The head of the Poker Players Alliance John Pappas has voiced his displeasure with the Reid/Kyl poker bill text that’s been floating around the internet. In a chat with PokerNews.com, Pappas pointed to a few key reasons that suggest the PPA is looking for more from a federal poker bill.
Pappas points to the player penalties, the “excessive” blackout period, the lack of international liquidity and the 5-year penalty for any poker room known to have operated in the US after the passage of the UIGEA.
The text of the bill says that it will, for the first time, penalize players who play a patronizes an international poker operators, “To deter U.S. players from patronizing illegal sites, the bill makes explicit that any property involved in or traceable to a gambling transaction in violation of the new act (including winnings) is subject to forfeiture.” In Pappas’s opinion, that language will make it impossible for poker players to regain funds if the US government shuts down an international poker operator.
This is a dangerous situation for players and operators as it gives the government more incentive to shutter international operations as a revenue generator.
The excessive blackout period, while not as lengthy as the 2010 Reid bill, still calls for a 15 month blackout period to allow Indian Tribes time to catch up to the Vegas casinos, Pappas feels the blackout period should be limited to 6 months.
Another issue Pappas raises with the bill is that it limits the operations to only US liquidity, shutting out the rest of the world.
This is a concern for players who enjoy the global game and operators who would appreciate the increased player base but the language could be in there to protect the USA from losing more rulings against the island nation of Antigua in front of the World Trade Organization. If the US were to allow international players while denying legally licensed and regulated international operators access to the American player base, it would turn the US Government’s hypocrisy dial up to 11.
The other point the Pappas has come out strongly against is the 5-year blackout for any operator accepting US players after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This is Reid’s payback to the Las Vegas casinos that politically support him in his home state of Nevada. However as the PPA is said to represent the Players, Pappas’s organization could suffer a revolt if they went along with shutting out highly respected international operators, including the most respected PokerStars.com
Finally Pappas takes a little issue with there being an opt-in clause for states rather than an opt-out clause admitting it’s a, “fight they’ll never win…There is such a thing as state rights, and there are people backing the bill that would automatically say it needs to be harder for states to opt in.”
Pappas told PokerNews.com, “The player penalties can be corrected,” Pappas said. “After that, I don’t know what issue would be any better on a state-by-state basis. It’s not as if states aren’t going to put player penalties in there. California and Florida have player penalties in their proposals. We can nip that in the bud right here.”
Pappas admits he still hasn’t seen the actual bill and is looking to get a copy of the closely guarded document.
Pappas is correct about states’ rights, the US states are in control of their gambling futures. As it stand right now, the Reid/Kyl Federal bill will be a bad one for the states who don’t want to be dictated how gambling should be regulated by the feds. It’s a bad one for the players. They will face their own penalties and be shutout from international competition and playing with highly respected international operators such as PokerStars.
The PPA’s concerns should be enough to come out fully against the bill simply based on the player penalties alone as the PPA supposedly has the player’s best interests at heart. We’ll see how this goes if the actual language of the bill ever comes to light.