Opponents of online poker increase their attack

Posted by Steve Ruddock on May 30, 2012 Posted in Poker Industry News | No Comments »

For all of the people that are under the impression that the zeitgeist has online poker legislation moving forward (albeit very slowly) and that it is a matter of not if but when needs to understand that there are still plenty of voices arguing for a complete ban on online poker.

It was these same voices that managed to push through the UIGEA legislation in 2006 by attaching it to a bill that simply had to pass (The Safe Ports Act) and now these groups are back with even more demands of Congress, calling on the full and complete ban of online poker in a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).

The letter was signed by a number of advocacy groups including the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council, the Catholic League, and Concerned Women for America. You can read the entire letter at the following link [letter to House Speaker John Boehner here] or at the end of this article.

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has launched a counter campaign, calling on their members to visit their website and send a pre-written letter to their own members of Congress not only decrying the attempts to ban online poker, but to do the exact opposite and legalize and regulate online poker in the US.

Here is the full letter that was sent to John Boehner:

Dear Speaker Boehner,

Six years ago, Congress voted overwhelmingly to protect vulnerable communities within our country as well as the integrity of professional sports by stopping the expansion of gambling on the internet. Unfortunately Congress’ clear intent in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act of 2006 (UIGEA) is now under assault and we are writing to urge you to work once again to protect those most at risk from the proliferation of illegal internet gambling.

A pro-internet gambling coalition of large states desperate for more revenue and foreign-owned gambling companies have lobbied the Executive Branch to get around Congress’ intended protections and late last year they received an extraordinary boost from an unlikely source: Attorney General Eric Holder. On Friday, December 23, 2011, the Justice Department (DOJ) announced it was upending more than five decades of consistent interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act which prohibited all gambling over the internet with a new opinion that the law simply applied to online sports gambling.

The Wall Street Journal described what happened next: “When the U.S. Justice Department in December narrowed its interpretation of the 50-year-old Wire Act, saying it banned only sports betting and not other forms of online gambling, the decision sparked hope in state capitals that lotteries could start selling tickets online and lead a charge into online gambling.” The “charge into online gambling” was exactly what Congress intended to prevent – with very good reason.

DOJ’s determination has opened the flood gates for states to accelerate plans, many already underway, to go even beyond ticket sales to offer casino-like games on the Internet under the umbrella of their state lottery system. The CEO of the leading provider of lottery services in the United States has said, “The DOJ ruling does not limit the sale of authorized products solely to state lotteries. I think it’s possible that if lotteries are beat to market, they could be tarnished by the early entrants and also risk losing the ability to attract younger players.”

It’s those “younger players” and other vulnerable populations like seniors who are at the most serious risk. Ninety-three percent (93%) of teens age 12-17 utilize the Internet and 97% of

teens of the same age participate in some form of on-line gaming making them attractive targets for gambling marketing as well as illegal and fraudulent operators.

Congress still has an opportunity to act to reassert its authority and re-establish its intent to prevent the proliferation of online gambling in the U.S. By reinstating the more than 50-year old interpretation of the Wire Act and actually strengthening UIGEA, you can protect our children and families from the erosion of safeguards Congress has previously established. We, the undersigned, stand ready to work with you to undertake this vital effort.


Gary Bauer

American Values

Phyllis Schlafly

Eagle Forum

Dr. Richard Land

Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Bill Donohue

Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights

David Barton


Colin Hanna

Let Freedom Ring

Matt Smith

Catholic Advocate

Tom McClusky

Family Research Council Action

William J. Murray

Religious Freedom Coalition

Jim Backlin

Christian Coalition

Jim Martin

60 Plus Association

Penny Nance

Concerned Women for America

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