Posts Tagged ‘Poker Politics’

September 4, 2013

John McCain Playing Online Poker

Senator seen on "VIP Poker" during Syria hearings

So who knew … seems like we mighta had two poker players running for president in ’08. (Yet somehow federal legislation always seems to stagnate?)

Sen. John McCain got “busted” playing online poker on his mobile phone Tuesday, during a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing to assess the merits of military action against Syria. Here’s the original source, and read here to see the Twitter firestorm around senior senator from Arizona’s on-duty online poker play. McCain tried to brush off the “scandal” with some LOL < 140 … and, hey, what’s there to consider when you have already know your vote is gonna be based on a rather clear position of “More War Always Better”.

As for the brand of poker McCain was playing on his iPhone … VIP Poker. Ever heard of ‘em? Yeah, me neither. I suppose it’s possible I’ve ignored a Facebook ad from them offering $120 Jillion in free chips … but then it’s also possible that the fake-sounding “VIP poker” is really just an NSA shell for financing covert missions and McCain was trying to dump chips before the next committee hearing.

VIP Poker LOL.

Posted by at 3:29 pm

August 3, 2013

The Players’ Voice in Washington DC

Rep. Joe Barton on poker as a game of skill, and moving legislation on the Hill

During the past month, Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) has been on the move in his quest to bring about federal legislation favorable to online poker with an equally favorable revenue component for government.

At the end of June, the Congressman hit the road for his 3rd annual visit to the World Series of Poker—this time, to preview his latest federal legislative bill before introducing it into the U.S. House of Representatives. The official introduction of his newly minted bill H.R. 2666, the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013, followed on July 12.

Days later, Barton held a telephone press conference to discuss the new bill which “establishes a program for the licensing of Internet poker by States and federally recognized Indian tribes, and for other purposes.”  The teleconference was attended by media outlets across the country, including this reporter. However, it wasn’t until last week, when I met with the Congressman in his congressional office in Washington, D.C., that I got the complete picture of where he stands on poker and poker legislation. At the end of this day, Barton remains as unclear as anyone on the likely time table for passage of federal legislation to legalize online poker, by the Congress, but he exudes confidence that day will come.

Barton Invokes the President’s Name 
Barton is methodical. He is an engineer by training. He is a seasoned politician. He has held his Congressional seat since 1984. He rates himself as a good amateur poker player. By all accounts from mutual friends, this is an understatement. With a slight twinkle in his eye and a  poker player’s understanding of a well-placed semi-bluff, Barton goes further than mere prediction in stating that he expects President Obama to sign his legislative bill to legalize online poker, if it reaches his desk.

Barton talks the talk at poker tables and he walks the walk around the House in gambits to prod progress on the right online poker bill. He seeks a sensible federal law that will allow online poker in states that are so inclined, under the best conditions for all concerned.

He is also a pragmatist who recognizes the road will not be easy. His latest online “poker only” bill, like the others in which he has been intimately involved, previously, is designed to exempt poker from the category of “games of chance” which are subject to anti-gambling statutes. During our hour-long visit in Washington and a subsequent telephone call, Barton resonated as “the genuine article.”

More…

Posted by at 7:43 pm

July 12, 2013

US Senate to Take up Online Gambling Consumer Protection Concerns

+ new poker-only Barton bill in the House

Lest we think the Feds were just gonna drop their interest in online gaming and let states run amok with Kentucky-like money grabs, a new federal process is apparently underway … with a subcommittee hearing to put matters of consumer protection on the legislative agenda:

The Expansion of Internet Gambling: Assessing Consumer Protection Concerns
Jul 17 2013 10:00 AM ET
Russell Senate Office Building – 253

You’ll be able to watch a livestream of the hearing, which hopefully will finally remove “click a mouse, lose your house” from the conversation and instead address real issues of money laundering, privacy concerns, redress of grievances, bot use, and identity protection — not to mention what kinda data you can keep about other players, and what kinda hand histories the government can keep on you!

Gambling regulation may historically be a matter left to the states, but regulation of the internet is kinda new, and something Uncle Sam has wanted a role in for establishing minimum standards at least since the White House unveiled its strategy for consumer protection on the internet[Bump-bump-buhhh] … on April 15, 2011.

Meanwhile, we also have a new Barton Bill — HR 2666, which has a surprisingly ungodly bill number and stated goals of protecting poker players from consumer fraud by establishing a federal program for the licensing of Onternet poker by States and federally recognized Indian tribes. This bill may or may not also have the benefit of helping “poker only” ride along with other online gambling bills yet separate itself if necessary to distinguish its unique sector of the online “gambling” landscape.

