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Monday, March 5th, 2007

PPA Makes It Official: D’Amato’s In

BY TOM SOMACH

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), online poker’s top lobbying group, announced today what www.PokerHelper.com readers knew a month ago: Former New York senator Al D’Amato is the new face of online poker.

www.PokerHelper.com reported exclusively on Feb. 10 that the poker-loving D’Amato would soon be announced as the top lobbyist and spokesman for the online poker lobby, and would be working with the PPA.

The PPA announced today that D’Amato, 70, is its new chairman of the board.

In an announcement posted on the PPA website (www.pokerplayersalliance.org), PPA president Michael Bolcerek said: “We are thrilled to have Sen. D’Amato take up our cause to promote and protect the game played by millions of Americans. His enthusiasm, tenacity and political astuteness will bolster the influence of the PPA and help earn poker a much deserved exemption from the recent online gaming law. For the past 18 months Linda Johnson, the First Lady of Poker, skillfully lead our organization as chairwoman. Today the First Senator of Poker will lead the charge.”

D’Amato, who has been a lobbyist since losing a bid for a fourth straight U.S. Senate term in 1998, stated in the PPA announcement: “I have had a passion for poker since my childhood, and for politics almost as long. This new position will allow me to fuse these passions and help establish sensible policy that allows Americans to enjoy the great game of poker in the venue of their choosing.

“Prohibitions don’t work, they only create unintended consequences,” D’Amato continued.”The American people know this and we are going to make sure Congress knows it too. We need common sense regulation of Internet poker. Prohibition will only drive the industry underground and strip away any protections for children and services for problem gamblers.”

One thing the PPA did not say in its announcement today is who will be paying D’Amato’s expensive salary to flack for online poker.

www.PokerHelper.com reported in its D’Amato exclusive last month that among those who will be bankrolling the ex-senator’s online poker lobbying efforts will be two online poker rooms, Poker Stars (www.pokerstars.com) and Full Tilt Poker (www.fulltiltpoker.com).

Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker are two of the few major online poker rooms left that still allow U.S. customers to play for real money.

The U.S. market can be criticial to an online poker room’s success.

Former industry leader Party Poker (www.partypoker.com) abandoned the U.S. market last year after the U.S. passed anti-online gambling legislation.

The decision to pull out caused Party Poker to lose 80% of its total business and millions of dollars in profits, a fate Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker desperately want to avoid.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])

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