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Online Poker and the Payroll Tax Bill, Not the Best Match?

Written By: PokerNet.com | February 16, 2012 | Posted In Poker News

Reuters reported about a deal that extends the tax break for a year for payroll tax cut regarding online poker. The news wire reported, “House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, and his lieutenants paved the way for a deal on Monday by backing down on the long-held Republican demand that the payroll tax cuts be offset with spending cuts.”

John Pappas, the executive director of Poker Players Alliance (PPA) was asked if online poker was being considered during the process of extending the payroll tax cut. Due to the long held belief by many that the legislation legalizing and regulating internet gambling could be the answer to paying the extension of the payroll tax or funding another measure due to the fact that the internet gambling business can generate up to $40 billion over a 10-day period. Pappas answered this by saying, “The process by which a bill gets done will be determined by the lawmakers, and any outside speculation is just that, speculation. The PPA will let the lawmakers focus on the process and we will do what we can to ensure that the policy is in the best interest of the poker community.”

However, PPA Director of Grassroots and External affairs Drew Lesofski said that the inclusion of online poker in the payroll bill in unlikely. Lesofski was an involved in the fight of online poker on Capitol Hill and he was told by that the payroll tax bill was “probably not the correct vehicle” because House Speaker John Boehner and Reid want the final product to be as clean as possible. Lesofski’s talk with the Nevada Congressional Delegation also revealed that most likely, the target would be the Unemployment Extension Bill instead of the Payroll Tax Bill.

The above statements weren’t put to stone just yet though and the PPA Vice President of Player Relations, Rich Muny, gave an update on the legislative process. He said, “We’re certainly hearing a lot more chatter overall about online poker legislation. It’s clearly something that has the attention of Capitol Hill. They wouldn’t be talking about it if it weren’t going anywhere. The fact it’s up for discussion means it could be discussed for various bills where it’s a logical fit.”

In the lawmaker’s perspective, the payroll tax extension if the logical fit but Muny said that In terms of the payroll tax cut, poker players have been reaching out to the payroll committee heavily via social networking. “It’s obvious that they’ll be discussing the online poker bill’s existence. We’ve worked hard for the legislation, trying to guide it through an appropriate path.”

The payroll tax committee hasn’t released a statement regarding the bill and online poker. Muny said that he hasn’t heard anyone speak in terms of how it would fit with the payroll tax cut bill. Although they have heard feedback like, ‘We’ll keep your thoughts in mind’ and, ‘The tribes haven’t been heard enough,’ but they haven’t heard a lot in terms of the specifics of how it would fit within the payroll tax committee’s work.

Muny said that online poker will find the best “vehicle” for it. However, at this point, their focus is not on the vehicle but in trying to make online poker go forward.

[Source: PocketFives]

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