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Poker Players Alliance Makes Progress in Massachusetts

March 4, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has long been among the most active and vocal groups pushing for legalization and regulation of Internet poker in the United States. In situations like the online poker domain name grab in Kentucky, the PPA is usually there first, and tends to be the group making the strongest legal arguments on poker’s behalf. (Among other online poker initiatives, last year’s National Poker Week was the PPA’s doing.)

Most recently, the PPA has testified in front of the Massachusetts legislature to convince that body of lawmakers to re-classify Internet poker from a game of chance to a game of skill. That’s a huge difference: In many places where online poker is currently banned in the U.S., it’s because it’s considered “gambling”, or a game of chance.

So, if poker is legally redefined as a game of skill — which almost any given poker player would be quick to tell you it is — then it becomes a sport, and Internet poker would quickly become legalized and regulated (presumably).

In Massachusetts, the PPA is out to convince the Joint Committee On Economic Development And Emerging Technologies to approve H4069, a piece of legislation that would legally classify poker as a game of skill. The effort in Massachusetts is progressive by national standards. If it succeeds, it would make Massachusetts the first state to approve such a bill. It could inspire other states to follow suit — a particularly advantageous situation today, when many states are considering overhauling their poker and gambling laws, anyway.

“There is a vast and growing body of academic research proving that poker is a game in which who wins and who loses is predominantly determined by skill, not chance,’ said Randy Castonguay, Massachusetts State Director for the PPA, according to a PPA news release. “I am extremely proud that Massachusetts is on its way to codifying this fact into law and preserving our citizens’ rights to play the game they love.”

“I believe if a legislature takes this position, it would be precedent-setting,” Castonguay was quoted by “It would put us on course for victories in other states.”

According to the article, the bill’s chances are uncertain; “however, the PPA hopes to get the bill attached to a larger bill that would allow for resort-style casinos to be built at existing racetracks in the state.” Read the PPA article here.