Presidential Race May Turn On Internet Gambling Issue
Over the years, there have been dozens of issues that have swung presidential elections in the US. The economy and job creation are two issues that will likely decide the 2012 election between President Barack Obama and Conservative hopeful Mitt Romney.
One of the main issues within the broader economy and job creation issues is online gambling. The industry has helped other countries slice into their deficits, and the industry has provided hundreds of thousands of new jobs around the world over the past decade. The issue came to the forefront in American politics last year when the Department of Justice issued an indictment against three of the world's largest online poker sites.
At the time, millions of American were playing poker at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker. When the indictment was handed down, these poker players were left without a viable option to continue their online poker playing careers, and that is when they started to voice their objection with the current US system.
"What that indictment did was open up wounds that had already been there regarding online poker in the US," said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "Poker players for years had been upset with the government for prohibiting the game online, and after the indictment, they started to send letters and call their local representatives. The fever for online gambling regulations has never been higher in the US than it is today."
Many states have started to change their laws regarding Internet gambling. Nevada became the first state to pass regulatory laws on Internet gambling, and New Jersey has followed suit. At least a dozen other states are considering doing the same, and the issue has reached the point where it is now a common debate amongst federal lawmakers.
President Obama is an avid poker player, yet he has not weighed in with his stance on regulating the activity on a national level. Hundreds of Democratic legislators have started the push for online gambling regulations, and even some former anti-gaming lawmakers have switched to the regulation side of the debate.
There are estimated to be over 10 million poker players in the US, and analysts believe this year, these poker players want to hear from presidential candidates on their stance on the issue.
"Poker players are fed up with the current laws, and they want change," said Dawkins. "Whichever candidate in the upcoming election looks to be most in favor of changing the current online gambling laws, that is who the poker community will get behind, and there are enough players that they could swing the election."