Fixing Issues Now Best Shot for Future
The Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade House subcommittee held its much anticipated hearing regarding online poker legislation yesterday in Washington.
Six witnesses, including PPA Chairman Alfonse D'Amato, gave expert testimony on why Congress should regulate US online poker sites.
There were some interesting concerns brought up during this hearing and PokerJunkie blogger compncards looks at why those concerns may potentially stall online poker legislation.
State Lotteries and Horse Racing
Even before this trial began, there were concerns raised by some about how regulating online gambling and online poker would affect state lotteries and those running horse tracks.
Last week, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley spoke out against online poker legislation stating that it would severely impact state revenue from lottery sales.
At the beginning of Tuesday's hearing, Rep. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky clearly stated that internet gaming will impact the horse racing industry. Rep. Charles Bass questioned whether the new competition will hurt state lotteries.
I'm with Rep. Guthrie's take that internet gambling will impact the horse racing industry and it will obviously impact state lotteries.
In states with those options, some will chose other forms of gambling that are more convenient and thus funnel some money away from those states.
As this issue is debated further, I think you will hear more states with lotteries speak out on internet gaming as they fear that they would not be able to counteract the impac, even if they ran their own sites.
Keith Whyte gave a very honest testimony regarding tribal interests in online gambling.
Some tribes are on board and others are threatened by the potential revenue loss.
He clearly implied that no bill would have tribal support that didn't meet their concerns. He also said that tribal nations would have to be allowed early entrance if a bill was passed.
While it is likely in the best interest of Indian nations to side with legalized gambling, I can see this being a stalling point in some tribes that are either resistant to change or want to have more control.
Essentially, it seems that if they cannot have it meet their terms, they won't support it and this could be a stalling point.
Dr. Romer pointed out something that I think some will use to try and hold things up in Congress.
There are currently no provisions in any of the bills to address the social costs of gambling, such as gambling addiction.
Unless specific provisions and funding is spelled out in a finalized bill, you can almost bet money that the bill will be demonized and instantly touted as a destroyer of families and an outlet for problem gamblers.
In a way, I'm very happy a lot of these issues have been addressed so soon in this process.
It gives lawmakers and bill drafters time to work out some of the kinks in current legislation or even come up with something better.
I am honestly not convinced that the Barton bill will ever see the light of day in Congress.
However, this process may start the ball rolling on a future bill that can take the lessons learned in this hearing and produce a bill that may ultimately win passage.