In promoting his newly released book, Straight Flush, Ben Mezrich has been doing radio interviews and writing columns in major newspapers. And one common theme that he’s been pushing during his promotional tour is legalizing online poker.
Mezrich, who’s penned other best-sellers like The Accidental Millionaires and Bringing Down the House, gained some perspective on internet poker through interviews with Absolute Poker co-founder Scott Tom. The infamous Tom served as a source for much of Mezrich’s poker ideology today: the US government are spending way too much time cracking down on poker sites and surrounding the game with red tape.
Following the release of Straight Flush, Mezrich has emerged as something of a champion for online poker’s cause. And he especially seems concerned with preaching about how Massachusetts should legalize the activity, just like Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada have already done.
Mezrich Makes Legitimate Argument in Boston Globe
One of the biggest launching points for Mezrich’s argument for legalizing online poker has come through a popular Boston Globe column. In the article, Mezrich states that poker has become an American pastime, with everybody from soccer moms to college students enjoying the game.
That said, he believes what the US government did to Tom and other poker operators during Black Friday was hypocrisy at its best. Moreover, he questions how online poker remains demonized in many parts of America while lottery games and trading stocks are considered perfectly legitimate. Here’s one excerpt from his Boston Globe column:
I can walk into Shaw’s supermarket this afternoon and buy 20 scratch tickets — which, by the way, require no skills — and that’s perfectly legal. I can go online to Ameritrade or Fidelity.com and bet the entirety of my retirement savings on any random stock with zero knowledge of even what company I’m investing in — and that is fine. Hell, I can drive to a casino or Keno parlor in the 30-plus states that offer some form of legalized gambling — or, if the business section is to be believed, floating down the Charles by the time all is said and done — and bet every penny I have without breaking a single law.
Will Mezrich’s Cause Help Massachusetts Poker?
It certainly doesn’t hurt internet poker’s cause when a famed author is heavily in favor of it. Mezrich’s articles and radio interviews should definitely help gain support for poker among the general population.
Of course, the big thing is to convince Mass. lawmakers that online poker is a good idea. A proposal was made last year that would’ve included a “bad actor” clause and $10 million license fees. However, the Bay State passed their 2013 budget proposal without attaching a regulated poker bill.
For the time being, it seems that last year’s proposal is the closest that Mass. will get to deciding on internet poker any time soon. They still remain one of 11 states that are interested in the activity and diligently studying it. However, it may take a few years before online poker sites are up and running in the Bay State.