Coalition Against Gambling in New York, the New York State Council of Churches and the national organization Stop Predatory Gambling say to New York State legislators “Vote NO” on S5302 and “NO” on A 9049A .
The two bills to legalize certain internet-based poker games (Omaha Hold ’em and Texas Hold ‘em) look the same. Both use the same deceptive role-of-skill argument to say the two games are not gambling, thus evading the prohibition against gambling in the State Constitution.
A thought experiment: five robots are programmed at exactly the same very high skill level to play Texas Hold ‘em. Each has ample cash. They are gambling. Pure chance will rule. In the first hand, one bot will take all. After thousands of hands, however, each will still have about as much as the others. This is in game theory a “fair game.”
Now downgrade the skill levels of four ‘bots so that one scarcely knows the relative values of different hands, while the other three are each in its own stratum of skill between beginner and tournament champion. After many hands the bottom ‘bot will have been cleaned out. After hundreds of hands, the supreme robot will have pocketed much more than the others. After thousands it will have cleaned them out, too.
In the second scenario disparities in skill skewed the distribution of winnings, but in both the robots are gambling, playing the same game by the same rules as in the first scenario.
The only way to consistently make money in poker is to play with people you outclass who don’t know how much better you are. Gambling in “games” whose outcomes are not (like slot machines or roulette) due to pure chance sets the stage for money to flow to the more skilled from the less skilled. This is the stage for hustle and fleecing.
Besides the prevarication that i-poker is not gambling, the twin bills share a set of supposed safeguards that look good on paper. Nothing is said about stringency or enforcement.
If internet poker is not gambling, why would licenses be granted only to racinos or class III casinos?
Could the paradoxical restriction be to avoid opposition to the bill from the bricks and mortar gambling sector?
S5302 and A9049A are pushed by companies wanting to make money from New Yorkers and to sustain the sharks who target New York i-poker players. The two bills are to sell high-cost hustling licenses that will hurt New Yorkers.
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