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Congress Holds Another Hearing on Online Poker

11 December 2013, By:
Online poker and gambling were the topics of the day on Tuesday as a Congressional subcommittee held a hearing on the industry.
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Online poker and gambling were the topics of the day on Tuesday as a Congressional subcommittee held a hearing on the industry.

Also, one of the most well-known tournament directors in the game is calling it a career.

Congress Holds Hearing on Online Poker

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss the iGaming industry and specifically the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013.

Supporters and opponents alike testified before the committee with the typical talking points addressed. The Poker Player's Alliance and the American Gaming Association both stressed the importance of legalizing the game in order to protect citizens while Stop Predatory Gambling focused on the social costs of the issue.

Perhaps the most criticized witness on Tuesday was the Las Vegas Sands' VP of Government Relations Andrew Abboud. As part of Sheldon Adelson's war against online gambling, Abboud tried to convince Congress that it was a good idea to ban online gambling.

He took out a cell phone and stressed his point that, "The thought of every single one of these becoming a casino should concern you."

Subcommittee members criticized Abboud's stance. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who introduced the Internet Poker Freedom Act, said "What you're advertising ... is the same thing that we're talking about. It's just a matter of how wide the geography is."

Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill) pointed to his casino's use of mobile gaming and stated that Abboud's statements were "a little hypocritical." Abboud defended his position stating that Sands gaming is done in a controlled environment and that all users can be easily tracked.

Both sides of the issue praised the hearing as a much-needed step towards either legalizing the game or permanently banning it. It is unclear how the subcommittee will proceed or if they will continue to sit on the issue.

Legendary Bellagio Tournament Director Jack McClelland to Retire

One of the most influential tournament directors in the history of the game is running his final poker tournament.

Jack McClelland announced his retirement recently and it will become effective following the final table of the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic on Wednesday.

McClelland is most remembered for his stint with the World Series of Poker from 1984 to 1989 and for running the events at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for the last 11 years. Jack was instrumental in helping the World Poker Tour grow into the dominant series it is today and hosted events since its infancy.

McClelland is retiring from the industry to focus on his health and to play a bit of poker. Prior to becoming a tournament director in the 1980s, he was a regular on the poker tournament circuit.

McClelland said he looks forward to being on the other side of the final table as a player and to adding to his $132,223 in career tournament earnings.

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