The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) will give testimony at next Tuesday’s online gambling hearing scheduled in front of a House subcommittee.
The VP of players relations for the PPA, Rich Muny, stated in his weekly update on the poker rights organization’s website that a PPA representative has been asked by the House Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee to give an expert point of view at the December 10, 2013 hearing. Subcommittee members will be looking at “The State of Online Gaming” in a sit-down that can be watched by the public via webcast at 12:30 p.m. at energycommerce.house.gov.
Also expected to offer a point of view, albeit of an anti-online gambling nature, will be the voice of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson. It is not yet known if Adelson himself will actually get in front of the microphone, but Muny anticipates that the outspoken Internet gambling critic and fabulously wealthy casino owner will at least be represented at the hearing.
Adelson recently penned an op-ed piece in the Las Vegas Review-Journal in rebuttal to an article by one of that newspaper’s writers. The 80-year-old billionaire cited a survey that showed over 70% of Americans opposed to online gambling. He also attacked those who accuse him of being hypocritical for making a fortune from gambling, yet remaining steadfastly against allowing wagering over the Internet.
In any event, Adelson’s rants are becoming quite tiresome and his lack of embracing technological advancements with regard to gaming may be indicative of losing touch with the times in which we live. Legalized online gambling is spreading globally and the Internet won’t be going away anytime soon.
A complete witness list for next week’s hearing has yet to be released. What is known is that subcommittee members will analyze online gambling in the U.S. as it currently stands. The lawmakers will find that three states have already enacted various forms of Internet gambling legislation in the absence of a federal plan.
The online gambling regimes of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey were made possible by the DoJ’s clarification of the antiquated 1961 Wire Act. The DoJ issued that ruling in December, 2011. The subcommittee will likely take a closer look at that DoJ reinterpretation, which does find opposition among the anti-gambling crowd.
Also on the subcommittee agenda is a perusal of H.R. 2666, the online poker bill proposed by Rep. Joe Barton last July. The Texas lawmaker has written the Internet Poker Freedom Act, which aims to permit online poker under a federal model that allows individual states to opt in or out of the plan. Barton’s bill tightens up restrictions regarding online casino games other than poker.
The backbone of H.R. 2666 is the premise that poker is a game of skill that should be separated from casino action such as slots, roulette and blackjack. That is something that many who don’t play poker fail to realize, as they incorrectly make the assumption that poker should be lumped together with those casino games that rely more on luck than skill.