Over the past year, there has been increasing optimism over the possibility of online poker begin legalized within the next couple of years. That optimism may have been a bit premature as the Republican Party earlier today released their platform and should Mitt Romney become President of the United States, it could end legalization effort for at least the next four years.
The 55 page document entitled 2012: We Believe in America was released earlier Wednesday and dealt with the issues that many feel are relevant to the nation such as the economy, national security, social security, and Obamacare. However, on page 34 on a section entitled “Making the Internet Family-Friendly”, the Republican Party instantly alienated any supporter of online poker.
The section states the following:
“Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Act that could open the door to Internet betting.
The Internet must be made safe for children. We call on service providers to exercise due care to ensure that the Internet cannot become a safe haven for predators while respecting First Amendment rights. We congratulate the social networking sites that bar known sex offenders from participation. We urge active prosecution against child pornography, which is closely linked to the horrors of human trafficking. Current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.”
In this simple statement, the Republican Party clearly declared their opposition to all online gaming, including poker. They clearly call for the reversal of the DOJ opinion of this past December regarding the Wire Act, a decision that many states are using as the basis for pursuing online poker legalization.
Earlier this week, I wrote an article talking about how that poker lobbyists needed to find a way to sell the game to the Romney administration, but after this clear declaration from the Republican Party, they do not seem interested in legalizing any type of online “gambling.”
This could spell big trouble for online poker as many expect Romney to ultimately prevail against President Obama in November. Obama’s perceived lack of leadership and failure to deliver the “change” he promised four years ago have voters looking for any way out of the current economic situation.
Should HR 2366, the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act or a bill similar fail to pass during the lame duck session later this year, we could be in for a long four year wait (at least) before online poker gets another chance at legalization.