[KS] PPA State Director Letter to Kansas Governor | Gambling | Online Poker

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Governor Sam Brownback
Capitol
300 SW 10th Avenue, Suite 212S
Topeka, KS 66612-1590

May 24, 2014

Dear Governor Sam Brownback,
As the Kansas director of the Poker Players Alliance, grassroots advocacy group with more than one
million members nationwide and over ten thousand members in Kansas, I urge you to give serious
consideration to licensing and regulating online poker in our great state.
Over the past several months, this issue has received significant attention in the media and with state
and federal policy makers. I firmly believe that a state-licensed and regulated online poker is the right
approach for Kansas and would serve three purposes: protect consumers, stimulate our economy and
create revenue, and preserve individual and states’ rights.
The status quo is not acceptable. Today, citizens of this state have access to online poker, online casino
games and online sports betting. At this very moment, people in our state are wagering on a variety of
online gaming sites, none of which are properly licensed or regulated by this government. Regulation of
Internet poker should not be considered an expansion of gaming. It is about corralling the current
unregulated marketplace and turning it into a system that is safe for consumers and accountable to
regulators and our government.
I urge you to work with our state legislature to establish a regulatory system that will license responsible
Internet poker operators and mandate technologies to protect consumers from fraud, eliminate
underage access, mitigate compulsive gambling behaviors and establish funding for the treatment and
prevention of problem gambling. The system should provide for an open and competitive market that
will foster innovation and ensures that all existing gaming interests in the state have the same rights to
apply for a license as other entities. It is also vitally important for Kansas to establish a system that
allows for us to share players with other regulated jurisdictions.
Now is the time for Kansas to act. Within the past year three states – Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey
-- have authorized and are regulating Internet poker and Internet gaming. Nearly a dozen more states
are currently considering legislation.




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The adoption of regulated Internet gaming in the states means Kansas policymakers can no longer
consider regulated Internet gaming as theoretical. It is not a theory; it is reality. Not only can our state
lawmakers now reference the current U.S. regulated Internet gaming market, we also have the benefit
of learning from Europe, where Internet gaming has been regulated for more than ten years. Today, in
the U.S. and in regulated markets throughout the world, it is required that Internet gaming companies
consent to audits, implementation of anti-money laundering compliance programs and multi-step
identity verification processes, bot detection, and other regulatory measures. These operators employ
“best of breed” technologies that protect minors and problem gamblers, ensure that the games are fair,
and site block players in prohibited jurisdictions. Additionally, regulated operators are accountable to
the players, regulators, and law enforcement, and they are continually reviewed to ensure they are
meeting (and exceeding) the prescribed technical safeguards.
Regulation of Internet poker will also mean new revenues for our state without raising taxes. To be fair,
regulating Internet poker will not be a “windfall” for our budget coffers, but it will add millions in new
revenue each year. This is revenue that is currently leaving our state because of the unregulated
marketplace. No matter the dollar figure any revenue should be hard to ignore, especially when it is
inexorably linked to strong consumer protection.
Finally, I urge you to reject calls for a federal ban on all online poker. A federal prohibition will
undermine states’ rights and your authority as governor to choose whether online poker makes sense
for our state. Moreover, banning Internet poker would be a foolhardy proposition which would only
serve to harm the vulnerable populations that regulation properly protects. Prohibition will never trump
regulation as a way to protect children, problem gamblers, and the average American. It only
encourages criminal activity and leaves our law enforcement with no power to protect residents from
fraudulent operators beyond our borders.
I hope you will consider all of the information provided and I look forward to your response. Please
stand with me, my fellow Poker Players Alliance members and any citizen concerned with consumer
protection in support of Internet poker regulation.
Sincerely,

Stephanie Harris
Kansas Director
Poker Players Alliance

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