Poker Players Alliance
In the Fall of 2006, there were almost 23 million people playing online poker in the United States, yet Congress passed a law that would make these people criminals for playing the game of skill they love on their own computers, in their own homes. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), founded in 2005 to fight for the rights of poker players nationwide, quickly realized it needed to significantly increase its membership in order to position the organization as a powerful and legitimate advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. and state capitols.
Objectives and Strategies: The Herald Group immediately began to plan and execute a campaign to identify and mobilize online poker players to fight to overturn the prohibition and establish a licensed and regulated online poker industry in the U.S. Through earned media outreach to poker trade publications, a larger presence at poker tournaments such as the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, list acquisition and a host of other tactics, The Herald Group helped increase awareness of the PPA, communicated the benefits of membership and converted interested players into members. Additionally, the PPA had and continues to have extremely valuable assets in well known professional poker players – true celebrities in the poker community – who joined the PPA and called on other poker players to do the same. Over the years, The Herald Group has strategically used the poker pros for a variety of media, grassroots and advocacy purposes.
Results: PPA reached a milestone of one million members in April of 2008. While the number of online poker players has remained consistent over the past four years, the membership of the PPA has skyrocketed – from a few thousand in 2005 to 1.2 million and counting in 2010. PPA’s members have sent more than half a million letters and made thousands of phone calls and tweets to members of Congress urging support for poker and legislation to license and regulate the game. The PPA has hosted rallies in several states to in support of online poker with hundreds of PPA members attending each. The organization is now the clear voice for poker players in the United States and the first source reporters turn to for stories on the topic.
Progress is also being seen from a legislative perspective. On July 28, 2010, H.R. 2267, legislation that would license and regulate online poker, overwhelmingly passed out of the House Financial Services Committee with a bipartisan vote of 41-22. The tide is clearly turning in favor of a safe, regulated online poker market in the United States.