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Online Poker Regulation Successful in Protecting Consumers

One of Sheldon Adelson’s chief complaints against the legalization of online poker and gambling is his belief that consumers cannot be protected. His distorted stance follows a line of thinking that claims that the proliferation of online gambling regulation will allow the Internet to become a gigantic casino in which gambling among minors and problem gamblers would be rampant and out of control.

“Click your mouse and lose your house” was a clever phrase devised by Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. While points should be given to the anti-online gambling coalition in the area of promoting its cause in rhyming rap fashion, the facts of the matter point to the realization that online poker regulation successfully protects consumers and no houses have been lost.

Regulatory success accomplished despite revenue totals

Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas made mention of that fact in an op-ed piece recently published in The PPA honcho took pen to paper (or keyboard to monitor) and pointed out rather succinctly that legalized online poker in the U.S. has achieved “tremendous regulatory success” despite the efforts of Adelson and others to thwart its progress.

Pappas correctly stated that the media seem to zero in on the revenue totals derived from the three states that have launched online poker and gambling, and in so doing have perhaps failed to emphasize that regulation is accomplishing the huge goal of protecting consumers. Despite what Adelson wants the public to believe, there have been no reported incidents of underaged gamblers running amok online with Daddy’s credit card.

With regard to online poker revenue and the somewhat disappointing numbers realized thus far, it should be stressed that regulation in the U.S. is still in its infancy and real revenue success likely won’t be realized until more states climb aboard and offer online poker under an interstate format. It can certainly be argued that the three states operating regulated Internet poker at present are actually doing quite well considering that their respective ipoker schemes have been restricted to players within the boundaries of each state.

Regulation in U.S. expected to spread in future

Regulated Internet poker in the U.S. will most likely look quite different a few years from now than it does today. Other states are paying close attention to the regulatory success found in the regimes of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. Pappas mentions Iowa, Hawaii, Illinois, Colorado and Massachusetts, in addition to the frontrunners of Pennsylvania and California. After a few more states join the online poker party, even more are expected to approach the matter of legalization a bit more seriously.

The success established by the three states that have broken ground and paved the way for regulated online poker to flourish should be commended. Those states are going through the growing pains that others may avoid down the road. Perhaps, as Pappas suggests, more mention should be made of the success in regulation established in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware thus far, instead of focusing on revenue totals. Those revenue numbers are expected to get better as time moves on.


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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.