Legal Developments

iGaming Rundown: PA and CA Updates; Fate of RAWA Up in the Air

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Things are once again heating up on the iGaming front as the Summer of 2015 starts to wind down.

The California legislature is back in session, and there is still a chance that online gambling could solve the Pennsylvania budget impasse. But overall the mood remains pessimistic for iGaming expansion in 2015.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, Sheldon Adelson’s push to ban online gambling took a serious hit as an undercover video of underage gambling and drinking at his Venetian property was released. Although, as The Hill is reporting, there is a renewed push by RAWA backers to bring the issue up for a vote.

California back in session; little time on the clock

The situation in California appears to be changing by the hour, so the best advice I can offer is to just sit back and wait, and don’t do what I do and speculate on which way the winds are blowing because quite frankly, nobody really knows.

After a week of optimism fueled by the potential push by a super-coalition of stakeholders, the latest reports have reverted back to pessimism. Dave Palermo’s latest column indicates that there may simply be too much heavy lifting for the California legislature to pass an online poker bill this year.

So while nobody is ruling anything out, legalizing online poker may simply not have the momentum, nor the time, to pass through the California legislature.

Pennsylvania budget still unresolved; is iGaming the answer?

A similar mentality is starting to take shape in Pennsylvania, as the legislature continues to hold out hope that online gaming (and perhaps several other gaming reforms) will be part of the final budget, but as the days wear on this seems less and less likely.

A recent column in GamblingCompliance indicates that the stakeholders in Pennsylvania have varying levels of optimism when it comes to online gambling expansion in the state because of the aforementioned stalemate.

There are conflicting theories on what the stalemate means for online gaming, with some believing it presents an opportunity for online gaming to be used as an olive branch between the two sides, while others feel the issue has more or less been pushed to the side while the state tackles its larger issues.

This may all be moot, as a recent column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette indicates progress has been made in the budget talks, which is a bad sign for online gambling considering by all accounts the issue has been completely absent from the talks. If a deal is struck without online gambling, iGaming expansion may be put on hold until next year.

One final Pennsylvania note, the House Gaming Oversight Committee has scheduled a hearing on October 27 to discuss online lottery expansion.

New York hearing update

Last week we told you about a proposed hearing to discuss online poker expansion in New York. This week the hearing received a firm date, as the New York Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee told Card Player Magazine it will discuss Senator John Bonacic’s online poker bill on September 9.

RAWA, maybe, maybe not

According to a report in The Hill, there might be a renewed push by Sheldon Adelson to get his Restoration of America’s Wire Act passed in Congress. However, as The Hill article notes, RAWA still has several obstacles to overcome, namely the 10th Amendment minded heads of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, as well as a strong up swell of opposition from the Tea Party caucus, which could be quite fervent during a presidential election cycle.

In addition to the barriers it must overcome in Congress, an outside force might also derail Adelson’s efforts, as a person called Tim James has produced an undercover video alleging a number of transgressions at Adelson’s Venetian property. The video allegedly shows James going to the Venetian with two underage players who proceed to gamble and order drinks.

Later in the video James claims to have solicited a prostitute on the Venetian property.

While it’s anecdotal, Adelson and company have built their entire case against online gambling on anecdotal evidence and mischaracterizations, so James’ video may have more of an impact than all the data and facts the pro-online gambling crowd has been countering Adelson’s claims with.

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