John Pappas Resigns as Poker Players Alliance President

John Pappas Resigns PPA

John Pappas served as president of the PPA for over 10 years.

John Pappas is stepping down as the president of the Poker Players Alliance at the end of February, after more than a decade as the organization’s leader. Rich Muny, who has served as the PPA’s Vice President for more than 10 years, will take over as the president of the Poker Player Alliance when Pappas leaves.

Linda Johnson, one of the PPA’s board members and the former chairwoman of the Poker Hall of Fame, said of Pappas: “John is a tremendous leader and a true professional. Under his guidance, PPA has emerged as a policy advocacy and grassroots powerhouse in Washington D.C. and in state capitals across the country….He leaves the organization in a strong position to continue to ensure that consumer voices drive the Internet gaming debate.”

Because of his dedicated service to the cause of American poker, John Pappas deserves recognition for his leadership of the Poker Players Alliance over the past decade-plus. Below are some of Pappas’s contributions to the cause of US online poker.

John Pappas’s Accomplishments

John Pappas helped poker advocacy in America in a number of ways. He launched the PPA’s State Directory Program, which helps with local advocacy of poker issues. Pappas also mentored card players, so many of them published op-ed articles and letters-to-the-editor in mainstream media.

Under his leadership, the PPA developed a database of over 1 million poker players. By organizing such a large group, he honed the PPA’s political activism. To help further the cause, the PPA developed the PokerPac, a political action committee to help support pro-gaming political candidates.

By organizing such a pro-poker coalition, the PPA drove over 3 million constitutent contacts to US federal and state lawmakers through all measures available to US citizens: phone calls, emails, social media campaigns, and in-office visits.

Online Poker Legislation

The Poker Players Alliance had a tremendous influence on state and federal iPoker legislation over the past 10 years. John Pappas directed lobbying efforts in Washington DC, as well as a number of strategic state capitals. In doing so, he educated both federal and state lawmakers and their staffs on the issues.

That was important, because many anti-gambling lawmakers have proven to be ignorant of the finer points of poker legislation — or else they used willfully ignorant arguments to confuse the US population on poker-related issues. Examples include misconceptions about geolocation technology, as well as the differences between regulated and unrelated online gambling.

Defeated RAWA Legislation

John Pappas appeared as a panelist before 25 different federal and state gaming committees. During these public hearings, Pappas proved to be an effective voice at educating the public — and public officials — on the finer points involving online poker.

In doing so, John Pappas was a key contributor in defeating several attempts to pass Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA), an attempt to ban all online gambling in the United States at the federal level of government. Powerful U.S. lawmakers like Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Charlie Dent, and former Rep. Jason Chaffetz were supporters of RAWA in the U.S. Congress.

Sheldon Adelson, at the time the 8th-richest person in the world, bankrolled attempts to lobby Congress on the RAWA legislation. Despite powerful political forces arrayed against America’s online gaming community, John Pappas and the PPA helped defeat every attempt to pass a federal ban on online poker.

Poker Players’ Funds

After the Black Friday scandal, when the US Department of Justice sequestered players funds from FullTilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and UltimateBet, John Pappas worked with federal officials to ensure the remission of player funds.

That proved to be a larger task than one might imagines. Though player funds were frozen on April 15, 2011, it was not until 2017 that the last player saw their funds returned. Eventually, over $120 million was returned to American card players.

Legal US Online Poker

After 10 years of hard work, 4 US states now have legal online poker: Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Several other states stand on the verge of legalizing online poker, including New York and Massachusetts. Rumors continue to swirl that Oklahoma might consider such a measure, while California is still a possibility.

Many more political battles have to be won for online poker legalization to be fully developed in America. Officals back in Washington DC might attempt to resurrect RAWA again, or simply convince US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ban online casinos and poker sites with a stroke of a pen. John Pappas led the fight for 10 years, but the fight continues.

Rich Muny: New PPA President

New PPA president Rich Muny said in a press statement, “I am honored that the PPA Board of Directors and the poker community have entrusted me with this role, and I join my fellow board members in thanking John Pappas for his decade of outstanding leadership in the fight for poker.”

“I look forward to leading the poker community in this fight, building on the terrific successes of 2017.”