Jason Somerville has been one of the most vocal and best known proponents of online poker in the United States. His Twitch channel, devoted to online poker, has thousands of members who come there to learn about the game.
Many of his viewers are first-timers, meaning they are just getting introduced to the game of poker.
These Somerville’s efforts did not go unnoticed by the industry leader PokerStars, who signed him up as a part of their team. He continued working with the company to help them not only promote the game further but also fight for the online poker regulation in the US.
Somerville vs. Coalition against Gambling
The issue of regulation has been a hot topic in the US, especially in a few states that are showing an increased interest in passing the legislation. California definitely belongs to the group, as the online poker bill has moved back and forth more times than we care to count.
Continuing to play his part in this whole process, Somerville appeared on the CNBC’s “Power Lunch” yesterday, debating the hot issue with James Butler, executive director for the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion.
Speaking for the legislation, Jason emphasized the fact that right now, US players have no other option than turning to unregulated sites if they want to play online poker. He further explained that playing on these sites puts players at a constant risk of losing their money in a blink of an eye.
I personally have lost tens of thousands of dollars on unregulated online poker sites that have just vanished in the middle of the night. J. Somerville
Regulation and taxation would get rid of these problems and would create a safe environment for everyone looking to play online. Somerville made it clear that he believed that this was the government’s responsibility as much as the next thing.
On the flip side…
Butlers, speaking for the Coalition, expressed a completely different view. His way of looking at the legislation is that the problems it stands to create would far outweigh any potential benefits.
It is the Coalition’s position that the only way for the government to protect people is by enforcing stronger measures against the unregulated sites. Therein, Butler believes, lies the solution to the online poker conundrum; not the regulation.
What happens when you take that much money out of the service economy, the retail economy, the manufacturing economy and put it in a sector that does not have the same economic multipliers? J. Butler
Why California needs online poker regulation?
If we are following the Coalition’s logic, the online poker regulation is not necessary. People should simply stop playing poker and that would be the end of that. No problems with unregulated sites and no need to pass the bill.
But, here’s the thing: this is not a solution; it’s a straight up prohibition.
There is no real reason why Californians shouldn’t be allowed to play online in a safe and regulated environment. It would be good for the state due to taxation, and it would be great for players who could finally enjoy their games in peace.
Furthermore, being such a big and important market, regulation in California would probably speed up the pace in other states and would likely lead to establishment of a new compact, possibly between Nevada and Cali.
All of this would create a much better environment for online poker players in the States, gradually pushing out unregulated sites. That’s why the regulation is the right and only way to go.
People will not stop playing just because someone makes it more difficult. On the other hand, they will gladly give up on unregulated sites if they are offered a real, viable, and feasible alternative, which also protects them and their money.