Poker News

As he prepares to leave his position in the United States Senate, Republican Arizona Senator Jon Kyl has potentially softened his stance when it comes to legislation regarding online poker and internet gambling.

On his website, Kyl spells out his viewpoints on several different subjects that he will face over the coming 18 months. Under the heading of “Updating the Law to Account for New Technologies,” Kyl seems to have opened the door for a change of heart when it comes to online poker.

“I have opposed efforts to legalize internet gambling in the past because evidence suggests that it fosters problems unlike any other forms of gambling,” Kyl stated on his website. “Online players can gamble 24 hours a day from home, children can play without sufficient age verification, and betting with a credit card can undercut a player’s perception of the value of cash – leading to possible addiction and, in turn, bankruptcy, crime, and even suicide.”

With this said, however, Kyl addressed the possibility of changing his mind in the case of online poker. “Efforts to carve out an exception for games like poker, which many believe is a game of skill, may be considered later this year,” Kyl said. “Until I have the chance to review them, I cannot make a judgment about their merits, but I will consider them carefully as long as they leave in place the broader proscriptions against online betting.”

In 2006, Kyl, a staunch anti-gambling proponent, was one of the major forces behind the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and was instrumental in having the bill tacked onto a piece of must-pass security legislation. After then-President George W. Bush signed the law into effect, Kyl continued his anti-gambling crusade.

Irritated by the delay in the implementation of the UIGEA’s regulations, Kyl used his position on the Senate Committee on Finance and, in particular, his seat as the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, to force the administration of President Barack Obama to enact the provisions of the UIGEA. In 2010, Kyl withheld his consent for the appointment of six nominees to the U.S. Treasury until the UIGEA was put into full effect.

What is the reason behind the apparent “change of heart” for the Senator? Kyl is currently in his third term as a Senator, but announced in February that he would not seek a fourth. Without the pressures of having to campaign, Kyl’s apparent change of mindset could indicate that he is willing to examine the usage of online gaming as a revenue builder rather than think about it as a social evil. It is also possible that Kyl has heard from his constituency in Arizona, which has 22 Indian casinos throughout the state.

Whether Kyl is able to exercise his new viewpoint on online poker before the end of his current term remains to be seen. In the House of Representatives, John Campbell of California has introduced HR 1174, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. Currently there are no partner bills for HR 1174 pending in the Senate, something that would be necessary for online poker legislation to work its way through Congress.

8 Comments

  1. fly says:

    There’s no news story here. The remarks about “Until I have the chance to review them, I cannot make a judgment about their merits” were made last year just before #ReidBill. He has now seen that legislation and he made his decision to oppose it.

  2. Marilyn says:

    The person sitting next to you in church, the man in line at the grocery store, or one of your co-workers; any one of these could be involved with a gambling problem. Imagine your grandmother committing a crime to support her gambling addiction. I am a recovering alcoholic, gambler, and have recovered from other addictive behaviors. I published a book, Gripped by Gambling, where the readers can follow the destructive path of the compulsive gambler, a prison sentence, and then on to the recovery road.

    I recently published a second book, Switching Addictions, describing additional issues that confront the recovering addict. If a person who has an addictive personality, doesn’t admit to at least two addictions, he’s not being honest. These are two books you might consider adding to your library. I also publish a free online newsletter, Women Helping Women, which has been on-line for more than ten years and is read by hundreds of women (and men) from around the world. (www.femalegamblers.info). I was interviewed and appeared on the 60 Minutes show in January 2011, which was moderated by Leslie Stahl.

    Sincerely,

    Marilyn Lancelot

  3. Esoteric Knowledge says:

    There is the face of evil. This guy along with the DOJ and the FBI are taking money out of my pocket and calling it justice!

  4. jakegra says:

    Thank the lord people are taking a stance for online poker rights! I found a cool place site where they make T-Shirts that show support for the cause and they donate to the PPA. http://www.pisseddesign.com

  5. Anonymous says:

    There is a big chance this guy was influenced by the casinos in his state (‘..22Indian casinos in Arizona..’) if not monetary, then sub-consciously. Also, it must be difficult for lawmakers to obey the rule of separation of church and state by the decisions they make. They might be put in office by thousands of church going mothers, but they still have the duty to make unbiased judgement. I might be disabled and If I want to spent houurs in front of a computer in a wheelchair playing playing poker, I should have the right to do it.

  6. This guy must be influenced by the casinos in his state (‘..22Indian casinos in Arizona..’), if not monetary, then subconsciously. Also, it must be difficult for lawmakers to follow the rule of separation of church and state from the decisions they make. They might be elected to office by thousands of church going voters, but they still have a duty to make unbiased judgement. I could be disabled and if I want to spend hours in front of a computer in a wheelchair playing poker, I should have the right to do it.

  7. If it’s not obvious to everyone, I want to add that the gambling problem seems like a conflict of priorities, i.e. you send someone to war with a chance of getting killed, yet you don’t allow games on the internet were all you lose is your money. The lawmakers perspective must have been royally screwed up to produce such discrepancy. It could also be a case of yet to be formulated case of mutual idiocy, i.e. when they get together on this, they are going to screw it up again.

  8. Joe says:

    How in the world are you allowed to bet horses online in the US and not play poker?

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