The British online gambling firm PartyPoker is taking it in the shorts after the U.S. cracked down on online gambling last fall. The company lost $47 million in the past six months and saw a 70 percent drop in profits. I have an crazy theory about the 2006 mid-term elections, and I am going to share it on the principle that every American is entitled to one off-the-wall explanation for an election's outcome, per election.
Forget Rush Limbaugh's cruel pantomime of Michael J. Fox, the quagmire in Iraq or the steady drumbeat of K Street corruption. I think Republicans lost both houses of Congress because President Bush signed a tough law against online gambling in October, weeks before the vote.
The new law outlawed financial transactions between online casinos and American banks and credit card companies, cutting off Americans from the ability to play Texas Holdem and other games online for real money.
This decision affected the many people gambling on cards at online casinos, an activity comparable to fantasy sports leagues and office pools on football games. When the players were cut off, it sparked so much fury that a 500,000-member grassroots organization, the Poker Player's Alliance, has sprung up to repeal the law.
Online poker players are predominantly male, relatively well off and completely obsessed with the game. My brother-in-law went through a phase where poker occupied every waking thought that wasn't devoted to eating, excreting or admiring women in beer commercials. He'd regale us at family gatherings with stories that all had the same basic structure:
So weeks before the election, President Bush gave the Republican stamp of approval to a prohibition on online gambling, hitting millions of American men right in their pocket pair. If Democrats are smart, they'll repeal the law in October 2008 and the party's presidential nominee will announce that if elected, the White House will be renamed GoldenPalace.Com.
Photo: Adrian Sampson
Poker, once an exclusively American, as well as Canadian game (Gold '49ers), is considered a game of skill, and actually is!
It is also an icon for adventurous independence, a skill which when perfected approaches the level of sports and individual competition. Add to that the increased skill and tactics available when 5 of 7 cards are shared, and you have an instant winner.
Too bad it isn't about partisan politics, per se, but an interest attractive to Republican and Democratic equally. So, in that regard, your reasons given to sway the election are specious; e.g., in the case of Limbaugh, and since the votes would stay the same along conservative and liberal lines, on issue.
I think some Republicans did not vote due to the administration's effort to use diplomacy in appeasing the Sunni and Shi'ite sects who were adding to the terrorism from al Qaeda and not kicking butt with the Army/Marines. However, they didn't go out and vote for a Democratic to spite their face in wanting a victory over neolithic human sacrifice and their use of terrorism to establish theocratic rule. Democratic's votes didn't change for that reasoning, either, but perhaps some so called moderate poker players who agreed with adjectives like "quagmire" switched votes.
Corruptin, also, is a non-partisan activity and which can be applied to either party, equally, unless the bias happens to show. Again, nothing that much fools the public anymore, and which is proven by the Democratic's misuse of their constitutional offices and processes to play politics with witchhunts and K street one-sidedness, and which has resulted in polls rating them lower than the administration ... close to insecthood ... but I digress.
Consequently, I don't see this as a partisan issue, since those interested know that Democratics made no objection in passing the law, and which might even stop some money laundering, and other money transfers of inimical intent. Safeguards against that need to be created in order to legitimately control that, immediately. Debate and modification of the law for controlled, international Hold'em will follow.
Even now, certain sites are in business (surely providing the IRS with daily receipts) sponsoring Hold'em poker of various types and without the US Marshalls breaking the door in. As for the CIA, well they can investigate in the USA, now ... and assassination for losing your money to rake and team play is not out of the question, but highly improbable ... unless they are doing so partisanly, eh? Like assisting Democratics in vilifying a US president during war with spurious intelligence operations and claims of covertness?
Actually, from my friends who got into online poker, online gambling is a great way to get ripped off without any recourse.
Funny how the online gambling stories in the press don't mention those places where you're playing against four other guys, three of which are either employees of the company or are robots. With, of course, completely open play (they can see your cards) for the non-paying "players." They let you win just enough to keep you in the game, but it's even more of a sucker bet than regular Vegas gambling.
Part of the reasoning behind the law came from the complete refusal of places overseas to allow any sort of international policing of these sites, with no provision for accounting or auditing for any sort of fairness.
...and as a side note:
The final vote to add the gambling ban was really on Conference Report 109-711, which was passed 409-2 by the House and unanimously by the Senate.
How is that a Republican problem, then? They might have sponsored it, but all except two Democrats went right along...
Because Republicans had all three levers of government at the time, and Bush's signing of the bill was widely reported, they got the blame.
The Democrats are obviously taking the Bart Simpson defense with this one.
"I didn't do it! It wasn't me! It was those darned Republicans who tied us down and pushed the vote buttons!"
I'm with Cirby on this one. These online poker sites are the biggest joke in poker. They are a scam. You see more crap play get rewarded for big pots than anywhere in any real casino. I have been dealt and the board has hit my cards to force me to stay in the hand. You can't fold when you are dealt the nuts. Then some donkey gets some completely ridiculous out draw to take your chips and you know it was some fishy scam bullcrap play. Trust me, I play alot of live poker in the casinos and live poker in our home game and I have played alot of online poker. I play freerolls and play money only. I have never deposited a dime of my hard earned money into these scam crap sites. I have won freeroll money over and over again, only to watch it get taken by players who play like crap and get bailed out. There is no doubt these players were placements for the website to scam money. I will never deposit my own hard earned money into online poker sites. The only way for these sites to change their practice is to force them to undergo constant supervision from an independant gaming body as the real casinos do.