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Proponents of online poker descend on DC

The Poker Players Alliance fly-in to Washington DC yesterday has attracted mainstream media coverage on the back of recent enforcement actions against online gambling e-cash processors and gambling domains. The Hill and The Washington Times both reported on the event, quoting PPA chairman Alfonse D'Amato, who said:

“We’re deeply concerned about losing our rights. It’s about rights of what you can do in your own home on your own time.”

The former New York senator added that the Washington rally was an attempt to put a face to the 10 million online poker players in America, and urge legislators to regulate and license online poker.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told the Washington Times that the Department of Justice crackdown on April 15th was meant to put new teeth into the UIGEA, whilst PPA directors said that the $6 billion a year business ought to be regulated for the protection of consumers rather than made the subject of prohibitionary actions.

Linda Johnson, a professional poker player, said the government move had been disastrous for her both financially and personally.

“It’s not just a loss of a source of income. It’s my hobby, my passion,” Johnson told the newspaper. “I travel over 200 days of the year, and at night in my hotel room I love to play online poker. And I often play it at home. How can they prohibit a game you can play in your own home?”

Republican representatives Joe Barton of Texas and John Campbell of California, who are currently pushing parallel pieces of legislation to clarify the laws allowing online poker, joined the protesters, with Barton arguing that poker should be legal because it is a game of skill, not a game of chance.

“When we had the indictments a month or so ago, people in my district were affected greatly,” he said.

The Washington Times reported that over 50 protesters were in attendance, urging lawmakers in Congress to go all in on legalising online poker.

Daniel Alexander, a protester from New York, showed off a sign reading, “Ease The Debt, Let Us Bet!”

“Poker could be an outlet for taxation. Tax and regulation could help ease the U.S. debt crisis a great deal,” Alexander said.

Representative Campbell told the newspaper that the recent crackdowns would merely push online poker underground or to foreign-based sites.

“It’s about consumer protection. When people play on foreign sites … you don’t know what’s going on. We need to protect that consumer, protect that player, protect that person,” he said.

Source: InfoPowa News

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