The Scott Brown Victory And Poker Legislation
Thursday, 28. January 2010

The likelihood that progressive poker legislation will be passed this year appears a distant dream with Republican Scott Brown’s victory over the Obama backed Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley in the special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s United States Senate seat last week.

It appears that the momentum heading into this November’s elections lies clearly with the Republicans. It would seem that it is not a matter of whether the Democrats will lose seats; rather, it is a matter of how many seats the Democrats will lose.

Scott Brown’s victory took away the Democrats super majority in the Senate making the Democrats vulnerable to filibusters. The victory also makes Democrats concerned as to whether they will be able to protect their majority in the Senate in this year’s November elections.

Democratic senators most vulnerable in November’s elections are less likely to take controversial stances on bills such as Barney Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act.

The loss of the Democratic Senate seat led Poker Players Alliance executive director, John Pappas to admit that “certainly, the timing of this is not good.”

Many Democrats rode President Obama’s 2008 presidential wave to victory in districts that are historically owned by Republicans. Now that the luster of President Obama’s election has worn, many of the districts are projected to revert back to Republican representation.

In order for Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to remain Speaker of the House, she will need to make sure that Democrats maintain their majority. As such, she is likely to discourage her Democratic colleagues from taking any stances that would endanger the Democratic majority and her position as Speaker of the House.

It is for this reason that if Barney Frank’s bill does manage to get through his Financial Services Committee and make it the House this year, the legislation is likely to stall and not make it to a House vote.

Inaction by fearful incumbent Democrats in the support of poker legislation will likely become an issue for the Poker Player Alliance and its membership around election time. As poker legislation has had more support from Democrats than Republicans historically, Republican momentum in November’s elections could hurt poker’s future prospects.