Dissenting Opinions Given On Online Poker Legislation From Top Gaming Attorney, Casino CEO

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Late this week, two prominent members of the gaming community – one of the top gaming lawyers in the United States and the CEO of one of the major players in the worldwide casino industry – offered differing opinions on the future of legislation that would bring a regulated online poker industry to American players.

At a two day conference on online gaming law at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas on Thursday, the highly respected attorney I. Nelson Rose offered his opinions on the immediate future of potential legislation of the industry. According to an article on the website VegasInc.com and writer Richard Velotta, Rose has said that he doesn’t expect an online poker bill to make its way through the U. S. Congress “anytime soon,” despite requests for such legislation from players and gaming companies and the revenues that such regulation would bring.

In the article, Velotta says that Rose, who is the senior professor at the Whittier Law School in California, is “pessimistic” about the passage of legislation because the current Congress has “demonstrated they can’t come to an agreement on any significant legislation.” With the Congress unable to pass significant legislation, Rose cites six states – New Jersey, Iowa, California, Florida, Massachusetts and Nevada – that have demonstrated the potential to pass intrastate poker legislation.

Other states, such as Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, have the potential to break into the intrastate gaming market as they are driven by tribal gaming or other casino activity, Rose said in the VegasInc.com article.

A potential issue that Rose sees for any intrastate poker operation is the size of the state. He cites Nevada’s small population base (something that could be said for several other locations) as a potential disadvantage. Most gaming companies, Rose believes, would prefer federal legislation so that there are uniform laws on the industry.

While the online gaming conference was going on down the Strip, the Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment, Gary Loveman, talked a little more optimistically about the possibilities of regulation of the industry. Speaking during a conference call with investors on Thursday, Loveman estimated that Caesars would need approximately “twelve to fourteen months” to have an online poker operation up and running for U. S. customers.

In an article on Poker News Daily back in August, Loveman stated, “I do believe there’s a will in Congress to correct this,” he said. “There’s a sense of inevitability that this ought to be something people should do and that we ought to clean up the regulatory and policing environment for it and that’s what we’re seeking.” During the conference call, Loveman stated that the potential American online poker industry could “conservatively” generate up to $5 billion in yearly revenues.

Loveman has recently been one of the most outspoken proponents of online poker legislation in the United States, stating that Caesars is ready to enter into any potential U. S. online poker industry but is waiting for Congress to act. Part of the reason Caesars is ready is due to a deal signed earlier this year which set the foundation for the company’s entry into the American online gaming scene.

Back in March, Caesars Entertainment and 888 Holdings PLC entered into a partnership for the online gaming company to provide a branded “World Series of Poker” (owned by Caesars) online poker site to poker players outside the United States. If legislation is passed in the U. S. that opened up the online poker market, it is thought that the Caesars/888 partnership would open up some form of a WSOP-branded site for Americans.

Additionally, Caesars Entertainment has arguably made inroads into online gaming and poker that put it ahead of its competitors. Caesars Interactive Entertainment, led by former PartyGaming CEO Mitch Garber, has been in business since 2009 and it is thought that this arm of the Caesars Entertainment empire would take command of any potential online poker offering in the United States.

Although there has been plenty of talk in the halls of power in Washington, DC regarding online gaming, there has been little action. It remains to be seen which of these two gentlemen has their finger on the pulse of Congress and the federal government the best.

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