Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Poker Players Alliance Speaks Out On Online Cheating Scandals


Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with over one million members nationwide, today issued the following statement in response to recent online poker cheating scandals:

“The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is the political and public policy voice for poker players in America. Central to our mission are advocacy efforts in Washington D.C. and around the country to protect poker players from misguided and vague laws and to establish licensed and regulated Internet poker in the U.S. To be clear, the PPA is not a regulatory body for poker players or the poker industry, nor do we seek to be. We are, however, compelled to speak out when our public policy mission is potentially undermined by actions which present Internet poker in a negative light. “Trust is paramount in poker. Sadly, this foundation has been undercut by admissions from two well-known online poker companies, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, that cheating has occurred on their poker sites. The Poker Players Alliance condemns any and all cheating in poker no matter the forum in which it is played. Because of the current legal uncertainties and the lack of federal regulation and oversight, it is especially troubling when cheating occurs in online poker. This has created an untenable atmosphere and has denied the proper means to investigate allegations, administer due process and then apply appropriate penalties for the wrongdoers. We urge these companies and their regulating authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, to provide a full and transparent accounting of these breaches of the public trust to help lift the black cloud that has been placed over the industry. “The recent cheating scandals underscore the need for U.S. licensing and regulation of online poker to help protect consumers. While even the most highly regulated industries are susceptible to fraud and abuse, regulation does provide assurances that when consumers are harmed they have recourse. Further, it is abundantly clear that regulation will also address other consumer concerns by successfully providing ways to bar access by children to gambling Web sites and providing the necessary services for problem gamblers. “The federal government cannot continue to abdicate this basic responsibility to millions of its citizens who choose to play poker on the Internet. The attempt to enforce an outright prohibition of online poker is deeply flawed and unworkable, not to mention it invades upon the personal freedoms of law-abiding adults who wish to engage in a game of skill. “Remaining consistent with our organization’s mission, we will continue our efforts on Capitol Hill to ensure lawmakers are well educated about the benefits of regulation to protect consumers and enable the rights of poker playing adults. These scandals will not and should not be the demise of a responsible government approach to Internet poker. Instead, this can be the pathway to understanding that regulation is the key to protecting citizens and the future of America’s card game.”