The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has one mission above all: to protect the rights of US poker players. And a large part of this mission involves giving people the right to legally play online poker. So the big question now is would the PPA be okay if the Sheldon Adelson-backed Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) includes a carve-out for iPoker?
It’s been said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been fighting for an online poker carve-out in RAWA, which seeks to ban all forms of iGaming in America. This legislation could potentially come to a vote during Congress’ lame-duck session in November. But until that happens, you can bet that the PPA will be lobbying hard to make sure RAWA doesn’t become a reality – even if poker is spared.
Online poker gains no ground if RAWA is passed
It seems like getting iPoker legalized on a federal level would be a dream for the PPA, even at the expense of online casino games. But that’s just the thing….the only concession for online poker is that it won’t be illegal. There’s nothing suggesting that anything would change for poker, which is currently only regulated in Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada.
John Pappas, Executive Director of the PPA, did admit that he’d support any legislation which fully legalized iPoker. “If there was a bill that banned online casino games, but legalized online poker at the federal level, we would support that all day long.” Pappas told NJ.com. “The PPA is going to stand with supporting poker over other forms of gambling.”
However, he added that this would definitely not be the ideal scenario. Pappas would rather that online poker keep moving state by state across the US, without sacrificing the legality of online casino games.
As if RAWA doing nothing to truly promote iPoker isn’t enough, there’s another huge problem that this bill could cause. Assuming RAWA does pass and other forms of iGaming are banned, this would hurt the expansion of online poker.
Many gaming companies make the majority of their revenue from internet casino games – not just poker. So if casino games were banned, it would make investing in online poker far less attractive. Furthermore, it would make state governments more hesitant to regulate iGaming.
Things likely to remain unchanged
We can expect the PPA to continue fighting RAWA and promoting iPoker on a state level. After all, the poker carve-out likely won’t include federal legalization. Another thing worth mentioning here is that Congress will have too much on their plate in November to seriously worry about RAWA – especially with the growing ISIS problem. So don’t expect any changes regarding US online poker in the near future.