Just when I think I've seen it all something shocking hits the headlines; Sen. Jon Kyl, the arch enemy of online sports betting, opens up for online poker!
Good Lord! I had to read this story over and over again, go over at least ten different sources and pinch my butt four times to realize that it is all true.
Third most powerful Republican, Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ), is the Republican Whip in the Senate. He abhors online sports betting. He is one of the fathers of that piece of legislation called UIGEA, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The UIGEA states that financial institutions are not allowed to perform transactions on behalf of companies offering gambling to the U.S. public.
Thanks to this legislation the Feds were able to coordinate what is known as the Black Friday, taking down online poker sites and forfeiting tens of millions of dollars belonging to online poker players worldwide.
Sen. Jon Kyl must have thrown the biggest party ever on April 15th. His dream finally started to materialize. He had been hoping to be able to dip into the pockets of his fellow Americans, and several thousand other non American. He finally showed the World he is The Man, the one who can tell people how to spend their hard earned money. The ones who do not listen to His Word had a taste of His Wrath.
Although his retirement is imminent, the Black Friday must have galvanized this White Knight (in his mind, at least). So now he comes again, joining forces with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this time.
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (Kyl & Read) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asking him to restate his office position "that federal law prohibits gambling over the Internet, including intra-state gaming." The odd couple goes on questioning how the Justice Department enforces policy regarding online gambling with a not-so-gentle slap on the Department's wrist. "A lack of activity from law enforcement led to a significant and the growing perception that operating internet poker and other internet gambling did not violate US laws."
Alright, its reasonable to consider these two had enough. Not in thousand years. They finish their argument telling the DoJ how to deal with the problem. [The Department of Justice has to] “pursue aggressively and consistently those offering illegal internet gambling in the United States.”
Gotta love these two. Well, no one could imagine any different from Kyl. Sofar, so good but here comes the real blow, the shocking spin. "Efforts to carve out an exception for games like poker, which many believe is a game of skill, may be considered later this year," Kyl wrote on his website. "Until I have the chance to review them, I cannot make a judgment about their merits; but I will consider them carefully as long as they leave in place the broader proscriptions against online betting."
I know. First we read what this Senator tells the DoJ about online gambling, then what he writes on online poker. Are we facing a situation of double personality? Maybe the comment was posted by the (unknown) Senator's naughty twin?
We are talking about Jon Kyl, the man who said a million times that "Online players can gamble 24 hours a day from home; children can play without sufficient age verification; and betting with a credit card can undercut a player's perception of the value of cash - leading to possible addiction and, in turn, bankruptcy, crime, and even suicide."
Sometimes I stop and think about policy, like the one of Senator Kyl. What if he had been a vegetarian? I'm pretty sure he would have spent the best of his political life crusading against meat consumption, suggesting the prohibition of barbecues as medium through which people grill red meat. His biggest achievement would have been the UGEA (Unlawful Grilling Enforcement Act). I'm sure he would have gone as far as taking down Home Depot, guilty of selling grills and grilling accessories.
I for one do not argue about the necessity of proper regulation in the industry. We have seen over and over again that in countries were online gambling is properly regulated players have the highest level of protection. However no one, certainly not Senator Jon Kyl, has the right to order his fellow Americans how to spend their hard earned money.
He has already damaged the lives of tens of thousands of poker players worldwide culpable of playing poker online. Thanks to the piece of legislation he fathered, the feds had resources to seize their hard earned money. The only correct description to this act is Grand Larceny.
The Government should use Jon Kyl's political experience having him spearhead efforts to reach a peace agreement with the Talibans. He is best fit for the job; he shares their mind set, his position mirrors theirs. Send Jon Kyl to Afghanistan, that is where he belongs.