RE: Banner Year for Online Gambling Lobby
Report outlines legislative landscape; Harrah’s, PPA lead the way
I didn’t intend to go here, but while looking up where J. Todd got his information about the $5.2 million spent on online gambling lobbying in Q1 2010, I dug a little deeper into the Bola Verde report (“Business Intelligence for Intelligent Business”) on the IGaming Special Interest in Washington.
(Just a little deeper … the 96-page report itself, which was written in February and updated a week ago, costs $1,200.)
You’ll see that the online gambling lobbying spend is actually down from Q4 2009, but mostly because of cuts from the US Chamber of Commerce. (Had no idea they were even on our side … nor that they were allowed to lobby, lol! Go jobs?)
Also, a breakdown of who’s dropping the dough:
Harrahâ€™s topped the list of spenders at $1.22 million followed by Poker Players Alliance ($785,000), UC Group ($717,239), USCC ($664,442) and the Interactive Gaming Council ($412,580).
UC Group, interestingly enough, is a voice for European payment processors — and boast of making it possible via the internet to get fresh flowers from Holland to the US. Gotta think they’d really like to handle all the PokerStars buyins, cashouts, and transfers to the WSOP somewhere down the line. Not sure who the USCC is … best I can tell is it’s either the United States-China Economic Security Review Commission, US Cellular, or the United States Composting Council — all of which seem like plausible backers of online gambling special interests when you think about it.
Oh, wait … USCC, that’s the Chamber of Commerce. I was thinking China or cell phones, and just hoping we had an ally in composting.
And a special rookie of the year award goes to a company we know well, who seems to be playing a bigger and bigger role in the American game:
The most significant new party to join the mix was Betfair US.
The report also points out that the Indians, surprisingly, have been financially inactive in all this. The casino tribes not causing as much trouble as it mighta seemed, I suppose.
And while you don’t wanna judge a report by its cover, you can tell a little more by looking at the table of contents. The title itself caught my eye:
Interesting. Didn’t think “relevance” was still the issue.
After giving a breakdown where current legislation stands — and how the Frank, Menendez, and McDermott bills all fit together — it runs down a list of the most relevant players in Washington:
Â§4. Analysis of, And Electoral Prospects for, Legislative Players
SENATOR HARRY REID
REPRESENTATIVE BARNEY FRANK
REPRESENTATIVE SHELLEY BERKLEY
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES MCDERMOTT
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN CONYERS
REPRESENTATIVE PETER SESSIONS
REPRESENTATIVE SPENCER BACHUS
REPRESENTATIVE ROBERT GOODLATTE
Interesting to see Harry Reid up top … And of course we know about Goodlatte and Bachus. But I would so love to see what they’ve got to say about Pete Sessions (R-TX).
Sessions, of course, was the congressman who Pokerati played a role in wooing over to the poker side back in 2007. The following year he held a fundraiser in Las Vegas, where he received some nice money from Andy Beal, Doyle Brunson, Linda Johnson, and the usual Full Tilt Politicos.
However, when he eventually introduced his anti-UIGEA bill, the PPA was pissed! Because while setting up a poker carveout that he coulda sold to his rightwing buddies, he included some language in there that implied online poker (and thus the operations enjoyed by some of his donors) was an illegal activity.
To make matters worse, he got a lot of flack from his anti-poker supporters at Family Reseach Council and Focus on the Family for holding Vegas fundraisers, particularly the one held at the near-naked 40-Deuce Club in Mandalay Bay.
Really wonder where he fits in to all of this now … woulda thought he had been too burned (from both sides) on the issue to make the short list of online gambling’s major legislative players.
Lastly, take a look at the obstacles we still face:
Â§7. Political Barriers to Regulation
THE POLITICAL PERIPHERY
THE ELECTION YEAR
THE AGE OF CONGRESS
THE LACK OF CONSENSUS AMONG SPECIAL INTERESTS
THE LACK OF UNIFORM SUPPORT FROM THE AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION
THE COMPETITION FROM BIG-SPENDING SPECIAL INTERESTS
THE ABSENCE OF CLARITY FROM THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY
Second to last — the absence of clarity from the Obama administration. See … just because the President “plays” poker has never meant he’s been on our side.
That’s why the recent study saying online gambling leads to jobs was important … because it’s a necessary step toward bringing him over to our side, by attaching our issue to something that matters to him.