Semi-legal Online Poker: the Regulation Paradox

by , Nov 20, 2009 | 12:21 pm

Hmm, you know, it’s what been perplexing me, too … how some of the people who are pushing hardest for “our issue” are the people who stand to lose the most (in the short-term at least) should the Barney Frank or Robert Menendez bill(s) pass. The only explanation I can come up with is religious in nature … like sacrificing a cow.

But a drinky Steve Lipscomb and even drinkier online poker exec were offering up a bit more at G2E this week.

Officially, they want to be regulated, but …
Unofficially, large online poker sites have the best of both worlds

After his segment, Lipscomb found the executive at the bar — “three or four drinks ahead of me,” he said this week at the Global Gaming Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The executive had just finished an interview in which he said he wants his business to be regulated and taxed in the United States, instead of operating in a legal gray area. He had a different story for Lipscomb.

“He said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” Lipscomb said. “ ‘I don’t want to be regulated and taxed. That’s the most ridiculous thing in the world. I’m making money without being taxed, without being regulated.’ ”

The executive’s conflicting statements illustrate the fractured nature of online poker in the U.S., Lipscomb said.

Word I’m hearing, btw, is that we’re drawing dead to a 1-outer in a 47-card deck for any anti-UIGEA legislation passing in 2009 … though I am (supposedly) eagerly awaiting to hear “good news” on the UIGEA delay — a move being pushed through the executive branch, not the legislative — like today … which I have come to learn in political circles probably means like Tuesdayish or maybe never.

A bit more from the click-worthy column above:

Even so, Lipscomb said, unless a clear plan is established, chaos — or at least conflict — will reign. Online poker operators who have opted out of the U.S. market don’t want their competitors who remained in the market to benefit from any settlements they made with the government. The major companies dealing to U.S. customers don’t want the paradigm to change, possibly leaving them without the ability to gain a license if new laws are enacted.

Lipscomb calls this stalemate of sorts “the thing that’s beneath the thing that’s beneath the thing that nobody really talks about.”

Uh-huh … touché Stevie-boy … “Nobody” lol. True.

6 Comments to “Semi-legal Online Poker: the Regulation Paradox”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    You’re expecting something like an executive order?

  2. DanM

    No no not at all. The letters sent to Gheitner and the other guy … Bernanke … they are the ones who can say yay or nay on the delay. (hooray!)

    The Federal Reserve and Dept. of the Treasury are White House-approved ops.

  3. DanM

  4. Kevin Mathers

    I saw executive and somehow thought Obama, my bad.

    So you’re expecting the announcement to be made while the major debate over the health care bill in the Senate is taking place?

  5. danm

    Yeah, well obama is their boss, so technically he could push them in one direction or the other. Personally, I expect nothing … It seems we have been thrown into some sort of dec. 1 inbox/slush pile. I’m eagerly waiting to see what that means, even if it is nothing.

    (I did make an edit to the original post to clarify that, btw)

  6. Fifth Street Journal

    Deregulation, not regulation, would be the ideal. Even the current state of things may very well be preferable to regulation for poker players: any regulation is likely to be protectionist, with fewer choices and less competition. Just going back to Clinton-era priorities in the executive branch (when they didn’t care about online gambling) would be a big improvement. But for now they keep on pushing (e.g. account seizures). There’s a limit to what they can do, though, and they’re approaching it: even Full Tilt has started sending some Canadian checks lately. I appreciate what the PPA is trying to do, but I just don’t believe a free-market regulatory system (e.g. the UK) is a likely outcome.