PPA Kentucky

Union, KY 41091 EMAIL: KY@pokerplayersalliance.org
ON THE WEB:

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www.pokerplayersalliance.org http://ky.pokerplayersalliance.org http://theengineer.pokerplayersalliance.org

July 11, 2008 The Honorable Geoff Davis United States House of Representatives 1108 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515-1704 Dear Congressman Davis: We are writing to share with you our outrage over the refusal of the House Financial Services Committee to pass H.R. 5767, the Payments System Protection Act. Rather than respecting our freedoms as Americans, the GOP again chose to pander to anti-poker extremists who want the federal government to censor our Internet access and dictate to us what we may do in our own homes. Congress also deputized banks to police this – as if banks are the nation’s new morality police – which we find outrageous as well. Intending to simply enforce existing state and federal online gaming laws, Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. However, it quickly became apparent that underlying pre-existing gaming laws are very unclear, particularly as few of them were written with the Internet in mind, and as none of them were passed with the intention of having the federal government step in to enforce them. Existing laws are particularly ambiguous regarding games of skill like poker, where people play against one another rather than against the “house”. For example, there is no federal law against online poker, and only a handful of states have restricted online poker in any way. An additional flaw in the act is its requirement that America’s banks interpret and enforce every federal and state online gaming law. This flaw was exacerbated when authors of the regulations implementing the act were unable to determine the legality of various types of gaming. Rather than researching further, they instead directed the banks to make these determinations. As banks are ill equipped to interpret gaming law, they asked Congress to revisit UIGEA to define “unlawful Internet gambling”. Given that Congress had deputized banks to enforce the act, one would assume this to be a commonsense request to alleviate some of the federal burden of compliance. Your prior statements on this issue frequently mention your desire to protect children, which is certainly a laudable goal. You referenced the Annenberg Study to illustrate your belief that UIGEA is working. The Annenberg Study, a questionnaire given to 450 participants, had a stated sampling error of +/- 3.3%. The study reported that, among respondents aged 18-22, 3.3% stated they had participated at least once per week in online gaming in 2006. In 2007, 1.2% reported that they had. As the decline in participation in online gaming was within the statistical margin of error, the Annenberg Study actually fails to prove there was any change in weekly

PPA Kentucky
Union, KY 41091 EMAIL: KY@pokerplayersalliance.org
ON THE WEB:

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www.pokerplayersalliance.org http://ky.pokerplayersalliance.org http://theengineer.pokerplayersalliance.org

participation rates. Rather, it shows that weekly participation by college age adults was low prior to UIGEA passing, and remained low after its passage. Furthermore, the study data show that prior to passage of UIGEA, 97% of college age adults did not participate weekly in online gaming. A blanket prohibition that forces banks to act as the Internet gaming police as you advocate seems to be a very harsh remedy that infringes greatly on Internet freedom as well as personal liberty, given this low participation rate. Also, your statement mentions “children”, yet the statistics you referenced were for players over 18. From the Annenberg Study: “Use of the Internet [to gamble] among high school-aged male youth was already very low in 2006 and did not change this year [2007], going from 0.0 percent to 0.8 percent.” Rather than showing a problem with children participating in online gaming, this study actually helps prove the effectiveness of the current age verification systems. We ask that you support proposed legislation that actually addresses the issues you mentioned. One bill, H.R. 2610, clarifies federal law by expressly exempting games of skill like poker from UIGEA. As a game of skill played against other players rather than against the house, poker should not be treated like “gambling”. Another bill, H.R. 2046 (the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act), regulates online poker via stringent licensing regulations for poker site operators. Both bills have rigorous safeguards against underage and compulsive gambling. Both also clarify the Wire Act to bring it into the 21st century. And, neither H.R. 2610 nor H.R. 2046 force any state to permit online poker – states can opt out if they wish. Despite Ranking Member Spencer Bachus’ (R-AL) over-the-top rhetoric regarding Internet poker at the hearing, safeguards to prevent children and participants with compulsive behaviors from accessing Internet poker sites will work. These safeguards work very well in Britain and in the rest of the European Union. And, the June 8, 2007 House Financial Services Committee hearing on this subject proved conclusively that Internet poker can be effectively regulated in our country as well. In fact, we believe these safeguards will provide more protection to children than UIGEA, as UIGEA contains no provisions to protect anyone from anything. Finally, we ask that you reconsider your opposition to H.R. 5767. As regulations to implement UIGEA come closer to implementation, our nation's financial institutions are still warning that these regulations are unworkable. Additionally, at the April 2, 2008 Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology hearing on the impact of UIGEA on our nation's financial services industry, even the authors of the UIGEA regulations testified that they have struggled with the ambiguity of the UIGEA statute. Last week's vote on H.R. 5767 did nothing to change this. Banks still require clarity. What's most important to us is your support for our rights. Please respond to this letter and let us know if you will support our freedoms. We will continue to watch your actions on this issue

PPA Kentucky
Union, KY 41091 EMAIL: KY@pokerplayersalliance.org
ON THE WEB:

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www.pokerplayersalliance.org http://ky.pokerplayersalliance.org http://theengineer.pokerplayersalliance.org

closely. We hope that we, along with our over one million fellow Poker Players Alliance members, can count on your support. Thank you for your consideration. Respectfully yours,

Richard Muny
PPA Board Member & KY State Director PPA Northern KY District Representative 10559 War Admiral Drive Union, KY 41091 (859) 391-6172

Les Johns
Past PPA KY State Director PPA Southeast KY District Representative 141 Pickett Lane Georgetown, KY 40324 (270) 317-5046

Kenny Hooker
PPA Southwest KY District Representative 134 Bendefield Lane Farmington, KY 42040 (270) 489-2592

Larry Duncan
PPA KY Netroots Director PPA Central KY District Representative 155 Fox Run Way Bowling Green, KY 42104 (270) 842-4982

Rob Hitesman
PPA KY Secretary 1209 Claybow Drive Hickman, KY, 42050 (270) 236-2063

About The Poker Players Alliance
The Poker Players Alliance (www.pokerplayersalliance.org) 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, most importantly, to protect poker players' rights.