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Online Gambling Can Strike Back
by Karl Yu
Winner Online.com

I am not a hippie, I’m not a proponent of organic food and it’ll be a cold day in Hell before you see me listening to Phish or the Grateful Dead, but sometimes you have to take it to the streets if you want your voice to be heard.

Although Jon Kyl and Bob Goodlatte—with the aid of Bill Frist—were successful in landing the first blow in the fight between those for and against online gambling, the pro side may be gearing up to launch a return salvo.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was attached to the Safe Port Act in the waning minutes before Congress recessed for November elections, but those very same elections could yield a knockout punch for pro-online poker and gamblers. Revenge is a dish best served cold as they say.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist championed the UIGEA hoping to appeal to the religious right and possibly eyeing a potential 2008 Presidential nomination. But he offended poker players and online gaming enthusiasts across America in the process. In most years online punters and poker players would probably be forced to grin and bear it, but this year is the year of the Senate elections and many could be stepping out to vote.

Pro-Poker advocates were angered by the shady approach to bill passage and are doing many things to raise awareness leading up to the elections. The Poker Players Alliance will be among those educating.

“We will be working with poker publications, blogs and online forums to raise awareness and encourage people to go to the polls on Election Day,” said PPA President Michael Bolcerek.

Website onlinegamblingrights.com is organizing a protest on November 3 and 4 in Washington, D.C. that will see online poker advocates taking part in a peaceful march on the White House. According to the site it is more than just a pro-online poker rally.

“This protest is not only about internet gambling, online poker, or government wire tapping. This is about the United States government taking away personal freedoms that were guaranteed to [Americans] in the Constitution,” says the site.

“This protest is about Americans who demand that we get our personal freedoms back.”

Protest organizer Debbie Richardson said that the rally is really gathering steam with 250 people have signed up and some promising to bring groups of friends.

“We think we have enough people who have confirmed they are showing up for the event that we could fill up the square behind the White House,” Richardson told the Pokernews.com.

Many have said the UIGEA appeals to the conservative religious right, but not all Republicans are banging on the anti-online gaming drum. Some actually enjoy a hand of online poker or two.

“Dozens and dozens of our members have contacted us to ask who they should vote for in the upcoming elections. Many of them are ‘life-long’ Republicans who are frustrated with what appears to be a larger government role in their personal lives,” explained Bolcerek.

“Some of these members are leaving the party and making campaign donations to Democrats for the very first time.”

In fact, poker legend Doyle Brunson is one of those switching allegiances because of the Act.

“I am a life-long Republican myself and I am voting for the Democrats and I hope all poker players do the same,” declared Texas Dolly.

Even though poker players number in the millions in the states, Senator Jon Kyl (Arizona) doesn’t feel threatened despite the call of many to vote against him in his home state.

When questioned about the poker player “threat,” Kyl PR man Andy Chasin took an underhanded jab at the poker community.

“They have the same right to vote, but if you look at the demographics . . .” said Chasin with a pause, apparently implying that poker players are apathetic voters.

But Michael Bolcerek said that Kyl and company could be in for a rude awakening.

“More than 70 million Americans play poker, and roughly 23 million enjoy the game on the Internet” explained the PPA president.

“Even if a small percentage of this population turns out to vote on this issue alone, we will see a big impact in elections across the country.”

There will be a lot on the line for the poker playing community come November 7. The elections will give players a chance to not only vote for the officials they see fit, but voice their displeasure at the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act as well.

“For the first time our elected officials will hear from the poker vote,” Bolcerek said.

“Poker players are angry and feel strongly that their rights have been violated. They will make their voices heard in this election.”

And as the old saying goes, “Payback is a bitch.”

For More, visit: Winner Online.com.


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