Posted by Lenny S on 12/10/10 – Pappas describes 15 month hiatus in online poker as ‘absurd'… but a pill the industry may have to swallow.
The chief exec of the Poker Players Alliance, John Pappas, never one to mince his words, has characterised one aspect of the Reid proposal to federally legalise online poker in the United States as "absurd," but believes the long term benefits of the bill make it more palatable.
Pappas took exception to the proposed 15 month "blackout period", writing in an update to his 2 million or more members: "Let me assure you that we have heard and strongly considered the concerns a number of our online poker playing members have raised, specifically regarding the 15 month "blackout period" contained in the draft bills that have circulated in recent days.
"The blackout period means that upon enactment of the proposed internet poker law there would be fifteen months where no licensed Internet poker would be available to U.S. players. In all likelihood, some of the web sites where you currently play would leave the market so they can go through the process of obtaining a U.S. license and then re-enter the market after the 15 month blackout period.
"Frankly, the proposed blackout period is absurd and the PPA opposes it. And we have fought – and continue to fight – tooth and nail against it. But it is a reality. There will likely be a blackout period of some length included in any legalization that is passed, whether it is in this Congress or future Congresses. Our opponents have been throwing their weight around to get a lengthy blackout period included and, unfortunately, I fear they are winning.
"That being said, upon significant analysis, review and reflection, we believe that the long- term benefits of this bill to the poker community make the blackout period a bitter pill we have to swallow.
"Our goal is to establish a permanent, safe and regulated U.S. online poker market, similar to the European regulatory markets. While many think the status quo works and is fine, it is not a long term solution and cannot last.
"Without Federal licensing and regulation, individual US states could – and have started – to license play within their borders only, setting up monopolies that will not provide you with the playing experience you’ve come to expect. Or they will ban online poker altogether, like Washington State has done. That is why the PPA encouraged you earlier this week to contact your Senators and voice support a Federal bill before the end of the year.
"We believe that the trade off for getting regulated, permanent US online poker market is worth a temporary blackout of some sort. It’s not what we want, either, and it’s not what we pushed for in Congress, and we don’t even like it. But when viewing this from the perspective of maintaining a sustainable Internet poker market the 15 month period is short-term pain for a long-term gain."