10 Reasons Online Poker Should be Legal
Just imagine that it is a Friday night and you are getting ready to head out for a night on the town with your friends. You worked hard all week, and now it is your time to kick back and relax with good company. The first stop on your nighttime trek? The casino, of course! What a better way to spend the evening than walking around the casino, having dinner and a glass of wine in a nice, sit down restaurant, and then hitting the slot machines and poker tables with your friends to try out your luck.
When it comes to gambling, there are many State-approved lottery systems, as well as approved casinos that operate in many locations throughout the United States. It is a huge business that generates more than $240 billion dollars each year! But what about online gambling?
Online gambling is the only area of the entire gambling industry that is in limbo with the Federal government. In 2011, the Federal government shut down several major online sites, and since then, there has been a lot of dialogue about the future of internet gambling. More recently, however, they decided that individual states can opt to license online gambling sites, making these sites accessible for the people that live in the state. Such states include Nevada and New Jersey, but certainly not all states. Also, what about online gambling as a whole? If you can spend your Friday night at a casino or go to your local gas station and pay to play a scratch off game, shouldn’t you be allowed to hop on your computer and try your luck at an online game of poker? Probably. So, here are ten reasons why online poker should be legal.
10People May Not Have Access
According to PBS, approximately 29.6 million people flocked to Las Vegas in 2006. Granted, that was over ten years ago now, but that number is quite large when you think about it. Of these, it was estimated that more than 22% of these visitors were over the age of 65. This is significant when discussing the concept of online gambling.
When you think about gambling, what population, specifically, comes to mind? It probably is not your teenage son or daughter or any one of their friends. Sure, they may be active with sports betting, but they probably aren’t hitting up the casino to spend a few hours gambling their money away or sitting around a poker table to test their skill.
There are many older people in the United States alone who gamble, and that is probably the first group of people that come to mind when asked that question. Older people, in general, are less capable of driving as they age. They may not be able to transport themselves to a local gas station to purchase tickets or to a local casino as easily as the younger generations might. When it comes to access, the aging population may be at a unique disadvantage. If they cannot drive themselves or have no one else to rely on to get them to a local casino, how are they going to be able to play? Is it fair to deny them the privilege of playing just because they can’t venture out of their home?
There are many people who simply don’t have access to casinos or local gas stations or convenience stores to play the game, not just the elderly. While the elderly are a prime example, there are many who live far away from the great gambling hubs of the U.S.A. Also, there are many people who enjoy playing poker who don’t drive or have access to a motor vehicle or to public transportation. Access, in many cases, is a barrier than can easily be overcome with the legalization of online poker.
9People May Not Have the Ability
While there are some people that live a great distance from the primary gambling hubs of the United States and others who do not have adequate transportation to get to and from a local casino, there are still others, yet, who may not have the physical ability to get to and from to play the game.
Again, the elderly population is a great example. Think about all of the older people that you know who may not have the physical means to get themselves where they want to go. Perhaps, they cannot walk as well as they used to and need the support of a wheelchair, cane, or walker to get from one point to another. Perhaps, their mental capacities don’t function as well as they used to, and they are unable to recall where they are going, what they are doing, or who they are with. These are just a few examples. Should people who don’t have the physical ability to get to a local casino to play a poker game be stripped of the opportunity to play the game?
This is yet another reason why internet poker should be made legal in the United States. It is not just the elderly; there are many people who enjoy playing the game but may not be able to get to the casino to physically sit at a table and play. Consider the almost 2 million older adults in the United States that are homebound and the 1.4 million who are living in nursing homes. Why strip them of their enjoyment and their freedom to play when the Federal government can make it accessible from home?
8People May Not Have the Time
There is no denying the fact that life is busy. Times have changed since the early 1900’s where people used to take a break on Sundays, work until 5 pm, and eat dinner every night with their families. Now, more than ever, the movement of modern day society is utterly unstoppable. It is always go, go, and go, with very little downtime.
In 1999, for instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly 25 million Americans reported working more than 49 hours per week. Of those, 11 million claimed that they worked more than 59 hours. While that was some time ago, the workload and corporate expectations have continued to grow. Today, Americans are working longer and harder with little to no rest or relaxation.
