Focus on the Family sent this alert to its membership today. Read at http://www.citizenlink.org/content/A000010222.cfm. Are we up to the challenge?
<h1>Pro-Family Groups Take a Stand against Online Gambling</h1>
'The effects of gambling are pervasive, and they need to be stopped.'
This week, the government finally started enforcing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) — by freezing more than $30 million in potential winnings. The 2006 law requires financial institutions to block payments to off-shore Internet gambling operations that are not licensed to operate within the U.S.
Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America (CWA) are among 20 pro-family groups calling on Congress to continue the enforcement of UIGEA and oppose the legalization of online gambling.
"We need to step up enforcement," said Shari Rendall, director of legislation and public policy at CWA. "The effects of gambling are pervasive, and they need to be stopped.”
Pro-family groups are asking the U.S. House to oppose two bills from Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.: H.R. 2266, which would give banks more time to comply with UIGEA; and H.R. 2267, which would legalize Internet gambling in the U.S.
Ken Darnell, co-founder of Gambling Exposed, said it's time for the Justice Department to take a stand against online gambling.
“They should do everything they can within their power to curb it," he said.
The 2006 Gross Annual Wager Report shows Americans lost nearly $91 billion on all forms of gambling. According to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission and addiction counselors, 15 million to 20 million U.S. adults and adolescents have either problem or pathological gambling addictions.
Darnell asked: “Why would our government support any type of activity that’s going to do this to its citizens?”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
Of all the fucking stuff going on with our country people are really that worried about online poker. Not health care, the wars, the economy, funding education but online poker. Good to see our priorities are in order.
Darnell asked: “Why would our government support any type of activity that’s going to do this to its citizens?”
What a terribly thought out statement... Probably the same reason they allow alcohol and tobacco to be consumed by its citizens. $$$
LoL @ whoever this family is. The government gets HUGE chunks of money for casino regulations. I know at the casino i work at the government keeps 30 some % of the revenue from slots alone. And also, with regards to tobacco and alcohal... the prices are like 10% brewer 2% liquor store merchant and like 88% government taxes. Whoever this family is, they sound like the fred phelps family of the gambling world
well Mr. Darnell - the govt already supports, regulates, and in some cases provides financial incentives to companies that sell alcohol, cigarettes, red meat (all 3 can be addictive), abortion, and even WAR which last time I checked ALL contribute to killing people - but hey those deaths mean less people to gamble right? I love the hypocracy of people in this country - sometimes makes it embarrassing to be from the U.S. Let people be people and take resonsibility for their own choices, cause I bet there are millions more people who gamble who do not have a problem. While we are at it lets not forget about state lotteries which are perhaps the biggest type of gambling overall - least when I play cards I can used skill while playing the lottery I am better off standing outside during a lightning storm and betting my friend I get hit insteading of buying my ticket.
From Wikipedia: Focus on the Family (FOTF, or FotF) is an American evangelical non-profit organization founded in 1977 by James Dobson, and is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical parachurch organizations that rose to prominence in the 1980s. A component of the American Christian right, it is active in promoting interdenominational work toward its views on social conservative public policy.
These guys HATE poker. They were instrumental in passing UIGEA. They lobbied Congress and testified at Congressional hearings in opposition to our rights.
I wonder if half these people have ever taken a logic and reasoning class...
Why would our government support any type of activity that’s going to do this to its citizens?”
UMM Oh .. your right .. they should just take away my damn Freedome to spend my hard earned money on whatever i want .. Hmm let say next the govt goes after American evangelical non-profit organization's and shuts them down .. Who would be crying then ... this friggen Country .. i swear
Fuck that noise!
Just out of curiosity, how much of that 91 million went to state funded lottery programs? hypocracy at its finest. Its just sad what is becoming acceptable, maybe if they focused more on thier own families they wouldnt need the government to parent for them.
Fuck that noise!
There are something like 38 states who promote a lottery, so clearly the government is not anti-gambling.
Since Focus on the Family is obviously in the politics business, I would suggest their income be taxed like any other corporation.
As poker players, I would suggest we go on the offensive. Perhaps every time such organizations attack us, we three-bet them. The PPA should call on Congress to tax these people. Let them defend their right to take away our rights. - Jack Dog Welch
p.s., Perhaps we could start our own non-profit: FAMILIES FOR POKER.
