Online Poker Report

2 Facts That Spell Doom For Adelson’s Internet Gambling Control Act

DOA
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After their stunning rebuke by Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) during a congressional hearing on online gambling back in December, Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling has apparently made a strategic adjustment and moved “underground.”

The group, which was very vocal in the weeks leading up to the hearing, has gone quiet since Andrew Abboud and the Las Vegas Sands Corporation were called “hypocrites” by two members of Congress.

But, as Marco Valerio is reporting, the Coalition is back.

This time they are apparently trying a flanking maneuver, with a behind the scenes attempt to have the recently revised Department of Justice opinion on the 1961 Wire Act changed once again; this time with unequivocal language barring any type of online gambling, poker, and even lottery.

Thanks to Valerio you can read the entire proposed draft of the bill here: Internet Gambling Control Act

Reason #1 why this bill is DOA

While everyone else received the message saying the trip had been cancelled, Sheldon Adelson is apparently the only person in the country who is still waiting on the platform for the train to Antionlinepokerville to arrive.

I’m not saying we can just sit back and let him run amok, and not punch holes in the tissue paper arguments he is making.  As Valerio stated, “it’s never good to get complacent.”

But the chances that Congress is going to be able to, or have the will to, reverse the online gambling gains of the past couple years is about as likely as putting toothpaste back in the tube.

There simply is no fervor for this kind of fight.

And if by some magic the bill actually gets the support it needs in the House (infamous for passing virtually nothing in 2013), Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell – who both represent constituencies with a substantial interest in regulated online gambling – will certainly shut it down in the Senate.

Reason #2 why this bill is DOA

The first thing that stuck out to me when I read the proposed bill was this passage highlighted by Valerio in his column [emphasis his]:

the term “any sporting event or contest” includes games in part or predominantly subject to chance, including games in which players compete against each other, and not against any person, entity, or fellow player hosting the game, the outcome of which, over any significant interval, is predominantly determined by the skill of the players, and the purchase of a chance or opportunity to win a lottery or other prize (which opportunity to win is predominantly subject to chance).

But I would underline a different line in that section:

the term “any sporting event or contest” includes games in part or predominantly subject to chance, including games in which players compete against each other, and not against any person, entity, or fellow player hosting the game, the outcome of which, over any significant interval, is predominantly determined by the skill of the players, and the purchase of a chance or opportunity to win a lottery or other prize (which opportunity to win is predominantly subject to chance).

So what’s the big deal about the lottery?

Online lotteries were the impetus for the DOJ’s decision to revise their interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act, and while Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have launched online gaming, Illinois and several other states have started offering online lottery tickets.

If reversing online gambling laws is like putting toothpaste back in the tube, reversing the advancement of online lottery sales – and, more to the point, preempting the rights of states to engage in such offerings – would be like putting it back in the tube with a shovel.

How to best counter Adelson

From here on out I’m of the opinion that there is nothing more to add to the argument, and the best way to refute Adelson claims is to simply reiterate that the Venetian offers online gambling on its property, and online sports-betting to anyone in Nevada.

Let him be debunked by his own words.

From there it’s simply a matter of showing how online gambling is working in Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, and how the industry has not destroyed countries like France, Italy, the UK, Spain, and Portugal.

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Steve Ruddock
- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.