Archive for UIGEA

Frank Visits WSOP, Discusses Legislation Drive

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2009 by mikewebb82

American political heavyweights are becoming familiar faces at the World Series of Poker. In 2008, former New York Senator and current PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato visited the WSOP with online poker supporter Rep. Robert Wexler.

The 2009 Series saw Rep. Shelley Berkley accompany D’Amato for his second annual trip to the Rio. But on July 5, poker’s staunchest supporter in Congress, Rep. Barney Frank, took time out of his busy schedule as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee to become more familiar with the WSOP with a first-hand perspective.

After being escorted to the Amazon Room at the Rio in Las Vegas just before noon by WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, Frank was introduced to the room full of poker players and fans. He spoke to the crowd with enthusiasm about current poker legislation and the importance of people getting involved by contacting their representatives in Congress to demand action on the issue of online poker. He then issued the “shuffle up and deal” command, toured the Rio Convention Center, and proceeded to hold a scheduled press conference early afternoon.

Frank was one of the many in the Congress appalled by the passage of the UIGEA in 2006 and almost immediately went to work on legislation to repeal the law. While his first attempt was unsuccessful due to the Republican-controlled Congress and promise of the Bush Administration to veto any such efforts, Frank continued to pursue change and introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection & Enforcement Act of 2009. In addition, he added a second piece of legislation to delay enforcement of the UIGEA until December 2010, and Rep. Jim McDermott followed up with a companion bill to add taxation to the legalization and regulation of internet gaming.

The current status of the bills is that they are awaiting committee hearings, which were recently pushed back to September due to financial regulatory priorities ordered to the top of the hearing schedule by the Obama Administration. Frank discussed the process and his own ideas with regard to the forward movement of the legislation at the July 5 press conference.

“I plan to move this bill,” he said. “As Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, I am now pretty vigilant to adopt a set of rules that will keep us from getting in trouble again… The committee could be done with that by September, so it is my intention this fall to bring up, in the committee, the bills I’m sponsoring, one to suspend the [UIGEA] regulations, the other to repeal the whole ban and substitute a sensible regulatory scheme. I think they’re going to pass.”

Frank did add that although he hopes to get both of his bills passed right away, he is aware of the potential obstacles and understands the need for priorities. If it looks as if the repeal effort will be delayed whatsoever, he will work on “getting the regulations suspended while we work on the other bill.”

During the waiting period for committee hearings, Frank hopes to obtain as many co-sponsors for the bill as necessary. With Ron Paul as the bill’s primary co-sponsor and the number of supporters growing consistently, one name was floated as to her support, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Frank responded that he hadn’t spoken to her about it as of yet, but noted, “I would be surprised if she wasn’t supportive.”

On another topic, a member of the press asked Frank about the recent seizure of online poker funds by the Southern District of New York’s assistant U.S. attorney. Specifically, in response to the notion that the Obama Administration ordered the actions, he responded, “I hope the Obama Administration and Justice Department wouldn’t be part of it. I’m pretty sure that’s the case… But the bottom line is that you can’t have the Justice Department order a subordinate to overlook things. I do intend to pursue with them clarification of what the policy is here.”

Frank’s visit to the World Series of Poker indicated, as does his movement on pro-gaming legislation, that his pursuit of change to the current law is serious and without reservation. 

His commitment to the passage of his bills to regulate online gaming in order to keep it safe and legal is a priority as a powerful member of Congress, and his advocacy on the issue will continue.

Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Unveils National Poker Week

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2009 by mikewebb82

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is planning a National Poker Week from July 19 to July 25. The PPA is the industry’s one million member

Poker Players Alliance

Poker Players Alliance

 strong lobbying force.

The PPA unveiled National Poker Week at a press conference on Monday inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino during the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP). The gala featured Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV), whose Internet Gambling Study Bill was introduced during the 110th Congress, but failed to be marked up by the House Judiciary Committee. Also present were PPA Chairman and former three-term Senator from New York Alfonse D’Amato, Poker News Daily Guest Columnist and Tournament Directors Association Co-Founder Linda Johnson, and 2004 WSOP Main Event Champion Greg Raymer.

After the press conference, Berkley issued the “Shuffle Up and Deal” command to start play in the Amazon Room.

“I thought it went very well. Shelley Berkley was magnificent with her command for the issue and stated why it’s important for poker players to get involved in a meaningful way. She explained that the poker community should rally around the initiatives that the PPA is putting forth in order to make sure that legislation like Barney Frank’s bill will get passed,” PPA Executive Director John Pappas said on Monday at press conference.

Frank has two measures in the US Congress. HR 2267 establishes a licensing and regulatory framework for the internet gambling industry in the United States. HR 2266 delays the regulations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) from being implemented for one year to December 1st, 2010.

