WASHINGTON, D.C. -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide and more than 25,000 in Massachusetts, testifies today before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies calling for licensing and regulation of online poker.
The hearing is being held to look into the impact of proposals to expand casino gaming throughout the Commonwealth.
"Sadly, while the game of poker has evolved, the way politicians think about it has not," said Randy Castonguay, Massachusetts state director of the PPA. "As this Committee discusses the pros and cons of regulating expanded gaming in our Commonwealth, it would also be appropriate to consider the existing Internet poker play that is occurring today without any state oversight or control. Regulation of Internet poker is not expansion of gambling, it is simply the responsible government response to an industry that exists today."
Licensing and regulation of online poker would result in several benefits to Massachusetts residents, the first and most important of which is implementing state-based consumer protections which do not exist today. A regulated marketplace will also help the state combat underage access to online poker as well as identify and provide services to problem gamblers. Finally, licensing and regulation would provide significant state tax revenue – conservative estimates show $40 million annually for Massachusetts.
"We are advocating regulation of Internet poker, not Internet craps or roulette. And as every member of this Committee knows, unlike craps and roulette, poker is a game of skill that has been played in the home since Americans have been playing it. Regulating poker on the Internet is simply recognition of the game's 21st Century place in American culture," continued Castonguay.