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- What is the Poker Players Alliance?
- Who supports the Poker Players Alliance?
- Why should I contribute to the Poker Players Alliance?
- What are the Poker Players Alliance’s current legislative goals?
- Is playing poker legal in the United States?
- How do I make my voice heard?
- How can I be more active in the fight to keep poker legal?
- Why does the Poker Players Alliance believe that poker is a game of skill?
- On which websites can I safely play online poker?
- I have not been paid back by “Full Tilt Poker”. What can I do?
- Why can I play “daily fantasy sports” for money in the U.S., but not online poker?
- Is the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act”, aka the Sheldon Adelson Bill, a real threat to America’s poker players?
- Who can I contact if I have general questions about PPA?
- How does PPA use my information?
- Who can I contact if I am concerned about problem gambling?
1. What is the Poker Players Alliance?
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is the leading non-profit membership organization representing American poker players with the goal of establishing a safe and secure place to play poker. Formed in 2005, PPA’s ranks have grown to over one million poker players and enthusiasts nationwide, enabling PPA to serve as the unified voice on behalf of Americans’ right to play poker in all its forms.
On Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country, PPA works with key lawmakers to raise awareness of the issues impacting the U.S. poker playing community and to promote sensible public policies that benefit and protect all American consumers, online and offline. As the recognized expert on the game of poker, PPA has established the definitive record on poker being a game of skill and has taken that argument directly to state and federal courts and legislatures.
PPA has four full-time staff members located in Washington D.C. and California and volunteer State Directors throughout the country. Each and every day, PPA and its team work toward the betterment of the poker community.
2. Who supports the Poker Players Alliance?
The Poker Players Alliance depends on contributions from poker enthusiasts to succeed and accomplish our mission. PPA also receives financial support from leading members of the gaming industry. Most importantly, the heart and soul of our organization are the millions of American poker enthusiasts who live, work and vote across the U.S. Our supporters share in our goal to establish favorable laws to provide players a secure, safe, and regulated place to play poker. Together, we can promote the game and keep this recreational activity free from undue government interference.
Click here to contribute to our efforts.
3. Why should I contribute to the Poker Players Alliance?
The government is threatening to take away our right to play poker online, at home, in bars and taverns, and even at charity events across the nation. On April 15, 2011, the Department of Justice cracked down on Internet poker, preventing millions of Americans from accessing well-known internationally regulated online poker websites. Even though players had NOT committed any sort of crime, the government even went as far as to seize players’ money. However, the poker community and PPA continued to fight against this government overreach and, as a result, a large percentage of those dollars have now been returned. To this day, our freedom to play online poker remains in jeopardy in 47 states.
PPA is committed to defending your rights as a poker player. On your behalf, we promote and protect poker through advocacy work in Washington, D.C., and throughout the nation. But we cannot do this alone. Please join with us to strengthen our voice and help educate our lawmakers, fight prohibitory legislation, and DEMAND the protections necessary to guarantee our freedom to enjoy poker at the tables and online.
We will continue organizing poker players and enthusiasts to impact public policy and convince legislators to protect the American tradition embodied in the game of poker. PPA is not only interested in raising money to support advocacy…we empower the poker community to communicate their views to elected officials.
Click here to contribute to our efforts.
4. What are the Poker Players Alliance’s current legislative goals?
PPA has a number of specific goals that we are working toward legislatively to better the poker community.
Our number one federal priority is the defeat of the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act” (RAWA) in the U.S. House and Senate. RAWA is a blanket prohibition that seeks to ban all forms of Internet gaming nationwide. It does nothing to protect consumers or poker enthusiasts and only exists to appease a billionaire casino mogul. The so-called “Sheldon Adelson Bill” is crony capitalism at its worst, driven by a billionaire who thinks the only way to protect his money is to outlaw competition.
We also support H.R. 2888, “The Internet Poker Freedom Act” on the federal level. The bill is sponsored by Representative Joe Barton of Texas and seeks to protect the rights of states to license and regulate Internet poker, while also providing a federal framework for interstate play.
On the state level, we are working diligently in many state capitals, but a few stand out above the rest. Pennsylvania, California , and New York have all held hearings in recent months on Internet poker, and we remain highly optimistic about the chances of passing positive legislation in the near term. In addition to our advocacy work surrounding proposed bills in these states, John Pappas, the executive director of PPA, has testified on behalf of the poker community in state hearings to ensure our voices are being heard directly.
If you have any questions about our goals or where issues stand in your state, please contact us directly at [email protected].
5. Is playing poker legal in the United States?
Generally, playing poker in a social setting in one’s home is legal in most, but not all, states. Some states permit playing social games of poker in taverns and bars, while very few states allow commercial poker games in these settings. Increasingly, however, government officials have undertaken “crackdowns” on the playing of poker in traditional settings, including at charity events.
The Internet poses separate issues. There is currently no federal law that prohibits anyone from playing poker online. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 does not change any federal gaming laws and does not make it illegal for people to play on the Internet. However, on April 15, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice upped the ante and shut down some of the leading global online poker providers. This has effectively cut off US poker players from these sites and seriously restricted the rights of Americans to play online poker.
(Note: some states, such as Washington, do have laws which have criminal penalties for online play).
On a much more positive note, three states, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, have created a licensed and regulated market for Internet poker. Anyone of legal age physically inside of those states’ geographic boundaries can play safe, regulated Internet poker from their computer or mobile device.
