If you heard the debate live or listened to the podcast (available here the debate starts at 11:40, and iTunes here; select the 5pm hour of 3-18-14), you know who “won.” Yes, I am biased, but I can explain why I feel this way in a few quick sentences:
- Mike came with facts, presented them ably, answered all the questions and charges, and made his case.
- Meeks made the usual canards about gambling (all gambling is bad, ergo we don’t need more gambling, because bad. Repeat) and responded like a small child, calling poker players “stupid.” She also had many facts wrong (poker is a game of chance where the house always wins).
- John Williams. The host of the debate on WCCO.
He has to be entertaining. He has to “make the numbers” (have an audience) for the selling of commercials. That’s his role. To do so, he presents “entertainment” dressed up as “information.” If it sells, great; if not, let’s move on to the next segment.
I was in radio for almost 20-odd years (some odder than others) and I’ve been on all sides of this coin (talent, management, sales, and research). Williams wasn’t particularly knowledgeable about the subject, and as several FB posters have noted, he continually cut Mike off to toss it to Meeks for a response. That was his “obligation” to seem fair.
Also, he had to be nice to Meeks to continue access. Media folks know that access is vital, and if you want certain folks to be on your show (Meeks and others from her Freedom Foundation are no strangers to WCCO radio) you don’t piss ‘em off.
From what I hear Williams was “surprised” to see the text voting go heavily FOR online poker. Not sure why he was surprised - Mike made points, clarified misconceptions, and scored body blows. Meeks even made Mike’s points about the need for regulation and oversight when she whined about the potential for offshore sites abusing players.
Make no mistake, Mike Qualley won this debate. As I write this, another debate on the same subject is happening at the iGaming North America Conference in Las Vegas, and it seems the “other side” is losing the argument again, as they resort to innuendo, screeds, and name-calling.
“…you have the PPA and all their creepy Twitter followers."
PPA supporters are “creepy?” Really? That’s the best you got? This argument would be over if it wasn’t for the millions of dollars our opposition will toss at this issue. Remain vigilant (and creepy) and support your right to play online poker!