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Poker Legislation & PPA Discussion hosted by Rich Muny Discussions of various poker-related laws and steps players can take to push for better laws.

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Old 04-20-2011, 12:05 PM   #1
PPADrew
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DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

WASHINGTON, DC. (April 20, 2011) – John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, issued the below statement on the agreement between the Department of Justice and online poker operators Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars to give American poker players access to their money in their accounts.

“The poker players have spoken, and it seems the U.S. Government has heard their cries. But players are still in pain. While today’s action allows players on two of the three online poker sites to access their funds, this is just a small victory in the ongoing fight to protect Americans’ rights to play poker online. Even with today’s announcement, millions of Americans are being denied their hobby, avocation and in many cases their livelihood because they remain unable to play poker on the Internet.

“Over the past few days, PPA members sent more than 65,000 emails and letters, and made thousands of phone calls to the DoJ, the Administration and Congress demanding access to the money in their online accounts and condemning the DoJ’s declaration of war on poker.

“Online poker players have been the true victims of the DoJ’s action, and it is good to see the DoJ recognizing that fact and working with Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars to get players their money. Yet, the fight to protect American’s freedom to play poker online is not over.

“Now more than ever, poker players are uniting against the vague laws that continue to obstruct their right to play this game of skill in any format. Americans from all walks of life enjoy this great game, from stay at home moms to disabled veterans to the thousands of average Americans who earn or supplement their income through online poker winnings and they continue to tell their stories through online forums, the media, and calls and letters to Congress.

“The message they are sending is clear – at a time of such economic weakness in the U.S., citizens expect their government to be wholly focused on improving their way of life through job and revenue creation, not attacking their personal activities. Congress needs to recognize the benefit of licensing and regulating online poker to protect players’ rights while adding thousands of jobs and billions in revenue to the U.S. market.

“Online poker is not illegal and it’s time the government stops treating American poker players like criminals and protect the rights of their constituents. Congress has two choices. Either pass legislation to license and regulate online poker to provide much needed support to the U.S. economy, while offering a safe and stable environment for millions of Americans to play poker, or ignore millions of their constituents and pay the price at the polls in 2012. The answer is clear. Congress must listen to its citizens and take necessary action to license and regulate online poker – we know it, Congress knows it, and millions of Americans are demanding it.”

###

About The Poker Players AllianceThe Poker Players Alliance (www.theppa.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 to protect poker players' rights.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:12 PM   #2
sanjeeezy
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Definitely just a small win, it will take time but this is obv great news. We need to keep fighting for our right to play online poker
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:13 PM   #3
oop u mad
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Wow, great news.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:15 PM   #4
ihateny
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

I dont want the money back. I want to play poker.

It is better to get the cash back that the DOJ keeping it.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:38 PM   #5
JohnWilkes
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Yes, a win! The DoJ was told by one or more of our representatives, sentors etc. that the noise was just too loud.

Now, a campaign against DoJ. waged on all legal fronts!
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:24 PM   #6
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Nitpicking the latest PPA statement (moved at request of OP)

Quote:
Even with today’s announcement, millions of Americans are being denied their hobby, avocation and in many cases their livelihood because they remain unable to play poker on the Internet.
This is simply untrue, and I'm wondering if it is hurting our cause to be misrepresenting the situation to make it look even more dire than it already is. Thoughts?
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:37 PM   #7
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Re: Nitpicking the latest PPA statement.

Yeah, its nitpicky, we used this language in WA state too after Tilt/Stars left. I think the language is fine for the narrative we are trying to create, no need to taunt the DOJ and publically point to the other sites out there. We should be cognizant about how true this is as the world evolves post Stars/Tilt/Cereus, but its a press release, not a legal document.
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:53 PM   #8
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Re: Nitpicking the latest PPA statement.

Nobody's worried about the possibility of causing an even sharper decline in the poker industry because uniformed players will read, from the worlds biggest players organization, that Americans are totally unable to play online?

Here in WA state, most people think there are zero options left to play online, and statements like this certainly perpetuate such thinking. I'm not saying there should be an explicit confirmation of alternative sites, but this statement could've been worded better imo.
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:00 PM   #9
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Re: Nitpicking the latest PPA statement.

IANAL but there is such a thing as selective encforcement. The DOJ went after 2 sites and left others alive? This selective enforcement will be a defense argument from FT and PS... But since DOJ certainly knows what selective enforcement means to their case, that means it's probably a matter of time until they nab the others....so don't think the others are immune it's probably a matter of time. UNLESS there is something about the way the other sites process money that makes it dofficult for the DOJ to build a case. That seems unlikely on the surface, but I have no details on that it is just my speculation.