6. How do I make my voice heard?
First, please support the Poker Players Alliance. Our strength is in our numbers. Your contribution helps us continue our efforts to reach other poker players. Click here to learn more.
Second, our website provides specific tools that allow you to identify and contact your respective state and federal representatives as well as local news media. Your voice is important. Reaching out to your legislators will help ensure fair consideration of the issues in Washington, DC and in state capitals nationwide. It is important to let decision makers know that you enjoy playing poker and that you should have the right to play in the forum of your choice. Click here to learn more.
7. How can I be more active in the fight to keep poker legal?
PPA has volunteer State Directors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our State Directors have formed state committees to help with our collaborative grassroots efforts on local, state and national levels. If you want to be more active, please contact your State Director or click here to volunteer.
Please also join PPA VP of Player Relations Rich Muny in his daily plan of action to support poker rights. Sign up for the “Poker Daily Action Plan” (PDAP). Click here to learn more.
We also believe that “word of mouth” is the best way to introduce people to PPA. If you are a member of a social network, please add PPA:
8. Why does the Poker Players Alliance believe that poker is a game of skill?
Poker is a game of skill. This fact has been supported by many academics, legal scholars, opinion leaders, and the editors of daily newspapers who have devoted weekly columns to the game.
Poker involves mathematics, psychology, assessing competition, and money management. In fact, numerous authors and academics have drawn analogies between poker and other endeavors that involve strategic thinking.
A good litmus test in determining whether a game is predominantly a game of skill or a game of chance is to answer the question, “Who are the top players of this game in the world?” For poker, someone could easily name the top five or 10 poker players in the world. However, it would be difficult to name the top roulette players or bingo players because a skilled player and a non-skilled player have the exact same likelihood of winning those games.
The Poker Players Alliance has successfully argued that poker is a game of skill in several states. To view a recent amicus brief which outlines why poker is a game of skill, click here.
9. On which websites can I safely play online poker?
PPA strongly recommends only playing online poker on licensed and regulated sites. Currently, only three states, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey offer state-licensed, real money online poker.
Licensed sites in Nevada include “World Series of Poker”- WSOP.com
Licensed sites in New Jersey include WSOP.com, 888 poker, Borgata/PartyPoker and in the coming months PokerStars.com.
10. I have not been paid back by “Full Tilt Poker”. What can I do?
In the aftermath of “Black Friday” on April 11, 2011, millions of Internet poker players were unable to recover the money they had on account at Full Tilt Poker. In 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement with PokerStars (now owned by Amaya Gaming) in which PokerStars provided resources for a government remission fund to cover all of the money owed to the players by Full Tilt Poker.
In 2013, a claims administrator was hired by the DOJ to work with players to petition to receive the return of their funds. As of June 4, 2015, 87 percent of players who had submitted a petition had been paid back. The remaining 13 percent are players who have disputed the value of the account balance that the administrator deemed they were owed, or had errors in their financial and contact information.
While we have been in regular contact with the DOJ, PPA does not act as an intermediary with the DOJ or the claims administrator on a case-by-case basis. For more detailed information on how that process was set up and its progress or if you have a claim that has not been paid, please contact the claims administrator directly using the www.fulltiltpokerclaims.com website or by calling them directly at (866) 250-2640.
11. Why can I play “daily fantasy sports” for money in the U.S., but not online poker?
You can play real money Internet poker in the U.S. Currently three states, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey offer real money, licensed Internet poker. The rise of daily fantasy sports has led to its legality being called into question and is something that should be monitored closely. Daily fantasy sports operators claim that they are allowed to offer real money games due to the “fantasy and skill exemption” in the UIGEA of 2006. Poker was not granted such an exemption and therefore needs to be specifically authorized and licensed by a state or federal government, despite the fact that poker is a game of skill. Daily fantasy sports laws, like poker laws, vary greatly depending on what state you reside in. For example, daily fantasy sports is expressly illegal in Arizona.
12. Is the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act”, aka the Sheldon Adelson Bill, a real threat to America’s poker players?
YES! If passed, RAWA would establish a prohibition of Internet poker nationwide, including in the three states that already offer licensed real money play. Sheldon Adelson is perhaps the nation’s largest individual political donor and yields a lot of clout in Washington, DC, and in state capitals. Sheldon Adelson has vowed to spend whatever it takes to get RAWA passed and he has proven to be a man of his word, spending millions of dollars in 2014-2015 alone. During the 2014 “lame duck” session of Congress there was a very real and very strong attempt to attach RAWA to a must-pass bill that would have explicitly made playing poker online illegal. Given the power of our opposition, poker players need to remain vigilant. Please sign up for PPA’s Weekly Update for information and make sure to contact Congress in opposition to RAWA.
13. Who can I contact if I have general questions about PPA?
14. How does PPA use my information?
We request only your full name, postal address, daytime phone number, and email address.
Your personal information is used for the purposes of:
* Ensuring the delivery of the PPA newsletter
* Informing you of legislative actions
* Internal administration
Your information is shared only with a third party, VoterVoice, to facilitate your ability to communicate with members of Congress.
15. Who can I contact if I am concerned about problem gambling?
Problem gambling is an illness that strikes people from all walks of life, but it can be treated. If you think you may have a gambling problem, or know of someone who does, please contact the Problem Gamblers Helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide information on available treatment and support groups in your area for both the gambler and those affected by the gambler’s problem. All calls are completely confidential.