Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS), a group formed by the Harvard School of Law, teamed up with the Poker Players Alliance and the iMEGA Internet freedom pressure group in a protest rally this week in Boston, Massachusetts. The rally took place outside the state legislature’s offices where a debate concerning brick and mortar casinos in Massachusetts, as proposed by Governor Deval Patrick, was taking place.

However, the building of casinos was not the sole reason for the rally. It was only a small clause tucked away somewhere in the endless legal jargon that if passed, would make online gambling in Massachusetts an act punishable by arrest and hefty fines. These Draconian punishments could even be applied to citizens engaging in online gambling without the use of real money.

For months, GPSTS founder, Professor Charles Nesson, has been writing sharply worded letters to politicians and casino owners alike in an attempt to discover who actually wrote the draft of the bill. To this day no one knows who wrote the anti-Internet poker clause into the proposed bill.

Nesson held back nothing as he openly criticized the bill in front of a crowd of supporters:

“Governor Patrick's Casino bill would make it illegal for state residents to play poker online, with penalties ranging from hefty fines to jail time of up to two years. How crazy is that? Who wrote the bill's strange provision to criminalize online games? The Governor's people say it wasn't him (even though it's nominally his bill). The Las Vegas casino interests say it's not them. Both questions should be put to the Governor…”

Professor Nesson also submitted written testimony that he prepared for the Legislature’s public hearing.

The adamant Harvard professor has been in contact with both the Massachusetts Governor’s office about the drafting of the bill as well as the board of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Las Vegas Sands is thought to have a hand in the drafting of the Massachusetts casino bill and Nesson has been aggressively seeking answers.

“I don't think filling our expensive jail cells with poker players is what Massachusetts voters had in mind when they elected Deval Patrick,” Nesson said in a recent press release.

iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Jr. was also present at the rally with his organization to support the opposition against the proposed anti-Internet gambling provision bill. “It is ironic for a bill to legalize gambling in Massachusetts to outlaw and severely punish gambling online. It simply makes no sense,” Brennan said.

He went on to voice his concerns, “How can an activity that is legal in 48 of the 50 states be a criminal act simply because it utilizes the Internet? If an American has the right to choose in the "real world", shouldn't they enjoy that very same right when they are online?

“Like many of the government's forays into cyberspace, these efforts are well intended but yield the considerable practical problems of unintended consequences,” Brennan said. “In this case, Americans' right to privacy and freedom of expression are imperiled by overzealous lawmaking.”

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