Thursday, September 25, 2008

Can $700 Billion Save Poker?

This is pure speculation and wishful thinking on my part, nothing more. Read nothing into this. Unless I'm right, then I'm a fucking prescient super-genius you should all bow down to.

Congress is getting close to approving this asinine (I've used that word a lot recently) bailout proposal. They're sticking in some changes, likely caps on executive pay (meaning the troubled companies will never be able to hire a top-tier exec), mortgage relief (meaning personal responsibility goes out the window), and perhaps some vague "taxpayer protections" (I still have no idea how ANY of this plan will protect taxpayers). So that's $700 billion being used to buy shitty asset-backed securities that nobody can price. The government WILL overpay for these, and the taxpayers won't see much, if any, profit. I also strongly doubt it will buoy Wall Street for an extended period of time (getting rid of the bad debt will reopen lines of credit, but those will just be used to increase leverage again... causing another overload).

So if the economy's still in trouble, a major tax raise will be out of the question. Any government that does so will find themselves on the street fast. So they'll need an alternate source of tax income. Enter the sin taxes. Increases taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol are... unpopular. On top of that, too much of an increase will cause people to find other sources - bootleg/stolen cigarettes, homemade booze, pot, etc.. But what about gambling? Gambling winnings are already heavily taxed in the US. You win big at a casino, you get a chunk taken away. Same for Powerball winners. But right now, online gambling is verboten. Realigning the "games of skill" section to allow poker would bring back billions of dollars of taxable revenue streams. They might have a hard time allowing online craps or slots or the like (too easily rigged), but poker already has the infrastructure. Online sports betting might come into play as well, since it's already legal and wide-spread in a brick-and-mortar context.

So maybe this bailout will save poker. Maybe the need for capital will cause a rethinking of the UIGEA... "well, if we regulate and tax it..." Stranger things have happened, that's for sure.


OhCaptain said...

It would be nice to see the fishes return. Drizz was pointing to the bizarre notion that playing the lottery INCREASES when money is tight. If only we could point that mentality to the poker table we could get our cut...just thinkin too.

Riggstad said...

funny, I had this convrsation the other day with a certain newspaper in Philadelphia that interviewed me.

I gave him the same speculation.

You must be a genius!!!

I'll link you the article when ut runs

on_thg said...

Hell would freeze over before any sort of widespread legalization of sports betting. It is nothing short of miraculous that the UIGEA exempts fantasy sports.

Online poker has a better chance, but even that not so much.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

My you are thinking wishfully today aren't you?

1Queens Up1 said...

I am hoping your right Astin, i really do hope.

But then I see articles like this and realize that our government stinks.{6930A5AD-8BF6-499C-A4DB-70A3544BFF7D}