PPA Sends Sports Betting Survey to Members

The big poker news of Wednesday, as Haley Hintze reported, was the stepping down of John Pappas as the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) at the end of the month and the elevation of Rich Muny to the position. The press release issued by the PPA, naturally, was mostly about the decision, but as Haley noted, the PPA also mentioned that it was interested in hearing how its members felt about sports betting and the possibility of the organization beginning to advocate for sports betting legalization. The PPA said it would be sending a survey out to its membership to gather people’s thoughts and sure enough, that survey arrived in inboxes today.

PPA LogoAs the PPA states in its lead-in to the survey, “Legalized sports betting has become a hot topic across America, and this year we are likely to see a major change in public policy surrounding the activity.”

What the PPA is referring to is New Jersey’s legal battle that made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 made it illegal for states to permit sports betting. States were permitted to be grandfathered into sports betting if it had been legal in the state for the previous ten years, but only Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana opted-in (New Jersey had the chance but declined). Nevada, though, is the only one of the four with traditional odds-based sports betting.

In recent years New Jersey has wanted to legalize sports betting itself – its residents even voted favorably on the matter in a referendum – but the NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, and NCAA have fought the Garden State at every turn, citing PASPA (and the dishonest narrative that sports betting would “harm the integrity of the game”). Yada yada yada…and New Jersey had its case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

The Supreme Court will come down with a ruling this year and so far, the signs look good for New Jersey and sports betting fans. Reporters prevent during the hearing felt that the Justices seemed to side with New Jersey (though who knows, really) and the NBA recently testified in front of a New York legislative committee, laying out the regulations it would like to see put in place if and when sports betting is legalized.

There seems to be much more support for sports betting in the U.S. than there is for online poker, particularly when you consider that leagues like the NBA (and MLB) are starting to get onboard. Daily fantasy sports legalization has also been moving much, much faster than online poker legalization. As such, the PPA is considering that advocating for sports betting could increase the support for the organization and therefore, in turn, the support for online poker.

And so we get to the ten question survey. The questions are reproduced below. Answer choices are generally Support/Oppose/Unsure or Yes/No/Maybe.

1. Legalization of sports betting in the United States has been dominating the national headlines for the past several months and the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on a landmark sports betting case later this year. Are you familiar with the news and public interest in sports betting?

2. In the past 12 months have you… (check all that apply)
• Placed a bet on a sporting event with a friend
• Participated in a sports betting game at a bar or tavern
• Placed a bet on a sporting event online using a computer, tablet or mobile device
• Participated in an office pool, grid, or bracket
• Placed a sports bet with a bookmaker or bookie
• Placed a bet at a sports book in a Nevada casino
• None of the above

3. Currently, federal law makes sports betting illegal almost everywhere in the country, except in Nevada. Do you support changing federal law so that a state can authorize sports betting?

4. If federal law allows a state to offer sports betting, would you support legislation in your state to legalize sports betting?

5. With the organized fight for poker is entering its 12th year, do you believe a PPA-led project in support of grassroots advocacy for sports betting legislation would inject new enthusiasm, volunteerism and donations (individual as well as corporate)?

6. Given that there is not currently any organized consumer grassroots movement for sports betting, do you believe PPA has a good opportunity to take the lead in the push for legalized sports betting?

7. Do you believe that, were PPA a significant stakeholder in the push for sports betting, that PPA’s ability to promote legislation licensing internet poker would improve?

8. Would you support PPA expanding into advocacy for sports betting (online, bricks-and-mortar, kiosk-based, etc.) and casino style iGaming?

9. Do you consider yourself a Republican, Democrat, Independent or something else?

10. What is your age?

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