It's an interesting time for the poker industry in the U.S. as multiple laws have been introduced to Congress regarding the legalization of the online game. The poker community has been pushing for such legislation for years and is optimistic that some type of action will happen soon.
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One way that the online poker community is trying to get its message out is through social media. As Rich Muny, the Vice President of Player Relations at the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), explained to WebProNews, interaction on social networks is very natural for poker players since the Internet is where they play their game.
Since the 2008 election, many politicians see that a presence in social media is important. In return, the poker industry is using this trend to get their message out. Muny told us that the perception is that all online gaming efforts are driven by lobbyists and not the players. However, through social media, the players themselves are able to show that they support legislation.
Social media outlets have also helped poker players provide education to lawmakers not only on legislative matters, but also on other areas involving the game of online poker.
"There's education for legislation, education for what we're seeking, education for what it does, and education on the fact that a lot of people support the right to play," said Muny.
He calls the impact of social media "astounding" and said that it is especially important that poker celebrities such as Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, and Daniel Negreanu are actively participating in the conversation as well. Even if these stars don't address the legislation issues specifically, they still help to create buzz around online poker. What's more, organizations like the PPA can capitalize on the buzz to create further awareness.
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Muny said that the social media efforts have been a "very effective" means for getting lots of information out quickly. The PPA even has a daily action plan that includes preset tweets and Facebook posts that target the exact legislators that need to be reached.
Muny told us that the online poker community hopes that its message is heard and that online poker will be regulated in the near future.