The Poker Players Alliance campaign urging online gamblers to voice support for legalised Internet gambling in the United States by posting on the Republican Party Platform Committee forum at www.gopplatform2008.com (see previous InfoPowa report) has caught the attention of several widely read US publications.
Notable among these was the Las Vegas Sun, which this week carried a story on the number of online gambling supporters using the Republican website, the purpose of which is to obtain public comment and suggestions on what should be included in the party's campaign platform for the coming presidential elections.
The newspaper not only carried the story, but started its own poll at http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/aug/21/loyalists-until-it-comes-internet-gambling/ this week, asking "Should Republicans adopt a party plank at the upcoming national convention to rescind the ban on Internet gambling?"
The article informs that Republican opposition to Internet gambling was first spelled out in the 2000 platform, carried through to 2004, which is now under review ahead of the presidential elections.
Significant numbers of onliners have posted their opinions on the Republican website, prompting the author of the Las Vegas Sun article to comment: "Go to the Republican Party’s Web site and start scrolling through the responses to the platform. You will see an army of poker players arguing it is time for Republicans to end their opposition to gambling online."
The story goes on to quote some of the posts:
“Being a lifelong Republican, I was both dumb-founded and dismayed that the Republican Platform includes a specific directive against Internet gaming,” Steve from Georgia writes.
“Whoever decided this was a good idea should’ve thought twice because this does nothing but take away every American’s right to spend their own money in their own home as they see fit.”
Jack in Texas writes: “The GOP stands for Freedom from Government Oppression. Stating in our platform that we are against Internet gambling or any other form of government controlled gambling (Casinos) just puts more restrictions on Freedom of the People.”
The author points out that getting the Republican hierachy to reconsider and possibly change its opposition to Internet gambling by changing the platform statement could be a long shot, even for the one million member PPA. The Democratic Party apparently has no such statement in its platform
"Even the most ambitious gamblers know getting Republicans to publicly support them is not a safe bet," the author writes. "The party has been led by social conservatives for 25 years, and “values voters” and religious groups have pushed Republicans to take a harder line against gambling as a social ill."
Today's Republican platform reads: “Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support legalization prohibiting gambling over the Internet or in student athletics by student athletes who are participating in competitive sports.”
After dealing with the questionable manner in which the UIGEA was rammed through Congress in 2006, the Las Vegas Sun piece comments on Nevada Republican Rep. Jon Porter's proposal, taken up with Nevada Democrat Shelley Berkely and suggesting an independent and in-depth study of online gambling before any policy decisions are made. Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, also supports the study bill, but doesn’t envision a pro-gambling plank coming this year in the Democratic Party platform.
Apparently even Shelley Berkely does not think there's much chance of getting a pro-Internet gambling statement into the Democratic Party platform – she told the Las Vegas Sun: “While I would support a nod to Internet gaming in the platform, I cannot imagine that such language would be added at this late date."