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Did Poker Players Alliance Overstep Boundaries in Minnesota?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jun/15/2009
Poker Players Alliance

Prior to last week's big story related to the seizure of $30 million in online poker funds by the US Government, there was an important development in Minnesota.  That state had attempted to block its residents from accessing hundreds of online gambling websites. 

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) announced a "win" for the industry prematurely before an actual agreement had been reached by lawyers in the matter.

The lawyers in question were paid for by the members of the The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA.org), a separate grass roots organization that is currently challenging the Constitutionality of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in a court of law.  When the PPA first announced the Department of Public Safety of Minnesota was backing off its initial order to try to ban Internet service providers from allowing their customers to access all gambling sites, they failed to remotely acknowledge iMEGA's efforts.  This infuriated a few of the groups that support both organizations.

"The PPA needs to be more open to working with other groups," said one online gambling operator.

Gambling911.com's Jenny Woo posed the question to iMEGA founder, Joe Brennan, Jr.

"Is there a line being crossed when the Poker Players Alliance comes into the picture and seemingly attempts to take all the credit for the positive outcome in Minnesota?" she asked of Brennan, Jr.

iMEGA's President took the high road. 

"Let's say that that press release proves that the PPA are very good handicappers - probably better than they give themselves credit for," Brennan Jr. joked.  "They at least guessed correctly about what the result was going to be even though the final result had yet to be determined."

Brennan, Jr. admitted that the Poker Players Alliance worked feverishly towards a positive outcome in this matter.

"You know what - the PPA worked really hard on the ground - writing letters, writing emails, making phone calls to the DPS (Department of Public Safety), working with State Senator Garofalo.  You know - I certainly don't want to believe that it wouldn't have had an affect - I want to believe that "government" is responsive to its citizens." 

At the same time, iMEGA's founder expressed concern over certain parties attempting to try and alienate groups like his own.

"I will say that I'm not sure why there are some people out there - and it's not the PPA that is doing this - where they've turned it into almost a kind of partisanship.  ‘I'm from my faction' - you know party of the law kind of thing and almost to the exclusion of what everybody else is doing.  I said all along - my first call after I found out about Minnesota was to John Pappas (PPA President) to let him know what was going on and also because the reporter who had called and told me about it asked for somebody on the ground that they could interview. 

"I said to myself, ‘You know what?  The best guys for that are probably the PPA because they have these state directors - state organizers.'  So I called John and, (the) poor guy - he's literally walking down the jet way to catch the Washington D.C. to New York City shuttle.  I gave him the information and said, ‘Look, this is something that's better for the PPA to do than it is for iMEGA.'  In addition to that, by midday those guys have a lot of people moving on this on the ground. 

"Yeah, I mean I hope it had an affect because I want to believe that government is the reflection of the roles of its citizens.  iMEGA had a lawsuit filed in district court against the director of  the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division - that's just to gain leverage - at the end of the day Minnesota rescinded the order to the ISPs.  You know - period, case closed; let's all go out and celebrate.  I certainly wanted to go out and celebrate."

iMEGA has also decided to let the PPA handle the latest US Government seizure of $30 million in online poker funds since both affected companies, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, are members of the Poker Players Alliance and presumably have little association with iMEGA.  Brennan, Jr. wants them to know his organization is available if needed.  Thus far, they haven't been called upon.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher  

 

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