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Poker Players Alliance Drops the Ball

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Oct/12/2009

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has wasted way too much time focusing on individual state cases and arguing whether poker is a "game of skill". 

Most of us already believe poker is a "game of skill" even though the British courts has declared poker a "game of chance".  Great Britain fully embraces online poker and sports betting, even though they want to tax operators to death. 

[Update 10/02/09] The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide (nearly 10,000 in South Carolina), today lauded the ruling of a South Carolina court that confirmed that poker is a game of skill, and thus should not be considered gambling under the law.

The problem with the PPA's approach is that they are failing to prioritize. 

If you've been reading a few of the poker forums in recent days, you know the single most pressing issue right now is with the banking institutions being pressured to cut off transactions to and from payment processors that work with online poker rooms. 

It's a very real concern.  There is one bank that has cut off ties to one such processor and others are likely to follow. 

In the end, it won't matter if poker is considered a "game of skill" or "chance" if none of us can play the game online.     

The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association had tried unsuccessfully to challenge the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, which holds financial institutions responsible for policing online gambling transactions.   

The US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, rejecting arguments that the law was vague and intruded on individual privacy rights.

Now both iMEGA and the PPA must work (together) to try and solve the banking dilemma.  Unfortunately, while iMEGA has shown a willingness to work with the PPA, the Poker Players Alliance wants nothing to do with any groups whose members include Internet bookmakers. 

Meanwhile, the US Attorneys Office out of the Southern District of New York is reportedly beefing up its investigation into two of online poker's biggest companies.

Costigan Media, which owns the Gambling911.com website, won a landmark decision in August when the Honorable Judge Laura Taylor Swain granted the electronic news site access to previously sealed seizure warrants issued by the New York US Attorney's office.  Costigan Media filed a Motion to Intervene in order to learn about and report more accurately on current online poker related investigations. Former acting deputy general counsel at Homeland Security, Baruch Weiss, represented Costigan Media.

Assistant US Attorney Arlin Devlin-Brown was permitted by the Court to redact certain names of individuals and companies that are part of an ongoing investigation.  The decision requires that the US Attorney's Office notify the Court of upcoming indictments.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher 

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