Reactions to ‘Black Friday’

In 2008 the Obama campaign promised ‘change and hope’ but for internet bingo and poker players the changes have not been good and many have lost all hope. Many gaming analysts are trying to fathom the thinking behind the recent heavy handed actions of the US Department of Justice. When Obama was inaugurated in 2009 many saw the new administration as sympathetic to online gaming interests. After all, Obama had a reputation as a skilled poker player and rumor had it that he enjoyed a game of poker now and then. Many are wondering what the history and rationale behind the recent moves of the DOJ.

In 2006 two far right congressmen tacked the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act on to a muss pass port security bill. Most in congress were totally unaware of the addition and the bill was presented in a late night session of congress with no time for debate of any kind. A poll taken shortly after the bill was passed showed that a majority of congressmen both Republicans and democrats would not have voted for the anti gambling measure as a standalone piece of legislation. The law was designed to pander to a tiny group of anti gambling zealots. The bill was signed into law by then president Bush.

As if the passage of this ill advised law wasn’t enough proponents misused a legal tool known as the ‘midnight drop’ which is generally used during administration changes. Since the original version of the law was vague anti gambling extremists tried to tighten up the regulations using the midnight drop which is usually reserved for important matters of state.  Despite objections the law remained in place but enforcement was lax for several years…until April.

Reactions to the move have not been positive by any means. Sharp criticism has come from both liberals and the libertarian right. Gaming blogs are full of invective and most point out that the United States has much more important issues to deal with such as the economy, unemployment and the massive national debt. Twitter and Facebook are full of what can only be described as irate posts and tweets. There have been very few comments in support of the action. Many in the online bingo and gaming industry say that the future of the industry lies with individual states. Many states are planning to offer residents legal online gambling in the near future. Many are hoping that this will lead to legalization on a national scale and the move will provide the federal government with a new revenue stream worth billions every year.