poker player alliance

Poker Players Alliance Releases Consumer Survey Topline

A little less then a month ago, we reported on a consumer-survey effort launched by the United States’ Poker Players Alliance. That detailed, 17-question survey sought input from the US’s poker players on a wide variety of topics, and was pitched as being helped to decide the future of the PPA. This week, the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group has released the first topline results from that study, so let’s dig into what’s been served up for the public’s consumption.

PPA LogoThe PPA will be releasing its own presser regarding the study’s findings, but a couple of things are evident from this week’s release. As one would expect from any survey put forth by a lobbying group, there’s a healthy amount of spin, both in the questions asked and in the manner the results are and will be presented. But… that’s what you get with these.

Here’s the first question of the survey, along with the results as recorded:

How do you feel about the current state of poker in the United States? (choose all that apply)

  • Poker is as popular as it has ever been and continues to grow. — (44%)
  • Poker has reached its peak and is now on a plateau, and will soon decline. — (7%)
  • Poker’s popularity has been on a decline in the U.S. since Black Friday shut down the leading online poker sites. — (44%)
  • Other. — (11%)

I believe those are fair results, though they perhaps represent more the game’s current state of limbo in the US — referring specifically to “online” poker — than the reality of poker’s global status itself.  In global terms, poker is more accurately described as being in a mature growth phase, and such markets also tend to be a bit cyclical.

The PPA has also released the results for another question that we highlighted in our first report on the survey last month. Let’s sort these results a bit from how the PPA’s topline has them listed:

Why do you believe more states have not licensed and regulated online poker? (choose all that apply)

  • Elected officials have misconceptions about online poker. — (71%)
  • Elected officials don’t feel the issue is important. — (57%)
  • Gambling industry is not working together and funding the fight. — (43%)
  • Not enough money is going towards lobbying. — (22%)
  • Poker players are not organized enough . — (20%)
  • Other. — (14%)
  • Arguments/approach for legalizing online poker are wrong. — (13%)
  • There is not enough money generated through online poker. — (8%)
  • Poker players do not care enough about the issue. — (7%)

As we detailed last month, this question also omitted two reasonable possibilities that named names, instead of serving up only generic options: The deep-pocketed RAWA push by billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, and the insistence on tribal exclusivity in online gambling by a hardline faction of the nation’s tribal nations, which has killed or derailed several states’ regulatory efforts, particularly in California. Both are included in the third-ranking point, regarding the gambling industry, but in a somewhat minimized and indirect way.

The issue of money as it relates to lobbying appears underappreciated by many of the survey’s respondents. It’s an important factor, though it received the nod from only 22% of those who answered the question. And that leads to perhaps the largest chuckle of the topline’s presented findings:

What are your expectations of the PPA? (choose all that apply)

  • Alert poker players when their voice is needed to address relevant legislation. — (74%)
  • Coordinate lobbying at the state and federal level. — (68%)
  • Provide legal support and resources to poker players. — (32%)
  • Ensure a fair and honest game for online and live poker players. — (57%)
  • Represent the voice of poker players in the media and government hearings. — (68%)
  • Advocate for licensed and regulated online poker in the United States where not available. — (74%)
  • Advocate for legalizing live poker in the United States where not available. — (61%)
  • Spread awareness about the PPA among the general public and poker players. — (51%)
  • Be funded by poker players . — (26%)
  • Be funded by industry. — (36%)
  • Other. — (3%)

First, it would be nice if the PPA or some other pro-poker groups could do all of these things. That’s not realistic, however, given the nature of the PPA; funding only goes so far.

The PPA has taken plenty of heat in the past for presenting itself as a grassroots, player-focused lobbying group while receiving at times more than 99% of its funding from corporate interests. That’s why it was interesting to see the two answers “Be funded by poker players” and “Be funded by industry” included. The chuckle is that those are the only two real options for the PPA in its current form, and they added up to only 62%. Perhaps “Be funded by tooth fairy” ought to be credited with 38%, just on principle.

The topline continues with several other findings, and some of those reflect respondents’ idealistic beliefs as well. One important question hinting at the future direction of the PPA was this: “Should PPA expand their mission to include supporting online gambling / daily fantasy sports / sports betting legislation?” The respondents said yes, but only by a 58-42 margin. The truth is, the PPA is very likely to expand in that direction, given the ongoing stalemates in various US states over online-gambling legislation, along with the PPA’s own needs for continued funding.

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