PPA Might Fold Unless Receives $25k Before End of March

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PPA Might Fold Unless Receives $25k Before End of March

Since 2005, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has lobbied for the rights of US citizens to have access to a regulated online poker market, with the daily activities of the group including researching the political climate at both a federal and state level, contacting legislators, and forging partnerships with potential allies.

Such activities naturally require constant funding in order to stand any chance of success, but over the past few years donations made to the PPA have dropped from around $5 million per annum in 2014 to their current level of just $2 million. In fact, the situation has now become so untenable that the PPA’s new president Rich Muny recently warned that unless $25k in financial contributions was received by the end of March then the organization would be forced to cease operations.

“We now find ourselves possibly shutting down right before what could be the biggest year for iPoker and iGaming yet,” explained Muny.

Significant Drop in Donations

At the beginning of this month, John Pappas stepped down from his position as executive director of the Poker Players Alliance. While Rich Muny’s appointment dominated most of the subsequent headlines, what was largely overlooked was the PPA’s statement that it was finding it increasingly difficult to remain effective in light of a “significant reduction in financial support from the internet gaming industry.”

The statement went on to say that the organization had therefore adjusted by refocusing its efforts on “cost-effective grassroots advocacy”, during which time it still managed to play an instrumental role in forcing internet gaming legislation in Pennsylvania last October. The announcement was obviously lost on the industry and poker playing public as a whole, and as a result the PPA has now increased the volume on its message, stating:

“Unfortunately, funding issues threaten to shut down PPA before we can even get started on the 2018 fight. The threat is real and PPA cannot continue fighting for poker if we do not meet our fundraising goal of $25,000 by the end of March. With support from poker players and enthusiasts like you, we can make this goal.”

Changing Times

During the “poker boom” of the early 2000’s, the PPA received no lack of funding from the country’s more than 70 million players, as well as online operators keen to see the industry regulated stateside, including the likes of PokerStars and Full Tilt. By 2008, the PPA’s membership reached over one million people, with the public recognizing the potential damage caused by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which forced PartyPoker from the US market in 2006.

Unfortunately, the situation came to a head in 2011 after Black Friday forced the majority of remaining online poker firms out of the country, in the process leaving players separated from their money still on these sites, and the companies themselves cut off from their biggest market. From that time onward donations made to the PPA have plummeted, and while PokerStars has continued to support the group, opposition from tribal interests in California, as well as PokerStars players dissatisfied with the site’s pivot towards recreational players, has resulted in a certain amount of negative press for the PPA.

Nonetheless, its important to recognize that the PPA has a hard job balancing the interests of the players with big business, and as poker enthusiasts K.L. Cleeton felt compelled to tweet recently:

“The @ppapoker is working hard to advocate for players. And, established companies like @PokerStars obviously have a vested business interest in bringing poker back to Americans, but that is OUR advantage. That big business pressure is exactly what can help pass legislation.”

Last Chance

One thing that the PPA can never be accused of is being wasteful in the way its uses its donations. There was never any hint of the former PPA president Pappas using first-class airline tickets to travel to his various engagements, for instance, or misappropriating any of the organization’s funds. Meanwhile, the PPA has exerted great effort working with the US Department of Justice in order to ensure Full Tilt, UltimateBet and Absolute Poker victims were eventually reunited with their money.

Moreover, it still continues tirelessly lobbying for online poker regulation in receptive states, such as New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, and California, all of which requires a certain amount of funding from those interested in seeing online poker once more spread throughout the country. Therefore, it is now up to the public to decide whether the organization is able to continue making further gains in 2018, or else be forced to shut its operation all together. For anyone still concerned about the efficiency of the PPA, Rich Muny explains:

“Every dollar donated will go toward core operational expenses of our grassroots communications and advocacy, as our communications tools are crucial to PPA’s mission. Please be sure to help ensure PPA’s continued leadership for our game!”

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