Three Things We Will Learn From the Anti-Gambling Bill
The bill that would effectively ban online poker nationwide is finally in the halls of Congress. The Restore America's Wire Act looks to essentially make it illegal for online poker and online casinos to operate in the US. It leaves carve outs for lotteries, horse racing and already existing exclusions.
I'm not here to debate whether or not the bill will pass. I think most of us are of the opinion that it will not. Even if the bill does not pass, there is a lot that we will learn as a result of its filing.
1. We Will Get a Clearer Picture on Who Supports Online Poker
We are already beginning to see some names surface as staunchly for or against online gambling in the early days of this bill's filling. Some supporters and opponents are known but this bill should give us a better idea of who is really "against online gambling."
We've seen a letter of opposition from the Democratic Governors Association, giving us a better picture of states whose leaders are at least sympathetic to our cause.
2. We Will See Supporters Act Now as Opposed to Later
While we clearly do not want to see any type of legislation in Congress that would ban online poker, it may turn out to be a turning point for online poker legalization.
First, it will force Harry Reid and proponents of online poker to take action to "stop the bleeding" as it were. There is already talk of Senators Reid and Heller introducing their own bill to reinforce the Wire Act but allow a carve out for online poker.
This anti-gambling bill could actually result in movement on federal legislation towards online poker legalization.
3. We Should Find Out Adelson's True Political Clout
There are plenty of online poker supporters out there claiming that Adelson lacks the clout to get a bill like this passed. Well, we should begin to find out the true clout that Adelson has in Congress with this bill.
My personal opinion is that we are going to find out that Adelson has more support than expected. Will that result in this bill's passage? Probably not. However, it could spell trouble in getting a federal bill passed legalizing the game outright.
Yes, I believe that this bill's failure does not guarantee federal online poker passage. Keep in mind that this bill goes after the Wire Act. Should it fail (and it probably will), that doesn't legalize online poker. It just leaves open the option for the game to be legalized.