US Regulation – direction turns “mildly positive”
Some positive movement in Washington leads industry to be hopeful.
In a briefing note from Morgan Stanley Republican Jim McDermott was quoted as saying that chances are better than 75% that the House Ways and Means Committee would vote on his bill to tax Internet gambling before Congress adjourns this year. McDermott believes that it would be better for the House to pass this before the election so it will be ready for the Senate when legislators return.
The view has been that the Democrats may lose heavily in the midterm elections which would jeopardise the legalisation of Internet gambling in whatever form it may take.
A recent report in the New York Times, however, cites a recent poll that suggests there are opportunities for both the Republican and Democratic Party.
The New York Times and CBS News poll finds that while voters rate the performance of the Democrats negatively, they view the Republicans as even worse, providing the Democrats with an opportunity to make a big push to hold power.
This is good news for Internet gambling. Democrats currently hold the chairmanship of both the Ways and Means Committee and Financial Services Committee.
Voters told the poll that Obama does not have a clear plan to solve the nation’ problems but more people still blame Wall Street and Bush for the current recession.
The poll also found that the former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin was losing favour with her rating down nine percentage points.
In the meantime the American Gaming Association (AGA) is helping legislators draft the bill to allow some Internet gambling.
The big question remains who will get the licences. The AGA’ Frank Fahrenkopf, speaking in EGR magazine, said that legislators he had talked to would not want to licence those that have previously been in breach of US laws and that they would not be able to sell their assets to US firms.
Jim Rutherford who closely follows events from Las Vegas tells us that the fact that it has taken three years for Barney Frank to move the bill out of his own committee is very telling.
But if the elections go the way the polls predict, Mr Frank may not have a committee at all come January 2011.