Poker Players Alliance Positive After PASPA is Struck Down

May 16th, 2018 | by Kaycee James

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) believes striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) could be a chance for US states to embrace regulated online poker.

Phil Hellmuth LA Poker Classic

Pro player Phil Hellmuth seen here at the LA Poker Classic has called for federal regulation of poker in the wake of the recent PASPA ruling. (Image: World Poker Tour)

Commenting on the US Supreme Court’s ruling that PASPA is unconstitutional, PPA president Rich Muny was hopeful that the decision could create a surge of interest in other forms of betting.

“It makes sense for states that are eyeing sports betting to also realize the benefit of regulated iPoker and iGaming,” Muny wrote in a May 14 press release.

PASPA Ruling Could Help All Betting Interests

Since New Jersey governor Chris Christie has won the right to quash PASPA and regulate sports betting within his state, insiders are optimistic about the industry as a whole. For its part, the PPA conducted a survey of its members at the start of 2018 and found that 90 percent were in favor of regulated sports betting.

With states across the US now expected to take the Supreme Court’s ruling as a greenlight to implement their own sports betting laws, poker could be added to the mix. Prior to the May 14 ruling, California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) told Online Poker Report that “sports betting raises all tides.”

The implication was that any potential poker regulation in California may stand a better chance of being passed if its attached to a sports betting bill. With this possibility now a reality, industry insiders will be watching closely as politicians across the US rush to implement new rules and regulations.

Is Now the Time for Federal Poker Legislation?

As well as PASPA’s defeat opening the doors for poker/sports betting bills, it has prompted calls for the federal government to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Although the DOJ’s 2011 judgment that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting allowed states to regulate poker, some pros want more.

“Every Major sport (NBA, NFL, MLB) is behind the legalization of sports betting, and all of them will profit by it. But how can Sports Betting online be legalized w/out online poker being legalized (clearly more skill than sports betting)? The time is NOW to legalize online poker,” Phil Hellmuth tweeted on May 15.

At this stage, the focus is on sports betting. According to the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV, more than 30 states could have a regulatory framework in place within the next five years.

But even though poker is not yet part of the discussion, that could change. If states can show that regulated sports betting is not only possible but profitable, it would only serve to bolster the already positive results produced by poker operators in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada.


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