The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is urging Iowa poker players to attend and give their opinions at a field hearing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, scheduled for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. that will bring together state officials to discuss the online gambling ban legislation working its way through Congress.
The field hearing will take place at the Clark Alumni House on the Coe College campus and will be hosted by Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) who sponsored H.R. 4411 which was later combined with H.R. 4777 to create the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act. Leach will be joined by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R - Tenn.).
Also attending the hearing will be Merton Hanks, senior manager of football operations at National Football League headquarters in New York City; Mark Vander Linden, the Iowa Department of Health director of the Iowa Gambling Treatment Program; and Jeff Peterzalek, Iowa Attorney General's Office deputy attorney general for litigation. There will also be representatives from religious groups and people affected by gambling.
"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," said Michael Bolcerek, PPA president.
"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 taxpayers dollars."
Bolcerek also points out that prohibition hasn't worked in the past in the United States, and would only drive the online gambling industry underground where it would be unregulated. He proposes a more sensible approach is to regulate and tax the industry, creating a much safer gaming environment for players and billions of dollars in tax revenues for the government.
"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," Bolcerek said.
The PPA is a grassroots organization with more than 100,000 members who've joined together to defend the game of poker. Along with urging people to talk to their representatives and senators while they're back in their states during the Congressional break, the group is also urging people to join in a letter writing campaign.
For more information about the PPA, please read Poker Players Alliance Fights for Poker's Rights.