Issue 320
October 30 - November 5, 2006
Volume 6
page 1

This Issue

Gaming News

Casino City's October Sweepstakes

Jowell compares US ban to prohibition

Nevada casinos' worries may be just smoke

Another casino cruise proposed for South Carolina

PGIC, Harrah's plan new poker game

Show Time Meat Loaf performs at the Trump Taj Mahal.

Column Have the machines in Vegas Gotten Tighter? by John Robison.

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Looking in on: Washington
By Lisa Mascaro, Our Partners at Las Vegas Sun

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Could a cornerstone of Republicans' American Values Agenda - the just passed law to ban Internet gambling - come back to bite the party on Nov. 7?

That's the prognosis of poker-playing scholar Charles Murray, who warned in a recent newspaper opinion piece of the political damage Republicans may face from the nation's poker-playing masses this fall. An estimated 8 million Americans gamble online.

"We are talking about a lot of people ... who are angry enough to vote on the basis of this one issue, and they blame Republicans," said Murray, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, writing in The New York Times.

The Poker Players Alliance, which fought the bill on Capitol Hill, says Murray is spot on.

The group's president, Michael Bolcerek, said that in catering to the religious right, which pushed Congress for the ban, Republicans have antagonized the party's rank and file who just want to play a few hands online.

Bolcerek said he has been getting a continuous flow of e-mails from Republicans "who say they're going to vote straight Democrat." The group is urging its 120,000 members to vote - and posted congressional voting records at its Web site.

"We believe it was a miscalculation by the Republican Party to assume these people won't go to the polls and vote on this issue," Bolcerek said in an interview.

Online gambling has grown into a massive pastime, although not exactly a legal one. The religious right has pushed to ban the practice for years, without luck, saying it is harmful to family life.

But just as Washington lawmakers were preparing to adjourn for fall elections, Congress passed the gambling ban by tacking it onto a massive port security bill members couldn't turn down. President Bush signed the bill at a ceremony just over a week ago.

Now millions of American gamblers are being shut out of popular sites that immediately closed their doors to U.S. players. Murray argued that based on his online talks with poker players, he's willing to bet many of the "outraged millions" are Republicans and Reagan Democrats. He was not immediately available for comment.

"This law all by itself could add a few more Democratic congressional seats in the fall elections," he wrote.

A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who had made the bill a priority, doubts its passage will hurt the GOP or depress Republican turnout.

The bill's passage comes after other big-ticket values agenda items such as bans on gay marriage and flag desecration failed over summer.

"I am not sure how enforcing something that was already illegal is bad for either political party," Frist spokeswoman Carolyn Weyforth said. "This bill just put in place a mechanism to stop those that were ignoring our existing laws."

Jowell compares US ban to prohibition
As Reported by the UK Guardian

UNITED KINGDOM – "Tessa Jowell, the culture secretary, attacked the US government yesterday over its crackdown on online gambling and warned that the policy could become a modern-day version of prohibition.

"Ms Jowell spoke out against the new US anti-gambling laws signed earlier this month by George Bush, claiming that the legislation could fuel the kind of fraud and exploitation last seen during the prohibition era, when America banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol from 1920 to 1933.

"Speaking ahead of the first-ever international summit on remote gambling being held at Royal Ascot next Tuesday, Ms Jowell told the Financial Times: 'America should have learnt the lessons of prohibition.'

"…Ms Jowell wants to win international support for the government's approach of allowing online casino and poker sites, subject to legal control, rather than expelling them offshore and out of reach…"

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