Poker battle heats up in Congress

The battle is heating up on Capital Hill:

The Pokers Players Alliance is pushing a bill sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that would legalize and regulate Internet gambling, overturning a ban that became law after former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) inserted it into port security legislation late last year.

For poker players, whose association membership exceeds 800,000, time is at a premium. They want lawmakers to reverse the ban before some of the Frist regulations go into effect next year.

They recruited former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.) to lead PPA, and they brought in professional players to make their case to members last week, including World Poker Series players Chris Moneymaker, Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. D’Amato’s message to his former colleagues is clear — online gambling could generate $3 billion in taxes a year if the federal government regulated the industry.

That could present a tempting new revenue source for cash-starved Democrats anxious to implement new programs. But the odds are still not in PPA’s favor.

It’s facing a predictable head-to-head fight with family and evangelical organizations that say gambling leads to tragic addiction and compromises the moral fabric of the family.

When are we going to stop letting these Bible-thumpers run our lives? Why do we have to have prohinition against gambling just because some people are too weak or irresponsible to control themselves?

It’s encouraging to see the groundswell of support for sensible legislation legalizing online gambling, particularly games of skill like poker.

Republicans should ask themselves if they can continue to support a party that prevents them for enjoying games like poker. What ever happened to libertarian Republicans? Hopefully they’ll all vote for Ron Paul!


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