sometimes as little as five cents per hand, you know.) There are only two ways to play poker, and they are free from cost. Either you show up and play (even if you have to play without your wallet, and sit in the rain and whine like a banshee), or you pay a fee, usually called a “poker DewaGG.”
That’s not the whole story, though. Poker, in one form or another, is here to stay. In fact, the industry is growing so rapidly that some of the people in Las Vegas (ugh, did you hear that!) are starting to worry. Because the people playing poker, on average, spend more money on the game than the people in Detroit, Chicago, Oakland, Louisville, San Francisco, and all the places that you see would, single, lazy people who barely have enough to eat, let alone pay for a airplane ticket and hotel.
As the stories come out of Las Vegas, almost everyone in the casino world is going to hear about poker, poker tournaments, poker players, poker books, and poker rooms. All of these will be based, at some point, on the same set of facts. Poker is here to stay. Thousands of people every day are making fortunes, inventing the game, hosting tournaments, playing it, learning it, making money with it, or simply trying to get rich. As long as people keep trying, new casinos will open, new poker rooms will open, and the poker tournament favorites will keep on winning…
Did you know that in early 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act prohibited banks in the United States from processing the credit cards of players who live in the United States and Canada? This essentially hobbles the industry, not to mention the wallets of hundreds of millions of people around the world. While you can still purchase online, the options will be severely limited. Almost all online funds go through the banking system, so you will not be able to avoid the U.S. market entirely. Additionally, U.S. players will not be able to play in many of the online poker rooms, so to recap, what was the purpose of the UIGEA?
To say that the law was a joke is like saying that the sun will never come up in the west. Americans will continue to play poker, in practice if nothing else, and see what it is about. It is an addictive and often addictive game of chance that many people reportedly become addicted to. Some people spend hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours playing poker each day. Some people play at home, others in casinos, and others in their homes. Poker rooms that house U.S. Players, will still be there.
Yes, the UIGEA had a worthwhile purpose, to protect American players, and make it harder for their gambling dollars to leave the country, temporarily or permanently. But in the end, it made it easier for American players to spend more money at online casinos and to become addicted to their chosen game.