Rounders Screenwriter Pushes for Nationwide Online Poker Amid Coronavirus Scare

3 weeks ago
Rounders Screenwriter Pushes for Nationwide Online Poker Amid Coronavirus Scare
10:48
12 Mar

Coronavirus is everywhere at the moment. Not literally (yet), but it seems to be dominating the discourse. Brian Koppelman, one half of the writing team behind Rounders has seen an opening most haven’t: re-legalising online poker in the US.


What he’s actually proposing is “compassionate use” online poker, but that is the thin end of the wedge. The FDA’s “compassionate use” policy allows people to be treated with experimental, unregulated or insufficiently tested treatment in severe cases where nothing else has worked. 

This allows patients to use drugs as a hail mary pass when nothing else works without being in violation of the US’s outdated drug laws and without affecting test data.


Koppelman proposes something similar with online poker. Currently, five states have legalised poker, though as yet no company is providing it in Maryland. Koppelman is proposing that for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic the ban be lifted from sea to shining sea.

Going to the casino to breathe on hundreds of strangers while handling cards which are touched, reshuffled, and passed out again to others at your table. Making online poker temporarily legal nationwide would allow live pros to keep their living, addicts to get their fix, and recs to have their fun all without breaking quarantine.


The government could theoretically rescind the rule once the crisis has passed. But once the toothpaste is on the brush, exactly how motivated politicians are to get it back into the tube will probably depend on how much they are getting in donations from Sheldon Adelson to kill it.


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Jon is a freelance writer and novelist who learned to play poker after watching Rounders in year 9. He has been giving away his beer money at cards ever since. Currently he is based in Bristol where he makes sporadic donations to the occasional live tournament or drunken late night Zoom session. He ...Read more

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