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$3.3 Mill Spent Lobbying I-gaming Policy in US, 2nd Half '07

3 March 2008

According to Congressional records, Internet gambling legislation attracted approximately $3.3 million in lobbying at the federal level during the second half of 2007.

The grassroots Poker Players Alliance (PPA) was the largest spender, budgeting $1.2 million to federal lobbying efforts throughout the period. Representing the interests of 935,000 members, the PPA supports efforts to regulate Internet poker and to have it exempt as a game of skill from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The organization reported $780,000 of in-house expenses for lobbying conducted by Executive Director John Pappas in addition to another $420,000 paid to four DC-based firms.

The second largest spender is the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC), an industry association that has been lobbying for legislative reform since 1999. The group is composed of some of the global industry's most successful companies, including 888 Holdings, Full Tilt Poker and Playtech. The IGC spent a combined $490,000 with four DC-based lobbying firms in the second half of 2007.

Operator PartyGaming spent $220,000 independently and rival Sportingbet spent $80,000 independently.

Another group trying to influence policy at the federal level is the American Gaming Association (AGA). Composed of land-based casino operators and suppliers, the AGA is a proponent of legislation that would commission the National Academy of Sciences to study Internet gambling in order to determine the appropriate government response. The bill's sponsor is Nevada's Representative Shelley Berkley.

The AGA's report says the group is interested in a bill that would regulate and tax Internet gambling, as well as the the bill that would exempt skill games from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but the group is not obliged to report what position it takes on issues. The AGA was neutral on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006.

The AGA reported $800,000 of in-house lobbying expenses during the last half of 2007. The sum went toward lobbying on two other issues besides Internet gambling: taxes and tourism. Additionally, the AGA paid $125,000 to DC-based Duberstein Group for lobbying on Internet gambling and tourism. Duberstein Group directed its efforts to the House of Representatives and the Department of the Interior.

AGA members Harrah's Entertainment, MGM Mirage and Station Casinos each hired their own lobbyists for independent representation on the issue.

Both the Family Research Council and the Christian Coalition of America devoted a portion of in-house lobbying spending toward Internet gambling opposition. Internet gambling is one of 16 broad issues on which the Family Research Council spent $40,000 trying to influence lawmakers. For the Christian Coalition Internet gambling was one of 15 issues on which it spent $300,000.

America's sports leagues hired lobbyists to ensure betting on their events remains illegal. Lobbyists reported contracts with the National Football League (NFL), the NFL Players Association, the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Horseracing industry bodies the American Horse Council and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association also lobbied on the issue, as did horserace betting operator Magna Entertainment. Federal legislation currently exempts remote wagering on horseraces in states where the activity is legal.

In all, federal lobbyists reported working for at least 25 different organizations on the issue of Internet gambling during the period.

Author's Note: The Lobbying Disclosure Act requires all lobbyists at the federal level to report all of their lobbying income and to specify whom they represent and on which particular issues. Organizations that use in-house staff to lobby must report their lobbying expenses. Reports must be filed every half-year and are made available to the public over the Internet.

The figure $3.3 million is an estimate. In cases where lobbyists reported working for an organization on a number of issues, I divided the lobbyists reported sum by the number of reported issues. For example, the AGA reported in-house expenses of $800,000 for lobbying on Internet gambling and two other issues. My figures assume that the funds were distributed equally across the three issues and estimate the spending on Internet gambling at $266,666.

All information can be verified through the Senate's Lobbying Disclosure Act Database: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/Public_Disclosure/LDA_reports.htm.

American Gaming Association - $329,166 (estimated)

The American Gaming Association reported $800,000 of in-house lobbying expenses during the second half of 2007. The sum was distributed across three broad areas, one of which is:

Internet gaming HR 2046 Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007; HR 2140 to provide for a study by the National Academy of Sciences to identify the proper response of the United States to the growth of Internet gambling; HR 2607, Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2007; HR 2610, to amend subchapter IV of chapter 53 of Title 31, the United States Code, and Section 1084 of Title 18 of such Code to clarify the applicability of such provisions to games of skill.

President and CEO Frank Fahrenkopf and the three Vice Presidents of Government Affairs, Brett Hale, Walton Chalmers and Dorothy Jackson, are the individuals who acted as in-house lobbyists for the AGA on Internet gambling issues.