Current draft of the new Barton Bill here — http://theppa.org/ppa/2013/07/11/pokerfreedomact/ — and media conference call about it next Tuesday:

logo-ppaMedia Teleconference: Congressman Joe Barton and PPA’s John Pappas to Discuss New U.S. Internet Poker Legislation HR 2666

WHAT: On Tuesday, July 16, John Pappas, PPA’s executive director will be joined by Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) on a media teleconference to discuss Mr. Barton’s newly introduced bill, The Poker Freedom Act, to license and regulate Internet poker.

The bill mandates technologies to protect consumers from fraud and limits underage access, preserves state’s rights, and ensures Indian Tribes have the same rights to apply for a license as other entities.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 11:00 AM EST

The poker community may or may not have lost its verve for writing checks to politicians only to sweat subcommittee hearings that in the end prove about as significant as WSOP Day 1s. But this combo of activity is indeed the start of something — a new baseline at least, as poker interests presumably have until the end of the year to make something happen before all special interests get told the same thing about what’s impossible during an election year.

Posted by at 8:25 pm

July 10, 2013

Retiring AGA Leader Changed the Face of Casino Industry

Fahrenkopf continues farewell tour as new era for gaming emerges

photo: Peter Urban / Stephens Media Washington Bureau

photo: Peter Urban / Stephens Media Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The wall of framed photos with political heavyweights from Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to Barack Obama — reputedly one of the more impressive collections in town accumulated over 30 years — has been taken down.

Two dozen boxes of papers and memorabilia are stacked on tables, on the floor, and atop filing cabinets, awaiting delivery to a warehouse in McLean, Va., where they will join another 35 boxes being transferred from storage in Maryland.

Among the few items not wrapped and packed in Frank Fahrenkopf’s corner office, which is located a block off Pennsylvania Avenue, are the custom desk from London he had crafted 24 years ago, an American flag standing in the corner and a knickknack of herding elephants signifying the job he once held as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Fahrenkopf, who turns 74 next month, is downshifting after nearly two decades as the face of casino gambling in Washington and one of the most prominent Nevadans in the nation’s capital. The president and CEO of the American Gaming Association until he stepped aside on July 1 is plotting what comes next.

Over the years, he has alternately put out fires and served as a missionary for the commercial casino industry that once was concentrated in Nevada but now is an economic driver in almost half the states.

“It was a perfect storm in a way that when the industry needed to have someone, I happened to be here,” Fahrenkopf said in a recent interview.

But after staying on the job for an extra year in the for-now-dashed hope of helping to guide the industry into federally recognized online poker, he was completing his tenure.

“It just reached a point where 18 years is a long time. It’s always good to have fresh people come in,” Fahrenkopf said of the job he took when it was created in 1995 with the intention of staying just a year.

More…


June 13, 2013

From Poker-Only to Poker-Plus

King bill expands internet poker legislation to include casino games

Give me online slot machines or give me death!

Give me online slots or give me death!

A New York congressman introduced legislation last week to legalize all forms of Internet wagering by establishing a federal licensing and regulatory system.

Internet gaming supporters quickly applauded the measure, authored by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., which goes beyond previous attempts to legalize just online poker.

Others expressed caution and wanted to take a closer look at the 134-page bill.

“Our team and the board will need some time to fully review this legislation before taking an official position,” American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said in a statement.

Last year an online poker bill backed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and now-retired U.S. Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., was leaked in Washington, D.C., but never introduced.

Partisan politics and opposition from Indian gaming tribes and state lotteries sank the legislation. Several online gaming and online poker-only bills have surfaced in Congress over the past few sessions.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, told Internet gaming proponents he will introduce online poker legislation later this year. Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said the Democratic leader and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., “continue to work together in this issue.”

Former Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., now a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., said the King bill most likely will take on a different form as it comes up for debate and additional online gaming bills surface.

More…


June 12, 2013

Fahrenkopf, Reid at Odds over Internet Poker Failures

Outgoing AGA chief calls busted bill draw "my biggest disappointment"

For Frank Fahrenkopf and Harry Reid, it was like their rankings in the Bluff Power 20 meant nothing.

For Frank Fahrenkopf and Harry Reid, it was like their rankings in the Bluff Power 20 meant nothing.

Two of Nevada’s longtime political power players — gaming lobbyist Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — took turns blaming each other for the failure for Congress to legalize Internet poker last year.

The dust-up surprised many because the longtime Nevadans had always been complimentary to each other.

Fahrenkopf, chief executive of the Washington, D.C.-based American Gaming Association, is retiring at the end of the month.

