In February a new gaming association was formed, the US Online Gaming Association. The USOGA headed by former executive director of the Poker Voters of America, Melanie Brenner and made up of three initial groups who are providing financial and technical support, Sportingbet, PKR and a group called Secured American Games, LLC. This new fake association is a black mark on the industry reputations of all the brands backing it and an insult to the rest of the industry in how amateurish this is being done.
The biggest coup for the USOGA is the addition of slick PR man Patrick Dorinson. Dorinson is immediately recognizable as the Fox News “independent” commenter, sporting a slow talking, libertarian cowboy shtick, which he adopted in 2009 after the rise of the Tea Party Movement in the US.
Don’t let the cowboy shtick fool you; Dorinson was born in San Francisco and has deep governmental ties as a fundraiser, strategist, lobbyist and government spokesmen. He’s a slick PR strategist, adept at deflecting BS and polishing turds.
Dorinson was behind Al Gore’s failed presidential bid in 1988 and he was a member of Bill Clinton’s administration. When in the Clinton administration, he worked for the department of energy.
This led him to his next couple of career moves, first to California ISO. California ISO, which at the time controlled 75% of the power grid, then to Mirant Corporation, where he served as the company spokesman.
At ISO, he was the man responsible for selling California on rolling blackouts in 2000. While at Mirant, he was the man in charge of denying links to Enron, all the while Mirant was using the same shady accounting schemes that Enron used to bilk shareholders out of $11 billion dollars.
After leaving Mirant, he was a big part of the recall campaign to oust former California Democratic Governor Gray Davis. He then played a role in the election of actor turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger who rewarded him with the job of spokesman for the Republican Party of California. It must be said, that after the Governator, California is teetering on bankruptcy.
His time with the California Republicans was parlayed into a spokesman role for the California Morongo Tribe, which was his first job in the gaming industry.
We all know the Morongo Tribe for their protectionist push for intrastate online gambling in California. You might also remember lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his funneling Tribal lobbyist money into the Republican Party. It gave Dorinson another chance to deny any involvement in shady dealings on behalf of an employer.
The announcement that he was jumping ship to a competing lobby group, the PVoA, there was hope this slick talking cowboy would use his big government, insider status to open the doors for fair regulation for all foreign licensed gaming operators. We should have known better.
His latest editorial push at European public gaming mouthpiece eGR, “A Fair Model for California”, Dorinson attempts to diminish Rod Wright’s SB 45 which would legalize online gambling for all. That doesn’t sound like something a true libertarian would say. eGR needs to do a better job of researching the back grounds of self proclaimed industry champions to make sure they are not promoting things, as is the case here, that are in fact bad for the majority of the industry.
One paragraph in his push for “fairness” is far more damning to Dorinson’s libertarian shtick than the rest.
“California should not reward those who have deliberately chosen to disregard the ban. Those that have not taken U.S. bets will form the operations backbone working in partnership with California’s current licensees.”
It’s BS, if you ask the US Department of Justice and those with far more legal expertise than myself have, they would say, “One bet before the passing of the UIEGA law passing is equal in law to one taken after the passing of the UIEGA.”
We are big supporters of anyone who is working to improve the credibility of the industry. However, we think it’s disingenuous for companies to think they can pull the wool over the eyes of US consumers by pretending to open the market up. But in reality, they are putting in place artificial restrictions that will remove market forces and therefore remove player value.
In a recent non-gaming column, Patrick Dorinson made a call for politicians to wear sponsor logos on their clothes as they wear in NASCAR. It’s an interesting proposal but we challenge Dorinson and his US Online Gaming Association to be just as transparent on who is backing them in order for this not to have the appearances of consumer misrepresentation.
Does the gaming industry really want a few questionably ethical public companies, who through Secured American Games are able write the regulatory rules that all gaming companies must abide by to do business in the US? I would think not.
Patrick Dorinson is in reality, not running a real industry association; this is a fake association that should be more accurately labeled as a clandestine lobbying arm for a few European Public companies whose current structures are precluding them from letting most of the worlds residents open accounts. The solution to their problems is to go private, not to screw up the laws in California for the entire industry.
We consider this form of lobbying to be verging on unethical, and definitely not showing our industry in the light we are championing here at CalvinAyre.com.