With the legalization of online poker, time would never be an issue. There are many individuals in this country who would probably love to spend some time at a poker table at their local casino, but work long hours and are unable to commit the time. Rather than testing their skill over a game that they enjoy, they are torn between working to support their families and spending time with loved ones. Why not have time for it all?
The legalization of online poker sites would allow busy individuals to play the game from the comfort of their home. Rather than never getting to play at all, these individuals can come home, sit in front of the computer, and test their skill during their down time. They no longer need to worry about finding time to travel to the casino and spend a few hours away from their families.
7All Sites Would be Regulated
In 2006, the Federal government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which made it a Federal offense for a banking institution to send or receive money from someone who knowingly passes bets or wagers using the internet as their primary tool.
This legislation, however, does not prohibit any online gambling that is based on skill or chance, such as poker. It only covers intentional betting. So, this means that anyone can play a hand of online poker to test their skill, correct?
Unfortunately, no. While there is nothing in the Federal legislation that prohibits this, there are many states that do not allow online gaming. The laws, in truth, are quite fuzzy. Some states, like Nevada, have issued state licenses to permit online gaming. Other states, like Arkansas, are completely against online gaming. In Connecticut, for instance, there are state laws that make gambling a crime, and there is no likelihood of legalizing online poker anytime soon.
If, however, the Federal Government passed a single piece of legislation that allowed for online gambling in all states across the board, there wouldn’t be so much confusion. Online poker sites would be regulated and much safer for those who wish to gamble. By legalizing online poker, authorities would also be able to adequately watch for problem gamblers that may otherwise slip through the cracks.
6Increase Money into the Economy
Again, the online gaming and casino industry generates approximately $240 billion dollars a year in the United States. Of this, about $38 billion goes back into the local market, paid through gambling fees, property taxes, and income taxes, to name a few.
It is also important to note that casinos, in particular, generate a ton of money on items that are not even poker related. While many people travel to casinos to play a hand at the poker table or to try their luck at the slot machines, there are many people who go to casinos for the experience. They go shopping, eat expensive dinners at fancy restaurants, go to the spa, and buy drinks. Casinos generate a lot of money in general, let alone on gambling. Casinos, in truth, are crucial for the sustainability of the tourism industry in the United States.
Legalizing online poker and regulating online sites would allow the Federal government to generate a ton of money; perhaps even more so that they do now. Each year, casinos and other lottery participants lose thousands of dollars through unregulated online sites. If the Federal government were to regulate the online poker industry and implement a tax system for that money, imagine how much income would come streaming in each year!
5Increase Jobs in the United States
In addition to generating more money for the United States government, legalizing online poker would help to increase jobs throughout the nation.
Take a moment to think about your local casino. Each time you have been there, you have probably been served by a bartender or waitress, more than a time or two. Your hand has always been dealt by a dealer, your hotel room has always been prepared by a housekeeping staff, and your dinner has always been served by a team of restaurant professionals. Casinos employ hundreds, if not thousands, of people each year and help to boost the local economy. Casinos, when built in areas of relatively high unemployment, have helped to reverse this trend, creating ample opportunity for those looking for work.
So, what does this have to do with online gaming? The online industry would create the same job opportunity if legalized and regulated in the United States. Rather than people illegally gambling on sites that are not even based in this country, people would be going through trusted, online sites that are monitored carefully by authorities. There would need to be a team of people in place to regulate all of the online activity, meaning that people would have to be hired and trained to perform such responsibilities.
Legalizing online poker would not only generate more revenue for the country, but it would also boost employment rates and generate ample opportunity for people across the nation to work and to thrive.
4It Would Bring Online Gaming Back to the United States
Everywhere you look, there are budget cuts. States are trying to determine best where their dollars should be allocated, often cutting funds from critical programs to supply money to other areas of the economy.
Look at public education and healthcare, for instance. In 2014, there were 31 states that provided less state funding per student than they did in 2008, which is when the big recession hit the U.S. economy. In 15 of these states, the budget cuts exceeded 10%. That means that less money was being allocated to students in communities who need it most. It also means that less money was being supplied for critical upgrades and supplies in the classroom so that students can learn, grow, and thrive.
