Saturday, September 24, 2011

Online Poker, The Department of Justice and John DeLorean

I played online poker on Fulltilt, but I am not owed any money by them. I can certainly understand anger and frustration in someone who has money tied up in this mess. In reading the blog postings it would seem that an old fashion lynching is the only thing that would satisfy some of the posters.

I have a different point of view. I have no idea what has really happened here. Certainly if Fulltilt had globally represent to its customers that their money was in some escrow account and it was not, then that is clearly wrong.

I want to play online poker. I want to play online poker with the least amount of overburden by the government. We are going to have online poker in this country soon, the one real question is what will it look like and who will be the major providers.

The Department of Justice has started a criminal case against various companies and now has amended the complaint to include allegations of wrong doing by some well known players. Maybe they are crooks and maybe they are not. I don’t know.

I do know that the Department of Justice can put anything it wants in their complaint and there is no one doing a fact check. At this point, the complaint is full of allegations, not facts. Nothing has been proven and we have not heard the other side. In fact the defendants are at a severe disadvantage in that they really have no ability to respond while the case is pending.

Poker players are supposed to look past the surface and decide what is really going on in a hand. They play a hand like 72o as if it were AA. I hope that poker players in America can see that this action by the DOJ is not isolated and independent of the politics and power structure in America. The goal is American companies providing American based platforms for American Players with a American government agency getting paid to oversee it all.

Fear is the best motivation tool that exist. If the goal of American poker interest were to clear the playing field for their entry and to produce barriers to foreign platforms what would they do. If the political powers that be wanted to create concern in poker players so that they would accept government regulation and addition taxes, what would they do.  This current DOJ prosecution is tailor made for these purposes.  

The American government put in place banking regulations that made it difficult for Americans to get money into their poker accounts in other countries.  Most of you probably don't care much about the World Trade Organization.  The US is a party to this organization.  In the 90's the US put up similar barriers to prevent sports betting in another country.  This other county filed a complaint with the WTO and it went to trial.  The US lost and was instructed to remove these barriers.  There was an appeal, the US lost.  Although the US has been order to take down similar regulations, it has refused.  Now the US is prosecuting various companies with regulations that violate WTO rules. 

I believe that this entire DOJ complaint is motivated by politics and not by a search for justice.   I don’t believe that it is as simple as the DOJ represents. If you don’t believe that the DOJ is capable of manipulating circumstance to create a prosecution then you need to google John DeLorean.

I’m going to reserve judgment and I am not going to be bluffed off my beliefs by the DOJ.