WASHINGTON, DC. (July 23, 2009) -The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, today reported on the success of National Poker Week activities this week in Washington, D.C. More than 50 representatives of the PPA, including 33 state directors, traveled to Washington, D.C. to directly deliver the message to lawmakers that poker is not a crime, and asked them to support licensing and regulation legislation that will protect the online game enjoyed by more than 10 million Americans.
"From the more than 100 meetings with members and staff to the charity tournament that raised $35,000 for our wounded warriors, I'd say National Poker Week was a rousing success," PPA Chairman and Former Senator Alfonse D'Amato said. "Congress is preparing for hearings this fall on the licensing and regulation of the game we love, so I urge all PPA members to continue this activism and enthusiasm so our elected officials can take their marching orders and fight to protect our game."
D'Amato kicked off National Poker Week with an in-studio appearance on the Howard Stern Show, where he signed Howard up as a member of the PPA. Highlights of the National Poker Week D.C. activities include:
Ø Attendance by 33 State Directors and 7 professional poker players, including - Andy Bloch, Annie Duke, Jan Fisher, Linda Johnson, Howard Lederer, Dennis Phillips, and Greg Raymer.
Ø More than 100 Congressional meetings.
Ø 30 wounded soldiers and 10 members of Congress participating in the charity poker tournament.
Ø $35,000 in PPA and individual contributions benefiting the USO Metro and their wounded warriors program.
Ø 70 Hill staffers and interested parties attending the PPA Congressional briefing.
Ø 375,769 signatures on the petition to President Obama calling for the licensing and regulation of online poker.
Ø Nearly 200,000 letters/emails sent to U.S Representatives and Senators since July 20th.
In addition to the flurry of activities, the PPA launched an advertising campaign, both online and in print, targeted to opinion leaders and policymakers in D.C. and calling on them to protect the game of poker. The three print ads highlight the stories of real PPA members who play online - both as a pastime and for a living - and directly ask Congress to protect their right to play. The online ads, which can be seen here, tell Congress to "take the politics out of poker" and direct viewers to the National Poker Week site highlighting the need to support licensing and regulation.
Professional poker player Andy Bloch, who participated in numerous meetings with members of Congress and their staff, said "every single meeting and every method of communication counts. Even if you're cynical about the political process, you'll be encouraged to know that these members, whether they agree yet or not, are listening to our arguments and are truly surprised to know just how popular poker is in their hometowns. I truly feel we are winning on this issue, and the time is ripe for pro-poker legislation to pass into law."
PPA also hosted a charity poker tournament and presented a $25,000 check to the USO-Metro benefiting the Malone House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Wounded servicemen and women played alongside poker pros, PPA's State Directors, members of Congress, and their staff, with all $10,000 of the re-buys going "all-in" to the USO. Winners of the tournament received prizes contributed by Harrah's, AirTran, JAQK Cellars, Washington Capitals, and WSOP Academy.
Earlier in the week, PPA pulled together online security experts for a Congressional staff briefing on how Internet poker can be effectively regulated in the United States. The panelists included Dr. Parry Aftab, Executive Director of Wired Safety, Stuart Dross, Vice President of Cigital, and Paul Mathews, former executive with International Game Technology. The panelists corrected many of the misperceptions of online poker and discussed with congressional staff the effective and available solutions to properly regulate online games.
To make National Poker Week possible, PPA partnered with a variety of organizations including PokerPages.com, PokerListings.com, ConJelCo, PokerTube, Heartland Poker Tour, PocketFives.com, Bluff Magazine, Poker News, and Poker Road.
For more information and to contact members of Congress, please visit www.NationalPokerWeek.com