Third Party Running Mate Wayne Root on Internet Gambling Prohibition

Written by:
Jenny Woo
Published on:
Wayne Root

Gambling911.com's Jenny Woo recently sat down with Libertarian Bob Barr's running mate, Wayne Root, and discussed his opinion on the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act and what he would do about the law if he were in the White House come next January. (See Part One of Jenny's interview with Wayne Root here)Jenny: What are your opinions on the UIGEA and what can you tell us about

Jenny: What are your opinions on the UIGEA and what can you tell us about

the UIGEA that can educate our readers?

Root: UIGEA is a tragedy. A disaster. Hypocrisy at it¹s finest. Big Brother

and the Nanny State come to visit the USA. UIGEA effectively banned online

poker and gambling. It is our 21st century version of Prohibition. And it¹s

a disgrace. Prohibition failed the first time. It will fail this time too.

You cannot legislate morality. All it does it create disrespect for the law

and make criminals out of good citizens. Everyone loves to bet. There is no

difference between my making a bet on the Dallas Cowboys or Los Angeles

Lakers online, or making a bet on ExxonMobil or Microsoft or MGM Mirage

going up or down (selling short) with my Charles Schwab online account. Wall

Street is gambling- it¹s the world¹s biggest craps game. Business is

gambling- I bet millions every day on business decisions. And I've lost

millions on some of my business gambles. Far more than I've ever bet or lost

on sports or poker. I¹m making a bet every time I "invest" in stocks, bonds,

real estate or gold. I could put my money in a safe bank account or CD-

instead I risk it by investing. That¹s called gambling. To denigrate

gambling as a ³sin² is wrong. It is a natural part of life.

We are a nation of gamblers. All of us are living in the greatest nation in

the history of the world because our ancestors chose to take the ultimate

gamble- to risk their lives to take a dangerous journey to the New World.

Those who were afraid of gambling stayed in England, Italy, Ireland,

Germany, Russia or China. The people with gambling in their blood risked

their life to provide their family and future generations with a better

life. They rolled the dice- and won. We are the greatest nation in the world

because we literally have gambling in our blood. Those afraid of risk stayed

home. Here in America, we are the risk-takers of the world. No wonder we are

the entrepreneurial capital of the world. No wonder we lead the world in

self-made millionaires. No wonder our stock market is the biggest in the

world. No wonder we lead the world in business innovation and discoveries.

No wonder we are the richest nation in world history. Risk or gambling is at

the root (excuse the pun) of all of our success.

And of course, it¹s therefore no wonder that we led the world in online

gambling too- despite it being illegal. Take away America- and the online

gaming industry collapsed. The sad part is two-fold. Number one, UIGEA was

not even debated. It was passed in such a corrupt way- by attaching it to a

Port Security bill in the middle of the night (in the waning seconds of

Congress). Our rights were violated and there was never a debate or vote in

the light of day. What a disgrace. How un-American. The politicians who

passed this bill don¹t even understand the ideas of democracy and free


Second is the hypocrisy inherent in UIGEA. The corrupt politicians that

voted to effectively ban online poker and gaming also conveniently chose to

carve out exemptions for online state lotteries, online horseracing, tribal casinos, and fantasy football (thanks to a million dollar lobbying campaign by the NFL). So "morality" actually had nothing to do with it. So online gambling is okay if certain politicians get campaign contributions from certain form of gambling- especially government-run gambling like lotteries.

The answer is simple. Give the American people more freedom and choice.

Don¹t ban online gaming. Legalize, regulate and tax it. A new study shows the U.S. government will lose $40 billion dollars by not legalizing and taxing online poker. That¹s money that could be used to pay down the massive deficit, save Social Security, improve education, or homeland security. Or just give the money back to the taxpayers. You mean in this economic crisis we¹re in, you think we can afford to throw away tens of billions? Legalizing online poker or gaming could actually help to ease our economic crisis.

Jenny: We met a few years ago during the WSOP at a Bodog conference in which I believe you interviewed moi. How is your candidacy helping those poker players and those who are in the gambling industry including online gaming?

Root: I doubt Barr/Root may not win- this time. But I will win- eventually.

