Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Activism

So here I am on a Monday evening talking on the radio with three people who just a few short months ago I didn’t even know.  OK, I knew Rich Muny, VP of Poker Players Alliance and host of Poker Advocacy (produced by OnTilt Radio, the show I was on) by name only, as I had been getting the monthly PPA email newsletter and update for a couple of years.  I became Facebook friends with Mike Qualley, PPA’s state Director in Minnesota after his radio debate with Annette Meeks of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (Mike ably defended our right to play online).  And Lori Kolstad is everywhere online – I’m not certain when we became friends (but I know that having me on Poker Advocacy had to be her idea…I just know it).

How’d I get here?

My first post of February was a rant against Sheldon Adelson, as he had just unveiled his plan to destroy the world fight online gambling with his new coalition.  It turned out to be the first of many against Sheldon and others on the dark side.  As I explained on the radio show last night, I had been somewhat patient in the battle to make online poker safe, regulated, and legal…again…ever since Black Friday.  I despaired at the Feds doing anything constructive, but gained hope as the states took matters in hand.  First Nevada, then New Jersey and Delaware established online poker, and more states were lining up to join them

Then Sheldon got his game on, and I got pissed.

In the last 3 ½ months more than 50% of my posts have been about the online poker issue.  I hardly thought I was some sort of activist, but…I guess I am.  I have learned more about the issues, the players, and the promise.  I put my money where my mouth was and joined the PPA (it’s $15 bucks, and most of you drop that in beer money or in the first three hands.  C’mon, go join if you haven’t).  And I went on the radio and opined.

And I will continue to do so (only at a slower pace, as tourist season starts on Thursday).  One thing I hope to continue to do is to educate those who are not with us, but can be influential in our cause.  Let me explain.  There are three groups in this issue:

US – just about everyone who plays poker is on our side.  I know there are a few who make snide comments and seem to be against the idea of online poker, but they are few and far between.  And most get Christmas cards from James and Cheri.

THEM – Sheldon and his minions.  This includes the bought politicians like Lindsey Graham, the former politicians like Willie Brown, and others who are a bit more sincere about their opposition to online gambling, like Mike Qualley’s old foe.  Meeks doesn’t just dislike online gambling, she doesn’t like ALL gambling.  At least she’s consistent.

THE DK’S* – DK is market research speak for “Don’t Know.”  The DK’S are the ones we need to reach and teach.  They’re the ones who know little about the issue, perhaps little to nothing about gambling, and can be our best hope in this battle.  We’re not going to change anyone in the THEM camp – their minds are made up (thanks to some extra “currency” from Sheldon).  But we can change the “Don’t Know” group to “Won’t NO” in that they may not want to be involved with online poker, but they won’t’ stand in our way.  They’ll learn and understand that the only way to provide a safe environment for online poker is to regulate it.  People who want to gamble are gonna gamble – if the states regulate it, they can provide the oversight, the security, the consumer protection – and also gain the financial benefit in the fees/taxes from the poker providers.

Prohibition has been tried, and failed.  It’s NOT the way to go.  People need to be reminded of this.  People need to know that the scare tactics of Adelson and his Coalition are just that – scare tactics.  They need to know it’s the billions of a casino owner who is financing the anti-online crowd, getting them to do his dirty work in what amounts to stopping competition – and trying to do it in the name of “legislation” while trying to hide behind the cries of “Terrorism,” “Jobs,” and “Think of the Children.”  Then think of the countless times Adelson’s casino in Pennsylvania has been fined for underage gambling.

It’s a task I am up to.  Are you with me?  Start educating!

PS - I will post a link to the podcast of the Poker Advocacy program that Rich, Lori, Mike and I were on as soon as I have it, just so some of you
can remember what the hell I sounded like on the radio.  I didn't suck too ba

* I just know the folks at Fairleigh Dickinson** are gonna see this and think I’m talking about them again.  NO, I am not.
** BTW, I corrected my spelling in previous posts.  I’m sorry – I have known two people in the past with the last name of Dickenson (with an e, not an i) and I just typed it without thinking.  Full disclosure: I have not known anyone named Fairleigh.


  1. As promised, here are the links to the show:

    On this week's Poker Advocacy with Rich Muny webcast, I was joined by Mike Qualley, Mike Exinger and Lori Kolstad for a panel discussion on all things poker. You won't want to miss this!
    • http://podcasts.ontiltradio.com/playlist/mp3/Poker-Advocacy-May-19-2014.mp3
    • http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/poker-advocacy/id502875902 (iTunes)

  2. Crud - the links didn't post as links - cut and paste, ya lazy bastards.