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Poker News: May 13th, 2009

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HEADLINE: Americans Rank Online Poker as Top Tech Issue for White House Consideration

When it became public knowledge that President Barack Obama had a penchant for the casual poker game, it became a viable consideration that the then-presidential candidate would be open to pro-poker legislation if he was voted into the highest office in the United States. More than 100 days into his presidency, after having asked for Americans to voice their opinions about important issues via the White House Citizen’s Briefing Book, Obama will be faced with the issue of legalizing online poker because it ranked as the top technology issue by the American people.

On May 12, the final copy of the White House Citizen’s Briefing Book was released to the public after months of input. With the cover reading, “To President Barack Obama, From The American People,” the compilation of ideas drafted, submitted, and voted on by U.S. citizens through the website was delivered to White House staff. In all, there were more than 44,000 policy proposals submitted by approximately 125,000 users, and more than 1.4 million votes were registered. Each issue was categorized into pre-determined groups.

Upon completion of the book and the tabulation of the technology category, it was legal online poker at the top of the list with 46,890 points. And in the grand scheme of all categories and issues, including the environment and health care, legal online poker ranked 11th. The entry that took online poker to the top was written by Aaron Huertas of Washington D.C., an online poker player who submitted the following:

Boost America’s Economy with Legal Online Poker (46,890 points)

Let online poker players in the United States play legally and without fear of prosecution. Reform the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to exempt poker, a game of skill, from the law. Boost the economy by letting American companies and American players make money and pay taxes instead of sending online poker businesses offshore. Protect online poker players by regulating the industry to ensure that no one is ever cheated.

PPA Executive Director John Pappas commented, “Poker players around the country are speaking with one voice to protect the game they love, and the White House is hearing that message. The popularity of online poker continues to grow, and the fact that poker is the top technology issue - and the 11th issue overall - proves that this is not a niche issue, but a national public policy that this Congress and this president should advance this year.”

As the issue is presented to President Obama and the White House staff as an important one to the American people, Rep. Barney Frank’s recently introduced legislation, the Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection & Enforcement Act of 2009, awaits a committee hearing. With so much attention on the issue of legalized online gaming, it will be tough for the Obama Administration to avoid going forward.

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Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on May 12th, 2009

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