These hypocritical POSs better leave me the fuck alone. I look, and I have EXTRA money in one of my bank accounts, because they are fucking with PokerStars' processor.
This might be the first time I was ever upset that I have EXTRA money in an account.
Don't legislate morality. Leave people the fuck alone.
That is all for now. TGIF.
I've grown up in a Christian home listening to James Dobson's stuff. All I know is that this is for real. All 1500 members of my church would back this except for me. They are the real opposition.
I'm a Christian but thanks for making me look horrible James Dobson. This is why us Christians look like nuts and complete idiots to the rest of the world.
Lol..and a few years ago I emailed them about poker and they emailed me back saying I wasn't a true Christian because I played.
These are people who sit when their church gets robbed and say lets pray for them to return the stuff because they feel guilty. It was my church. I mean..wtf? Theyre theives.
Even though I was raised in a strict baptist family, I have no problem with other peoples religious beliefs. If you were raised to believe different that I was, fine, no problem. What I have a problem with however is when other religious groups try to force feed me their way of thinking and if I don't agree with it then I'm grouped with Satan in their eyes. This endless bashing of poker by these so called religious groups that try and come across as looking out for my best interest makes me wanna puke. The problem now with the DOJ involved, these religious groups will use any means to support their stance and most likely gain political support.
I sure wish our so called newly elected poker buddy in DC would come out and say something against the funds being frozen. But as usual, the things that are the most important to me are the last to get corrected. I used to think my one wish I wanted to come true before I took the dirt nappy was to see my CUBS win the world series. Now I've scratched that off the list and only hope that online poker becomes legal.
Here's an article I posted to my blog last week. It seems relevant now:
June 3, 2009
In my youth, I became (and remain) a conservative Republican. I did not want big government in my life, and the president of my youth -- President Ronald Reagan -- promised me he would keep it out. Rather than forcing the values of others on every American with the force of the federal government, President Reagan wisely chose instead to protect traditional values from the corrupting influence of big government. 1993's Contract With America wisely promised much of the same. This is an ideologically consistent position -- one either likes and trusts big government or one does not. How sad that many 21st Century Republican politicians now value big government restrictions on liberties under a misguided belief that our values come from government.
Yesterday, U.S. News & World Report published a column by Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) on the issue of online poker. Regrettably, Bachus argued in favor of a big government prohibition on online poker, stating his belief that Americans cannot handle the freedom to play poker in their own homes with their own money. He claims to believe in limited government principles, but it seems the sky is the limit when it comes to enforcing social issues important to him. Sadly, Bachus has fully embraced the concept of using the power of the federal government to control the behavior of Americans.
Some readers are saying to themselves, "so, I don't play poker." Sorry, but this affects all conservatives. Besides the fact that Bachus' arguments are generally speculative (a laundry list of "potential" issues, with a citing of a grand total of one adult who found himself $3,000 in debt) and are wholly without merit, the real problem for Republicans is that voters oppose government censorship of the Internet by wide margins. Even within the conservative movement, free speech advocates, libertarians, young voters, small government advocates, and traditional conservatives are quite suspicious of arguments contending that Internet freedom is dangerous. Young voters especially are generally libertarian and want government out of their homes. Will these voters find a home in the Republican Party as I did in my youth? It appears they have not been. In fact, the Democratic advantage seen within the 2008 youth vote should have been a wake-up call for every conservative. Continued efforts to censor online poker endanger other conservative goals. We need every vote we can get, and this effort to censor the Internet chases off many voters. Surely we've all noticed that it's hard to move an agenda forward when out of power.
Fortunately, many conservatives believe the federal government should not be in the business of preventing adults from playing a game of poker at a time and place of their choosing. After all, traditional conservatives believe, “the government that governs best governs least.” It is simply wrong that Americans are being told they are criminals for enjoying the great game of poker. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, George Will, Walter Williams, and Grover Norquist have all written in opposition to prohibitions on online poker. One hopes the rest of the conservative movement will follow suit and will support personal liberty over the false promise of big government.
I put this together for PPA's CPAC visit:
The Conservative Case for Protecting Poker
Ante Up for…Limited government
- Many conservatives believe the federal government should not be in the business of preventing adults from playing a game of poker at a time and place of their choosing. These include former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, George Will, Walter Williams, and Grover Norquist, all of whom have written in opposition to prohibitions on poker.
