The Welcome Unveiling Of The Citizens' Briefing Book
May 13, 2022

Taking an active role in politics can often seem like a frustrating and bewildering experience.  Citizens are repeatedly encouraged to vote for this, or sign a petition for that, oftentimes never knowing if their efforts will have any actual effect on policy, or on the situation that they care about. 

Many poker players are all to familiar with these kinds of frustrations.  Those of us working to change the way our government views and treats poker and poker players, can easily feel like a small minority of a small minority, especially when realizing that many of your average Americans not only haven't heard of Barney Frank's newest gambling legislation for example, they haven't heard of the UIGEA.  Many folks out there aren't even aware it's possible to play poker for money online, much less whether it's technically considered legal or not.

Thankfully, every once in awhile something happens that can make a guy feel a little better about taking a role, and a good example of this for poker activists may be President Obama's now official Citizen's Briefing Book, a 33-page document which was unveiled to the press on Monday, that not only shows that our actions are being noticed but also that perhaps we're not such a minority after all.

The Citizens' Briefing Book, which is available for download at, was originally an idea from Obama and his transition team who were struggling to find a new way for regular citizens to have more of a voice in the political process.  Obama wanted the people to be heard from as often as the generals and staff members who have the power to drop off briefs on his desk for him to consider every day.  As a way to address this, they came up with the idea of a Citizens' Briefing Book which would be able to compete for attention on Obama's desk, and would feature the ideas and issues that regular citizens care about most, in their own words. 

To create the Briefing Book, Obama's transition team put out a call for Americans to log on to the transition website and to vote on issues and leave comments on what in their minds most needed changing, and as people began to vote, it quickly became apparent that a lot of us were of the same mind; make sure internet poker players are protected and at the same time help the economy by properly regulating online poker.

Many poker players took the time to vote on this issue and keep it relevant in the book including quite a few PokerRoaders, and now nearly 6 months later, those efforts have been rewarded as online poker legislation is a featured idea in the Citizens' Briefing Book, which is itself a key part of Obama's new Office of Public Engagement- formerly the White House Liaison Office, which he renamed to show his commitment to it's new mission to " to engage as many Americans as possible in the difficult work of changing this country, through meetings and conversations with groups and individuals held in Washington and across the country."

The Citizens' Briefing Book is broken down into ten sections, each showcasing about five issues that ended up being the most popular ideas as voted on by the people.  One of the ten sections, the "Technology" section, features the idea "Boost America's Economy with Legal Online Poker"-submitted by AAHue, an idea which not only got more votes than any other technology issue (46890 points) but more votes than the top ideas in the "Veterans" section, the "Service" section and even the "Homeland Security" section.

The runner-up idea in the "Technology" section regarded Net Neutrality and asked Obama to keep his pledge when he promised to "take a backseat to no one in my commitment to Net Neutrality," which could also easily be seen as an important internet poker issue, given recent attempts in states like Kentucky and Minnesota to block their citizens from even being able to view online poker sites, whether intending to play or not.

It is clear when reading the Citizens' Briefing Book that our issues as poker players are not minor ones to be easily brushed aside.  Hopefully today's legislatures are beginning to realize that as a group, our voices can apparently be quite loud.

Story by Mark Anderson

No comments.