Conservative Magazine Says Online Gambling Coming (Soon!)

by , Aug 31, 2009 | 8:36 am

I’m not sure if it’s an endorsement of our efforts or a call to action to our opponents … but be sure to check out this lengthy article in the October issue of The American Conservative:

Coming Up Aces
Legalization of online gambling looks like a sure bet.

The piece does give some important numbers — projected internet gambling revenue in 2011=$144 billion, and a 2 percent tax on deposits in the Frank bill would mean $51 billion over 10 years — but I am a bit concerned that the writer makes repeated references to the UIGA (as opposed to the UIGEA).

However, I do like (I think — not totally sure, as I trust few in politics) that our most vociferous opponent seems to be preparing his supporters for a loss:

As the arguments stack up, opponents of Internet gambling increasingly don’t like their odds. “It’s going to be an uphill battle to stop it this time,” admitted Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the Financial Services Committee in an interview with Politico. “We caught them off guard last time. This time we might not be so lucky.”

I also think I like that there’s talk about “putting profits toward helping addicts”. I dunno, just seems a treatment provision is important, and in general we (kudos to the PPA) have our bases covered this year more so than in legislative efforts past.

via @TheEngineer2008


  • http://genebromberg.com Mean Gene

    Bachus is probably engaging in some run-of-the-mill political ju-jitsu. He says that it’s going to be an uphill battle–that way his ass is a bit covered with his wacko base if a bill gets passed, and if the bill is defeated he can say that despite the uphill battle, he emerged the winner. He can either say give me more money so I can can fight to get the legalization reversed and end America’s descent into Godless horror, or he can say give me more money so I can keep up the fight against these powerful enemies.

  • DanM

    Yeah, I kinda agree Gene. The article makes it out to seem like we are the more powerful (and better financed) lobby. Maybe I just have an internal desire to be the underdog, but I hadn’t heard that take on the battle before. I was always under the impression that the PPA was a pretty small-potatoes lobby in the scheme of things.

  • BJ Nemeth

    The PPA *is* small potatoes in Washington for two reasons — the PPA doesn’t represent a vocal group of American society (like senior citizens, gun maniacs, pro- or anti-abortionists), nor does it represent large corporate interests (like the auto industry, the insurance industry, Hollywood).

    The primary corporate donors to the PPA are online poker companies that (for legal reasons) are based overseas and don’t employ many people in the U.S.. The primary membership of the PPA (poker players) simply aren’t that vocal about their cause, primarily because most people who belong to the PPA are currently able to play online poker in the U.S. through sites like Full Tilt or PokerStars.

    Those two factors mean that most politicians will give the PPA lip service and nothing more. Sure, some congressmen and congresswomen will support our cause, but because they agree with us on philosophical grounds rather than the fact that they’re receiving any outside political pressure.

  • http://genebromberg.com Mean Gene

    I think the fact that the PPA can boast a million members does give it a good bit of weight. Remember, legalizing online poker isn’t an issue that’s going to make or break a Congressional candidate. There are few people on either side of the issue who have made a really big deal about it. So the PPA’s lobbying efforts may tilt some House and Senate members who don’t want to stub their toe if it comes to a vote.

    It’s telling that a lot of the cheerleading we’ve seen for poker has come from the conservative media. George Will’s article, the piece in the American Conservative linked above…with Bush out of office and health-care legislation on the table some conservatives are conveniently remembering their small-government, personal liberty roots.

    It’s possible that this could cause a schism among conservatives who championed anti-gambling legislation, as it could pit the more libertarian “keep your hands out of my pocket” folks against the religious zealots. Plus there’s the tax money that would come in, and politicians love them some moniez. Thrown in the fact that rank hypocrisy is a required attribute of your modern Republican politician and anything is possible.

  • mf

    Gene is right, and this article is mostly wishful thinking. Pols don’t stand to gain much from appearing to be pro-gambling. PPA may like to think they’re affluent but they are totally dwarfed by the lobbies that oppose this. And the vast majority of the 44% of Americans who think online gambling should be legal are not passionate, i.e. will not vote according to this issue.

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