In the United States, John Pappas is moving the mountains. He is pushing the million members of Poker Players Alliance to lobby for the legislation to make online gambling legalized in the US. The Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance through his fellow members is supporting the HR2267 the legislation made by Congressman Barney Frank to control and levy Internet gaming. The committee vote on the legislation can happen as early as February 2010. Papas did not hide his ambitions when he said in no unclear terms that this legislation will be crucial for the Poker Players Alliance and the entire poker community. He asked members to rise up to the occasion and make their voices heard.
In the past also the initiatives of the PPA to support online gaming has been influential to support HR2267 and this time also it is no different. Papas asked players of the alliance and the poker community to reach out to Congressmen and express their support for the bill. According to Pappas, this is first time that there will be a vote on legalizing online gaming in the United States. He said that bipartisan support is required to make this bill a success and urged members to alert their Congressmen on the upcoming vote. On the other end Congressmen Barney Frank has seen more success on the bill in the first two weeks of January. The good news is that two politicians, New York Democrat Eliot Engel and Charlie Melancon, a Democrat from Los Angeles supported the “The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009”. This has increased the number of Congressmen endorsing the proposal to 65. More needs to be done and John Papas is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that online poker and gaming gets legalized in the country pragmatic play.
The bill was up for hearing in early December but without any mark-up as Congressmen debated the step. Papas said that the next big step would be the mark-up and his group has targeted the Congressmen who can support the legislation and is lobbying with them for a favorable outcome. If a mark-up does take place there could be a debate on HR2267 followed by a House vote which would ultimately push the bill favorably. Papas notes that the biggest challenge at this moment is the fear that partisan politics does not act against the bill. If that happens, it will be a setback for online gaming in the country. Barney Frank has scored another point when he and other Congressmen successfully delayed the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) till June 1st 2010. This will give enough time for those in favor of HR2267 to move ahead and maneuver in favor of the bill.
The UIGEA was passed in a late night session just before the election recess in 2006 as a ‘must pass’ security bill. Hopefully with the delay in implementation of the Act will give time to online gambling industry to propose their point favorably in front of the Government.