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For Immediate Distribution Contact: Teresa Schofield
(202) 347-7947

PPA Amendment Striking Poker Criminalization Language from MA

Gaming Bill Passes
Washington, DC (April 14, 2010) –The Massachusetts House of Representatives yesterday
approved a Poker Players Alliance-supported amendment to the state’s gaming legislation which
removed language criminalizing playing online poker and other gaming over the Internet. The
bill should meet final passage later today. PPA, the leading poker grassroots advocacy group
with more than one million members nationwide and over 25,000 members in Massachusetts,
has been working closely with Massachusetts lawmakers since 2008 to preserve Massachusetts’
citizens’ rights to play poker, whether online or in person.
“Of course, the PPA is very pleased that the House-passed gaming bill does not criminalize
online poker, but I am even more proud of our members in Massachusetts who really stepped up
to the plate on this issue and made their voices heard among the House lawmakers. This was
grassroots at its finest,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA.
The PPA has been engaged in the gaming debate in Massachusetts since 2008, when a broad
casino bill contained language making it illegal to play online poker, carrying a criminal penalty
of up to 2 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. That legislation ultimately lost momentum, but
was reintroduced this year.
Notwithstanding assurances that the criminalization language would not be part of the new bill
introduced this year, it was. The PPA, its members in Massachusetts, and lobbying team quickly
rallied to provide an amendment, offered by State Representative Brian Dempsey, striking the
criminalization provision and to communicate the wide support for legal online poker among
Massachusetts citizens.
Additionally, the PPA has been working with State Representative Brian Wallace on his
legislation, H4069, which would officially define poker as a game of skill in Massachusetts.
“On behalf of poker players in Massachusetts and nationwide, I’d like to thank Representative
Dempsey for his effort to remove the criminalization language from the gaming bill, as well as
Representative Wallace for his continued support,” said Pappas. “We will now focus our efforts
on the Massachusetts Senate to include the skill language into the bill and to ensure the
criminalization provision stays out of the final package.”
For more background on the skill versus chance argument, please visit

About The Poker Players Alliance

The Poker Players Alliance ( is a nonprofit membership organization comprised of over
1,000,000 online and offline poker players and enthusiasts from around the United States who have
joined together to speak with one voice to promote the game and to protect poker players' rights.