And getting several million votes in 2008 is a good start and a solid foundation to build upon. Let¹s say Barr/Root attracts 5 million votes in November. That¹s quite a voting bloc we represent. Both Republicans and Democrats will have to stand up and take notice. I believe poker players and gaming enthusiasts will be well represented in that vote total for Barr/Root. I will instantly become a dynamic voice and national leader in the fight to overturn UIGEA and legalize online poker and gaming. The two major parties can ill afford to ignore or alienate this group ever again. I am a New York street-fighter who grew up on the rough and tumble streets of the Bronx borderline. I¹m the fighter you need on your side. Hey, even my initials spell W.A.R.

Jenny: Give us a brief summary about the Congressional Effect Fund that you mentioned and explained in your blog.

Root: The Congressional Effect Fund is run by a buddy of mine- Eric Singer.

It proves that government is a failure- that politicians damage our economy and our lives every day. This mutual fund invests money based on when Congress is NOT in session. Eric studied the effect of Congress on the economy over the past half century. Guess what he found? When Congress is in session, the stock market has gone up (on average) about 1 percent for the last 45 years. When Congress is away (on hiatus) the stock market is up a staggering 17.6 percent. Amazing! Proof that politicians damage us every day, with virtually everything they do, and every bill they pass. More proof of why we need to dramatically cut government, limit their power, limit their control over our lives. I vow to work every day as an elected official to give power back to the people- where it belongs. To limit the damage politicians can do to our lives. To make my own office obsolete. To make government so small, you won¹t even notice that it¹s gone.

Jenny: You¹re a dad who home-schools his kids and I noticed that home schooling was the topic in your August 11, 2008 blog. What does home schooling mean to you and why are you so passionate about it? And what do say to those who say that home schooling gives a child a lack of socialization skills that they will need in life?

Root: I say Google "Dakota Root."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7Por7cV8TE She is my 16 year old daughter

who gave my nominating speech for President of the United States at the Libertarian Party Convention in May. She brought the house down with her intelligence, poise, charm, and charisma. She is a very special girl. I may never be President of the United States- but she will! Watch the video of her speech- and then decide for yourself whether home-schooling works. The proof is right there in front of your eyes. By the way, she is also beautiful, a world class fencer, and scores in the top 1 percent in the country in national student achievement exams. She can beat me in Jeopardy 100 out of 100 times. And at the age of 16, she is one of the few people in this world who can go toe to toe with me in a debate. She is a product of home-schooling. Once again, I¹m simply for freedom and choice. Parents should have the freedom to choose how to best educate their children- not government. Sorry Hillary, but it doesn¹t take a village, or a teachers union, or a government bureaucrat to educate and raise a child. It takes two good parents who care.

Jenny: You pride yourself on being the first small businessman and home-school father on a Presidential ticket in modern political history. But you are also a professional sports odds maker from Las Vegas to become the first Nevadan on a major Presidential ticket. What does that mean to you? And do you think that you have won votes from being those key firsts?

Root: You know what the difference is between Las Vegas and Washington DC?

In Vegas, the drunks gamble with their OWN money. That sums up why I¹m the perfect person to elect to office. I don¹t want to play with your money. I want you to keep more of your own money. In Vegas, you may not win. But you get a fair deal. No one tries to steal from you. In D.C. you are an automatic loser the moment you step foot in that town. It¹s all stacked against you- the ordinary citizen and taxpayer doesn¹t have a chance. The game is fixed. It¹s rigged against you. Only the lawyers, lobbyists, politicians and bureaucrats win. As ordinary citizens and taxpayers, we¹ve tried to play the game- and lost every time with the lawyers in charge. It¹s time for a change.

About 80% of voters in national polls say the country is headed in the wrong direction. Well maybe it will take a real change to shuffle the deck- to put the lawyers out of business, and give the power back to the people. Maybe it will take putting an oddsmaker from Nevada in charge. Nevada has ZERO state income taxes, ZERO business income taxes, ZERO inheritance taxes, and property taxes limited by law. We have a rare combination of economic freedom and personal freedom (legalized gaming). And the result is remarkable success- our state is #1 in America in population growth 21 of the last 22 years. I want to make Nevada the model for all of America. Now that¹s a change in the right direction.

Jenny: Public healthcare in the U.S. has been a topic that seems to never get resolved. What can your campaign bring to the table to resolve these healthcare issues and finally bring good but cost efficient healthcare that the people deserve here in the U.S.?

