Since the April 15 federal indictments that forced the big three online poker sites out of the U.S. market, poker players have been emailing and calling their congressmen like never before. In two weeks, those interested and with the means to get to Washington, D.C., will have the opportunity to discuss the issue with their representatives in person.
The Poker Players Alliance is hoping to fill Capitol Hill with poker enthusiasts May 24 with the goal to highlight the increased need for licensed and regulated online poker in the aftermath of Black Friday.
"Our members are anxious to get to Washington and tell their lawmakers to restore their freedom to play poker on the Internet," PPA chairman Al D’Amato said. "During our fly in, members of Congress will meet firsthand with constituents who have been impacted by the lack of clarity in the law and the recent actions taken by the Department of Justice to shut down Internet poker."
This is the PPA’s third sponsored fly-in to D.C., in addition to one in Washington state two months ago. For that rally, the PPA paid lodging and sometimes even travel expenses for members to attend.
"We don’t have the resources to fly every PPA member out to D.C.," PPA executive director John Pappas said. "But we will give them to the tools to reach members of Congress, encourage them, give them instructions and talking points, and create some opportunity where members can get together."
The PPA is flying out 30 of its state directors to lead the charge. Members who want to attend will have to set up their own meetings by following these instructions.
The PPA is encouraging players who can’t make it to Washington to arrange local meetings to speak with staffers at the state office of their Congressmen or Senator on May 24. Instructions on how to do so also are provided in the above link. The PPA asks anyone who does secure a meeting, national or local, to let them know the details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pappas expects to hold a press conference in front of Capitol Hill. Depending on the response, a rally is also possible.
"We have heard from our members and there is an urgency in their voices," Pappas said. "They want Congress, now more than ever, to establish common-sense public policy that regulates online poker and gives adults the freedom to enjoy our nation’s favorite card game on the Internet. Given the events of April 15th and the beginning of the World Series of Poker in late May, now is the time for PPA members to make their voices heard in the offices of their elected officials."
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