Is Online Poker Getting Lost in Daily Fantasy Sport’s Shadow? Is Online Poker Getting Lost in Daily Fantasy Sport’s Shadow?
Pavel P., Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

In the wake of the California Assembly passing a Daily Fantasy Sports bill that seeks to regulate DFS in the state, the Poker Player Alliance (PPA), a nonprofit membership organisation made up from over 1,000,000 online and offline poker players and enthusiasts from around the USA—90,000 of which reside in California, is calling on legislators to protect all iGamers (especially poker players), not just Daily Fantasy Sports players.

The California Assembly’s passage, of the Internet Fantasy Sports Games Protection Act (AB 1437)—a bill to license and regulate daily fantasy sports—comes shortly after a hearing on the topic by the California Assembly Governmental Oversight Committee earlier this month. During the same hearing, the committee was also scheduled to continue the debate about online poker, but the topic was dropped just before the meeting despite the fact that many Californians play online poker through unregulated sites.

At the time, this garnered comment from the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) who were not happy to see online poker brushed aside, and Chairman Steve Stallings called for online poker to be legalised before daily fantasy sports was considered.

However, after the bill was passed out of the Assembly by a vote of 62-1, not being one to mince his words, John Pappas the Executive Director or the PPA had some thoughts for California lawmakers. “If legislating consumer protections for DFS players is a priority for the legislature, the same should be true for Internet poker players….we urge the legislature to immediately move legislation that also protects Californians who want to player poker online through appropriate authorization and regulation.”

focus on internet poker as a consumer protection issue

Pappas went on to say that, “[w]e must ensure that players’ money is protected, that fraud is regulated, and that efforts are in place to protect underage children from playing online.The legislature needs to act now to corral the unregulated market and replace it with one that is safe and accountable to the players and the state.”

Despite the “bad actor” issue that remains one of the biggest roadblocks for online poker in California, Eric Hollriser, VP of Corporate Communications for Amaya and spokesperson for PokerStars, the company widely believed to be the target of the poison pill, commented: “We see strong correlation between the merits of this legislation and the merits in regulating online poker, which similarly has millions of Californians participating without the protections provided by state regulation.”

Hopefully we shall see positive strides made by legislators towards this goal, but as of yet, we are all still playing the waiting game.