Fight for Online Gaming

On Green Chip my friend The Engineer has been posting weekly updates to his remarkable work to try to repeal the horrible anti-online gambling law enacted last year. The Engineer has put hundreds of hours into his admirable effort. I am pleased to be able to post, with his permission, this week’s update. I will continue to do so. Please help in this effort to reverse this government overreaching and trampling of our basic freedoms.

Thank you,

LV Bear


Posted By: TheEngineer <> on 13 July 07, 9:15 a.m.

Fight for Online Gaming!! — Plan for week of 7/16

Summary of actions:
1. Contact Steven D. Laughton (the UIGEA Treasury Dept. focal point), Treas. Sec. Paulson, and Atty. Gen Gonzales, and Steven D. Laughton to advocate for minimum UIGEA regs.
2. Post the link to the “Repeal UIGEA” online petition at wherever you can (blogs, libertarian sites, Wikipedia, etc.), as it will be hand-delivered to each senator and representative later this month.
3. Write to Congress
4. Write to newspapers and post to blogs

Based on our group discussions, let’s do the following:1. Contact Steven D. Laughton (the UIGEA Treasury Dept. focal point) via email or snail mail with our concerns over the impact of UIGEA. Info on Mr. Laughton is available at . Continue to contact Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Treasury Secretary Paulson, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, of course. The regs were supposed to be out by now…the fact they they are not is probably good for us. I think a big push here on our part could really pay off.Let’s ask them not to exceed the specific mandates of UIGEA when drafting legislation. Let’s ask them to exclude all ACH transactions (too burdensome for banks to filter). Also, remind them that online poker is not illegal under any federal law. We should ask them to require unambiguous state laws, so banks aren’t in the position of trying to interpret state laws that may or may not apply to Internet gaming. Finally, there should be no “site blacklists”.Contact info:Steven D. Laughton
Office of the Assistant General Counsel (Banking and Finance)
Room 2027B,

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue

, NW.
Washington,DC 20220
Phone:202 622-8413
Email: steven.laughton@do.treas.govThe Honorable Alberto Gonzales
U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001

