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House Votes 317-93 to Ban Online Poker

The House voted 317-93 this afternoon in favor of the heavily Republican-supported Goodlatte bill (H.R. 4411), which seeks to prevent you, us and everyone in the U.S. from playing poker online.

Of course, state lotteries and horse racing were exempt from the bill in order to win backing from red state politicians whose states rely heavily on horses and taxes on the poor.

"Hypocrisy is certainly rampant here in the house today," Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said.

Similar legislation has not been introduced to the Senate yet, although, as Eric Bangeman of ARS Technica points out, "the possibility exists that an amendment barring online gambling could be tacked on to legislation currently under consideration."

In response to the House vote, Michael Bolcerek, president of the Poker Players Alliance, has released the following statement:

"We are disappointed that the House of Representatives would assail the rights of Americans to enjoy the great game of poker on the Internet. It is unconscionable that a skill game like poker gets swept into the net of prohibition, while online horse betting and Internet lotteries get free passes.

The United States should follow the lead of the United Kingdom by regulating and taxing online poker, not banning it. An economic analysis just released by our organization shows that U.S. regulation of online poker has the potential to raise more than $3.3 billion in annual revenue for the federal government, in addition to another $1 billion for state coffers. We hope that this analysis will give a fresh perspective for U.S. Senators about the benefits of regulation.

The Poker Players Alliance is undeterred in its mission to promote and protect the game of poker and we will continue to advance the cause on behalf of poker players in the United States."

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Again, can someone please explain the reasoning behind this legislation? "Supporters of the measure argue that Internet betting can lead people to lose their savings." Wow! Sounds a lot like those FICA taxes we see every pay period. Come on Cynthia, where are you when we need you!

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