According to Michael Hiltzik, the federal crackdown on the three internet poker sites shows the US government’s apparent confusion, hypocrisy and costliness. He reasons that since the US online poker law is unclear, it is still unknown whether it is illegal to play poker online for money; at this rate innumerable American players could have been indicted.
Another factor to consider, is that gambling is legal in every state except for Hawaii and Utah (and even these states might have poker rooms as part of their casinos) but online gaming is not. The federal take on taxing legalized online poker business could have been huge but now it seems that the government is going to end up spending revenue on indicting online poker companies.
It has been estimated that if online poker were legalized in California it could generate tax revenue of $100 million per year for the state. State Senator Louis Correa brought out this estimation and is pushing for a bill that will legalize online poker in the US. His argument is simple, if marijuana can be legalized then so can online poker. Indian tribes backed by Dickstein who represented the tribes in compact talks, state that their 1999 agreements with the state allow the exclusive rights to do business within the state. Exclusivity was awarded over electronic gambling devices which then meant video slot and other poker machines, but now it includes internet poker as well. So awarding Internet poker rights to anyone else would violate their rights. The bill is still being tossed back and forth by the government as they have not yet come to a decision; meanwhile, they do not get a cut from the Indian tribes’ properties that are allowed to have poker rooms on them.
Most US poker players would prefer the federal government to regulate the poker games. Although, it is possible to cheat at online poker; proper regulation and monitoring (which is definitely required) may be able to solve this problem. Hence it would be wise on the part of the US government to collect the tax payer money by legalizing online poker instead of wasting their money on indictments.
In any case online poker is here to stay and US poker players who are not able to play poker online in America, will resort to playing online poker from offshore companies – even moving from America to Canada if they have to. As of now, many see the events of Black Friday as an indication of wasted opportunities.