AskDOJ@usdoj.govThe Honorable Henry Paulson

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20220

The Honorable Ben S. Bernanke
Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Washington, D. C. 20551
Others:Pres. Bush:
Your senators:
Your representative:
Republican National Committee:
Democratic National Committee:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
2. Post the link to the “Repeal UIGEA” online petition at wherever you can (blogs, libertarian sites, Wikipedia, etc.). The site is reputable, and the signatures will be hand-delivered to Capitol Hill by representatives of Casino Gambling Web in July (see…….20D.C.). Be sure to check the box to hide your name if you don’t want it displayed on the website. Also be sure to deselect the boxes that offer to send regular updates if you don’t want them. Focus on the Family is STILL warning their members about this march, so it must be a good thing. See Continue to contact your senators and representative. Let’s call and send snail mail at least once every four to six weeks. Let’s email at least once per week or biweekly. Some of these may be carbon copies of letters to others (like the USTR, Frank, etc).We have many issues, so we can focus on one item for each letter while rotating. It does not matter to our movement which items you choose; any communication against attempts to ban online gambling at the federal level work in our favor. After all, if IGREA fails due to lack of public support, it’s not like the media will report that people disagreed with giving power to the FinCEN or to issues relating to shutting out foreign operators. They’ll report, “Frank’s Attempt to End Online Gambling Ban (as if there is such a thing, but the media don’t care) Fails to Draw Public Support”. Our opponents will say, “see, Americans are happy we’re ‘protecting the public'”. If Wexler’s bill fails, the media won’t report that some felt it legitimized UIGEA. They’ll report that Americans didn’t even wish to legalize poker. This year, we’re all about generating support for our general position, which is that online gaming should not be prohibited. Let’s focus there. So, here are some issues we can rotate: Antigua’s WTO case
– Wexler’s bill: H.R. 2610, the Skill Game Protection Act
– Praise for the 6/8 hearing.; webcast archived at
– Shelley Berkley’s study bill
4. Now that we have bills progressing, we should try to work on advocating for the legislation. Let’s write to newspapers, magazines, post to blogs, etc. Since we proved our position in the 6/8 House hearing, let’s post the link to the hearing webcast wherever we can.Letters to the editor, Washington Post:
Letters to the editor, New York Times:
Thanks everyone!
—————————————————————————Scope of this effortPosted By: TheEngineer <> on 13 July 07, 9:32 a.m. in response to: Fight for Online Gaming!! — Plan for week of 7/16 (TheEngineer)I just wanted to reassure everyone here that this effort is generating some output, so please try to participate if you can. I started this effort on this site (mainly because I was upset at being deprived of my liberty) and mirrored it to 2+2 at The response there has been strong, with many folks participating. Also, other pro-gaming rights sites have been reposting these action items, magnifying the effect.I don’t have a lot of data on this effort. What I do have is in the online petition numbers. They day I found out CGW was taking this petition to D.C. (July 2), they had only 4696 signatures, and were running around 20 signatures per day. The day I posted an action, they gained 489 signatures. The day after, they received another 498 signatures. They now have 6,359 signatures. I don’t know if this is all us, nor do I know if we can get 1650 people to write letters each time….after all, signing an online petition is easier than writing a letter. Still, it shows some reach.So please don’t read the Action threads and think it’s just me and one or two others….if you fight back with this you will be joining a group of people committed to freedom and liberty.
Letter to Steven LaughtonPosted By: TheEngineer <> on 13 July 07, 9:33 a.m. in response to: Fight for Online Gaming!! — Plan for week of 7/16 (TheEngineer) Steven D. Laughton
Office of the Assistant General Counsel (Banking and Finance)
Room 2027B, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20220
Dear Mr. Laughton: I understand that some who wish to prohibit law-abiding Americans from choosing to play online poker in the privacy of their own homes have been lobbying the Treasury Department for UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006) regulations that would, in essence, create an Internet gaming prohibition. This concerns me greatly as a freedom-loving American, as Congress did not ban any gaming with UIGEA. It seems anti-poker interest groups would have the Treasury Department disregard this fact and would use the Federal Reserve System’s banking regulations as a back door means of creating the prohibition they were unable to win legislatively, while burdening our financial institutions with enforcement duties. As you know, UIGEA does not make Internet gaming illegal. Rather, it merely provides a means for enforcement of federal and state Internet gaming laws that were already in effect when UIGEA passed. However, very few types of online gambling are illegal under federal law. Specifically, federal law covers only some sport betting. As for state laws, very few states have outlawed Internet gaming. Regarding other states, prohibitionists are trying to use ambiguous, arcane gambling laws to claim that some types of Internet gaming MIGHT be illegal in their states. To keep from placing an unfair burden on our banks, I ask that the upcoming UIGEA regulations address areas only where laws are unambiguous in their application to the Internet and to specific forms of gambling. After all, if states actually wished to ban Internet gaming, they would have done so in an unambiguous fashion, especially if they wished to have the federal government take the unprecedented step of enforcing it. Additionally, I ask that the regulations exclude the highly automated ACH system, as the addition of manual verification steps to ACH would be overly burdensome. Thanks for your consideration.



ProgressPosted By: TheEngineer <> on 13 July 07, 9:40 a.m. in response to: Fight for Online Gaming!! — Plan for week of 7/16 (TheEngineer) We’re making progress. IGREA just picked up two more cosponsors, Rep. Anthony Weiner [NY-D] and Rep. Bennie Thompson [MS-D], bringing us up to 28 cosponsors plus Rep. Frank. The UIGEA regs didn’t get published on schedule, despite their push to get them out by the 10th. This is either great news (banks complaining) or neutral (administration trying to get them toughened…good for us in that they’re weak now and that stakeholders like it that way, bad for obvious reasons), but we’ll still likely wish to respond the same way….writing to Bernanke, Paulson, Gonzales, and Steven D. Laughton (the regs’ focal point). SGPA (the Wexler bill) gained two cosponsors as well, Rep. Shelley Berkley, [D-NV] and Rep. Alcee Hastings [D-FL], for a total of three. Wexler gave a good interview where he reaffirmed his desire that all Internet gaming be regulated and legal, and that he’s doing the skill game exemption as a means of getting the possible. He is cosponsoring IGREA, and he’s highly supportive of Berkley‘s study bill. His bill isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s hard to get perfection one year after losing 317-93 (House vote passing HR 4411). We’re pretty fortunate to be where we are, I think.

