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Frm Senator Al D'amato (ny) New Chief Lobbyist Of Online Poker

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Former Senator Al D'amato Named Chief Lobbyist For Online PokerBY TOM SOMACHThe new face of online poker is Al D'Amato, PokerHelper.com has learned exclusively.A source close to the situation tells PokerHelper.com that the poker-loving, former New York senator will soon be announced as the chief lobbyist and main spokesman for the online poker lobby.The online poker lobby seeks to keep online poker legal in the face of recent anti-online gambling legislation passed by the U.S. Congress.The lobby claims poker is a game of skill, not luck or chance, and as such shouldn't be subject to legislation governing online gambling or games of chance.Lobbyists meet with legislators and try to convince them to support--or not support--certain pieces of impending legislation, depending on whether the legislation is beneficial or harmful to the companies or interests the lobbyists represent.In this case, D'Amato will be working closely with the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the source said.The PPA (www.pokerplayersalliance.org) is an existing group headed by Michael Bolcerek which is part of the online poker lobby and which claims to have over 10,000 members, all online poker players.D'Amato will be paid by online poker rooms that are helping fund the online poker lobbying effort, the source said.Among the rooms financing D'Amato will be Poker Stars (www.pokerstars.com) and Full Tilt Poker (www.fulltiltpoker.com), the source said.Alfonse M. "Al" D'Amato, 70, was a Republican U.S. senator from the State of New York for 18 years.He was first elected in 1980 and went on to serve a total of three six-year terms.In 1998, D'Amato's political career crashed, burned and ended when he was defeated in a bid for a fourth straight Senate term by Democratic U.S. Congressman Chuck Schumer.D'Amato then became a lobbyist, and now the online poker lobby has sought out his services.The hiring looks like a good fit, but not just because D'Amato spent 18 years on Capitol Hill as a powerful New York senator and knows the people, procedures and problems surrounding the passing of legislation.D'Amato is also an avid poker player in real life, so his determination and zeal to protect the freedoms of online poker players will be real, not just a viewpoint that was bought and paid for.While he was a senator, D'Amato was notorious for playing home poker games with radio shock jock Howard Stern and other celebrities.In fact, D'Amato's poker games sometimes led to controversy.The New York Times reported 10 years ago that weekly poker games in Sen. D'Amato's Washington, D.C. office provided regular occasions for lobbyists to rub elbows with and schmooze the New York senator.While nobody admitted losing on purpose--a ploy that would have let D'Amato pocket as much as $300 a hand--the Senator's poker buddies represented clients who just happened to have business before the all-important Senate Banking Committee, which D'Amato chaired, the newspaper reported.The American TV news show "60 Minutes" also once did a a devastating segment on Sen. D'Amato.The piece suggested D'Amato may have ties to the Mafia and showed an interview with a D'Amato crony who claimed D'Amato "can be reached," a euphemism used to describe someone known to accept bribes.

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