Tom Malkasian, a director of the Commerce Casino, has responded to the Poker Players Alliance's ‘Players Before Profits' campaign in which the million strong action group urged US players to voice their disapproval of the Californian card room's opposition to federal legalization of online poker.
In a company statement, Malkasian defended the Commerce position, saying: “The Poker Players Alliance is ignoring the grave threat that the federal and state legalization [to legalise online gambling in the USA] poses to everyday poker players. America’s poker industry should be united in opposing the Frank and McDermott legalization and keeping American dollars at home.”
Malkasian, whose company was allegedly involved in a bid for exclusive Californian intrastate online poker licensing in collaboration with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, appears to fear the competitive possibilities of a legal market, saying in the statement:
“Federal and state regulation of online poker is coming and we can either fight to ensure that poker players’ interests are protected or allow illegal foreign operators, who are siphoning millions of American dollars out of this country, to dominate the U.S. market."
However, he then appears to be supporting the idea of legalization with a sentence that stated: "We support the passage of federal and state legalization that will provide California poker players with a safe, secure, and well-regulated online playing environment" before reverting to his original position by adding:
“If domestic card casinos do not defend themselves from offshore interests, we stand to lose not only revenue but also the loss of jobs. We are against the Frank and McDermott bills. (The) Poker Players Alliance should be against this, too.”
Malkasian has in the past characterised independent and expert valuations of the US online gambling market at $42 billion over the next decade as “based on false assumptions and conflicting representations,” but he has not yet presented a factual counter-argument.