‘Players’ Dropped from Poker Alliance, Organization Will Keep Pushing for Regulatory Reforms

June 29th, 2018 | by Brian Corlisse

The Poker Alliance, version 2.0 of the organization formerly known as the Poker Players Alliance (PPA),  is recalibrating its focus to promote states’ right and consumer protection.

Poker Alliance rebranding

The newly renamed Poker Alliance has pledged to continue the fight for regulated online poker in the US. (Image: Poker Alliance)

Making the announcement on June 27, the renamed Poker Alliance was born when efforts to resuscitate the gasping PPA were unsuccesful. an online donations page was created mid-February didn’t even come close to meeting its fundraising goals in the wake of former executive director John Pappas’ departure.

“2017 saw PA pass iPoker, and 2018 is primed to be our biggest year yet, but funding issues threaten to shut down PPA before we can even get started. PPA cannot continue fighting for poker if we do not raise $25K by 3/31,” read the PPA’s February 14 tweet.

Lack of Funds Forces Change

Only $6,015 was raised when the clock stopped on March 31. With its existence hanging in the balance, the non-profit advocacy group began to weigh the possibility of focusing its lobbying efforts on sports betting over poker.

With a survey suggesting there would be “considerable interest” from members for this type of shift, the Poker Alliance has now come into being. The group will continue to push for regulated poker across the US, but also take a similar interest in gaming and sports betting.

In the wake of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) being struck down by a Supreme Court ruling, a number of opportunities have arisen. As states look to follow New Jersey and implement their own betting laws, pro-poker politicians are angling for ways to adding gaming provisions to that mix.

PASPA Ruling Opens New Options

As well as state-based possibilities, poker players have been given a ray of hope on a federal level courtesy of Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). Discussing a new horse racing protection bill, Barton told RollCall.com in June that he’s “looking” at ways to add poker to the proposed legislation.

By his reckoning, the Thoroughbred Horseracing Integrity Act wants to create a governing body that will protect the sport’s integrity and, moreover, its ties to the betting industry. If a similar type agency can be formed to oversee the online poker industry, it would slot into the bill nicely and, in turn, regulate the game at the federal level.

Although Barton’s efforts are in an embryonic state, this is the type of thing the Poker Alliance will be fighting for.

“Poker players deserve to be able to play poker with confidence and safety, and we will expand the PPA’s incredible effort by strategically advocating for our members,” said Mark Brenner, the new president of the Poker Alliance.

Along with its renewed sense of purpose and leadership, the Poker Alliance has changed its funding structure. Moving away from being a grassroots advocate, the organization will no longer rely on donations from members and, instead, adopt a new corporate structure.

Among the companies already providing financial support is Poker Central, as well as hotels, gaming developers, and casinos.

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