PPA Fights Back Against Federal Online Poker Ban Bill

January 25, 2014

Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson has been working hard to encourage a federal ban on online poker. He has the support of three state attorney generals as well as 10 signatures backing his anti-online poker campaign. But the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is also making an aggressive attempt to prevent Adelson’s letter from gaining more support.

Executive director for PPA John Pappas, says, “We’re working overtime to make sure the letters don’t gain momentum among state AGs, We understand 10 have signed already, and we’re hoping we can change their minds as well. It’s an odd thing for a state AG to support. Essentially, it’s asking Congress to do a federal power grab on states, telling them what they can and cannot authorize. Either AGs are being misled or they don’t care what the message is, they’re just going to go along with this because they’re being asked by Sheldon Adelson.”

Missouri AG Chris Koster, South Carolina AG Alan Wilson, and Nebraska AG Jon Bruning are the three main supporters of Adelson’s letter. Other signers include Hawaii’s David Louie, Arizona’s Tom Home, Michigan’s Bill Schuette, Montana’s Tim Fox, South Dakota’s Marty Jackley, North Dakota’s Wayne Stenehjem, and Wyoming’s Peter Michael.

One point made by Pappas is that these states with signatures are not the most populous states in the country, aside from Michigan, though he wants to ensure this situation doesn’t mimic the UIGEA where almost all states’ AGs gave support on the ban.

Also according to Pappas, around 10,000 letters and 10,000 tweets have been sent via email and Twitter through the PPA website to state AGs from players. Additional tweets and letters have also been sent outside of the PPA website, and more people are sending letters, as the PPA site offers a pre-written email that concerned players can use to contact their state AG, and it only takes less than 60 seconds to do so.

This being the very beginnings of Adelson’s campaign, it’s an important time frame to halt the Internet Gambling Control Act efforts before it gain too much momentum. The Internet Gambling Control Act is an amendment to the Wire Act that would federally apply to Internet poker and casino gambling, but the drafted bill has yet to gain sponsorship in the US Congress.

Pappas explains, “We want them to earn every inch they try to get in this fight. We don’t want them to push any effort that goes unchallenged. Since this is the launch of their campaign, we want to make sure it comes hard fought.”

Pappas believes the state AGs who have offered their signatures can be coerced to change their minds. He says, “An AG is not a lawmaker. I think the decision about gaming policy will be left to legislators and governors, and enforcement of those laws left to the AG. Certainly AGs can have opinions on it, but lawmakers and governors will set the policy.”


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