Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Online Gambling

Funny how news stories sometimes cross paths in the same day. Today there was news out of Carnegie-Mellon and also out of Congress that create an interesting situation. The School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon today announced that they have programmed a pokerbot that can probably outplay all but the very best human poker players. Much like the chessbot wars of many years ago, I expect that before long the pokerbot will be created that is almost impossible to beat if the game goes on long enough to eliminate the short-term luck factors.

Also today, CNN reports that the House of Representatives is trying to clarify the illegal nature of online gambling sites. It has always been illegal, but most people either don't want to believe that or think that it is a harmless crime, or that they won't get caught, or any one or more of the various reasons that people choose to publically engage in illegal activity. I've often been astounded by the radio stations (usually sports talk) that run commercials for online gambling sites, EVEN THOUGHT THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL has said they are illegal. Granted, those ads have mostly dissapeared in the past few months, but you can still get bombarded with information about gambling from all sorts of media sites, and they aren't trying to get you to go to Vegas, they're trying to get you to go online. Even better is how Jesse Ventura has become a shill for an online betting site, actually they call him a "pitchman." How proper for a former governor.

Of course online poker is the newest star in the online gambling galaxy. Red Herring says that online poker has grown to a $3.3 billion industry, and it is still just getting starting. It's kinda funny to read what the online gambling sites think about the possible new legislation, look here and also here for just a couple of examples.

So here's my solution. Carnegie-Mellon is a respected member of the education community (very respected). Let's have CMU create accounts for their pokerbots at all of the online gambling sites and have the pokerbots clean house on all the less-than-excellent poker players. Take all the money that they win from the millions of losers and use the money to fill in the financial gaps for higher education. Let's send a million kids to school with the "I'm all-in before the flop" scholarship.

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