Friday, September 15, 2006

"I think Nate is right that opponents of the gambling legislation will see their equity either skyrocket or plummet by the latter part of next week."
Mr. K

Aw hell, I'm really discouraged right now about Frist sneaking the poker ban language into the defense bill. I call shenanigans of the highest kind.

There's a huge, excellent 2+2 thread that has all the latest info, should you care to take the time to read it:
Online gambling to be attached to defense bill???

Some excellent analysis from my man, Mr.K, and hell, even the PPA president, Michael Bolcerek, chimed in with his two cents.

Allow me to give you the cliff notes.

From Mr. K:

Friday AM update:

According to CongressDailyAM, one of the publications staff, members, and lobbyists read every morning on Capitol Hill, negotiations on the DoD Authorization conference report are still underway. Here's the blurb:

"The leaders of the two committees failed to wrap up conference negotiations on the defense authorization bill Thursday, as members had initially intended. House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Subcommittee Chairman Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said members still have to complete work on a handful of issues and would not file the conference report until next week."

Since members go out of town on weekends to return to their districts & campaign, it seems to me that failure to complete the report Thursday night means it will now be completed no earlier than Monday night, and probably maybe even a little later than that. Staff will probably work through the weekend on it, but they are not making the high-profile decisions on outstanding items that members can make. Staff might be negotiating the gambling language, but only members can ultimately decide whether it gets inserted or not. Members won't be back in DC until Monday evening -- that's the general trend, anyhow.

So, what's the impact for poker? Well, every day that goes by that the conference report remains "open" is another day that Frist & Co will have time to try to insert the Leach bill. In that sense, delay is a bad thing. It seems clear to me that the DoD Authorization has sufficient momentum to pass, and that it will get a very brief amount of floor time needed to get through. The only question is what goes into the bill, if anything.

Look for some news updates later today and through the weekend -- but the rubber will really meet the road during the 36 hour period between Monday at noon and Tuesday night.


Damnit to hell, the Tradesports contract has moved all the way to 40%.

Nate had this fine perspective, responding to some negative posters, which I'm sticking in italics:


So, this realistically has a shot of passing now?
From what I've read, it feels like we're(online poker players) all in with AK suited against two Jacks.
And three other players folded AK.

This kind of pessimism is not warranted. It's important to recognize that the gambling langauge does not exist in the DoD bill yet. Nor, as much power as Frist has, can it be fiated into existence. He needs to negotiate it and have it approved by the conferees, many of whom are apparently quite opposed to it, albeit more on procedural grounds ("this doesn't belong here") than policy ones ("we heart gambling").

If you want to use the AKs versus JJ analogy: our main "out" is that we catch an ace or a king on the flop -- Frist gets too much blowback on the gambling language, and it doesn't go into the bill at all. Failing that, we might catch and ace or a king on the turn/river -- the language goes in, but it's sufficiently watered down so as not to be a substantial net negative. Finally, we might have some longshot backdoor outs: a "bad" version of the bill comes out of committee, but it gets fillibustered or held in the Senate.

The tradesports contract is not terribly liquid at the moment, but it's last trade was at 40%. Given how much of a black box this has become, that's probably as good an estimate as any.


Blarg. That's all I can muster on this insanity.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Real life is rocking me right now. I'm gonna get back to regular postings once things settle down, I swear.

My shining moment at work this week was strolling around in a new shirt with the big ol' price tag still hanging off the back.

Very smooth.

Anyway, I just saw this article on the AP wire and thought I'd pass it along.


Frist trying to piggyback credit card ban on military funding authorization

WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is trying use a bill authorizing U.S. military operations, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, to prohibit people from using credit cards to settle Internet gambling debts.

Frist, R-Tenn., and his aides have been meeting with other lawmakers and officials in both the House and Senate to get the measure attached to a compromise Defense Department authorization bill, according to a Senate GOP leadership aide.

The House passed a version of the Internet gambling measure in July, but the Senate has taken no action on similar legislation. Neither of the defense bills passed by the House and Senate mention it.

Frist is pushing for an approach that isn’t quite as sweeping as the House measure, said the leadership aide and lobbyists following the issue. All spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing negotiations.

Frist, eyeing a 2008 presidential bid, recently discussed the online gambling measure in the politically important state of Iowa. He also called it a legislative priority in a recent speech on the Senate floor.

The measure’s supporters include the National Football League as well as conservative and antigambling groups. Some banking groups are lobbying against it.

Federal officials have made recent arrests involving offshore companies operating Internet gambling sites. The Internet gambling industry is headquartered almost entirely outside the United States although many of its customers live in the U.S.

The bills authorizing defense programs are: S.2507 and H.R.5122.


Update from my favorite 2+2 political analyst on this latest snippet of news:

- If the language being floated by Frist (and I 100% guarantee there is language circulating, although a select few staffers may have access to it) is as narrow as the newspapers are reporting, it could represent a MAJOR win for online poker players. Few players I am aware of use credit cards, and as I have said before, there may be very good public policy reasons for prohibiting credit cards from being used to finance gambling.

Passage of a credit card only provision would not amend the Wire Act, and would not enact some of the other sweeping changes I have seen online poker players expressing concern about. Plus, passage of the narrow legislation would likely forestall passage of other, more comprehensive legislation for at least a year, if not longer. Once Congress acts on an issue, it is usually loathe to revisit it for a long while.

Monday, September 11, 2006

OK folks, it's time to use the grassroots power of poker blogs. Please help spread this important message, and above all else, CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN! Kudos to the organizers of this - let's hope we have enough participation to make a difference.


The U.S. Senate is Seeking to Ban Online Poker
PPA Phone March on Capitol Hill Scheduled for Sept. 12

Dear PPA Member:

Your urgent action is needed!

On September 12th the Poker Players Alliance with the support of leading poker blogs and forums, PocketFives.com, Wicked Chops Poker and others are organizing a “Phone March” on Capitol Hill.

From 9:00 AM Eastern Time, until 5:30 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, September 12th, we are asking all PPA members and anyone interested in defending poker to call this toll free number, 800-289-1136 and be patched through to one of your two U.S. Senators in Washington D.C. When you call the 800 number you will hear a recording from fellow PPA member Greg “Fossilman” Raymer and then you will be prompted to enter your five digit zip code so you can be directed, free of charge, to your Senator’s office.

Note: The 800 number will only be active between 9:00 AM EST and 5:30 PM EST on Tuesday September 12.

Key points you should make:

* I am voter in your state.
* I strongly oppose any legislation that would prohibit online poker, and urge the Senator to vote against such legislation.
* Poker is a skill game enjoyed by 70 Million Americans.
* The Senator should seek to regulate online poker much like the government regulates other forms of gaming, like lotteries.
* Prohibitions don’t work. Any legislation that tries to ban online poker will only drive those players underground.
* Again, I urge the Senator to oppose any attempts to prohibit me from playing the great American game of poker on the Internet.

The threat to poker is real. Please forward this information to everyone you know who cares about poker and an American’s freedom to use the Internet. We need everyone possible to make their voice heard on September 12th!


Michael Bolcerek
Poker Players Alliance

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