US Poker Revenues – Let's Get Real

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Poker Revenue…Boon or Bane to States?

If states legalized gambling via the online card games of Poker and taxed it, would it be a ‘boon’ or a ‘bane’ to their bottom line?

Well, first let’s be sure we agree on some definitions:

Boon: something to be thankful for; blessing; benefit…(good)

Bane: a person or thing that ruins or spoils…(bad)

So, the question is, if states allowed legal online and/or casino Poker gambling games, and taxed it, would they make enough money from the tax revenue to compensate for what some people say would be the negative repercussions of allowing online gambling?

The general consensus seems to be going toward….”Yeah…go ahead and do it.” but there’s still a vocal minority who say, “Oh….you can’t do such a thing. It’ll ruin our…..”….whatever.

And there lies the gist of it.

The potential benefits of legalizing online Poker are much more specific, much clearer and much more needed in today’s economy than the presumed (and some would say ‘negligible at best’) problems associated with it.

The ‘pro’s’ of the issue:

The lost revenue is a huge sum of money and is sorely needed by the states and the Feds.

  • It already goes on to some degree anyway…mainly from offshore points.
  • It’s just a matter of time before it’s accepted so why not do it now when the need for revenue is obvious.
  • Other forms of gambling already exist so what’s the harm in one more?
  • It’s legal in other countries so ‘why not here?!!’
  • It helps the Indian tribes that stand to benefit from their alreadyh substantial casino presence and activity.

The ‘cons’ of the issue:

  • Allowing Poker will make it harder to say ‘no’ to other, even more undesirable forms of table gambling such as roulette.
  • Only a small portion of the cash flow from these operations actually goes into the community.
  • It’s bad for our younger generation
  • The Indians tribes are a minority…so why treat them special?

Those are a few of the issues involved. Anybody who knows anything about US history know the realities of life in the US (or anywhere). People will do what they want to do. The way it usually works out is that the battle is over who gets the money.

Prohibition didn’t work in the US. Now that alcoholic beverages have been legal for many years, the major alcoholic beverage companies have branched out and become much more ‘main-stream’….e.g. Segrams, Inc.

Prohibition of marijuana really never worked in the US. In fact, having some good ‘home grown’ around the house (in some households anyway) is sometimes considered basic hospitality.

And considering that people can still, legally, play Poker online (they just can’t play for money….legally), and ‘back room’ Poker games go on all over the US, it doesn’t make much logical sense to not allow it online and/or in legally sanctioned casinos.

One of the biggest issues against legalized Poker, and gambling in general, is that the revenue doesn’t always filter down to the community. There is something to that argument. Advocates of this position point to the deplorable state of the New Jersey Boardwalk even though there are numerous casinos there.

The casinos, nationwide but especially in Nevada, are really pushing for it because they see all the revenue they’re already losing to the illegal online Poker gaming industry. Some say that due the recent indictment of three of the three biggest offshore entities in the online Poker business (Poker Stars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker) the timing is right for US interests to step in and take over.

That’s probably what’s going to happen. The entrepreneurs from abroad actually proved that money could be made in the online Poker business. Only problem was, they didn’t ‘grease enough palms’ here in the US. So….they got shut down.

It’s questionable whether the charges will stick but regardless, their operations will probably never be the same in the US…. Especially if several new initiatives at both the federal and state levels bring Poker and online Poker into the legal realm of diversions available to the US consumer.

There’s a lot of people and institutions who would love to see it happen. The timing is right because governments need the money. Is it good for ‘we the people’?

Maybe….maybe not. But since when has that made any difference?


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