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PPA (Poker Players Alliance) Proposes Amendments to Reid/Kyl Bill

Author: Neha Agrawal

Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl have become household names in the race to have online poker made legal in the USA. The Poker Players Alliance, or PPA as we have come to know them, recently sent a letter to these Senators proposing amendments to the current draft of their potential Online Poker Bill.

While the Senators were highly commended for their efforts in the letter, PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato addressed six separate areas where the bill could be better. It offers some kind of hope to address the regulation of online poker in the USA, certainly makes sure that the consumer is protected, as well as stimulates the economy, but paradoxically applies a fifteen month waiting period before operators may deal the cards online. By the most part operators are ready to hit the ground running, and have proven in other parts of the world that only a few months is required to get started.

They are also of the opinion that commercial existing live poker products should already be considered as opted in to offer the online version of the game, without needing to receive additional state approval. There is also the matter of disallowing international poker play by ring-fencing the US. In other words the bill does not allow for expanding player pools beyond United States soils. The very nature of the internet is that business without border is what makes this medium so successful. Including a virtual ring-fencing in the bill, appears to be very short-sighted.

International competition is vital to increase revenue and player liquidity. Competition provides a solid foundation for online poker.

Taxation (isn’t it always?) was also a matter brought up by the PPA. They would like to see specific taxation rules formulated before commencement, and have requested that the IRS formulate guidelines for reporting income.

There is also the matter of the fact that Native American Indian sovereignty is challenged by the Reid/Kyl bill. It is a well-known fact that tribal sovereignty in the US gambling industry is specific purpose. The PPA feels that the bill threatens the livelihood of many tribes, and indeed many of these tribes have already opposed this bill. Equitable treatment must be assured.

Finally, the PPA wants to address a “bad actor provision” – this provision forbids licensing of any online poker providers who serviced the US market after the enactment of UIGEA. The bad actor provision lasts for five years, the PPA believes this is ‘arbitrary”, unfair and even possibly un-constitutional.