After the United States Supreme Court ruled to repeal the federal sports betting ban, two worldwide celebrities say the decision should pave the way toward poker regulation online.
Poker pro Phil Hellmuth took to his personal Twitter account on May 14 – the same day the Court issued a 6-3 decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 – to link the two gambling industry issues:
“Every Major sport (NBA, NFL, MLB) is behind the legalization of sports betting, and all of them will profit by it.
But how can Sports Betting online be legalized w/out online poker being legalized (clearly more skill than sports betting)?
The time is NOW to legalize online poker!”
Per the “Poker Brat,” the highest court in the land ruling that states can offer legal sports betting provides a natural bridge to internet poker – as both are skill-based gambling.
Hellmuth also tweeted his more than 274,000 followers to let them know that gamble-happy locales like the U.K. could no longer scoff at America’s restrictive gambling laws:
“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court foreshadows the eminent legalization of sports betting across most/all states.
The English have laughed at US Citizens for a long time, saying only in USA would laws be in place to tell us how ‘We cannot spend our money.’”
Not to be outdone, Mark Cuban – billionaire tech investor and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks – appeared on CNBC the morning PASPA’s demise became official.
Asked about the possibility that PASPA repeal could lead to poker regulation on the web, the Shark Tank star was enthusiastic about the prospects:
“I’m not a constitutional lawyer, but yes.
All of a sudden, you could see online poker … You know, somebody’s going to start ‘Betting on Sports Night.’ And the minute you start that here in the States, it could surpass what online poker was.
Someone is going to start up online poker again. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be a [gambling] free-for-all. I guess that’s the only thing you can say with certainty.”
The state of New Jersey – which led a statewide effort to legalize sports betting that culminated in the Court’s PASPA decision – is home to a thriving online casino and poker industry. And in passing a comprehensive gambling expansion package late last year, Pennsylvania approved sports betting along with online casino and poker.
In an interview with the Associated Press given last year, David Rebuck – the longstanding director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) – was adamant that web-based poker would soon spread to other states:
“If we win sports wagering, online gaming will go to every state that adopts sports betting.
As soon as sports wagering is legalized, online gambling will follow right behind it.”
Rich Muny – who serves as president of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) lobby group – issued a statement predicting an increase in internet poker bills:
“This is a great decision for consumers who for years have had no alternative to wager on sports other than the black market. It presents states with the perfect opportunity to establish sensible policies not only to regulate sports wagering, but also other forms of gaming, including internet poker.
Whether you are betting on sports or playing poker, lawmakers must make it a priority to protect consumers. The states that have already regulated internet poker have proven that it can be done in a way the benefits consumers and governments.
It makes sense for states that are eyeing sports betting to also realize the benefit of regulated iPoker and iGaming.”