National Poker Week, July 20-23, Washington DC

by , Jun 8, 2009 | 9:20 am

A bunch of PPA state directors and politically involved pros are already booking their plans for after the WSOP — they’re headed to Washington DC for an aggressive play by the PPA supposedly dubbed National Poker Week.

Should be a most interesting gathering — different from previous pokery political collectives in that there are so many legal issues playing out in real ways right now (Kentucky, Minnesota, Pokerstarzistan, etc.) … and all this with a pretty important-looking nuts-and-bolts online banking regulation bill in play … with non-pokery representatives finally aware of the online poker murmurs, and public opinion clearly leaning in our favor.

Check out last week’s poll in US News asking, simply:
Should online betting be legal?

That’s an important question — because ultimately, that’s what each Congressperson has to decide, and be willing to stand behind regardless of what they do or don’t do to help or hinder any poker legislation moving through Congress.

Leading the arguments for online gambling/poker, of course, is Barney Frank (D-MA) — “With Gambling, Personal Freedom Is Always the Best Bet”.

And the voice of the opposition is Spencer Bachus (R-AL) — “Online Gambling Leads to Crime and Hurts Young, so Why Encourage It?”.

Naturally you gotta like our chances, intellectually, but at the same time, Bachus’ understanding of the issues has grown deeper, and his talking points more refined since he woefully misquoted medical studies to suggest 1/3 of all college students who gamble online attempt suicide. While we can be almost-sure he won’t lean on such crap this year, we do know he’s capable of disregarding the truth, lying, and distorting whatever suits his purpose. That’s why it’s important to get face time with as many elected decision-makers as possible, I think … to make sure they have a more real understanding of how we (and 87 percent of the general populace, according to US News) see things before Bachus and his powerful minions get to them.

The PPA supposedly has partnered with major casinos (Harrah’s?), online sites, and poker rooms around the country to launch a “huge” ad campaign, as well as essentially a DC pep rally for its state directors — getting them all on message and building a groundswell of support in face-to-face meetings with their representatives.

There will also be a charity tourney event benefiting Wounded Veterans, and though I haven’t seen it yet, apparently the PPA booth at the WSOP has or will have a video camera set up for the telling of “My Poker Story” — a knockoff on the Applebee’s ad campaign to show the wide range of Americans calling themselves poker players.

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