The United States Republican party made a political statement via its November election platform that calls for the prohibition of Internet gambling.
The Grand Old Party (GOP) is seeking to overturn the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) ruling last December that found the 1961 Wire Act to be applicable only to sports wagering. A segment of its released platform entitled “Renewing American Values” derides the DoJ’s decision by stating that, “Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for the reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Act that could open the door to Internet betting.”
That DoJ ruling has already opened the door to online gambling as Nevada and Delaware have passed regulations on the state level to allow online poker and gambling to be available on an intrastate basis. The Silver State will be launching its first real-money online poker site probably in October and Delaware is expected to introduce its online gambling offerings in 2013.
The poker community and pro-online gambling activists were a bit stunned by the GOP’s plank, prompting Poker Players Alliance (PPA) vice-president of player relations Rich Muny to state that “for every two steps forward, we do have the occasional step back.” Step one was the Wire Act reversal and step two was a New York federal judge’s recent decision that found poker to be predominantly based on skill and not actually gambling as defined by the Illegal Gambling Business Act.
The PPA continues to lobby for Rep. Joe Barton’s Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act to be approved by Congress, but the bill has been stagnating as of late. Another proposal on the federal level is rumored to be in the works by Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Harry Reid (D-NV) that will regulate online poker and leave out other online gambling games. The GOP’s stance on the issue as set forth by the 2012 election platform seeking prohibition of Internet gambling can only hinder the chances of online gambling legislation to gain approval.
“It is unfortunate that the authors of the plank are at odds with many House Republicans who are leading the charge for licensed and regulated online poker, but it is even worse that they are so out of touch with the actual voters,” Muny said.