Friday, May 15, 2009

Americans to Obama: Legalize Online Poker!

Citizens Briefing Book shows strong demand for full legalization of Internet poker (among many other ideas)

May 14, 2009 (CAP Newswire) -- An online survey released by the U.S. White House this week shows what's really on Americans' minds when it comes to priorities for the new president. Among the most important action items is "Boost American Economy with Legal Online Poker".

The report, called the Citizen’s Briefing Book, compiled the opinions of 125,000 U.S. citizens in an effort to illustrate to the new president what his priorities should be, as defined by the public he serves. The report is officially addressed “to President Barack Obama, from the American people”.

The suggestions are broken down into 10 categories: Economy, Education, Energy & Environment, Foreign Policy, Health Care, Homeland Security, Service, Technology, Veterans, and Additional Issues.

Number one on the list of Technology suggestions: “Boost America’s Economy with Legal Online Poker” (followed closely by “Restore Net Neutrality Protections to the Internet”, an issue that’s also relevant to the iGaming industry given the recent censorious activities in Minnesota).

"Let online poker players in the United States play legally and without fear of prosecution," the report quotes a voter's opinion. "Reform the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to exempt poker, a game of skill, from the law. Boost the economy by letting American companies and American players make money and pay taxes instead of sending online poker businesses offshore. Protect online poker players by regulating the industry to ensure that no one is ever cheated."

Sure, this is a document of opinions, and not one of official policy. But, given President Obama's focus on popular issues, as well as his general popularity in the U.S., it's very likely that he'll heed at least some of the report's suggestions.

In addition to the welcome news that Americans really, really want to get online poker legalized, this story is also significant because the Washington Post chose to highlight online poker as one of the three most important conclusions from the report. Combined with the recent surge of interest from the mainstream news industry on the issue of legalized online gambling (see yesterday’s story in the L.A. Times here), the media coverage of online gambling legal issues is rapidly growing, which is likely to help Barney Frank's drive to repeal the UIGEA bans.

Click here to read the Washington Post’s writeup on the story; click here to read the Citizens Briefing Book directly at the official White House website.

(Credit: CAP)

Greg Tingle comment...

President Barack Obama advises the American people that they listen, and the American people are speaking. Just like down under here in Australia, the people have long enjoyed a game of poker... (a game of skill). Then the internet came along, and the rest is history. Barack Obama and his team might do well to get in the ear and consult with California's Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has shown great listening skills and leadership in going after other important matters such as the environment, support for the average person, and he's embraced technology advancements, even having his office plugged into social networking websites and the like. Barack Obama is also pretty tech savvy so on the surface it appears these two great leaders would share some common ground which is a great place to start these talks from. And... it appears these talks would have potential to do wonders for the American economy. You can bet that the likes of the switched on teams at PartyGaming, BetUS, Virgin Games, Boss Media, Playtech, Microgaming, Harrah's Entertainment, World Poker Tour, World Series of Poker and even Australia's James Packer and co, and a few others, would be watching with great interest.
Greg Tingle
Media Man Australia
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