re: Poker & Know your Enemies - Pro UIGEA letter
Originally Posted by hawtshawt420
I know this sounds super pessimistic but is anyone else getting jaded toward PPA stuff. I follow on twitter and facebook and their updates are always "we're making progress but still need to do more" I get the not out of the woods pov but I've never heard any of this "progress" theyve actually done. All I've seen is them getting email links and saying to email them. No actual progress updates (proposed laws, supporters in congress, state congresses, nothing) I believe that they are flooding the inboxes of the elected officials (at least their employees) but is there anything specific that has actually been done or in the process of being done? It's just always the same message that seems to say "No really guys we're trying"
let it be known that I don't search for updates multiple times a day constantly or read a lot of what they put out once it gets that "we're getting so close but we basically haven't accomplished anything" tone.
That's a fair question and I am happy to address it with my first post here on Cardschat.
First off, PPA isn't a "they"...it's our shared fight for our rights. We have had a number of successes.
PPA has had success in:
- Creating an organization in DC where none formerly existed. We saw the result of that in Congress a few months ago, when Attorney General Eric Holder was grilled by a few congressmen about Black Friday at a hearing on an unrelated matter. We see it every day, in fact, as only anti-poker legislation was introduced to Congress from 1995-2006, while only pro-poker legislation has been introduced since.
- Raising the public image and perception of poker as an honorable game, not a degenerate vice.
- Defensively fighting federal legislative action that sought to harm further the interests of poker players.
- Defending against the implementation of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) regulations, successfully delaying for six months implementation of those regulations.
- Giving a voice to poker players in states where poker activity has attracted law enforcement or other negative notice.
- Jumpstarting state action. PPA’s actions at the federal level have woken up some states that are now concerned that Congress will authorize online poker before these states can.
- Meeting with the DoJ to share with them our belief that the Wire Act ought not be interpreted as including poker. This included presentation of a white paper outlining our position.
Consider where we poker players started. UIGEA passed the House in 2006 by a vote of 317-93 and it was a free standing bill at that time (it was HR 4411). Politicians openly and proudly opposed us, and they only do that when they think there is ZERO downside to doing so.
For a reminder of the dark days before we poker players organized for the fight back, please take a look at the UIGEA House Testimony from July 11, 2006 and observe how lawmakers were tripping over one another to condemn online poker (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/57/poker-legislation/uigea-house-testimony-july-11-2006-a-1048432/).
Anti-online poker folks built a loose coalition against us prior to UIGEA’s passage. The GOP even put a plank in its platform advocating a ban on online gaming. Additionally, when UIGEA passed, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) promised to introduce new legislation to finish what UIGEA started.
With this starting point, it was not reasonable to think poker players could turn this around overnight. PPA certainly never promised to. Rather, PPA started a process by which we could build support for our position. Initiating this fight, even as underdogs, was the maximum EV option of the choices available to us.
So, what has happened since? Well, Congress had certainly heard from America’s poker players. We are on offense in Congress, which is our best defense. Again, no bills have been proposed against us since 2006, after years of anti-poker bills.
PPA organized letter-writing and phone call campaigns while lobbying federal agencies and Congress. PPA also set up and organized testimony at Congressional hearings that went very well for us. Poker players wrote and called Congress by the hundreds of thousands. With these efforts, PPA stopped — and reversed — the momentum of the anti-poker forces. I believe we are fortunate to have someone as savvy on the Hill as Executive Director John Pappas at the helm, as navigating that arena is a skill all its own.
At the state level, the PPA twice stopped Massachusetts
from criminalizing playing of online poker. PPA also fought the Kentucky governor’s efforts to seize online poker domain names, holding that back for years. That effort included recruiting the ACLU and EFF to aid the fight, including a joint press conference to condemn the governor’s attack on the game. PPA worked with state and national media very effectively to communicate the players’ position in the Kentucky fight. We also led the effort against a MN effort to mandate ISP-blocking of online poker sites
PPA got very involved in elections as well. Players helped push UIGEA sponsor Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA) from office – a fact he readily admits (http://www.stltoday.com/sports/article_8367ebeb-729c-507c-b6ed-733f57565a51.html). PPA also contributed greatly to anti-poker CO Senate candidate Ken Buck’s loss to Michael Bennet.
On the media front, coverage of poker issues was often negative prior to passage of UIGEA. Thanks to the efforts of PPA, we now get our opinion mentioned in almost every mainstream article on the topic.
In fact, the DoJ's recent statement on its opinion on the scope of the Wire Act applying to sports betting only came about largely from PPA meeting with DoJ and presenting them with a white paper detailing why poker ought not be considered to fall under the Wire Act and the poker community doing its part to let lawmakers know that poker enjoys strong public support.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of inertia in DC. Some politicians still think the anti-gaming types enjoy the support they did twenty years ago. We are chipping away at this every single day.
PPA continues to keep pressure on Capitol Hill. Conservative Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas
is sponsoring HR 2366, the Online Poker Act. This bipartisanship will help the bill’s prospects greatly, as we saw in the four hearings already held on the bill.
Hope that helps.