Tuesday February 17,2015 : POKERSTARS AND CAESARS TOGETHER IN FIGHT FOR ONLINE GAMBLING
A powerful alliance to counter Adelson banning campaign.
The news earlier this week of a more reasonable approach by tribal groups and Caesars Entertainment to bad actor clauses in online gambling legalization initiatives has been followed by encouraging reports that major online gambling firm Pokerstars and Caesars have put aside their traditional rivalry and will work together to fight attempts to ban US online gambling by land casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and his political minions.
Spokespersons from both Pokerstars parent group Amaya Gaming and Caesars have reportedly confirmed the new lobbying collaboration to oppose the main thrust of the Adelson campaign, the Restoration of the American Wire Act recently re-introduced to Congress by Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz after failing last year.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, another Adelson political ally, has hinted that he plans to launch a companion bill in the US Senate to that introduced last week by Chaffetz.
It is widely believed that the RAWA was originally drafted by Adelson lobbyists, and is backed by his generous political donations, mainly to Republican politicians..
The publication Gambling Compliance quoted Caesars Entertainment executive Jan Jones Blackhurst this week, who said that there was a need for legalised online gambling supporters to concentrate their efforts on what she referred to as "the real opposition."
She added that such opposition was clearly not Amaya and Pokerstars, who were a strong potential ally in the fight for legalised online gambling in America.
Her words were echoed by Eric Hollreiser, the communications chief for Amaya Gaming and Pokerstars, who commented in a statement that his company intends to work closely with Caesars and others to "…promote the U.S. online gaming industry and support responsible regulation at the state and federal levels.”
Given the changes in attitude among Californian Indian tribes , where only the Pechanga and Agua Caliente groups remain fully supportive of the corporate bad actor blocking which has so far been used to exclude Pokerstars, California could be a key battle ground for the new alliance, augmenting the more obvious Congressional fight.
The Pechanga appear to be dismayed at Rincon, Auburn and Pala tribes' statement last week that a more compromising approach to bad actor clauses was needed in California, and its suggestion that the emphasis could be on post-UIGEA personal rather than corporate culpability in establishing who is a bad actor.
Referring to the change in attitude, Pechanga chairman Mark Macarro characterised it as "an ambush" and was clearly disappointed. He appears to believe that the Rincon proposals for a practical consensus on Californian online poker legalization could prejudice tribal rights in the future.
Pokerstars spokesman Hollreiser also commented to Online Poker Report on the changing landscape in California, noting:
“We are encouraged by the recent comments from Caesars, California tribes including Pala, Rincon and United Auburn and several dozen card rooms who believe that working together is the best way to promote the industry, protect individual freedom and counter the misleading, negative campaign of self-interested, anti-competitive groups.”