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Author: [The Archives] Topic: Industry in distress: How did it come to this?
JoeMacDonald send a private message View Space | Friends | Playbook |
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#26
Posted: 2/1/2007 1:47:22 PM
sp57,

A few companies, sportingbet for one, have offered to submit to paying taxes.

The feds have avoided that question for now. As I mentioned in the column, up until now, the tone of the industry has always been, "You better tax us, because you can't stop us. We're getting rich no matter what you do, anyway."

You don't say that unless you are sure the other side has run out of bullets. They hadn't.

Maybe now would be a good time for a more conciliatory tone. something the politicians would find less threatening.

The EU is thinking of brining this topic up with the US. I hope they take a proper angle.
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#27
Posted: 2/1/2007 1:52:20 PM
QUOTE
Wow, good thoughts, Matador
 
Originally Posted by Matador:


I agree with you that confrontation and defiance "aren't particularly effective when the minority is disorganized and easily marginalized and ignored." But that's because no course of action is particularly effective for the disorganized and marginalized. Compliance and passivity would be even worse.
 
You hit the nail on the head there.
 
I thought the article was a bit ho-hum. I did like the points about the modern sportsbettor who's only bet online and with great convenience. He has no experience with a bookie. I fall into this catagory but if the government thinks it's going to tell me to not gamble in the privacy of my own home, they've got another thing coming.
 
Another point in the article was interesting: that there's 3.6 billion people on the planet, only .6 billion of which live in the United States, so alot of sportsbooks are going to go looking for other, less problematic markets. The article marginalizes the U.S. market (only .6 of a billion people). Keep in mind that the population of the U.S. alone is nearly the same size as the entire European Union. This is not a small market, by any means, and is without a doubt the richest, and in my opinion is abandoned to a company's financial peril. With some sportbooks leaving, this opens up tremendous opportunites for other sportsbooks and I have no doubt many will try to step up.
 
The government is fighting a losing battle here.
 
The best thing you can do is not be scared and to keep gambling online.
 
Fooey
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#28
Posted: 2/1/2007 2:04:50 PM
I wonder if there is an angle to explore with the whole "moral objection" theory I believe the U.S. has used in the WTO case. The hyprocisy of the law and the objection being that Little Johnny may get on the internet and bet the family fortune on the Super Bowl which is a bad thing but the law doesn't stop Little Johnny from funding his account to put the family fortune on the #5 horse in the 2nd race at Arlington Park.
 
Those who helped get this law in place are lined with some deep pockets.
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#29
Posted: 2/1/2007 2:08:01 PM
OK Joe, here's how it could be done....

I have no idea of the Covers hierarchy, but I assume you are in contact with the people that can organize it properly. You'd have to contact other significant sport forums, come up with a date, and have it prominently posted everywhere. An email campaign would also be great. You have a wealth of contacts, no doubt. Also a good idea to get poker players involved, in solidarity. Every poker player and sportsbettor in the country should be contacted, somehow. Let's make it a big issue.....


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#30
Posted: 2/1/2007 2:09:18 PM
I love the part of that argument that never gets mentioned:

If Little Johnny actually manages to get online and bet the family fortune, all Big Johnny (Johnny's Dad) has to do is call Visa and have them issue a chargeback... and then give Little Johnny a smack.

Problem solved. Not even really a problem.
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#31
Posted: 2/1/2007 2:21:40 PM
Matador,

You are right. We do have contacts. We could raise a real ruckus, if we wanted to.

But, you are correct, we have to coordinate it properly, and then have everybody do something both noticeable, and positive.

We have to do something that not only brings attention, but it doesn't cast a negative light on us and make us look like a bunch of, well, criminals.

I like your DirecTV idea, but unfortunately we won't be able to make a real point for another 8 months in that regard.

As an example, without getting too party-based, I like what the Democrats are doing right now to get their Minimum Wage law passed. They say they won't grant themselves raises until the Minimum Wage law gets ratified.

Say what you will about the benefits of the legislation, that's a very effective tactic they are using. It gets the point across, hits their opponents in the pocketbook, and looks good with the people.


We need to find similar ways to make our own points.

We need to show:
- We are not degenerates.
- The children are safe
- We are not terrorists
- The USA is missing out on a whole pile of tax money
- that money could do a LOT of public good
- The current policy is hypocritical
- We won't be stopped

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#32
Posted: 2/1/2007 2:40:57 PM
Awesome writeup Joe, you should write more often.
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#33
Posted: 2/1/2007 2:44:44 PM
We need to find as many ways as possible to make our points. We also need a clear idea of what our objectives are. I'm sure you have given plenty of thought to that, and will elaborate.