Wexler interview


My letter to Focus on the FamilyPosted By: TheEngineer <> on 13 July 07, 9:43 a.m. in response to: Fight for Online Gaming!! — Plan for week of 7/16 (TheEngineer) I’m writing to let you know many Americans find your organization’s outspoken (and often inaccurate to the point of being deceitful) advocacy of banning Internet poker offensive, particularly FoF’s assertion that the American people need the federal government to act as their nanny. Americans are capable of making their own decisions. We don’t need a bigger federal government to do that for us. Actually, we need a smaller one. After all, the power you give government today is the power they’ll use against us tomorrow. For example, do you feel safe in saying the IRS could never revoke a church’s tax exempt status for refusing to hire a gay pastor? Do you feel safe in saying the IRS could never revoke a church’s tax exempt status for preaching that homosexuality is a sin? If you answered “yes, that cannot happen”, are you certain that couldn’t come to pass within ten years? And, why shouldn’t it? YOU decided government should involve itself in issues of morality, and many Americans do think discrimination against gays is immoral. That’s the power you’re advocating giving government today!!! After all, YOU said the American people are incapable of making their own decisions. YOU said government should have a role. And, YOU condemned yourself to this outcome by chasing limited-government conservatives like me from the Republican Party, assuring the party of minority status. I urge you to let this one go. Support limited government. Support regulation over prohibition. Fiscal conservatism plus government out of your life = true conservatism. Government control of one’s life = statism.



FoF ReplyPosted By: TheEngineer <> on 13 July 07, 9:52 a.m. in response to: My letter to Focus on the Family (TheEngineer)Here’s their reply. I’ll give them some credit for at least replying. I’m posting it because it’s helpful for us to understand our opposition. Some interesting things to note. They mention the increse in crime as if housewives suddenly became bank robbers. I think they really believe that. Also, use of “per capita” statistics seems misleading in an area where the numbers of visitors increased dramatically. Also, the stat on areas losing $3 for every $1 gained in gaming income means Nevada could make a killing by outlawing gaming. Hehe. Finally, her rationale for laws is flawed. Theft is immoral, but it’s not illegal for that reason. It’s illegal because it’s a violation of the property rights of the victim. Anyway, here it is:
——————————————————– Thank you, ******, for contacting Focus on the Family. We appreciate the time you took to offer your personal insights on the controversial issue of gambling. In response, what some people don’t realize is that the pragmatic downside to gambling, including poker, is serious. The hard facts indicate that legalized gambling is responsible for a host of social ills (a suggestion that can be validated by looking at virtually any area where gambling has been introduced on a widespread basis). Take Atlantic City, for example, where from 1976 to 1992 the community’s police budget tripled to $24 million while the local population decreased by 20 percent. And despite spending $59 million yearly to monitor casinos, during the first three years of casino operation Atlantic City jumped from 50th to 1st on the nation’s per capita crime chart! Even more disturbing is the astronomical price tag associated with the costs of “cleaning up the mess” left in gambling’s wake. John Kindt, Ph.D., professor of commerce and legal policy at the University of Illinois, asserts that for every one dollar of revenue generated by gambling, taxpayers must dish out at least three dollars in increased criminal justice costs, social-welfare expenses, high regulatory costs, and increased infrastructure expenditures. In addition, gambling can quite literally have a devastating effect on individuals. Millions of Americans now have a compulsive gambling problem, which not only causes great personal financial hardship for the gambler, but also disrupts and, in some cases, destroys families. Countless studies show a direct link between legalized gambling and gambling addictions, as well as drug and alcohol abuse and suicide. On another note, if it be contended that Dr. Dobson wants to “legislate morality,” or that we are attempting to force individuals to conform to our idea of what constitutes godly behavior, we respond that nothing could be further from the truth. But Dr. Dobson believes that a nation which recognizes no transcendent standard of accountability is headed for moral bankruptcy and social chaos. All laws place restraints upon human behavior by declaring one act socially acceptable and another unacceptable. To that extent laws are statements about morality. We can’t avoid “legislating morality,” then. The question is, whose morality will be legislated? To what standard do we appeal in seeking a rationale for our laws? As Chuck Colson writes in his book, _Kingdoms in Conflict_, “Without transcendent norms, laws are either established by the social elites or are merely bargains struck by competing forces in society … laws rooted in moral absolutes do not vacillate with public taste or the whim of fashion.” Again, thanks for writing. We hope this response has clarified our perspective. God bless you.

