The fight to legalize online poker in the United States has reached a tipping point, with states pushing forward with their own online poker bills, while the federal government remains in gridlock. Still, the only complete legislative victory for poker players will be when federal legislation is passed.
Every week the Poker Players Alliance Vice President of Player Relations Rich Muny will give us the latest information on the fight to legalize poker in the United States at both the state and federal level.
This week I asked Rich about the pending federal legislation and his early thoughts on Ultimate Poker and online poker in Nevada.
PokerNewsBoy: New York Representative Peter King recently introduced a federal online poker bill. What are PPA’s thoughts on the bill and on its prospects?
Rich Muny: HR 2282, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement, and Consumer Protection Act of 2013, licenses and regulates online poker and online casino-style gaming while seeking to ensure lotteries and other stakeholders are not cut out of the market. PPA has had contact with Rep. King’s office and has worked to share with him the views of the poker community. Rep. King has cosponsored many online poker bills and we are gratified for his terrific support and leadership in this area.
I am very excited and enthused by this. For one, this, along with the introduction of a poker-only bill by Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) in the next few weeks, ensures we will remain on offense on Capitol Hill – which has always been our best defense. This should also keep the pressure on states to move forward with their own online poker bills. Another state-level benefit is that stakeholders who have not yet come to agreement state bills are now under pressure to act because of pending federal legislation. They may be drawn into coalitions by these continued attempts at Congress to take action. Check out these great Nevada casinos
That being said, to be frank, federal legislation is an underdog. Our fight is a tough one. That’s why we players are organized to stand up for our rights to play our game. Fortunately, there is much we can do to improve our situation. We can let lawmakers know to support our right to play. We can also all take part in the Poker Daily Action Plan each and every day. As the rising tide of online poker support will lift all boats – state and federal alike – this helps us all!
PNB: Now that we are a few months into the Launch of Ultimate Poker at ruby fortune nz, could you give us your thoughts on how Fertitta Interactive has done with the launch of the site?
RM: I am very happy we now, at long last, have licensed real-money poker in the U.S., with virtual cards actually hitting the virtual felt. It’s a testament to the hard work of the poker community. I congratulated Ultimate Poker on being first to market in the PPA Weekly Update and was happy to do so.
That being said, there have been speed bumps along the way, of course. The issue with Iovation was a big eye opener for all, to say the least. I do believe that sites as well as regulators will adapt quickly and will remain proactive, as they know the integrity of the game depends on it.
PNB: Finally, what do you think of the early traffic numbers at the site? PokerScout.com has Ultimate Poker running an average of 150 players, with peak traffic of just over 400 players?
The success of online poker prior to Black Friday and, especially, prior to passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, show the potential in the U.S. I believe a boom the size of the Moneymaker boom of a decade ago is possible if this gets up and running — with decent liquidity — across the nation. It will require good marketing, as we saw in the Moneymaker boom years, but the players and the market are there.