Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson has made it clear that he will fight online gambling with his last dime. Adelson is pushing for a letter of support from the attorney generals of each state that will ban online poker — 10 have signed so far. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is pushing back with an aggressive shove aimed at preventing the letter from gaining speed.
"We're working overtime to make sure the letters don't gain momentum among state AGs," PPA executive director John Pappas said. "We understand 10 have signed already, and we're hoping we can change their minds as well. It's an odd thing for a state AG to support. Essentially, it's asking Congress to do a federal power grab on states, telling them what they can and cannot authorize. Either AGs are being misled or they don't care what the message is, they're just going to go along with this because they're being asked by Sheldon Adelson."
The leaders of the pack, to date, are Chris Koster of Missouri, Jon Bruning of Nebraska and Alan Wilson of South Carolina. Also having signed the letter are Tom Horne of Arizona, David Louie of Hawaii, Bill Schuette of Michigan, Tim Fox of Montana, Wayne Stenehjem of North Dakota, Marty Jackley of South Dakota and Peter Michael of Wyoming.
Pappas mentions that those signing so far are not highly populated states, excluding Michigan, but one can never sit back and relax in the face of adversity. Pappas reminds us all that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act gained support from almost all of the state AGs.
According to Pappas, the PPA website has logged, via e-mails, about 10,000 letters and another 10,000 tweets to their state AGs by the poker community. Tweets sent without going to the PPA site aren't included in that total. It takes less than a minute to send a letter or tweet to your state attorney general with pre-written material provided by the PPA.
Adelson's intent is to amend the Wire Act to include online poker and casino gaming in the Internet Gambling Control Act, a federal draft bill that hasn't gained a congressional sponsor to date. The PPA is going all-in and all-out in an effort to bring the need for player response to the letter to the public. Please protect your right to play poker in the United States by visiting the PPA today and notifying your representatives and AG of your concerns.
"We want them to earn every inch they try to get in this fight," Pappas said. "We don't want them to push any effort that goes unchallenged. Since this is the launch of their campaign, we want to make sure it comes hard fought."
Pappas believes it is possible that the states represented by the signing AGs may be interested in pursuing legal online poker in the future.
"An AG is not a lawmaker," Pappas said. "I think the decision about gaming policy will be left to legislators and governors, and enforcement of those laws left to the AG. Certainly AGs can have opinions on it, but lawmakers and governors will set the policy."