Monday, April 16, 2012

Anti-online poker rants from the ignorant

The push for intrastate online poker will inevitably bring out the backlash from some. Several newspapers ran this op-ed in the last week from Robert Reich, former U.S. secretary of labor and professor of public policy at UC Berkeley. In it Reich uses the standard logic from the ignorant of comparing poker with other forms of gambling as if they are equatable. Such as this paragraph:
That decision is about to create a boom in online gambling. New Jersey is close to approving a bill to allow gambling online in virtual Atlantic City casinos. Delaware, Nevada, California and Florida are considering similar bills. Within the year, high-stakes poker will be available on every work desk and mobile phone in the nation.
So Robert, are we talking about online poker or all forms of online gambling because you're mixing and matching here? Yes, I'm calling a former U.S. labor secretary and college professor ignorant. Either he is mixing apples and oranges by comparing poker and other forms of gambling as if they are the same because he truly is ignorant about it, or he does so purposefully to make his point, which would make him dishonest. It's one or the other. The San Francisco Chronicle also ran an editorial against a proposed online poker bill, throwing in the usual comparison to earlier gambling efforts, including the state lottery and the addition of tribal casinos to California.
Some bad ideas just won't go away. Case in point: a revived law to allow online gambling in California. This time around, all the big players - casino tribes, cardrooms and racetracks- want to bring online poker and its devastating social impact to homes and smart phones across the state.
Does the Chronicle have a crystal ball where it can predict that online poker will have "devastating social impacts" in the same vein that slots and blackjack might? How about the boom for others, from the jobs provided for those who run the games, market the games, write about the games, to those who supported their families by playing poker who were suddenly out of a job a year ago? The Chronicle says "there's no reason to double down" now. I can't recall ever doubling down in poker, can you?

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