The PPA Check-In with Rich Muny: State or Federal

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 12, 2013 Posted in Poker News | 3 Comments »

PPAlogoThe fight to legalize online poker in the United States has reached a tipping point, with states pushing forward with online poker bills while the federal government remains in gridlock. 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 the chances for federal legislation, potential state legislation, and offered us an update on the remission process for Full Tilt Poker players.

PokerNewsBoy: What are the latest updates on the possibility for federal online poker legislation in the US?

Rich Muny: I believe there will be a federal bill to license online poker in 2013, and PPA will be there representing players and advocating for the best possible legislation. That being said, if Congress wouldn’t move on this issue at the end of 2012 when they had the benefits of Sen. Reid and Sen. Kyl being in agreement on the bill itself, Sen. Kyl actively advocating for it, full knowledge that state action is imminent, all the procedural benefits of acting during a lame duck session, and everything else they had at the time in favor of passing legislation, it’s clear that this will be a significant underdog in Congress in 2013.

I see this fight moving to the states, largely due to the Justice Department restatement of the scope of the Wire Act as not including online poker. Many states see the potential of online gaming and are pushing back against federal efforts in this area.

PNB: You had a number of electoral victories in 2012 (going 51 for 54 in House races and 2 for 2 in Senate races); will any of these new members of Congress be introducing poker legislation?

RM: The elections went well for poker, to be sure. We want a strong defense on the Hill, just in case anyone there tries to expand the Wire Act to encompass the game of poker. We may also find legislation authorizing state compacting to be useful. And, if legislation is introduced in 2013, we’ll wish to make a strong showing. While our focus in on the states, we’ll certainly be looking for opportunities for success at the federal level as well.

PNB: What states should poker players keep their eye on for potential legislation in early 2013?

RM: For online poker, New Jersey is the big one to watch right now. Their legislature overwhelmingly passed online poker legislation last month and is awaiting Gov. Chris Christie’s signature. California is a strong candidate for passing online poker legislation as well. We’re keeping a good eye on Massachusetts, Iowa, New York, and Illinois as well, as they have indicated interest in this.

We’ll be watching Delaware and Nevada, too. Both states have passed legislation and are moving forward to implement this. Nevada is proposing legislation to allow interstate agreements with states that sign on, so we’ll be watching and supporting that bill.

Residents of other states ought not feel left out. It’s all part of a broad strategy. After all, once a few of these states move forward, other states will fall like dominoes. I think the best shot for people who live in states that won’t likely move immediately on this – which, for what it’s worth, includes me – is to see victory in a handful other states. So, we all ought to advocate for legislation in the states looking at this now while, simultaneously, telling our own governors, state senators, and state reps to support poker in all its form in our states of residence.

For bricks-and-mortar poker, Texas is looking at authorizing card rooms. PPA backs that bill and is asking its Texas members to tell Governor Perry and their state senators and state reps to back this.

PNB: Are there any states that are trying to pass anti-poker legislation?

RM: There are no serious efforts right now. We are monitoring the states for any discussion on such legislation getting introduced.

PNB: And finally, I have to ask, do you have any information on when poker players can expect the DOJ to begin the remission process for Full Tilt Poker funds?

RM: We expect them to announce their selection on the claims administrator by the end of this month. This will be followed by a substantial administrative process. The most important thing for the community to focus on is ensuring that 100 percent of player balances are returned and that it is a fair and streamlined (by government standards, at least) process.

For the latest updates and information on online poker legislation you can visit the Poker Players Alliance website at or follow Rich Muny on Twitter at @RichMuny


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3 Responses to “The PPA Check-In with Rich Muny: State or Federal”

  1. Curtis Woodard says:

    I’m a bit surprised and a little disappointed that Rich doesn’t mention the player-led effort to change the WA State law via the initiative process. He is well aware, if not completely supportive of, this effort. The PPA is supposed to be a player’s advocate. Well we are players here, seemingly forsaken, and the PPA should use it’s voice to help us in our fight in the Northwest

  2. Steve Ruddock says:

    I’ll ask him about this in next week’s interview Curtis

  3. Rich Muny says:

    Hi Curtis,

    WA has been a big issue for the poker community since they passed the law criminalizing play. 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.

    I’ve promoted your great efforts on my webcast and on my Facebook wall. As it takes shape, I’ll inform everyone of the steps forward. Thanks for all you do.

    I hope you don’t feel forsaken. Many PPA members, myself included, live in states that will require some work before they’ll entertain licensing of online poker. We’ll need victories in a few states to get the dominoes to start falling, IMO.

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