Poker Alliance President Says Relaunch Coming Soon
It has been little more than one month since the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) rebranded as the Poker Alliance. With the help of Poker Central, the nonprofit poker advocacy group was reinvigorated and renamed, seemingly with a broader scope and a lack of reliance on membership for funding.
Newly-appointed President Mark Brenner was introduced to the poker community, albeit briefly, and he did an interview with PokerNews to expand on his new position. He planned to coordinate with former PPA Executive Director John Pappas and outgoing President Rich Muny to transition the organization and familiarize himself with its history and most recent focus.
Since that announcement, however, there has been no new information from the Poker Alliance. So, we reached out to Brenner. He was very responsive and revealed that there will be an official site relaunch in the coming weeks, complete with opportunities for the community to get involved and information about recent developments in the industry.
Information on Tap
Anyone who visits the current version of the Poker Alliance website knows it is a shell of its former version. There are a handful of poker-related articles linked on the home page and a few paragraphs of information about the organization, but there are no action items, details about legislation in states currently considering online poker, and no information about the group’s new leadership.
— Poker Alliance (@ppapoker) June 27, 2018
But all of that will change in the coming weeks. Brenner said the relaunch of the website is in the works and will happen soon.
“We want to provide more opportunities for poker players to use the website and our social media tools for their advocacy, provide more information about opportunities to participate, more details on a state by state basis and spotlight individual member stories,” Brenner told us. “There is a lot of excitement around poker and sports betting, and we want to help. We are also happy to see so much progress for players of both.”
Brenner expressed enthusiasm about recent deals involving MGM Resorts with Boyd Gaming, GVC holdings, and the National Basketball Association, all of which have the potential to expand opportunities for online gaming, including poker. He also mentioned that the tri-state online poker compact connecting players in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey was a positive for the industry, as was the recent World Series of Poker’s record-setting summer.
“I was lucky enough to go out and see (the WSOP) for myself with the team from PokerGO and can tell you the energy was palpable,” said Brenner. “It is an amazing time to advocate for and with poker players around the country.”
No Specifics Yet
As for the states in which the Poker Alliance will focus its immediate energy, Brenner was not willing to be specific. He was emphatic about working with forward-thinking politicians but wasn’t prepared to name states or legislators
“We believe as many as 37 states will try and grow their sports gambling and poker opportunities, which is a huge win for state coffers and, more importantly, for players around the country,” Brenner responded. “It is my hope that these states will get it right and include poker along with sports betting and casino gaming for their constituents. “The community of poker players that we serve deserves improved access throughout the United States.”
There are two states still in play in 2018. Lawmakers there have expressed an interest in passing online poker and/or casino game legislation this year, and the possibilities remain open in Illinois and Michigan.
Other states may have missed the mark in 2018 but stand good chances of moving the needle forward next year. States like New York will need guidance in finding a new Senate sponsor for the online poker bill, and lawmakers in Connecticut have admitted they don’t know enough about online gaming to truly debate the issue. Louisiana and Massachusetts could be in play next year.
There was also a hint from United States Representative Joe Barton of Texas that he is holding a draft of an online poker bill that awaits the right opportunity in Congress.
This provides a lot for Brenner to put on his plate, so it will be interesting to see how the various opportunities are addressed going forward.
Brenner and the Community
Not many people in the poker community know much about Brenner. When asked what players and fans should know, he told us this:
“I want to be as engaged as possible with folks in the poker community and the members of Poker Alliance in particular. I love poker and know how challenging it is. I have been an advocate for twenty years, but advocacy regarding poker, gaming and sports betting is a new world to me. I have spent a lot of time with John Pappas and Rich Muny trying to learn from their incredible efforts. I have met with advocates for some of the organizations who are committed to growing poker, sports betting and casino gaming. I believe we are on the right track.
“I also have an open-door policy for any industry folks who seek to engage and join our mission. I am active on LinkedIn and happy to share my information with anyone interested. Poker players are some of the most passionate and thoughtful people on the planet, and it is a privilege to hear from them and learn from them.”
It appears that Brenner is ready to dive in, and he knows how to swim. In the coming weeks, the poker community should become more familiar with the Poker Alliance and its new leadership.
From @PokerNews: 37 states are considering how to properly regulate sports gaming, online poker, and iGaming. The Poker Alliance aims to make sure the voices of poker players are heard throughout the United States.https://t.co/POXJ0EEgYQ
— Poker Alliance (@ppapoker) June 29, 2018