How Successful Was Poker Players Alliance DC Meetup?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Poker Players Alliance Poker Week

The Poker Players Alliance organized a "meet up" in Washington, D.C. as part of its "National Poker Week". The group said it set up nearly 100 meetings with members of Congress and their aides, and planed to present a petition to President Barack Obama on Wednesday that had more than 350,000 signatures at last count. Famous poker players such as Annie Duke, Howard Lederer, Andy Bloch and Greg Raymer are participating as well.

While Lederer hasn't made much mention of the "meet up" on his Twitter page, Annie Duke has.  She's been involved in a few meetings with Congressmen and women throughout the week.  At press time it was not immediately known whether the petition had been presented to President Obama.

"I had two meetings with allies," Duke told Poker News Daily on Wednesday.  "Those are, "Thank you. We really appreciate your support." I had two other meetings, one with Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and one with Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who has traditionally been very anti-gambling because Vermont really doesn't want casinos. It was a lot of explaining the differences between casino gambling and internet gambling and talking about some of the judiciary committees. The meeting wasn't with him; it was with one of his aides, but the aides are very powerful.

"It's definitely different than a year and a half ago. Then, it was a lot of education and telling people what the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is. Now, I think people are much more familiar with the legislation's problems. They realize that it's a piece of legislation that doesn't work. It's fortuitous timing with the health care reform because you get to talk about how it's going to get paid for. When you point out that internet gambling can bring in a conservative estimate of $3 billion per year, they listen."

2004 World Series of Poker champion, Greg Raymer, was also mighty active, chatting online Wednesday with the Washington Post.

"I am here in Washington talking to our members of Congress about changing the laws so as to protect instead of attempting to criminalize poker," he told the Post. "So far I have personally met with nine members or their staff, and all seem to have gone quite well. We are very hopeful that we will get a resolution to these issues in the relatively near term."

When asked if he could foresee any timetable for the repeal of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, Raymer said:  "Predicting this stuff is always tough, as politicians are difficult animals to deal with. Animal trainers have it much easier. But be sure that the Poker Players Alliance, its 51 State Directors, and its 1.2 million members are all working hard to make this happen. We are also working with many Members of Congress to get other legislation passed, bills that will specifically set up a scheme to license, regulate, and tax online poker. Visit theppa.org to learn more."

All in all it appears the PPA made some progress this week while in Washington.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher    


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