The Instigator
Dawg_Face
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
TrenchMouth
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

The United States government should stay out of my online poker business.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
TrenchMouth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2011 Category: Sports
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,032 times Debate No: 16147
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (6)

 

Dawg_Face

Pro

In this debate I will argue that unless there is definitive reasons for our government to intrude, (I.E. - Cheating.) they should not concern themselves with online gambling, specifically Poker sites.

My opponent will take the con/against side of the debate and try to prove that our government should in fact be able to shut down poker sites that are accepting money from American citizens.

I look forward to taking on anyone that would like to debate this point with me but would prefer, (not mandatory) that my opponent be an American citizen themselves with some knowledge of what's going on with the 11 big poker sites.

This debate will be four rounds with an 8,000 character max. and 3 days to respond with a two week voting period.

Thank you and I look forward to the debate!
TrenchMouth

Con

I'll be your "Huckleberry". You're argument is flawed. And your topic, "The United States government should stay out of my online poker business", is completely short-sighted.
My goal is, at the end of this debate, that you, and the judges, will agree with my contentions. I believe this first round is for salutations, so... "Greetings....now, bring it on"

Thanks for instigating the debate....best of luck on presenting your argument.
Debate Round No. 1
Dawg_Face

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent and personal friend, Trenchmouth, for accepting this debate. The Dude abides.

A quick recap for those of you that don't play online poker or haven't seen it on the news as of late. A federal indictment was filed in Manhattan, NY. on April 15, 2011 by the U.S attorney, Preet Bharara. In the indictment, Isai Scheinberg, Raymond Bitar, and nine other individuals are accused of operating illegal gambling businesses online. This has affected Pokerstars, Absolute Poker, Full Tilt, and a few other sites.

My main point will be that poker is not actually gambling. This has already been decided to be true by seven states, with more following suit.

Gambling is defined as, "the wagering of money or something of material value (referred to as "the stakes") on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods." (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

Poker should not be considered gambling because there is no uncertain outcome. This has been proven by the worlds best poker players time and time again. It is a game of skill, patience, observations, perception, percentages, and the ability to read what the other players on the table are holding. I will not refute the fact that there is some luck involved in poker but there is just as much luck involved in dominant sports such as soccer, football, MMA, boxing, etc. Yet these sport are not considered "gambling" when the players take the field. If poker was gambling then it would follow suit with roulette, BJ, craps, and countless other casino games that have never had a predominate superstar emerge. Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Phil Hellmuth have all cleared the World Series of Poker fields of thousands TWICE, back to back, to become champions. There is also about 30 poker players that are consistently winning poker bracelets or at least making final tables in the PPT or Pro Poker Tour. Luck? I think not.

The U.S. Government has shut down said sites is because of their own greed for money. They have filed a $3 billion dollar civil suit against the owners of the sites in question for "money laundering penalties". (http://blogs.forbes.com...) and also seized 76 bank accounts in 14 countries. Of this $3 billion dollars, nowhere in the civil suit does it say that this money is to be repaid to the constituent of the poker sites for monies lost.These charges would not have even been brought about if the government would have just continued to go about it's OWN business in the first place and not said that Americans cannot play poker online.

My opponent will try and argue that poker is in fact considered gambling and should therefore be regulated by gaming commissions. This is a false front and will be picked completely and utterly apart by myself in the following rounds. To him, I say, good luck and good debate.
TrenchMouth

Con

Thanks for posting this debate. This is a great subject. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss it in this forum.

In the first round, you described my role as this:
"My opponent will take the con/against side of the debate and try to prove that our government should in fact be able to shut down poker sites that are accepting money from American citizens."

In the 2nd round, it was this:
"My opponent will try and argue that poker is in fact considered gambling and should therefore be regulated by gaming commissions. This is a false front and will be picked completely and utterly apart by myself in the following rounds. To him, I say, good luck and good debate".

As far as I'm concerned my role, as outlined in the first round, is to argue for this point: "prove that our government should in fact be able to shut down poker sites that are accepting money from American citizens."

Well, of course, they SHOULD be able to do this!! And, they just did....why? How? Here's why.

In 2006, our government passed a law known as the, "Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act". It was part of the "SAFE port" act. And, it was originally designed to guard the U.S. against terrorists laundering money through internet gambling sites.
I'd been gambling for a few years on POKERSTARS.com when this happened. I thought my fun was over - but, being the rebel that I am...I kept funding my account and playing just as much as before. The only difference was that NOW, when I funded my account with, say, $20, it would show up as a payment to a "flower shop", or an "consulting" firm. Finally, it became an anonymous web ID number.
I knew that some law HAD to have been being broken. I just didn't really know which one. And, frankly, I didn't care. I just wanted to play poker.
At one point, I started my own little investigation into Pokerstars. I found that it's based in a little island country located in the Irish Sea, between Great Britain and Ireland, called, "Isle of Man". Kinda shady...NO?