Root: Health care is solved by the same answer as most every other issue- freedom, choice and competition. And get government out of the way. Obama wants to get government more involved. Good luck! Government fails miserably at everything it does. My answer is simple: Give consumers the freedom to shop anywhere (in any state) for the best health insurance policy that fits your needs and your family. Right now, if you live in New York you might pay $1000 per month for health insurance. In Oregon you might pay $500 for the same policy. In New Hampshire it might cost $350. We must deregulate- throw out the rules, regulations and limitations that damage consumers and limit our choices. Allow any family to buy their policy in any state. Rates will drop dramatically.

Also we must unlink the connection between employer and health insurance.

Individual consumers need to pay their own insurance- and get a dollar for dollar deduction on their taxes. That way you or your child can be sick-and not have to worry about losing or leaving your job.

We must expand Health Savings Accounts- make every dollar in them tax deductible so you can then choose to buy a cheaper high-deductible health insurance policy.

Lastly, we must pass TORT REFORM to eliminate frivolous and wasteful lawsuits. They cost American consumers almost a TRILLION dollars a year- raising all our costs for health insurance and medical care. As usual, the lawyers are at the root of all our problems. We need to throw the bums out!

Jenny: Tell our readers about your patent lawsuit.

Root: My companies Winning Edge International and Renhcol own a patent that gives them certain exclusive rights to offer predictions over the Internet.

We held onto that patent for a significant period without doing anything with it. I hesitated to enforce that patent because by nature I'm not a lawsuit person and did not want to sue my competitors in the handicapping industry. Our efforts to engage in business discussions about licensing were largely ignored. Until the day we announced our patent lawsuit, I had never sued anyone in the 45+ years of my life. In such a litigious society, that's quite a record. I'm very proud of my record. I repeat- not one lawsuit in my entire life until we filed the patent suit.

But I was at the time the CEO of a publicly-traded company. I answered to a Board of Directors. Our sales were down at this time and we believed it was directly attributable to violations of our prediction patent. The Internet was (and is) overloaded with web-based sports handicapping sites offering picks for low prices that watered down the overall prices for sports handicapping information. In many cases, they were offering picks for free.

Many of these web sites were infringing our patent with impunity- and worse, destroying the entire handicapping industry revenue model. It is a fact that the decline in handicapping revenues is directly attributable to the rise of the Internet.

The low prices and/or free offers of web sites in violation of our patent were damaging our ability to do business. Yet I still hesitated to bring a lawsuit, because as a fiscally conservative businessman, I'm not a fan of lawsuits or lawyers. However as a CEO of a public company, who answers to a Board of Directors, I had no choice but to follow the direction of my Board. My Board of Directors directed us to pursue the patent infringement lawsuit. My Board demanded that my business partner Doug Miller and I meet with patent experts and law firms to review whether our patent had merit to move forward with lawsuits to collect damages. As CEO and COO, Doug and I had fiduciary responsibility to our Board, shareholders and investors to certainly explore our options regarding the patent. If we did not, we could have been fired by our Board for refusal to explore the best possible options for our shareholders.

Doug set out to meet with dozens of lawyers and experts. We wanted to have many different opinions in hand to report to the Board before making a final decision. What Doug found was unanimous agreement from a variety of lawyers and patent experts that we had a strong case. The patent was valid. Our web

competitors were violating it every minute of every day- and they were liable for damages to our business. One of the biggest and most reputable patent enforcement companies in the world (GPC- General Patent Corporation) agreed to act as licensing agent. Doug Miller reported back to our Board of Directors what he had found. They asked us to hire GPC and move forward to defend our patent immediately. The rest is history.

So far, we have sued 5 handicapping firms and all 5 have settled rather than go to trial. The defendants hired very good lawyers and patent experts and obviously concluded what GPC concluded- the patent is iron-clad. I would assume that choosing to settle the lawsuit was a very good option for those 5 firms rather than risking losing everything in court.

That is the story. I did what any responsible CEO would have done to protect his company and shareholders. I had no choice. But the fact that I waited many years to pursue the case tells you how fair I am. A lawsuit to me is always the last possible option. The fact that I had never sued anyone in my life up until that point tells you how I lead my life. I don't take the option of suing someone lightly- let alone my competitors in an industry I love. This was without a doubt the toughest decision of my business career- and one I pursued only upon being forced by my Board. But it was without a doubt the right decision for the company and our investors and shareholders. The results so far certainly validate the strength of our case.

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