PPA Testifies Before MA Committee on Poker as Game of Skill

Washington, DC (February 23, 2010) – The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide and over 25,000 members in Massachusetts, will testify today before the Massachusetts State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies as the committee considers H4069, which would classify poker as a game of skill in the state of Massachusetts.

“There is a vast, and growing, body of academic research proving that poker is game in which who wins and who loses is predominantly determined by skill, not chance,” said Randy Castonguay, Massachusetts state director of the PPA. “I am extremely proud that Massachusetts is on its way to codifying this fact into law and preserving our citizens’ rights to play the game they love.”

In most jurisdictions in the United States, and in Massachusetts, the definition of gambling depends on whether or not a game’s results are predominantly due to skill or chance. Given the law’s reliance on the skill versus chance classification, legislation like H4069 is critical to ensuring that every American has the freedom to play poker, either with friends around the kitchen table or online at the computer table.

Testifying on behalf of the PPA will be Patrick Fleming, director of PPA’s Litigation Support Network, and Andrew Woods of the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS) at Harvard. At the hearing, PPA will also be submitting a white paper describing the role that skill plays in determining the outcome of a game of poker, and offers an overview of the scientific studies that address that question.

The bill, introduced by Representative Brian Wallace, is the result of a robust grassroots effort by PPA members in Massachusetts. While PPA is uncertain of passage of this bill as stand alone legislation, the bill could be included in a larger casinos bill that the Massachusetts legislature plans to consider this summer.

“At the core of our efforts to protect poker players’ rights to enjoy this great American pastime wherever and whenever they chose is to explicitly categorize poker as a game of skill on the law books,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. “PPA applauds Representative Wallace and the committee for holding a hearing on this bill and looks forward to working with them to see H4069 enacted into law.”

For more background on the skill versus chance argument, please visit http://theppa.org/resources/skill/