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Poker News | World Poker News

Non Poker Players and Players Wanted for FairPlayUSA

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Black Friday sent the online poker world into a tailspin and many players went looking for ways they could make their voice heard in a bid to legalize online poker. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is the biggest pro online poker organization, but now there is another group fighting for legalization - FairPlayUSA!

FairPlayUSA is a new organization that is looking for support in their efforts to get online poker regulated and licensed in the United States. Unlike the PPA however, FairPlayUSA is not an organization that will look out for the interests of poker players, but instead, is pushing for a safe and secure environment where players can legally play online.

The group is targeting parents, law-enforcement officials and people who don’t even play, and want to play poker online to help them achieve their goal; legislation and regulation focusing on player protection and child-safety.

Adding some ‘star-power,’ the grass roots group has attracted respected poker pro and PPA board member Greg Raymer who is a member of the board of advisors. The 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event champion is joined by Parry Aftab, an expert in consumer and family cybersafety issues, poker pro and commentator Mike Sexton, and Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and U.S. secretary of homeland security.

"We're hoping to get as many people as possible to support this idea, tailored in a way that we hope will be more appealing to politicians," said Raymer. "There are plenty of politicians who support our cause now. A majority of members of Congress haven't ever taken a strong stance on either side. Some of those undecided voters have concerns with things like law enforcement and child safety. We want them to know that, if that is their concern, they should vote for these bills because most Americans will feel more comfortable if the U.S. is regulating this industry."

FairPlayUSA was formed by Caesars Entertainment, who along with MGM, have put their money behind the group. According to FairPlayUSA executive director Marisa McNee, the board will be adding new members as they expand.  And unlike the PPA, the FairPlayUSA organization will not be lobbying Congress for legislation that favors Caesars and MGM. “The casinos have their own lobbyists for that” said McNee.

The purpose of FairPlayUSA is to create an organization that will encourage lawmakers to hear the concerns of poker players and casino representatives. The group admits however that lawmakers hearing from regular citizens who are not necessarily poker players may be what is needed to help the them get results. "There are reasons to want online poker regulated that don't just have to do with the desire to play," McNee said. "We need to reach those people."

Raymer said he was first asked to become involved with FairPlayUSA in late June and John Pappas, executive director of the PPA, said he has been in contact with FairPlayUSA since before the DoJ crackdown on Black Friday. The PPA has offered its support to FairPlayUSA and as Pappas said, "They bring a different coalition and different set of interests to the table. I think they will be valuable and complementary to the PPA in the goal of getting regulation and licensing for Internet poker."

"We're hoping to get as many people as possible to support this idea, tailored in a way that we hope will be more appealing to politicians," Raymer said. "There are plenty of politicians who support our cause now. A majority of members of Congress haven't ever taken a strong stance on either side. Some of those undecided voters have concerns with things like law enforcement and child safety. We want them to know that, if that is their concern, they should vote for these bills because most Americans will feel more comfortable if the U.S. is regulating this industry."

Although the organization is still in its infancy, FairPlayUSA’s first order of business will be a petition calling on Congress to pass federal legislation to ensure the integrity and safety of online poker.  According to McNee, the organization will eventually deliver the petition to Congress Though FairPlayUSA won’t lobby Congress itself, they will urge their supporters to speak with their members of Congress on their own.

Everyone interested in seeing online poker legalized and regulated should go to the FairPlayUSA website to sign the petition to Congress and find out more about supporting their efforts to get all online poker players back to the virtual tables!

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