(PRESS RELEASE) -- The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, today condemns legislation introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) that seeks to amend the Wire Act of 1961 expanding it to ban Internet poker and select forms of Internet gambling.
“These bills trample on the rights of states, but of greater concern is the fact that they will deny consumers of any meaningful protections that can only be achieved through responsible state or federal regulation. Today, three states are safely and effectively regulating Internet poker. This misguided attempt at prohibition will turn back the clock in those states and destroy the opportunity for others to gain the economic and societal benefits of offering its citizens a safe and regulated place to play online,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. “We hope Senator Graham and Congressman Chaffetz and the other supporters of these bills will sideline any political motivations and choose to support what’s in the best interest of American consumers by reconsidering these bills.”
In 2011 the U.S. Department of Justice, after careful review of relevant case law and legislative history, found that the Wire Act bans only online sports betting. The legislation introduced today would overturn this ruling and grossly expand the scope and intent of the 1961 law. It would also shutter the regulated online gaming markets established in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware which currently provide hundreds of thousands of online players with effective consumer protections.
PPA members have sent tens of thousands of letters, emails and tweets to their elected members of Congress urging them to support legislation to facilitate licensing and regulation of Internet poker in participating states and to oppose legislation that would expand the Wire Act and strip states of their rights to authorize online poker sites.
“For years, the PPA has fought to provide players with a safe and regulated environment to play poker online across the nation. These bills amount to a prohibition, plain and simple, and they deny the realities of today’s online world. If enacted, they would only serve to expand an unregulated market that protects no one. Instead, Congress should focus on corralling the unregulated marketplace and turning it into a system that is safe for consumers and accountable to regulators and our government,” said Pappas. “Online poker licensing and regulation is the only way to ensure consumers are protected with clear laws and strong enforcements, and poker players deserve this right.”
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