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PPA Publishes List of Political “Jokers”

Midterm elections are just around the corner in the United States (November 4th), but early voting is already open in many locations), so it is probably about time you decided who deserves your vote (or doesn’t deserve it the least). The Poker Players Alliance has some suggestions for you, more specifically on whose chad you should not punch.

The PPA has published a list of “The Jokers,” politicians who have come out in some way, shape, or form against online poker. In years past, the PPA has developed a Congressional Ratings Guide, which assigned a letter grade to every member of Congress and provided information on how that grade was earned. That was one heck of an unwieldy list to manage, though, so something shorter, focusing on those who would have received poor grades, is probably easier to handle.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of “The Jokers” – 17 of 22 – are Republicans, likely scrambling to wash the feet of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson and in turn have the honor of swimming in his Scrooge McDuck coin vault. Each name on the list has a link that can be clicked on to see that person’s contact information.

Image courtesy: fanpop.com

Image courtesy: fanpop.com

The two men at the top of the list are two of online poker’s greatest enemies nowadays: Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Each is the lead sponsor of Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) bill in their respective houses. RAWA’s aim is to make online gambling, including poker, illegal in the United States (except for forms that have already been carved out, like horse racing and fantasy sports). The Wire Act of 1961 made sports betting over communication lines illegal, but for a long time was interpreted by lawmakers and even the Department of Justice to include all types of internet gambling. Around Christmastime in 2011, though, the DoJ clarified its stance on the Wire Act, saying it applied only to sports betting. That opened to the door for individual states to begin legalizing online gambling and to date, three – Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware – have. The RAWA, as is implied by its title, would actually cancel the DoJ’s 2011 clarification and roll back the interpretation of the Wire Act to include all forms of online gambling.

Needless to say, this would be a bad thing for online poker fans, which is why Chaffetz and Graham qualify as “most wanted.”

There are four people on “The Jokers” list running in gubernatorial elections, including Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina. She is most noted in the online poker world for writing a letter to Congressional leaders in March, urging them to roll back the 2011 DoJ Wire Act clarification, exactly what RAWA would do. The letter was written just ahead of the introduction of the bill.

The complete list of “The Jokers” follows at the end of this article, along with a link to the website.

Now, neither I nor the Poker Players Alliance is going to tell you for whom you should vote. “The Jokers” list is merely a way to let people who care about online poker know which candidates are actively working against their interests. Most voters have no idea for whom they are voting; they just think they are supposed to vote Democrat or are supposed to vote Republican or that they are supposed to love President Obama or hate President Obama. Most voters are not educated on the issues and where the candidates stand. This list provides one piece of information.

If a candidate on your ballot is super anti-online poker, that does not mean you have to vote against them. Educate yourself on the candidates’ platforms; your opinions may very well jive with a poker opponent on everything except poker. It is then up to you to decide how important that poker vote is to you. Many people are one-issue voters and many poker players will vote strictly based on a candidates stance on the game. But each person needs to make their own decision. The important thing is to educate yourself and to have a clear understanding of why you are casting your vote the way you are. Vote according to what is important to you, not what someone else tells you is important. If you decide to align your vote with a candidate’s poker stance, great. Go for it. If you want to look at other factors, fantastic. Again, this list of poker opponents is a resource, not a directive.

Poker Players Alliance “The Jokers”

2014 U.S. Congressional Ring Leader Candidates

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R – Utah)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – S.C.)

2014 U.S. House of Representatives Candidates

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D – Mo.)
Rep. Charles Dent (R – Penn.)
Rep. Randy Forbes (R – Vir.)
Rep. Trent Franks (R – Ariz.)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D – Haw.)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R – Tex.)
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R – S.C.)
Rep. George Holding (R – N.C.)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R – Ohio)
Rep. Steve King (R – Iowa)
Rep. James Lankford (R – Okla.)
Rep. Daniel Lipinsky (D – Ill.)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D – Iowa)
Rep. Mike Rogers (R – Mich.)
Rep. Lamar Smith (R – Tex.)

2014 Gubernatorial Candidates

Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott (R – Tex.)
Martha Coakley (D – Mass.)
Gov. Nikki Haley (R – S.C.)
Gov. Rick Scott (R – Fla.)

2014 State Government Candidates

State Rep. Mario Scavello (R – Penn.)


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