The Poker Players Alliance is a large and growing organization built for and by the poker playing community. With more than 1 million members nationwide and growing, the PPA mission is to favorably impact poker legislation in America. While most poker players easily recognize the PPA as a national group with the goal of “legalizing online poker,” only a small percentage know that the PPA is working in your state right now. The PPA is in fact a huge group with a daunting task, and you would be surprised to find out just how the small full-time staff gets anything done. Volunteers like me, that’s how.
The PPA is a true “grassroots” organization with a volunteer board, volunteer state directors, volunteer area representatives and lots of local volunteers just like you. As we draw closer every legislative year to some sort of federal regulation of online poker, the PPA knows the fight will shift to the state capitols and
Our opponents at the federal level and the Department of Justice have done a good job polluting the debate with falsehoods, lies and misdirection. After a couple of events, we quickly determined that local representatives and patch-wearing members need a set of basic talking points beyond press releases. Below you will find my talking points developed over the last 52 weekends at regional poker events wearing a PPA patch.
What are the PPA benefits?
The PPA website at www.theppa.org/join/KY has tons of information. However, being a premium member has significantly more advantages.
Free memberships receive action alerts, Daniel Negreanu’s newsletter, tools to write your local politicians, and access to the PPA forums.
Premium Memberships receive PPA membership swag such as a chip protector, decals, hat or T-shirt, The PPA Litigation Network and Legal Support Team if you need legal advice, Ability to contribute to the Poker PAC (Political Action Committee)
Discounts on PPA Gear and accessories, $50 off on Card Player Cruises, $300 off on the WSOP Academy, Many invitations to PPA-endorsed events and benefits for charity
Isn’t the PPA just about Internet poker?
No. While the PPA formed as a result of UIGEA, its leadership quickly realized the battle for poker rights is fought everywhere, every day. From the living room to the White House, the PPA has pledged to fight for our right to play poker. The PPA in 2010 was involved directly, either in court or the legislature, in at least six states.
I don’t put money online, why should I care about UIGEA?
You should care about the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) because it was a ‘Midnight Rider’ attached to a ‘Must Pass’ bill at the last second without proper debate, discussion or thought into its affect on the banking industry. Unintended results of the regulations has hurt the horse racing, credit card and banking industries by adding more levels of bureaucracy, increased cost of business and reduced ability to freely transfer money. There are volumes of documented instances where checks, deposits and credit card transactions between legitimate and legal business activities have been blocked. The UIGEA made the banks be the police, and they cannot be sued for enforcing this law.
Once we get online poker legalized, the PPA will disappear, right?
No, the PPA will not go away as long as there are issues to be lobbied, legislated, litigated or discussed. Even when online poker is regulated, there will almost certainly counter actions from the opposition. The PPA signed up for the long haul.
The PPA does not care about state stuff, do they?
Of course the PPA cares about the states. The entire federal battle is in essence a “state’s rights” issue. Every piece of federal legislation that has gone anywhere has included an “Opt In/Opt Out” clause that will give each state the choice to participate. These will be decisive battles held in local town halls across the country — the PPA will need you, me and whoever else we can find to show up and support the cause.
My state is going to start its own poker site. Why should I care about “International Player Pools”?
When New Hampshire passed the first lottery law in America years ago, they thought they had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, they quickly realized that as neighboring states started their own lotteries, the prize pool began to shrink. Eventually and slowly, the individual states banded together to form the Powerball system of combined player pools in order to offer that $300 million jackpot. The horse racing industry works much the same way. Without a very large player base to generate large prize pools, small states will have a difficult time earning enough revenue to make Internet poker profitable.
What do I get for being a state PPA member?
Well, every state director has developed their own statewide membership campaign. In Kentucky, we have sponsored a local radio show, the State Poker Championships and travel statewide to meet players on the felt. You get to bend our ear and tell us face to face what the real poker-playing population wants.
As an organization, the PPA has proven to be extremely flexible, responsible and surprisingly upfront on a number of issues. The PPA is surprisingly up to speed on more issues and politically astute than I ever imagined.
Robert Chapman is the Deputy State Director for the PPA in Kentucky, co-hosts the “Poker Night Radio Show” on WXBH-92.7 FM and writes for Poker in Kentucky at pokerky.net