Two years after founding the Poker Voters of America (PVOA) and leading the organization as its president, Jim Tabilio left the group to become a private sector lobbyists. Reportedly, his new duties will include advising gaming industry clients, governments, and regulatory agencies on public policy-friendly gaming solutions, but the move leaves PVOA with no leadership until the board of directors can make a decision in the coming months regarding a successor.
PVOA is a non-profit organization that requires no membership fees and whose focus has been on the promotion of intrastate online poker. The emphasis on intrastate gaming sets it apart from groups like the Poker Players Alliance and Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, and it has taken its lobbying efforts to places where legalization of intrastate poker is likely to have a chance, such as in Florida and California. PVOA is a grassroots organization, but it has not had the success of those like the PPA in reaching out to the poker masses and garnering support for its efforts.
The group remains focused on its plan to push for intrastate online poker in California by 2010, and PVOA Executive Director Melanie Brenner was quoted as saying that their efforts remain on track. The California Online Poker Consumer Protection and Law Enforcement Compliance Act, introduced by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine as AB 2026, is scheduled to come up for a vote in the state legislature in 2009. Brenner also noted that Tabilio will continue to participate in the PVOA by providing advice on a pro bono basis, likely assisting in projects that are already in progress.
Tabilio told EGRmagazine, “We’ve made significant progress. Now it’s time to build on that progress and help the industry and the states create systems that protect players, generate maximum income for the regulating jurisdiction and provide sustainable and profitable business models to benefit both operators and the states.”