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Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news.More articles by Ryan McLane

D'Amato to serve as PPA Chairman

5 March 2007
By Ryan McLane

Former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato is the Poker Player's Alliance's new chairman of the board, the PPA announced Monday.

D'Amato replaces Linda Johnson, the PPA's first chairperson. She will retain a position on the PPA board.

The brash and often controversial 69-year old Republican from New York, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1999, is a staunch poker advocate. He often hosted regular games in Washington D.C. And according to the New York Times, he plays in a weekly Long Island home game that boasts wins and losses in the thousands.

"I have had a passion for poker since my childhood, and for politics almost as long. This new position will allow me to fuse these passions and help establish sensible policy that allows Americans to enjoy the great game of poker in the venue of their choosing," D'Amato said.

D'Amato's job description includes organizing lobbying efforts in Washington D.C., PPA spokesman John Pappas said. He added that the former Senator visits the nation's capital two to three times a week, and will be expected to continue that schedule as the PPA's new chair.

D'Amato is expected to lead the charge in declaring poker a skill game – thus exempt from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act -- and help pave the way for eventual regulation and taxation of the online gaming industry in the United States.

D'Amato calls recent U.S. legislation against online gambling an act of prohibition.

"Prohibitions don't work, they only create unintended consequences. The American people know this and we are going to make sure Congress knows it too," D'Amato said. "We need common sense regulation of Internet poker. Prohibition will only drive the industry underground and strip away any protections for children and services for problem gamblers."

PPA president Michael Bolcerek believes adding a high profile poker enthusiast with years of experience on Capital Hill will add clout to his growing organization. The PPA currently has more than 160,000 members.

"We are thrilled to have Senator D'Amato take up our cause to promote and protect the game played by millions of Americans. His enthusiasm, tenacity and political astuteness will bolster the influence of the PPA and help earn poker a much deserved exemption from the recent online gaming law," Bolcerek said.

The PPA, which is based in California, does not have a permanent office in Washington D.C. But it plans on opening a Washington office within the next 60 days. Pappas said D'Amato is not a part of that plan and will work from his New York offices.

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