You’ve Gotta Fight … For Your Right … to Party (Poker)

by , Sep 29, 2006 | 9:21 pm

Call your Senators … even now, even though it’s late. Bill Frist is apparently trying to slip through the online gaming ban tonight, as we speak. Some good information from Change100 here. And if you don’t have your senator’s number in you cell phone, you can find it here.

I’d also like to take this chance to remind you all that no matter what happens, we’re going to be OK. Ours is a perfect system of democracy, with checks and balances in play. Take for example the Wright Amendment. It looks like it will be repealed (or at least semi-repealed) tonight as well. Only took 27 years to get that problematic law off the books.

UPDATE: They are debating the relevant bill right now. Watch it here. You can also read the actual bill here — page 213 is where the gambling stuff can be found. The reperesentative from Nevada got up to call bullshit on Sen. Bill Frist for his move lumping it in with a port security bill, but said the bill itself is important enough that she can’t vote against it. Not looking good for poker.

UPDATE: According to this site, it’s over. Anti-poker forces successfully slipped 30 pages of language into a port-security bill that makes playing online punishable by up to five years in prison.

This is pretty bad news, but before you start assassinating people, remember … it’s been the courts that have for the most part been instrumental in legalizing poker anywhere from the get-go, not legislatures.

One Comment to “You’ve Gotta Fight … For Your Right … to Party (Poker)”

  1. Nick Clark

    I think everyone needs to calm down and wait for the legal analysis of the bill. From what I’ve read so far, it’s fairly clear that the act does not make “playing online punishable by up to five years in prison”, though it’s easy to see why people would read it that way. (I did at first also.) The key phrase is on page 230 of the bill, “No person in the business of betting or wagering …” Casinos and cardrooms are in the business of betting, individual poker players are not “in the business”. There’s definitely some interpretation there, but this is backed by the sense of the earlier debate in the House made it clear that they were trying to “protect” Americans from gambling providers, not punish individual Americans.

    I think that overall we just have to wait for the smoke to clear before we can assess the overall impact. I think the biggest impact may be to scare people, especially new players, away from the game. And that will happen because people write “playing poker online will soon be punishable by up to five years in prison” instead of waiting to figure out what’s really happening.