If poker players were solely responsible for the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, Andrew Yang would win in a landslide.
Over the weekend, the hopeful for the 2020 Democratic nomination tweeted his support for the complete legalization of online poker. The former entrepreneur cited the dangers of pushing gamblers to unregulated offshore sites, and highlighted the added tax revenue if poker was regulated at the federal level.
Yang is the first legitimate candidate from either of the two major parties to come out in explicit support of nationwide legalization. Other candidates, even those seen as pro-gambling, have preferred to leave it to the states to decide.
Online poker is legal in 4 states. The state-by-state rules are variable and push many players to offshore sites. We should clarify the rules and make it legal in all 50 states. US players and companies would benefit and new tax revenues could be used to mitigate addiction.
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) October 26, 2019
Ron Paul, a Republican candidate for President in 2008 and 2012, was one of poker’s most ardent supporters, but did so from the standpoint of personal freedom.
In a 2008 interview with Card Player, Paul said, “I think we should take a hands-off position. I don’t think the government should be involved in any way at all.” He went on to say, “If I were a state legislator, I would probably argue against just about all that regulation, and taxing, as well. But as a federal official, I have no authority to prohibit states from being involved.”
This is where Yang’s view differs from other pro-gambling politicians of the past. As he alluded to in his tweet, the 44-year-old Columbia Law School graduate isn’t a fan of state-by-state regulation. However, in order for Yang’s words to be put in action, politicians at the federal level need to make it a priority.
Online poker, and gambling in general, hasn’t been mentioned by any other Democratic nominee. It hasn’t been mentioned, ever, on a debate stage, and the activity falls pretty low on the list of priorities to the average American voter.
Historically, each administration has been against the expansion of online gambling.
The 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was attached to the back of a port security bill and signed by George W. Bush. Poker’s ’Black Friday’ took place under the Obama administration when his Department of Justice seized the assets of all three major U.S. online poker sites serving American players. Currently, President Trump’s DOJ is working to overturn a U.S. District Court’s interpretation of the Wire Act which could make nearly all forms of internet gambling illegal.
Poker personality Joe Ingram reached out to Yang for an interview request following his social media post. Yang has agreed to the interview, but no date has been set.
Thanks Joey. Would love to sit down.
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) October 27, 2019
Yang is currently polling at 2.5 percent nationwide and is one of the longer shots to win the Democratic nomination.
According to Oddschecker, most online betting sites have Yang anywhere from a 14:1 to a 25:1 dog to receive the nomination. Those same sites are giving Hillary Clinton a better shot at winning the nomination, despite the fact that she is not running.
Yang is most widely known as the candidate supporting a universal basic income policy. Under his proposed plan, every American citizen would receive $1,000 per month from the federal government.