PPA Requests Support and Funding
The Poker Players Alliance is a part of the poker landscape in America, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting poker in live and online spaces. For the most part, the PPA has been focused on internet poker, as the most legal and important battles for the future of the game are taking place in that virtual space.
No group in poker is without controversy, and the PPA has had its share. There are poker players who support the group and others who feel that there are biases and ties that keep the PPA from being fair-minded and putting the good of the game before special interests. Despite those disagreements within the poker community, the PPA continues to work to help legalize online poker in the United States, as well as to try to keep the government from banning it altogether.
At one time, mostly during poker boom years, the PPA had no trouble raising the necessary funds to stay operational and doing the work. In the year since Black Friday, however, as years pass without any new poker legislation or apparent progress in that arena, it becomes more difficult for the group to keep its membership numbers up and funds coming in.
Sometimes, the PPA simply must ask for it.
What is the PPA?
The non-profit, membership-based organization was formed in 2005, and in a fairly short period of time, it eclipsed one million members. Its mission statement reads as follows:
“The PPA’s mission is to establish favorable laws that provide American poker players with a secure, safe and regulated place to play one of America’s oldest past times. Through education and awareness efforts aimed at policymakers, the media and the public, the PPA will keep this game of skill free from egregious government intervention and misguided laws.
As the most prominent voice of the poker player community, the PPA is empowering thousands of enthusiasts across the country to deliver positive messages about the game and why it should be protected to federal, state, and local elected representatives. On behalf of our broad membership of American poker players, the PPA will defend the right of poker players through advocacy work in Washington, D.C., and throughout the nation.”
In essence, the PPA is a lobbying group that tries to speak with one voice that represents the majority of the poker community. That can be a difficult task when poker players often disagree about legislative details and methods, among other things, but the PPA tries to follow the same guidelines as it has for more than a decade. It aims to legalize online poker where it’s not legal and protect it from prohibition-type bans and laws elsewhere.
As the issue has transformed through the years, especially after Black Friday, the PPA has had to adjust its position a bit. In the beginning, its primary focus was on internet poker, but it has since changed to include other forms of online gaming, such as casino games. New Jersey legalized both at the same time and makes the majority of its revenue from the casino games, meaning that the promotion of online gaming elsewhere is more persuasive and prospective when lawmakers are focused on more than just poker. The online casino games add a great deal of potential revenue to financial reports, thus creating a more attractive package for lawmakers.
PPA Plus PokerStars
One point of contention between some members of the poker community and the PPA is the latter’s close relationship with PokerStars. It created somewhat of a divide among players, pushed some away who would otherwise support the organization.
As the PPA noes on its website, “PPA is fortunate to have the financial support of Amaya Gaming, the parent company of PokerStars and the world leader in regulated internet poker. Their support along with donations from the poker community give us the ability to fight for your poker rights. Our priority is to work towards solutions that put poker consumers and poker competition first.”
On one hand, the PPA has to remain funded, even when poker players fail to renew their memberships or pay for one in the first place. If not, it disappears, and the poker community is left with absolutely no professional voice in the political world that is not only familiar with the issue of poker but how the political and legal systems work. And the PPA is being transparent about its close relationship with PokerStars.
On the other hand, many poker players don’t feel that PokerStars has the best interest of all poker players at heart. The company is a profit-making business, after all. And the partnership between the PPA and PokerStars came directly into play in the fight to legalize online poker in California, as PokerStars insisted on having a place in the industry, while most of the Native American tribes did not want PokerStars in it at all. That created a rift that tore the efforts apart and prompted most parties to walk away from the discussion altogether at this time.
Nevertheless, there is only one lobbying organization working on behalf of legalizing online poker, and the Poker Players Alliance has been in the fight for nearly a dozen years.
The PPA is a non-profit group, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need funds to operate. It is a relatively small organization, but it takes money to get its representatives to do the work, especially when it comes to flying to various cities to testify in support of online poker, keep in touch with state and federal politicians, keep tabs on the news, and maintain a social media presence as its essential communications tool between itself, players, and politicians.
Rich Muny, the PPA Vice President of Player Relations, recently took to the forums and social media to deliver the regularly-scheduled news updates as well as to speak about the funding.
As he wrote on TwoPlusTwo Magazine, “A critical factor to winning the poker fight is through your financial support. We may have a billionaire fighting us, but the numbers are on our side. If you can make even a small contribution to PPA, you can help ensure our ability as a community to continue taking the fight to Adelson and his minions on Capitol Hill.”
It is true that casino magnate and online poker opponent Sheldon Adelson has spent millions and plans to spend whatever it takes going forward to prevent online gaming from becoming legal in more states. His primary efforts thus far have been to push members of Congress to sneak legislation on to a must-pass bill to essentially ban all online gambling in the United States, even in the states that already legalized it.
Whether the PPA continues its fight against Adelson and for poker players is up to the poker community. There are many considerations, including the bigger picture that will determine the future of online poker in America. Choose wisely, poker friends.
— PokerPlayersAlliance (@ppapoker) September 6, 2017
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