The same goes for healthcare and preventative healthcare in the United States. While Federal spending for public health programs across the nation has remained fairly stable for the past few years or so, states keep cutting critical programs that help the most vulnerable populations. In 2009, for instance, more than $392 million preventative healthcare dollars were cut across several states. That is a tremendous amount of money to lose that was at one time supporting programs to help the underserved and underinsured in this country.
So, what does this all have to do with legalizing online poker? Legalizing online poker sites would generate revenue for the economy. Yes, it would create jobs, but it would also help to bring online sites under U.S. jurisdiction. This means that sites based in the United States would be obligated to pay Federal and state income taxes, thus bringing more money into the local community.
3Making it Illegal Just Generates Illegal Activity
Let’s take a moment to consider prohibition in the United States in the early 1900’s. While the government did not make the consumption of alcohol illegal, they did prohibit the manufacturing, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages throughout the country. People were still allowed to drink what they had purchased or attained prior in the comfort of their home. Do you think that prohibition stopped people from still trying to manufacture, transport, and sell alcohol?
Let’s also consider something more recent. Texting and driving, for instance. With a rise in traffic fatalities related to texting behind the wheel, many states have enacted laws that prohibit such behavior. There are, in many places, rather harsh penalties for those who are caught in action. Does this stop people from still texting behind the wheel?
The point is that people are still going to find ways to play poker online, even when it is not allowed or considered illegal. Where there is a will, there is a way. The government is not stopping anyone from doing what they want to do anyway. If the Federal government were to make it legal, however, they would be able to regulate better and monitor the system, making it a win-win for all.
2There are State-Run Lotteries and Approved Casinos
Another argument to support the legalization of online poker is that there are already state-run lotteries and approved casinos throughout the nation, so why not add online poker playing to the list? What makes playing poker online so different than playing it at a casino?
In 2014, it was estimated that there were more than 500 commercial casinos functioning in the United States. There are also several states throughout the nation that have state lottery systems. In fact, there are only seven states who do not permit state lotto, including Mississippi and Alabama. Surprisingly, Nevada does not have a state lottery system either, due to the fact that casinos run the gambling market in that state. It is clear, however, that casinos and state lottery systems hold a sizeable chunk of the economic market in the United States.
With this being said, why are so many casinos allowed to function throughout the United States, but people can’t play online poker? Why can a person walk down to the local grocery store or general market and pick up a lottery ticket, but can’t hop online and play a hand at poker? If there are state-run lotteries and casinos permitted to operate throughout the United States, online gaming should be allowed, as well.
1Freedom to Gamble in Comfort of Own Home
Online poker should be made legal because Americans have a right to gamble from the comfort of their home. Online poker should not be outlawed, especially for those in which access is a barrier.
America is the land of the free and was built on the principles of liberty and justice for all. If people are allowed the freedom to play a game of poker at their local casino, or purchase a lottery ticket from down the street at their local gas station, shouldn’t they be allowed the freedom to determine whether or not they try their hand at a game of online poker?
All Americans should be granted to freedom to play their favorite game from the comfort of their home. They should not have to worry about playing on illegal sites, traveling to and from a casino, or getting in trouble for fine-tuning their skills. Making online poker legal would enable all people to practice and appreciate the game, regardless of where they live or what barriers they face.
Thousands of people each year flock to places like Las Vegas to try their hand at gambling. They travel far and wide to casinos across the United States to spend a little time and money testing their skill and their luck at a chance to win big.
While there are a ton of casinos that operate legally in the United States, as well as state-run lottery systems, online gambling has been a topic of discussion. There are many states in which engaging in such online activity is considered illegal. Is this fair?
It is clear that online poker should be made legal. If casinos can operate freely and states can run their lottery systems to generate local income, why can’t people play poker on their computers from the privacy and comfort of their home?
Legalizing online poker would not only help to boost the economy, but it would help curb the ongoing illegal activity. It would also allow those who may have trouble getting out of the house to practice a hand of poker without having to worry about access. Legalizing online poker would grant all Americans the freedom that this country is built upon; a principle that no politician can deny.