Last Thursday, May 17th, a group of people representing various American communities and organizations advocating against the legalization of online poker in the United States sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner. The letter asked Congress to reinstate the more than 50-year old interpretation of the Wire Act which was amended by Attorney General Eric Holder in December, 2011, claiming that the Wire Act of 1961 only applied to sports betting.
The letter was signed by a number of representatives of various public organizations and religious coalitions including American Values, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights, Let Freedom Ring, Catholic Advocate, Concerned Women for America, and six others. The representatives and members of these groups expressed deep concerns about the new interpretation of the Wire Act allowing states to establish new revenue sources by legalizing online poker and gambling.
“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 group letter said.
Those to sign the letter also claimed that their intention was to protect the most vulnerable parts of society – teenagers and seniors. “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,” the representatives claimed.
While asking Congress to prevent the possible “charge into online gambling” the members of the aforementioned communities, intentionally or not, left out some parts, particularly the benefits of online gaming legislation. One fact that wasn't mentioned in the letter was that the states considering online gaming legislation are going to license and regulate the online market. The letter also said nothing about the states' intentions to use the revenue collected from online gaming for social purposes e.g. increase school funding and help those in need of social care. The part about the individual's freedom of choice was left out as well.
This did not slip through the eyes of the Poker Player Alliance's (PPA) VP of Player Relations Rich Muny, who in his latest appeal to the poker community asked players not to let other people decide for them and stand up for their rights.
“It is clear that we had better all speak up today and ensure that our elected representatives hear from us,” Muny said addressing the poker player community. “To be frank, anyone who does not participate is allowing these groups to claim that they speak for them. Don’t let them speak for you!”
In his call to action, the PPA Vice President of Player Relations asked every poker player to spare a minute of their time and send a prewritten letter to President Obama and Congress or contact their state lawmakers in order to let them hear the poker players' voice as well.
Find out how you can contribute in Rich Muny's latest Weekly Update.