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PPA enlists 2+2 member
The Poker Players Alliance keeps gaining in members, and now the organization may be adding a board member who could go a long way toward helping the group gain even more support.
John Pappas, PPA executive director, posted a message on the 2+2 Forums in which he said he'd asked prominent forum member Rich Muny (TheEngineer) to take a seat on the PPA board of directors, and Muny has agreed.
"While the Board still must officially approve him at our next meeting I have asked that he help the organization to build a bridge between the 2+2 community, and work with me to develop grassroots initiatives," Pappas said.
"Rich will bring enthusiasm and expertise as the PPA seeks to communicate with the broader online and offline poker communities."
The 2+2 community is one of the largest for the online poker playing community. In the past, 2+2 and the PPA have not had the best of relationships. The PPA has received some support from the 2+2 community, but there has also been lots of criticism of the organization.
"The PPA has been criticized on these pages for inactivity and unresponsiveness," Pappas said. "I will not comment on the validity of these claims, but will give my assurance that there will be an improvement in both areas."
He notes that when the UIGEA was signed into law in 2006, the PPA pledged to its membership that it would seek legislation that would exempt poker from the law. Since that time, the PPA has been instrumental in Rep. Robert Wexler's introduction of the Skill Game Protection Act, which exempts poker from the online gambling ban.
"We have also been the leading force behind the Barney Frank bill, H.R. 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act," Pappas said. "Through our efforts we have secured numerous bi-partisan cosponsors."
He attributes some of the success to the grassroots campaigns such as the letter-writing and phone campaigns to members of Congress. The lobbying team has also spent time on Capitol Hill educating lawmakers and staff about the benefits of a regulated Internet poker industry.
"We are making tremendous progress, but this is a process and overnight success is a hope, not a reality," Pappas said.
Some of the organization's future plans include joining in on the appeal of a recent federal tax court decision that the PPA feels treats tournament poker winnings in a discriminatory way. The case will also give the PPA a forum to prove that skill predominates over chance in the game of poker.
Muny will play a big part in the PPA's efforts in Kentucky where the governor's race has turned into a fight over gambling. The PPA has started the grassroots wheels turning already to back the candidate who supports a state-wide vote on a constitutional amendment that would allow poker.
The PPA will also be beefing up its other grassroots efforts. "After all," Pappas said, "our large membership is our best asset."
The PPA is now up to over 700,000 members after starting out the summer months at about 500,000. That leaves them still about 300,000 short of the 1 million goal mark set by former executive chairman Mike Bolcerek.