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US Lawmakers And Mainstream Media Still Missing The Point With Online Gambling

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It has taken the mainstream media several years before they caught up to the online poker movement that is taking place in the US. For years, the media disregarded online gambling, tossed it aside as if the millions of Americans that were playing at online casinos did not exist.

In the past couple of years, however, the media has started to pay attention to the online poker laws in the US. That has happened as poker has grown into a televised phenomenon on NBC, ESPN, and several other major networks. As the game became nationalized, the media started to pick up on the struggles that online poker players have had for over a decade.

Despite their recent interest in the online gambling industry, the truth is that these mainstream outlets still do not understand the struggle. If they did, they would have been more precise in their reporting of Senator Harry Reid's push to regulate online poker.

All across the US, the media reported of how Reid was attempting to legalize online poker. The only problem is that, according to federal laws in the US, there is nothing illegal about a person playing poker on their computer for money. What Reid was actually doing with his legislation was attempting to regulate the billion dollar industry that has existed for years.

Reid and other lawmakers are not free from blame as to why the legislation appears to be dead. The intentions of the senator were clear after he narrowly defeated Tea-Party candidate Sharron Angle in the mid-term elections last month. Reid had the support of the highest ranking gaming executives in a state that is driven by its gaming industry.

Those executives have watched revenue drop over the past couple of years thanks to the recession and increased competition. After years of fighting Internet gaming regulations for fear they would lose revenue, the gaming executives finally realized the part of the equation where they actually made money from Internet gambling, and that is where Reid came in.

Instead of supporting Angle, who like other Tea-Party enthusiasts, would never have gone for online gambling regulations, the gaming companies backed Reid, and in return, a lame-duck bill would be created to give Las Vegas casinos the inside track on cornering the Internet gaming market, once regulated.

The problem was that Reid and the media, and even the gaming executives, failed to realize one thing, the fight for online poker players is not about regulation, or taxation, or even protection from the government. No, the battle for the millions of poker players was being fought for freedom.

The Internet is still relatively new, which means that lawmakers feel compelled to make the rules from the start. Although President Obama had said he was in favor of keeping the Internet free from government oversight, the president has failed to press for freedom in the issue that affects the largest Internet group in the country, millions of gamblers.

Representative Barney Frank has been the legislator that has championed the cause for the past several years. Frank has spoken about Internet freedom, and how Americans should be able to make their own choices when it comes to what they do with their entertainment time and money.

Frank has never won the battle, mainly because he cannot convince enough of his fellow lawmakers that freedoms afforded Americans in the Constitution were being invaded. If people want to point to a problem in Washington, they can point to the idea that hundreds of legislators go to work each day with issues, but without reasons.

Had Senator Reid and his colleagues, along with the mainstream media, understood what the online gambling issue was really about, it would be much easier to come to a simple agreement that freedom is what this country was founded upon. It is not about taxation. It is not about personal lawmaker agendas. It is not about regulation.

It is about millions of people in this country that simply want the right to make their own decisions, without being mandated by the government or the media. The Internet was not around when the Constitution was created, but that does not mean current day lawmakers should take the issue into their own hands, especially when it comes to freedom, something the US has long claimed to stand for.

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