Unfortunately, the only news the mainstream media picks up about online poker is the negative news. That is because good news does not make for sensationalistic headlines that include phrases like “fraud” or “ponzi scheme”. While the news seems to always be bad when it gets picked up by Reuters and news channels, I feel that is actually a positive thing.
Online poker having its own underworld that was not understood much outside of the Two Plus Two poker forum was not doing anything towards getting online poker regulated in the U.S. It took the Department of Justice to get involved. While I disagree with their involvement, I think something positive can come out of this.
Gary Johnson, a republican presidential candidate, has made online poker part of his platform. It isn’t just presidential candidates that are getting involved. Small political bloggers are joining in the fight, citing how ridiculous the whole situation is. The Full Tilt Poker civil forfeitures involving Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Rafe Furst has made front page news across major media. It is time for online poker to take the spotlight again in an attempt to clean up the industry and take back internet freedom.
I am starting to feel that the Department of Justice has an ace up their sleeve here. It seems that they want their names in the headlines but there is more to it here. Somebody, somewhere, had the motivation to pursue PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Cereus. While seizing cash certainly played a role, I have a feeling there is more politics going on behind the scene. With all of this news hitting the mainstream media I figure there is a politician that cannot wait to have their name associated with getting an internet freedom back that most of the rest of the world already enjoys. It will not happen tomorrow, but I think this week’s Full Tilt news is actually a positive for U.S. online poker regulation.
The first goal of Reid’s bill last year was to force out the unlicensed operators. While that did not pass, that action is still being taken and I feel more and more each day that there is a reason for that.