The day is finally upon us. I feel like Steve Martin in the cult comedy The Jerk, jumping up and down, screaming, and telling Jackie Mason, “The new phonebook’s here!”
Wednesday, April 23rd, at 1:30 PM, the Governmental Organizations Committee will host their hearing on online poker and details are finally starting to leak out as to the agenda and who has been invited.
We’ll get you caught up on everything you’ll need to know to go into the hearing with a good grasp on the situation, including background information on some of the invited speakers, and what lines of questioning and comments you should be paying particular attention to and hoping to hear.
We’ll have a full report on the hearing by the end of the day on Wednesday, but if you’re so inclined you can also watch the hearing here: CalChannel.com, listen to it here: California Assembly audio feed, or follow at @OPReport on Twitter as Chris Grove will be live tweeting throughout the day.
It’s D-Day for the California online poker hearing
The highly anticipated online gambling hearing in California is nearly here, and consider the list of invited speakers, and with the hearing being broken up into 10 separate topics this is likely to be a very long day for those of us covering it. But this also means it should be an extremely informative and enlightening day.
According to PokerNews.com’s Matthew Kredell, the hearing will feature 33 speakers who run the gamut from industry insiders to lawmakers, and from fervent anti-online gambling crusaders to pro-online poker advocates.
According to Kredell, the following people are among the 33 invited speakers:
- The Chairmen of seven of California’s tribes.
- Mark Lipparelli, the former head of the Nevada Gaming Control Board who is now working as a consultant for the verification company CAMS — I posited Lipparelli might be among the invited speakers in our last column.
- Tobin Prior, the CEO of Ultimate Gaming who gave the keynote address at the iGNA Conference last month.
- Tom Balance, the COO and President of the Borgata. The Borgata has been the most successful iGaming brand in New Jersey thus far.
- Richard Lopes, the Chairman of the California Gambling Control Commission. Lopes was also on our short-list of potential speakers last week.
- Chris Krafcik of Gambling Compliance. Krafcik is one of the top minds covering the iGaming industry.
- Andy Abboud, Sheldon Adelson’s top henchman in his anti-online gambling crusade.
What to watch for Part 2: Abboud and NJ data
Last week we gave you a short-list of things to watch for (a list that started and finished with PokerStars), but armed with this new information there are certainly a few new threads that have appeared that are worth mentioning.
How will Andy Abboud be treated?
Abboud’s position is certainly going to be in the minority, as he and Adelson are essentially trying to take money out of the pockets of many of the invited guests, which could very well rankle a few feathers in the room.
It would be extremely disappointing if Abboud’s bogeyman concerns resonate with some of the attendees. Fortunately, I have a feeling Abboud will be allowed to give his statement and then either be dismissed out of hand and ignored, or quite possibly have his and Adelson’s motivations called into question.
During the Massachusetts forum back in March a number of speakers cited data and information that we were not privy to at the time, and I’m hoping the same occurs Wednesday in California.
Hearings of this kind can sometimes let us have a peek behind the curtain to see what is going on underneath the surface.
So definitely keep your ears open when speakers from the state’s that have legalized online gambling or from the companies that run these sites are talking. You’re likely to hear some great information (usually in the guise of a humble brag) that are not usually made public.
California iGaming Barometer
A quick look through the list of invited speakers has me going into Wednesday’s hearing in a very optimistic mood. I’m not whistling and singing uplifting Disney songs, but I do like the way this hearing is shaping up.
Still, not much has changed from our last barometric reading, but following the meeting I’m hoping my playlist includes Pharell’s Happy and not Daniel Powter’s Had a Bad Day.