If you haven’t heard it before, there’s a term that has become popular lately, especially in the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystems. However, it can apply to virtually anything, including poker. FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, and is used to describe information disseminated that serves no purpose other than to spread false truths and create acrimony for a particular topic. A former U.S. senator from Arkansas could now be known as the Queen of FUD.
In writing an op-ed piece for the Financial Times, Blanche Lincoln compared online poker to terrorism. In an effort to support her belief, she pulled out the 2017 FBI Internet Crime Report, which provides data on “victim counts” for activities conducted through the Internet.
Lincoln wrote, “The FBI’s 2017 Internet Crime Report revealed that the victim count and financial losses suffered as a result of online gambling surpassed that of terrorism-related cybercrimes last year. It is this clear pattern of targeting the helpless that stands out to me.”
First, the mere fact that someone could compare online gambling to terrorism is mind-boggling. But that’s a topic for a different day. It’s more important to just deal with the facts.
The “clear pattern of targeting” was almost last on the list. Online gambling ranked 31st out of 33 activities listed by the number of victims in 2017. There were reportedly 203 victims of crimes related to Internet gambling last year but the amount associated with charities was over twice that amount. Malware and ransomware victims? 24 times the amount of victims seen with online gambling. Taking it a step further, identity theft was 90 times more damaging than was Internet gambling.
Lincoln is a Democrat who used to represent Arkansas on Capitol Hill. She is now working with a group that is trying to prevent, or at the very least delay, casino industry innovation and to keep gambling off the Internet. Her op-ed piece can be described as nothing more than a poor attempt at fear mongering as she tried to link online gambling with terrorism. When someone has to reach that far out in left field to try and prove his or her point, it’s obvious there’s no case.
The former senator is one of almost 100 that had backed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. This “little” piece of legislation is what ultimately led to poker’s Black Friday and the virtual death of online poker in the U.S.
Thanks to the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to kill the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the federal government can no longer dictate gambling activities in individual states. It’s because of this that sports gambling has become such a hot topic, and why online poker is (slowly) being resurrected. At this point, there isn’t much anyone can do to stop the continued expansion.
So, in summary, sorry Shelly and Lincoln—progress will continue regardless of how badly you don’t want it to, or how much money you donate to the cause. Sport gambling, including online sports gambling, and online poker are here to stay. Perhaps, instead of wasting resources and money trying to beat a dead horse, it would be prudent to innovate and roll with the times.