Online Poker After the Elections

It’s been a largely unproductive and sometimes even weird year for the online poker causeĀ in America, and it’s all culminated with this week’s all-important mid-term elections. The good people at the Poker Players Alliance (aka PPA) have been putting in extra hours stumping for the 58 candidates that they endorsed last month.

What’s the big deal? Well with more poker fund seizures in Washington just this week and a wacky lawsuit against six pros in Illinois, the need to to do away with the UIGEA and other faulty anti-poker legislation has never been more tangible (at least to us players). It probably won’t be the PPA’s argument that poker isn’t a gamble but is instead a skill-based game that ultimately sways Capitol Hill.

Instead, the United States’ stagnant economy and each state’s desperate search for new revenue sources will likely be the catalyst for the re-legalization of online poker in America. Many of the new and returning Congressmen emphasized job creation in their election speeches, and the PPA is already planning to use this angle in the promotion of new online poker legislation.

How ironic is it that the country that originally popularized online poker and which is home to more pros than any other nation in the world has taken such a rigid stance against the game? Even as it gains in popularity in conservative areas like the Midwest, some politicians continue to blindly oppose online poker. Fortunately, the online poker cause scored some big wins in the most recent elections.

Most notably returning is HR 2267 champion and Chairman of the Financial Services Committee Barney Frank of Maine, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Also returning is Jim McDermott of Washington who designed the tax companion bill for HR 2267. Unfortunately, also returning is the creator of the current UIGEA legislation Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.

If you’re an American poker fan that missed the vote this time around and want to get things right at the next election, the PPA has introduced a new tool that makes it easy to find and follow pro-poker (and also anti-poker) legislators. Their Congressional Rating Guide can be searched both by state and by zip code and shows not only their votes for or against poker legislation but also includes public statements made about online poker issues.

While the shift in power in the House of Congress will likely cost Frank his position as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, his successor is likely to be Spencer Bachus of Alabama. While Bachus isn’t an open proponent of online poker, he has publicly admitted the need to review and revise the UIGEA. In statements made following the election results, PPA Executive Director John Pappas remained optimistic about his organization’s ability to bring about change in the near future.

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