Wednesday, February 11, 2009

PPA Members Scoring Victories Across the Country!

Only six weeks into the New Year and your Poker Players Alliance (PPA) already has an unparalleled record of success in Washington D.C. and throughout the country. For these successes to continue, we need you to renew your membership TODAY! Right now is a great time to renew your 2009 Premium membership or to become first-time dues paying member of America’s number one grassroots advocacy group:

Join or renew your membership by clicking here

Already a 2009 Premium Member? Click here to donate to the fight.

PPA has been very active on Capitol Hill. We are in discussions with leading House and Senate lawmakers about reintroduction of pro-Internet poker legislation similar to that introduced in the previous Congress. We have also been extremely busy meeting with the flock of "Freshman" members of Congress to educate them about your issues. As you know, we have a new president and a new Congress, and poker players have a new opportunity to make their voices heard.


Here are some of poker’s 2009 successes at the state level:

1) Kentucky – On January 20th, the Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed a lower court [click here to read] order authorizing the Commonwealth to seize 141 Internet gambling domain names – including the most popular online poker sites you play on today – with the effect of turning these sites dark worldwide. The PPA and its legal team were deeply involved in the appeal. We recruited support from a coalition of pro-Internet freedom organizations to join in our fight at the appellate court. While we won this round, the Commonwealth seems intent on prolonging their inevitable defeat and has appealed our victory to the Kentucky Supreme Court. With your continued support, the PPA can continue to wage this legal battle. Go here to get the latest information.

2) Pennsylvania – On January 14, Judge Thomas James in Columbia County, PA dismissed illegal gambling charges against a man and his girlfriend who were organizing Texas Hold’em tournaments. The Judge James issued a strong opinion [click here to read] that poker is a "game of skill," and therefore not illegal gambling, to back up his dismissal. This legal victory will not go unchallenged, though. Just last week the PA Commonwealth filed notice to appeal the decision. The PPA has quickly leapt into action to provide assistance to the defendants in the appeal. We have assembled a top-notch team through our existing Litigation Support Network, which will argue before the appeals court that poker is indeed a game of skill.

3) Colorado – On January 23, a jury found a PPA member who was charged with illegal gambling for organizing a poker league "not guilty." [click here to read] The PPA, again through its Litigation Support Network, provided legal guidance and supplied expert witness testimony for the trial. The jury’s not guilty verdict was due in large part by our witnesses’ testimony arguing that skill predominates over chance in poker. This legal win will serve as a road map to other successful poker arguments before juries and judges in the future.

4) Virginia – On January 2, the full Senate Courts of Justice Committee considered S999 [click here to read] a bill which would have reclassified gambling in the state to an activity with "any element of chance" rendering participation in these activities for consideration illegal. If passed this would have amounted to one of the broadest definition of gambling in the nation, not only sweeping in poker, but even games like chess and bridge and even golf or NASCAR racing. Fortunately, the PPA acted quickly. Our Virginia members flooded local lawmakers with calls and e-mails and thanks to our VA State Director Jeff Gregson who took to the halls of the Senate and lobbied for a NO vote on the bill. The combination of a coordinated effort between our State Director, members on the ground and our national headquarters was extremely effective. The state Senate Courts of Justice Committee unanimously voted to essentially kill the bill.

5) Massachusetts – On Feb 2, the PPA learned that bill HR 3954 was introduced [click here to read] in the Massachusetts State Assembly that authorizes casinos in the state but at the same time makes playing poker on the Internet a crime, punishable by two years in prison and a $25,000.00 fine. The PPA wasted no time; within 12 hours the PPA sent a blast e-mail to our MA membership to urge them to call the lead sponsors of the bill. No more than 5 hours after our email was sent, the state Reps who authored the legislation committed to remove the provision. They also personally apologized to our PPA members who expressed their concerns with how the bill was drafted. This episode underscores the effectiveness of writing and calling your lawmakers. The casino issue in MA is likely to reemerge and you can rest assured that your PPA will be ready to fight with you to ensure that your poker rights are protected.

resized Ron Paul pic
Victor Ramdin, Andy Bloch, Rep. Ron Paul, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and me