Focus on the Family


Letter to John McCainPosted By: TheEngineer <> on 13 July 07, 9:53 a.m. in response to: Fight for Online Gaming!! — Plan for week of 7/16 (TheEngineer) July 8, 2007 Senator John McCain
United States Senate
241 Russell Senate Office Building
, DC 20510
Dear Senator McCain: I am writing regarding your recent slip in the presidential polls. I think perhaps some of this has come from a change in perception over what the Straight Talk Express stands for. If you were to refocus your campaign by acting as a spokesman for individual freedoms and limited government, I believe you could win back significant support. I hope you will – real conservatives desperately need a champion. As a limited government conservative in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, I and many like me are disappointed by the takeover of our party by big government social “conservative” CINOs (conservatives in name only) who seek federal legislation outlawing everything to which they are personally opposed while spending like drunken sailors on everything else. The Republican Party used to believe in limited government and in individual rights. However, the big spending, big government social conservatives won’t ever go back to that, now that they’ve tasted the sweet, tantalizing flavor of government power. It appears that it is up to the rest of the Republican Party to reclaim the limited government mantle that is rightfully ours. I ask you to stand strong for limited government and individual rights. A great place to start is with Internet poker, as this issue in particular demonstrates the divide between real limited government conservatives and the big government CINO infiltrators. The CINO thought process is as follows: “I don’t like Internet poker, therefore I want federal legislation to ban it for everyone”. That’s not conservative by any definition of the term. The conservative mindset (of someone who does not play Internet poker) is: “I don’t play Internet poker, so I won’t play…problem solved, and it required no federal restrictions on the liberties of others”. This is especially true given that the June 8 House Financial Services Committee hearing on Internet gaming conclusively proved that Internet gaming can be effectively regulated for underage gambling, compulsive gambling, fairness, tax collection, and other issues. I urge you to publicly support the right of Americans to choose to play poker online. Thank you for your consideration. I wish you the best of luck with your run.



