THE FIGHT: The Latest on the Regulation of Online Poker

In the newest addition to BluffMagazine.com, Chris Krafcik presents The Fight with the latest headlines and insight from the attempts to regulate online poker in the United States. This is his debut column.

Another week in Internet poker politics. Another batch of delicious news bytes. Time to strap your speed-read on, BLUFFers.

Let’s kick things off with the Capitol Hill Co-Sponsor Count. Since last year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton’s flagging Internet poker bill, H.R. 2366, has drawn 30 politicos to its banner, edging out California Rep. John Campbell’s moribund competing Internet gambling bill, H.R. 1174, which has drawn 29.

GovTrack.us, a Web site that tracks legislation in Congress, generously gives H.R. 2366 a nine percent chance of being enacted before the session ends in January 2013, even-steven with H.R. 1174, which was also given a nine percent chance at succeeding. (Yeah, right.)

Meanwhile, no murmurs, gurgles, burps or anything, really, this week from Nevada Sen. Harry Reid and Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl — the Senate’s No. 1 and No. 4 Dudes, respectively — about rumored draft legislation that would authorize Internet poker and online lottery sales in participating states and Indian nations. Last week, spokesmen for both men — my bad: both Dudes — declined comment on the draft proposal when contacted by The Wall Street Journal.

At the GIGSE Internet gambling industry conference in San Francisco last week, Mark Macarro, chairman of California’s most politically powerful Indian tribe, the Pechanga Band Of Luiseno Indians, declared that the one and only Internet gambling bill pending in Sacramento is “DOA.” Macarro called that bill — S.B. 1463, for you policy junkies out there — “a dysfunctional product that encourages dispute.” (Zing!) No word yet on whether S.B. 1463 will be heard in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee this month, as planned.

On Caesars Entertainment’s first-quarter earnings presentation this week, Chief Executive In Chief Gary Loveman told analysts that he expects a “favorable result” with regard to Internet gambling legalization in New Jersey, though “probably not immediately.” He also said the company’s license application in Nevada, which, if approved, would allow it to operate intrastate Internet poker there, could get the thumbs-up from regulators before calendar yearend. Good news of a kind for you WSOP fiends in Nevada.

The Massachusetts House Clerk’s Office this week confirmed that Internet poker legislation — proposed as an amendment to the state’s pending budget bill — had been effectively withdrawn from consideration. State Rep. Daniel Winslow, Internet poker’s chief proponent in the Bay State, recently told GamblingCompliance.com that, for now, the budget amendment was intended to stir up discussion in the Legislature. Next year, he said he hopes to get legislation passed.

Random quote of the week: “Garth, marriage is punishment for shoplifting in some countries.” — Wayne’s World, c. 1992

Follow Chris Krafcik on Twitter: @CKrafcik

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