Thursday July 7, 2011 : And this one is a possible presidential candidate!
Following the news earlier this week that Senator Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia supported legalised online poker another influential US politician has come out in support of the pastime.
Presidential candidate and former two-term Republican New Mexico governor Gary Johnson appears to have identified poker players as a powerful demographic in his run for the presidency, setting up a website promoting the concept of legalization and persuading poker players that he's the man to vote for…and support with campaign contributions.
"Support me for President, and I'll support your freedom," the site proclaims. "The federal government should not be involved in restricting lawful commerce that doesn't harm anyone."
Johnson has some powerful support already, from the one million member Poker Players Alliance chief executive John Pappas, who is one record as saying about Johnson: "He cares about this issue. He also realises there is a serious voting block of people out there and believes that their ideologies, not just on poker but [on] other issues, probably align with his.
"He's a down-to-Earth guy," Pappas added. "He's real. He talks the talk and walks the walk. Whether his campaign has the ability to make a run at the nomination is still a question mark, but what he believes is very much aligned with my personal beliefs." The Poker Players Alliance has nailed its colours to the mast on legalization, stating repeatedly that it favours a federal rather than individual state solution, an approach that was echoed this week by the chief executive of the American Gaming Association in an address to a gaming conference in Madrid.
However, the AGA chief said that the trade association did not support Texas Representative Joe Barton's recently launched proposal for federal legalization, and would be submitting its own measure later this year.
It is understood that this will be more restrictive, including elements favourable to Nevada and New Jersey, and the exclusion of foreign companies that did not exit the US market when the UIGEA was introduced in 2006.
Johnson's meet ‘n greet political tactics include a visit to Las Vegas this week, where the World Series of Poker is closing in on the key Main Event, scheduled to kick off Thursday, and he is scheduled to attend the WSOP function of the influential poker message board 2+2 Thursday evening.
It's early days in the 2012 US presidential race, and Johnson is currently ninth among Republican politicians who hope to secure the GOP's presidential nomination, according to recent polls.