PPA Chairman Alfonse D'Amato speaks at federal hearing
25 October 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, today testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade on the importance of licensing and regulating online poker to protect American consumers.
“With so many issues before Congress, we are encouraged that ensuring player protections for online poker was raised for consideration by this committee,” said, Chairman D’Amato. “Clearly Congress is hearing the voices of the thousands of poker players across the country who have expressed their frustration at the government’s actions to restrict their personal freedom to play this great game.”
In his testimony, Senator D’Amato noted that millions of Americans have been playing poker on the Internet for almost 10 years, and events like the DOJ indictments on April 15, 2011, otherwise known as “Black Friday”, have only served to fuel players’ frustration over this infringement of their rights. Since Black Friday, players have sent over 80,000 letters and emails and have engaged in countless more social network and personal contacts directly to members of Congress asking for a licensed and regulated U.S. online poker industry. Not only would this create a safe environment for consumers, it would also create a pathway for tens of thousands of U.S. jobs and tens of billions of dollars in federal and state revenue at a time when the U.S. economy needs it most.
D’Amato continued, “The grassroots outreach efforts undertaken by our members has been phenomenal and is a key force in keeping this debate alive. We are now entering our seventh month since the DOJ’s actions and, if anything, our voice is only growing stronger. This truly speaks to the dedication of average Americans across the country to ensuring their personal freedoms are restored.”
In addition to direct outreach to Congress, players have taken to social media outlets such as Twitter and various poker forums to voice their support of licensing and regulating online poker. Players recently asked so many poker-related questions for President Obama’s Twitter Town Hall that it became one of the most prominently raised issues, as reflected in the resulting Associated Press coverage. In addition, the White House’s “We the People” petition site had over 8,000 signatures to license and regulate online poker, far exceeding the necessary 5,000 signatures to ensure review by the Administration.
In concluding his testimony, D’Amato urged that Congress stop the outsourcing of consumer protections, jobs and revenue to foreign countries and instead create a safe, regulated environment for Americans to play this time honored game of skill, while contributing to our nation’s economy.
A full copy of the testimony can be found at www.theppa.org.