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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

PPA Steps Up Efforts to Get Capitol Hill Attention

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There is no time like the present. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is making a move on Congress just before the new President of the United States, his administration, and various new members of the Senate and House of Representatives take office in January. With several pieces of pro-poker legislation currently pending in Congress, the PPA is making a bold move to catapult this issue to the fore.

In addition to consistent lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill, the PPA launched an ad campaign this week to urge Congress to consider the regulation of online poker. The print ad was placed in three newspapers that members of Congress and their staff read regularly--Roll Call, The Hill, and Politico. The bold letters at the top of the full-page ad, just above a picture of a hand holding a royal diamond flush, read, “It’s time for some straight talk.” The remainder of the text of the ad stated:

“In a story last week about online poker, The Washington Post debated the merits of Prohibition vs. Regulation. That’s an easy one. Sensible federal regulation is the only way to protect the millions of Americans who play Internet poker every day.

“We can’t guarantee every online company will play by the rules. But we’re certain good laws will deter and punish those that don’t. For too long, the federal government has abdicated this responsibility. It wrongly believes censoring the Internet and prohibition will work. This does nothing to protect consumers. What it does is limit our personal freedoms and drives players underground or overseas. Worse, billions of dollars that could be raised from regulation are lost. And in this economy, every nickel counts.

“Fortunately, Congress is working to pass legislation that will punish bad actors, guard against player fraud, protect children, and help problem gamblers.

“On behalf of our million members, the Poker Players Alliance calls on our Congressional leaders to support these efforts and preserve a national pastime.

“No matter how you cut the deck, regulation is the answer.”

The PPA has taken control of an issue that may have seemed fractured or frazzled on the heels of the 60 Minutes story that aired on CBS on November 30th. By merely watching that program, as millions of Americans did, the idea may have been portrayed that the online poker industry is free from regulation and operates in a “shadowy” and cheater-filled cyber atmosphere. But by reading the accompanying Washington Post articles written by Gilbert Gaul, it becomes clear that the entire industry is not tainted by two cheating scandals, and the mere issue of regulation could protect the billion-dollar industry and the millions of U.S. players.

The PPA rightly came out with a statement the day after the 60 Minutes broadcast, calling for such regulation. In addition, with a new Congress gearing up for action in the new year and numerous pieces of poker legislation in the works, the PPA decided there was no time like the present to push for those bills to be considered. The passage of pro-poker legislation could overturn the nearly-impossible-to-enforce UIGEA and encourage regulation and taxation of an industry that could use some oversight and help bring revenue to a country in desperate need of solutions to an economic crisis.

Most recently, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced new legislation to the Senate in the form of S. 3616, the Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act, which would establish a licensing and regulatory body to oversee online poker and other similarly-categorized games of skill. While most pieces of legislation regarding this issue thus far have been introduced to the House of Representatives, this Senate bill represents a new level of concern for the issue and a serious effort to push for responsible government participation in online poker.

The PPA has a presence in Washington, D.C. and is lobbying strongly on behalf of its more than one million members. But the group needs the help of those members to be in touch with their respective members of Congress to express their views. When Senators and Representatives know that this is an important issue to their constituents, they will be more likely to consider the bills and support them.

Visit the PPA at for access to your members of Congress and more ways you can help. Make your voice heard.

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