In 2005, the poker world in the United States was beginning to hear major rumblings from several lawmakers about the legality of online poker. This was just a couple of years removed from Chris Moneymaker's incredible victory in the Main Event during the 2003 World Series of Poker, a win that helped launch an Internet poker explosion in the United States. That rush only gained momentum over the next few years. However, during that time, legislatures began to realize that billions of dollars were being wagered over the Internet on a regular basis. How much was the U.S. government taking in? Pretty much nil. That's when some congressmen began talking about banning all Internet gambling.
So who was speaking up for the players? Well, before October 2005, players did not really have an organized voice. Then comes the small, grassroots organization, based in Las Vegas - the Poker Players Alliance (PPA). The PPA was started with money from anonymous sources. The goal of the non-profit organization was clear: defend the rights of poker players throughout the United States, whether they play live or online.
For the remainder of 2005 the PPA stayed mostly quiet. However, in early 2006 they began to make their collective voice heard. They sent letters to congressmen and issued statements objecting to some of the laws being proposed at the time. In April 2006 they issued the results of an independent survey that they funded that found that "nearly 75% of the public opposes federal ban" on Internet poker.
Then in May of 2006, the PPA founder spoke out against a piece of legislation that was introduced by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, H.R. 4777. This bill marked the beginning of the end for online poker in the United States. The Poker Players Alliance spoke out against this bill immediately and followed it, trying to warn people that it was going to be passed without even a vote. It would be attached to another completely unrelated port security bill, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush. Now, we know this law as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The PPA has been fighting for the repeal or amendment of this bill ever since it was signed into law.
The PPA continues to gain momentum and influence at an incredible rate. In March of 2006, when they began to really speak out on behalf of poker players, they had approximately 20,000 members. By the end of September, they were reporting more than 100,000 members. By April, 2008, they had reached the million member mark. Their amazing growth continues today exponentially.
During the time that they have been in operation, they have helped members fight for their right to play poker. They help provide legal assistance for members who are arrested or otherwise charged with poker related offenses that they deem unfair or unjust. They have also been influential in fighting against individual states, such as Kentucky and Minnesota, which both tried to control Internet poker in unreasonable ways. For more information on the Poker Players Alliance, or to become a member, be sure to check their website at theppa.org
and support your right to play poker.