Online Poker Regulation Key Issue in White House Citizens' Briefing Book
A recent program designed to gather policy proposals from American citizens has named online poker the top technology issue of the day.
The Citizens' Briefing Book (PDF) was created by Obama's transition team to gather policy ideas from any American citizen who cared to contribute. The program was hailed as a breakthrough in democratizing the flow of information to the president. 125,000 users contributed over 44,000 proposals including everything from increasing funding for bullet trains and light rail to establishing more national service corps. Over 1.4 million votes were cast with the top proposals going on to the president for consideration.
In the technology section the top proposal was to boost the US economy by regulating and taxing online poker. It should come as no surprise that the millions of Americans who play poker online should want to see their game granted legal protection. The issue has been gathering support as state budgets face shortfalls and struggle to address the ailing economy. Many experts believe that regulation could generate billions in revenue. The Poker Players Alliance released a statement praising the results and encouraging the President to act to support Barney Frank's (D-MA) efforts to legalize online poker.
Since Frank introduced legislation to regulate and tax online gambling in early May the public has been voicing its support. Several lawmakers who advocate government involvement in personal affairs are still determined to keep the ban in place, however. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has been an opponent of online gambling for years. Kyl has previously argued against Frank's efforts to exclude online poker from the US gambling prohibition. His argument was that such legislation would impede states' rights to set their own gambling policy. However, the legislation introduced by Frank specifically grants states the right to opt out of any legalized gambling. Kyl also claimed that poker doesn't need an exemption from the UIGEA because if poker players believe it is a game of skill they need merely "prove otherwise to the satisfaction of a court, then they would not be subject to online gambling restrictions."
Remember that, poker players, the next time you try to deposit money into an online poker room and have your credit card declined. All you need to do is file a lawsuit and stage a long, protracted and extremely expensive legal battle which proves mathematically to the satisfaction of a Federal court that poker is a game of skill. Nothin' to it.
Fortunately for poker players, the president was a regular in poker games among Illinois legislators before his move to the Senate. It certainly appears as if the White House is not morally opposed to poker the way previous administrations may have been. With any luck online poker may be soon be dealt a winning hand.