House statusPosted By: TheEngineer <> on 13 July 07, 10:13 a.m. in response to: Fight for Online Gaming!! — Plan for week of 7/16 (TheEngineer) Barney Frank has been stating that he’s building Congressional support for IGREA before moving forward full speed. Let’s help. Who inthe House is most likely to join us? It seems this list starts with representatives who voted against HR 4411, the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act (which became IGREA after being weakened), but have not yet sponsored/cosponsored IGREA. Next, is those who are cosponsoring the Berkley study bill but not cosponsored IGREA. Finally, geography can be used. So, where are we? IGREA has 28 cosponsors, plus Rep. Frank. They are: Rep. Gary L. Ackerman [NY-5], Rep. Shelley Berkley [NV-1], Rep. Howard L. Berman [CA-28], Rep. Michael E. Capuano [MA-8], Rep. Russ Carnahan [MO-3], Rep. Julia Carson [IN-7], Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay [MO-1], Rep. Joseph Crowley [NY-7], Rep. Bob Filner [CA-51], Rep. Vito Fossella [NY-13], Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez [IL-4], Rep. Alcee L. Hastings [FL-23], Rep. Steve Israel [NY-2], Rep. Peter T. King [NY-3], Rep. Carolyn McCarthy [NY-4], Rep. Jim McDermott [WA-7], Rep. James P. McGovern [MA-3], Rep. Charlie Melancon [LA-3], Rep. Ron Paul [TX-14], Rep. Ed Perlmutter [CO-7], Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez [TX-23], Rep. Linda T. Sanchez [CA-39], Rep. Edolphus Towns [NY-10], Rep. Melvin L. Watt [NC-12], Rep. Robert Wexler [FL-19], and Rep. Don Young [AK]. Rep. Anthony Weiner [NY-D] and Rep. Bennie Thompson [MS-D], just joined this week. Wexler’s bill (SGPA) has three cosponsors, all of whom are also cosponsoring IGREA. Of the 93 reps who voted against HR 4411, 62 have not cosponsored IGREA or SGPA. They are: Rep. Gary Ackerman [D-NY], Rep. Robert Andrews [D-NJ], Rep. Joe Baca [D-CA], Rep. Tammy Baldwin [D-WI], Rep. Xavier Becerra [D-CA], Rep. Corrine Brown [D-FL], Rep. Lois Capps [D-CA], Rep. John Conyers [D-MI], Rep. Elijah Cummings [D-MD], Rep. Danny Davis [D-IL], Rep. William Delahunt [D-MA], Rep. John Dingell [D-MI], Rep. David Dreier [R-CA], Rep. Eliot Engel [D-NY], Rep. Anna Eshoo [D-CA], Rep. Sam Farr [D-CA], Rep. Jeff Flake [R-AZ], Rep. Charles Gonzalez [D-TX], Rep. Raul Grijalva [D-AZ], Rep. Doc Hastings [R-WA], Rep. Tim Holden [D-PA], Rep. Michael Honda [D-CA], Rep. Steny Hoyer [D-MD], Rep. Jay Inslee [D-WA], Rep. Jesse Jackson [D-IL], Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee [D-TX], Rep. Eddie Johnson [D-TX], Rep. Patrick Kennedy [D-RI], Rep. Dale Kildee [D-MI], Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick [D-MI], Rep. Ronald Kind [D-WI], Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D-OH], Rep. Barbara Lee [D-CA], Rep. Frank LoBiondo [R-NJ], Rep. Zoe Lofgren [D-CA], Rep. Connie Mack [R-FL], Rep. Edward Markey [D-MA], Rep. Doris Matsui [D-CA], Rep. George Miller [D-CA], Rep. Jerrold Nadler [D-NY], Rep. Grace Napolitano [D-CA], Rep. Richard Neal [D-MA], Rep. John Olver [D-MA], Rep. Edward Pastor [D-AZ], Rep. Ted Poe [R-TX], Rep. Jon Porter [R-NV], Rep. Charles Rangel [D-NY], Rep. Silvestre Reyes [D-TX], Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [R-CA], Rep. Steven Rothman [D-NJ], Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard [D-CA], Rep. Bobby Rush [D-IL], Rep. Loretta Sanchez [D-CA], Rep. Janice Schakowsky [D-IL], Rep. Adam Schiff [D-CA], Rep. Robert Scott [D-VA], Rep. José Serrano [D-NY], Rep. Hilda Solis [D-CA], Rep. Fortney Stark [D-CA], Rep. Ellen Tauscher [D-CA], Rep. Patrick Tiberi [R-OH], Rep. John Tierney [D-MA], Rep. Tom Udall [D-NM], Rep. Nydia Velazquez [D-NY], Rep. Diane Watson [D-CA], and Rep. Lynn Woolsey [D-CA]. If you see your congressman here, please work extra hard on the lobbying. HR 2140, the Study bill, has 64 cosponsors, plus Rep. Berkley. The 51 reps cosponsoring the Study bill but not cosponsoring IGREA or Wexler’s bill are: Rep. Neil Abercrombie [HI-1], Rep. Nancy E. Boyda [KS-2], Rep. Corrine Brown [FL-3], Rep. Russ Carnahan [MO-3], Rep. James E. Clyburn [SC-6], Rep. Steve Cohen [TN-9], Rep. John Conyers [MI-14], Rep. Jim Costa [CA-20], Rep. Jerry F. Costello [IL-12], Rep. Danny K. Davis [IL-7], Rep. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega [AS] (American Samoa….territories are allowed to vote, but not if their votes are within the margin of victory for a bill), Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez [TX-20], Rep. Al Green [TX-9], Rep. Raul M. Grijalva [AZ-7], Rep. Dean Heller [NV-2], Rep. Baron P. Hill [IN-9], Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey [NY-22], Rep. Michael M. Honda [CA-15], Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee [TX-18], Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones [OH-11], Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick [MI-13], Rep. James R. Langevin [RI-2], Rep. John B. Larson [CT-1], Rep. John Lewis [GA-5], Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo [NJ-2], Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney [NY-14], Rep. James P. McGovern [MA-3], Rep. Kendrick B. Meek [FL-17], Rep. Gregory W. Meeks [NY-6], Rep. Dennis Moore [KS-3], Rep. Jerrold Nadler [NY-8], Rep. Grace F. Napolitano [CA-38], Rep. Bill Pascrell [NJ-8], Rep. Donald M. Payne [NJ-10], Rep. Collin C. Peterson [MN-7], Rep. Jon C. Porter [NV-3], Rep. Charles B. Rangel [NY-15], Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger [MD-2], Rep. Tim Ryan [OH-17], Rep. Loretta Sanchez [CA-47], Rep. Linda T. Sanchez [CA-39], Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky [IL-9], Rep. Adam B. Schiff [CA-29], Rep. Jose E. Serrano [NY-16], Rep. Pete Sessions [TX-32], Rep. Gene Taylor [MS-4], Rep. Bennie G. Thompson [MS-2], Rep. Mike Thompson [CA-1], Rep. Timothy J. Walz [MN-1], Rep. Diane E. Watson [CA-33], and Rep. John A. Yarmuth [KY-3]. If you see your congressman here, please write an extra letter or make an extra phone call, as you have a good chance of making a big difference. Next, let’s look at geography. The states most opposed to HR 4411 were Alaska, Nevada, Massachusetts, Arizona, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Washington, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, and Texas. If you live in one of these states, you may have a better than average chance of luck with an uncommitted rep. Thanks. # # #


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