Poker Player Alliance (PPA), a non-profit organization with more than 1 million members, announced recently that the Massachusetts legislature approved an amendment that takes language out of an online-gaming law, effectively decriminalizing Internet poker in that state.
According to the PPA, the group has been “working closely” with legislators in the eastern state to preserve the right to play online poker. PPA Executive Director John Pappas gave credit to organization members in Massachusetts for the legislative victory. He emphasized that individual members had made connections with state legislators and “made their voices heard.”
Massachusetts lawmakers introduced a wide-ranging casino bill in 2008 that would have fined players $25,000 for playing poker online (in addition to a possible two-year prison sentence). The bill has had its moments in the spotlight and on the back burner since 2008 but it came to the front of the line this year, with the poker-criminal language removed.
One of the key elements of the new legislation makes poker distinct from other casino games. Poker is defined as a game of skill, whereas other casino games are regulated as games of chance. This distinction makes it possible to take part in poker games but eliminates the opportunity for many other casino activities.
The PPA effort in the Massachusetts House of Representatives now moves to the state Senate.
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