there isn't anything as american as poker. Well, maybe nfl. But you get my point.
All over america, people play home games, visit their local casino, go to bars for free tourneys. Every household has a favorite game. Ever since it came on tv it has not dropped - it is hence, popular. It's in american's dna.
I would almost propose that we can trace the current economic depression to around the time black friday came - the day when all those people good enough to survive (and many, thrive) playing poker online, found themselves with very few options. You had to move to canada or go back to getting a real job ;p
Let's be honest. Online poker was good for the usa, it's citizens, it's economy. Poker is a skill, and americans have it. The rest of the world is catching up online and they're catching up fast.
Legalize it - tie it with the IRS's mainframe for all I care, I was a recreational player at best - and let's stop pretending this won't happen at some point. It will help some americans get more income, increase money going to vendors, increase money going to government.
And also, let's be honest about something. Poker is controlled risk taking. It is not something people should quit work to play. I'm not saying everyone should do this. I'm just saying there are plenty of people in the usa who have proven to have enough talent to make this a profession and are now being restricted from exploiting this talent.