Posts Tagged ‘Poker Players Alliance’

Conservative Magazine Says Online Gambling Coming (Soon!)

by , Aug 31, 2009 | 8:36 am

I’m not sure if it’s an endorsement of our efforts or a call to action to our opponents … but be sure to check out this lengthy article in the October issue of The American Conservative:

Coming Up Aces
Legalization of online gambling looks like a sure bet.

The piece does give some important numbers — projected internet gambling revenue in 2011=$144 billion, and a 2 percent tax on deposits in the Frank bill would mean $51 billion over 10 years — but I am a bit concerned that the writer makes repeated references to the UIGA (as opposed to the UIGEA).

However, I do like (I think — not totally sure, as I trust few in politics) that our most vociferous opponent seems to be preparing his supporters for a loss:

As the arguments stack up, opponents of Internet gambling increasingly don’t like their odds. “It’s going to be an uphill battle to stop it this time,” admitted Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Financial Services Committee in an interview with Politico. “We caught them off guard last time. This time we might not be so lucky.”

I also think I like that there’s talk about “putting profits toward helping addicts”. I dunno, just seems a treatment provision is important, and in general we (kudos to the PPA) have our bases covered this year more so than in legislative efforts past.

via @TheEngineer2008

12 Months, $3 Billion

by , Aug 14, 2009 | 9:56 am

Barack Obama is in Montana today — where he’ll be cavorting with Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)*, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and therefore has to come up with ways to fund any major health care reform. A daunting challenge to be sure, but a good time to float the possibility of floating Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) online poker bill as a potential source of much-needed revenue.

An op-ed in today’s Missoulian — titled “Fund reform with Net poker tax” — does exactly that:

Instead of raising taxes during an economic slump to pay for these programs, what if Baucus and his colleagues could collect revenue that’s currently going to other countries from an industry that’s ready and willing to be taxed?

That industry is Internet poker, and Baucus can help make this a reality by supporting his colleague from New Jersey, Sen. Bob Menendez, who recently introduced a bill to license and regulate online games of skill such as Internet poker.

According to recent economic studies, tax revenue from licensing will add billions to the U.S. Treasury. Projections have shown that as much as $3 billion annually could be raised through Internet poker, which can be used to help fund key domestic priorities, like health care.

If the Dems are serious about passing Obamacare, then they should have a hard time turning their back on a few billion to pay for it annually. Of course, as we know, politics is seldom about what makes sense.

* Not to be confused with the strongly anti-poker Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL).

Colorado Supreme Court Could Decide Skill vs. Luck Issue

by , Aug 12, 2009 | 9:38 am

The defendant, Kevin Raley, has already been found not-guilty … but the state’s appeal succeeded in getting the testimony of Robert Hannum, Professor of Statistics at the University of Denver, thrown out on the grounds that Colorado law had already put poker in its gambling place. So now Raley is moving forward, even though he’s already — and still — in the clear.


Poker Players Alliance Supports Appeal to Colorado Supreme Court

Washington, DC (August 12, 2009) –The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide and more than 13,000 in Colorado, today expressed its support for efforts to appeal a ruling in state intermediate court that poker is predominately a game of chance as part of Colorado v. Kevin Raley.

The defendant, Kevin Raley, will file a petition in Colorado Supreme Court requesting an appeal of the intermediate court’s ruling that poker is gambling under Colorado law.

“The PPA is going to do everything in its power to support Mr. Raley’s efforts in order to protect PPA members and all poker players in the state of Colorado,” said Gary Reed, PPA’s Colorado State Director. “I am especially alarmed because this ruling ignores the abundance of research that proves poker is a game of skill and confuses rather than clarifies the matter for law enforcement that may use their scarce resources to raid and arrest poker players instead of investigating real unlawful activity in the state.”


Some National Poker Week Numbers

by , Jul 23, 2009 | 10:41 am

Many of you often give me a hard time because of my aversion to “statistics” and “data” … and though generally I don’t care about appeasing the peons “readers”, I found some of this info below on the “interesting” and “informative” side.

So let’s kick it Harper’s Index-style, shall we?

