Legal Online Poker’s Biggest Obstacle: Nanny Democrats

One might think that when Republicans suffered much-deserved humiliation in the last general election, the notorious Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIEGA) would soon be history.  Remember, it was back in 2006 that Senate Republican leadership effectively guillotined the “Moneymaker Effect.”  Whatever one’s views are on other worldly issues, the popular perception within the poker community was that Democratic political gains would be very good for players. With Democrats now in complete control of all branches of the Federal Government, we can no longer limit our anger and disappointment to those musty old Republicans.  Indeed, trampling on the rights of poker players now appears to cut across party lines.  While Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Representative Frank Wolfe (R-VA) continue to merit our universal contempt, the sad fact is that the “out-of-touch brigade” now has plenty of company on the other side of the partisan aisle. Consider the positions of many powerful Democrats.  The fact is that many national Democratic leaders happen to be women from western states.  Virtually all of these influential Democratic women are opposed to overturning the UIEGA.  In other words, these proud liberals march lock and step with the most repulsive elements of the ...



Believe me, I know about Washington State. But the only reason she passed the law was to cater to her indian buddies. I find it completely offensive and have spoken my mind about it but it all falls upon deaf(and dumb) ears. What a country we live in where playing poker for a few dollars online is akin to child molestation. And nobody will challenge the law. How it even passed is a mystery to me.

Russ Scott

Well said, Nolan! As you know, some recent court decisions have been encouraging, but it seems like just as many have gone the other way. Our battle appears to be spinning its wheels in the ensuing turmoil. That’s largely because misguided/self-centered politicians — including all of those you mention — think they know what’s best for the rest of us and are unwilling to do the right thing because of potential political fallout. Hopefully the PPA and other organizations will prevail. Meanwhile, keep up the fight, partner!

Poker Shrink

I carried on a three year written conversation with Senator Feinstein (or at least her staffers). Their final decision was to stop responding because their logic did not fit the realities of the legislation.

History Major

Women waved the flag for prohibition as well, and it was because they were mostly barred from drinking. When they were finally invited into the bars and clubs, the Amendment was soon overturned. Poker advertising (with some execptions) continues to portray players as dumb, sexist males. Sites are always showing buxom blondes carrying chips suggestively to young male players – not exactly the image a respectable female member of Congress is clamoring to associate herself with. If they would grow up and cater to women, they’d gain instant credibility. A lot of respectable people, men and women, play at these sites, but you’d never know it by the advertising. If we want support, we need to give them something that looks politically worthy of support.

Fifth Street Journal

You talk about a flawed popular perception in this article. I believe “online poker is not going to be legalized and regulated in the United States until…” reflects another flawed popular perception: that regulation is the solution. Regulation would almost certainly result in a protectionist system with just one or a few competitors; perhaps a market divided by state where there would be inadequate volume; and reduced or eliminated access to the current US-friendly sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Regulation could very easily be worse than the current situation. Certainly that’s the case under regulation in in Italy. Government is the problem, not the solution.


Fifth Street Journal,

The bills in Congress now would absolutely not take Full Tilt Poker or PokerStars out of the market. Also, the federal government is after us. This idea that we can maintain what we have now is false, so comparing a licensed and regulated market to that is a fallacy.


The article is good on listing nanny-state Democrats who oppose us, but it’s not new news.

PPA has a guide at I did the ratings, and I rated both Sen. Feinstein and Gov. Gregoire F- (and have been since long before that article). Gov. Beshear (D-KY) is F- as well. Sen. Boxer is rated F and Rep. Pelosi is rated D.

Rep. Maxine Waters was upgraded to B some time ago for siding with us on some issues.

The article misses here:

“For far too long, groups like the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) believe they can win the political debate with simple logic. Sure, our argument is better than their argument and most rational people would agree after listing to a five-minute exchange, but this isn’t a high school debate class.”


No one at PPA thinks this is a debate. We are good at presenting solid talking points, but no one thinks Kyl will switch his vote if we beat him in an argument. We’re fighting this politically.


Geeze, Individual freedoms that don’t include getting shot are generally trampled on by the right??? What gives??

Lottery Larry

“Regulation could very easily be worse than the current situation.”

Fifth Street Journal, I’m looking forward to your feelings on this in Dec 09 or Jan ’10. Then we’ll know for sure…

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