There was a notable sense of surprise and enthusiasm around the poker world yesterday, as CQPolitics reported that language spelling out the Republican Parties long held opposition to online gambling had been removed from their party platform. However this new found hope was short-lived, as news that the erased text is to be re-added to the latest draft of the manifesto came to light.
The Republican Party Platform, the document which spells out the party’s position on key issues, has included, for the last eight years, the paragraph:
“Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support legislation prohibiting gambling over the Internet or in student athletics by student athletes who are participating in competitive sports.”
A clear panning of online gambling, and a tenet which many believed would remain a key issue in their election campaign. It should come as no surprise then that the poker world was caught unawares when the news came that the offending paragraph had been removed from the draft of this years platform. The forthcoming explanation being that by removing opposition to internet gambling the party hoped to broaden their appeal, or “make the tent bigger,” as Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-N.C.) put it.
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), who have spent over $1.8 million this year alone, lobbying for the legalization of online poker, were understandably positive and typically bullish. A PPA spokesperson said that:
“This is a small victory in our determined effort to educate both sides of the aisle that there is a true constituency in America that values its Internet freedoms.”
Their call for online poker players to make their voices heard appears to have been heeded, with a raft of pro-poker comment appearing on the Republican Party Platform website. Along side these grassroots players, big names such as Greg Raymer and Doyle Brunson have publicly stated that they will switch allegiances from Republican to Democrat, if Republican support of the UIGEA continues.
So, despite a few hours when it seemed like online poker had won a major political victory, all things remain the same. The Republican Party will present the platform at their National Convention on Sept. 1st, with the party expected to vote in favor of the version including the condemnation of online gambling.