Poker-related letters sent to members of Congress in July 2009: > 150,000
Poker-related letters sent to Congress in 2008: 77,000
Issues other than health care reform that have generated more letters to Congress in 2009 (including war in Iraq, recession, and gas prices): 0
Meetings scheduled between PPA representatives and Congressional offices in a two-day period: 110
Meetings missed by either PPA reps or Congressional staffers: 6
Number of lobbyists engaged in National Poker Week initiative: about 40
Number of consulting firms retained: 7, I think
Number of Players in the PPA tournament benefitting the USO: 180ish
Wounded vets competing: 31
Patients who qualified for seats via semi-regular tournaments at Walter Reed Hospital: 25
Money donated by the PPA to the USO up front: $25,000
Amount added to donation from $100 rebuys: $10,000
Rebuys from Annie Duke: 15
Rebuys from Howard Lederer: > 10
Rebuys for veterans put up by the Interactive Gaming Council: 10
Noted poker pros competing: Not totally sure, but probably about 10-15
Members of Congress competing: 7
Highest finish by a wounded Iraq war veteran: 1st

More PPA in DC

by , Jul 22, 2009 | 4:34 pm

Greg Raymer did an online chat with the Washington Post today … relatively interesting stuff, and good to see that while the non-poker-geeky masses may not be charged up about online poker issues, they are starting to understand them … or at least ask better questions.

Still, seems most of the curiosity is about card play itself:


by , | 4:12 pm

You can see how the debate over online poker regulation is getting more sophisticated. (And it makes a fun subplot during these times of health care debate.) While our side has effectively taken the argument away from our opponents about needing to protect children and potential addicts (and John Pappas’ TV skillz have gotten more polished), Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling is now claiming the online poker model is unsustainable because it relies on 10 percent losing players to profit. (I think Full Tilt and PokerStars would respectfully disagree.)

While the opposition argument may be one of those frustrating argghs from someone who clearly just doesn’t get it — poker profits are based on rake, not degenerates who can’t afford their next buy-in — you can see we are moving to that next necessary phase of poker enlightenment, which is separating poker from other forms of gambling.

Ivan Neville at National Poker Week

by , | 12:04 pm

Had a brief little run-in with Ivan Neville (of the Neville Brothers, and now Dumpstaphunk), who’s a low-stakes poker regular at Harrah’s New Orleans, any casino town he plays music in, and online. Not only did he sing the National Anthem at the USO/PPA charity event last night, but also he’s gone to some meetings with Congresspeople representing Louisiana and Texas … and in at least one case, his presence helped poker win out on a double-booked sked. Oh, and in addition to inspiration for further political involvement, he got an education on how the rebuy period really changes tournament action.

Says Neville: “Poker’s a friggin’ American pastime!”

Neville Brother on Poker+Politics


European Laws: The £899 Gorilla?

by , | 6:52 am

We all know how difficult and complicated poker-related legislation can get/be in the United States … and we often look at Europe as providing a model of how things could and should be. However, things can actually get pretty complicated across the pond — different languages and all — and if anything, what we have to compare is how actively engaged so many different countries are in dealing with difficult online gambling legal matters … while we in the US seem much more content moving slowly as we figure out how we really will handle billions of dollars worth of online, multi-jurisdictional financial transactions in the 21st century … you know, in a way that doesn’t get the NFL’s fantasy panties in a wad.

Seriously, if it weren’t for the PPA — which we all know is a mere infant, toddler at best, amongst American political organizations — I’m not so sure we’d be moving at all on these matters … and the United States would be leaving it to the Europeans to establish frameworks for what ultimately will prove to be trillions of dollars worth of virtual finance in the future. That’s the undercurrent of why we’re all here in Washington DC right now … as much as we say, and many believe, it’s just about the freedom to bring more dead money into the game.

It’s a lot to chew on, I know. And while you may not have the inclination or scratch to lay down for Gambling Compliance‘s new book on the online gambling situation in Europe, you can click here to read a 5-page summary of Market Barriers: An impartial and comprehensive evaluation of the current legal, regulatory and market landscape for online gambling in Europe:

An entirely new and independently researched 80,000 word survey, the report provides an impartial and comprehensive snapshot of the regulation of Europe’s online gambling sector – a market that the European Commission estimates to be worth US$10.1bn by 2010.

Detailed analysis of all 27 EU member states underlines how the proliferation of national level rules is steadily balkanising Europe’s gambling market and creating new conflicts and regulatory risks for operators:

Europe’s online gambling map is being redrawn with unprecedented speed. 19 of 27 member states across Europe are currently addressing online gambling through reform, while seven of these have made concrete plans to shift towards local licensing models.

