AGA Gives New Juice to Federal Online Poker Push

All-friggin-in with Congress education vid, code of conduct for future licensees

by , Sep 20, 2011 | 4:09 pm

The American Gaming Association put out a new video in support of making online poker legal (now!). Though plenty corny, it’s possibly the slickest representation of all the talking points certain poker people have been refining and pushing for the past several years — and yet it’s kinda dumbed down enough for legislators to see the probablility of looking kinda stupid (and un-Tea Partyish if they’re Republican) should they ignore this 2011 opportunity to re-Americanize online poker.

(I think I recognize that woman’s voice from some political attack ad in 2010 … or maybe it was ’08?)

LOL on the “SEIZED” sites — ShadyPoker.com represented by cards with stars on them and ShadierPoker.com with a red triangle. Guess they didn’t want to overreach by indicting the Shady dot-nets? The AGA also opened up a new section on their website — their Online Poker Headquarters.

OK, OK, I get the message … it’s gonna be about poker only, not poker+ casino games … And should it not be clear enough to anyone entertaining the idea of holding a US license that certain old-school online poker ways ain’t gonna fly in a regulated US future, the AGA has also issued a new code of conduct to establish who should and should not become card-carrying licensees:

The Code of Conduct proposes the following six principles online poker companies should follow in order to obtain a license. Companies should:

  • Conduct extensive background checks that will keep criminals out of the business;
  • Install proper identification of every U.S. online poker player to assist law enforcement and keep minors, consumers from unlawful jurisdictions and cheaters from playing;
  • Undergo regular testing and auditing of online poker software to ensure that games are fair and honest;
  • Implement rigorous player exclusion processes to prevent minors, players from illegal U.S. jurisdictions and cheaters from accessing online poker sites;
  • Institute effective responsible gaming protections on operator sites to educate patrons and provide problem gamblers easy access to tools to help control their behavior; and,
  • Maintain stringent anti-money-laundering procedures that will assist the government in its law enforcement efforts.

“Only a few years ago, the technology and operating processes did not exist to implement and enforce the principles of the Code,” [AGA Chairman Frank] Fahrenkopf said. “But online gambling is legal in some 85 jurisdictions today, and the technology that eliminates the risks that once concerned the AGA and others has now been proven through actual use.”

Hmm, a lotta potentially loaded language in those bullet points, no?

But it’s a big step to say hey, this is the message we’re sending to Capitol Hill — and specify what any bill is gonna have to have for it to move through Congress. It’s also rather promising to hear what is starting to sound like a unified voice between the powerful DC lobby group representing Big Casinos and the grass-roots PPA, representing players who used to patronize ShadyPoker and ShadierPoker dot com. We haven’t heard yet from the Indians … but they have been pretty quiet ever since Barack Obama in July of this year expanded Indian gaming rights by rescinding a 2008 George W Bush rule that limited a tribe’s ability to run gaming operations off their tribal lands.

OK, so who all is on the same page?

  • Big Casinos … check
  • Those pesky poker players … check
  • Indians … maybe check with a White House wink?
  • So then what about the states?
  • See similar movement on licensing standards by the Nevada Gaming Commission, and you begin to see how potentially troublesome states might-could be appeased in a federal framework. (California will likely still be a pain, but that state’s so broke …)

  • OK, and how ’bout the Europeans?
  • If I’m doing my political math correctly (and no promises of that, obv), that’s who would be left for American poker forces in DC to contend with this fall … and I’m pretty sure they don’t have that much of a say. There may be a fine line between protectionism and protecting US online-poker playing citizens, but not sure that matters so much these days. Euros always welcome to queue up.

    Not to get extra-corny with the poker metaphors … The US is bleeding chips! but what the release of the AGA’s congress-and-casino education campaign really suggests is that the AGA is all-friggin-in for online poker in 2011, or at least pot-committed.

    (And this push comes on a day, no less, where the next post to write is about DOJ assertions this morning that Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer were running a ponzi scheme to defraud the poker faithful in an effort to fund Phil Ivey’s grotesque craps habit and the rest of Team Full Tilt’s baller celebrity.)


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