2008 Is Probably Not the Year of Getting There

But that’s OK if you’re the PPA

by , May 20, 2008 | 5:03 am

Had a pleasant chat with PPA boss John Pappas yesterday about the state of poker legislation. “We have a new website!” he says. OK, that quote’s semi-made up, but he definitely wanted to pimp the Poker Players Alliance’s new forums, benefit packages, and webtronic goodies. Yeah, yeah, website uh-huh … I didn’t tell him that I get most of my PPA on MySpace, where they share rank with Ed, The Poker Atlas, and RawVegas TV.*

Anyhow, in hearing about what they’re trying to achieve, I came to realize just how much progress the PPA has made. There are currently five bills pending in Congress specific to our issue. You can say all you want about the “special interests” … but that’s what we are. And frankly a rather small one in the Beltway schema. Yet those five bills come with 98 unique sponsors — meaning nearly a quarter of the House of Representatives are more than familiar with poker causes and have affirmatively declared themselves on our side. That’s pretty impressive progress over the course of 18 months.

With that said, Pappas doesn’t necessarily expect to see a legally enforceable undoing of the UIGEA this year. Nor do I, nor does Lavigne in Austin, nor does anyone actively working toward that goal. This being a presidential election year, with so many big big issues in play and seats at stake, Congress just isn’t gonna get around to making the world safe for online poker in ’08. I could be wrong on this — and hope I am — but I’m not. Fortunately the PPA leadership and lobbyists seem to recognize that hoping is seldom a good strategy … and while there’s always a chance poker could hit a political miracle on the turn and river, the PPA should shove all-in! what’s important now for the PPA is putting us in a position to succeed in 2009, when table conditions are sure to have changed.

* Pauly, dude, when are you gonna get on MySpace?

3 Comments to “2008 Is Probably Not the Year of Getting There ”

  1. California Jen

    This is actually disappointing that Pappas and others don’t see any major strides for the poker community in the political arena this year. I thought we might be closer than this.

    Even so, I have been impressed with the PPA, especially over the past few months. And I really appreciate that the organization keeps us updated on exactly what’s going on in Congress with our five bills.

  2. DanM

    Regarding question number 2, I wondered the same thing. but the WPA did it the same way … they apparently consider a membership bought for ’07, ’08, or ’09. I guess the concept of starting at the date you pay and making the membership last for 365 days from that point is foreign to them? Just a guess.

    Re: ***This is actually disappointing that Pappas and others don’t see any major strides for the poker community in the political arena this year. ***

    Who said that? I didn’t say that. Pappas didn’t say that. Just because nothing gets passed doesn’t mean there aren’t “major strides.” Politics doesn’t happen instantly. It’s not like you sign petitions, write a bill, and get a vote.

    You have to firm up your message, get it to the right people, and then upon showing you have support, you have to write a new bill … and THEN you start making sure it fits into the party agendas … there are individuals in positions of power within the Congress who have the ability to give your bill priority, and then you have to convince elected officials to champion it publicly yadda yadda. It’s definitely a long-term game.

    (Took 13 years to get rid of alcohol prohibition … and a lot more people care about drinking than playing poker.)

    Or the other possibility is to sneak it into another must-pass bill. But remember, Frist was able to pull that off because he was already a powerful senator, and highly skilled at what he was doing.

    We have to work the congressfolk essentially one at a time to get to that person as powerful as Frist who happens to be on our side. Fortunately, the process of doing that, even before you actually get there, does good things in terms of the political relationships it establishes.

    Or something like that. I’m just a rookie.

  3. California Jen

    I definitely realize it’s a long-term process, which is why I mentioned “major” strides. (I took what Pappas and Lavigne said about not undoing the UIGEA this year and reworded that erroneously. My bad.) We are definitely making progress in the form of small victories, and I see it as we go along.

    I believe that having Barney Frank on our side is a huge benefit, as he is powerful and has much clout in Congress.