Witnesses Named for Online Gambling Hearing

Witnesses Named for Online Gambling HearingA House subcommittee has released a list of those who will testify at tomorrow’s hearing that will look at the online gambling regulatory landscape in the U.S.

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade is slated to debate The State of Online Gaming at 12:30 p.m. on December 10. The hearing is likely to provide a bit of controversy, as both anti and pro-online gambling proponents have been invited to provide testimony. The witness list is as follows:

Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas; Las Vegas Sands Corporation Vice President of Government Relations and Community Development Andrew Abboud; American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Geoff Freeman; Stop Predatory Gambling National Director Les Bernal; Chapman University Law Professor Kurt Eggert; and University of Massachusetts Amherst Associate Professor Rachel Volberg.

The PPA has been in the forefront of player rights and has provided key testimony in past hearings. The AGA also favors online poker legislation and represents a number casinos. On the other side of the debate will be Abboud, Bernal and Volberg, who will be warning subcommittee members about the potential dangers surrounding the proliferation of online gambling.

Straddling the fence is Eggert, who provided testimony to the same subcommittee in 2011. Eggert believes that regulations would protect players, but also raised a number of issues harmful to online play that would have to be addressed such as computer robots.

While each witness will provide testimony that will undoubtedly receive serious consideration by U.S. lawmakers, the main player of tomorrow’s hearing may turn out to be Abboud. He will represent the voice of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who has vowed to fight the spread of online gambling throughout the U.S.

Adelson has been an outspoken critic of Internet gambling, leading many in the industry to label the 80-year-old as a hypocrite. Adelson’s fortune has been amassed through the profits of his land-based casino holdings and his failure to embrace online gambling perhaps shows a bit of short-sightedness with regard to advancing technology.

Also on the docket for Tuesday’s hearing includes discussion of Rep. Joe Barton’s recent proposal to legislate online poker. The Internet Poker Freedom Act that was introduced by the Texas lawmaker in July will be under review by subcommittee members.

A few additional issues for discussion will be whether federal regulation is necessary in light of the current patchwork of regulations on the state level, the effectiveness of enforcing online gambling statutes in jurisdictions that have already enacted legislation, the differences between poker and other casino games, and protections that consumers can expect in a regulated environment.

You can read the internal memorandum from the Majority Committee Staff about the hearing on “The State of Online Gaming” [geolink href=”https://www.usafriendlypokersites.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/HHRG-113-IF17-20131210-SD003.pdf” target=”_blank”]here[/geolink] in PDF format.

The hearing will be available to the public via webcast at energycommerce.house.gov. While most U.S. committee or subcommittee hearings are usually a good antidote for insomnia, tomorrow’s affair may provide a bit more excitement considering the staunch support either for or against online gambling by those scheduled to testify.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett