The PPA Check-In with Rich Muny: Progress
The fight to legalize online poker in the United States has reached a tipping point, with states pushing forward with their own online poker bills, while the federal government remains in gridlock. Still, the only complete legislative victory for poker players will be when federal legislation is passed.
Every week the Poker Players Alliance Vice President of Player Relations Rich Muny will give us the latest information on the fight to legalize poker in the United States at both the state and federal level.
This week Rich discussed an initiative effort in Washington State, The potential acquisition of the Atlantic Club by PokerStars, and some thoughts on poker rooms currently operating in the US.
PokerNewsBoy: There is currently an initiative in Washington State to overturn the anti-online gaming legislation that was upheld by the state’s Supreme Court in 2010, is the PPA involved in this initiative, or offering their support to the organizers?
Rich Muny: Poker in the state of Washington has been a big issue for the poker community. As your readers likely know, that state passed a law criminalizing online poker a few years ago, going so far as to make mere PLAYING a felony! PPA had a full-time lobbyist there for a full session to try to change that law and has held a couple of rallies there as well. We all want this changed.
PPA supports efforts to overturn this egregious law via initiative or legislative action. With regard to the initiative effort, I have personally promoted these great efforts on my webcast – Poker Advocacy with Rich Muny — and on my Facebook wall. As this effort takes shape, I’ll keep everyone up to speed on this effort.
PNB: Could you give us your thoughts on Nevada AB5; a bill that would give the Governor of Nevada the power to approve inter-state online poker?
RM: This is a terrific bill for the poker community. If it passes, it will allow sites licensed in Nevada to offer services to residents in states that explicitly authorize it. This will bring more liquidity in the market. Players – especially those in smaller states – would have far more choices in sites to play.
I imagine these sites will lobby states for legislation authorizing just that, adding even more to the overall advocacy effort.
PNB: Does the PokerStars announcement that they have in fact entered into an agreement to purchase the Atlantic Club casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey (contingent upon the bill being signed into law) bode well for Governor Christie signing the online gaming bill that is currently sitting on his desk?
RM: On one hand, it’s great for Atlantic City that Atlantic Club Casino will be saved from bankruptcy. This should appeal greatly to the governor. On the other hand, the bill originally contained a “bad actor” clause that would preclude licensing of PokerStars – a provision that was (wisely and correctly IMO) removed prior to the final Assembly and Senate votes. One hopes those who originally pushed for that provision won’t push Gov. Christie for a veto on that basis.
I hope Governor Christie will sign the bill. Having a strong, experienced online provider will be good for New Jersey and will be great for consumers.
PNB: What are the PPA’s thoughts on poker rooms currently operating in the US?
RM: Sites like HogWild Poker provide a good game. Unfortunately, sites like these are are not authorized to offer real money games in the U.S. In fact, there are no true real-money online poker rooms operating within the U.S. right now, though there are still plenty of U.S.-facing offshore sites.
Nevada will soon allow licensed sites to offer real-money play to its residents, and Delaware is authorized to as well. I believe any site licensed by Nevada will be reputable, as the Nevada Gaming Commission has expertise in ensuring suitability of providers. I believe the same will be true of Delaware as well, but have not yet seen any details on what they would do in this area.
With regard to the offshore sites that serve U.S. players, PPA doesn’t audit, certify, or otherwise make determinations on the suitability of online poker sites. I think everyone residing in states where playing is not unlawful should play, if for no other reason that to show that we won’t give up. That being said, I wouldn’t personally recommend that anyone deposit more than they can afford to lose. After all, sites can close down or get shut down, as we saw on Black Friday. As they are located offshore, they are difficult to reach for redress of issues we players may have.
PPA regards consumer protection as a key requirement in any legislation, as we need access to courts, regulators, and law enforcement.
Tags: Ab5, Federal Legislation, Felony, Governor Of Nevada, Gridlock, Inter State, Legislative Action, Legislative Victory, Lobbyist, online gaming legislation, Online Poker, Organizers, poker players, Poker Rooms, PokerStars, PPA, Rallies, State Of Washington, Tipping Point, Washington State
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