Poker Players Alliance Calls for Help as Future Hangs in the Balance

March 5th, 2018 | by Jason Reynolds

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is calling on all players to help it continue the fight for online poker in the US by raising $25,000 before the end of March.

PPA Rich Muny

PPA President Rich Muny has called on the community for support as the organization hits financial difficulties. (Image: YouTube/Rich Muny)

Following a public notice at the end of February, the PPA has emailed its members to ask for their support in keeping its operation alive. The community was first made aware of the organization’s funding issues via an official press release.

“Over the past several months, the PPA has been adjusting to a significant reduction in financial support from the internet gaming industry and thusly has refocused its efforts on cost effective grassroots advocacy,” read the February 7 release.

Pappas Gone but Not Forgotten

As well as addressing its financial issues, the PPA announced the departure of long-serving Executive Director, John Pappas. Taking the helm more than ten years ago, Pappas brought more than two decades’ worth of policy and political consulting experience with him to the role.

Despite stepping down as Executive Director, Pappas will remain on the board and continue to work with the PPA as an advisor. Although the PPA’s financial issues haven’t been cited as the reason for the change, Pappas didn’t suggest that his decision wasn’t based on the current regulatory climate.

“There has never been greater momentum than right now for the advancement of sensible internet gaming policy in the U.S. Whether lawmakers are considering poker, casino gambling or even sports betting, a strong and organized grassroots effort will be critical to legislative success,” Pappas said in the press release.

With Vice President Rich Muny taking charge, a push to raise money for the organization has started. A donations page has been set-up on the PPA’s website, with a live ticker showing how close the organization is to meeting its $25,000 goal.

At the time of writing, just short of $5,000 had been raised and supporters are being asked to donate as little as $20 or as much as $500+ to help save the PPA from folding.

Sports Betting Could Create New Opportunities for PPA 

Going forward, the PPA is also considering its position on sports betting. With New Jersey Governor Chris Christie set to continue his legal battle against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in the spring, the PPA could follow suit.

After running a survey from February 8 to February 23, PPA President Muny has confirmed that there is “considerable interest” in legalized sports betting among the poker community. Based on this information, the board will now decide whether to lobby in favor of legalized sports betting across the US.

For US betting operators, repealing PASPA could be worth billions. Ahead of a potential win for Christie and, therefore, other US states currently unable to offer sports betting, analysts at Barclays predicted a $22 billion boost to the economy.

Beyond the financial implications of legalized sports betting, online poker could also benefit. California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer has already suggested that his state’s next push for poker regulation could be tacked on to a sports betting bill.

Given the potentially positive interplay between sports betting and poker, it could benefit the PPA to become active in this area. Indeed, with funding an issue, a change of tact could attract support from new companies which, in turn, would allow the fight for online poker to continue.

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