Preet Bharara is the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He’s also a little fame-whore who is desperate to make the news whenever possible. As part of his enduring quest for publicity, around this time last year he led the charge which shut down online poker to U.S. gamblers.
Like many online players I had money in my account when DOJ seized the major online sites. To its enduring credit, PokerStars paid back every dime, but people on other sites weren’t as lucky. If you had money with Full Tilt or Absolute Poker, you probably lost all of it.
Online poker companies were begging to be regulated, but a combination of factors prevented that. One of the biggest was an anti-online gambling bill that was quietly passed by being coupled with legislation to protect our ports in 2006.
You might be asking yourself, what exactly does prohibiting online gambling have to do with protecting our ports? And that’s a very good question. The answer is absolutely nothing. The port bill was going to be passed, and former Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, snuck in the gambling language to ensure it made it through, too.
I’m not sure why preventing online gambling was important to Frist. I see he received contributions from casino companies, and at the time, they were still opposed to online gambling, so it could be he was just paying them back for their contributions. Whatever the case, I’m pissed online gambling is still illegal.
Less than 10% of online gamblers make a profit, and I accept that. I’m a big boy, and I’m capable of making my own decisions. Some people like to spend their money on clothes or cars. Me, I liked to sit back, drink a few beers and play cards in the comfort of my own home. Is being able to do that too goddamn much to ask?