Poker Players Alliance Statement on I. Nelson Rose’s Attacks on Rep. Joe Barton I.

Nelson Rose, a law professor with expertise on gaming law, has chosen to attack online poker supporter Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). These attacks were made on on October 21st (listen here), on OnTilt Radio on December 5th, and in a recent column in Poker Player Newspaper (here). The attacks center not on issues of the legislation itself, or even of poker-related issues. Rather, they focus on Rep. Barton’s politics and on Rose’s apparent disagreement with them. This is unfortunate and, in the opinion of the Poker Players Alliance, very misguided. A key component of PPA’s strategy on Capitol Hill has been to garner support from both sides of the aisle. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed the House in 2006 (as HR 4411, a freestanding bill at the time) by a margin of 317-93. As majorities of House Democrats and Republicans alike were in favor of this bill, it has always been clear that ultimate victory will require bipartisan support. Additionally, as many lawmakers from that era are still in Congress, it is equally clear that a win will require past “nays” to become “yays”. The poker community celebrates when this occurs. It is disappointing that Rose has apparently chosen to insert his personal politics into our fight. Rep. Barton believes in our right to play. He was especially well-spoken and passionate in defense of our game at the hearing on online poker held by the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade on October 25th. He is a great champion for the cause and has earned the support of the poker community. It is the opinion of the Poker Players Alliance that Professor Rose should keep his political attacks on Rep. Barton separate from activities where he is claiming to speak for the poker community.