If winning the battle in the media is a prelude to success in Congress for the argument to license and regulate online poker, then two recent articles are sure to help.
These weren't just news articles reporting on the latest court case or bill involving poker. These articles were written by nationally respected columnists weighing in with their opinion, and both showed an understanding of the issue that many people on Capitol Hill still lack.
"It's fair to say that the American approach to Internet gambling, which is legal in much of the rest of the world, is absurd," Michael Hilztik wrote in the Times.
"Congress probably should fold its interference with Internet gambling and certainly should get its 10 thumbs off Americans' freedom to exercise their poker skills online," George F. Will wrote in the Post.
It couldn't have been said better if poker's advocates had written the statements themselves — and it's no coincidence that both papers spoke to the Poker Players Alliance.
"I think we see pockets of interest from the national media on this issue," said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. "I wouldn't say the tide is turning because it's always seemed the media understood this issue a whole lot better than Congress, that licensing and regulation is far superior than prohibition. Media has been there for a while, and we hope that it's going lead to changing minds on Capitol Hill."
The PPA is getting plenty of mileage out of these articles, keeping office-supply stores in business with how many copies it has made of each. Each time a PPA representative meets with a congressman or senator, a packet of articles is left behind.
Will is considered a Republican columnist, making his article especially useful in trying to convince Republican congressmen, the key group with which poker advocates need to make progress.
Articles in small regional papers don't get much attention nationally but can be more important in influencing an individual congressman.
"It obviously helps when you go into (government) offices and can show articles from major publications," Pappas said. "But smaller stories in hometown papers are great for congressmen because those are the papers their constituents read. A combination of both, hometown stories and national high-profile stories, works best."
Media opinion pieces usually reflect the views of the people, which is why they capture the attention of Congress. Once officials on Capitol Hill realize that the overwhelming will of the people who elect them is to have the right to play online poker, legalization will occur.
Signing up for an online poker account is still easy and legal for players in most states. Check out our full list of online poker rooms and sign up today.