In the past, the Republican Party has typically stood for less government involvement in the lives of the American public. However, in recent years, values and morality have begun to play a bigger role in their platform. As was obvious by the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) through Congress in 2006 and its enactment in 2007, internet gambling and the goal of outlawing it is on that platform.
The Republican Party platforms of 2000 and 2004 included the following statement:
“Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support legislation prohibiting gambling over the Internet or in student athletics by student athletes who are participating in competitive sports.”
When the 2008 platform was released last week, the above passage was originally omitted, and the media was made aware of it. As word began to spread throughout the poker media in particular and it was taken as a positive sign that the Republicans had possibly returned to their roots of protecting individuals’ privacy, things changed. Suddenly, a new look at the platform indicated that it had been added at a later time. Whether it was an attempt at deception or a mere oversight on the first released draft of the platform, the Republican Party has again made its intentions clear.
The inclusion of such language caught the eye of more than just the poker media; many mainstream political outlets picked up on the story and expressed frustration with such a moralistic-based political stance. CQ Politics was one of those outlets, and in an article by CQ staff writer Bart Jansen, poker pro and 2004 WSOP champion Greg Raymer was quoted as saying, “My point is simple. Is the Republican Party no longer the party of personal freedom and individual responsibility? Why has this party, that used to protect my rights, now become the party that wants to create a nanny-state?”
The Republican Party platform that includes the goal of prohibiting internet gambling – and that does include poker, as it has not been designated a game of skill – is the platform that Senator John McCain has adopted as the Republican candidate for the office of U.S. President.
It is becoming clearer that the work of the Poker Players Alliance is not only important but urgent. The lobbying organization with over a million members has been making progress over the past year but must have the active support of those members to truly make a difference. Not only is it vital that poker players and fans of the game let their Congressional representatives know their views, but Senator McCain should be made aware of our powerful constituency as well.
As this article succinctly stated, now is the time to stand up for your rights to play poker in the privacy of your own home.
Click here for a sample e-mail that can be sent directly to Mr. McCain, courtesy of the PPA.
This is a critical time for poker and its future. Stand up for it.