As time draws near for the 2006 elections, poker players across the United States are making their voices heard about the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) with a protest and even with financial support for candidates running against incumbents who supported the bill.
Friday and Saturday, there will be a "Protest for Freedom" in Washington D.C., during which poker players will converge in the capital to play poker in the streets as a protest of the UIGEA. Some celebrities who support poker may attend and some media outlets have already confirmed they will have people there to help the group get its message out to the public.
"We think we have enough people who confirmed showing up for the event that could fill up the square behind the White House," said Debbie Richardson, who organized the event. "The more people show up for the protest the more interest the press will show."
Richardson said she has about 250 people who are confirmed for the protest and believes many more than that will actually come as they bring along friends and other supporters who haven't confirmed they will be there.
Protestors will meet at the Washington Monument at 9 a.m. Nov. 3 and 4, and the protest will lead to the street and park in front of the White House. The protest will end at 5 p.m. each day.
"We will have speakers, and we will be heard," Richardson said. "Three days before election should make some sway a little, don't you agree?"
Some opponents of the UIGEA are making their opinions known in another way. A group called Poker Players Against Kyl has formed to raise campaign funds for Jim Pederson who is running against Senator Jon Kyl in Arizona. Kyl has tried for years to get an online gambling ban passed and was a major supporter of the UIGEA.
The group is trying to raise at least $15,000 for Pederson by Wednesday to send a message to Senator Kyl that they don't like his support of an online gambling ban. So far they've gathered more than $6,000 for the campaign.
People can make a donation to the campaign fund at www.actblue.com/page/pokerplayers.