Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the possibility of reviving federal regulation of sports betting. The discussion, which was brought up because of the Supreme Court ruling in May that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, deviated away from just being about sports betting and brought up online gaming also. While there were no decisions made in this hearing, it did demonstrate that neither Democrats nor Republicans are ready to let federal regulation of sports betting – and, in a round about manner, online betting – go without a fight.
What was different about this hearing in the House was the lack of any voice for poker players. In the past, the Poker Players’ Alliance would have been at the forefront of the fight, looking to make their position known. That group has morphed into the “Poker Alliance” after the old group was bailed out by Poker Central and its ownership. Plenty of people in the poker community wondered just where the “Poker Alliance” was for this discussion on an issue that has become a cause that poker players can also get behind.
“The Poker Alliance Attended the Hearing…”
According to an e-mail sent on Monday (obviously Poker Central learned how to use the massive database of e-mails that the PPA built up over 14 years of operation), the “Poker Alliance” was there. Mark Brenner, the “President” of the “Poker Alliance” said in the e-mail that the “Poker Alliance” was in attendance for the hearing but did not testify. Brenner states that the “Poker Alliance” “submitted testimony for the record” and “encourages you to read why we support state-driven policies that protect consumer and expand access to not just sports betting, but your favorite pastime, poker.”
That written statement basically broke no new ground on what the “Poker Alliance” is going to do for poker players and, by extension, those who enjoy internet gaming or sports betting. It was simply a mishmash that reviewed what the U. S. Supreme Court had done in May by overturning PASPA, how much online gaming is done (both legally and illegally) and a recital on how the states should be allowed to handle the issue. Brenner himself didn’t come off as an advocate for the game of poker OR internet gaming.
What IS the “Poker Alliance” Doing?
Since Poker Central took over the operations of the Poker Players Alliance, rebranding it as the “Poker Alliance,” there has been absolutely NO information coming out of the group. The remade website (the old web address, theppa.org, now redirects to pokeralliance.com) has a spanking new logo for the group, but it hasn’t been updated since August 21, when “someone” (and the reason that is in quotation marks is there is absolutely NO attribution for any of the news articles on their site) posted a story about a public hearing in Chicago regarding “legalized gaming.”
If Poker Central and its ownership was interested at all in the promotion of the game of poker, both online and live, and the future of online gaming and sports betting in the States of America, wouldn’t they have had a little better game plan than to go nearly TWO MONTHS without any action from the group? Even when it was living on a shoestring for the first half of 2017 and pretty much with insignificant funding since 2016, the PPA still tried to motivate individuals (who had dwindled to a small posse due to the inadequate management) to advocate for the game. All the new owners of the “Poker Alliance” have done is slapped a new logo on the shingle and added some paint to the walls to make it look a bit different.
Give the “Poker Alliance” Time?
For all the bluster over their back-patting for their efforts at the House meeting last week, the “Poker Alliance” is rather slim on any information for the future. The final paragraph of the e-mail states “In the coming days, we will be announcing new members to our Advisory Board and launching a rebranded website and new tools to keep you involved and informed. There is going to be a lot of activity in 2019 and Poker Alliance will be at the forefront fighting for you.”
We’re going on a week…”Poker Alliance,” where art thou?