This week saw a strong Poker Players Alliance presence in Washington DC as the one million member poker organisation flew in state directors and top poker personalities to interact with politicians and sell the idea of legalised online poker in the United States as part of the National Poker Week initiative.
At a dinner kicking off the week's activities, Florida Representative Robert Wexler, author of the Skill Game Protection Act and a supporter of the move to legalise the game as one predominantly of skill, addressed delegates, backed by PPA chairman Alphonse D'Amato and executive director John Pappas.
Wexler described the drive to legalise poker as an apple pie issue, and stressed the importance of contact with politicians to put a face on the issue.
“When you go meet with your Congressmen, your job is only half done," he said. "When you get back home, follow up with your local office. You can’t imagine how important that is. Spend 15 minutes with the director of the local office.”
The Florida politician went on to characterise the UIGEA as "an absurd law" and indicated his support for Congressman Barney Frank's wider moves to legalise and regulate online gambling in the United States.
The chairman of the PPA again underlined the imporant contribution US players could make by contacting their politicial representatives and urging them to vote for the legalization of online poker and the end of the UIGEA.
Pappas provided delegates with statistical ammunition for their discussions with Washington law makers, highlighting that 10 million Americans play online poker, while 70 million compete in poker. He also gave a summary of current political and legal developments and their relevance.