The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is making new strides in the fight against the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Starting last night, and continuing over the next two days, the PPA will host a series of policy conferences and engage in citizen lobbying sessions with Members of Congress in Washington D.C. Several of the world's most respected professional poker players are expected to attend, including Barry Greenstein, Andy Bloch, Howard Lederer, Chad Brown, Vanessa Rousso and Victor Ramdin.
Some of the planned events for the D.C. conference include (courtesy of pokerplayersalliance.org):
• "How to Lobby Congress" Breakfast
• Member of Congress/Staff Meetings
• Capitol Hill Reception
• Policy Forum
** Invited speakers include: Charles Nesson, Professor, Harvard Law; Sallie James, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute; Keith Whyte, Executive Director, Nat'l Council on Problem Gambling; and other experts in the field of public policy and law.
The D.C. conference comes at an important time, as the Department of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve have, according to the PPA website, proposed new regulations that would effectively force banks, credit card companies and other payment systems to block transactions for "Unlawful Internet Gambling." Issued earlier this month on October 1st, this latest set of proposed regulations would be an extension of the UIGEA which rode the coattails of the Safe Port Act all the way to the president's desk just over a year ago today.
Before the proposed rules can be put into action, a 60-day public comment period must elapse, allowing all those with an interest in the matter to express their comments and concerns. In an effort to keep the pressure on the policymakers, the PPA is urging its members to contact both the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to ask that poker be kept exempt from the new regulations. The PPA has posted a list of detailed "talking points" on their website to aid members in preparing their letters, though they also suggest that individualized comments are considered far more seriously by regulators.