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The King of Diamonds smiles behind a "join now" button on the screen of an online gambling website. - 


Scott Jagow: Some poker players are getting together in Washington this morning. No, the Omni Shoreham isn't offering five-card stud. These players are lobbying Congress to legalize online poker gambling.

Last year's Republican Congress put a stop to Internet gambling. But might the Democrats have a change of heart? Here's Jeremy Hobson.

Jeremy Hobson: So given last year's defeat, what are the chances of getting something passed now?

Howard Lederer: I think it's very difficult to unring a bell.

That's Howard Lederer with the Poker Players Alliance:

Lederer: The prudent course right now is for Congress to realize that this is an activity that should be regulated, and will actually bring tax revenue to the federal coffers.

By his estimation, up to $3 billion a year from all Internet gaming. He's got a friend in House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, and an enemy in David Robertson of the National Coalition Against Gambling Expansion.

Robertson says Internet gambling is harmful to young people as well as addicts:

David Robertson: It is the most addictive form of gambling ever invented.

The Poker Players Alliance is hoping it can counter the opposition by framing the game as one of skill. There's legislation in the works that would do just that, and exempt poker from the ban.

In Washington, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson