THE FIGHT: Conservative Lobby Groups Push Back, Zynga Begins Lobby

THE FIGHT, presented by Chris Krafcik, brings you the latest headlines and insight from the attempts to regulate online poker in the United States.

For the second time in recent weeks, moral-conservative groups have urged Congress to crack down on state efforts to legalize Internet gambling, including poker. In a jointly written letter publicized Wednesday, groups from 13 states, including the Pennsylvania Family Council, said that any tax-revenue benefits states hope to derive from Internet gambling will be outweighed by the societal cost of its continued expansion. According to the Associated Press, which broke the story, the groups also pressed federal lawmakers to strengthen the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 “to ensure its clear intent that the Internet not become a giant online casino.”

In Nevada, meanwhile, intrastate Internet poker is inching closer to realization. This week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which is tasked with investigating Internet poker license applicants, recommended that its sister body, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, license two poker platform providers: International Game Technology and Bally Technologies. The Control Board has yet to hear license applications for Caesars Entertainment, which owns the World Series of Poker franchise, and Wynn Resorts, which abandoned its partnership agreement with the world’s largest Internet poker business, PokerStars, last year. Nevada regulators have not disclosed when they will permit state-licensed business to deal their first virtual hands.

The Illinois Internet gambling bill, HB4148, has been tabled, according to information officers in the state Legislature. However, the bill may be taken up again during this year’s veto session, which runs for six days in late November and early December. Around the country, meantime, Internet gambling legislation is still pending in California, Delaware and New Jersey. A hearing on the California bill, SB1463, which was this week amended to authorize Internet poker, only, will be heard next Tuesday in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.

Zynga, operator of Zynga Poker, which has more daily active users than any other Facebook game, made headlines this week when news broke that it had hired Bay Bridge Strategies to lobby on its behalf in Washington, D.C. In its most recent set of quarterly results, the company said it is exploring a move into real-money Internet poker. If Zynga begins lobbying federal Internet gambling legislation, it will become the 69th business to declare Internet gambling lobbying expenses in 2012, according to GamblingCompliance.com

Once again, there was no change in the Capitol Hill Co-Sponsor Count. According to GovTrack.us, Texas Rep. Joe Barton’s Internet poker bill, HR2366, has 30 supporters, while California Rep. John Campbell’s Internet gambling bill, HR1174, remains close behind with 29.

Random quote of the week: “What I’d really like to do is something extraordinary. Something big. Something mega. Something copious. Something capacious. Something cajunga! But I’ll probably end up working at Great America, mopping up hurl and lung butter.” —Wayne Campbell, Wayne’s World 2 (c. 1993)

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Lance Bradley

Editor in Chief at BLUFF.com
Editor in Chief: Lance Bradley began working with BLUFF in March 2008 and was named Editor in Chief in August 2009. Prior to joining BLUFF Bradley launched an independent poker blog, ThePokerBiz.com in 2006. Before entering the world of poker media he was the Poker Room Manager for Bodog from January 2004 until June 2006. He graduated from the Applied Journalism program Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, Canada.
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