Harvard Supports Online Poker: Group Seeks to Legalize Internet Card Game
Poker players have a right to have fun and earn money, according to Harvard scholars.
While the state of Massachusetts is seeking a provision of a gaming bill that would criminalize online poker, some Harvard students and professors are supporting electronic gambling.
Harvardians Supporting Online Poker
The group advocating online poker is the Harvard Law School Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society, led by Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson. The group was formed to utilize poker as a teaching tool. It claims that banning Internet poker denies players a legitimate source of entertainment and income. The group held a rally in Boston on March 18 to protest the casino bill.
Interestingly, the bill (that bans online poker) is supported by Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick, who is a ’78 Harvard Law School graduate. If new laws are implemented, online gambling would be punishable by up to two years in prison and a $25,000 fine. The law would even apply to those residents who play online poker games that do not have money at stake.
Those that support the ban of online poker say that the game fosters addiction. Such fears have been vamped because Massachusetts is looking forward to building three new resort casinos.
Active Advocate, Law Prof. Charles Nesson
Nesson has been supporting online poker for several years, amid controversies regarding its legal aspects. Earlier this year, he made a special appearance as a guest star on The Colbert Report (Comedy Central) saying that online poker games should be legal and that they can be used as a teaching tool, saying it is good for geopolitical analysis, risk assessment, and money management. He even proposed on the show that presidential candidates hold a poker game to test their strategic intelligence.
“I believe education will prove to be the internet’s highest and best use,” Nesson testified at a public hearing held after the March 18 rally. He wore a red T-shirt reading “Poker Is Not a Crime.”
“I speak for the potential use in online education of learning and teaching through mastery of strategic games, from tic tac toe through checkers and chess to poker with lessons along the way about logic and life,” Nesson said. “Instead of criminalizing online poker, I ask the legislature to recognize poker as among the most sophisticated of strategic games, and to acknowledge its potential power as a teaching tool, and to open to the possibility of embracing online poker with facilitating regulation. This could bring to Massachusetts a multi-billion dollar industry and significant revenue for the state.”