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UIGEA Leader Jon Kyl Not Seeking Re-Election
Arizona Republican Jon Kyl, one of online gaming’s most vocal opponents, has announced that he will not seek re-election next year.
“There comes a time when you have to consider other things,” said Senator Kyl at a recent news conference. “There is more to life than working in the United States Senate. My heart says it’s time.”
Listed in the April 2006 issue of Time Magazine as one of “America’s Ten Best Senators,” Kyl that same year was one of the architects behind the current Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The bill itself was passed at the last possible moment, just before Congress ended their session prior to the year’s elections.
The Republican Party has long been opposed to the legalization of online poker on American soil, but hope remains that a more sympathetic replacement can be found. The first candidate to throw their hat into the ring is fellow G.O.P. Member Jeff Flake. The senior member of Arizona’s U.S. House delegation is said to lean to the Libertarian side of many issues, and could be more open to future legislation in the poker realm.
National Democrats have, not surprisingly, taken a strong interest in the matter. Several candidates are considering their options, including Jim Pederson, who unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Kyl in 2006 almost entirely on his own dime. Former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, also a member of the Democratic Party, has also been mentioned as a possible suitor.
US Online Gaming Association Established
PKR and Sportingbet have joined forces in creating the US Online Gaming Association. The group seeks “to advocate for the legalization and regulation of online gaming in the States.”
Leading the organization is Melanie Brenner, former executive director of the Poker Voters of America (PVoA). The PVoA is similar to the Poker Player’s Alliance (PPA); both groups lobby congress to regulate and legalize internet poker.
“With the failure of a federal solution to this issue, the opening of the lucrative US market will be through state capitols such as Tallahassee, Sacramento and Trenton. The work we have done through Poker Voters has uniquely positioned us to be the most effective voice in moving this issue,” Brenner stated.
PKR CEO Mark Graham also chimed in.
“I think it is important the industry, which will be supporting local operators from this side of the pond, to have a collective voice and a consistent message. Bringing everyone under the umbrella of the US Online Gaming Association is a sensible way forward, in the way the Remote Gaming Association and European Gaming and Betting Association have been great models on the European front, presenting a common front to local legislators and local operators and helping make them more comfortable with managing the process. If the industry has an inconsistent message I think that will be so much harder.”
The US Online Gaming Association is still seeking other organizations to join the fight. It will be interesting to see what other companies join the fray.