The single most common objection that we encounter when advocating to acquaintances, friends, and family who are not active poker players is this:
“I DON’T PLAY POKER, IT DOESN’T AFFECT ME” – or some substantially similar dismissal of the topic.
While on the surface this may seem like a great explanation, in reality it is a very closed-sighted look at the issue. The right to play poker, legally, and to own/operate a business that offers poker games as a for-profit service, is not just about if poker is the recreation or profession that a given individual or group wishes to pursue.
What is actually being regulated and kept as an illegal activity, is the right of informed, consenting adults to participate in the recreation/profession of their choice, and the prohibition of entrepreneurs and businesses from offering this service in a safe, secure, regulated and honest environment.
Is Prohibition the Answer?
In the 1930’s Prohibition did not prevent the consumption, manufacture, or sales of alcohol. Rather, it promoted the creation of toxic and unsafe products, it gave rise to the organized crime reigns of Al Capone and his contemporaries, and it fostered and encouraged smuggling and other illegal activities. This prohibition resulted in otherwise law-abiding citizens engaging in criminal activity, simply to enjoy a recreation that was once legal in the US, and was still legal throughout the world.
In Texas, the prohibition on for-profit poker operations has given rise to a plethora of “underground” card rooms and operations. Players and operators have been prosecuted, convicted and sentenced because a group of friends ordered a pizza at a game. Annually, people are robbed, assaulted, and even murdered at games that occur in these “underground” card rooms, largely because even if a problem occurs, the fear of prosecution prevents security or law-enforcement from being called to protect the would-be victims of the crimes.
Poker laws and regulations don’t impact non-players, until their relative is robbed at gunpoint while playing in an unlicensed location. It does not impact the non-player until the owner of a pizza shop is included in an indictment, simply for delivering food to an “illegal” game. These laws don’t impact non-players until the money that would have been kept in the Texas and local community economy has been taken out of state to find a “legal” game, and once it leaves, it rarely returns.
Laws that limit the freedom and liberty of informed and consenting adults, impact a wide variety of individuals, even if they are not directly engaged in the “prohibited” activity.
Another area where those who do not play are impacted, or will be impacted, is the collection of tax revenues. I have never heard of a state, county, or city which has so much money coming in, that they do not need additional funds for education, public utilities, or other budget operations. (Alaska and the oil-royalty rebates are possibly an exception). The legalization of poker, and online poker in the state of Texas would not be another functional expense of our state and local governments, but rather would be a revenue source to the state to assist and augment the funding of programs like sidewalks, education and other state functions. The greatest benefit to those who do not play… is that they are not being taxed. These taxes would only be paid by those wishing to play poker or operate a poker business.
Follow our ongoing discussion as we discuss overcoming objections to more reasons that people may not understand how legalized Poker In Texas can be a benefit to the entire state.