Well, after my own investigation, I wanted to find out more about this so-called, "Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act". I found out it's a REAL law!! And, now the government is going to enforce it. As it is written, it "prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law."

Now, 'is the law just'? Is it a fair law? Does it make sense? You very well may answer "NO" to all of those questions, but the truth is that these companies were knowingly, and willingly, breaking the law...and committing fraud to do so.

This law, as with many others, may need to be changed. But, until it is...citizens and companies doing business in the United States have to abide by it, or suffer the penalties.

Maybe, these companies should have spent more of the $3 billion that the government is going after on some high-priced Washington DC lobbying outfit, instead of creating phony "shell" companies to launder their money.

We'll all be playing at CaesersPalace.com before long anyway.

more to follow....next round :)
Debate Round No. 2
Dawg_Face

Pro

In my first round I laid out the con/against side for what my opponent would do during this debate. At the end of the second round, I told the voters what my opponent would attempt to do to discredit my stance. So far, I've been right.

I cannot rebuke my opponents use of the laws that have been passed because there obviously is a law in place against online gambling. However, my opponent has either failed to read my case for the second round or wants to drop the fact entirely that poker is NOT gambling. Gambling was defined according to Wikipedia by myself in the previous round of debate. Nowhere in that definition does the game of poker fall in to play and nowhere in my opponents second round rebuttal does he try and prove that poker is in fact considered gambling.

Is it wrong that poker sites are run out of places like the Isle of man or Barbados? I don't believe so. If I could own a company anywhere in the world I think a nice island would do just fine. My opponent has used these places as if they were "shady" locations to make the voters assume that there is devious things going on when in fact, every location that said internet poker sites are based out of are quite beautiful and respected locations.

My hopes for round three are that my opponent can finally rebuke the facts I've laid out in round two. Especially considering that I am using the same defense that the poker site owners will be using during their actual trial. If he cannot then this will surely be a victory for myself and the poker sites that millions of people in America put their skills to use on.
TrenchMouth

Con

It seems that my opponents sole argument is that poker isn't gambling, therefore it should not be subject to the, "Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act". I beg to differ from him in this assertion. Let's take a look at some of the definitions of "Gambling":

"Gambling is the of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods. Typically, the outcome of the wager is evident within a short period".
-en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling

"An activity characterized by a balance between winning and losing that is governed by a mixture of skill and chance".
-en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gambling

"Play games of chance for money; bet"
"Bet (a sum of money) in such a way"
"Take risky action in the hope of a desired result"
- Google Dictionary

All of those definitions describe the game of poker. As any professional will tell you, there is a huge amount of luck involved in the game. "I guess if there weren't luck involved, I'd win every time." - Phil Hellmuth, holder of a record 11 World Series of Poker bracelets.[1]
"It's hard work. Gambling. Playing poker. Don't let anyone tell you different." - Stu Unger, winner of three WSOP main events.[1]

Clearly, poker is gambling. Therefore, it should be included in the activities covered by the,"Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act", which it is. Hence, the Department of Justice is being reasonable in enforcing the law by preventing the companies involved from continued operations within the United States.

Just because they don't like the law, it doesn't mean that they can devise methods of circumventing it. Which, they clearly DID do.

[1]http://www.viewonpoker.com...
http://www.fdic.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
Dawg_Face

Pro

Again, I fail to see the connection in the definition of the word "Gambling" and how it relates to poker. It says in the definition itself that it is, "the wagering of money or something of material value (referred to as "the stakes") on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods." (http://en.wikipedia.org......) Again, when poker is played, the skilled aficionados are usually the victors of said sport. Therefore, the literal meaning that it is a game or event with an uncertain outcome does not allow for poker to fall into the category. My opponent seems to be suggesting that luck is a major contributing factor when the references he gave, (I.E.-Hellmuth and Ungar) would have had to have been extremely LUCKY, (Astronomically in fact.) to amass the accomplishments that they have acquired.

His second definition given, which I will accept, is that it is "An activity characterized by a balance between winning and losing that is governed by a mixture of skill and chance".-en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gambling. I don't see a balance of skill and chance presented in poker as it is mainly a game of SKILL with SOME chance involved just like any other sport.

I find irony in the fact that my opponent would quote two of the best at the game who also happen to be two of the most eccentric. Phil Hellmuth is a legend in the sport of poker and is also known as "The Poker Brat". A moniker that he has earned and accepts whole heartedly. Mr. Hellmuth is renowned for saying things that are presented just to get under the skin of his opponents whether he's playing in the game or not. The quote that my opponent has used was obviously after Hellmuth had been beaten by someone, a reality that he never seems to accept and usually blames on the luck of his opponents as opposed to the skill he shows when he wins.
"No matter how much you may want to think of Hold'em as a card game played by people, in many respects it is even more valid to think of it as a game about people that happens to be played with cards."
- Phil Hellmuth (http://www.viewonpoker.com...)

