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Could Rockefeller Internet Poker Bill Saving $1.29 Trillion Coincide With Debt Ceiling Bill?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jul/07/2011
Internet Poker

With the US debt crisis coming to a head on August 2, the Treasury-confirmed deadline in which to raise the debt ceiling, various elements within the political landscape are in the midst of drafting bills that would legalize Internet poker as a means of generating fast cash.

It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and European countries continue to reap the benefits while law enforcement in the States have all but shut out the US from capitalizing.

Those in the thick of things include the likes of Democrat Barney Frank, Republican Joe Barton and Senator Jay Rockefeller, who is confirmed as drafting legislation. 

Rockefeller’s bill is being drawn up presumably to appease the powerful Vegas lobbying group, The American Gaming Association.  It’s Head, Frank Fahrenkopf, objected to legislation proposed by Barton.  Fahrenkopf wants to ensure that casino licensing states like Nevada and New Jersey get first dibs and that established casinos operating in those locales receive a two-year head start over offshore entities, some of which already benefit from the US market.   

A compromise between all parties is likely in the end and it’s doubtful Barton and his supporters would object to everything Fahrenkopf is promoting. 

A number of people have suggested such a finalized bill could be attached to the so-called “Debt Ceiling” legislation, the same way current online gambling prohibition was thrown onto an unrelated Port Security Act. 

The Debt legislation might not have the same type of support as the Port Security bill, but it would certainly be more compatible with anything these fractious parties are proposing.

Rockefeller’s measure is being touted early on as potentially saving $1.29 trillion! 

Establishing online gambling regulations will protect consumers, state’s rights and state sovereignty, and eliminate a huge illegal market that today benefits only countries and companies overseas, saving an estimated $41.8 billion over ten years, and an estimated additional $30 billion for states. (federal estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation, rough state estimate is based on most states mirroring federal taxes)

A debt ceiling compromise is anticipated in approximately three weeks, however, final legislation may not be drawn up until after the August 2 date.  Then again, President Obama asserted Thursday evening he will not sign any short term compromise. 

There is a flurry of activity revolving around attempts to legalize online poker right now so none of us at Gambling911.com are buying the “we’ll have something ready by next summer” line provided by Congressman Joe Barton.  The Vegas casinos are ready now and don’t want to miss out on a golden opportunity.  Nothing will get done in an Election year.  Expect a lot of back room negotiating and compromises (i.e. no Republican is voting for tax increases that are early components of the Rockefeller bill).

Let’s face it, if Fahrenkopf was so against Barton’s legislation, he probably would have objected two weeks ago when his draft bill first went public.

For all this talk about waiting until the fall and waiting until next summer, how quickly we forget that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pretty much pulled online gambling legislation out of a hat during the month of December that just narrowly missed getting thrown onto a companion bill (i.e. the economic stimulus measure).

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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