With the recent events in the United States where the DOJ and FBI have almost completely removed online poker from the map, it seems that above all confusion is at the order of the day.
First let’s recollect that the DOJ has closed six online poker rooms from a thin field as most operators had already left in 2006, year of inception of anti online gambling law UIGEA. So now only three reputable rooms are left: Bodog Poker, Cake Poker and Carbon Poker. And many pundits fear that these three rooms will be the target of the fourth wave of the crackdown, leaving no place to play online poker in the USA.
In this post we are not trying to answer the question of why this is happening, as this is a long and complicated story where politics, personal ambition and bigotry allied in an unlikely trio reminiscent of the Prohibition of the 20’s. Rather we want to address the naive question of ‘is gambling bad’. In order to answer, the first step is to define gambling. And we are not trying to give a legal answer to that question either, as here again it can get complicated. But just the simple answer like if we were explaining it to a child.
At http://dictionary.reference.com/, there are a total of 7 definitions, and as space is limited, here are the first two:
1. to play at any game of chance for money or other stakes,
2. to stake or risk money, or anything of value, on the outcome of something involving chance.
The point here is that gambling is either playing in a game of chance, or more generally taking a chance in life. All successful businesses as we know them today would not exist if their founders had not taken a chance. If Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg had decided to graduate from Harvard for instance, two of the largest companies in the world, namely Microsoft and Facebook may not exit today. In sports there are times when the team has to take a chance otherwise they are guarantee to lose. Chance and gambling are simply part of life on this earth, because the future is always unknown. There is always a chance for something expected or unexpected to happen.
So why does the Government want so much to shield the people from online poker and online gambling? Because of addictions issues or because of the personal agendas of a few prominent politicians and attorneys?
Yes there are a few people who get addicted playing roulette online. But people also get addicted to their cars and die from it. Same for cigarettes, alcohol, sex (but death from sex is less common and more enjoyable), fatty food (so many deaths related to obesity or diabetics), antidepressants and many more. So mister DOJ, why don’t you let the grownups decide how they want to spend their free time. This would be a nice change.