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I can sum up the reason that I believe online gambling will never be legalized in the United States in one sentence. I have come to this belief based on the response I very recently received from my State House Representative, U.S. House Representative, and both U.S. Senators for my state. You see, the reason I believe that online gambling will never be legalized or have any type of protection for players here is this:
The people who are in power do not care about online gambling.
When I first started reading about the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) I was hopeful that one day legalization would come. It only makes sense that an industry can could contribute billions of dollars in taxable revenue and create jobs would be passed quickly here. I have written another blog on this topic, and have spelled out all the great reasons why online gambling should be legalized (I will try to link to that story so as not to pile on in this blog but you should read it), and decided it was time to take action and spread the word about helping this fledging industry out.
First I contacted the Safe and Secure Internet Gaming Initiative, a group of lobbyists in Washington D.C. who are trying their hardest to get legislation on the books. Secondly, I decided I needed to take the time to draft letters to my local and national legislators. I make sure to vote in every election, so I figured I would craft a well worded and respectful letter asking my legislators to join me in supporting online gambling. How did my personal push for legislation go?
I spent a lot of time researching the issues, and offered the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative my help in any way. I have yet to receive any type of response, and if you check out their social media pages you will see they are infrequently updated, giving me the impression that either they are not very tech-savvy, or are not taking the time to dedicate resources to keep online gambling on the front burner in the media (Their homepage was updated a week ago to be fair).
While the group probably does not need anything other than my support, it would have been nice to have someone follow up and note that message had been received. I still have my arms wide open to help out in any way I can, and hope that if someone from S&SIGI is out there that they would please respond so we can know you are still out there and know what your needs are.
Contacting my legislators was even more aggravating. As stated above I wrote to my State House Rep, U.S. House Rep, and both U.S. Senators for my state. I received pretty much the same reply from all of them. I am going to paraphrase for blog's sake:
Thank you for your letter stating your support for online gambling. During the last congress, Representative Barney Frank introduced a bill that would regulate online gambling. If the issue comes up in the current Congress I will make sure to think about you when I cast my vote.
Vote for Me!
Senator, Rep, etc.
I had to paraphrase my letter because I was so disgusted with my responses that I threw them away immediately. Nobody really cares about this issue that is in power and is either guided by land based casinos who don't want the competition or are on a misguided moral kick that makes them think people shouldn't be able to spend their money how they want it because gambling is "wrong". This type of attitude is just wrong and frankly patronizing. I think reading this was a kick in the gut to me. You hear so many people tell you that your government doesn't care, but when you see it for yourself it really is disheartening.
I wrap up this blog entry by stating I am more jaded than ever. I have done my part to try to get things turned around for the better and have gotten nowhere. If you are like me and have done this you likely feel the same way. It is wrong that these people have the power they do, and pay little to no attention to us.
I will never write or support my current legislators again. I hope they are all out of their jobs in the next election.
I also believe that online gambling will never be legalized for us Yankees. I will continue to fight for it, as I believe it to be unconstitutional to make it illegal, but I don't see it happening. What are your thoughts?
Welcome to democracy! You get an almost insignificant vote once every few years and end up electing a cartel of people who can do and say what they like until the next time you vote. Its a mighty shitty system, but its the least worst compared to dictatorship, communism, theocracy, anarchy etc!
I would not even be surprised if those letters were read and replied to by the secretary. Perhaps if you had included a "donation" for a few million dollars in your letters to the politicians you might have gotten further!
Its also pretty sad that the SSIGI don't even bother replying to offers of help.
But enough of the pessimism. Allow my to paint an alternative picture: why I think it will be legalised eventually.
Those very same Vegas lobbyists who have fought against it for years are starting to turn the other way. They see that high speed internet is a threat to their gambling tourism business, and they want a piece of the action. WMS launched Jackpot Party, Caesar's has a Playtech casino, Wynn was about to sign an agreement with Pokerstars before "Black Friday" etc. They are positioning themselves for entry into a regulated U.S. market. And as we all know, money talks.
Hopefully if and when it does happen, American players will have a better quality of casino to choose from along with some healthy competition. The down sides could be reporting your wins to the taxman and the possibility of regulation being state-based meaning every state has their own rules and casinos or poker rooms. So I am cautiously optimistic.
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I just find it extraordinary that a country with casinos dotted all over the place has this anti online gambling attitude from their government. I put it down to the fear of the unknown and the tech illiteracy of the people in government.
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