Thursday, June 07, 2007

2007 WSOP, Day 7: Part One -- On the Legislative Front

Capitol HillAfter a week of late nights sweating all the events, my body clock has finally gotten acclimated to the new schedule, I think. As much as its gonna, anyhow. Meanwhile, the series marches on. Seven bracelets have been awarded already, and players will be competing in five different events today. As I’ve said before, go see Pauly, Mean Gene, Amy (and Amy), Change100, and the Poker Shrink -- all of whom are there reporting on the action, and reflecting afterwards on their blogs.

Gonna do something unprecedented for Hard-Boiled Poker today -- multiple posts. There’s a lot else going on away from the tables, and I had a few observations to share regarding some of them. Thought I’d split them up into different posts, and you can read whatever interests you.

First, I did want to acknowledge all of the scurrying around this week on the legislative front, although to be honest I don’t see much coming of any of it. The three big stories this week:

(1) An independent group has sued Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in an attempt to block enforcement of the UIGEA. Not sure where that lawsuit might go, but if the injunction were granted it would temporarily halt enforcement of the law. Seems sketchy at present, though.

(2) Today in the House, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) is to introduce another bill seeking to exempt so-called “skill” games like poker or bridge from the UIGEA. Wexler’s bill is distinct from Rep. Barney Frank’s IGREA and Rep. Shelley Berkeley’s bill requesting a study of online gambling in the U.S. When asked about Wexler’s bill on Hold ’em Radio last month, Frank called Wexler “a good guy and a good friend,” but insisted that when it came to trying to carve out poker or other games from the current legislation, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

(3) Frank’s bill -- a more comprehensive attempt to regulate all online gambling without making distinctions between “chance” and “skill” -- gets a hearing on Friday. Specifically, the House and Financial Services Committee (chaired by Frank) will be hearing witnesses testify in response to the question “Can Internet Gambling Be Effectively Regulated to Protect Consumers and the Payment System?” The purpose here is try to persuade the many members of Frank’s committee (and anyone else who matters) to come board the IGREA express. Or mini-bike.

Can’t see any of these events this week individually having much of an impact on the current state of online poker in the U.S. However, taken together, we might be witnessing the early stages of some momentum-gathering that might well result in some change (positive or otherwise) down the road.

The next post -- On WSOP Coverage.



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