It was no coincidence that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, representing Nevada, was the one pushing online poker regulation during the lame duck session at the end of 2010. It is estimated that regulating online poker in the U.S. would create 30,000-50,000 jobs. Considering the potential major players in a regulated market, MGM and Caesar’s, are based in Las Vegas it is safe to say most if not all of those jobs would be created in Las Vegas.
According to the December 2010 unemployment numbers the unemployment rate was 14.9% in Las Vegas. There were 142,525 metro Las Vegas residents actively seeking employment. This doesn’t account for people that have given up completely, people who are working less than they would like or ones that have taken a lower paid position based on their skills.
Even if the number of online poker jobs created is on the low end of the estimates it would knock over 3% off of the Las Vegas unemployment numbers. On top of that there would be a trickle down effect. People that are behind on their mortgages could catch up on their payments slowing down the biggest foreclosure rate in the country. When the foreclosure rate slows property values would stabilize. There would also be jobs created by the spending of the newly employed.
One other effect would be that MGM and Caesar’s would generate large databases of online poker players to directly market the City of Las Vegas as a destination. This would likely help with tourism and potentially create more jobs.
None of the above even takes into account the added profits of the online poker room owners as well as taxes generated. It would also help with keeping our money within the U.S. borders, not sending it overseas like we have done with so many other industries.
There are quite a few other ways Las Vegas could reinvent itself but this seems to be the most obvious and easiest. U.S. residents are already playing online poker creating jobs and tax bases overseas. It makes no sense to keep it that way.
It seems the biggest opponents of online poker are in states that wouldn’t fall under the regulation anyway because their states don’t already have regulated brick and mortar poker. I guess some people want to control what people do in their own homes even when it is not even in their own state, even if online poker will go on anyway. Luckily John Kyl, a long time opponent of all type of internet gambling, will not seek reelection in 2012.
Another problem with the opponents of online poker is that if the feds don’t get their act together then individual states will pass their own online poker regulation to generate tax money. Several states already have pending legislation. This will keep the feds out of the taxation and regulations, keep Nevada from getting the much needed jobs and could potentially fragment the player pools.
The current situation does not work and regulation will have to come in one form or another. The people that fight against the rights of U.S. online poker players are lost in the dark ages and need to be removed from office. I’m sure those same dinosaur conservatives are the same politicians that give so much grief to other nations about restricting internet rights.