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USA Misses The Boat With Online Poker

USA Misses The Boat With Online Poker

Poker, especially Texas Holdem, has become incredilbly popular.  Millions of viewers can’t get enough of Texas Holdem on TV.  And all these new fans can’t wait to try their hand at a hand of Texas Holdem.  Of course, gambling is illegal in most of the United States.  That means if someone wants to play at a casino or live poker room, they have to travel to a place where it’s legal, like Las Vegas or Atlantic City.

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However, thanks to the World Wide Web, poker enthusiasts have another much more accessible place to play…in an online poker room.  Online gaming has become a multi-billion dollar industry that keeps growing every year.  Seems like we could use a growth industry, but there’s a catch.  All the money online casinos make goes overseas.  Online gambling is still illegal in the United States.  Oh, no one is worried that the FBI is going to break down your door and arrest you and your computer, but it’s annoying.

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Especially annoying because it means that anyone from the U.S. that wants to set up an online poker room has to set up a company overseas first, often in places like the Cayman Islands or Gibraltar, anywhere that is not in the United States.  So even though over two thirds of online gamblers are American, the profits they generate go out of the country.  Hmmm, think the government could use the taxes on those businesses?

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The law that prohibits online gaming is over 40 years old.  It was set up to prohibit gambling over the telephone (a handy charge to use to crack down on illegal bookies back in the day).  But it was extended to include the Internet.  Some members of the US Congress want to make the law even tougher.  They haven’t gained much traction, and the major online casinos aren’t worried.

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In these troubled economic times, it would make more sense to legalize online gaming in the US so companies could be based in America, pay taxes and hire US citizens.  In the meantime, poker players will continue to log on and sit down at online poker tables, and continue to send money to overseas companies.

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