Why Politicians can be Dictators in the Gambling World


04/09/2014
By Maria McCoyGoogle
It has to be said that there are many self-righteous politicians out there that think they are doing the right thing by implementing a particular policy despite the majority of the people the policy effects, completely disagreeing with it. In Pennsylvania this is exactly what has been happening in the debate for online gambling and its legality.

There was online poll conducted targeting 500 Pennsylvanian adults who were question about the legality of online gambling and how they felt about a new policy that would criminalize the activity within their state. The stats were shockingly in contrast to the bill that Mario Scavello, who acts as the state’s representative, is seeking to pass in the state courts.



It is almost a stark reminder of how Tony Abbott in Australia over exaggerated and talked up the pressures and negativity of online gambling in Australia without differentiating the forms of gambling there are available online. Abbott referred to online ‘Pokies’ as detrimental to society and used a rare one or two cases of people’s lives that had been destroyed via online gambling. In reality, the number of people that gamble online compared to one or two serious cases of gambling addiction and bankroll mismanagement didn’t even make up for half a percent of Australia’s online gambling population, yet Abbott has already made his mind up.

The consequences of online gambling in Australia are yet to have been released, but in Pennsylvania they have been made very clear. The charge for online gambling as a misdemeanor has the potential to land some people in jail. The actual punishment states that there will be a fine or imprisonment, but really a misdemeanor for exercising your own free will to decide what you want to spend your money on? That seems a little doctorial to say least.

In Pennsylvania the online survey conducted was featured on the Online Poker Report. There was just one question that said quote: “PA State Rep. Mario Scavello wants to make playing online poker a crime punishable by jail time. Do you support or oppose his position?”

82.2% of those that took part said no! That is an overwhelming majority against someone that has just decided that it is the right thing to do to criminalize online gambling. With these results, we could see some further polls as admittedly there could be some flaws in this research.

Firstly, those people that play online gaming for real money are likely to be online quite often. Secondly, they are likely to visit sites such as the Online Poker Report to gain further information, whereas someone that does not gamble online is unlikely to be aware of the site and therefore would not take part in the survey.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if more comes out of this particular survey. Mario Scavello should not ignore the democratic rights of the people he is responsible for and therefore should now be looking to act on a survey that covers a wider diversity of citizens in the state to see what the entire state really thinks about his new bill.  

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