From the Editor's Chair - v18

18 August 2004

It's getting late in the U.S. legislative session, which can only mean one thing. . . It's time to talk Kyl bill. This might be the quietest year on the prohibition front since the dream was borne eight years ago, but don't think for a second that camp Kyl will abandon the cause. My take: They'll try to "sneak" it through--perhaps as part of an appropriations bill (as they did in '98) or under the anti-terrorism umbrella (as they did in '02). Maybe there's some other key legislation out there primed for the Kyl bill to latch onto its underbelly. Gay marriage? Healthcare? Your guess is as good as mine, but I'll be shocked if we don't hear from Sen. Kyl again before time expires.

Will Ron Bensimhon be Canada's biggest showing at the Olympics? The Canadian tutu-wearing Golden Palace billboard actually had the audacity to mock the prestigious sport of synchronized diving, and in doing so proved that there's a hole or two in Greece's billion euro-plus blanket of security at the 2004 Olympic Games. Considering the state of the world today, wouldn't you say its somewhat alarming that Golden Palace has infiltrated security at the Super Bowl, the Olympics and the Sydney Harbor Bridge with relative ease? Is the Republican Convention next? At least one faction (other than GP) stands to benefit from the charade: Participants and supporters of synchronized diving are jumping for joy (no pun intended) now that a few thousand people have been made aware that such a sport exists. As for Golden Palace, when it comes to major sporting events, we no longer ask "Will they?" We ask, "When will they strike and how will it go down?"

We're all aware of how the poker boom has affected the online gambling business, but I thought I'd share a few thoughts on how it has affected me on a personal level. First, the positive. . . Harrah's down the street, after years of denying our fine community the joys of table poker, is proudly boasting that it's now dealing hands of Hold'em and Stud. I noticed this on a billboard and it got me in the mood, so I drove past the casino and on home to play a few hands at an Internet poker room. And then there's the negative: yes, a sharp rise in the last six months of Ben Affleck sightings. The horror. . .

And this week's take on the insanely fascist crackdown on advertising. . . Casino City (as hinted in "Editor's Chair" v17) dropped quite a bomb by mounting a legal challenge against what many perceive as a blatant attack on Free Speech by the U.S. Justice Department, and I'm a bit surprised the mainstream media hasn't picked up on it. This is very significant news, and so far very few non-industry pubs have given it coverage. The AP ran something this week, and I would have expected the story to snowball from there, but nothing so far. What's the deal?

We here at IGN collectively think Sting from Gambling911 is a bit of a maniac, but I'll be the first to admit that he makes some very good points on occasion. And his thoughts on a potential Kerry Administration were eye-opening to say the least. Our favorite muckraker pointed out a few weeks ago that arguably rabid New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer--a successful crusader against all banking institutions that so much as mutter the words "online gambling"--could be in line for John Ashcroft's post. Ashcroft isn't terribly popular within the I-gaming circles, but he certainly isn't feared to the extent that Spitzer would be. So I guess file this one under the "Careful what you wish for" category.

Considering that Philadelphia Flyer's star center Jeremy Roenick was not breaking any laws by being a client of National Sports Consultants (nor was he violating league policies), was his relationship with the handicapping firm really anyone's business?

The Interactive Gaming Council is undergoing a major transition, and anyone who thinks the group's decision to distance itself from sports books targeting U.S. players was easy is way off. They've gotten the separation they wanted, but in the process have lost some longstanding members (some of whom played major roles building the association) who will be sorely missed. Let's hope the leaner (and presumably meaner) IGC can adapt and continue to be a strong advocate for the industry.

Mark Balestra

Mark Balestra is the Managing Director at BolaVerde Media Group. He previously worked at Clarion Gaming and the River City Group where he was the publisher of iGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.