Posts Tagged ‘Could’

Floridians Could Decide Future of Poker, Greyhound Racing in the State

 Floridians Could Decide Future of Poker, Greyhound Racing in the State

As debate regarding the industry rages on, a proposed constitutional amendment could put the decision on the future of greyhound racing – and, by extension, live poker – in the hands of the voters of Florida.

Florida’s greyhound racing industry has for decades been a major draw for gamblers – and for the Florida government, a bonanza of tax revenues – but it has fallen on hard times of late. Deaths of racing greyhounds, drugging issues and other grievous injuries to the animals have been a part of the bad news that has affected those in the business. The Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which has the power to put different constitutional issues on the ballot for the 2018 midterm elections, is considering putting a resolution up that would let the voters have the power of whether to shut the lucrative but under siege industry down or not.

“This is, for me, a matter of conscience,” commission member and state Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican who is sponsoring the proposal, stated to the Florida Times-Union’s Jim Saunders. “Our society has changed. We are evolving as a people. We are becoming more sensitive to those who occupy this world with us, regardless of their species, and to those who are going to follow us for generations to come. And that’s a good thing.”

The General Provisions Committee decided on Thursday to put the potential resolution in front of the entire Executive Committee. Called Proposal 67, the resolution would ban greyhound racing effective December 31, 2019. According to Saunders, the original plan was for the ban to be slowly phased in with an effective date of July 21, but the General Provisions Committee moved up the date. “We should do this as quickly as we feasibly can,” commission member Brecht Heuchan said to Saunders.

There is a lengthy history of greyhound racing in Florida, dating back to the 1930s. With the advent of horse racing and, to some extent, casino gaming, the greyhound racing industry has had difficulties. That was changed when, in the mid-2000s, the greyhound and horse racing tracks could start offering live poker at severely restricted limits.

Within time, poker became a major part of the greyhound tracks. In 2010, the restrictions on poker were lifted and the industry exploded, bringing many of the major poker tours to the state. Cash games, once limited to just limit games, became plentiful and lucrative at the greyhound tracks. But there has always been one problem with the linking of poker to the greyhound tracks.

By state law, the only way that a greyhound track can offer a poker room is if they offer a significant racing schedule and pari-mutuel betting. There have been discussions for several years about separating the greyhound tracks and the poker rooms, but they have been unable to separate the two industries. If Proposal 67 were first to get on the ballot in 2018 and then be voted through by 60% of the citizenry of Florida, there would be significant issues because of the linkage.

If the Florida Legislature had to decouple the racetracks from the poker rooms, they would have to revise their gaming laws. That has been extremely problematic for legislators in the state, who also must contend with the powerful Seminole Indian tribe and their sovereign rights to casino gaming in the Sunshine State. It is unknown what path would have to be taken to get the poker rooms to be able to stand alone from the racetracks, especially if the Seminoles objected to gaming being offered in a free-standing situation (something that breaks the gaming compact the tribe has with the state).

The proposed constitutional amendment isn’t necessarily looking at gambling or poker being offered at the tracks. Many of the members of the constitutional committee are more concerned with the perceived issues that have plagued the racing industries for years. As Lee stated to Saunders, “As we’ve evolved, we’ve banned all sorts of activities that have been considered cruel to animals: bullfighting and cockfighting and all kinds of things. To me, this is just the next step on that plane of becoming more sensitive to this kind of inhumanity.”

The post Floridians Could Decide Future of Poker, Greyhound Racing in the State appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Editorial: Online Poker Could Be in Dire Straits

 Editorial: Online Poker Could Be in Dire Straits

I’ve been in a cave recently…did something happen this week?

The actions in the 2016 General Election have set the States of America on a course that is unprecedented. Most people are looking at the results from Tuesday and wondering just what might be in store for them in the coming four years. One area that can’t be whipping out the champagne and celebrating the actions of 11/9 is the online gaming and poker industry and its denizens.

Since 2013 – when the “Original Three” of Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey enacted online gaming regulation – there has been little to no action regarding the issue. In 2016, more states dabbled with the idea (Michigan and New York), a longtime paramour once again teased everyone (California) and one state (Pennsylvania) came close to actually passing regulations before yanking it away in the end like Lucy with the proverbial football. Now, with the results tallied from not only the federal elections but also the state and local races, the deck is stacked against online gaming and poker and in dire straits.

On the federal level, the changeover in Washington D. C. gives the entirety of the power to the anti-online gaming and poker establishment. By putting the GOP nominee into the presidency, many have said that he would be “good” for the movement. Like most States citizens, however, the idea of regulation of online gaming and poker is about #10,000 on the list of actions to take in the office. His running mate, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, had more evidence as to his stance and it isn’t pretty.

Pence was one of the most vocal critics of any legislation regarding online gaming. He personally penned a letter to the Indiana Congressional representation (which entails eight Republicans and three Democrats, including a split in their Senatorial representation) as the Governor of Indiana to support the legislation pushed by casino magnate and billionaire Sheldon Adelson. He also supported Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz in his efforts in the House Oversight Committee to pass the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act,” or RAWA.

Further down the list is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has commented in the past that the only reason that he signed online gaming in the Garden State in 2013 (after several other moments that he did deny the legislature) was because any veto against it would have been overridden by the New Jersey General Assembly. Alongside former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani – whose crackdown on virtually everything in the Big Apple in the late 1990s saw the decline of the underground poker scene in the city – there is a formidable group in the “inner circle” already against the online gaming and poker idea.

Looking at Congress, there are no roadblocks to virtually anything that the GOP wants to do. The sponsor of anti-online gaming legislation in the Senate, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham can (should he desire…all bills that were introduced in this Congress die with the seating of the 115th Congress in January) reintroduce his version of RAWA in the Senate and Chaffetz would be able to do likewise in the House. With no checks from the opposition, the bills can be ramrodded through the Congress, reconciled and put on the GOP nominee’s desk rather quickly. Expect to see such legislation, much like how the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 was passed, tacked onto some other “must pass” bill to prevent debate and an actual examination.

On the state level, it looks bleaker (if that is possible). In the States of America, 33 of the 50 states are dominated by a GOP that, until 2012, had a plainly descriptive plank in the party platform to outlaw online gaming. Governorships for the 50 states break down to 31-18 (one independent), once again not a bellwether of positivity on the online gaming subject. Two states (Utah and Hawaii) have already banned online gaming and poker – how many might take that tack further emboldened by the results from 2016?

There are some that speak of “hope” that the GOP – driven by the greed of the almighty dollar – will see the error of their ways and pass online poker and gaming legislation because of the taxation aspects. The ugly truth is – no matter how many Tweets you send, no matter how many times you comment on a newspaper editorial, magazine article or Facebook post, especially if they are aimed at GOP members that are firmly entrenched (you think they gave a rat’s patoot before the election what we thought? Just wait until they’re in firm control) – the group that has driven the anti-online gaming and poker caravan now has complete and total control of the toggle switch. By the end of the 115th Congress, don’t be surprised if that switch is thrown and the online gaming and poker carcass (and it will be a carcass by December 2018 after it withers under persecution) is electrocuted into nonexistence by a federal ban.

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