Gambling Lobbyists Working Overtime

07 February 2010

BolaVerde Media Group (BVMG) recently released a new Internet Gambling Federal Lobbying report which estimates that $3.65 million was spent lobbying the U.S. government over online gambling during the third quarter of 2009. This was from both supporters and opponents. This money is a 50% increase from the previous year.

Mark Balestra, Managing Director for BVMG, states that they know that regulated internet gambling is going to happen and that they have a good feeling about who the big players will be in that market. He says that the increased lobbying spending is expected to continue this year and that new contributors will enter into the game.

 Leading the spending frenzy were Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., UC Group Limited and the Interactive Gaming Council. Their combined spending was $2.04 million, or 55.9% of the total. This is money spent in favor of online gaming.

As can be seen in the above figures, there are many on both sides of this debate. This includes the federal government. While many in the government are looking to repeal UIGEA, there are still many who want to keep online gambling illegal for U.S. citizens.

iGaming Business reports that Harrah’s spent $2.41 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 trying to overturn UIGEA. The total spent in the fourth quarter was a 50% increase compared to 2008.

“An assessment of lottery spend also lends insight into what the regulatory model will look like and who stands to benefit,” said Balestra.

Gambling, whether in land based casinos or online, is big business with millions of dollars at stake. It stirs peoples emotions and their wallets. That is why so much has been spent on repealing or enforcing UIGEA and why it will contunue to be spent until someone makes a decision.

The battle over the life or death of UIGEA is an ongoing battle that remains in the headlines. It would be wise for all players in the game to take a look at who is doing what to influence the decision making process.