Written by Linda Johnson:
There are so many aspects of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent actions against online poker that I don’t understand.
I don’t understand why the very government that was built to champion personal liberty would take away our rights to play online poker, a game that citizens of almost every other country in the world are allowed to play. Why don’t we have the same rights as those who reside in other countries?
I don’t understand why the DOJ has spent so much time and money trying to shut down a game. Wouldn’t their time be better spent trying to crack down on some of the truly destructive crises in our nation like terrorism, drug dealing, and crime?
I don’t understand why our government chose to make the jobs of tens of thousands of Americans vanish overnight. And it’s not just the players who have lost their income source. What about the poker media, customer service agents, event planners, and developers in the online poker business? What will the staff of the poker magazines, poker television shows, and poker sponsorship companies now do for work?
I don’t understand what will happen to the players who have had their bankrolls frozen without warning. How will they pay their bills? How many of them will lose their homes and now be subject to the unemployment and welfare that our government claims to work so adamantly to reduce?
I don’t understand why the DOJ has chosen to make the United States the laughing stock of the world. I am getting emails from friends in other countries making fun of our legislators for turning away millions of dollars that could be garnered through the taxation and regulation of online poker – dollars that could reduce the national debt. The online sites have been begging to be taxed and regulated for a long time.
I don’t understand the tainted future of events like the World Series of Poker. About half of the field in the Main Event qualifies through online satellites. Now this widespread opportunity to turn players’ dreams into reality has vanished. What’s going to happen to the poker dealers and tournament staff who will no longer be needed due to the reduced entries?
What’s going to happen to the city of Las Vegas – a city already in dire straits due to the current economic climate? Reducing the number of people who come to Las Vegas, a city so dependent on the bustling business of its visitors who spend money on lodging, dining, and entertainment, will only add to its economic anguish.
I don’t understand why I personally can’t continue to play in my online home league. I already miss the nightly $1 tournaments and the chance to chat and bond with my friends. I’m surprised how much joy these $1 events have brought me. It isn’t about the money; it’s about the bragging rights and the competition we each enjoy. Also, we’ve been keeping records on each player’s performance, so now how will we finish the league and determine the champion?
I don’t understand why I now have to go to a brick-and-mortar casino in order to play poker. What a waste of time, money, and gas to drive to a card room when I could play in the comfort of my own home. There are many times when I have an hour to kill, so I log on and enjoy some poker. Now, I won’t be able to go to the card room and wait for a game unless I am willing to commit many hours to playing.
I don’t understand why the government has taken away my freedom of choice. After decades of building my poker skills to their current level, I now have only a few places to play the games I prefer. The games and limits that were so readily available to me online are not offered in my local card room.
I don’t understand what I’m going to do the 200+ nights a year I am traveling. I used to fill the time playing online poker. Now what?
I don’t understand what people who can’t leave their homes to get to a casino will do now. I have an elderly friend going through chemotherapy whose only joy in life right now is playing online poker. I know paralyzed veterans who are so disabled that they can’t go to card rooms. What about my brother who lives in Utah; where will he play now?
I don’t understand what people on fixed incomes will do now regarding playing poker. Online, they can make $5 last all night. They can play $1 sit and gos or $0.02-$0.04 Limit. If they go to a card room, they need to have at least $100 to get into the smallest No Limit game.
I don’t understand the hypocrisy of a government that allows its citizens to wager on horse races, fantasy football, lotteries, etc. online, but won’t allow wagering on a game of skill.
I don’t understand what will happen when many of our online players move to other countries in order to make a living. We will be losing some of our smartest young minds that have a lot to offer to the United States.
I don’t understand why my country has let me down. I’ve been a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen my entire life. I’ve been a flag-waver. I am overcome with emotion when I hear our national anthem. I’m as patriotic as they come. I’ve always been proud to be an American. I don’t understand why everything has changed.
I’m angry, sad, disgusted, and confused about what has happened with online poker. The illogical destruction of the poker community along with the loss of opportunity to embrace the game for all it has to offer its citizens and government alike is beyond reason to me. What used to be my pursuit of happiness has evaporated along with a piece of my patriotism. I already miss playing my favorite game.
I don’t understand.