After more than a decade at the helm, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) announced Wednesday that John Pappas will be stepping down as the poker lobbying organization’s Executive Director at the end of February. PPA Vice President of Player Relations Rich Muny will take over the Executive Director role.
In a press release issued Wednesday morning, Pappas said:
There has never been greater momentum than right now for the advancement of sensible internet gaming policy in the U.S. Whether lawmakers are considering poker, casino gambling or even sports betting, a strong and organized grassroots effort will be critical to legislative success. I am proud of the work I have done with the PPA board of directors and the amazing PPA staff to bring us to this point. I will miss working for the poker community on a day-to-day basis, but I am confident that the PPA will continue its great work with Rich Muny at the helm.
Pappas, who has testified at many an online gambling legislative hearing, will remain on the PPA’s Board of Directors and will still be involved with the organization as a strategic advisor.
Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson, who was once Chair of the Board of Directors and is the longest tenured member of the Board, said of Pappas, “John is a tremendous leader and a true professional. Under his guidance, PPA has emerged as a policy advocacy and grassroots powerhouse in Washington D.C. and in state capitals across the country.”
“For almost a decade, he has been the political voice and face of the poker community and regulated internet gaming advocates. He leaves the organization in a strong position to continue to ensure that consumer voices drive the internet gaming debate.”
The Poker Players Alliance says that financial support from the online gambling industry (read: online poker rooms like PokerStars) has declined substantially in recent months, thus making grassroots efforts that much more important. As such, Muny seems like the natural choice to be tabbed as Executive Director.
Muny, using the screen name “TheEngineer,” became very active on poker message boards during the runup to the passing of the UIGEA in 2006. He was one of the key figures in getting the poker community organized in political efforts to support online poker and was named to the PPA’s Board in 2007. Outside of top poker players, Muny’s is probably one of the most known names in the poker community, as he has – for years – been the one to send out the “Poker Action Plan,” containing pre-filled poker tweets to U.S. lawmakers, virtually every day. All of his work was done as a volunteer until 2011, when he was made VP.
“I am honored that the PPA Board of Directors and the poker community have entrusted me with this role, and I join my fellow board members in thanking John Pappas for his decade of outstanding leadership in the fight for poker,” said Muny. “I look forward to leading the poker community in this fight, building on the terrific successes of 2017.”