Additionally, the AGA paid $125,000 to DC-based Duberstein Group for lobbying services. The sum was distributed across two broad areas, one of which is Internet gambling policy, expressed in precisely the same terms as in its own report.

American Horse Council - $10,000 (estimated)

The AHC paid $20,000 to Davis & Harman LLP for lobbying services. The sum was distributed across two broad issues, including gambling, specifically:

"All proposals relating to Internet gambling; Proposals related to capital gains holding period and depreciation for horse and other tax proposals affecting the equine industry; Proposals relating to withholding on gambling winnings"

Antigua Online Gaming Association - $120,000

The Antigua Online Gaming Association paid $120,000 to DC-based Black Swan LLC for lobbying services on:

HR 2046 a bill to provide for the licensing of Internet gambling facilities; Issues related to the Antigua/United States World Trade Organization dispute on remote gaming

Avatar Enterprises - $60,000

Avatar Enterprises paid $60,000 to DC-based Sher & Blackwell LLP for lobbying services on:

"Congressional Oversight and legislation regarding Internet gaming, including possible amendments to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006."

Baker Tilly - $140,000

Baker Tilly paid $140,000 to DC-based Alston & Bird LLP for lobbying services on:

"HR 2046, Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act; HR 2607 Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act."

Christian Coalition of America - $20,000 (estimated)

The Christian Coalition reported $300,000 of in-house lobbying expenses. The sum was distributed across 15 broad areas, one of which is:

"Opposition to H.R. 2046, Internet Gambling Regulation Enforcement Act"

Family Research Council - $2,500 (estimated)

The Family Research Council reported $40,000 of in-house lobbying expenses during the second half of 2007. The sum was distributed across 16 broad areas, one of which is:

"HR 2046- Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007- Federal license requirement for Internet gambling operators"

GTECH - $40,000

GTECH paid $40,000 to DC-based BKSH & Associates for lobbying services on:

"Internet Gambling Legislation"

Harrah's Entertainment - $33,333 (estimated)

Harrah's paid $100,000 to Alexandria, Virginia-based US Strategies for lobbying services. The sum was distributed across three broad issues, one of which is:

"HR 2610, Skill Gaming Protection Act; HR 2046 Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act; and HR 2140 Internet Gambling Study Act"

Interactive Amusement & Tournament Video Game Coalition - less than $10,000

The Coalition paid less than $10,000 to DC-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP for lobbying on:

"Internet gambling legislation"

Interactive Gaming Council - $490,000

The IGC paid $90,000 to DC-based Private Public Solutions LLC for lobbying services on:

"Issues related to Internet gambling reform"

The IGC also paid $60,000 to DC-based Mattox Woolfolk LLC for lobbying services on:

H.R. 2046

Mattox Woolfolk directed efforts to the House of Representatives.

The IGC also paid $300,000 to DC-based Greenberg Traurig for lobbying services on:

"Opposition to prohibition of Internet gambling"

The IGC also paid $40,000 to DC-based Patton Boggs for lobbying services on:

"Internet gaming definitions, regulations and study legislation"

Interactive Skill Games Association - $140,000

The Interactive Skill Games Association reports $80,000 of in-house lobbying expenses during the second half of 2007. The entire sum went toward:

"Issues related to the regulation of skill games, including H.R. 2610, H.R. 2046, H.R. 2607, H.R. 2140, and proposed Treasury/Federal Reserve rules to implement the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006"

Harlan Goodson acted as in-house lobbyist for the ISGA on Internet gambling issues.

The Interactive Skill Games Association also paid $60,000 to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman for lobbying services on:

"Issues related to the regulation of skill games, including H.R. 2610, H.R. 2046, H.R. 2607, H.R. 2140, and proposed Treasury/Federal Reserve rules to implement the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006"

Magna Entertainment - $20,000 (estimated)

Magna paid $40,000 to DC-based DLA Piper US LLP for lobbying services. The sum was distributed across two broad issues, one of which is:

"HR 2046. Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act 2007; Regulations implementing Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act."

