One of poker world’s most high profile pressure groups has committed itself to a multimillion dollar lobbying campaign over the next 6-8 months. The Poker Players Alliance has told the Associated Press that they have a war-chest of $3 million to utilize during this Congressional session.
The PPA’s one million members have done their part raising the money, although much of the fund arrived courtesy of industry group The Interactive Gaming Council. This session of Congress began in January and concludes on October 30th for the winter adjournment. The vast majority will be spent trying to convince Washington politicians to repeal the UIGEA. The bill, which came into effect in 2006, effectively bans all forms of online gambling, forcing many lucrative businesses to move off-shore.
Although $3 million sounds like an excessive sum, PPA coffers may be stretched to their limits as they fight off opposition from America’s major sporting leagues. The NFL in particular was instrumental in attaching the UIGEA to the unrelated Safe Port Act in 2006. Last year it stepped up its anti-gambling activities, hiring a full time activist called Jeff Miller to represent its interests in Washington. These organizations claim that online sports betting threatens the integrity of their games and have vowed to oppose any efforts to see the ban repealed. The Christian Coalition also has a history of taking political action to further the cause of the UIGEA.
The timing of this announcement may well be timed to coincide with the activities of House Financial Services Committee Chairman, Barney Frank. During the last two years he has introduced a number of bills designed to re-legalize online gambling. His latest attempt, slated to appear before the end of April, will seek to reintroduce online gambling to legality along with legislation and taxation. Assuring a fair and even industry that contributes to the national economy is seen as a key part in its reintroduction.