It did occur to me, and I digress here, but i wonder what kind of reach DOJ has on foreign banks. If it is NOT illegal for USers to play, and obviously foreigners are playing and funding via foreign banks, why can't USers open foreign bank accounts, transfer US money to the foreign accouts (maybe even do currency exchange to Euros) then fund their poker accounts via the foreign bank accounts? DOJ may not be able to reach banks that do not operate in the USA. And it is not illegal to transfer money into or out of US banks to Foreign banks. It is illegal to avoid taxes, it is illegal for a US based processor to transfer money to gaming sites but not illegal to have a foreign bank account. Making an ETF transfer from the foreign non-US bank to the poker site and back to the foreign bank account should be out of reach of DOJ so long as a non US processor is used. Then Transfer from the foreign bank to the US bank should be legal. Profits would have to be declared with the IRS, as always. But again I digress.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:17 PM   #10
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Any speculation as to how much of an effect our calls and emails may have helped this agreement come about so quickly? I'd be curious.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:40 PM   #11
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Quote:
Originally Posted by repulse View Post
Any speculation as to how much of an effect our calls and emails may have helped this agreement come about so quickly? I'd be curious.
I'd speculate that it made a huge difference. Today's DOJ press release was all about satisfying players that the govt isn't going to stop them from getting their money back (and spinning it to make the sites look like the bad guys). In other words, the DOJ was communicating their message to players, which was no doubt a direct reaction to the large amount of messages from players to the DOJ and lawmakers.
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:43 PM   #12
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerXanadu View Post
I'd speculate that it made a huge difference. Today's DOJ press release was all about satisfying players that the govt isn't going to stop them from getting their money back (and spinning it to make the sites look like the bad guys). In other words, the DOJ was communicating their message to players, which was no doubt a direct reaction to the large amount of messages from players to the DOJ and lawmakers.
Enough noise to regulate? Or is that already in the works? Clearing the field for Harrahs, Cesaers? Etc?
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:51 PM   #13
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

PPA had nothing to do with this, did they? Or are they just doing a press release?

DOJ gave in to allowing this because of all the noise, perhaps the PPA should organize a ralley to create more noise. I'll show up!
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:34 PM   #14
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

The DoJ is doing this because it makes them look like they are concerned for the players. They also want to mollify the UK powers that be, who are rightly concerned that the DoJ is trying to put PokerStars and FTP out of business. Remember that PS and FTP pay UK taxes.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:55 PM   #15
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Everyone, Full Tilt is now saying they can't refund the money because all of the the money is tied up in the seized bank accounts. If this is the case, the DOJ effectively pulled a public relations stunt on us. Not sure how much of the problem here rests with FTP and/or the DOJ but I believe some sort of aggressive further action is needed towards the DOJ. Is the PPA planning another form email blast to address this?
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:22 PM   #16
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Who cares what the DOJ "allows?" They're the cause of my money being locked up...Nothing they say or do means jack **** until the equity of my rolls on FT & PS show up in my bank account.
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:28 PM   #17
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

PPA members sent more than 65,000 emails and letters.

That's 5% of the 1.2Million members. Just imagine: We might even get regulation passed if we had 50% of memebers emailing their representatives.
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:57 PM   #18
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoureToast View Post
Everyone, Full Tilt is now saying they can't refund the money because all of the the money is tied up in the seized bank accounts.
Reference?
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Old 04-22-2011, 09:12 PM   #19
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

I personally would have waited for money to return to players before declaring victory. Hopefully it all works out, I'll live if I dont get the money back from FT and Stars but would obviously rather have it
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:33 AM   #20
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Quote:
Originally Posted by repulse View Post
Any speculation as to how much of an effect our calls and emails may have helped this agreement come about so quickly? I'd be curious.
I was sent a copy of the PPA's fundraising email that has already gone out touting the DOJ - Stars agreement re player funds as their doing .....

I suspect the deal was much less a result of the PPA, than sharp negotiating between the parties, and pressure from the B&Ms not to fork manure down everyone's well.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:56 AM   #21
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

ya wtf, we all knew we were going to get our $$ back. I can't see the emails making a difference. I don't recall a mass email campaign for neteller, but I could be wrong.
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:23 AM   #22
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Quote:
“Over the past few days, PPA members sent more than 65,000 emails and letters, and made thousands of phone calls
Quote:
the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide


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Old 04-23-2011, 10:45 AM   #23
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Re: DOJ to Allow Players to Access Funds

Effects can have multiple causes. It is unfortunate that many people seem incapable of understanding this and want to say "the emails made them do it" or "the emails had nothing to do with it at all."

My original post said there were two things that made this happen and made it happen fast: the effort of the sites, and the noise made by players.

The DOJ had no incentive to cut the deal really. In the agreement they basically get nothing they didn't already have. And it is hard for me to imagine that the lawyers at SDNY all of a sudden got concerned about poker players and their money.

So something made the DOJ move. I believe what made them move was pressure form DC. I suspect that pressure came first from Congresspersons who contacted DOJ and/or Holder and said "whats up with all these constituents saying you are holding their money?" That was our emails, letters, calls and other efforts at work.

After that the DOJ folks in DC probably said to the DOJ folks in SDNY "this is bad publicity, fix this."

And so SDNY cut the deal sooner rather than later and probably after getting less than they otherwise might have held out for.

So our efforts helped. A deal to release player funds would have happened eventually, true. But that it happened as fast as it did and that it happened without a bunch of other agreements is something players who voiced their opinion can take at least some credit for.

That's my best guess anyway.

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