2020 Hopeful Andrew Yang Supports Federal Online Poker Regulation

Andrew Yang may have solidified himself as the front runner for poker players heading into the 2020 Presidential Election.

American online poker players who have been patiently waiting for a presidential candidate to support the legalization and regulation of online poker in their country had their patience rewarded on Saturday afternoon.

Andrew Yang, one of the Democratic presidential candidates, took to Twitter to offer his thoughts on the issue and showed a broader understanding of the issue than candidates on either sides of the aisle have shown over the past eight years while coming out in favor of federal regulation.

Since Black Friday, just four states have managed to pass legislation to regulate online poker. New Jersey passed its bill in December 2012 and they were followed by Nevada in February 2013 and Delaware in June 2013. It took over four years for a fourth state. Pennsylvania passed an online gaming expansion bill in October 2017, though online poker players in the Keystone State are still waiting for the first online poker room to launch.

Yang’s tweet quickly caught the attention of the poker world, including Phil Galfond. Earlier this year, Galfond launched his own online poker room, Run It Once, which does not offer its product to players inside the United States. Galfond pointed out that players in the other 46 states can still play online poker, but it’s all on unregulated, offshore sites and players have no assurances that their money is safe.

The tweet also caught the attention of poker podcaster Joey Ingram, who immediately put out an invite to have Yang on his show to discuss the issue further.

Yang focused his tweet on the two key areas that most online poker advocates have used as the cornerstone for their regulation argument: player safety and tax revenue. In 2018, New Jersey online poker sites took in $21.4 million in rake and tournament fees and $3.2 million of that ended up in state coffers. The first full year of online poker play in Pennsylvania could generate just shy of $5 million in tax revenue.

Update: On Sunday, October 27, Yang was asked at a campaign event exactly how he thought federal regulation of online poker would look under his administration.