In an interview with online publication Gambling Compliance that was published Thursday, he said the failure of Reid and now-retired Arizona Sen. John Kyl to introduce an online poker bill last year “was my biggest disappointment” in his 18 years with the American Gaming Association.

Asked if he blames Reid and Kyl for not introducing legislation, Fahrenkopf said, “If I had to blame anybody — I mean I’m sure they did their best — but that’s where the failure is. Blame is not probably the right way to put it, but there was a failure because nothing was introduced.”

More…


April 16, 2013

The Bitar End

@OPReport's Online Poker Bulletin

From OnlinePokerReport.com for the week of April 15th …

STORIES TO WATCH THIS WEEK

#1. Ray Bitar completed the first step of a deal with the US Government last week. Word is his sentencing hearing could come this Friday. Jail time seems unlikely, but isn’t completely off the table

#2. Illinois state senator Terry Link proposed a new path to online gambling by amending SB1995 last week to allow the Illinois Lottery to offer online “draw-based games,” defined as “games where a series of numbers or characters are determined to be the winning numbers or characters by a mechanical or computerized random number generator at a drawing time specified by the Department.”

In the week ahead I’ll be watching the bill for additional amendments and also for opinions on whether online poker can be crammed into the above definition.

+ THE WEEK THAT WAS

RECENTLY FROM OPR

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be filling Matt Kaufman’s chair on Rabbit HuntCardRunners’ weekly poker news podcast. It’s available on iTunes here.

PICKS

#GoodRead – An amicus brief filed by a roster of poker notables makes a compelling argument for poker as a game of skill.

@Follow  – @AlexandraBerzon covers the casino industry for the WSJ.

Follow OPReport: @OPReport / Google +

Posted by at 6:05 am

March 1, 2013

Vegas Grinders: Just Reading My Soul, Everywhere I Go

New laws maybe, but new life really?

VegasGrinderImage
I’m tired of losing my shirt. What I could really use is a New Jersey.

This could turn out to be a momentous week in poker history … with both Nevada and New Jersey supposedly doing their part to bring online gambling properly to the American people. Of course even amid signatory celebrations, the day-to-day lives of Vegas Grinders have yet to change …

In this episode: Dave and Dan consider the implications (and a timeline) for the new Nevada law, while Andrew stays on his normal-hours kick long enough to find himself ballin’ with plumber cash. We inquire about the difference between daytime tables and nighttime tables in Las Vegas; there’s a pretty big and regular 30/60 O8 game taking shape at the Venetian; and with the Wynn Classic underway, what’s all the to-do about the latest specially named big-field tournament series anyhow? Is it like logging hours at South Point to wield a monster stack in their $125k freeroll? And is Mirage home to the softest 2/5 game in town?

Vegas Grinders 1.3

All that and more … because while we may not be in iTunes yet, we do have listeners already, and they write in to ask about, er, actual poker hands? That’s right, Vegas Grinders break it down for you … this week exploring the nuance of playing pocket 10s as a local vs. any potential value-shove from a probable tourist. At least I think that’s what we’re talking about. Boo-yah. Have a listen and a nice day!

Posted by at 5:49 pm

February 12, 2013

Numbers Game

Study shows huge support among conservatives for gambling choice in Texas

Eff the Tea Party … my dream is someday for a P-Party … because really, we all know it, Poker is more than just a game … it’s a belief system, a religion if you will … an outlook on life and cards that transcends everything we do. And we all remember from our days playing Party Poker (with accounts funded by Netteller) that this game we play, this recurring exchange of virtual currency with two cards yet to come, is the KEY to a bustling economy and/or world peace!

Among registered voters, 76% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats say they gamble. Here's a look at the states that get their spend. Destinations to which Texans have travelled to visit a casino include.

76% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats say they gamble, either in Texas or another state.

OK, ok … before I get ahead of myself and any poker relevancy, there’s a singular issue at hand in Texas right now … and it’s about money, civil rights, and freedom — all part of a message that seems to resonate with an electorate that may or may not be currently stockpiling guns. But first they need some data to show what we all have known to be true deep down inside. Thus, pro-gambling reformers in Texas are championing a new study that reveals Texans — GOP primary voters in particular — overwhelmingly support whatever it is that might-could allow for better game selection closer to home.

Here’s the report. (More about the data and methodology here.) And below is a summary of the semi-scientific study that essentially challenges GOP lawmakers who might be thinking about roadblocks to go ahead … press your luck and fall on the side of ignoring the will and interest of an engaged supermajority.

More…

Posted by at 5:58 pm

January 30, 2013

Poker Champion Headed to US Senate?

