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Emily D. Swoboda

No More Prohibition Omission

27 August 2008

Just as quickly as it was removed, the Republican Platform Committee reinserted anti-Internet-gambling language in the G.O.P. platform despite protest from the original authors.

Early on Tuesday, the committee agreed to drop two sentences from the draft platform, which read: "Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support legislation prohibiting gambling over the Internet or in student athletics by student athletes who are participating in competitive sports."

However, a Washington insider with knowledge of the situation confirmed with IGamingNews that after much debate within the committee Tuesday evening, the members agreed to reinstate the clause supporting a ban on Internet gambling in the United States.

"The language was reinserted in a committee vote last night," the insider said. "The drafters put up a fight defending their decision to exclude it, but they lost."

The committee has not stated publicly that the Poker Players Alliance, or P.P.A., influenced its brief change of heart. However, just two weeks after P.P.A. members flooded the committee's Web site with comments calling for the removal of the prohibitive language, it was deleted.

John Pappas, executive director of the P.P.A., shared his reaction to the news with IGN in a telephone interview.

"It is extremely unfortunate that the G.O.P. has turned its back on millions of Americans who enjoy this form of recreation," Mr. Pappas said. "In doing so, they have undercut the tenants of conservative principles and have given the 'freedom' platform away for other political parties to run with."

Mr. Pappas said the P.P.A. is going to continue to fight the inclusion of the language in the platform, but they will now try a more direct approach.

"I think we're going to turn our direction now to Senator John McCain, soon to be the presidential nominee, and say: 'We want you to repudiate the language that was included in this platform.' "

The P.P.A. is hosting a charity poker tournament at the Republican National Convention, which begins Sept. 1 in Minneapolis, Minn. There the organization will have an opportunity to meet face to face with those who oppose the group's stance.

"We're going to be able to take our case directly to the delegates at the RNC (Republican National Convention)," Mr. Pappas said.

The Republican Platform Committee is meeting on Wednesday to finalize a document for adoption on the first day of the Republican National Convention.

No More Prohibition Omission is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda