Florida poker players must take action, NOW! Following is an email I sent this morning to my state House Representative asking that he NOT support the proposed Florida HB 1441, which is an effort to establish licensed and regulated intra-state Internet poker in Florida.
"I am a voter and a poker player who lives in your state House district. I care about my right to play online poker and I am very concerned about HB 1441, Internet Poker Consumer Protection & Revenue Generation Act of 2010, which if passed would restrict my rights as a consumer and a poker player.
While I support efforts to license and regulate Internet poker, such as those being debated in the U.S. Congress, I am troubled that the legislation being discussed in Florida would limit my online choices and create an anti-competitive monopoly for Internet poker in this state. This is not only troubling for me as a consumer, but it would be disastrous for the state. The undesirable monopoly model will not attract the critical mass of players needed to generate the expected revenue for Florida. Instead, any state legislation should find a way to capitalize on the current, robust marketplace of Internet poker sites to maximize revenue while at the same time providing the strong consumer protections afforded through regulation.
I respectfully ask you to carefully consider my objections to HB 1441, and I look forward to hearing about your position."
"First, what does “intra-state” poker mean? Today, when you play online poker you compete with other players from across the United States and the world. Essentially, you are part of a global network of millions of poker players. Under Florida bill HB 1441, your access would become limited to poker games only with other Florida residents. Ultimately, this means fewer players, fewer games, fewer stakes/limits and less opportunity for you to play poker how you want, when you want.
Of equal concern, HB 1441 would seek to eliminate play on the various Internet poker brand-names you know and play with today and replace them with a state-controlled monopoly provider of Internet poker in Florida. So, not only would you have less players to test your poker skills against, but you would be forced to play on the state-sanctioned, Florida-only, poker network. From a consumer standpoint this is a definite step in the wrong direction: it limits choice, destroys the competitive marketplace and dramatically reduces the need to provide player incentives like rakeback and bonuses.
To be clear, the PPA does not oppose State-based licensing and regulation of Internet poker. We strongly believe that a regulated marketplace will provide a better experience for the Internet player. In fact, that is why we have invested so much time and so many resources to push the U.S. Congress to enact a sensible federal policy of licensing and regulation. We are concerned, however, when state proposals like the one being contemplated in Florida seek to cut Internet players off from the rest of the world and limit their choice in the marketplace.
What You Can Do!