Entrepreneur and upstart presidential candidate Andrew Yang is only polling at 2-3 percent in the Democratic Primary race, and in poker parlance, that means he’ll need a one-outer on the river to wind up in the White House.
But after the 44-year old progressive took to Twitter recently to express support for federal online poker legalization, professional card players are lining up and pledging their allegiance to the “Yang Gang.”
Yang Points to Tax Revenue as Reason for Full-Scale Online Poker
In a tweet posted to his personal account, Andrew Yang – the founder of job creation nonprofit firm Venture for America – made his case for expanding statewide online poker regulation across the nation:
Yang tweeted: “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.”
The four states Andrew Yang alluded to are Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware – all of which launched legal online poker back in 2013 – along with Pennsylvania, where a law passed in late 2017 will finally be implemented this week.
While he readily admits that he’s “not much of a poker player” himself, Yang’s tweet wasn’t the first time he has referenced the game while making his case to voters.
Andrew Yang Inspires Yang Gang Support in Poker Community
During a June stump speech held in Los Angeles, Andrew Yang told his supporters that Democratic stalwarts and frontrunners like Joe Biden might look appealing at first glance, they can easily be caught up to by Election Day:
Said Yang: “One thing I know in poker is that sometimes, the worst hand you can get is a good hand.
Because then you stick around, you stick around, you stick around – and then you lose.
And unfortunately, that’s where I think some of the other Democratic candidates are.”
In the immediate aftermath of Yang’s tweet, several prominent poker pros replied or retweeted using the #YangGang hashtag to pledge their primary votes to his campaign.
Popular poker podcasting personality Joey Ingram invited Yang to participate in a live streamed interview, an offer which the candidate quickly accepted.
Dozens of other pro players, including former WSOP Main Event world champion Ryan Reiss and Phil Galfond – who operates the European-facing online poker room Run It Once – also confirmed their status as newly persuaded Yang Gang members.
Online Gambling Still Source of Division Among Dems
The path to statewide online poker regulation was paved in 2011, when the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and its Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued a revised opinion on the federal Wire Act of 1961. Prior to the 2011 opinion’s release, the DOJ interpreted the Wire Act – a law passed to prohibit bookmakers and bettors from conducting business over the telephone – as an outright ban over all forms of online gambling.
The 2011 memo, however, clarified that the Wire Act’s language references sports betting exclusively, thus allowing states to forge ahead with online poker and casino gambling policies as they see fit. Since then, more than a dozen states have legalized various segments of the iGaming industry, including the poker, casino, and sports betting verticals.
Elizabeth Warren on Online Poker
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – the new primary frontrunner who has recently surpassed Biden in national and state polls – has previously gone on record to express her reservations about the rapidly expanding iGaming industry. In an April interview with the Nevada Independent, Warren offered the following comments on iGaming in general:
“Online can completely undercut every protection that the state puts in place, and that’s my concern.
Site-based gambling as a part of the vacation, as part of the destination, is a very different thing from online, and getting the appropriate restrictions in place so that children don’t have access, so that people who have problems with gambling don’t have access, are challenges that haven’t yet been addressed.”