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House Committee To Vote On Anti-Gaming Bill Tomorrow

House Committee To Vote On Anti-Gaming Bill Tomorrow 0001

Coming up tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee will begin the great online poker debate, and vote on whether House Resolution 4777, which is better known as the Internet Gaming Prohibition Act, should be passed on for full consideration from the House of Representatives. This is one of the bills, sponsored by Virginia Representative Bob Goodlatte, which is currently floating around Washington, DC that would be an attempt to drive Americans from playing online poker and other gaming sites through the blocking of transferring funds to the offshore sites. It would also attempt to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the United States to remove gaming links to such poker and casino sites and would also force financial institutions to monitor the spending habits of their customers and report violations. As to be expected, the battle has been intense on this particular bill.

HR 4777 passed out of the House Judiciary Sub-Committee earlier in May by a unanimous vote. Previous to this and since this passage, the voices of poker players have been vociferous to their representation in the House. In particular, one letter from a New York man to his representative points out another downside (as if it needed another) if the legislation is passed.

Ethan Ruby recently penned a letter to his representative in the House, Rep. Jim Langevin, to point out the effect that passage of HR 4777 would have on his life. Mr. Ruby is a disabled American who has enjoyed the benefits of the contact that not only the Internet but also online poker has provided to himself and other persons in his situation. In the passionate letter, Mr. Ruby presented several thoughts for his representative in the House to consider.

"The expansion of the Internet has truly revolutionized how people with disabilities communicate with family, friends, and others throughout the world," Mr. Ruby states in his letter to Rep. Langevin. "I urge members of the Disability Caucus to oppose any attempts by Congress to prevent Americans from enjoying the game of poker on the Internet due to the unintended consequences it will have on the disabled community." Mr. Ruby's letter goes on to demonstrate how disabled Americans can compete equally at the poker tables, allowing them to feel that they are on equal footing with healthy players. "For those who cannot easily leave their homes or go to a casino, online poker allows them to compete as equals, something that is not available in other sports."

Mr. Ruby also expertly points out that online poker has brought more people to the live game, which has made it a very popular pastime for charitable functions. "Poker has become a popular and successful fundraising tool for people with disabilities. Charity poker tournaments can provide a major publicity boost for issues that are crucial to the disabled but have not yet received appropriate attention," Mr. Ruby writes. He finishes his letter with an impassioned statement that all elected officials in Washington should consider. "All of this progress may be stopped very short, and our common goals never reached, if some in Congress have their way. Remarkably, there is an effort in Congress that would restrict people from playing poker online. This misguided effort would not only impact thousands of people with disabilities who enjoy poker online, but it would also stifle interest in the game and decrease our ability to leverage its popularity for fundraising. The true scope and detrimental impact of this prohibition is not fully understood. The government would actually be taking action to restrict the life, liberty and happiness of an important population of our society. Indeed, this legislation would limit and prevent significant good while and fostering discrimination and prejudice."

As the House Judiciary Committee meets on Thursday, this is the last opportunity for those who haven't already to make their voices heard. The following members of the House of Representatives and the states they represent are members of the House Judiciary Committee:

Rep. Spencer Bachus (AL)

Rep. Howard Berman (CA)

Rep. Rick Boucher (VA)

Rep. Chris Cannon (UT)

Rep. Steve Chabot (OH)

Rep. Howard Coble (NC)

Rep. John Conyers (MI)

Rep. Bill Delahunt (MA)

Rep. Tom Feeney (FL)

Rep. Jeff Flake (AZ)

Rep. Randy Forbes (VA)

Rep. Trent Franks (AZ)

Rep. Elton Gallingly (CA)

Rep. Louie Gohmert {10-}

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA)

Rep. Mark Green (WI)

Rep. John Hostettler (IN)

Rep. Henry Hyde (IL)

Rep. Bob Inglis (SC)

Rep. Darrell Issa (CA)

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee {10-}

Rep. Bill Jenkins (TN)

Rep. Ric Keller (FL)

Rep. Steve King (IA)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA)

Rep. Dan Lungren (CA)

Rep. Marty Meehan (MA)

Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY)

Rep. Mike Pence (IN)

Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA)

Rep. Adam Schiff (CA)

Rep. Bobby Scott (VA)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI)

Rep. Lamar Smith {10-}

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (FL)

Rep. Maxine Waters (CA)

Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY)

Rep. Bob Wexler (FL)

While contacting Rep. Goodlatte and Rep. Boucher (who co-sponsored the bill) may be a waste of time, the other members can all be contacted via e-mail or phone. That information can be found at

Michael Bolcerek, the president of the Poker Players Alliance, is currently in Washington performing last minute lobbying with members of the House Judiciary Committee. The Poker Players Alliance has spearheaded the drive to stop the Goodlatte resolution and poker players can help as well, as defeating HR 4777 should be paramount to all poker players in the United States. Although the bill is basically unenforceable and possibly even unconstitutional, passage of HR 4777 starts us down a slippery slope that could lead to greater restriction of freedoms that we have in America today. I would encourage all poker players to make their voices heard, either through many of the online form letters that are available or through personally contacting their representatives today. Perhaps with this concentrated drive, this and other legislation in Congress will be stopped before it can reach a vote in the halls of Washington, DC.

Ed note: Make your voice heard so you can play at online poker rooms like these

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