Election results are in, but what do they mean to the poker player?

November 20, 2012  

For those who took a break from the action and watched the election returns, I’m sure you wondered, “What does the 2012 election mean for me as a poker player?” In short, the answer is more of the same. This election, if nothing else, was an indication of the power of middle, be it the Middle Class, Middle America or the Political Middle.

Across the country, extremes were essentially rejected. The Senate and House of Representatives saw losses to the Republican Party that had a number of candidates from the far right. While the hue and cry from the Republican right blame the loss of Mitt Romney on him not being conservative enough, the reality is the extreme right positions of the primary election undermined his credibility to the political middle. The independents, the moderate women and those with moderate views on taxation and immigration essentially rejected the ticket on Election Day.

How this will affect poker players across the country remains to be seen, but lobbyists for the gaming industry quietly celebrated the 2012 elections as a move in the right direction. A more moderate approach to governing helps those lobbying for a reasoned approach to gambling. At the federal level with Sen. Harry Reid in control of the Senate, the likelihood of a federalize online gambling or online poker bill continues to increase. This is certainly buttressed by four more years of President Obama, who doesn’t present a problem should gaming legislation make it to his desk.

At the state level, a number of states saw gambling proposals pass at local and state levels. Maryland will soon see table games at its casinos (see story here). Florida and Illinois are two examples of states that had a number of communities approve gambling in their jurisdictions. With state lotteries also pushing to expand their offerings, it appears the future is looking up for those who are gauging the political winds for gambling expansions.

I’m optimistic about this election as it relates to poker players and their prospects for increased action live and online. While I would never place real money handicapping the affairs of our nation’s capital, the rejection of the extreme positions on both sides of the political spectrum could result in more reasonable discussions on a federal approach to online gambling.

— Marc W. Dunbar represents several gaming clients before the Florida Legislature and teaches gambling and parimutuel law at the Florida State’s College of Law. Follow him on Twitter: @FLGamingWatch.