Monday, April 6, 2015

Player Protections First and Foremost

In our pursuit of  internet poker legislation at the state level, we will encounter and engage with many interests aligning with and against our efforts. And while many, if not all, of these interests will be focused on their own concerns, there are some guiding principles to which we must hold true.

Player protections -This effort  will be approached from the perspective of the players. Our interests will not always align with those of the industry, or even the government, but we will always hold true that the number one goal of legislation is to provide consumer protections for those adults who wish to participate in online poker. Primary of these protections include:
  • Security of player information
  • Security of player funds
  • Accessibility to player funds
  • Fair and honest dispute resolution
  • Proper identity and age verification
  • Recognition of and access to help from problem gaming behaviors

Access to the best available platforms - In order to assure that players have access to quality software and services, competition should be encouraged among vendors and providers. We believe strongly that legislation should not preclude providers based on an arbitrary date nearly a decade ago, whose sole purpose is to keep out the industry leading platform(s). Of course, I am referring to the so-called 'bad actors clause' that we saw in Nevada, and in pending legislation in other states like California.

Networks over exclusive partnerships - Success of intrastate internet poker will depend heavily on maximizing player liquidity. We must not only prevent the player pool from being splintered by having too many sites with too few players, but also prevent one or two partnerships from controlling the market, leaving all others who may wish to promote their brands online out of luck. Poker networks, with multiple brands on common platforms, with shared player liquidity, is the best way to accomplish these goals. It is also the means by which liquidity can be shared across state lines, a central issue to maximizing player liquidity.

Inclusive market - We want existing card rooms and casinos to be able to extend their brands online, to be able to offer internet poker as an extension of their current operations, to promote and compliment their current operations through promotional games and awards programs. This also allows competition for players among operators on the same platforms, while allowing those players the opportunity to play among a shared player pool to maximize player liquidity.

Taxation - We are not opposed to taxing internet poker. We believe there should be an open debate about taxation of gambling in each of the states. We believe that 
  • Taxes should be on all gambling, not exclusive to internet poker
  • Taxes need to be reasonable so as not to affect the viability of internet poker operations
  • Taxes on internet poker need to apply to Tribal and non-tribal operators equally
  • Internet poker should be exempt from local gambling taxes

The details of any piece of legislation, certainly one as complex as this issue will require, are bound to change through the course of the process. But we will fight for these principles to assure that what players are most concerned with is what is first considered by our elected officials.