Mass. governor to decide today if Barney Frank will hold John Kerry seat

barney-frank-1John Kerry got confirmed as the next US Secretary of State yesterday, which means he steps down from his role as senator from Massachusetts. That also means there’s a good chance that retired Rep. Barney Frank, one of the first Beltway champions of licensed and regulated online poker, could take the role.

A special election during the 4th week of the WSOP will decide Kerry’s full-time replacement, but Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick gets to appoint a stand-in in the interim — which has Frank, who just ended his career as a 16-term Congressman a few weeks ago, ready to come out of retirement.

Though no guarantees, if anything, Frank could prove a strong ally for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid … at least with Frank, he wouldn’t have to get him up to speed on the important issues and/or online poker.

As Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank, together with out-of-the-box GOP hero Rep. Ron Paul, created bi-partisan legislation that was set to undo the UIGEA back in ’08 … but a committee vote on a key amendment that resulted in a surprising tie killed a Republican-assisted effort to slip it into some bank relief. It was online poker’s first big loss in Congress (post-UIGEA), and for many new Pokeraticos, our introduction to lower-level political dirty tricks.

Frank, perhaps curiously, was not a huge fan of “poker only” legislation that he would find himself pushing. The anti-UIGEA stuff he originally put out there with Paul was built on prinicipals of personal freedom, consumer protections, and keeping government off your computer … and if they really believed all that, Frank argued, along with their own estimates online gaming’s ability to generate $40 billion over 10 years … then why limit it to poker, leaving slot players and sports bettors to fend for themselves?

Gov. Patrick says he will announce today who’ll get the temporary job. And he’s already suggesting how Frank might not be the guy. But likewise, Frank’s also got potentially better things to do, like playing a Senator in “Fiorello”, which you may recall is the Broadway musical that pays homage to the longtime, ever-dynamic relationship between poker and politics.

Posted by at 6:03 am

January 29, 2013

Will Toronto Roll the Bones?*

It's looking optimistic, but cast of characters stand in way of hometown billions

Toronto’s my adopted hometown. I’ve lived here off and on since I came to the University of Toronto for law school in 1993. Toronto has a lot going for it: great restaurants for a city of its size, wonderful family activities and amenities available, and mostly a clean and highly liveable place. It also has horrible traffic and transit and decaying infrastructure. It’s not Chicago or New York City, which really bothers Canadians in general and Torontonians in particular, but all in all, it’s a wonderful place to live.

One thing that Toronto doesn’t have is a casino. We have Woodbine Racetrack out in Etobicoke, which has some slots, we have gaming during the CNE in late summer, and we have a thriving underground poker scene. The casinos in Niagara Falls and Rama aren’t too far. Internet gaming is everywhere, and heavily advertised. But Toronto doesn’t have a full-fledged resort casino like those in Vegas, or even like the casion property in Montreal.

I think odds are good that that will soon change. It’s by no means a certainty, but the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG — the provincial lottery monopoly) wants to develop a casino in downtown Toronto. This is a creating a big and growing debate here. In spite of the attention being generated by the ‘no’ side, I don’t think that Toronto will pass on the economic benefits that a casino property in the city stands to generate, nor do I think that it should pass on it.

More…

Posted by at 10:00 am

Texas Sends $1 Billion Annually to Louisiana

Group says time to stop funding neighbor's social and infrastructure improvement

The Super Bowl is coming up in New Orleans … should be good for the Harrah’s casino there, even without sports betting.

Check it out … the Louisiana edition of the Let Texans Decide campaign … I’d say just in time for the Big Game, but I think for Louisiana — not just in New Orleans but also from Shreveport to Lake Charles — its not so much about majillions being wagered on San Francisco vs. Baltimore … it’s more about the recreational spend going across state lines on any given weekend.

Posted by at 7:46 am

January 23, 2013

Giddy Up?

Texans call for end to casino bussing

Check it out … from the good folks at Let Texans Decide …

Not to cause trouble, and I could be off-base on this because, you know, I’ve been living in poker exile in Nevada for many years now … but I’m pretty sure that’s an Oklahoma accent from the lady in the video. Or maybe that’s just the sound of far North Texas twang these days? Hmm, I suppose someone’s gotta pay for those bus rides …

But linguistic shifts aside … Oklahoma, and her sovereign tribal nations within, continues to receive the benefits of an entire industry that their neighbors just a few miles away aren’t allowed to have.

(And yet if there are indeed costs to gambling, social or otherwise, those in most cases come back to Texas!)

