As you may already know, the U.S. Congress approved an online poker prohibition late Friday evening. The ban was snuck into the Port Security Act during a back room deal and following extensive political strong-arming by the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and the Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL).
This tactic discouraged debate on the bill and allowed it to pass without any public discussion. Why a poker ban was included in the Port Security Act is beyond me and most poker players and should be of concern to every American. It was a “bad beat” but we are still at the table.
This is no time to panic, but rather we must learn and build from this loss. The Poker Players Alliance is not leaving the fight, although now it is going to take an even greater effort from poker players and our organization to achieve our objectives.
What do we want to do now?
We continue to demand that poker receive separate treatment from other forms of gaming. It is a game of skill, where performance is merited, and a community game, where the house is not your competition. These are real and significant differences. Our desire is to achieve the same type of exemption from legislation that other interests have received (Horseracing, Lotteries, and Fantasy Sports).
We will continue to push forward to obtain this separate treatment when Congress comes back from the elections and into the next legislative session. Between now and when the new bill becomes effective (3 to 9 months) poker has an opportunity to achieve the same exemption. This is our most immediate short-term goal.
License, Regulate and Tax
Regulation is the best public policy solution for both the federal government and the American poker player. Prohibition of on-line poker will only drive the game underground and build distrust and misunderstanding amongst the 70 million Americans who enjoy the great game of poker. I spent the better part of the year engaging members of the House and Senate about the idea of regulating Internet poker. This has raised interest from both Democrats and Republican’s alike. There has even been legislation introduced that seeks to establish a Congressional commission that would examine the best way to regulate this industry.
Early this summer the PPA commissioned an economic analysis of the potential tax revenue that could be raised through regulation. Members of Congress have been receptive to this study and the $3.3 Billion that could be raised annually for the federal government. This is our ultimate goal and the PPA will drive this agenda.
What should you do know?
First, every member of the PPA should be registered to vote in the upcoming state and federal elections. If you are not yet registered there is still time, click here to find out about how to register in your state or got:
Second, be sure to vote on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7th. We must put our vote where our voice is and establish a poker voting block. While the Port Security Act which included the prohibition legislation was passed near unanimously in both the House and the Senate, the House did have a clean vote on the poker prohibition in July. A list of how House members voted in July is available on our Web site.
Finally, the PPA needs your help to spread the word about our organization. Please tell at least nine friends who might not know about the Poker Players Alliance to join the fight. We need to be 1 Million strong going into 2007.
Very soon a brief analysis of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Amendment will be posted on our website. Please return to www.pokerplayersalliance.org soon so you can learn how this legislation will affect you. Again, I want to thank you for your support, and hope that you will continue that support as the Poker Players Alliance enters the next level of commitment. This is not over.
Poker Players Alliance