Michael L. Bolcerek, president of the Poker Players Alliance, recently authored an article entitled "A Conservative Case for Internet Poker" in an effort to advance the legalization of online poker in the United States. Published on HumanEventsOnline.com, a national conservative weekly, the article argues against two recently introduced bills aiming to prohibit Internet gaming, and highlights the negative implications such legislation could have on the freedoms and rights of all Americans.
Bolcerek addresses H.R. 4411, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, introduced by Representatives Jim Leach (R.-Iowa) and Bob Goodlatte (R.-Va), respectively.
According to Bolcerek, the proposed bills would ultimately result in an "increase in government surveillance of private affairs without sufficient cause" because of clauses contained within the legislation requiring bankers to enforce strict monitoring regulations that include reviewing customers' purchases and checks, something Bolcerek believes is "an affront to individual liberty" and an "unjustified invasion of privacy."
Other issues addressed in the article include:
- The continued existence of land-based gambling venues.
- The tolerance of certain forms of online gambling, such as placing bets on horse races and playing state lotteries, over others.
- The economic toll the proposed legislation will have on taxpayers, who will likely fund the additional regulations as they are implement by the Justice Department and FBI (who will need significant resources to monitor the Internet), and businesses, who will be forced to carry out the legislation using their own money without compensation from the government.
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be obliged "to remove or disable hyperlinks upon court order, which amounts to censorship of the Internet," something U.S. legislators have berated China for doing.
Bolcerek cautions the federal government against embarking on a "slippery slope" by prohibiting American adults from enjoying a legal American tradition and thus setting a precedent "that could extend to censorship of religious and political information that the government deems objectionable."
The article concludes with the author declaring that while he and his fellow Poker Players Alliance members encourage the federal government to pass the "formal legislation, regulation and even taxation of Internet poker," they do not support legislation which would compromise the rights of players to compete in a skill game while allowing others to participate in games of chance on the Internet.
For details on H.R. 4111, please see H.R. 4111 and U.S. House Committee Clears Anti-Internet Gambling Bill.