Everyone knows by now that poker is exceptionally popular in America now. With an abundance of poker on television and easy availability of poker supplies such as clay chips, anyone can enjoy the game. Few laws seem to object to home games, but most still prohibit organized poker, whether it’s for profit or charity. No matter that it’s a “crime” between consenting players, it’s a vice and is restricted for our own good. Worse, with the growing popularity has come a crackdown.
Some areas are letting a little sense into their laws, but it’s too slow and for dubious reasons. Consider:
New York state Sen. John Sabini is pushing to allow bars or restaurants to host poker tournaments offering prizes such as Yankees tickets or a trip to Las Vegas.
Because players spend money on food and drinks, businesses would earn more, and “that would trickle down to the state,” Sabini says.
Sen. Sabini could, of course, focus on the concept that poker houses or casinos could generate profits themselves, which would then be taxable, rather than waiting for it to result in greater beer sales. The taxability should be an outcome and not the reason for decriminalization, but some victories aren’t quite so complete.
Alas, with the rise in nanny laws protecting people from themselves, the victory may also by Pyrrhic:
If gambling laws are relaxed, society should help those whose playing gets out of control, says Keith Whyte, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Council on Problem Gambling.
It’s not society’s responsibility to help. Private members of society are free to help all they want, but
government society as I think is implied here should not. I shouldn’t be compelled to use my money and/or time, whether through new gambling taxes or personal ID checks, to prevent someone from being stupid. I know how to control my gambling. Don’t punish me because someone else can’t do the same.