MGM Mirage - $13,333 (estimated)

MGM Mirage paid $160,000 to DC-based Cassidy and Associates for lobbying services. The sum was distributed across six broad issues, one of which is:

"HR 2176 - Bay Mills Indian Community Settlement Bill; HR 4115 - Sault St. Marie Bank of Chippewa Settlement Bill; HR 2046 - Internet Gaming Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007; HR 2140 - Internet Gaming Study Bill

National Basketball Association - $40,000 (estimated)

The NBA paid $280,000 to DC-based McGuirewoods Consulting for lobbying services. The sum was distributed across seven issues, one of which is:

"preserve federal ban on sports gambling and strengthen prohibition against Internet gambling"

National Collegiate Athletic Association - $20,000 (estimated)

The NCAA reports $100,000 of in-house lobbying expenses. The sum was distributed across five broad issues, one of which is:

"HR 2046 Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007 (regarding Internet Gambling Licensing Program and regulating Internet gambling); Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act Regulations (regarding criminal prohibitions connected with Internet gambling); issues related to WTO General Agreement on Trade Services and gambling and betting services."

National Football League - $109,166 (estimated)

The NFL paid $655,000 to DC-based Covington & Burling LLP for lobbying services. The sum was distributed across six broad issues, one of which is:

"Internet Gambling"

National Football League Players Association - $20,000 (estimated)

The NFL's Players Association paid $60,000 to DC-based Baach Robinson & Lewis for lobbying services. The sum was distributed across three broad issues, one of which is:

"HR 2046- Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (Fantasy Sports exemption); HR 2607 Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act (Fantasy Sports exemption)"

National Thoroughbred Racing Association - $13,333 (estimated)

The NTRA paid $40,000 to DC-based Davis & Harman LLP for lobbying services on:

"Proposals relating to capital gains holding period and depreciation for horses and other tax proposals affecting the equine industry; Proposals relating to Internet gambling; Withholding taxes on gambling winnings."

Office of the Commissioner of Baseball - $84,000 (estimated)

The Commissioner's office paid $420,000 to DC-based Baker Hostetler LLP lobbying services. The sum was distributed across five broad issues, one of which is:

"Internet gambling issues affecting Major League Baseball"

PartyGaming - $220,000

PartyGaming paid $120,000 to DC-based Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker for lobbying services on:

"Congressional oversight and legislation regarding Internet gaming; H.R. 2046 the "Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007"

PartyGaming also paid $100,000 to DC-based Parry Romani Deconcini & Symms for lobbying services on:

"Track and monitor legislation with potential impact on the gaming industry. HR 2045 - Internet Gambling Enforcement Act; HR 2610 - Skill Game Protection Act"

Poker Players Alliance - $1.2 million

The PPA reports $780,000 of in-house lobbying expenses on:

"Representing the public policy interests of adult poker players in the United States, HR 2046 - The Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act; Lobby to support regulated Internet poker in the U.S, HR 2610 - The Skill Game Protection Act; Lobby to exempt poker and other games of skill from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act"

Executive Director John Pappas is the individual who acted as in-house lobbyist for the PPPA.

Additionally, the PPA paid $240,000 to DC-based Ogilvy Government Relations for lobbying on:

HR 2046 - The Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007; HR 2140 - Internet Gambling Study Act; HR 2610 - The Skill Game Protection Act; Issues related to online poker.

The PPA also paid $40,000 to DC-based Barnes & Thornburg LLP for lobbying services on:

"general government representation, including but not limited to, legislative and regulatory initiatives involving Internet gambling"

The PPA also paid $80,000 to DC-based Patton Boggs LLC for lobbying services on:

"defining poker as a game of skill; legislation affecting poker players."

The PPA also paid $60,000 to DC-based Mattox Woolfolk LLC for lobbing services on:

HR 2046

Sportingbet - $80,000

Sportingbet paid $80,000 to DC-based Buchanan Ingersol & Rooney P.C. for lobbying services on:

"Gaming issues"

Station Casinos - $30,000 (estimated)

Station Casinos paid $60,000 to DC-based ML Stategies for lobbying services on:

"H.R. 2562 - Limitation on Tribal Gambling to Existing Tribal Lands Act of 2007- all provision; H.R. 2046 - Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007- all provisions"

UC Group - $140,000

UC Group paid $140,000 to Alston & Bird LLP for lobbing services on:

"HR 2046, Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act; HR 2607 Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act."

$3.3 Mill Spent Lobbying I-gaming Policy in US, 2nd Half '07 is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com