By the time this panel was winding down, my body started to shut down, so I "only" caught about 90% of the discussion. I did catch enough of it to learn some pretty interesting stuff. Most of the "discussion" was based around the Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that was recently passed in both the house and senate.
The speakers were:
Moderator/Speaker: Jay Hickey, President, American Horse Council
Speakers: Nelson Rose, Professor of Law, Whittier Law School
Sue Schneider, CEO President, The River City Group
Maury Wolff , Economist
With all do respect to Ms. Schneider and Mr. Wolff, Mr. Hickey and Mr. Rose offered the most insight into the logistics and minutiae of the the recently passed bill.
Mr. Hickey subtly highlighted the importance of his lobbying organization and the overall efforts of the horse racing industry in making sure that horse racing remained exempt in this failed attempt by Bill Frist to garner enough voting power from the religious right - hoping it would propel him to a Presidential victory in 2008.
Mr. Hickey did a great job of describing some of the more minute details of the bill and the differences between on-line poker, sports betting and betting on horses over the internet(s).
Mr. Rose, a highly respected and extremely well-versed "gambling lawyer" offered more insight into the legal realties of the bill. If you want all of the lowdown, I HIGHLY recommend checking out his website.
Mr. Rose also suggested signing up for his FREE e-newsletter (email him here: email@example.com), which I've already done and suggest you do to.
One question I was not able to ask Mr. Rose, was why he thinks "gambling will be outlawed by 2035 (ish). I think that's what I heard him say.....
In a nutshell, it seems this bill was passed in a rather sketchy, unprofessional manner by Mr. Frist. Without discussion and hurried through congress at the "12th hour", the bill has most affected publicly traded internet poker sites. The poker sites that remained private are still in business and are probably doing better than they ever could have imagined had the bill not been passed.
It seems the law/bill is somewhat ambiguous and there are World Trade Organization implications that will lead to its ultimate undoing. Mainly, Mr. Rose sees the island of Antigua as the first to challenge the U.S. Dept. of Justice on these grounds. Mr. Rose predicts that the U.S. Gov't. will probably pay off Antigua in a settlement, but other affected countries throughout the world will smell blood and press the issue in the future. Again, for more legal details go to Mr. Rose's website HERE.
Horse racing seems safe for now. Besides the ambiguities and shady nature of the bill being passed, one of the more poignant takeaways for me was the importance and undying hard work that the horse racing lobby does. Without dogged lobbying and political efforts, it is quite conceivable that horse racing would be in something of a serious pickle.
My body decided to shut down at around 3pm local time in an effort to try and catch up from thousands of miles traveled in recent days. I needed to recharge with a late afternoon nap, so the afternoon's second set of panels were eliminated from my schedule. I've pretty much completed my presentation for tomorrow morning's blog panel. With only a few tweaks and touch ups remaining, I am looking forward to meeting with my fellow panelists later on today.
In the meantime, I am armed with my video camera and will be heading to the conference floor to see what kind of products are out on the market. Hopefully I'll have some YouTube videos up by noon MST today.