Online Poker Players Have Political Power to overturn UIGEA
The hundreds of thousands of people who use online gambling sites around the US, previously dismissed as a minority, and oppressed by laws are beginning to fight back by declaring their political power and getting legislative allies on side.
The Poker Players Alliance was founded in 2005 and was the firm step in getting representation for the sizable number of people who engage in this type of hobby. By 2006 the group had in excess of 600,000 members and began to have significant influence in terms of voting against those council members who went against their cause.
The act in question, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) eventually did receive Congressional approval, however, this came at the cost of its advocates, as former US Representative Jim Leach of Iowa explains,
"I realized that support for the bill jeopardized my re-election." Leach opening acknowledges that support for online poker headed by the PPA played a role in his loss of the election campaign.
Similarly, Senator Bill Frist, who was the public face of the UIGEA, decided against running for re-election in 2006, denying that the UIGEA furore contributed to this decision. However, his links to the UIGEA caused his Presidential bid in 2008 to quickly fizzle out at the public tied his name to the disliked law.
Now with more than a million members, the PPA is able to exercise its political influence with $3 million being spent on lobbying to protest the anti-gambling efforts being made by the NFL and the Christian Coalition. With such a large voice, the silent majority of online gamblers now seem as if they have the weight behind them to be heard on the political agenda.