Weekly Update from Rich Muny, VP of Player Relations
Today marks the second anniversary of Black Friday, the day the major U.S.-facing poker sites were shut down. Here are some terrific thoughts on this from PPA Executive Director John Pappas:
The Fight Since Black Friday
By John Pappas
For most, an anniversary means an opportunity to look back on a cherished memory. For the poker community, the anniversary Black Friday is no celebration. Rather, it is a time for reflection and a reason to strengthen our resolve even further.
April 15, 2011 was truly a dark day for Internet poker that reverberated throughout the entire poker world. But, over the succeeding two years, the poker community has been taking back what was snatched away. Just like in poker, success in politics is a skilled art form. By no means has PPA and the poker community done it alone but, in the past year, we have seen three states — NV, DE and NJ — authorize Internet poker. Dozens more have introduced legislation to restore our right to play!
The most significant victory has been in New Jersey, where Republican Governor Chris Christie signed a law that authorizes Internet poker and Internet casino gaming, laying the groundwork for Atlantic City to become a poker mecca. Poker players and enthusiasts took a very active role in getting the bill passed and in persuading the governor to make it law. From personal meetings with the governor’s staff to a bombardment of social networking posts to thousands of calls and emails, poker players and enthusiasts made their voice heard and made signing the bill a very simple choice.
This victory is emblematic of the impact we have had as a community by simply making the effort to let lawmakers know how we feel. I encourage you to take part in the Daily Action Plan (here or here) that Rich Muny puts together. It is simple, fast, and lets you take control of the message to license and regulate poker. Will you take action today?
PPA continues to remain active in New Jersey. Rules and regulations will be released soon and we need to ensure they meet the standards that players expect. We also support the effort by PokerStars to purchase the Atlantic Club casino and invest tens of millions into improving the property. NJ poker players agree this is a worthwhile investment, with 96% supporting the purchase (click here).
New Jersey has proven to be a tipping point for many other states. Now states like Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania are proposing their own laws for Internet poker and Internet casino gaming. California is also in pursuit, with momentum building among leading Indian tribes in that state. And let’s not forget where the fight started in Washington DC and Congress. Longtime poker champion Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) intends to push online poker legislation again this year and is already working to earn the support of powerful allies in Congress. To use a poker phrase, there is a Full House of activity on the legislative front, and PPA is there each step of the way to advocate on your behalf.
Even with the progress that is being made in legislatures, the lingering issue of Full Tilt Poker accounts remains a major concern for the PPA. Thankfully, through the PokerStars-negotiated settlement with the US Government, the company provided funds so the US Department of Justice has the ability to refund the players fully. Even with the recent announcement that a third-party payment administrator has been hired, no one is pleased with the slow progress to reimburse players. We have continued to speak with the DoJ and have provided them with detailed information on the best way to move forward with player refunds. We will continue to monitor their progress, ask for expedited action, and keep affected players fully informed (click here).
While the anniversary of Black Friday is, again, no cause for celebration, I do celebrate the fact that poker players have become so active in the past two years. Each day that we stand up for ourselves and for our game, we become a stronger political force. PPA appreciates that so many of you have made advocating for your rights a priority. I encourage all of you to join with us, so together we can bring Internet poker back to the United States and expand live poker opportunities for players in every state!
I echo John’s comments here, to say the least. To succeed, we all need to do our part to advocate for the game. Will you do your part and ensure your lawmakers hear from you? And, if you have not yet done so, will you be sure to join PPA as a paying member for 2013 for just $15? It is important that we all have skin in the game, so to speak. To join, please click here or the button below.
Many groups are lobbying for poker. Only PPA is lobbying for poker players.
The Black Friday Second Anniversary Webcast
This Monday evening at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT, please be sure to tune into Poker Advocacy with Rich Muny, my live weekly webcast on OnTilt Radio. PPA Texas State Director Matt Allen and Texas player and activist Jason Velasco will stop by to tell us about testifying at that state’s Senate committee hearing. This will be followed by another all-star panel discussion, featuring poker journalist Marco Valerio, Chris Grove of Online Poker Report, and PPA Litigation Support Director & Board Member Patrick Fleming! You won’t want to miss this.
Tune in live and/or download the podcast for later listening at www.pokeradvocacy.org.
Fifth Street Radio Webcast
On Friday evening, Fifth Street Radio’s Mark Hoke and I had a great discussion regarding the second anniversary of Black Friday. I encourage you to listen to the show here (our segment starts at time point 1:44:01 of Part 1).
Fifth Street Radio’s J.J. Corrado and Mark Hoke (and me in the middle)
The Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce held a hearing last Wednesday to discuss licensing bricks-and-mortar casinos. This would create new opportunities for all of us – state residents and non-residents alike — to play poker in the Lone Star State! PPA Texas State Director Matt Allen and Texas player and activist Jason Velasco testified on behalf of the Texas poker community at this important hearing
Here is Matt addressing the committee (click here or below):
And here is Jason (click here or below):
To view the entire committee hearing, simply click here. Matt and Jason come on at time point 1:40:01. (This requires Real Player. If you do not have it installed, it is available for free downloading at www.real.com/realplayer.)
- The Poker Advocacy with Rich Muny webcast on OnTilt Radio airs live each Monday at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Listen live here.
- Webcast: “PPA Weekly Update” airs live each Sunday at 6:45 pm ET/3:45 pm PT on Fifth Street Radio. Listen live here.
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Thank you for your continued support!
The PPA wishes to keep active members like yourself updated on the latest poker advocacy news by periodically sending out select events and headlines. We hope you find it informative and thank you for your continuing support.