The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

How much of you do you own?

Do you have the right to send somebody $100, assuming you have had the opportunity to conduct a cost/benefit analysis, for the opportunity to wager some or all of that $100 in a game of what has almost universally been acknowledged as a game of skill?

Poker is the game. Since its emergence in the early 1900s as THE game of skill, it has been under attack by losers. I'm a loser, in strict economic terms, but I'm not an attacker. I have invested more in the total of "business-investment" money-tossing deals than I have reaped from them, in directly-attributable return. On the other hand, by conventional standards, I have reaped a standard pretty close to the American Dream.

More simply put, I have spent more money than I have earned. There comes a point at which one can't continue that behavior. For most practical purposes, I'm there. The American Dream? Well, my wife is a pretty successful artist/artisan. That has allowed me, for about 20 years, to use resources I would have had to allot to basic living expenses for political campaigns.

The political issues I have promoted, no matter how phrased, have always been directed to affirm the state's recognition of the natural fact that people should be assumed to know whether or not something they intentionally eat, absorb or inhale is good for them or not, and to act with knowledge of those facts, in the absence of the supplier (of whatever substance is in question) having supplied intentionally inaccurate representations of the benefits of the substance in question.

Buyer beware.

Friday, as far as I can determine, online poker playing ended for USA players. If you try FullTiltPoker.com, PokerStars.com, BodogPoker.com, you'll get an announcement that the USA Justice Dept. now owns those domains.

Assuming that every person in the USA (I am among them) who played poker online had to use available funds to place money in a poker account on one of the sites that allowed USA players to participate, then one must struggle to endorse not allowing people to play poker online. If there were some evidence of online cheating (I've seen some, but remarkably little), I'd be in favor of some assurance of random shuffles and deals, but a poker site that at any moment is dealing 500 or so games really doesn't need to cheat to make HUGE money. It also has an interest in assuring its clients that its deals are fair.

So far, the online poker room busts don't seem to have made the radar of the major news orgs. Not like, say, Barry Bonds, whom is accused of having ingested more masculinity than is allowed. On another front, escaping apparently largely unscathed are the stockbrokers and money market people who exploited, in rather obscene manners, folks' willingness to gamble. To GAMBLE, not to play poker, a game of skill. I refer, of course, to the housing scam of the first decade of my final milenium.

One may establish an account on any of about 100 stock markets (100? I don't know. I know there are several, anyway.) and deposit electronic money in accounts associated with those markets and buy and sell stocks traded there. One may also, in at least some markets, buy options (in gambling parlance, "bets" on point-spreads in any competition) on whether share prices will rise or decline and by how much and at what time on what day and on whose birthday.

But a USA resident with bank accounts in the USA may not, since Friday, voluntarily risk his money playing what has been widely accepted as a game of skill. And I'm supposed to accept--as "just"--this and whatever other limitations the politicians have put on my right to spend my money as I choose?

The mere hesitation on the question of who has the right to choose how I spend my money is a hint that you have been colonized.

6 comments:

Joshua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
taco said...

The federal government has no constitutional right to regulate games of skill. If you think the commerce clause was intended to regulate commerce of this type, you need to look at the circumstances behind the adoption of that clause.

This will lead to a black market where thugs thrive. Why the move toward prohibition and away from increased tax revenue when we're up to our neck in debt?

Bob Newland said...

The federal gummint has no right to regulate ANY games, skill or chance. It does have the responsibility to prosecute fraud in the presentation of the games, provided the games are conducted across state lines (of course that applies to online games).

Every other country in the industrialized world allows online betting on both games of skill and those of chance.

taco said...

Congress doesn't even have the legitimate authority to prosecute fraud. The states were given the police power. The commerce clause was only meant to protect against trade wars between the young states.

We don't need government to fix the problem of online poker - government is the problem. Let people decide what games want to play - the nanny state is troublesome to any liberty loving American.

Bill F said...

New York Times has an article on it, Bob.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/technology/16poker.html?_r=1

Your poker money might be safer in Deadwood, bud. Just sayin'.

larry kurtz said...

South Dakota deserves the revenue it generates, too, Bob. You know, so the state can hire more cops and build more prisons...