Senator responds to pro online poker campaign

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Feb 08, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

Senator John Boozman (R-AR) penned a letter on Facebook aimed at quelling the enormous amount of comments he has been receiving from the online poker community. The letter, which can be interpreted as either an olive branch to the pro-poker advocates, or as a sleight of hand aimed at keeping the poker comments from cluttering his Facebook wall, was greeted with open arms by both poker players and members of the PPA.

Boozman is most certainly not the only legislator who has been flooded with letters, E-Mails, and Social Media comments on the issue of online poker, but he is the first to make a direct statement in the face of the campaign –a sign that the efforts of the poker community are starting to reap some rewards.

Here is a look at the message posted by Senator Boozman on his Facebook page:

“Back in June of 2011, I noticed an uptick in posts on my Facebook page from advocates of online poker legislation. From the activity on my Facebook page in the past 24 hours, I can see that it this issue remains a concern to many Americans. I would like to thank you those of you from around the country for sharing your thoughts about this issue with me.

“Please allow me to briefly share my views on the issue. I believe that the federal government should have the ability to oversee internet gambling, as it is nearly impossible to regulate, monitor or ensure participants are being fairly treated. As of right now, legislation to oversee internet gambling as not been introduced in the Senate. The bill being referenced in the posts (H.R. 2366) is currently pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, please know that should either of these bills or similar legislation come before this chamber, I will keep your thoughts in mind.

“I ask that you please leave your comments on this issue on this note out of courtesy to the people of Arkansas with whom I am trying to share updates and hear from on this page. The numerous posts on this issue to my wall make it difficult to find other posts on unrelated matters that are of concern to Arkansans. Thank you for understanding and sharing your views on the issue.”

Among the respondents to Senator Boozman’s message were Poker Players Alliance big-wigs John Pappas and Rich Muny. Muny offered the following response before directing Senator Boozman to an interview he conducted with Tax-policy wonk Grover Norquist on the topic of online gaming:

“I thank you for reaching out to poker players and to our concerns regarding online poker legislation.

“It is my belief that all conservatives should oppose big government efforts to ban online poker. If we empower big government in areas like this, we empower it to act “for our own good” in ALL areas of our lives.”

The overall hope is that Sen. Boozman’s decision to address the issue head-on leads to other members of Congress to do the same, and either come out in favor of, or in opposition to, online gaming. In doing so, at least we will know where these people stand on the issue, instead of simply ignoring the issue.

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