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FairPlayUSA Incorporates Poker Players, Law Enforcement, Tom Ridge and MGM Funding

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jul/27/2011
FairPlayUSA Online Poker

What an awesome concept:  Get together poker players, law enforcement officials and initial funding from Caesars and MGM.  Have the First Secretary of Homeland Security, Republican Tom Ridge, on your board of advisors.  It’s FairPlayUSA, the newest grassroots organization to whose goal it is to "educate policymakers and the public on the need to regulate online poker".

FairPlayUSA also has among its board of advisors poker pro Greg “Fossilman” Raymer and Child and Consumer Safety Expert Parry Aftab.

But before you get too excited, FairPlayUSA is not exactly an independent organization like say The Poker Players Alliance or iMEGA.org.  FairPlayUSA acts as a mechanism for MGM to boost support for legalized Internet poker.  And not everybody in the online poker community seems willing to embrace MGM.

FairPlayUSA appeared suddenly on the Two Plus Two message boards on Tuesday touting their agenda.  They were quickly called out for painting themselves as a non-profit organization.   This is the same Two Plus Two gang that has ripped into the PPA in recent months for what was perceived to be an all too comfy relationship with recently indicted PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.

Still, FairPlayUSA’s entry into the “Legalize Online Poker in the USA” arena probably can’t hurt, regardless of what entities might be backing it.  Who know Tom Ridge felt Internet poker should be legalized?  The Homeland Security Department he oversaw on Day 1 of its implementation is now being used to start phone payment processing centers in the USA as a means to seize funds of Web gambling operators. 

One astute reader of the Two Plus Two forum had this to offer:

“I'm particularly upset by the fact that greg Raymer said in post #2 that he had done "due diligence" on FairPlay USA, which turns out to have been a simple astroturf effort paid for by Caesar's and MGM.

“Caesar's and MGM have a long history of being hostile to player interests with regard to online poker. Raymer should know that, and, if he had actually done due diligence, would have been able to determine that Caesar's and MGM are behind FairPlay USA.

“So I can't help but think Greg Raymer sold us out to a certain extent just to get a consulting fee or whatever from FairPlay USA and/or Caesars/MGM.”

The poster also noted the following related to the consultancy group purported to be behind FairPlayUSA: 

“Frankly, there is no reason to read this thread at this point. Marisa McNee of Middle Coast LLC is a media consultant hired by Caesar's and MGM to create a fictional "coalition," to dupe people into supporting Caesar's and MGM's corporate interests under the guise of "protecting children" and having "safe" internet gambling, and she refuses to admit it.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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