The Poker Players Alliance staged a Town Hall meeting at the Rio hotel last weekend, updating members and players of the current status of online poker across the United States.

Among those addressing the audience was Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas), a sponsor of H.R.2366, the Bill considered to be the best hope for a change to the law on a federal level.Known as the Online Poker Act, the Bill could, in Barton’s words, pass very quickly or not at all, such is the unpredictability of the political system.
“It’s all about timing in Washington,” said Barton. “We have the bill in place. It’s just a matter of getting it on the agenda by July. It’s imperative we do that.”

The July deadline is crucial, otherwise various obstacles will appear, not least a Presidential election in November.

Despite obvious impediments the PPA remains the most effective lobby group for players in the US, gradually turning the political tide in favour of their aims. Executive Director of the PPA John Pappas was optimistic about the organisation’s progress.

“Back in 2006 when Black Friday occurred, the vote was a 3-to-1 margin against,” said Pappas. “In the five to six years we’ve pushed for this bill, we have come close to reversing that opinion. It may not be a 3-to-1 ratio, but we have more than enough votes to get it passed.”

Despite glimmers of hope, including the steps taken in Nevada and Delaware, many attendees were still angered by the status quo.

“This is prohibition all over again,” said one member of the audience. “It’s just so stupid not to be allowed to play poker online in the privacy of your home. I’m just plain sick of the way our government is run.”