Why We’re all So Angry About the Internet Poker Crackdown

Freakonomics Author Steven Levitt Stands Up For Poker

Washington, DC (May 11, 2011) – Steven D. Levitt, “Freakonomics” author and famed University of Chicago economist, is upset about the recent events regarding online poker. The title of his latest piece, “The ‘Daughter Test’ of Government Prohibitions (And Why I’m so Angry about the U.S. Internet Poker Crackdown),” and a recent working paper he published get to the nub of the problem faced by the poker community today.

As poker players’ basic freedoms are being infringed upon, not to mention their right to play a cherished game of skill, now is the time for Congress to listen and take action to protect Americans’ liberties and livelihoods.

“We have all known that poker is a game of skill and that playing online poker is clearly legal. Yet today our game and all of us as players are being unfairly targeted by our government making it nearly impossible for thousands of bread-winners to support their families and denying millions more this recreational pastime,” said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance. “Thank you Steven Levitt for your excellent research into predominance of skill in poker. This fact, in addition to the vast consumer protections and potential for billions of dollars in tax revenue offered through licensing and regulation, should give lawmakers the comfort they need to establish a safe, regulated U.S. online poker market.”

Poker is no doubt a game of skill, as Levitt’s latest study released this week clearly demonstrates. His conclusion is blunt, and obvious: there is “strong evidence in support of the idea that poker is a game of skill.” Courts rely “heavily” on whether or not poker is a game of skill in determining legal outcomes, and, Levitt writes, there is “evidence for a substantial role of skill in poker.”

While the science now bears out this fact, the law lags behind – to the detriment of online poker and the millions of Americans who enjoy the game.

The PPA urges every member of Congress and everyone else to learn the facts provided in Levitt’s new working paper: “The Role of Skill Versus Luck in Poker: Evidence From The World Series of Poker.” Levitt has graciously provided a free link for all of our supporters to his paper: http://theppa.org/?p=9883

To view Levitt’s piece in Freakonomics, click here.