Issue 339
March 12 - March 18, 2007
Volume 7
page 2

D'Amato to serve as PPA Chairman
by Ryan McLane, Casino City

Former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato is the Poker Player's Alliance's new chairman of the board, the PPA announced Monday.

D'Amato replaces Linda Johnson, the PPA's first chairperson. She will retain a position on the PPA board.

The brash and often controversial 69-year old Republican from New York, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1999, is a staunch poker advocate. He often hosted regular games in Washington D.C. And according to the New York Times, he plays in a weekly Long Island home game that boasts wins and losses in the thousands.

"I have had a passion for poker since my childhood, and for politics almost as long. This new position will allow me to fuse these passions and help establish sensible policy that allows Americans to enjoy the great game of poker in the venue of their choosing," D'Amato said.

D'Amato's job description includes organizing lobbying efforts in Washington D.C., PPA spokesman John Pappas said. He added that the former Senator visits the nation's capital two to three times a week, and will be expected to continue that schedule as the PPA's new chair.

D'Amato is expected to lead the charge in declaring poker a skill game – thus exempt from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act -- and help pave the way for eventual regulation and taxation of the online gaming industry in the United States.

D'Amato calls recent U.S. legislation against online gambling an act of prohibition.

"Prohibitions don't work, they only create unintended consequences. The American people know this and we are going to make sure Congress knows it too," D'Amato said. "We need common sense regulation of Internet poker. Prohibition will only drive the industry underground and strip away any protections for children and services for problem gamblers."

PPA president Michael Bolcerek believes adding a high profile poker enthusiast with years of experience on Capital Hill will add clout to his growing organization. The PPA currently has more than 160,000 members.

"We are thrilled to have Senator D'Amato take up our cause to promote and protect the game played by millions of Americans. His enthusiasm, tenacity and political astuteness will bolster the influence of the PPA and help earn poker a much deserved exemption from the recent online gaming law," Bolcerek said.

The PPA, which is based in California, does not have a permanent office in Washington D.C. But it plans on opening a Washington office within the next 60 days. Pappas said D'Amato is not a part of that plan and will work from his New York offices.


Million Dollar Elm Casino opens
As reported by The Examiner-Enterprise

OKLAHOMA – "After a few delays in the construction process, the Osage Nation has announced that its much-anticipated new Million Dollar Elm Casino west of Bartlesville is scheduled to open to the public at midnight on Tuesday.

"More than 300 individuals have been hired to work in the gaming and restaurant facilities, and more than 35 local contractors were employed in the construction of the 42,000-square-foot, $11 million facility, say officials.

"…Tribal leaders say that one of the primary goals of opening the casino is to create training, jobs and career advancement opportunities for the Osage people and promise the casino will be not only a first-class entertainment destination for gaming customers but also an economic catalyst for enhancing tribal programs.

"…Amenities include live music venues, more than 600 electronic gaming devices and several table games.

"…The casino is located in the Osage Hills, four miles southwest of the intersection of State Highway 123 and U.S. Highway 60. The property's parking allows for 700 vehicles and sits on 20 acres of a larger 132-acre property leased from private landowners…"

Smoking critic loses casino job
As reported by The Press of Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – "A vocal critic of casino smoking was laid off Sunday from his position as a tables-games supervisor, a move the Somers Point man calls retaliatory.

"Vincent Rennich was called into a manager's office Sunday morning and told that after 26 years of service at Tropicana Casino and Resort, he was no longer needed.

"Rennich, who has lung cancer that he attributes to years of inhaling secondhand smoke on the gaming floor, wasn't the only one laid off Sunday and Monday morning as the Tropicana looks to trim its expenses. But the 48-year-old argued the casino used the cutbacks as an excuse to get rid of a thorn in its side.

"…Last summer, Rennich filed suit against then-Tropicana parent Aztar Corp. for failing to protect him — and other employees — from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Diagnosed with cancer in 2005, Rennich had a portion of his lung removed and says doctors tell him the cancer could return. He says he's never smoked in his life.

"Columbia Sussex Corp. inherited Rennich's suit when it completed a buyout of Aztar earlier this year.

"…The casino has been shedding employees lately, laying off upward of 300 in the weeks before the January takeover by Columbia. Another 125 or so were shown the door that month.

"…[Rennich] has been very active in the anti-smoking crusade, pushing the industry and legislators to adopt clean-air regulations for the 40,000-plus casino workers in Atlantic City…"


Lewis Black

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nev.: Known to many as "America's foremost commentator on everything," comedian Lewis Black can be seen every Wednesday night offering his satirical commentary on the perils of everyday life on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." He is also a frequent visitor to the "Conan O'Brien Show"

But Black's success is no accident. The Maryland-born comedian has a Master of Fine Arts from the prestigious Yale School of Drama, and has authored more than 40 plays that have been produced in theaters around the country. He was also the first recipient of the NYCC Award for Distinctive Contribution to the Arts in 1999.

And you thought that commentator title was self-appointed …

Black has appeared in numerous TV shows, including "Murphy Brown," "Mad About You" and "Homicide Life on the Street." Film credits include roles in "Hannah and Her Sisters," "Jacob's Ladder," "The Hard Way" and "The Night We Never Met," and is a much-sought stand-up act.

Dates: March 15-21, 2007
Time: 9 p.m.
Ticket Prices: $60

For more information: Official Web site

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