To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why Regulation Has Nothing To Do With Good Business

I'm not sure if anyone else noticed it, but yesterday afternoon the Internet as I know it (pornography and gambling websites) were hit hard by something. Various porn sites were experiencing outages and the one poker site that I use (with play money credits of course) was knocked out for the better part of a hour. It was ugly.

The problems with the poker site put me in a special kind of bind as not everyone at the tables I was playing at were disconnected, allowing the remaining players to take advantage of the situation. After about 30 minutes the site finally suspended tournaments until they did whatever they were able to do to fix the problem. This caused me and about 145,000 other people to lose money (uh, play money). I sent an e-mail requesting compensation as I'm sure thousands of other people did as well. Here's the thing -- they actually responded and told me to provide them with the exact table information (easily attainable) and they would follow through with compensation in the next few days. Good stuff. Try getting that out of an airline.

This is hardly the first time I've had to deal with this site's customer service in the past and each time they responded in a quick and courteous manner, usually handling the problem above my expectation. Again, good luck getting that from comcast or any other service company you deal with on a regular basis.

It's not hard to see why an online poker site would stress customer service and problem resolution. It's a business that operates on trust. Trust that has to be gained, as you can't touch the chips or see the dealers or floor managers. There also used to be a lot of competition online for your dollars (not so much now thanks to Congress) and the companies knew that players weren't tied down to a particular casino because of the location, you could play anywhere online. It was incentive to treat customers well.

Word travels fast online, and the integrity of an online gambling site is paramount to it's business. They know if they didn't take steps to ensure that integrity that they wouldn't stay in business for long. They don't need to be regulated by some fools in Washington (give it time, it will happen. The UIGEA was purely a stop-gap to give the feds time to figure out how to best go about taking their cut of the online action.) to treat their customers well. The incentive of staying in business works well enough.

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