But initially, we need organization. We should form an advocacy group if there isn't one already out there sufficient for our purposes. Again, sports forums and email campaigns are the logical vehicle for that. It can't just be Covers, but Covers in conjunction with Rx, SBR, and others, as well as poker forums. We also need to organize with the offshore casinos and books.

But as a rallying point, there is nothing wrong with a neutral issue that is meant to demonstrate nothing more than economic clout. Ultimately we will need TV networks and providers as well as sports leagues to recognize, reluctantly if necessary, that they have a vested economic interest in this. Political advocacy alone won't get it done if the more entrenched interests aren't willing to backtrack a little and tacitly support us, through backdoor channels at least.

I don't think a Sunday Ticket boycott is premature or too confrontational. In fact, it's less confrontational if done in the offseason. Please reconsider carefully.....
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#34
Posted: 2/1/2007 2:50:20 PM
Don't get me wrong, I love the Sunday Ticket boycott idea.

The problem is that Sunday Ticket doesn't start again until September, so it really won't be a media story until then. At that time, it's gold!

I'm all for publicizing the plan beforehand, but it won't get any traction until it becomes clear that Sunday Ticket sales are down 25% because of a boycott. Then it's news.
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#35
Posted: 2/1/2007 3:04:45 PM
Ok Joe, time it out as you see fit. I do think the "one day event" aspect of it is better than DirecTV simply getting fewer orders. It makes a bigger splash and makes it clear who is responsible.

Keep in mind as well that DirecTV bills prior to the season starting, so September is too late. I believe they have a drop dead day for cancellation of existing orders.
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#36
Posted: 2/1/2007 3:11:27 PM
I guess the question is what would be more effective?

a) A boycott where nobody orders, or
b) A plan where everybody orders as usual, and then cancels on the same day (presumably before the deadline)

Both look pretty good to me, although "b" probably has a better chance of making the news.
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#37
Posted: 2/1/2007 3:14:10 PM
A big combined effort would defenitly be needed, and these steps need to happen first:
 
1) Someone that has connections with the people that run the big books and the major online poker and sports sites (like covers) needs to get everyone on the same page. Getting Vegas on board for this would be humongous, but unlikely.
 
2) The online sites are needed to reach the maximum amount of people and offer them an easy way to participate, the books are needed to come up with money to arrange the event, as well as lobbying the right people in congress.
 
3) The "easy way to participate" needs to be something that doesn't take too much effort, so that a maximum number of people participate, and preferably a number of things all at the same time, like everyone canceling NFL "Sunday Ticket" packages at the same day, petitioning the right people in congress, all sending the same e-mail to CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, USA Today, Washington Post and the New York Times at the same day, and possibly staging a rally a few days later, announced in those e-mails.
 
4) First we need a website where all the people online can get updates as well as sign up to comit with no obligations, so that we know how big our base is.
 
5) The "right people in congress" from step 2 and 3 include Harry Reid, who proposed a study on regulating online gambling, and Shelley Berkley, who came out strong against the ban during the vote in July.
Reid hasn't shown a lot of support, but if MASSIVE petitioning along with lobbying can get him to get active with this it would be huge as he is the United States Senate Majority Leader. This is where the money from step 2 comes in.
 
6) The e-mail to all major media outlets from step 3 needs to be short and to the point, yet still explain why we want gambling regulated, how much it would benefit the US (less crime, more tax revenue), who is organizing this (which companies and which politicians), how big our base is (from step 4), and the events that we're organizing (step 3).
 
7) Once we get the media coverage and have the politicians attention, we have to offer a solution that makes sense and is beneficial to everybody.
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#38
Posted: 2/1/2007 3:19:16 PM
Breaker,


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#39
Posted: 2/1/2007 3:22:23 PM
Matador, from watching the posts you wrote while I was writing mine, it seems like we are on the same page (it was your NFL idea that inspired me to write it). Any thoughts on who could organize all this?
 
Since attacking from multiple fronts (media, politicians, off-shore companies and message boards) is essential, we need someone who can reach the right people in the off-shore casinos and the major sports and poker info sites.
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#40
Posted: 2/1/2007 3:25:07 PM
Joe, you think Covers could be the site we can organize this from?
Can you guys get in touch with the right people that run off-shore casinos as well as different sites like this one?
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#41
Posted: 2/1/2007 3:33:47 PM
Breaker,

That is the reason I wrote the column.

We had a meeting here last week, and we decided that we are going to get on the forefront of the movement to legalize online gaming in America. One way or another, we are going to be active in the cause.

Now, we certainly don't have the resources of a publicly traded company, but we do have contacts and a strong user-base.

We can volunteer some time, and we will definitely take part.
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#42
Posted: 2/1/2007 3:39:41 PM
I think you would find that if Covers or another large contingency of bettors were to some how organize and mobilize the sports betting and poker playing population, this would be a very motivated and resourceful group. As mentioned previously though, it is a monumental task to organize this demographic.

