PPA Wants Poker Peeps to Keep Hope Alive

Finalization of UIGEA Regs Doesn’t Mean Game Over

by , Nov 13, 2008 | 10:06 am

Despite the admirable efforts of Rep. Barney Frank and others over the past year to stop this from happening, UIGEA regulations have been finalized and set to take effect one day before President-elect Obama takes office. However, compliance of financial institutions won’t be required for more than ten months after that January 19th date. There are actions to be taken in the meantime…..like now.

The Poker Players Alliance is the voice of the poker community in Washington D.C., and while the PPA lobbies for the cause, the bulk of the responsibility lies with its members to stay active, loud, and in the faces of those who represent us in government. Some tips from the PPA:

There are 4 things you should do to respond to the government’s actions:

1. Call your Member of Congress and let him or her know how disappointed you are by the lame duck administration’s implementation of UIGEA and subsequent erosion of your personal freedom.

PPA Recommended Talking Points:

* I am a constituent, a poker player and a voter.
* I am outraged that the lame duck administration has finalized the UIGEA regulations which will add additional burdens on our already troubled banking sector.
* The UIGEA is also an affront to personal liberty and individual freedoms, two principles this country should be standing up for, not taking apart.
* I urge you and the incoming Administration to Act swiftly to turn back this failed policy and support legislation that truly regulates Internet poker.

2. Send an email to the Obama Transition team and tell President-elect Obama that once in office he should immediately turn back the UIGEA and other “midnight rules” issued by President Bush.

PPA recommended talking points:

* The Bush administration’s last minute, incomplete UIGEA regulations are reckless in that they place unreasonable requirements on our nation’s imperiled financial services industry. Bush was reckless in forcing them on the country in his 11th hour. You should introduce legislation to overturn them.
* These UIGEA regulations set a dangerous precedent for broader censorship of the Internet by the federal government.
* Banks should not be forced by the federal government to act as law enforcement entities.
* Poker is a game of skill where players compete against each other. There is no “house” profiting from losing players like in casino games of chance.
* You should support licensing and regulation of online poker. Congressman Robert Wexler, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, Senator Robert Menendez, and others have sponsored bills that do just that. These bills provide protections for participants with excessive gaming habits. Bush’s UIGEA regulations offer these people nothing.

3. Help the PPA help you. Become a Premium Member of PPA if you are not already. For only $20 you help us be effective advocates for poker and your membership put us in a strong position to defend your rights. If you are already a Premium PPA member please consider making an additional contribution to our fight.

4. Forward this to your friends and stay updated on the latest developments regarding the UIGEA regulations.

The PPA also refers to an article on Politico about a 2009 Democratic effort to reverse “midnight” regulations done through the Bush administration, even ones that have already taken effect. This is the time to let your members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, know how you feel about such an effort and that the UIGEA regulations should be included in any reversals pursued.

8 Comments to “PPA Wants Poker Peeps to Keep Hope Alive”

  1. DanM

    ***This is the time to let your members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, know how you feel about such an effort and that the UIGEA regulations should be included in any reversals pursued***

    I dunno … as a guy who made two calls to no avail, I’m losing a little faith.

    And I don’t think I understand — what’s different now? And why did that happen? And if it’s part of something that dirty, why isn’t the mainstream media all over it?

    Lastly, how do these rules going into effect affect the various bills we have working?

    And/or … does it affect the current business operations of any of the sites still taking US players?

  2. Kevin Mathers

    There’s hundreds of similar pieces of legislation/signing statements besides the UIGEA that Obama and company want to get rid of in a variety of areas. The hope is the Congressional Review Act of 1996 will help get rid of several of these items (including the UIGEA). Also as I noted in an early post today, it doesn’t affect you cashing out of an online site, only depositing which is hard enough for most people in the US already.

  3. DanM

    Ahh, I knew I read something somewhere about that — some law that Newt Gingrich made happen so they could fend off last-ditch efforts by Clinton to change the legal landscape they were stepping into.

    I can tell you for the first time in a long time, I am hearing some very negative things about the PPA on this one. I had been under the impression they’ve been doing great work … but all of the sudden I’m getting emails telling me they really screwed the pooch here.

    Not sure what to believe at the moment.

  4. Kevin Mathers

    Considering it took over 10 years for something like the UIGEA to be passed, you have to give the PPA credit for making a great deal of progress in the short time of their existence. With John Pappas and Alfonse D’Amato on the case, they’ve done a much better job at fighting this than original founder Michael Bolcerek.

  5. DanM

    I totally agree — they are clearly very active in making things happen. And from a political perspective, it’s been a very bridging-the-aisle effort. (The PPA are a bunch of conservative lobbyists/politicos working with mostly liberal congresspeeps.)

    I know they are also a favorite whipping boy of their religious right counterparts — they take great pleasure in any thorn they can stick in the PPA’s side. The claim on the other side is that they are a shady operation. But I don’t buy that for a second — because political set-ups have to have so much publicly disclosed … and I’ve met a few of the dudes running the show (including Pappas) and believe me … I’ve met far shadier in many a church. They all seem like committed, stand-up dudes, enthusiastic about working on behalf of a complex, multi-faceted single issue.

  6. California Jen

    I think people are pointing fingers at the PPA because it’s the only poker lobbying organization out there. I believe they’re doing all they can, but when they ask people to make calls and contact their members of Congress, my guess is that most of their million members don’t do it. You do it, Dan, and I do it, but without mass support, the PPA can only do so much.

    Dan, to address some of your initial questions, I dunno. (Just kidding.) Seriously, this is just the final step of the UIGEA having some legs and being able to force financial institutions to comply with the law. Whether it will affect sites like PokerStars or Full Tilt remains to be seen, but it may scare off more offshore banks from dealing with U.S. players. I would defer to someone like I. Nelson Rose, who has a much better grasp of the law than me.

    I still believe that many of the bills pending in Congress or various committees can override the part of the UIGEA that has to do with poker, so it’s definitely not too late, but the poker community has to get behind those bills. The public has to show support for them, and the PPA has to do its job in the halls of Congress as well. This finalization of the UIGEA regulations is just another step in the opposite direction of where we want to be, and it’s a complete slap in the face to all of the financial institutions that went to that hearing in April and told Barney Frank that the UIGEA is near impossible to enforce.

  7. DanM

    ***but the poker community has to get behind those bills.***

    I really think it’s the non-poker community’s support that we need to get the ball across the goal line.

    Court cases, of course, are a great way to get mainstream media ink.

  8. Pokerpolitics

    Kudos to Frank for actually doing something right for the first time. The man is as responsible as anyone for the housing bubble but this makes up for it 110%.

    (Doing my best to think like the rubes that post here regularly)