Texas might be famous for producing some of the world’s best poker players that ever lived – not to mention where the most famous form of the game was born – but ironically, poker and gambling Â in Texas remains illegal. And Texas Governor Rick Perry, one of the favorites to potentially become a candidate for president of the United States for the Republican party in 2016, has now authored an article in the National Review expressing his sentiments against online gaming.
Many in the Republican party believe that each state in the US should retain its own right to determine many of the laws that govern its borders. However, it appears that opinion is usurped when states want to engage in activities that oppose Perry’s personal perspective. Perry began the editorial stating the debate regarding Internet gambling has largely focused on the negative effects it could have on families, state economies, and state budgets. Perry believes that the added cost of policing criminal activities and terrorist organizations outweigh the tax income states would receive.
Perry cites the need for “net neutrality,” which states that governments should not impinge issues on the Internet regarding commerce, communication and other areas to allow the government to infringe on a citizen’s personal life. He then makes the case that allowing Internet gambling would give the government another avenue to infringe on people’sÂ lives.
The scare tactic is summed up when Perry states, “Legalizing Internet gambling would expand this heavy regulation to the Internet and create a new breed of government Internet-content cops.” The crux of the argument then is that people should not have the freedom to engage in Internet gambling because it would allow the government to infringe on their freedom. To some, this actually might make sense, but for the rest of us, we’re left wondering what was in Perry’s drink as he authored this piece.
The Texas governor went on to state that he certainly believes in states’ freedom, but that states cannot be trusted to regulate online gaming and poker. He believes that by the very nature of the Internet, it transcends state boundaries and that fifty states making fifty different laws would require digital roadblocks at every state border and put burdens on commerce. Apparently, Perry has never heard of geolocation services on the internet, which have been used by major (and minor) e-commerce sites for over a decade.
The Poker Players Alliance is a lobbyist group to further the interest of poker players in the United States. Vice President of Player Relations Rich Muny has led the group responding to Perry’s article through comments on Twitter and Facebook. Muny tersely responded to Perry stating, “Are you really now arguing that Washington should strip states of their rights just because you have an unfounded fear of an impact on Texas?” He also responded, “As for your concern for Internet freedom, your desire to ban online poker across the US — even in states wishing to allow it — is the nadir of Internet freedom.”
Back in 2012, Perry made an unsuccessful run at his party’s nomination for President. He started his campaign as one of the strong favorites, but after a series of debacles during debates and public comments made, he was forced to withdrawal. It remains to be seen if his aspirations for the 2016 nomination will come to fruition, and in light of his controversial opinion piece that argued for more federal regulation and less states’ rights (something his party opposes), it remains to be seen if anyone will take his candidacy seriously again.