Raise Your Voice; Join #Fight4Poker
There's never been a more important time for American online poker players to make their voices heard than right now. Today, lawmakers are considering online poker legislation in the statehouses of California, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. The New York Senate passed an online poker bill yesterday and another online poker bill is due to be heard by the California Assembly Appropriations Committee today. There's real, growing momentum pushing for licensing in these states and we're now closer than ever to the finishing line.
While there are a lot of people doing their part, PokerStars very much included, there are isolated but influential forces working to keep online poker locked away. That's why the support of the poker playing community can make a real difference. Together, we can show that the discussion is not all about taxes, state borders, or political maneuvering: it's about being able to play a game that you love in the safety of your home protected by consumer regulation; the right, as an adult, to make that decision for yourself, not have it made for you.
This is the time of year when legislators in Sacramento, Albany, Harrisburg, and Lansing want to focus on summer vacations and relaxing with friends and family, just like you. But before summer really sinks in and decision makers adjourn for vacation, we have an opportunity to raise our voices and show support for safe, competitive and regulated online poker.
That's what the folks at the Poker Players' Alliance (PPA) have been doing for a decade and they count more than one million Americans as members. The PPA is a non-profit organization that gives a unified voice to American poker players and works with key lawmakers to raise awareness of issues impacting the U.S. poker playing community. PokerStars is a long-standing supporter of the PPA and its work, which is crucial in keeping the momentum in the right direction, but your voice is needed now so they can shout louder. It's easy to get involved and make a difference. Just visit the PPA's #Fight4Poker page and learn how you can lend your voice.
Millions of Americans want regulated online poker in their states. We heard that last month from the players who drove hours and crossed state lines to participate in our recent PokerStars Run It Up Resorts Rumble at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. There's no greater warrior for online poker than Jason Somerville, certainly none who have as much to say. Jason supports the PPA and invited them to participate in the PokerStars event at Resorts. See Jason and fellow poker players call for legislation here:
Resorts is the longest-standing casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and Resorts executives will tell you how online gaming is driving new business to the bricks-and-mortar casinos that desperately need new customers. PokerStars' New Jersey arrival in mid-March also demonstrated that concentrated marketing combined with a quality online product will grow the online marketplace. Yesterday, the N.J. Division of Gaming Enforcement released data showing that since PokerStars' arrival, the NJ poker market is more than 30% larger than last year for the second consecutive month.
New Jersey is a bright, shining example of how successful, regulated online poker can be in America. Never mind the lofty revenue projections of 2013, look at the reality of hundreds of thousands of Americans playing safely within the geographic confines of the Garden State. Technology and well-monitored corporate governance is successfully keeping criminal activity out of online gaming, protecting the vulnerable from the risks of gambling, and also sending millions of dollars of tax revenue into the state's coffers. It's a convincing template to show that safe, regulated online poker can be achieved in the United States.
It is an election year. Your voice matters. #Fight4Poker with the PPA. Call, email and Tweet your elected officials to remind them how important the regulation of online gaming truly is. Find 10 other supporters to take action. Make noise. It is common-sense legislation that protects consumers and benefits players everywhere. Help us make this a reality. Now is the time. Now is the moment. Now is when the PPA and poker need you!
Eric Hollreiser is Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars.