Got this from full tilt.
FROM THE PPA
I am a constituent, voter, and poker player asking for your support.
Specifically, I ask that you support proposed legislation that clearly exempts the great
game of poker from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). I also
ask that you sponsor and support legislation to repeal the badly flawed UIGEA outright.
With UIGEA regulations now pending, the debate on these issues has reached a tipping point
, and new voices are emerging against UIGEA every day.
Our right to play poker online was inadvertently restricted with the passage of UIGEA.
While it is clear that UIGEA should not affect online poker
nationwide (UIGEA only enforces other federal gaming laws, and federal case law has
consistently held that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting, and very few states
have any laws against Internet poker), this legislation has nonetheless had a chilling
effect on my ability to access and patronize these legal businesses. I ask for your help
in rectifying this situation. There is no reason for the federal government to treat a
that adults play against others online any differently than a Friday night poker
game played around a kitchen table.
As regulations to implement UIGEA come close to their effective date, our nation’s financial
institutions are warning the Congress that these regulations are unworkable. At the April
2, 2008 Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology
hearing on the impact of UIGEA on our nation’s financial services industry, even the
authors of the UIGEA regulations testified that they have struggled with the ambiguity
of the UIGEA statute.
Louise Roseman of the Federal Reserve testified that it will be very difficult to enforce
the law "without a more bright line on what is included as unlawful Internet gambling”.
Even if this “bright line” were defined, however, she stated that payment systems are not
designed to perform this type of function. Representatives from the American Bankers
Association, the Credit Union National Association, the Financial Services Roundtable and
Wells Fargo fully concurred with this assessment. Dozens of other banks have submitted
similar comments to the Federal Reserve and to the Treasury Department. The principal
comment of the American Bankers Association is a concise summary: “We maintain that
the UIGEA is a fundamentally flawed response to those challenges.”
I encourage you to introduce legislation repealing the badly flawed UIGEA. Banks should be
responsible for managing their deposits and their loan portfolios, not for policing the
behaviors of Americans in their own homes.
I also encourage you to support HR 2610, the Skill Game Protection Act, and HR 2046,
the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act. HR 2610 clarifies federal law by
expressly exempting games of skill like poker from UIGEA. HR 2046,
the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act, regulates online poker
via stringent licensing regulations for poker site operators. Both bills have rigorous
safeguards against underage and compulsive gambling. Both also clarify the Wire Act to
bring it into the 21st century.
These safeguards will work – the June 8, 2007 House Financial Services Committee hearing
on Internet gaming proved conclusively that Internet poker can be effectively regulated.
Note that neither HR 2610 nor HR 2046 force any state to permit online poker, as states
can opt out if they wish.
One thing the 2008 Subcommittee hearing made completely clear is that Congress needs
to define “unlawful Internet gambling” before it can expect financial institutions to
have any chance at effectively enforcing any ban on such activity. The idea that the
federal government cannot define this concept, yet expects banks to perform this
law enforcement function, is ludicrous.
Poker is a uniquely American game of skill and a great American pastime. Presidents such
as FDR and Harry Truman, Chief Justices such as William Rehnquist and William Howard Taft,
members of Congress, generals, and average Americans have enjoyed poker for more than
150 years. It is an honorable game. Congress now has an opportunity to show respect
for the millions of voters who enjoy the great game, while at the same time averting
the looming risks of asking our financial services industry to enforce a law that even our
regulators can’t define.
What’s most important to me is your support for my rights. Please respond to this letter
and let me know if you will support my freedoms. I will be watching your actions on this
issue closely. I hope that I, along with my nearly one million fellow Poker Players
Alliance members, can count on your support.
Thank you for your consideration.