UIGEA after 2012?
Next year brings the United States of America Presidential elections and the maniacal scramble for the Whitehouse is already heating up. In 2008 there was much talk about the possibility of Barack Obama repealing UIGEA, once it had been reported that he was a keen poker player – then again, George W. Bush was known as a skilled poker player whilst he was attending Harvard Business School. Sadly for many poker players in the United States, Obama did not take any action on UIGEA and the act is still in force.
There may, however, be a glint of light at the end of this very dark tunnel. One of the challengers to the throne is Congressman Ron Paul, who is seeking the Republican Party nomination. Paul is a libertarian and has consistently been against UIGEA saying, in 2008:
I think the whole idea of the UIGEA is to intrude upon that using government regulations. Of course, I also defend the right of individuals to spend their money as they choose. I personally don’t engage in gambling, but I recognize that some people enjoy and like it and can handle it, and they ought to have the right to do it.
The best odds on Dr. Paul winning the Presidential Election next year currently are showing around the 10/1 region. Certainly the favourite (as is often the case) is the incumbent President. There’s always what might be called the “home advantage” for any sitting president, since they already “look presidential”. This in itself inspires awe in some voters and is often enough to tilt the balance in favour.
Leading the challengers is Mitt Romney, with odds as short as 2/3. Interestingly enough, were Mitt Romney to win, as a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints he would mark a distinct break from the more traditional Protestant based Christian religions that Presidents have generally nailed their colours to. At least, since Abraham Lincoln.
There is another potential hurdle here too. The Mormon website states:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is opposed to gambling, including lotteries sponsored by governments. Church leaders have encouraged Church members to join with others in opposing the legalization and government sponsorship of any form of gambling.
It would appear, therefore, that Mitt Romney might be less than happy to entertain the idea of legalised online poker and therefore perhaps the best hope for poker players in the United States lies with Ron Paul becoming the 45th President of the United States of America. At 77 years of age, this would be quite an achievement. Yet, who would have predicted just 10 years ago that Barack Obama would be in the Whitehouse?