If Covers and 2+2 and other prominent forums could work together, as they are all going to be facing dramatically declining ad revenues, I think you could make this happen.

Not watching the Super Bowl would be the ultimate darn you to the NFL, but unfortuantely, it is too late for that. We do have a long summer to get organized and come up with a plan though, and could really hit the NFL where it hurts come next football season.

We could also start with the NBA...would anyone even be sacrificing not watching that shitty product?

Thanks to Matador, Breaker, and Joe Mac for trying to get this ball rolling and being proactive.


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#43
Posted: 2/1/2007 3:52:52 PM
Joe, that is fantastic!
 
I was thinking the following would be a great start:
 
We need to get a single seperate page, where you have
- an explanation that you are going to do this on different fronts, all at the same time at a future date
- a breakdown of what fronts (NFL  Sunday Ticket cancelation, media awareness, involving Washington)
- clear description of easy things people can do to help at that future date
- a link where people that want to participate can sign up
- a list of other sites that are involved (this has to be a joint effort)
 
This all has to be constantly updated
 
You will also need a heavily moderated forum section where people can offer help.
I'm talking about one thread that covers ideas for different actions we can take, like Matadors plan.
In another tread for people that have access to bigshots in the gaming world (like Vanzack) and in politics, people that know the law, the more connections we have the better.
Again, this forum needs to be heavily moderated to keep the bashers and frauds out, and to keep the  clutter to a minimum.
 
So you'll probably need two people that work together closely, one to update the page and coordinate the effort (by delegation), and one to monitor the forum.
 
How about it?
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#44
Posted: 2/1/2007 4:20:03 PM
I like it. A lot.

Sometime in the next week, I'm going to sit down with some people here and we can decide exactly what we can do on our side to get things started.
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#45
Posted: 2/1/2007 4:28:41 PM
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#46
Posted: 2/1/2007 4:44:13 PM
Joe, first of all, you are the MAN for starting all this.
Second, this does not have to take a lot of time from you or from whoever will wind up coordinating this.
 
The key is delegation.
 
Once you get the ball rolling with a basic plan, your first task should be to find resourceful volunteers that you can count on.
 
You'll need:
- Someone that updates the webpage, or submits proposals for updates, so all you have to do is cut and paste if you want to keep controll of the page.
- Someone that will moderate the forum where it all comes together, where ideas are shaped for actions we can take, and where useful people with connections can explain how they can help.
- Several people that post on different forums, to raise awareness to a massive level.
 
Start with finding people that can volunteer time to help, then let them get a huge base together spanning all gambling related sites.
 
From there you can hone and finetune a plan.
 
Set a date by what time you want all the details worked out, and at that time set a date we are going to do all this. Say you want to do the NFL thing in December (towards the end of the season is better, you'll get more people to join you if it only affects them for 1-2 more weeks), you'll need a massive effort to allert the media and Washington (imagine 2 million e-mails each to every media outlet) by the end of November.
Say it takes two months to coordinate all this, that means you have 8 months to shape plans and gather a huge base.
 
Again, it should not take much time from you if you have different people with different resources use them.
I don't have much time, but I'm pretty good at getting things started and developing outlines.
Other people will have more time to offer, so they can do things like raise awareness by spreading the word.
You and the rest from Covers will need to inform other gaming related sites and ask for their input, so as to make this go smooth.
 
This could be the start of something fantastic, if it's done right I don't see why this can't result in regulated US gambling.
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#47
Posted: 2/1/2007 5:05:20 PM
I never thought about the "thumbing the nose" at the government thing.  Profound.
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#48
Posted: 2/1/2007 5:09:04 PM
Good point, alwayswin.
 
The gambling industry image is in great need of a positive boost.
At the same time as a big action against the NFL the gaming industry needs to do something that is both headline grabbing and positive.
Example, donating to a school or hospital, and at the same time explaining how much more could be done with tax dollars generated by regulated online gambling (reiterating it is already legal for horses and lotteries).
Or how about a charity online poker tournament, proceeds go to whatever good cause.
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#49
Posted: 2/1/2007 5:29:51 PM
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JoeMacDonald send a private message View Space | Friends | Playbook |
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#50
Posted: 2/1/2007 6:05:33 PM
Breaker, you definitely are getting it.

Right now, the general public doesn't really care about online gambling. But they kind of think of us as the same as porn or marijuana. As in, it should probably be legalized, but that doesn't mean we want to associate with those types.

We need people to realize that EVERYBODY GAMBLES, and the only reason we do it online is because the government forces us to.

We need to hit them with the good stuff, like responsible gaming, charities, tax dollars, and harmless fun.
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