Monday May 26,2014 : POSITIVE INTERNET GAMBLING VIEWS AT CALIFORNIA CONFERENCE
And informed delegates give the lie to CSIG statistics.
According to local media reports Friday’s California Conference on Online Gaming organised by Capitol Weekly was a generally positive and informative affair attended by an impressive number of knowledgeable industry people.
That fact alone should have warned politician Fabian Nunez – a spokesman for Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) – to stay with the facts on New Jersey e-gaming revenues.
Unfortunately he reportedly misrepresented the numbers after pulling the now very tired CSIG attention-getter of hauling out his cellphone and asking whether America wanted a casino everywhere.
Challenged with hard facts on his interpretation of the statistics by a well-informed Eric Sprague from the respected information site FlopTurnRiver.com, Nunez appeared to be embarrassed and at a loss for a credible response.
Interesting points from the various panel discussions included:
* The issue of whether "bad actor" provisions should be included in California's online gambling legalization laws remains highly divisive, especially at tribal level, and is key to the legalization debate. Some tribes favour a position that leaves it up to the experienced and independent state regulator to determine who is suitable for licensing, and others taking a more politicised and commercially protective stance that could exclude Pokerstars and other foreign operators as alleged "bad actors".
* Technology has now advanced to the stage where it can confidently be used to exclude the under-aged and vulnerable, establish physical location, verify identity and track any suggestion of criminal activity such as money laundering.
* Regulation provides more effective protection for consumers than prohibition, which inevitably leads to black-market activities by undesirable operators.
* Politicians continue to wave their hands and largely "dance around" the licensing of established and respectable operators like Pokerstars despite its international recognition as a market leader with regulatory awards from leading nations in Europe and around the world, along with years of operational experience and integrity.
* There is recognition that legalised intrastate online poker can deliver tax revenues and jobs.
* Online operator technology probably has better player-protective tracking capability than land casinos, and there are case histories to illustrate the point (one delegate pointed to the recent land gambler claim of losing $500,000 whilst drunk.)
* Better awareness of the capabilities of online operators needs to be created to dispel ignorance and even deliberate misinformation from some quarters.
* Empirical evidence is now available showing that online gambling does not "cannibalise" business at land casinos.