Two experts in US law and former members of the FBI and Department of Justice (DoJ) spoke at length at today’s EGR Live conference on the issue of Black Friday and what the outlook is for the future of that US online poker market.
Consultant Peter Marcus chaired a discussion between Donald Richards, who had a 22-year-career at the FBI, and Jeremy Frey, a federal prosecutor with the DoJ for 17 years on all issues concerning the US and where we might find ourselves in a few years time.
After outlining the situation after UIGEA in brief, thoughts turned to the indictments and all manner of different issues were brought up. In terms of the length of the cases, Richards said, “I think there will be a financial settlement at some point. Also expect a number of guilty pleas and people saying that they’ll stop doing business on US soil.”
Maybe the most interesting point to come out of the session though was their surprise at the hazy nature of Attorney General Eric Holder’s attitude to the process.
“There is an incredible amount of ambivalence being shows towards Black Friday by the Attorney General and it’s surprising to see,” said Frey.
As a great friend of Holder’s, Richards had already added that he is a “straight-talker” and “tell everything down the line.” It’s difficult then to read into what Holder actually thinks about the whole process.
The often asked question at any number of these events of people involved in the US is how long until regulation but both men were optimistic.
In terms of how EU companies should look to crack the US market both were unanimous in their opinion that if done correctly now is the time.
Richards said, “Joint ventures and acquisitions should be considered by European companies looking to enter the US market and they need to align with licensed firms before any regulation takes place.
Frey added, “It’s a great time to engage in the US market if you’re not there already.”
I’ll leave it to Frey with his antidote at the end of it all linking the whole situation with a familiar phrase from Hawaii Five-O where Officer McGarrett often uttered the phrase “Danno, seal the island.” Frey commented, “as preposterous as that sounds, it’s illustrative of the US’s current posture towards online gaming as they still believe they can seal the island, something that it can’t do. There’s no turning back and no Puritanism that can be politically palletable.”