- Conservatives believe “the government that governs best governs least.” Poker is a great American pastime that has been enjoyed by U.S. soldiers, presidents, world leaders, and everyday Americans. It is simply wrong that Americans are being told they are criminals for enjoying the great game of poker.
- The new law unfairly discriminates against poker giving special protections to activities such as intrastate gaming, on-line lotteries, betting on horse racing, and fantasy sports for cash.
- The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) requires banks and credit card companies to police the Internet and the financial system to stop Americans from participating in “unlawful Internet gambling” – a requirement the government could not even define. U.S. licensing and regulation removes this burden from America’s financial services industry. It’s time to stop treating banks and credit card companies like agencies of the federal government.
- Only through meaningful regulation, not prohibition, can we ensure fairness of the game, provide protections for children, and provide services for problem gamblers. And if taxed, significant revenue could be raised for federal and state governments without increasing taxes on citizens.
- U.S. licensing and regulation will mandate verification of the ages of the participants. Sites comply voluntarily now, but regulation will give U.S. laws the teeth needed for enforcement. It will also provide protections for those with excessive gaming habits, including mandated use of self-exclusion lists.
- Licensing and regulation will provide for consumer protections while stimulating the American economy and generating tax revenue and licensing fees.
- Internet censorship and an unenforceable, unpopular prohibition provide no benefits to anyone. All censorship and prohibition can do is drive players underground or overseas while bringing the power of the federal government into America’s homes, where it doesn’t belong.
- Many voters – free speech advocates, young voters, and conservatives in particular – are suspicious of arguments contending that Internet freedom is dangerous and banning certain online activities or confiscating virtual property.
- U.S. licensing and regulation of online poker will allow American companies to participate in the world’s Internet gaming market, bringing needed business and jobs to America. All a prohibition can do is send U.S. jobs and money abroad.
- Regulators, legislators and financial institutions are all warning that UIGEA is unenforceable. With banks now needing to rebuild themselves, it is difficult to imagine the banking system being used to police the Internet to stop a legitimate game of skill like poker.
Poker is a Game of Skill, Not Chance
Poker’s Recent Key Legal Victories
Colorado – in late January a Colorado jury found an organizer of a poker league, Kevin P. Raley, not guilty of unlawful gaming. Under Colorado law, gambling is defined as wagering on a game of chance. With help of expert testimony from the PPA, the jury found the poker league was playing a game of skill, not chance, and was not participating in unlawful gaming.
Pennsylvania – Earlier this year Judge Thomas James, Jr. ruled that poker is predominantly a game of skill. The Pennsylvania court took the next step and threw out 20 charges against the defendants, who held a poker game in their home.
Kentucky – a judge in Kentucky, with the support of the Commonwealth’s Democratic Governor, Steve Beshear, ordered the seizure of numerous Internet domain names related to Internet gaming. Of the over 141 websites ordered for seizure, not one was located in the state of Kentucky. This action would result in a precedent allowing any government to capture and shut down perfectly legal Internet sites that are based outside of their jurisdiction. The Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s ruling to seize the domain names. However, the governor has appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
South Carolina – A South Carolina judge found that poker is indeed a game of skill, not chance, during a trial where defendants were charged with playing cards in a “house used as a place of gaming”. PPA argued that the Court should adopt the rulings of other courts that gambling refers to a game in which the outcome is determined predominantly by chance, not by skill. The judge agreed and kicked it to a higher court.
PPA’s Litigation Support Network has been involved in each of these cases. We provided expert witnesses, prepared arguments for trial, and filed amicus briefs with the courts.
The Problem with “Midnight Rulemaking”
- The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was included on a port security bill that was rushed through Congress before the 2006 election. In the waning days of the Bush Administration, the rule pertaining to this law was implemented in a way that many consider an unlawful power play.
- The regulation deputizes banks and payment systems to block “unlawful Internet gambling” but does not define what that term means. Rather, the general counsel of every bank in the country must research what “unlawful Internet gambling” means in each state and on the federal level.
- The Office of Management and Budget has estimated that the rule will cost more than $100 million for banks and payment systems to implement, and take more than one million man-hours.
- The rule is not set to go into effect until December of this year. Congress is currently looking at whether this rule, and others like it, should be overturned.
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