Financial transaction (FT) and ISP blocking restrictions are gathering momentum. Since the introduction of payment blocking regulations in the United States in 2006, seven EU member states have introduced mechanisms for blocking online gambling, and a further eight jurisdictions are presently considering blocking measures as part of broader reform debates.

As the nature of European licensing changes, existing land-based casinos and national lottery monopolies are starting to move online while previously excluded private operators are entering markets as B2B service and payment providers.

A product of GamblingCompliance’s international legal research team, the report cites legislation, much of which is not available in English, and uses over 50 primary sources including exclusive consultation with regulators and legal experts on the ground in each jurisdiction.

Price costs £899 for non-subscribers and £799 for subscribers.

Russ Hamilton Joins the PPA?

by , Jul 21, 2009 | 3:53 pm

Howard Stern wasn’t the only one to join the PPA this week (aka “National Poker Week”). Caught up in the poker-politicky whirlwinds emanating from Washington DC, Russ Hamilton also became a member, as seen here:

Says Hamilton, according to sources plausibly fabricated out of thin air: “Joining the PPA is the right thing to do. It shows you are a good person who really cares about protecting poker players from internet malfeasance. We need US regulation to ensure a fair playing field for all, and so we can appropriately punish anyone who might steal 10s of millions of dollars from unknowing American players. Ha ha ha ha! LOL.”

Hamilton says he also plans to sign the Poker Petition (350k electronic signatures and climbing) and may even submit a video to

“Mine is a really good one,” he says.

National Poker Week Pre-Pre-Game

by , | 3:20 pm

Congressional staffers hold the keys to Representative doorways, and one of the first steps this week was educating these gatekeepers on WTF we’re talking about. Not the issues at hand per se — yay personal freedom and taxation! — but the logistics of regulating the pokery brand of internet commerce (while protecting players and children, keeping addiction in check, generating tax revenue, etc.).

Joining Annie Duke and PPA Exec. Dir. John Pappas for the panel discussion — attended by some 50 or so congressional staffers — were:

· Dr. Parry Aftab, Executive Director, Wired Safety (
· Stuart Dross, Vice President, Cigital (
· Paul Mathews, independent consultant, former executive with International Game Technology

Howard Stern Joins PPA, Makes Online Poker a Matter of Internet Freedom

by , | 3:58 am

National Poker Week kicked off with Al D’Amato on Howard Stern yesterday, and Howard Stern joining, on-air, the Poker Players Alliance. While I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone listens to Howard Stern anymore — or is he kinda like Friendster … you know, very Web 1.0 — apparently Stern does still have a few million listeners, most of whom had little clue about poker issues before yesterday, when D’Amato also discussed the possibilities of more legal marijuana in America and the joys of an elder man banging his pregnant wife. So mission accomplished, at least as far as injecting our issues into the semi-intelligent American discourse is concerned.

From the Examiner:

D’Amato (who sounds a lot like Gilbert Gottfried to the untrained ear) told Howard Stern that he believes that America should get out of both Iraq and Afghanistan immediately, stating that both wars are unwinnable. D’Amato also spoke about current efforts to reform the U.S. healthcare system. D’Amato stated that he preferred “marginal” reform to overhauling the entire system, which he states would result in huge tax increases for most Americans.

“What about legalizing pot?” asked Howard Stern, pointing to new reports about the flourishing legal marijuana industry in California.

After thinking on it carefully, D’Amato responded: “I think there’s some merit in it.”

It wasn’t all shop talk for Alfonse D’Amato. Howard Stern asked D’Amato some of his classic questions. Alfonse D’Amato admitted that he still regularly has sex with his 6-month pregnant wife, spoke about it openly, and then sheepishly followed up his response by saying: “This isn’t going to be on TV is it?”

