Online poker players have been waiting for years to have the Las Vegas gaming giants join in their fight to bring regulated online poker to the US. This week, Caesars and MGM, two companies that represent the most powerful casinos in the country, have joined the battle.
Caesars and MGM joined together to form FairPlay USA, a non-profit organization that will lobby for changing US online gambling laws. Currently, it is illegal to process payments to and from online poker sites, but the game itself remains legal in many analysts’ eyes.
FairPlay USA did not grow out of a grassroots effort like some of their fellow poker lobbyists. Caesars and MGM ensured that they brought in some political heavyweights to help lead the charge to end online poker prohibition that began on Black Friday.
Among those that will be heading FairPlay USA will be Internet safety expert Parry Aflab, World Series of Poker main event champion Greg Raymer, and perhaps the most important of all, former Governor of Pennsylvania and first Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge.
Politicians for years have played poker behind closed doors late night, well after the legislative sessions had ended that particular day. With Black Friday eliminating the main sources for online poker, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, players started to put pressure on their representatives to change the current laws.
Unlike in the past, legislators will not be able to sweep this controversial issue under the table. Millions of Americans were affected by the Department of Justice’s indictments against PokerStars and Full Tilt, and the players have started to organize and flood their representative’s offices with calls.
The lawmakers will have to deal with the issue carefully. A major election is set to take place late in 2012, and how legislators vote on any online gambling bills could determine whether or not they are re-elected next fall.0