PPA Survey Says Yes to Sportsbetting
After more than a decade of representing online poker in America, the Poker Players Alliance is at a crossroads. The advocacy group needs a fairly sizeable amount of money in donations before the end of this month to keep functioning, and with the ability to raise those funds in question, it is considering other options.
A significant majority of survey respondents indicated that they support the PPA advocating for sports betting as well as poker. This may be the key to not only surviving but also broadening its base and list of accomplishments.
The PPA survey was available for anyone from February 8-23, and nearly 1,000 people responded to weigh in on sports betting issues. The survey was open to anyone, though the majority of respondents were likely from within the poker community.
Overwhelmingly, the results showed an interest in sports betting and support for the PPA to begin advocating on behalf of that industry going forward. Here are the questions and results:
Are you familiar with the news and public interest in sportsbetting?
Do you support changing federal law so that a state can authorize sports betting?
If federal law allows a state to offer sportsbetting, would you support legislation in your state to legalize it?
Do you believe the PPA has a good opportunity to take the lead in the push for legalized sports betting?
Do you believe the PPA’s ability to promote legislation for online poker licensing would improve if the PPA also promoted sports betting?
Do you support the PPA expanding into advocacy for sports betting and casino-style online gaming?
Nearly everyone surveyed believes that sports betting should be legal, whether on the federal or state level, though only 72% are familiar with the latest news about the US Supreme Court case involving New Jersey fighting for the right to offer sports betting.
When the questions moved to the PPA’s potential involvement, the answers were fairly close across the board with only subtle differences. Between 60% and 70% of respondents believe that the PPA should include sports betting in some way in its focus going forward, though only 60% believe the move would inject new enthusiasm and donations into the PPA. Opposition to those ideas never leapt above 17%. Uncertainty was higher than the opposition, indicating that some wouldn’t mind giving it a try.
In the long term, both poker and sportsbetting are games of making the best risk:reward decisions
— Mickey Brenneman (@1337h4xpoker) February 13, 2018
New Course of Action?
The PPA released the results of the survey with a statement from new PPA President Rich Muny. He noted the strong support of respondents for sports betting action and said a determination will be made as how to engage as the organization decides its future.
“This is extremely useful data as we chart the future of the PPA. There are no other organized grassroots in the United States that advocate for expanded gaming opportunities. PPA is in a unique position to help advance sensible sports betting policy at the state and federal level. … While PPA has primarily fought for the interests of poker players, since 2013 – when iGaming advocacy turned into a state-by-state fight – PPA has advocated for broad-based internet gambling legislation in state capitals and defended against federal efforts to ban internet poker, internet casino gaming, and internet lotteries.”
The timing of this survey and the release of its results were no coincidence, as the PPA just announced in February that its financial situation was dire. If the PPA doesn’t raise $25,000 by the end of March – just several weeks away – it may not be able to continue any advocacy whatsoever.
— PokerPlayersAlliance (@ppapoker) February 27, 2018
The majority poker-playing public is clearly not willing to spend $10 or $20 on a membership or donation, as it once was, or it wouldn’t be in such a precarious position. Some of the problems stem from the PPA receiving much pushback when it accepted money from PokerStars. Some poker players withdrew their support – monetarily or otherwise – from the PPA since 2016 when the PPA stood for PokerStars in California at the expense of seeing online poker efforts fail altogether. While the PPA wasn’t as transparent as it could have been about its connection to PokerStars, many players refused to see that the PPA could have disappeared from the landscape long ago if it wasn’t for the corporate support of PokerStars. While blaming the PPA for California’s failure, they fail to see that the group won online poker for Pennsylvania. And these are just some of the complicating factors when it comes to the PPA soliciting and collecting operating funds from the poker community.
It’s time for all who want online poker back in the USA to get behind https://t.co/XbaptP7Lqz,it been to long with out nationwide online poker .!!!!!!
— B.TheGambler (@601gambler) February 15, 2018
However, if the organization is able to expand its scope to include a much larger base of sports betting fans and approach companies that would benefit from pro-sports betting laws, this would likely open up new fundraising avenues.
It seems there is not much to think about. Without adding sports betting advocacy to its range, the PPA may be forced to fold.
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