Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen some interesting movements in the field of online poker and online gambling legislation in the United States. Quite a few states are starting to look into the possibility of a regulated online market as an avenue to create additional funds and fill in holes in the budget. From the financial standpoint, it makes sense, and lawmakers know it, but things are still moving as slow as they possibly could.
With money on the table just waiting to be taken, one would think politicians would be quick to hurry things along, but things are a bit different in practice. There are strong lobbies pushing against the legislation as it doesn’t align with their personal views or interests. One of the biggest opponents, for example, is Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul who fears online gambling would hurt his brick and mortar business.
People’s Interests Put Aside
While various US states are fighting the political battle with all the lobbying and everything else that comes with it, it seems that wishes of the people play only a marginal role in the entire process. Online poker has always been hugely popular in the States, which only makes sense given the fact that the US is the cradle of the game.
Over the years, we’ve seen numerous bills proposed and rejected by different levels of state governments, and some of them simply disappeared without a trace. Collecting dust in drawers of lawmakers, these bills to regulate online poker simply aren’t a priority or there is too much influence coming from the other side of the fence to move things forward.
For people who enjoy playing poker and don’t live in one of a few US states where online poker is actually regulated, this creates a peculiar situation. They are banned from an activity that isn’t harmful in any way, shape, or form and their desires are completely neglected by those who are supposed to represent them. Small movements without real results do nothing for these people, as they don’t solve the most important of all issues: when will people from the US be free to play poker online once again?
Hurting the Players
Although all of the government actions are done under the guise of protecting people and keeping them safe, their failure to create a properly regulated environment has created a counter-effect. People didn’t stop playing poker just because the DOJ shut down and forced out the biggest rooms out there. Instead, they started looking for alternatives.
The problem is, once you remove all the big players, that leaves a bunch of smaller ones, all looking to get their share of the pie, and not all of them really care for the well-being of their customers. Many of the online poker operators that accepted US players went under, taking with them players’ money and leaving them no legal recourse.
Luckily, in the midst of all the craziness that ensued following the online poker ban, there were a few rooms that came in with serious business intentions. One of these is Bovada Poker, which showed that you can act in your players’ best interest even in the face of various adversities. It is hard and it takes some effort, but that’s a part of the package for those wanting to serve US players.
Unfortunately, many players from the States aren’t familiar with whom they can trust, which often leads to them lending their trust to someone they shouldn’t. So, while we are thankful for trustworthy and serious operators such as Bovada, it is high time for the US lawmakers to hurry things along and finally do what they claim to be doing – protect the interests of their people and provide them with a safe online poker environment.