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California Congressional Candidate Suppporting Online Poker Regulation

Peter Mathews Running in California’s 37th District

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Peter MathewsOne of the major struggles for online poker advocates in the past few years has been getting the attention of current members of Congress and then educating them about the major issues concerning the game. It has been rare that a politician arrives in Washington, D.C., with a decidedly pro-online-poker viewpoint.

But that’s exactly what Peter Mathews is trying to do as he runs as a Democrat for California’s 37th district.

“There’s an ethical question here. I believe the government shouldn’t interfere with certain types of human behavior, as long as it’s not hurting anyone else — especially if it’s a game of skill,” said Mathews.

Mathews, who is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in a district that includes Long Beach, Carson, Compton, and Watts, says that he supports both Rep. Barney Frank’s and Sen. Robert Menendez’s poker bills in Congress.

Mathews says that he hasn’t exactly been bombarded with online poker-related questions on the campaign trail, but he did say that a few poker players have asked him about his stance at his headquarters.

Admittedly not much of a poker player, Mathews looked into the issue at the encouragement of his campaign manager Justice Bowens and decided that it made sense for Americans — and for Californians.

“I want to make sure that it’s highly regulated, and that especially the state governments would benefit from the tax revenues,” sand Mathews.

The Congressional hopeful said that he supports intrastate online poker regulation in California “on principle … as long as it allows other people to set up their own kind of gambling sites. We shouldn’t just limit it to one group.”

Poker has been a hot topic in California.After attending a California Senate committee meeting on poker last week, the Poker Players Alliance holds the same position as Mathews — intrastate online poker in California is OK, as long as all groups who can provide a safe site can participate.

Mathews, a political science professor at Cypress College, will square off against embattled Congresswoman Rep. Laura Richardson in the Democratic primary on June 8.

Rep. Richardson, who was elected to Congress in a special election in 2007, is currently being investigated by a House ethics panel for a real-estate controversy after she defaulted on homes at least half a dozen times, according to the Los Angeles Times. She has been named one of the most corrupt members of Congress for the past two years by the non-profit watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

It is unclear if Rep. Richardson supports fellow Democrat Rep. Frank’s poker bill. Card Player called both her California and Washington, D.C., offices on Friday, but neither office was able to give her position on the issue. According to opencongress.org, she has not signed on as one of Frank’s 65 co-sponsors for the bill.

California’s 37th district has become so overwhelmingly Democratic that Republicans often opt out of even running a candidate in the general election, so the winner of the primary will very likely be considered the presumptive member of Congress.

“It’s very, very winnable,” said Mathews, who has been running for a seat in Congress since 1992 — his closest attempt occurring in 1998 when he garnered nearly 45 percent of the vote in a general election for the 38th district seat against Republican incumbent Steve Horn, who was reelected with 52 percent of the vote.

For more information on Mathews’ campaign, check out the Mathews for Congress campaign web site. To read a copy of Rep. Frank’s poker bill, go to the PPA web site.