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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

PPA Targets Conservative Support in DC

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The movement to legalize and regulate poker continues to find friends across the political spectrum. Though most supporters of groups like the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) seem to swing left and claim Democratic Party affiliation, that majority is a very slight one, as quite a few players on the pro-poker team are conservatives and fall under the Republican umbrella. The best example of all is the Chairman of the PPA, Alfonse D’Amato, who is a staunch Republican who simply believes that personal freedoms cross party lines. And it was with that thought that the PPA charged into Washington, D.C. last week to visit the right-leaning attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Greg Raymer brought his passion for the PPA, not to mention notoriety as the 2004 World Series of Poker champion, to CPAC as the group met over the course of three days to discuss the future of the conservative movement in America. The PPA and Raymer established a presence at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in D.C. to greet those attending the conference and share the message of poker freedoms with those who proclaim to want smaller government and less restriction on personal freedoms.

In an interview, Raymer was quoted as saying, “I think a true conservative is someone who wants little or no government in his life. He doesn’t want the government to tell him what to do… I think the true Republican, and certainly someone who’s a good conservative, is going to say that if it’s an activity that is engaged by an adult who is mentally competent, if they’re not hurting other people, I’m just going to have to…let them do it.”

The problem that Raymer and the PPA lobbyists have encountered is the view of some conservatives that poker is a form of gambling, and gambling is a sinful act, something that should not be legal as it contradicts good family values. But Raymer hoped to convey the message that poker, which is a game of skill, should be left to the judgment of adults, and regulation by the U.S. government will protect children from it.

According to reports from the scene, the PPA and its message was received warmly by those who stopped by the booth. Raymer was asked to sign autographs by many passersby, and he even took some time to do radio and television interviews in the D.C. area to convey the PPA’s message.

Even Grover Norquiest, president of Americans for Tax Reform, hosted a cocktail party for the PPA and those from Capitol Hill who were able to attend. His position as one of the leaders of the conservative movement and record as a Washington lobbyist opened some minds at the event to the idea that the government should not be in the business of restricting people’s wishes to play poker in the privacy of their homes.

If the open-minded reception of CPAC attendees to the PPA was any indication, this might be the year that the majority of people can come together on the issue of online gaming and agree that it is a private matter, and the only regulation with regard to it should be the regulation of the industry to provide a safe environment, not to mention billions of dollars in revenue that the U.S. government sorely needs.

For more information about the PPA, including ways to get involved and let your Congressional representatives know how you feel about poker freedoms, visit the Poker Players Alliance website. Get involved and let your voice be heard!

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