Posts Tagged ‘the PPA’

From Poker-Only to Poker-Plus

by , Jun 13, 2013 | 2:00 pm

Give me online slot machines or give me death!

Give me online slots or give me death!

A New York congressman introduced legislation last week to legalize all forms of Internet wagering by establishing a federal licensing and regulatory system.

Internet gaming supporters quickly applauded the measure, authored by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., which goes beyond previous attempts to legalize just online poker.

Others expressed caution and wanted to take a closer look at the 134-page bill.

“Our team and the board will need some time to fully review this legislation before taking an official position,” American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said in a statement.

Last year an online poker bill backed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and now-retired U.S. Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., was leaked in Washington, D.C., but never introduced.

Partisan politics and opposition from Indian gaming tribes and state lotteries sank the legislation. Several online gaming and online poker-only bills have surfaced in Congress over the past few sessions.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, told Internet gaming proponents he will introduce online poker legislation later this year. Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said the Democratic leader and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., “continue to work together in this issue.”

Former Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., now a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., said the King bill most likely will take on a different form as it comes up for debate and additional online gaming bills surface.


PokerStars Provides Warmth to Hurricane Sandy Victims

by , Dec 20, 2012 | 7:05 am

The cold weather is bearing down on the East Coast, and sadly there are still thousands of residents who are without power or even warm homes due to the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. This past weekend, PPA Grassroots Director Drew Lesofski hand delivered hundreds of fleeces, hoodies, and other winter-weather clothing to communities in need. The items were made available thanks to a very generous donation of clothing from PokerStars to help those in need.

Upon receiving the boxes of fleeces and hoodies from PokerStars, PPA connected with local charities in New Jersey to distribute these items. Drew met with hundreds of families who stood in line at a local American Legion Hall in Keansburg, NJ to distribute the PokerStars items and other donated goods. “Warm clothing is a cherished item for those affected by the storm and the community was so grateful for the donations. I am proud that we could help, even in a small way, those who have literally been left with nothing due to Sandy’s devastation,” said Drew.

DOJ, PPA Meet to Address Remission Timeline, Player Points

by , Nov 13, 2012 | 7:09 pm

The Poker Players Alliance’s legal team met with the DOJ earlier today in Washington DC for a status update on player repayments, and perhaps do a little lobbying on behalf of Full Tilt player points that could and should maybe someday count for something. Overall, it wasn’t very good news for players … particularly those who might be banking on the repatriation of online bankrolls at some point in 2012.

So how long will it be?

Considering that the DOJ hasn’t even set a deadline yet for when to hire an administrator to handle the Full Tilt repayment process … well, you can understand the harsh reality players face working with the government.

Read below for a report from PPA Executive Director John Pappas about what the DOJ had to say.


Reid/Kyl Redux, Full Tilt Remission, 2012 US Online Poker Survey

by , Oct 24, 2012 | 5:59 pm

The big news this week is the release of the draft of the legislation that, if passed into law, will license and regulate online poker in the U.S. This bill, officially titled the “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012” but more often referred to as the “Reid/Kyl bill” after backers Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), will potentially see introduction during the lame duck session of Congress (the session immediately following the November elections). I encourage everyone to read the draft here, and Chris Grove’s summary of the bill on QuadJacks Poker News here.

In addition to giving us licensed and regulated poker in the U.S., this bill provides for consumer protections, including mandated segregation of player funds, background checks of providers, and criminal penalties for cheaters. It also provides a real framework for the game. With a solid foundation upon which to build the game, rather than watching online poker degrade each year, we would once again watch our game grow and thrive year after year.


Federal Court Rules Poker a Game of Skill, Not Illegal Gambling

by , Aug 22, 2012 | 1:30 pm

I have great news. Yesterday, a federal court — the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York — ruled that poker is a game of skill and is not illegal gambling under the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act (IGBA)!

PPA played a central role in the case of U.S. v DiCristina. In coordination with the defendant’s lawyer, PPA provided the arguments and briefs and extensive expert testimony. Lawyers representing PPA wrote the principal briefs and presented the principal oral arguments. Judge Jack Weinstein’s opinion relied heavily upon the information the PPA provided the court.

