Funded by online casinos, alliance wants to protect
against internet poker ban.
One of the most valuable poker skills is the ability to successfully
bluff your opponents.
And that’s what a new Las Vegas-based group is trying to do: Bluff
that it is a grass-roots effort of kitchen-table poker players, rather
than the professional lobbying effort funded by billion-dollar Web poker
Goliaths that it really is.
The Poker Players Alliance says it wants to sign up tens of thousands
of recreational poker players, each of whom would pay $15 in dues.
The group would lobby federal, state and local officials to help
fight a potential federal ban on Internet gambling and stop raids on
community poker games by state and local law enforcement officials.
But much of the seed money behind the group comes from online casinos
— lucrative operations that make most of their billions from American
gamblers despite the game’s legal ambiguity.
The alliance’s organizers believe that with an estimated 60 million
Americans flocking to poker tables in casinos, Internet card rooms, bars
and community centers, the time has never been more ripe for poker
players to flex their political muscle in Washington.
As a call to action, the group has created a Web site and is
publishing magazine ads and writing articles in trade publications. The
pieces detail a rash of police raids on community poker games in recent
months — many of them organized to benefit charities.