Editors of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) website were very busy last week as the online poker advocacy group put together a complete list of all the US politicians up for election / re-election in 2014 that oppose iGaming in America. Deemed the ‘Poker Jokers’, or simply ‘The Jokers’, the PPA is encouraging online poker fans to “take the ‘jokers’ out of the deck” by writing letters to each politician on the list, and/or voting against them in the upcoming elections.
Deemed the 2014 edition of the PPA’s “The Jokers”, the page is dedicated to “state and federal lawmakers who have two things in common”. The first is that each of them is up for election or re-election in November, 2014. Secondly, and more importantly for online poker enthusiasts, they are all advocates of prohibiting internet gambling.
“Over the past year, these “jokers” have advocated for federal and/or state prohibitions for Internet poker,” reads the PPA webpage’s opening paragraph. “Some have even sought to criminalize those who play!” The text then encourages visitors to click on the names of each lawmaker on the list to view their respective contact details.
“We hope you will take the time to contact these lawmakers before Election Day (November 4th, 2014) and let your voice be heard. It’s time to take the “jokers” out of the deck!”
Not surprising, the first up on the list are two republicans who played a huge role in this year’s fight to induce a blanket ban of online gambling in the US, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah’s 3rd District and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Both of these politicians introduced the Sheldon Adelson-backed anti-internet gaming bill, The Restoration of American’s Wire Act (RAWA); Chaffetz campaigning to the House and Graham to the Senate.
Next up is State Attorney General Greg Abbott (R), who’s running for Governor of Texas against Democratic candidate, Sen. Wendy Davis. Abbott is one of 14 Attorneys General who signed a letter to congress supporting a federal ban of online poker in the US.
A throng of House Representatives earned the ‘Jokers’ title from the PPA for having “Co-Sponsored House legislation to ban Internet poker nationwide”. They include Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA), Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Rep. George Holding (R-NC), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-IA), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX).
Three more gubernatorial candidates appeared on the list for their public display of anti-iGaming views. Gov. Rick Scott and Gov. Nikki Haley, campaigning for re-election in Florida and South Carolina respectively, each wrote a public letter of support to congress declaring their approval of HR 4301 and S 2159; the aforementioned identical RAWA measures introduced in the House and Senate by Rep. Chaffetz and Sen. Graham earlier this year. On the Democratic ballot for Governor of Massachusetts is AG Martha Coakley, whose verbal lashings of internet poker and online gambling in general have been heard time and again.