Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rep. Jim Moran Goes All-in for Poker

Congressman Jim Moran (D) from Arlington, VA met with poker greats Annie Duke, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Victor Ramdin, and Robert Costner to discuss pending poker legislation in the wake of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that was passed last year.

The UIGEA was passed last year as part of the Port Security Bill. While poker has absolutely nothing to do with port security, the UIGEA was added at two in the morning to a bill that had to be passed. This meant that the bill was passed without debate or review.

The UIGEA would not have passed as a stand alone bill, but was snuck into the Port Act in the middle of the night on the last day of the session. Concerned about how this circumvented the normal legislative procedures, Rep. Moran said "Anyone would be concerned about the process."
Jim mentioned that his granddaughter's favorite poker player is Annie Duke, who was present for the meeting. Jim expressed his support to allow American Poker players to participate in their favorite game online. Said Robert Costner, who is from the Arlington area, "I can have any number of people come to my house and play poker legally for $20 or $20,000 dollars. But as soon as everyone leaves and I go online to play poker the federal government wants to oversee the situation."

Several poker friendly bills are currently in congress. These include the bill introduced by Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2046), Rep. Wexler's Skill Game Protection Act (H.R. 2610), and Rep. McDermott's Internet Gambling Tax Act (H.R. 2607). Rep. Jim Moran pledged to co-sponsor all three.