Congressional hearing for online poker

December 24, 2013, Joel Gatlin  

As Ante Up went to press, Congress held a hearing on the topic of Internet gaming, which was hosted by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee of Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. A number of witnesses lined up to testify in the hearing, including Las Vegas Sands senior vice president Andy Abboud, Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas, University of Massachusetts professor Rachel A. Volberg, Chapman University law professor Kurt Eggert, American Gaming Association CEO Geoff Freeman and Stop Predatory Gambling national director Les Bernal.

This hearing came at an interesting time, being right on the heels of Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson’s announcement that he will spend whatever it takes to keep online gaming illegal at the national level, as well as right after New Jersey went live with the state’s online gaming for residents and visitors in November. The hearing was meant to be a discovery type of meeting, instead of a debate.

NEVADA: Caesars Entertainment reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that online gaming will be in competition with its land-based casinos and could be negatively affect the company’s bottom line. The company is concerned in states such as New Jersey, where online gaming includes most games and not just poker, the numbers of customers visiting the land-based casinos could decrease because of online sites. Casinos in Las Vegas would be less affected because they can only offer online poker.

NEW JERSEY: With the state launching online gaming, iTunes has begun offering the first real-money iOS mobile poker apps available for players in the state.

These apps come from 888Poker and the WSOP companies. These apps will verify the location of each player by using the geo-location features on the user’s cell phones or tablets before any play is allowed.

More apps will be forthcoming, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Android version of these and other apps coming fairly quickly.

PENNSYLVANIA: With all of the online gaming becoming legal in Delaware and New Jersey, the state Senate passed SR-273, which calls for a study of how online gaming will affect them. According to the resolution, some of the state’s casinos have seen declining revenues recently, prompting lawmakers to seek other potential means to maintain a competitive landscape in the states gaming industry.

— Email Joel Gatlin at editor@anteupmagazine.com.