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Poker Players Alliance testifies during Michigan online poker hearing

8 March 2017

(PRESS RELEASE) -- John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), testified at a hearing today before Michigan's State Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform, to urge the state to enact SB 203. The bill would establish strong consumer protections for adults in Michigan who enjoy internet gaming, and would provide the state with a new revenue stream without raising taxes. The Poker Players Alliance is the leading grassroots poker advocacy group with more than 1.2 million enthusiasts nationwide – and nearly 20,000 Poker Players Alliance activists in Michigan.

"For more than a decade the PPA has been at the forefront of advocating for sensible public policy that authorizes and regulates internet gaming," said Pappas. "We know a good bill when we see it, and that is why I would like to thank Senator Mike Kowall for his leadership on this issue."

According to Pappas, thousands of people in Michigan already play online games for real dollars on unlicensed sites with zero consumer protections. Many residents aren't even aware it's unregulated. A Google search with the query, "Can I gamble online in Michigan?" will show numerous websites claiming to offer "legal" and "safe" online gaming for people living in Michigan. State regulation of iGaming changes this dynamic and puts Michigan in control of internet gaming by turning it into a state-based industry that is safe for consumers and accountable to regulators.

"Each and every day that the state goes without regulation is another day that consumers are left unprotected," continued Pappas. "Doing nothing is simply not an option – Michigan consumers and taxpayers should not have to wait for common sense protections."

Authorizing and regulating Internet poker would mandate "best of breed" technologies to protect consumers from fraud, eliminate underage access, mitigate compulsive gambling behaviors, establish funding for the treatment and prevention of problem gambling and collect a new stream of revenue for the state without raising taxes. Additionally, regulated operators are accountable to the players, regulators and law enforcement, and they are continually reviewed to ensure they are meeting (and exceeding) the prescribed technical safeguards

"Moving a poker game from the kitchen table to the computer table is just another part of the way the internet has transformed our lives – extending oversight into internet gaming is simply a reflection of our modern-day society," Pappas continued. "Michigan can choose to ignore the internet, or it can embrace it for the benefit of its citizens and its economy."

A full copy of the testimony can be found on the Poker Players Alliance website.

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