Posted by at 12:58 pm

January 14, 2013

Heating up: Texas Fight for Right to Gamble at Home

Editorial reveals progression of conservative opinion in state

Gambling laws in three of Texas’ neighbor states:

LOUISIANA
Legal gaming: Commercial casinos, tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $2.566 billion

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $1.016 billion

NEW MEXICO
Legal gaming: Tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $923.9 million

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $204.2 million

OKLAHOMA
Legal gaming: Tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $2.478 billion

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $478.4 million

Source: “The Economic and Tax Revenue Impact of Racino Gaming in Texas,” a study for Texans for Economic Development

The Texas Legislature convened its 140-day biennial session last week … and right out the gate, gambling is an issue du jour.

Two relevant bills to follow: the poker bill (Rodriguez – HB 292), which looks to provide for legal and regulated live poker at Texas racetracks and elsewhere; and the casino amendment bill (Ellis – SJR 6), which seeks to establish a Texas Gaming Commission by popular vote of the people, allowing for different types of gaming in specified regions.

Though much remains to be seen about current efforts and their ability to finally bring results to disenfranchised Texas poker commuters and pokerati expats, The Dallas Morning News ran an editorial last week suggesting that the people, even in ever-conservative Texas, are ready to push gaming matters forward, even if it results in a casino:

It makes plenty of good points about money realities (see the sidebar to the right) … and challenges newly elected Tea Party reps to show they really believe in principles of fiscal conservatism more so than being in the pockets of social conservatives. But what caught my eye (and fueled my optimism?) was the “Related” box, where you can see a progression of influential opinion on the matter:

It’s a subtle change, but significant, imho. In 2010 it was about how the legislature *should study* … you know like they should, kinda-sorta look at it, and maybe think about it … by 2011, with Session rolling and different casino interests fighting for the business of building resorts, it was *Texans Deserve*. As in yeah they do, because we’re Texans by-darnit!

Now it’s a more active and agressive *Let’s [do this!]*

So … We should think about it (ok, done that), we deserve this (yes we do), so now there’s nothing else to do but act (and your inaction as a legislator is an assault on my intelligence and freedom).

OK, maybe I’m stretching things a bit. But The Dallas Morning News editorial page is hardly some liberal pink sheet. If anything, the Blue-Haired Lady of Texas journalism represents the collective voice of the conservative heart of the Texas GOP (in a region where George W. Bush and Mr. and Mrs. Pokerati, Sr. alike currently reside). So this slight variation in word choice over the years reveals not just an evolving willingness to see casino entertainment in Texas, but perhaps more important attaches the notion to matters of fiscal responsibility and the conservative principals that got many of them elected.

Posted by at 4:00 pm

January 4, 2013

Instapoker

New festivals, new hope, same old political battles

pokerstars-caribbean-adventure-2013The holiday season always brings a nice in the tournament circuit giving players a chance to recharge their batteries, rebuild their bankroll at the local cash game, and a few even spend that time with their family. But things are ramping up now that 2013 has rolled around with a bunch of new festivals kicking off.

The latest running on the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure begins it’s schedule on the 5th, a couple WSOP Circuit events in Los Angeles and Choctaw, and the marathon festival of the LAPC is on the horizon. Minor tournament series continued to run in Vegas and Atlantic City even during the holidays but now it’s time to strap it up and get to work.

The turn of the year also brings in a new batch of U.S. lawmakers, so the poker world will continue to look towards Washington for some hint that online poker might return to the States. The odds are still long and not exactly the most pressing matter for the country but there will be debate this year.


# Everything you always wanted to know about online betting but were afraid to ask! #


Link Dump

Tweet of the Day – I really really need to learn this game. Perhaps Deebs can teach me at a rate affordable on an unemployed poker hacks salary.

 

Bitcoin: Making Online Gambling Legal in the U.S.? – This article should send Bryan Micon into spasms. Using the magical, mysterious internet currency to circumvent U.S. online gambling laws.

How I almost went to jail as a terrorist – Fun writeup from Dan Goldman about a crazy situation getting ready for the first and only PokerStars cruise when he had a little visit from Homeland Security. (With a h/t to @BryanMicon)

Texas Poker Gaming Act of 2013 Introduced in State Legislature – Another state, another poker bill. Maybe the federal government will start taking notice that it’s something people are thinking about. Also, shouldn’t you be able to play Texas Hold’em in Texas?

Lottery chief opposes online gambling proposals – Meanwhile in Iowa, the head of the their lottery flew all the way to our national seat to tell the federal big boys to oppose all online gambling.

Happy Holidays From PokerNews – Hello there Sarah Grant, Kristy Arnett, and Melanie Weisner. A little holiday video from our friends over at PokerNews.

Posted by at 4:00 pm