Stories from the Table


You don’t have to look very far to find out how online gamblers feel about the proposed HR 4411 bill which seeks to ban online gambling in the United States except for horse race wagering and lotteries which are regulated by the states.  HR 4411 passed in the House in March 2006 by an overwhelming 317- 93 and is awaiting approval in the Senate now.


Another bill, which proposes that an investigation be conducted before online gambling is banned, was introduced by Representative Jon Porter.  We’ll have to wait and see how much weight that bill carries.


Americans are sick of the government trying to rescue them.  According to multiple notes posted on online message boards, Americans would rather the government regulate the online gambling industry than ban it altogether.  They’re also upset by what they call a hypocritical ban because it makes allowances for the already state regulated online gambling venues.


In April 2006 CNBC released the results of a poll that stated over 90% of the respondents wanted online gambling regulated instead of prohibited.  Many fans of online gambling fear it will continue even if HR 4411 passes but that it would continue on the black market.  However, coupled with the ban will very likely be the technology that prevents anyone in the United States from accessing online gambling websites.  Proponents of the bill want to work with Internet Service Providers to keep such websites from being functional in the United States.


Americans who enjoy online gambling envy the British who enjoy legalized online gambling and want only the same for the United States.  Some American online gamblers have picked apart HR 4411and insist that it doesn’t specifically prohibit online gambling but that it just seeks to keep our money from being transferred to the online casinos. 


Other online gamblers feel that the answer lies in proving that poker is a game of skill instead of a game of chance, thereby ensuring that poker would not be a part of the ban.  Many American online gamblers feel that the government will never be able to enforce such a ban but what they may not realize is the penalties already assessed against some of those offshore gaming sites that have processed American gaming dollars.


In fact, one online gambler left a note stating that some of the online gambling sites are already telling Americans “we don’t want your business anymore.”  Although Americans are responsible for about half of the annual 12 billion dollars spent on online gambling, if doing business with Americans puts offshore online casinos in jeopardy, they may very well have to let us go.  To be sure, they want our business but not at the expense of losing theirs.


Some online gamblers are smug about HR 4411 and are sure it won’t pass because “there’s no way for them to enforce it.”  Others have drafted sample email letters to legislatures asking them not to vote for HR 4411 and beg other online gamblers to send these letters in droves.


Some online poker players seem to be shaking in their boots.  Online poker has grown incredibly popular in the last few years and no doubt a few of those billions are due to online poker.  Once Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker after laying out $40 at an online poker site, online poker jumped off the charts. 


It is indeed disturbing that so much money, time and energy is spent keeping us from making our own decisions regarding certain activities.  We can’t even buy the argument and from the looks of the blogs and online forums, no one does – that it is for our own good because gambling is so corruptive when the gambling that the states already regulates is left intact.


Online gamblers are prepared to fight this ban.  Let the games begin!


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