Fortune magazine recently published an article online authored by Caesars CEO Gary Loveman in which he calls for legalized online poker at a federal level in the United States. Caesars Entertainment, formerly known as Harrah’s, are the owners and operators of the World Series of Poker.
In the article, Loveman points out that there is going to be online poker in the U.S. no matter what and that the question is, “Should we seize the moment to legalize online poker, permit a safe and legitimate industry in the U.S., and bring those jobs and revenues home?” He goes on to compare poker’s current state in the U.S. to prohibition and offers some ideas on how to regulate it. Of course, there is also the stereotypical touting of the importance of federal funding for problem gambling services that casino CEOs love to hype. Not that these services are a bad thing, on the contrary, they are very necessary. It’s just that there’s always a certain irony when the CEO of a company that makes its money from people gambling calls for more federal funding to problem gambling hotlines.
Loveman’s op-ed is a reminder that online poker has some friends in high places. If online poker becomes legalized in the U.S., it won’t be because enough people joined the PPA and wrote their Congressmen (though those things are important), it will be because people like Gary Loveman want online poker to be legal and had the right connections to make it happen.