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Showing posts with label Reid Poker Bill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reid Poker Bill. Show all posts

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reid Poker Bill With 15 Month Blackout All But Dead, Thank God

I mentioned earlier that the PPA has been limply caving to “blackout” periods in the legalization of online poker (a misnomer because online poker isn’t explicitly illegal in the first place).  These blackout periods would cause all the major online poker rooms to leave the US market for up to 15 months.  The Reid poker bill was the one garnishing the most recent attention and with the most possibility of actually happening but thankfully it did not happen: 

On Thursday morning, John Pappas told Poker News Daily that the bill introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) legalizing and regulating online poker is all but dead. A move to add the bill’s language to the tax relief act currently being debated in Congress failed to come to fruition.

Pappas told Poker News Daily that a highly charged debate over the tax measure was largely to blame: “When the tax package fell through and things became much more political for it – not related to our bill – it became clear that another controversial addition to the tax bill could sink it.” Reid’s bill would have opened the online poker market in the United States to current operators like Caesars Entertainment, which owns the rights to the annual World Series of Poker.

Reid struck a deal with Republicans on the contents of the tax relief act, which perhaps closed the door to other bills being added.

Now what? With the Republican Party taking control of the House of Representatives in 2011, pro-internet gambling allies like Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) may take a back seat. Frank, whose HR 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, garnered 70 co-sponsors and sailed through the House Financial Services Committee in July, will likely lose his post as Chairman. In his stead could be staunch internet gambling opponent Spencer Bachus (R-AL), whom the PPA graded an “F” in its Congressional Ratings Guide.

Looking ahead to 2011, Pappas told Poker News Daily, “The online poker bill that was floating around needs some improvement, so the PPA wants to go back to Senator Reid and talk about how we can improve on his current draft. There’s going to be a renewed focus in the Senate and we’ll be taking some of the legislation in a different direction so that’s it not focused on the Financial Service Committee, where we have a known opponent.”

Two years ago, Bachus, the current Ranking Member of the committee, erroneously quoted a study from McGill University linking internet gambling to suicide. The Alabama lawmaker asserted in a June 2008 hearing, “McGill University found that one-third – one-third – of college students who gambled on the internet ultimately attempted suicide. That is why the rate of suicide on our college campuses has doubled in the last ten years.” In fact, no such study had ever taken place.

On Wednesday night, ESPN.com published an article declaring Reid’s bill dead. Pappas told the Connecticut-based news outlet, “Sadly, some politicians remain with their heads firmly in the sand. The leadership of the Poker Players Alliance got the debate this far and we are determined to see this through.” The Hill reported that the ongoing lame duck session on Capitol Hill is scheduled to end on Friday, although reports during the week have surfaced that lawmakers may remain in Washington, DC until close to Christmas.

Last weekend, adding language legalizing and regulating online poker to a must-pass omnibus spending bill appeared to be a possibility according to Bloomberg, but Pappas explained that adding another earmark to would “make things more complicated.” The Senate approved the tax relief bill on Wednesday, with the House potentially set to follow suit this afternoon.

Pappas was scheduled to tape a segment about the online poker bill with Bloomberg. Pappas will speak on behalf of the 1.2 million member strong lobbying group that has become the main voice for poker players in the United States. Four years ago, the PPA stood at just 50,000 members.

Reid’s bill won’t officially be dead until the clock strikes Midnight on the 111th Congress. Pappas concluded with a silver lining: “We always knew we had a chance to pass legislation during the lame duck session, but it fell short. But, I think there’s significant momentum going forward. We’ve done a good job of convincing lawmakers that the status quo isn’t acceptable.”

Source: Poker News Daily

Friday, December 10, 2010

In General I Like the PPA but COME ON…

Yesterday the Poker Players Alliance www.theppa.org sent out an email talking about the chances that a poker licensing bill or “legalization” bill would pass during the lame duck session of congress.  One bill that is attracting a lot of attention on the www.twoplustwo.com forums is by Senator Reid (a known opponent of online gambling).  In it he includes a 15 month blackout period which means that all the major online poker rooms would be forbidden from servicing the United States for 15 months.  Yes, not a great deal if you depend on online poker for your income!

The PPA said this:

Let me assure you that we have heard and strongly considered the concerns a number of our online poker playing members have raised, specifically regarding the 15 month "blackout period" contained in the draft bills that have circulated in recent days.  The blackout period means that upon enactment of the proposed internet poker law there would be fifteen months where NO licensed Internet poker would be available to U.S. players.  In all likelihood, some of the web sites where you currently play would leave the market so they can go through the process of obtaining a U.S. license and then re-enter the market after the 15 month blackout period.  

Which I found pretty offensive.  After all, why does the PPA event exist if its job is just to pay lip service and then essentially let the chips fall where they may? 

I wrote them an email and it is my sincere hope that you write them one too… Here’s mine:

I received the most recent PPA update including Reid’s bill which would put a 15 month blackout on online poker in the United States.  From your email earlier today:

Frankly, the proposed blackout period is absurd and the PPA opposes it. And we have fought – and continue to fight – tooth and nail against it. But it is a reality. There will likely be a blackout period of some length included in any legislation that is passed, whether it is in this Congress or future Congresses. Our opponents have been throwing their weight around to get a lengthy blackout period included and, unfortunately, I fear they are winning.

That sure  sounds like an organization  that ISN’T really going to fight such a horrible and devastating clause especially for people currently involved with internet poker (especially AFFILIATES of advertisers of online cardrooms as well as those poker players who provide their sole income from internet poker).  For myself an affiliate AND a poker player a 100% blackout of the major sites like Full Tilt, PokerStars and UB.com would financially destroy me.

I hope the PPA does more than play LIP SERVICE to this and fight hard against blackout periods, etc. for internet poker sites.  Whatever goal the blackout period is attempting to achieve can probably be achieved through some other method so let’s get out there and put alternatives on the table.

Kelly Stanonik

http://www.lowlimitholdem.com

Licensing can happen without a blackout period and I have yet to hear one legitimate reason for a blackout period except to punish cardrooms that currently service the United States, even though we do not have a clear internet gambling law. That includes the UIGEA which doesn’t make it illegal for citizens to play and only passed because it was tagged to a critical bill.

My best advice is to join the Poker Players Alliance and then make your voice heard to them that you want legal licensed online poker here NOW without conditions or punishments.

www.theppa.org