Protest because I'm so damn angry inside. That's pretty much the protest. That I'm angry. Because there's absolutely nothing else I know to do to address and rectify what's making me angry. I have no power to change things and politicians are stupid. So, I blog.
Five months ago, I had a plan. I had a goal. I was trucking along in my mind at what felt like the speed of light. Each day was mapped out and I was bringing all my forces, limited as they may be, to bear on the plans I'd set before me. I had the freedom to do that because I had the ability to take whatever knowledge and skill I had taken the time to cultivate and shore it up next to thousands of other like-minded individuals in a survival of the fittest competition - each day, every day, as often as I chose. The way I see it, that kind of competition goes on every day on the main streets of America when people make a decision to open a business and ply their trade. May the best man win and to the victor go the spoils.
Hard work goes into opening a business. Planning. Studying. Often, coaching. Financial preparation. And yes, sometimes, luck. A successful entrepreneur is the ultimate gambler, who does his homework better than anyone else. And keeps doing homework, long after his regular competitors have given up and folded shop, because there's always someone new looking to fill the void, to take the spoils. Plus, the best simply want to continue being the best.
I'm an entrepreneur. I started my own business in '08 and I can ply this trade anywhere in the world I'm licensed to do so. I can do it well, and I can continue to do it well so long as I stay on top of the law that is my area of practice and so long as I have clients.
Poker is Entrepreneurial
I can appreciate the argument that there may be some aspects of online gambling that are better left to brick and mortar endeavors. And, in light of the FT fiasco in the face of Black Friday* (for me, Full Tilt Poker will forever stand for 'Fucked The Pokerz'. Yes, I know that's an overly broad and simplistic statement. I don't care. I'm angry.), as well as the things I've learned about online poker since then, such as the apparent prevalence of ghosting (a la Girah, Nick Rainey, etc.), I can see that there is a need to regulate the entrepreneurial endeavor that is online poker. (*Wonderful articles explaining Black Friday can be found here, here, and here.)
But, come on. How hard is it to do? You open a site, the house gets a reasonable cut. Players compete fairly. A winner wins, the site reports cashes for all those who cashed, and those who cashed pay taxes on their winnings as required under the current tax code.
Somewhat simplistic. Maybe a little over broad. But, for the most part, this is exactly what a business does every single day it opens its doors, rings up the register, or cuts an invoice.
You might say, well yeah, but businesses have a lot of hoops to jump through before they can ply their trade and/or sell their wares. This is true. It's called 'laws on the books'. For example, a business owner can't use underage workers in circumstances that don't comply with child labor laws (governed in the US by the Fair Labor Standards Act and each state). And women are to be paid an equal salary under the Equal Pay Act. And under Title VII, a company can't discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. And every business has to comply with the Internal Revenue Service tax code.
Companies follow the requisite guidelines, they get to keep on plying their trade and selling their wares. Companies get caught not following the requisite guidelines, they get fined, sanctioned, despised in the court of public opinion, and sometimes they go out of business. All, supposedly, for the good of the consumer and in the interest of capitalism.
I have no idea what goes into running an online poker site and I'm not a gaming attorney. Thus, my opinion/grain of salt. But you've got the entrepreneur [which I see as the site itself (the business, its investors and employees) and the poker players utilizing the site to 'do work'], and you've got the consumers [which I see as including both the entrepreneurial poker players and the recreational poker players].
It's not that difficult (ok, it may not be easy, but it is not freaking rocket science). A federal law requires:
- no minors
- report earnings/tax as provided under the law
- no super using
- no ghosting
- no overly burdensome rake
- all the current "game responsibly" measures
I don't know how to effectuate any of this and I know I'm leaving stuff out, but this is my rant.
To protect against minors playing, require birth certificates (yes, everything can be falsified but, again, my rant). If the entity is going to be international, the age requirement in the country in which the individual lives controls.
To protect against super using, impose spot checking like drug testing and require a strict liability penalty for the site's owners and investors, large enough to hurt/put them out of business AND that mandates monetary remedy (payback) to impacted consumers.
To protect against ghosting, I don't know. Rewards for people who report it, maybe. Plus, it seems like there's got to be a way a computer program could monitor that.
This is just my early morning rantings. And now my anger is spent and I'm left with time on my hands. That's what got this ball rolling in the first place, though...I woke up this morning, checked in online to Facebook and Twitter. Found myself wondering who in the hell all these people were in my Facebook friends list, started deleting, found the exercise maddening, got pissed off that I was even messing with it, realized I'm spending way too much time acting a fool on social media, thought about why that was, remembered how my days prior to Black Friday had been scheduled and orderly, got pissed again, and viola - blog post.
I'm an amateur and this is what the free-fall has created in me. God bless the pros who lost their jobs. And screw the politicians who can't sort this out right.