BUSINESS

Full Tilt pays Alderney; Caesars Entertainment pays the Congressional piper

TAGs: Alderney Gambling Control Commission, Caesars Entertainment, Congress, full tilt poker, Gary Loveman, lobbying

full-tilt-alderney-caesars-congressThe Alderney Gambling Control Commission has posted a statement on its website stating that Full Tilt Poker has made good on its delinquent £250k gaming license fees. The AGCC suspended FTP’s license on June 29, and it was at a July 26th hearing in London to discuss the suspension that FTP attorney Martin Heslop revealed that the company hadn’t paid its dues, in part because it wasn’t sure the AGCC had any intention of reinstating FTP’s license, so, you know, why bother? The relevant portion of the AGCC statement reads as follows:

On the 26th July 2011, the AGCC held a public hearing to consider allegations arising from the investigation. At the hearing the Commissioners of the AGCC, acting as a tribunal, decided to adjourn the hearing to a date no later than 15th September, as they felt that this was in the best interest of the players using FTP’s services. The recent payment of overdue licence fees by FTP is also in players’ best interests since it allows commercial negotiations to take place that might result in a successful refinancing deal. Further details regarding the exact date and venue of the next hearing will be announced as soon as possible.

In a recent interview with MoneyShow.com, Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman claimed his company was “pressing very aggressively for the US Congress to legalize online poker, and I think we have a very good shot.” From where does such confidence spring? Chris Krafcik (@CKrafcik) crunched the federal lobbying reports for Q2 2011, which show that Caesars spent $821k lobbying Congress on the issue of internet gambling during this period. That’s far more than any other single company, interest group, Indian tribe or state lottery, and represents 23% of the total lobbying spend on internet gambling.

Despite Loveman’s largesse (pardon the pun, but he is a very large man), overall internet gambling lobbying outlay was actually down about $326k in Q2 compared to Q1. Much of the decrease is due to cutbacks by companies affected by the events of Black Friday, as well as the lobby groups these companies supported. PokerStars’ lobbying expenditures dropped by 19% in Q2, marking the first time in almost two years that the company spent less, rather than more. The Interactive Gaming Council and the Poker Players Alliance, each of which were heavily backed by PokerStars, Full Tilt et al, cut lobbying spend by 28.3% and 7.1% respectively. On the other side of the equation, France’s Betclic Everest Group made their first ever appearance on the lobbying list, tucking $50k into Congressional g-strings. Will any of it make any difference? Only time will tell.

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