Stu Ungar was also one of the best poker players in the world amassing a total of $1,945,000 between 1980 and 1997. Unfortunately, Stu Ungar was also addicted to cocaine which eventually led to his death in November of 1998. Can I refute the fact that he used the word "gambling" in one quote? No.... However, I'm willing to assess that people on said narcotic will say lots of things that they don't mean and again the quotation was probably taken after one of his losses.

In poker you have much control over the action through hand selection, bet sizing, the choice to call or fold. Just about the only thing you have no control over? The deal of the cards. In most casino games, you have very little control over anything except the size of the wager (and increasing this wager does nothing to affect your winning chances, unlike in poker you can bet big to deny proper odds, or to bluff out an opponent). An expert on casino gambling once said the house never offers you a bet it doesn't have and edge on. In Poker, the house is almost completely uninvolved, and is essentially renting you its tables and dealers for your personal use. In poker, your making decisions in a skill game against others who may be more or less skilled than you. The luck factor does nothing to change this in the long term. So, In poker, if you are a winning player, the long term is your friend in that you will profit in the long run despite short-term swings. (As proven time and time again by top superstar players.) In gambling, should you make a large score, you should probably quit and never play again, because if you keep playing, you will lose it all back. You can't beat the math, essentially, in both cases.

In conclusion, I fail to see the connection, as most fail to do also, with gambling and poker. As I said in round two, seven states have already decided by their courts that poker is a game based more on skill than luck with more states lining up to follow suit. I will leave my opponent and voters with one more quote from renowned author and poker player, Anthony Holden. "Poker may be a branch of psychological warfare, an art form or indeed a way of life – but it is also merely a game, in which money is simply the means of keeping score." http://en.wikipedia.org...

Thank you and vote pro.
TrenchMouth

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate this subject. I feel that I have successfully proved my argument that the US government has, not only the right, but the obligation to act as they have in shutting down the online "real money" poker industry operating illegally in the United States. Once again, the law has been official since 2006. And, the companies purposefully, and willfully, set up dummy companies to process players funds in order to defraud the government. Open and shut case.

Not only did I prove my point in that case, I also proved that Poker is, in fact, Gambling. For my opponent to argue that it's not gambling because it involves a certain amount of skill is saying that black-jack, craps, horses-racing, etc. aren't gambling either. They all involve some amount of skill to be successful at, also!!

I could give more examples to prove either point. However, I don't feel it's necessary. In my opinion, I have successfully argued my "Con" stance, and proven that the government should be intervening in these "off-shore", unregulated, poker sites.

I really haven't even mentioned the numerous incidences of cheating that have been proven to occur on these, unregulated, sites. According to MSNBC, one cheater had illegitimate winnings estimated at between $400,000 and $700,000![1]

In my opinion, online gambling should be legal. But, currently it isn't. While I would like to fight to have this law changed, as it stands now it IS the law. I have to obey it, just like everyone else - including off-shore online Casinos.

Thanks again for the opportunity to debate this subject.

[1]http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Dawg_Face 6 years ago
Dawg_Face
Feel better now buddy??? lol.
Posted by Dawg_Face 6 years ago
Dawg_Face
I'm not complaining.
Posted by TrenchMouth 6 years ago
TrenchMouth
Obviously, some voters (like, Lionheart) don't even read the debate, or consider the arguments.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by XimenBao 6 years ago
XimenBao
Dawg_FaceTrenchMouthTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Counterbalancing that last vote bomb.
Vote Placed by Lionheart 6 years ago
Lionheart
Dawg_FaceTrenchMouthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I don't care what the reasons are. It is my money and I should be free to spend it on a game of poker if I want to.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Dawg_FaceTrenchMouthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: "If poker was gambling then it would follow suit with roulette, BJ, craps, and countless other casino games that have never had a predominate superstar emerge..." - Con needed to address this with more than a couple of quotes.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
Dawg_FaceTrenchMouthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: considering that poker falls under the definition of gambling, and that top poker players openly admit that it is gambling and that luck is a huge factor, Pro was dooming himself when he based his argument around "poker is not gambling." He would have had a better chance if he focused that government should not be making laws about gambling in the first place.
Vote Placed by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
Dawg_FaceTrenchMouthTied
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Vote Placed by KnowItAll 6 years ago
KnowItAll
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Reasons for voting decision: I don't agree with the U.I.G.E.A but playing poker is gambling. It does take skill but so does handicapping baseball or any other sport. When one sits to play poker you don't know who will win but that someone will win, hence it fits into the definition of gambling.