Washington, DC. (April 20, 2011) – John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, issued the below statement on the agreement between the Department of Justice and online poker operators Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars to give American poker players access to their money in their accounts.
“The poker players have spoken, and it seems the U.S. Government has heard their cries. But players are still in pain. While today’s action allows players on two of the three online poker sites to access their funds, this is just a small victory in the ongoing fight to protect Americans’ rights to play poker online. Even with today’s announcement, millions of Americans are being denied their hobby, avocation and in many cases their livelihood because they remain unable to play poker on the Internet.
“Over the past few days, PPA members sent more than 65,000 emails and letters, and made thousands of phone calls to the DoJ, the Administration and Congress demanding access to the money in their online accounts and condemning the DoJ’s declaration of war on poker.
“Online poker players have been the true victims of the DoJ’s action, and it is good to see the DoJ recognizing that fact and working with Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars to get players their money. Yet, the fight to protect American’s freedom to play poker online is not over.
“Now more than ever, poker players are uniting against the vague laws that continue to obstruct their right to play this game of skill in any format. Americans from all walks of life enjoy this great game, from stay at home moms to disabled veterans to the thousands of average Americans who earn or supplement their income through online poker winnings and they continue to tell their stories through online forums, the media, and calls and letters to Congress.
“The message they are sending is clear – at a time of such economic weakness in the U.S., citizens expect their government to be wholly focused on improving their way of life through job and revenue creation, not attacking their personal activities. Congress needs to recognize the benefit of licensing and regulating online poker to protect players’ rights while adding thousands of jobs and billions in revenue to the U.S. market.
“Online poker is not illegal and it’s time the government stops treating American poker players like criminals and protect the rights of their constituents. Congress has two choices. Either pass legislation to license and regulate online poker to provide much needed support to the U.S. economy, while offering a safe and stable environment for millions of Americans to play poker, or ignore millions of their constituents and pay the price at the polls in 2012. The answer is clear. Congress must listen to its citizens and take necessary action to license and regulate online poker – we know it, Congress knows it, and millions of Americans are demanding it.”