I wrote a letter to my representative in the House. I modified the PPA template and sent it from the form on house.gov. I hope he doesn’t mind if I share our personal correspondence:
To the Honorable Henry Waxman,
As a voter in your district, I am writing to ask you to support and co-sponsor HR 2046 the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank, and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was introduced at the 11th hour as an amendment to the SAFE Port Act without debate on its merits. As no Congressional representative worth his or her political salt would vote against the SAFE Port Act, the UIGEA slipped through and was signed into law by Mr. Bush, effectively gutting the online gaming industry’s presence here in the United States. The methodology of the Republican leadership, and the blatant attempt to appeal to the conservative right-wing of its party, disgusted me and much of poker-playing America, regardless of political affiliation. It was seen as an assault on personal liberties by a minority’s definition of morality.
Now that the Democrats have gained control of both houses, there is an opportunity to correct the mistakes of the previous majority party in the form of HR 2046. If HR 2046 passes into law, online poker and other forms of gaming would become safe, secure, and regulated. The bill creates stringent licensing regulations for operators, so it will protect players from fraud and other risks.
The bill also has rigorous protections against illegal gambling, underage gambling, and compulsive gambling. However, the bill does not force any state to accept online gaming it will simply allow any currently legal gaming to take place online. States and sports leagues can opt out completely if they wish.
Bringing online gaming under the supervision and regulation of the US government also creates great financial opportunties in terms of both tax revenues and licensing fees. As it is, the United States receives nothing of online gaming revenues. In fact, gaming revenues from Americans are going overseas to countries like Gibraltar, Antigua, and Bermuda.
Tax revenues and global trade issues aside, online gaming represents high growth, high-paying jobs. As a leader in technology, California would benefit disproportionately from the legalization and regulation of online gaming. This $13b high-tech, cutting edge industry needs software developers, network engineers, marketing managers, sales representatives–the whole gamut. It is a fact that one such software development house moved its Westwood headquarters overseas due to the uncertain and increasingly risky business climate within our borders. We need those jobs and the money they inject into the local economy.
I hope you will agree with me on the importance of passing HR 2046 into law and help Rep. Frank by co-sponsoring and supporting this bill. I look forward to your actions on this matter.