In the state of Washington, you can go to jail if you’re caught playing online poker. That’s pretty harsh, considering that it’s a “crime” that doesn’t hurt anyone. The backlash on this is getting high enough that lawmakers have started to consider legalizing online poker period. It makes sense to legalize an activity that many adults enjoy just fine, without falling into addictive patterns or committing crimes in order to fund their addiction. One would think that we learned our lesson after prohibiting the sale of alcohol, but apparently this is a lesson that has to repeat itself over and over again. The residents of Washington State deserve to be able to choose how they spend their time as well as their money. Gambling isn’t new; it’s been around for literally thousands of years. The online version is convenient and “on demand”, not locking anyone into a set schedule. When gamblers are weary of playing, they can log off and go about their business.
The policy up for grabs right now is House Bill 1114, and it would overturn the ban online poker in the state. Unlike some states where all forms of gambling are illegal, Washington allows for brick and mortar poker rooms and on tribal properties.
What isn’t being discussed yet are the taxes that would have to come into play to make online poker stick around. Taxation has been a touchy subject, especially for land based casino that has to pay taxes to the government.
Despite people knowing that it’s illegal, they still continue to play on overseas gambling sites. No one has gone to jail yet as a result of the current laws, but proponents of online poker would rather not risk the jail time if they can help it.
California is also thinking about legalizing online poker this year, but there are still conflicts that have to be resolved before this could happen.
Our take is simple: online poker should be made legal in all 50 states. If all of the players are of legal age and they are aware of the fact that they are putting real money on the line, then it stands to reason that they should be allowed to be adults. In the real world, adults make terrible decisions, and they also make great decisions. What’s considered “terrible” can also be considered great. If people think gambling is a waste of time, they don’t have to gamble. However, if we’re going to call this a free country, then we have to start letting adults do what they’re going to do, as long as they’re not hurting other people.