Originally Posted by mapleleaf
John Pappas said today at the PPA Town Hall that he believes that Reid and Kyl have a finished UIGEA-II type bill with a poker carve out. He said they will likely try to pass it in the lame duck session. He said the fact that Kyl is retiring helps our chances since he wants to cement his anti-gambling legacy. He also mentioned the specter (to some) of more states passing iGaming (not poker-only) bills as helping the chances of federal regulation.
I attended the Town Hall, and you might add a few specific points to your summary:
It is online casino games that is the new "boogeyman", it may be a calculation that casinos can accept and tribes might support. The "timing" depends on a lot of factros to be "right" but is based upon the consequences flowing from (1) the DOJ Letter and (2) States moving forward, some with online gaming generally instead of "poker only".
1. The "some" folks concern you referred to was very interesting, because it was in the context of the Delaware "Not just poker" / Lottery driven bill. Briefly, John related that tribal gaming interests, faced with a new perceived threat (i.e. online lottery-sponsored casino gaming) were now much more receptive to the prospect of a federal bill, to protect themselves against lottery inturision into their markets. I think the point, while very interesting, may have been over stated with respect to the 2012 lame duck session. John hopes that the prospect raisded by Delaware will prompt an immediate by tribes to support a 2012 lame duck effort. I just don't think the threat perception is that great nor that immediate.
2. A lame duck proposal: It would depend upon selling a lame duck bill as a real States-level bill, but for poker only, and would need Eric Cantor to sign off. Rep. Barton spoke about the prospects of a "doable" lame duck deal, he emphasized however, that he was NOT saying it WOULD happen, only that it was doable between the House (where he said the votes WERE sufficient, and the Senate, where both Kyl and Reid could put it thru.)
3. I thought Barton's talk was very candid, he explained that a standalone bill like his was essentially dead for 2012 under House rules, unless it moved forward within a July timeframe. He spoke instead about attachment to a Senate-driven bill during the lame duck session, stated that the poker regulation language had enough votes to pass the House if it came up for a vote but left out only one qualifier .... He couched his "have the votes" language with the requirement that the proposal actually come up for a vote... I asked him out in the hallway about the prospects of getting Eric Cantor's support to schedule a vote, in light of Las Vegas press reports realting that Adelson had Cantor's ear. He reiterated that a lame duck passage was doable, but not "done", and the Republican leadership, meaning Boehner and Cantor, were key to a lame duck effort.
All in all the town Hall was an excellent PPA event, drawing both PPA lobbyists and 4 Board members, together with PPA staff.
FWIW, Rep Barton gave a very candid talk on the role of "support" in getting a Congressman to listen to you, and that both money and a grass roots perception were important.
(This referenced perceived rising tribal support for a federal bill may prove short-lived, insufficient for 2012 or with only limited support among the California tribes. However, if that State logjam continues, it may bear fruit in 2013.)
The big variable in my view: Will casinos like Caesars or suppliers like IGT accept a federal prohibition on online casino games, with only a poker-only carveout ?
I don't think they should or would upon reflection.
The margins available for core gaming, i.e. casino games and slots and video poker far exceed those of online poker AND do not require the same liquidity. I think online casino gaming is the Holy Grail for the industry compared to poker business models, a hard fact which this forum may resent.
The B&M "protectionist" angle John thinks the tribes may embrace would require Caesars and IGT and the rest to turn away federally from the biggest revenue stream and highest margins they can see online (aside from selling games to players who will pay simply for entertainment without ANY prizing.
I just don't see how that would be in the industry's interest vis a vis continued State development. They are not THAT scared of lotteries grabbing the whole pie, outside of a few States like Delaware where the Lotteries already control gaming.