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PPA Releases Statement Over Internet Gambling

The president of Poker Player's Alliance, or the PPA, Michael Bolcerek, an organization with more than 100,000 members, released a statement in reaction to the recently scheduled "field hearing" on the issue of internet gambling. The statement reads:

"The Poker Players Alliance supports an open dialogue to discuss this issue and we sincerely hope that the interests of poker enthusiasts in the state of Iowa will be heard at the field hearing. At the same time, while millions of poker players across the country care about this issue, we do not believe that Internet poker is of critical importance to the average Iowan. Field hearings focusing on high gas prices, quality education and healthcare, or the escalating war on terror would be a much more appropriate and productive use of taxpayer dollars."

"While there are concerns with underage gambling and problem gambling, the prohibition bill sponsored by Rep. Leach and supported by Majority Leader Frist is shortsighted and will do nothing to address those concerns. As it stands the bill makes exemptions for Internet wagers on horse races, lotteries and fantasy sports. This fact is inconsistent with the supposed desire to ban online gambling. Moreover, Americans learned long ago that prohibitions don't work. In fact, prohibiting online poker will only drive the industry underground, essentially creating unregulated online 'speakeasys' for people to play this game of skill."

"A more sensible approach is to license, regulate and tax this skill game here in the United States, much like we already do with 'brick and mortar' casinos and card rooms. A recent economic analysis commissioned by the PPA reveals that more than $3.3 billion in tax revenue could be raised by the federal government by simply regulating Internet poker. An additional $1 billion could be spread amongst the states. Some of this money could be wisely spent on public education about the proper age to gamble and programs to treat problem gamblers."

"The PPA values the leadership of Rep. Leach and Sen. Frist and we sincerely hope that they will shift their focus away from prohibiting a game of skill enjoyed by 23 million Americans on the Internet to more timely and relevant issues facing the people of Iowa and this country."

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