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Ethics Question on Michigan Online Gambling Bill

Sunday, May 15, 2016 :  ETHICAL QUESTIONS RAISED ON MICHIGAN ONLINE GAMBLING BILL (Update)
 
Marital relationship between bill's proposer and lobbyist could complicate the process.
 
Michigan state Senator Mike Kowall's initiative to legalise online gambling in his state has run into trouble over ethical questions related to his wife's professional life as a lobbyist.
 
Activists seeking the tightening of the state's ethics laws have raised the issue, pointing out that the lobbying firm for which Sen. Kowall's wife Eileen works has backed his Senate Bill 889, which proposes that state land casinos offer intrastate online gambling.
 
The Senator has responded by insisting there is no conflict of interest because his wife is not working directly on that particular project for her lobbying firm, and that he started work on the project long before his wife joined the lobbying company.
 
However, Common Cause in Michigan expressed concern, with executive director Melanie McElroy commenting this week that the circumstances were "troubling."
 
"It's troubling Sen. Kowall would sponsor legislation that would enrich MGS - a consulting firm that employs his wife," she said.
 
Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, said the Kowall issue highlights several shortfalls in Michigan law, including clear conflict of interest laws for lawmakers, the lack of a required "cooling off" period before term-limited lawmakers can lobby their former colleagues, and the lack of financial disclosure requirements for elected officials and their spouses.
 
Local media reports on the Michigan initiative report that Pokerstars parent group Amaya Inc. is a major backer of Kowall's bill. Three officials from Amaya testified in support of SB 889 at a May 4 hearing before the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, on which Kowall sits.
 
Amaya's registered lobbyist in Michigan is MGS Consultants, which employs Kowall's wife among its five lobbyists.
 
Eileen Kowall registered as a lobbyist less than two months after leaving the state House due to term limits at the end of 2014, and she attended the May 4 hearing along with other MGS lobbyists, though she didn't testify.
 
Last November a study released by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity showed that Michigan ranked last in state ethics and transparency laws, partly because of its weak public records law and an absence of laws requiring personal financial disclosures by lawmakers and top state officials.
 
Referencing this study, Mauger told local media reporters:

"We often don't know when things like this are happening. On its face, a lawmaker's spouse lobbying for an entity that is working with a lawmaker that does seem to be a conflict."
 
However, Jeremiah Mankopf, managing partner of MGS, which has been lobbying for Amaya since 2007, said he did not see any conflict, explaining that a large number of Lansing lobbying firms will be working on the legislation, because of the large number of casinos and other interests affected by it.
 
Mankopf revealed that he is the lead lobbyist on SB 889, but wouldn't answer directly when asked whether Eileen Kowall had done any work on the bill.
 
He added that Sen. Kowall's work on Internet gaming legislation was not a factor in hiring Eileen Kowall, who mostly works on education issues.



Gambling News :

Betradar Launches US Sports Betting Solutions - With only a few weeks to go until the betting and gambling world descends on ICE in London, Betradar have today announced that they will be launching a comprehensive range of tools and services to any company that will be looking to provide sports betting in a post-PASPA United States.

Abdelaouhab Zizi Wins MPNPT Morocco Main Event - Abdelaouhab Zizi has defeated fellow Casablanca resident Fadhil Farag heads up to win the 2018 MPN Poker Tour Morocco Main Event and MAD 375,000 (c. €33,220) after a two-way deal.

Final 12 For MPNPT Morocco - Sunday on the MPN Poker Tour Morocco will see several trophies awarded at the Mazagan Beach Resort, with the largest going to the Main Event champion along with a prize of MAD 400,000 (c.€35,400).

MPNPT Morocco Updates - Leading the 104 combined survivors from both flights is still Said El-Yousfi with 272,000 chips; visit the MPN Poker Tour blog for an end-of-day recap and full chip counts.

MPN Poker Tour Morocco Day 1A - The MPN Poker Tour has returned to Morocco this week (January 11-14), featuring the MAD 1.5 million guaranteed Main Event, accompanying side events, and the activities and parties for which this tour has now become known on two continents.

2018 MPN Poker Classic - The MPN announces the return of The Classic tournament series this January. The series is back following its successful €350,000 guaranteed debut in 2017. This time €500,000 is guaranteed, along with a once in a lifetime trip to Monaco for the Classic Champion.

PDC and Sportradar Renew Deal - Following this month’s hugely successful World Championship, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and long-standing partners Sportradar have renewed their multi-faceted cooperation that will see the leader in sports data and content continuing in their role as official data

Poker Yaar Joins MPN - Available through download, instant play and mobile, Pokeryaar.com is live with Omaha, Hold’em and Five-Card poker variants, alongside MPN’s Fish Party, the industry’s only progressive jackpot SNGs.

New MPN Poker Rooms Tower Torneos - Impressed with Microgaming, having already integrated with the Quickfire platform to gain access to some of the industry’s best gaming content, Tower Torneos has extended the relationship with poker.<

NY Rangers vs. Devils on 12/21 - When the Devils and Rangers hit the ice on Thursday (7 PM ET on MSG), so too will two of the league’s top netminders. After a slow start to the season, Henrik Lundqvist has returned to his form of old. Through 29 games, he’s posted a 2.59 goals against average, and a .920 save percentage.

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