Poker Alliance Offers More Background Information, Embraces Online Poker as Central Issue

The newly-formed Poker Alliance, built upon the bones of the old PPA (Poker Players Alliance), is starting to roll out a bit more background information on the group’s new framework and direction. Though much of what’s been offered to date has been boilerplate, generic stuff, it’s still worth checking in to see if the group plans any sort of change in direction.

As many of our readers know, the old PPA got off-message now and then, whether it was forsaking the “Players” part of its name in the interest of its corporate benefactors, or more recently, exploring a possible transition into a general gambling-related group with a joint focus on sports betting as well.

Poker AllianceThe pickup of the lobbying group by Poker Central gets rid of at least some of that muddiness, regarding that old “Players” reference. The new Poker Alliance certainly wants player support, but there’s no messing around: It’s the corporate owners that will be calling the shots in those cases where corporate poker’s (re: Poker Central’s) and players’ interest diverge. That said, there’s also no doubt that the new Poker Alliance plans to keep the game first and foremost, rather then diluting its focus by bringing in other interests.

Here’s this, from the Poker Alliance’s new “About” page:

Poker Alliance is an organization dedicated to advancing the sport of poker on behalf of poker players in the United States and around the world. Whether you are playing in a neighbor’s backyard, at a casino, or via the internet – we want your game to be safe, legal and fair. We represent the needs of poker players to legislators, courts, policymakers, and the media to ensure legal and healthy competition. We also work with casinos, poker companies, and others to ensure you have a safe, fun, and fair game, whenever and wherever you decide to play.

Poker Alliance (formerly known as The PPA) is the largest and most influential advocacy organization focused on advancing the interests of the poker playing community. The PPA created a voice for the millions of Americans who want to protect consumers, preserve the rights of states, and allow poker players to play poker where and when they choose.

Over the last 15 years, we have gained credibility with policymakers and the press as the best resource for connecting with poker players. Policymakers take our meetings and call on us for testimony, counsel, and to represent the players and the industry. Reporters take our calls and count on us as a credible resource in the discussion about poker.

Online poker is the central issue for Poker Alliance. To date, four states have authorized internet poker/gaming. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have been operating for several years and Pennsylvania is expected to launch its regulated iGaming market later this year. Several states are currently considering bills to regulate internet poker and iGaming. Poker Alliance will be the voice for millions of Americans who are in favor of expanding the sporting world of poker.

Perhaps that last paragraph is the most important part. The old PPA’s best work was probably done in the battle for online-gambling legalization in Pennsylvania, even if subsequent events (meaning the outrageous tax rate that has kept all possible operator’s-license seekers on the sidelines to date) have the whole situation still up in the air. There’s even a chance the whole online-gambling issue in Pennsylvania could be revisited, and if that ends up happening, it’s important that someone — anyone — pick up the PPA’s prior efforts there.

It’s also vital that some US-based group keep lobbying on the pro side of online poker, since the American Gaming Association remains muzzled on the topic as long as Sheldon Adelson remains a part of the US gambling scene.

One unknown is why Poker Central has been a bit reticent in its willingness to acknowledge its pickup of the PPA’s assets. Obviously, the biggest asset the PPA had was its 1.2 million, or thereabouts, poker-player database. Maybe a half of that remains current, maybe less, but in my opinion whatever portion remains valid is certain to be used in some manner, in some form of marketing effort down the road. It is what it is.

Incoming president Mark Brenner also shared a bit of his professional background with a major affiliate site, including that he worked for the parent company of the University of Phoenix, one of the US’s major offerers of online degrees, as any late-night TV watcher can attest. Brenner will also work from Washington, DC, though whether that will be from the PPA’ old office there wasn’t detailed.

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