This was the first federal court decision on whether poker is a game of skill rather than gambling. In his ruling, Judge Weinstein said, “Neither the text of the IGBA nor its legislative history demonstrate that Congress designed the statute to cover all state gambling offenses. Nor does the definition of ‘gambling’ include games, such as poker, which are predominated by skill.”

I hope you will take a moment to read this historic decision and PPA’s amicus brief supporting the argument that poker is a game of skill (click here for both). I also urge you to check out the Associated Press coverage (here), as it summarizes everything nicely and provides great information on PPA’s involvement in this case on behalf of the poker community.

This decision reinforces to all of us that now is the time for Congress to enact a fair and reasonable regulatory model that protects players and provides for a stable market for online poker in the U.S.

Meet Your Congressperson!

by , Aug 15, 2012 | 3:40 am

It has been a busy few weeks in the poker community, to be sure. With the Full Tilt Poker sale to PokerStars, the continued growth of the #Fight4Poker daily action plan, and growing momentum of poker legislation in Congress, we can all see the impact of our efforts.

I urge everyone to keep it up. The work we do at the grassroots is what keeps the pressure on Capitol Hill. This month, let’s all try to meet with our elected officials (or at least their staffs). They are home for the August recess and will be through September 7th, so it is a great time to make the visit. PPA Director of Grassroots and External Affairs Drew Lesofski sent you a letter on this important grassroots initiative last week (here), so I hope you have been giving it some serious thought.

Your congressman and both of your senators are home meeting with constituents, hosting town hall meetings, and attending local community events. This is a great opportunity for all of us to meet face-to-face with our lawmakers to discuss the importance of passing federal online poker legislation this year. It is also a great opportunity to express support for the game itself, be it online, bricks-and-mortar, home games, etc.

PPA has made scheduling meetings easy. Simply click here to find your elected representatives’ office phone numbers, addresses, and other information. When you call to set up your appointment, simply ask to speak with the lawmaker’s scheduler and ask to schedule a face to face meeting in the district office.

PPA has made meeting preparation easy as well. Simply click here for talking points, a summary of legislation in Congress (H.R. 2366, Rep. Barton’s Online Poker Act), and the recent letter from the Fraternal Order of Police to Congress in support of licensing and regulating online poker. You can print them in either color or in black and white. With that, all you will have to do is tell your lawmakers that you support online poker and that they should too. It will not be a debate. Rather, they will seek to hear you out as a constituent.


Reaching out to the DOJ for Full Tilt Repayment

by , Aug 10, 2012 | 12:42 pm

Last week, PPA shared the great news that the Justice Department approved the deal for PokerStars to purchase Full Tilt Poker. Through this deal, PokerStars provided funds to cover all player balances at Full Tilt Poker.

The DoJ is currently establishing the process by which we U.S. players will request and receive our money. PPA is at the forefront of advocating for our rights in this matter. PPA requested and was granted the opportunity by the DoJ to provide a recommended path for repayment of U.S. players. Needless to say, we asked for repayment of 100% of player balances. I hope everyone will take a moment to read this important letter to the DoJ (here).

PPA will continue this dialog with the DoJ. We are seeking a streamlined process for application for remission. We are also advocating for clear processes to address withdrawals that were deducted from balances but never sent, bounced withdrawal checks, unused tournament tokens, FTP points, Iron Man Medals, etc. Non-cash items will be toughest, but we will do our part to make the requests through the appropriate channels. PPA’s legal team will remain fully involved as the ‘voice of the player’ to ensure we are all heard throughout this process.

To aid all of us, as I mentioned last week PPA is gathering and posting the needed information on the reimbursement process in real time at

Indian Affairs Committee to Determine Poker’s Next Steps

by , Jul 23, 2012 | 3:03 pm

Buzz all over the internet spectrum about what may or may not happen in Washington DC with a Reid-Kyl online poker bill and the Barton Bill’s now-or-never moment and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) rallying GOP support and everyone else coming to grips with the reality that PokerStars will not be sponsoring the next One Drop event in an effort to save the world’s water supply.

But the one FACT representative of real movement on issues important to poker players (online or otherwise) is the hearing this week in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee:

OVERSIGHT HEARING on Regulation of Tribal Gaming: From Brick & Mortar to the Internet

Thursday, July 26 2012
Senate Dirksen Building 628

Eastern Time, obv.

