Weekly Update from Rich Muny, VP of Player Relations
On Wednesday, the House Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee held the hearing on HR 707, the bill to shut down state-authorized poker websites, that I have been discussing with you over the past few weeks. If you missed the live stream, I encourage you to take a moment to watch:
It was a fascinating day for poker. It started with the three technical briefings organized by PPA — one for media, one for governors and staffers, and one for Hill lawmakers and staffers — that I mentioned last week. These briefings, featuring Caesars Interactive, IDology, and GeoComply, demonstrated exactly how online poker technology ensures that players are physically located in an authorized jurisdiction, are of age, and are who they say they are. I hope you will also take a moment to check out this important briefing:
The Congressional hearing, which started a couple of hours after our final technical briefing, was shorter on data and objective evidence and, almost needless to say, far longer on rhetoric and unsubstantiated claims. For instance, HR 707 sponsor Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) dismissed real world data and experience in three states with “do you really believe a 16-year-old” could not gain access to a licensed US site. He had no data, or any evidence of any kind. Just rhetoric.
The invited witnesses were Parry Aftab, Executive Director, Wired Safety; Les Bernal, National Director, Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation; Mr. Michael Fagan, Adjunct Professor of Law, Washington University School of Law; John Kindt, Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, University of Illinois School of Law; and Andrew Moylan, Executive Director and Senior Fellow, R Street. Aftab is supportive of licensing and regulation from an Internet safety viewpoint, while Moylan is supportive from a federalism / limited government point of view. Bernal, Fagan, and Kindt oppose all commercial and state-sponsored gaming, online and otherwise.
Interesting, having three anti-gaming activist witnesses may have proved a bridge too far. As they seemed to be “peas in a pod,” so to speak, continually articulating opposition to all gaming, lawmakers there may have lumped them together as a single witness or at least a single interest. This was clear in the questioning, where these three were called upon less as the hearing progressed.
I think the hearing turned out to be good for poker. Considering the stacked deck of a witness list and the institutional support for Sheldon Adelson, walking away with what many observers saw as a solid win for poker was a terrific outcome. Our advocacy as a community made a huge difference here, from the addition of Andrew Moylan to the witness list to the changing attitudes of the subcommittee members toward our issue. Thanks everyone for taking action for poker!
I invite you to check out all of this and more at PPA HR 707 Hearing Central.
Needless to say, we won the battle, but the war continues. “[This] hearing was about one thing – checking the box to advance Mr. Adelson’s bill,” said John Pappas, PPA executive director. Adelson has his check, so we all must continue our fight.
Let’s reach out to lawmakers, via prefilled, editable tweets, who attended the HR 707 hearing. You can send these in less then 60 seconds.
► House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte [R-VA]:
► House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers [D-MI]:
► Rep. Jason Chaffetz [R-UT]:
► Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee [D-TX]:
► Rep. Cedric Richmond [D-LA]:
► Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX):
House Minority Leader Harry Reid Announces Retirement
We learned this morning that House Minority Leader Harry Reid will not seek reelection. Sen. Reid supports Adelson online betting ban legislation, but would prefer it to include a poker carveout.
Webcast: Poker Advocacy with Rich Muny
On this week’s Poker Advocacy with Rich Muny webcast, I was joined live by poker pro Ari Engel for a chat on how to get more poker pros involved in the fight for our game. Following my chat with Ari, I was joined by poker activist Lori Davenport and Poker.org’s Chris Icon for a panel chat on the involvement of poker pros and Sheldon Adelson’s ongoing efforts to ban online poker. You won’t want to miss this.
Poker Advocacy with Rich Muny airs live Mondays at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on OnTilt Radio. Each show features great guests and the best discussion on poker legislation. Please be sure to tune in every Monday evening at www.ontiltradio.com.
For the most up-to-date news, follow us at:
Thank you for your continued support!
Proud to play,
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.