Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has stirred up the online poker community with one of the tweets he sent out over the weekend. Yang says online poker should be made legal across all 50 states in America and he urged the US government to come up with clearer rules to make online poker accessible by players in every state.
Yang said the nationwide legalization of online poker will bring benefits to both the US players and companies, while at the same time generate new tax revenues for the government, which can be used to mitigate gambling addiction.
Key Facts About Andrew Yang
Yang is a lawyer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the founder of Venture for America (VFA), a nonprofit organization that aims to bring jobs to struggling American cities. In 2012, he was selected by the Obama administration as among the Champions of Change — an initiative that recognized individuals and organizations making an impact in their communities. The 44-year-old was also appointed as Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship in 2015.
The Manhattan native is gunning for the 2020 US Presidency, under the Democratic Party, which makes his stance on certain subjects such as online poker in the US all the more relevant.
Legal Status of Online Poker in America
While poker is essentially part of America’s rich history and culture, the country has yet to fully embrace online poker, with the practice only being made legal in a handful of states. The rules differ state-by-state, and as a result, players are forced to play in unauthorized offshore sites, Yang said as he expressed his views on the subject while taking part in recent Town Hall meetings in Nevada.
Currently, there are only five states that allow online poker in their territories, namely, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Online poker has been legalized in the first three states for a number of years now. However, the online poker market has struggled to flourish in these states when compared to other online gambling verticals such as online casino and sports betting.
Pennsylvania and West Virginia are the two latest states to launch a regulated online gambling market. However, the Keystone State has yet to announce any official date for when online poker will finally be made available to Pennsylvanians. West Virginia meanwhile has legalized online poker earlier this year but a launch is unlikely until 2020.
Discussions on the subject have not made any progress in other US states. Michigan for example, passed a bill legalizing online gambling in the state last year, but Governor Rick Snyder vetoed the proposal. It remains to be seen whether the governor will finally sign the bill into law this year.
Poker Players Support Yang’s Stance
Yang’s expression of support for the nationwide legalization of online poker has received positive responses from members of the poker community. Daniel Negreanu, one of the game’s most popular ambassadors, has been a supporter of Yang’s candidacy even before voicing out his opinion on the topic. The presidential candidate’s tweet has gained a “YES” from Negreanu, who said Yang might be the answer to the poker players’ clamor for freedom in playing poker from their own home. Negreanu ended his message with a #YangGang hashtag.
Yang’s tweet also prompted content creator and poker player Joey Ingram to invite the candidate to his YouTube show. Ingram said he wanted to know more about Yang’s position regarding online poker in the country. Getting Yang to sit down with him would be a great opportunity for the candidate to let his opinions be heard by a wider poker audience.
All the same, Yang’s opinion on the subject has opened up fresh discussions on the importance of legalizing online poker. Two of poker’s highly accomplished pros, Fedor Holz and Brian Rast, have already expressed excitement and are looking forward to the potential meeting between Yang and Ingram, which could happen very soon.
Even partypoker and Dusk Till Dawn boss Rob Yong appeared to support Yang’s views as shown by the prayer emojis he replied to the candidate’s tweet.

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