“Both (Sen. John) McCain and (Sen. Barack) Obama are poker players, but neither one has expressed anything one way or the other regarding the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It’s pretty low on their radar. For poker players, I really don’t think there’s much difference between the candidates.”
So says Jay Lakin, co-owner and vice president of Poker Source Online, as quoted by an article in today’s Las Vegas Sun. (Read “This pair, bettors would fold,” here.)
More from the article:
With the presidential election taking center stage, issues involving the Internet gambling law have taken a back seat, Lakin said.
“Nothing is going to happen in ’08 because ’08 is pretty much done,” Lakin said. “We won’t see anything happen until January ’09 at the earliest. So basically we’re going to have to wait and see what the new Congress is going to look like.”
Lakin is bullish on a bill introduced this month by Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, with the catchy title of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Clarification and Implementation Act of 2008. It’s also known as HR6663.
It would seek to clarify the ambiguous law and ultimately outlaw sports betting while legalizing poker and other forms of gambling online.
“One of the big issues with the UIGEA is that it needs clarification,” Lakin said. “It excludes horse racing, fantasy sports and online lotteries. Sessions is saying that all online gambling is legal except for sports betting. People that make sports bets, take sports bets or facilitate sports bets would be criminals under his bill.”
And though Lakin isn’t recommending either McCain or Obama, he says the evidence indicates Democrats are more open to legalizing online gambling than Republicans.
He cited the June vote on the Frank-Paul bill, a 32-32 deadlock (ties lose in committee), which took place after Alabama Rep. Spencer Bachus, a Republican, gave a bizarre speech in which he linked online gambling with child pornography and teen suicides.
Of the 32 lawmakers voting against it, 28 were Republican.
“It’s pretty much split down party lines,” he said. “Republicans don’t want gambling legalized, Democrats do, and Republicans will do or say whatever they need to do to make sure it stays illegal.”
Interesting, right? Nobody was really thinking that either of these candidates would do a whole lot to re-legalize online poker — it’s simply not an issue that a president is going to spend any time on, at least not yet –Â and yet, a lot of supporters of Barack Obama seem to feel that, given a choice, he would repeal UIGEA.
What do you think? Is this good news, bad news, or not really news at all? Do you favor one political party over another based on what’s going on with UIGEA? Sound off, and let us know what you think!