To celebrate this momentous kick-start to a week of DC-centric poker politicking, the PPA unveiled a press release font upgrade and added the color blue to its official statement on Stern’s membership:


What’s Your Poker Story?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …

by , Jul 8, 2009 | 3:31 am

As you probably know, the PPA is collecting short videos at The purpose, as far as I can tell, is to put something together for the coming legislative push that (quickly) shows on-the-fence Congresspeople that poker players are a diverse group of citizens, who care about the game for more than degenerate reasons, and ultimately that the our bills tap into a motivate-able mass spread across a wide spectrum of the American populace. Here’s PPA Chairman Al D’Amato’s poker story:

LOL, you can see why the PPA needs your help. (No offense, retired Senator … just saying they probably need more than just you to convey their message.) All it takes is a minute or two in front of your computer cam and a few clicks. I tried to submit mine, but it apparently violated YouTube TOS. (Hey, I can’t help that I learned so much at The Lodge. So she was naked … it’s still a bad beat.) So in the meantime, as a placeholder for Dan’s poker story, I’ve submitted this:

For a bunch of really good ones (and some humorously not so good) check ’em out the poker stories here. On a serious side, OK, I’m making a little light, but these really are a good reminder of why the fate of a silly little computer game matters to so many.

Congressman Barney Frank Visited the WSOP Today

Did Not Arrive in Chariot or With Indian Headdress So Received Little Attention

by , Jul 5, 2009 | 2:56 pm

It was no secret. It has been public information since mid-June, and the PPA announced it days ago that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank made plans to visit the WSOP today. First, he took to the floor of the Amazon Room to speak to the Day 1C players and issue the “shuffle up and deal command,” after which he toured the Rio Convention Center to see poker’s bizness and held a press conference at 1pm. You’d think it might be quite an event for those with any interest in the future of the poker industry.

But while the general reception Frank received in the Amazon Room was positive, it also gave an indication of what kind of struggles his efforts face. Beyond having to deal with the self-promotional shenanigans of Phil Hellmuth and all he brings to the table in the name of poker (for better or worse), behind me on the rail were some poker players/fans/bigots who made hateful gay jokes during his entire short-but-semi-important speech.

Nearing the 1pm start of the press conference in the Full Tilt Chris Ferguson suite, there were about 5 reporters present. No kidding. By the time Frank began speaking, there were possibly twice that, excluding PPA representatives and Full Tilt Poker bigwigs. Of the 5-8 media outlets represented, ESPN got their headshot early and left, before the speech had hardly started.

Some of what the disinterested might have missed:

~It is likely that the Obama Administration was not behind the Southern District of New York’s seizure of more than $30 million in online poker site payments, though Frank is pursuing answers and will attempt to clarify the role of the Department of Justice in the actions.

~While Frank’s current proposed legislation (H.R. 2267) may not be heard in committee until September, it is a priority for Frank to push his companion legislation (H.R. 2266) that will delay the implementation of the UIGEA through 2010.

Meanwhile, everyone else was standing outside the Rio waiting for Phil Hellmuth to arrive in a chariot with scantily-clad chicks, then following him down the hall like he was someone important President Obama. After that embarrassment spectacle, I noticed that there was more media interested in interviewing a WSOP player wearing a full-length Indian headdress than were in the Frank press conference.


I just can’t help but wonder if the people who ignored Frank’s presence today will be the same ones asking why the delay in passing pro-poker legislation, or why their online poker funds are frozen, or why they have trouble finding work in the poker industry.

Poker Media Priorities

Girl-on-Girl Boxing vs. PPA

by , Jun 23, 2009 | 5:16 pm

The Rumble at the Rio had its press conference/weigh-in ceremony today in the Rio Pavilion hallway to introduce Liv Boeree (representing UltimateBet) and Melissa Castello (representing PokerNews), who will be fighting each other on July 1 for publicity charity. ESPN filmed it, and the poker media was out in force to cover it. Almost every poker media outlet was there to take photos or gather notes to publicize the event.

It is significant to note that only about 25% of those reporters were anywhere near the Poker Players Alliance press conference yesterday. PPA Chairman and former NY Senator Alfonse D’Amato spoke, along with NV Rep. Shelley Berkley and PPA board members Greg Raymer and Linda Johnson, to announce National Poker Week.

Who says the poker media doesn’t have integrity/priorities?

Bad Beat #1 for Barney Frank Bill?

Congressional online gambling hearings to be pushed back to September

by , | 5:00 pm

Yikes, I haven’t even gotten to write up all the exciting stuff the PPA has working for National Poker Week, and efforts to support efforts to undo the UIGEA.

Seriously, the fully legal online poker forces are gearing up for a long, arduous fight — and man, they got lots of us feelin’ good! — and yet Beltway sources are telling Pokerati that Congressional hearings on the Frank bill are about to be pushed back to September.


May just be standard procedure … but also could be a sign of the types of procedural obstacles we can expect to be thrown in our way. More TK, of course …