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New York Times: Foreign Money Fuels Faltering Bid to Push Online Poker

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

The Poker Players Alliance participated in “The Best Government Money Can Buy?”.    A look today at their lobbying efforts which have recently suffered a setback.

New York Times

Former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, Republican of New York, has been the public face of the effort, which has included charity poker tournaments featuring members of Congress, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to a disparate assortment of lawmakers, including Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, the majority leader.

But late last week, the United States Justice Department delivered an unexpected thunderbolt to this huge lobbying campaign when it indicted top executives at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, accusing them of fraud and money laundering. In doing so the government has taken on a politically powerful industry that for a while seemed like it might transform gambling around the world.

As evidence of the industry’s shifting fortunes, major gambling operators like Wynn Resorts are already distancing themselves from the three Internet gambling companies, canceling planned business alliances. ESPN has removed poker-related content from its own Internet site.

This is exactly what the industry was trying to prevent when it set out to block enforcement of a law intended to ban Internet games or to get the law repealed. Interviews show that the companies named in the indictment, while foreign-based, have indirectly been paying more than half of the lobbying and operating bills for a nonprofit organization that is championing Internet gambling in the United States.

Mr. Frank, in an interview on Monday, said he had no plan to back down. “It is a bad law,” he said. “How is it possible that a United States attorney in New York does not have anything more to do than indict people for a full house? He should be indicting people for the empty houses we have around,” referring to the troubles in the mortgage industry.

Mr. Frank and Representative John Campbell, Republican of California, in March introduced yet another bill, backed by the Poker Players Alliance, a Washington-based nonprofit group. Its budget is subsidized by a Canadian trade association whose members include the companies that run Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker.

As a senator, Mr. D’Amato played a regular poker game that featured lobbyists. On Friday, he said in a statement, “Online poker is not a crime and should not be treated as such.”

AP:Poker players hope for hot hand in lobbying week

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

The Poker Player’s Alliance will be making the rounds in Washington DC this week.  They are featured in “The Best Government Money Can Buy?”, a non partisan documentary about lobbying and campaign fundraising.

Here’s the link:

John Pappas, Poker Players’ Alliance in the news

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

John and the Poker Players’ Alliance are just one of the interesting lobbying groups interviewed in “The Best Government Money Can Buy?

Check out MSNBC’s story on the Alliance’s efforts to decriminalize internet gambling.