Washington, DC (November 17, 2011) – Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, today testified before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on the future of online gaming and its potential impact on Indian tribes.
“Indian Country has long been an important stakeholder in the American gaming history. The fact that gaming is moving from the casino table to the computer table should not change that. We believe Indian Country should be substantial players in a regulated U.S. market with Tribal governments as federally-recognized licensing bodies,” said, Chairman D’Amato. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to share with the Committee the poker community’s thoughts on the many benefits that a U.S. licensed and regulated online poker market would have for Indian tribes – and all Americans.”
In his testimony, Senator D’Amato noted that millions of Americans have been and will continue playing poker on the Internet regardless – they are just doing so on sites operated overseas with each and every dollar and job created by this industry benefiting other countries and not the United States and not our nation’s Indian tribes. Creating a U.S. licensed and regulated online poker regime would not only bring those economic benefits to our shores, but would provide the safe playing environment that American consumers are demanding.
Senator D’Amato highlighted several key points regarding the potential impact of online gaming on Indian Country:
- A U.S.-regulated online poker market would generate jobs and billions of dollars in revenue for the entire nation, including Indian Country.
- Tribes, like states, will have the right to opt-out of any federal licensing bill.
- Poker is a small percentage of tribal gaming revenue, and as such, online poker will not pose a threat to the business at bricks and mortar tribal casinos.
- The poker community wants to work with Indian Country to develop a taxation regime that avoids breaching the principle that Indian gaming is not subject to taxation, but that also avoids providing tribal gaming an unfair competitive advantage in the marketplace.
“The PPA looks forward to working with the Committee and Indian Country on this issue. We would like to see Tribal gaming enterprises as licensed operators, as well as affiliates and network partners for other licensed operators. In the poker marketplace, PPA speaks for the consumers, and competition is always good for consumers,” continued D’Amato.
A full copy of the testimony can be found at www.theppa.org.