Friday August 16,2013 :  EDUCATING POLITICIANS WITH NEW POKER MOVIE?
 
Tragic indictment of politicians’ knowledge of internet gambling.
 
In what could be seen as an indictment of the tragic paucity of knowledge among US politicians regarding online poker, reports surfaced this week that the land gambling trade body the American Gaming Association is considering using the new fictional online poker movie Runner Runner to persuade lawmakers on the need for federal regulation.
 
Starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake the movie is due to premier within the next month, and features a college student who becomes embroiled in a highly dramatized offshore, online poker industry with violent consequences – see the trailer here:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyboDr1e2xI
 
AGA chief executive Geoff Freemen is reportedly supportive of the move to use the film to persuade Congressional representatives on the need for federal regulation, presumably because the film depicts the allegedly seedier side of online gambling.
 
Two relevant bills – one on general online gambling legalization, and the other for online poker only – have been introduced to Congress this year, and there are rumours that Nevada Senator Harry Reid is about to launch a poker-only proposal soon (see previous InfoPowa reports).
 
The respected and generally reliable Las Vegas journo, Jon Ralston broke the news and claimed to have seen an internal AGA email referencing the upcoming movie and its possible use as a vehicle to further the AGA’s well known agenda of federal legalization of online poker only, and under conditions best suiting its members.
 
In the email, Freeman allegedly shares his views with other AGA luminaries, noting that the movie involves: “….illegal online poker and unscrupulous offshore operators, dramatically underscoring the risk American consumers face in a poorly-regulated market.”
 
He concludes that the film could support the AGA’s message for Washington politicians….ie federal regulation and only for online poker.
 
Freeman seems to be a man with a plan; according to the email the initiative using the movie could be accompanied by the release of research stats on how much illegal online gambling is happening in the USA, thus linking the AGA push to the movie and generating traffic to the Association’s website and its proclamations on the subject.
 
He also appears to believe that there could be merit in holding screenings and discussion sessions with relevant audiences.