Pokeratizens know that figuring the Indians’ rightful place in an online poker future is an essential part of getting the legally regulated landscape all have been clamoring for since the days of Howard Lederer was the game’s Washington DC ambassador. And yet the Indians have been one group that hasn’t really been able to agree on what they want and need.

Presumably the point of this hearing is to more officially assure everyone is on the same page — or at least currently reading the same chapter. Poker players can feel good that they have a seat at this table, which we should note and remember is covering all tribal gaming, not just online poker some day at the WinStar. Former Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV) is a PPA consultant — your special interest contributions at work! — and thus well aware of various player issues, from non-payment of Full Tilt players to cheating at UB. He’s sixth (out of six) on the witness list … putting players in a good position, and possibly in the role of the poker representative making closing arguments.

Joe Barton Headed to Vegas to Address Poker Supporters

by , Jun 20, 2012 | 11:25 am

Last week, I shared the news that you are cordially invited to the PPA Town Hall meeting in Las Vegas at the Rio during the World Series of Poker® on Saturday, June 30th, starting at 12:15 pm. I also mentioned that I would share details as they come available, and I have a great detail to share this week:

Key poker supporter and sponsor of H.R. 2366, the Online Poker Act, Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) will address the group and is looking forward to meeting you!

This free town hall event will include a discussion of the issues facing the poker community in Nevada and across the nation. Executive Director John Pappas, Director of Grassroots and External Affairs Drew Lesofski, Nevada State Director Lupe Soto, and I will be on hand to answer your questions regarding your poker rights. Please be sure to make plans to attend this important meeting. If you are in the Las Vegas area that day, I hope you and your poker friends will attend!

RSVP: [email protected] (RSVPs are not required, but please try to let us know if you are planning to attend.)

This is a great opportunity to meet your PPA representatives and to get the latest information on the poker legislative landscape. The first 25 people who show up will receive a free PPA t-shirt! Everyone in attendance will receive a free PPA patch. We will be providing light refreshments as well.

PPA at the WSOP

I thank everyone who took the time to stop by the PPA WSOP booth this past weekend to discuss the poker advocacy effort and what they can do to help further the cause!

We will be back for the weekends of 6/29-7/1 and 7/7-7/9 (the opening days of the Main Event). If you are in the area one of those weekends, I hope you will stop by to talk to us about the fight. We will have PPA patches available, so please pick one up to show everyone at the WSOP that you are proud to advocate for our rights as poker players and enthusiasts!

Make sure to check the PPA Facebook and Twitter pages for up-to-the-minute info on everything we are be doing at the WSOP , to see great pictures, and to follow our real-time take on all that is going on at the WSOP

Show’em the Numbers!

by , Jun 13, 2012 | 6:19 pm

PPA is excited to announce that we will hold a town hall meeting in Las Vegas during the World Series of Poker®. The Las Vegas PPA Town Hall Meeting will be at the Rio on June 30th, immediately following the “shuffle up and deal” command – the command to be given this year by key poker supporter Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX)!

PPA Executive Director John Pappas, PPA Director of Grassroots & External Affairs Drew Lesofski, and I will be on hand for a detailed discussion on all that PPA is doing. We will be taking lots of questions and look forward to a great dialog with everyone. Please plan to attend if you are in town for the WSOP. John, Drew, and I hope to meet you there!

PPA at the WSOP


Congressional “Policy Retreat” in Florida, Poker Derby Days in KY

by , May 9, 2012 | 10:23 am

Last weekend, the Poker Players Alliance joined nearly twenty Members of Congress at a House Republican policy retreat in Florida. The highlight of the conference was a poker and casino night sponsored by PPA and headlined by PPA Board Member & 2004 World Series of Poker Champion Greg “Fossilman” Raymer.

Throughout the course of the weekend, PPA Executive Director John Pappas, PPA lobbyists, and the Fossilman interacted with lawmakers and explained the merits of online poker licensing and regulation. We were pleased that Congressional champions of poker rights Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) were on hand to help make the case to their House colleagues for a regulatory framework that would provide strong consumer protections, bring in revenue without raising taxes, and restore personal freedoms.