The PPA will fly in of over 30 of its State Directors to Washington, D.C. as part of the National Poker Week. While in the nation’s capital, the State Directors will meet with their elected officials to pitch support for legislation like HR 2266 and HR 2267. In addition, the crew will deliver a petition to President Obama calling for exemption of poker from the UIGEA. Over 10,000 concerned players have signed the virtual poker petition, which will be delivered on July 22. It opens with a simple statement regarding the rights of poker players: “I am a voter and a fellow poker player asking for your support of my right to play games of skill like poker on the Internet.” In order to sign the petition, a person’s first name, last name, e-mail address, and mailing address are required. As I wrote this paragraph, 20 players have lent their names.

Professional poker players slated to be part of the event include Howard Lederer, Andy Bloch, Poker News Daily Guest Columnist Annie Duke, Jan Fisher, Linda Johnson, and 2008 November Nine member Dennis Phillips. On July 21, a charity poker tournament benefiting the United Service Organizations (USO) and the Malone House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center will take place. The PPA is fronting the costs for the event in order to ensure that all the money raised goes directly to beneficiary organizations. The prizes and buy-in for the tournament were not available at the time of writing.

A key element leading up to National Poker Week is the launch of MyPokerStory.com, which invites poker players from around the country to submit a video of why the game is important to them and why the US Government should legalize the Great American Pastime. All videos will be entered into a drawing for a two night Las Vegas package complete with airfare for two people. A total of 16 amateur videos are currently posted, including a clip from Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX). In addition, World Poker Tour Host Mike Sexton, “Cowboy” Kenna James, and Lederer have all submitted recordings. Interested WSOP spectators and players can produce their own videos at the PPA’s booth outside the Amazon Room.

Members of the press present at the 45 minute long event on Monday received a tutorial on the PPA’s new National Poker Week web tools. In addition, it was revealed that a variety of telephone and e-mail campaigns were being planned.

Poker Players Alliance Bares National Poker Week, Other Steps

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by mikewebb82

The Poker Players Alliance has unveiled several new initiatives as part of its build-up for this year’s National Poker Week, set for July 19-25,

Poker Players Alliance

Poker Players Alliance

2009. The new measures were unveiled at a press conference at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino on Monday. In addition to debuting several new online sites designed to increase poker players’ participation in the political process, the conference also announced plans for this year’s PPA “fly in” to Washington DC, where dozens of high-profile professionals and state PPA representatives are expected to lobby for the game.

The midday conference included participation by several major PPA figures, with PPA Executive Director John Pappas opening the meeting and returning to detail several new PPA programs. In between came brief but energetic speeches from PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato and US Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV), plus short appearances by PPA board members Linda Johnson and Greg Raymer.

D’Amato, who also took part in Monday’s Seniors Event at the 2009 World Series of Poker (his first-ever WSOP appearance), detailed some of the history of the legislative fight over online poker and Internet gaming in his talk. Berkley, who after her appearance gave the traditional “Shuffle Up and Deal!” command to the Seniors players, outlined the manner in which the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was shoved through Congress, attacking the act’s insertion into an unrelated “must pass” port-security measure as a blatant attempt by then-Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) to buttress his own presidential aspirations, which fell apart only weeks after UIGEA’s passage.

The majority of the conference, though, was spent looking forward, with the PPA’s Pappas outlining several new initiatives, including hinting at the near-future reintroduction of a “skill games” bill by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). This possible second go-round for the bill would provide an exemption for games of skill to be played over the Internet, specifically separating them from “house” forms of gambling. Games like poker, backgammon and mahjongg would be included in the proposal.

Progress on Congressman Barney Frank’s own ongoing legislative efforts to overturn the UIGEA was also detailed, with the possibility of a hearing by Frank’s Finance committee to be held during the late-July PPA fly-in.

The PPA also announced three separate participatory programs designed to increase poker’s awareness on the federal and state level, continuing the organization’s overriding theme of helping poker players to organize and help themselves. Each of the three programs contains a dedicated web site. The first, at nationalpokerweek.com, includes a summary of planned events surrounding the July Washington D.C. fly-in, and includes methods for players to contact their own elected officials on poker’s behalf.

The second site, at pokerpetition.com, includes an online petition designed to be delivered to President Obama during the National Poker Week. While the existence of the online petition was leaked a couple of days before Monday’s official unveiling, around 7,500 players quickly signed up in the first few hours of the petition’s formal existence, with hundreds of thousands of poker players expected to take part.

The third site, at mypokerstory.com, is an attempt by the PPA to humanize and modernize poker as an everyman’s form of entertainment, and dispense with decades old, false stereotypes of backroom gamblers and con artists. The mypokerstory.com includes a contest for PPA members as well, with each participant invited to share a story about how he got involved in poker and what the game means to him. The contest winner will receive a trip for two to Las Vegas, donated by Harrah’s. Participation can be done either online or at the PPA’s Rio Convention Center booth for the duration of the 2009 WSOP.