Poker Players React To U.S. Sports Betting Ban Lift

Matthew Clark May 16, 2018 1468 Reads
Supreme Court

The #PokerTwitter world has its fingers on the pulse of the gambling world. Members made their reaction known after Monday’s news of the lift on Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that banned sports betting at the federal level.

Players and members of the media spoke out in their celebration for the lift which now paves the way toward individual states regulating sports betting. The first state on the list is New Jersey. The Garden State was on the forefront of online poker regulation in the United States.

New Jersey hopes to pass state-wide regulated sports betting by the end of May.

Of course, the poker community is always looking for a potential angle toward more states passing an online poker bill.

The most popular voice among the group to share their mind was Phil Hellmuth. The 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner tweeted his excitement and championed a return for online poker to follow-up the sports betting news.

Hellmuth received a large amount of feedback to his tweet. The reaction split between agreeing with Hellmuth over his want for online poker to become an American past time once again, and snark regarding his prior relationship with Ultimate Bet.

Hellmuth’s comments about sports betting were also off the mark. Yes, the NBA and Major League Baseball have now officially supported sports betting efforts in the U.S., but the motivations swiftly changed once a legalized sports betting market became more of a reality. Both leagues have strongly put forth efforts to profit from it, lobbying to attain a one percent slice of all bets made as well as rights to all official data used by sportsbooks.

Other poker players had a nuanced approach to the topic. The practical DJ MacKinnon suggested states who try to pass sports betting bills include online poker when going through legislation.

MacKinnon’s response soaked up positivity. Kevin ‘Kevmath’ Mathers offered an emoji prayer to whoever might be listening.

Also on the sunny side is PokerStars ambassador Jason Somerville. The dreamer and streamer is taking the “wait and see” approach to how online poker could be impacted by the news and is optimistic about the prospects.

Up to 20 states are expected to have a sports betting bill on the table over the next year. States include New York, California, and Pennsylvania, with the Midwest and South represented as well.

Not on the list is Texas. The state recently found a way around the anti-poker laws in place with the growth of legal Texas poker clubs. Could this mean Texas may join the sports betting bandwagon? Not so fast, says former San Antonio resident Jeff Platt.

The Las Vegas broadcaster thinks the federal level for online poker and sports betting is a possibility, but his home state is not going to be among those who regulate within the state.

The grassroots movement of reaching out to state representatives in the hopes of uniting the voices of constituents is alive. 2018 WSOP Circuit Main Event winner Kevin Iacofano preached that sentiment and encouraged those who reach out to combine their want for sports betting with online poker.

News regarding sports betting regulation is in a cycle for the long-term future. #PokerTwitter has a vested interest in the decision of states to include online poker within prospective sports betting bills. The link between the two is not yet on the formal legislative level, but should states start to combine them in the same form of regulation, expect to see rejoicing among the community.