Usually about twice a month a business opportunity comes across my desk. Someone or group has been working on something that they want advice on or they're looking for investors. Or someone requests I take a look at their work, and see if there can be a better way to monetize their ideas, or at least turn it into a professional business plan.
Most of the times it's with some fella's I've done work for in the past, and on occasion it's from colleagues or friends who are just looking to chase their dreams. And every so often, it comes from an unsolicited email through the company web site or just a random email from someone whom I've never met, heard of, or spoken to.
I got one of those this week. The email came through a while back asking for a phone call to discuss an opportunity that was so huge, he would only meet in person. This person operated another free roll poker company somewhere out in Pennsyltucky, and my first thought was that he was going to propose that I buy his company and that he could blah blah blah blah blah.
That type of email has been the norm lately. Free roll poker tours are hurting because of mismanagement, lack of vision to see the need to keep up with the ever changing climate, and the failure to address those needs that arise because of said changes. My company is thriving because we see those changes and adjust accordingly. (pat's his own back) I digress.
I did a little research on this company. His website was a free website through league lineup, and immediately left me rolling my eyes. I wouldn't call it a company, but I had responded in an email that we would speak at a certain time, so I called him.
His first comments were about me getting out there to see him to discuss because he wouldn't do it in person. The opportunity was to big. I explained to him that I see a couple deals a week and I wouldn't drive 2 hours to sit down with him, or anyone for that matter, without knowing what it was about, and fell silent.
About 4 seconds passed and he asked, "ok, you won't screw me?". I crossed my fingers behind my back and said "no, I won't screw you".
He goes on to tell me that there was a ruling in Pennsylvania that will allow him to open up poker rooms. Real poker rooms. Offer cash games, take a rake, servers, etc. I asked, "In PA?". He said rather abruptly, "YEAH, That's what I'm talking about here".
I asked, "Are you referring to the case that was tried outside of Pittsburgh sometime back?" "Um, no, I didn't hear about that". He then went on to tell me that a guy he knew was running a game that got busted by local police. The game was broken up, and all of the participants were arrested. But the judge threw the case completely out, and no one received any charges whatsoever. His contention was that he knew the judge, and the judge asserted that he would never prosecute any case relating to poker. He wanted to open up at least 10 poker rooms.
I explained to him that it's not up to the judges to decide what gets prosecuted or not. And if a DA wanted to charge someone with a crime, they would most likely do so, regardless of some municipal judges opinions on said matters.
PA law states very clearly that gambling is comprised of three things. Consideration, chance and reward. Regardless of any ruling that any judge makes, you can be sure that the state is going to keep its thumb on this one. Even when it does become clear that they can't fight it anymore, requiements will be made on those wishing to open card rooms. Licensces, fees, and background checks will be standard.
Even DE has a law that any game held anywhere in the state has to have qualified, and certified dealers to run the game. It's a little known law, and something that came about back in the 80s when they were preparing to open card rooms before the referrendum failed to pass.
I don't tell this story to make fun of guy who is obviously short sighted in his bid to become a poker mogul. And there is no reason to finish the story, other than laughs galore. It got hysterical, really. But what is important is the change that seems to be coming in the poker world, and how those changes will effect the game.
Multiple rulings have been passed over the last month in several different states. Most recently yesterday concerning the case in Sout Carolina. Judges are ruling more and more that Hold'em is a skill game. They somehow think this is going to change their states legislative view on gambling for one particular game. I don't have to tell you that it won't. But it will, and has, helped with the idea that maybe the push to make this game legal outside of normal casino halls isn't going to go away. And for that, states should start to look into allowing professional halls in their states. They'll claim regulation first, but we'll all realize that it's about the dollars. It's always about the dollars.
I would also assume that most of the judges that are making these rulings are avid players and are sick of being hypocritical. In addition to being an avid player, they are also probably the type of player who plays with their egos more than their brains, and therefore are better than everyone else, and absolutley know that this game is about skill. Hence better, and not luckier. <---- SWEEPING JUDGEMENT!
There is a lot to consider. With the economy the way things are, I can see states going after every single dime possible. Gambling revenues, although dropping, will certainly be pursued at every level of government.
I have a lot more on this but it's getting a little long, and I am losing concentration. Plus I have to go get my balls checked out. It's that time. I will continue this next week, and venture into some of those interviews I had with some pros about how they see this playing out. A lot of them were very opinionated about what is happening. It's a big part of the change of poker.