Calm before the Lame-duck Smackdown

by , Apr 27, 2012 | 2:09 am

Bryan in Washington DC sends along an update from PPA lobbyist Jeff MacKinnon (of Ryan, MacKinnon, Berzok and Vasapoli, LLP) on the current legislative landscape for online poker as seen by those working the hallways of Capitol Hill. It’s apparently all about gearing up for a lame-duck-session smackdown, and riding our net-positive revenue potential onto an appropriate bill.

MacKinnon explains:

Calm before the storm.  That’s what it feels like on Capitol Hill these days.  There’s a certain melancholy feeling around here – sort of like a lull between battles during the Civil War. Coming off a year of budget deficit/debt/payroll tax crises, Congress is quietly putting all pending skirmishes off until an end of the year legislative battle royale. If one were in college – it’s sort of the equivalent of taking an incomplete in every class the whole year then having to do a year’s worth of work in 25 days at the end of the year.

Before everyone rushes to E-Trade and shorts the market, in Washington I’ve found that things are never as good or as bad as they appear to be. The one thing Congress is good at is kicking the can down the road. This will be a test of wills like no other – especially for lobbyists like me.

The breadth and number of contentious issues to be decided after the election is overwhelming and quietly has garnered the attention of many CEOs and financial industry leaders. A few of the issues that must be addressed before the end of the year: expiring Bush tax cuts; extending the debt limit; stopping drastic reimbursement reductions for physians in the Medicare program; an unemployment insurance extension; a transportation bill to fund highway programs in 50 states; changes to the alternative minimum tax; tax credit extenders for renewable energy and research and development; and the expiring payroll tax cut. Combined, these issues on the table are equal to 3% of our GDP.


Shirts and Giggles

by , Apr 17, 2012 | 3:15 am

The 2012 WSOP is right around the corner, and one key question you have to ask every year: OMG, what am I gonna wear? It’s been a long time since i’ve seen a poker T-shirt that actually made me LOL even a little bit … but dare I say kinda cool?

And the good folks at Grinder Gear Clothing Co. (poker, surfing, skateboarding apparel) have partnered with the Poker Players Alliance to put out their “Live and Let Grind” collection — a political statement and slogan of solidarity that stands to catch on with poker players and strippers alike.

Grinder Gear says 20 percent of what they make on these shirts will go to the PPA, so it’s feel-good fashion all around — comfortable clothing for poker freedom.

Rake and Taxes

by , Apr 4, 2012 | 3:17 am

The drumbeat for action on online poker legislation continues to grow on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across America. Much credit is due to the commitment of the poker community. We have all refused to back down and have told Congress that we will never fold in this fight!

Telling our elected representatives that we want them to support online poker does more than simply push Congress to move legislation. While that is a great thing in and of itself, grassroots advocacy also helps PPA’s lobbyists on the Hill to advocate for player-friendly provisions. These include issues that impact the rake, tax fairness, the number of states participating, and plenty of other issues of importance to us – the players.

As an online limit hold’em player, one big issue I have seen personally is in the rake (the amount of each pot sites retain for providing the service). While rake may seem small on a per-hand basis at first glance, it adds up quickly for pros as well as for recreational players. Congress will not set a low rake legislatively via price controls, but they do have control over the level of competition in the marketplace. PPA is actively lobbying to maximize participation in the online market, thus ensuring healthy competition in rake and promotions.


The Evolution of “Click a Mouse …”

by , Feb 7, 2012 | 10:15 pm

Quick LOL … something I stumbled across while reading what I presumed was just a ho-hum news article about another state gearing up for online gambling (via the PPA’s latest newsletter). I wanted to see what state was next and whether or not they separated out poker. Turns out it was just California, talking about how much money they stand to make if they can just catch up with Nevada. For sure. Righteous, dudes.

But what stands out most to me is a line from one of the opponents of any measures for California to finally get serious about regulating online games within their own borders:

“We don’t want to see any of it,” said pastor James Butler from the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion. “Pretty soon they’ll have an app that will allow you to connect instantly to a casino or a gambling site. Want to lose your home? We have an app for that,” Butler said.

Emphasis added. Not sure if we should tell the fine pastor that they already do have such an app — all over the UK to be sure, and in Nevada you can bet sports for real money anywhere you want using your Droid or iPhone with Leroy’s App. (It just turns off when you get to the California border — amazing that crazy technology these days!)