Stance on Legalizing Online Poker Could Sway Nevada Senate Vote

It’s election time again and voters across the country are being asked to throw their support behind one of the two main parties.  But voters need a reason to support a certain candidate, something to connect them to what a politician stands for.  In Nevada home to one of the gambling capitals of the world, efforts are underway to generate support for legalizing online poker as well; and many voters may choose to side with the candidate who stands for that.

It won’t be the first time one issue trumps a whole ballet but it’s something that can’t be ignored no matter how the politicians may want to.  During the debates on Thursday September 27 the issue wasn’t mentioned at all with some critics now coming down on both sides for not taking a stance.  Poker advocacy groups may not be concerned about the lack of mention as John Pappas executive director of Poker Players’ Alliance out of Washington made it clear “the American public has more important things to worry about.” But the issue is one that connects poker players and gamblers in general to the politicians who will be representing their concerns in the federal government.

Despite their lack of concern the Poker Players Alliance has done some homework.  A survey they commissioned found two thirds of respondents would cross their traditional party support if it meant voting for the candidate who will champion online poker.  Neither national convention has shown outright support for online poker with the Republican National Convention rejecting it entirely; however despite party platforms, both Nevada candidates are personally in favour of online poker even if they have yet to add it to their campaigns.

Democrat Shelley Berkley has been a vocal advocate for legalizing online poker arguing that in the end “Internet poker is all about jobs and individual freedom” and is good for Nevada.  Republican Dean Heller has been known to break party ranks when it comes to Internet poker but has been unable to throw his support entirely behind the movement.

What this means for the outcome of the election is yet to be determined but if she officially throws her support behind the legalization movement on the campaign, Berkley may yet have an ace up her sleeve.

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