Archive for October 12, 2006

Sky Not Falling

October 12, 2006

Hi. ChrisV here, I’m back on the Yobbo blog team. There have been some developments in the world of online poker since Yobbo’s posts on the subject. Mega-site PokerStars issued a short statement to the effect that they’ve decided it’s just going to be business as usual for them. And Neteller have, in the words of the WSJ, vowed to stay in the US.

All this means that poker should go on more or less as normal for the next 270 days, while regulations are drawn up describing what transactions banks need to disallow. And I’m not sure what Yobbo thinks, but I really don’t think it will be a problem after that, either. Even if Neteller gets somehow shut out of the market, the amount of money at stake for PokerStars is mindblowing and I have no doubt they’ll figure out a way to get around whatever the regulations end up being.

The other thing it means, of course, is that PokerStars is shortly to become market leader in the industry by a gigantic margin. They deserve it. Their software, security, support, game choice and marketing are all first-rate. Meanwhile, while it’s been profitable for me playing at Party, I’m getting some strong schadenfreude from their demise. Their support was nothing short of horrible and they did some scummy things. Think of them as the Telstra of the online poker world.

Sack MacTiernan Now

October 12, 2006

A reporter from The West waits 50 minutes for a taxi and suddenly this issue is on the agenda again.

“Ask any West Australian who gets taxis and people are not just talking about half-hour wait times anymore. People are regularly having to wait 1 1 /2 to two hours,” Mr Woods said.

Deputy chairman of Safer Northbridge Peter Palmer said three-hour wait times for some passengers in the city area were the worst on record.

Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri said deregulation of the industry was the best solution. He said higher night fares would also help attract more night-shift drivers.

Everybody pretty much already knows the way to fix the taxi “problem” in Perth – deregulate the licensing system so that anyone who wants to operate a taxi can get one. The current system of setting a limit on the amount of licensed taxis only helps speculators, at the expense of every other resident of Perth.

The sad thing is that the government apparently believes it has a duty to guarantee these peoples’ investments:

WA Taxi Council chairman Kevin Foley acknowledged there were major problems at some hotspots, but said deregulation would wipe out the value of taxi licences, which cost more than $200,000. “People forget that these drivers have invested in the licences as a business, and they have mortgages to pay and children to feed,” Mr Foley said.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said it was the Government’s intention to reduce the ratio, but it had to balance that against the need to protect the value of taxi plates.

Why, Alannah “Worst minister in history” MacTiernan, is there a need to protect the value of taxi plates? Do you also need to protect the value of speculative stocks if some unlucky Western Australian invests in, say, Telstra 2?

Every investment carries an element of risk. Taxi plates have been a license to print money since they were brought in, but that doesn’t mean they have to be forever, especially now when the taxi situation in Perth is becoming a ridiculous, unfunny joke.

The Western Australian government is hurting the entire state for the benefit of a few whining taxi-plate owners. Alannah McTiernan should be sacked for this comment alone, even if you ignore every other idiotic thing she has done in her awful career. This is the same woman who is spending a billion dollars building a railroad down the Kwinana freeway, partly because nobody can get a bloody taxi.