Thursday, January 30, 2014

Iowa May Legalize Gaming Tournaments

Video game tournaments are something many of us are aware of, but mostly don't take advantage of. A lot of times you pay a fee for a crappy prize in return at a local level - national or internationally it's a different story. Particularly here in the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex, gaming tournaments are abundant between the yearly Quakecon, the events held by ScrewAttack, and developer GearBox located just up the road. It's easy to be spoiled at how common game tournaments are. But in some states, they are illegal for *gasp* fear of gambling and debauchery. The only concern I've ever had at a gaming tournament is if someone is going to go on a sugar spree after so many cans of Mountain Dew.

But one House Representative from Iowa, Chris Hagenow, wants to update an older law that limited tournaments to trackball golf machines. Why only golf? Well no one gambled over golf, or threatened violence, or had hissy fits. Golf is a civilized game. Essentially, the Representative is striking out the words "golf" and wanting to open tournies up to more video game machines. With a strong note that this is not meant to encourage gambling, in fact, it's to do the opposite. Because, you know, there are so many people in seedy back alleys powering up their Wii's to play Cabella's Big Game Hunter for fast money.

"Come on Bambi. Get your ass out here. Daddy needs some crack!"

The reasoning is fairly logical. It's stupid to penalize people for holding gaming tournaments, where no gambling is involved. Just people coming together to show off their skills for a prize by the holders of said tourney. Where's the harm in that? The changes to the bill would not only be for track-ball units, but for gaming systems where users have control with a device, so a broad settling over all video game content.

I'm pretty sure there's another reason for all of this. I.E. money and taxes. I'm going to take a strong guess that Iowa has a tax on those video golf tournaments for people to legally run them. Opening it up to include more games means more money for the government. It's not any stretch of the imagination that this is similar premise to how state lottery's are ran. You pay for the ticket, but any winnings are taxed if they're over a certain amount. A $1,000 video golf prize could net the government anywhere from 5-20% of the winnings from the tournament holders or the recipient. Adding more games equals more profit. Yea Democracy!

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