Alexandre Dreyfus, the brains behind the Global Poker Index, is at it again.
The controversial businessman, in an attempt to help spike poker’s popularity, has proposed an innovative sports-style poker league.
Dreyfus claims to have raised nearly $5 million from private investors to fund the Global Poker League.
The league will have 12 teams around the world competing over the course of 14 weeks.
Each poker team will have an owner, poker matches in the Global Poker League will take place in a stadium setting, on TV, and have sports commentators analyzing the play.
Dreyfus believes the poker industry needs to innovate or risk declining in popularity.
Potential Legal Issues
Competitors in the Global Poker League will be paid a salary, and won’t earn profits from each poker match. This is Dreyfus’s way of beating the legal system, in a sense.
Poker for money outside a regulated casino is illegal throughout most of the United States. Although Dreyfus believes he has found a loophole in the system, some don’t agree.
If the US Government steps in and shoots down the notion that the Global Poker League isn’t gambling, Dreyfus won’t be allowed to run his league, which is slated to begin in February, in the United States.
The timing could be a factor in getting approval.
The daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry is currently under fire for operating what some believe is gambling. Website operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel disagree and claim DFS contests don’t constitute gambling.
After a DraftKings employee allegedly used insider information to win a FanDuel competition, and the state of Nevada banned unlicensed DFS websites to operate in the state, the federal government could step in and deem these contests as gambling, making it illegal to wager online.
Potential DFS regulations could cause the government to shoot down the Global Poker League in the unofficial “what’s fair is fair” clause.
Many Don’t Like Him
Alexandre Dreyfus has ruffled some feathers in the poker world.
If he expects the Global Poker League to succeed, he will need to burn a few bridges.
Many poker players don’t care for the formula used in the Global Poker Index ranking system.
Some simply just don’t like him as a person.
Dreyfus will need more than the government’s approval to get his poker league off the ground.
He’s also going to need the poker community to buy in.
WWE Commissioner Vince McMahon tried to build a unique, hard-nosed football league called the XFL years ago. His creation lasted a whopping one year before realizing there wasn’t a market for it. McMahon, like Dreyfus, is a controversial but successful businessman.
At the very least, Dreyfus can’t do much worse than McMahon did with the XFL, so there’s that.