It seems there's a lot we can be doing right now. And, we really need to do it RIGHT NOW, before these politicians make up their minds. So, let's do the following: 1. Contact your congressman and senators by phone and by mail. Ask them to support and cosponsor HR 2046. Maybe comment on that fact that this bill protects from underage gambling and money laundering while protecting the rights of adults. Also, mention that you just want to play poker (if that's the case). Even though this wouldn't make a difference in a perfect world, non-gamblers can understand poker over online roulette. Also, this way it's easy to end the call with something like "come on...all I want to do is play a little poker".
2. Contact the majority and minority offices of the House Financial Services Committee (that's where the bill is now) and the Financial Institutions Subcommittee (one phone call AND one snail mail letter...see the next post for contact info).
3. Contact (write and call) the majority and the minority offices of the House Subcommittee on Trade. Remind them of our WTO obligations relative to our loss to Antigua in the recent online gambling case. This will act as a moral lever, as we have treaty obligations with the WTO. The Frank bill doesn't meet the requirements of the WTO, but the final resolution of the WTO case may coincide with the Frank bill being in some state of approval, making it easier to loosen up either in the Senate or in conference. Without a win, there's a risk of the U.S. complying by eliminating all online betting (even the precious f'ing horses ).
4. Let's thank the 11 (to date) cosponsors of HR 2046. This can be via a short phone call, a handwritten letter, or a donation if you feel compelled (I'll give a little something this week). They are:
Rep. Gary Ackerman [D-NY] Rep. Shelley Berkley [D-NV] Rep. Michael Capuano [D-MA] Rep. Julia Carson [D-IN] Rep. William Clay [D-MO] Rep. Luis Gutiérrez [D-IL] Rep. Steve Israel [D-NY] Rep. Peter King [R-NY] Rep. Ronald Paul [R-TX] Rep. Melvin Watt [D-NC] Rep. Robert Wexler [D-FL]
We've focused on almost half of the 12 (counting Frank), so it looks like we've been doing the right things so far, given our size.
5. Write to your local newspaper, media outlets, television shows, websites, and any other media you can think of to promote our cause.
The PPA has created a simple-to-use auto-emailer to support the Frank bill (HR 2046, IGREA). ( PPA auto-mailer ) It will take less than one minute. Barney Frank says if each congressman receives 500 letters from constituents, he'll be able to get IGREA through his committee. Thanks.
As a constituent and voter in your district, I am writing to ask you to support and co-sponsor HR 2046 – the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007.
In 2006, my right to play poker -- a legendary game of skill that dates back centuries -- was assaulted simply because I chose to exercise that right online. Now, that right will be denied permanently unless Congress takes action. I am counting on you to help restore my rights by supporting HR 2046.
If HR 2046 passes into law, online poker will be safe, secure and regulated. The bill creates stringent licensing regulations for poker operators, so it will protect consumers and poker players alike.
The bill also has rigorous protections against illegal gambling, underage gambling, and compulsive gambling. But it doesn’t force any state to accept online gaming – it will simply allow any currently legal gaming to take place online. States and sports leagues can opt out completely if they wish.
What’s important to me is your support for restoring my rights. Please respond to this letter, and let me know if you will support and co-sponsor HR 2046. I will be watching your actions on this bill closely. I hope that I -- and thousands of other poker fans in your district -- can count on your support.
P.S. Let's keep all the discussion in the main thread in Legislation.
Well, we're gaining some momentum! We have a long way to go, but it's great to see progress. Robert Wexler will introduce a "skills game" exception to UIGEA today. Also, IGREA is gaining some steam. The hearing is tomorrow, so there's some real progress. Also, HR 2140, Rep. Shelley Berkley's [D-NV] Internet gambling study bill, is progressing with 60 cosponsors. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated his support for the study bill. Finally, the UIGEA regulations are due on 7/10. Our opponents are complaining that the regs aren't "tough" enough, so we have an opportunity there.
It seems there's a lot we can be doing right now. And, we really need to do it RIGHT NOW. So, based on our group discussions, let's do the following: 1. Please contact your congressman and senators by phone and by mail and ask them to support and cosponsor the Wexler poker bill (let's wait until it's out first, so we don't look like we don't read things we endorse, of course).
2. Please contact your congressman and senators by phone and by mail to praise the outcome of the 6/8 IGREA hearing and to encourage them to support the legislation.
3. Write to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Treasury Secretary Paulson. Ask them not to exceed the specific mandates of UIGEA when drafting legislation. Remind them that online poker is not illegal under any federal law. Focus on the Family is asking their members to write to Paulson and Bush to request tough regulations. See http://www.citizenlink.org/FOSI/gambling/cog/A000004244.cfm , a Focus site. We should counterbalance this effort. Also, Sen. Kyl asked Gonzales for tough regulations during the AG Senate hearings. We should counterbalance this as well.
Quote: If you’ve ever thought about visiting a cyber casino, here’s something you should know: it’s illegal to gamble online in the United States.
“You can go to Vegas. You can go to Atlantic City. You can go to a racetrack. You can go to those places and gamble legally. But don’t do it online. It’s against the law,” says Leslie Bryant, head of our Cyber Crime Fraud unit at FBI Headquarters.
4. Now that we have bills out there, we should try to work on our public image. Let's write to newspapers, magazines, post to blogs, etc. with positives of online poker/gaming.
Casino Gambling Web is sending representatives to Washington this month. They'll be taking, among other things, online signatures to repeal UIGEA. Please take a moment RIGHT NOW to fill it out, at www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/306149419 , and don't forget to have your spouse sign it as well (once you sign, you'll have to wait ten minutes or so before you can log back on for others in your household to sign).
Fight for Online Gaming!! -- Plan for week of 7/16
Summary of actions: 1. Contact Steven D. Laughton (the UIGEA Treasury Dept. focal point), Treas. Sec. Paulson, and Atty. Gen Gonzales, and Steven D. Laughton to advocate for minimum UIGEA regs. 2. Post the link to the "Repeal UIGEA" online petition at www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/306149419 wherever you can (blogs, libertarian sites, Wikipedia, etc.), as it will be hand-delivered to each senator and representative later this month. 3. Write to Congress 4. Write to newspapers and post to blogs
Fight for Online Gaming!! -- Plan for week of 7/23
Summary of actions: 1. Write to Treasury and DOJ officials AT LEAST ONCE PER WEEK to request the minimum possible UIGEA regulations. 2. Write to your governor and to your state representatives. 3. Regularly write to Congress. 4. Write to newspapers and post to blogs.