Online Poker Report: Mike Gatto is a Sweet Dude - Mike Gatto’s starting the 2015 legislative session with a bang! According to the venerated news site “Online Poker Report” Mike Gatto has pre-filed a new bill that seeks to legalize online gambling in California. This would be sweet for a number of critical reasons.
First, gambling is extremely sweet. Dudes who gamble tend to be cooler, more brazen and more swashbuckling than your typical (expletives deleted). Gamblers have awesome names and (expletive deleted) hot chicks and do free blow all night in their free hotel rooms.
Two, there are some ways it could benefit the economy.
But three, this reason is extremely personal to the dudes at this site. Our own crusading journalist, Daulton Gatto (no relation to Mike Gatto), loves playing poker. Sometimes he goes to casinos, but that sucks because he has to put on pants and stop (expletive deleted). However, by using multiple tabs on Internet Explorer, Daulton is able to watch pornography while simultaneously playing online poker. By using one hand on the mouse and the other hand to slowly (expletive deleted) himself, he can maintain a low-simmering (expletive deleted) for up to 12 hours, giving him the confidence and determination he needs to dominate at poker.
As we reported a long ass time ago, some online poker forums had been lobbying Gatto to take up their cause. In his exhaustively thorough interview with Online Poker Report, Gatto explains how he’s been studying the issue for 14 years. Apparently, he’d drawn up a bill for the last legislative session, but was asked by ranking Democrats to defer to an elder assemblyman’s (expletive deleted) attempt at a bill.
That (expletive deleted) may have failed, but Gatto seems to have learned from that failure. He’s identified ways to address concerns over money laundering and underage gambling that churches and other (expletives deleted) have expressed. His new bill would require would-be gamblers to apply and be approved by a “licensed validator.” If that sounds frighteningly close to a DMV visit, take heart. Gatto goes on to make it sound much sweeter:
“That local establishment could do lots of things. They could sign them up for their rewards programs, they might even get to play a game that day, and they would take a percentage of the transaction. They would be, for all intents and purposes, a branch, just like a bank branch.”
So basically we could have virtual online casinos on every block just like Bank of America? (Expletive deleted) sweet. (Expletive deleted) rule.
(Mod: So much for the possibly self-published Gatto fan site version of the Assemblyman's attempt to line up some major Indian gaming casino support for his California State Senate run against Anthony Portantino. With a little left over for Larry Torres, of course. Here is an excerpt from the aforementioned Online Poker Report interview with the crusading Assemblyman - link.)
Assemblyman Mike Gatto: I Approach Online Poker Regulation “With An Open Mind”
California’s ongoing efforts to regulate online poker got off to an early start for 2015 when Assemblyman Mike Gatto prefiled AB 9 on December 2.
Gatto’s bill bears many similarities to, but differs in potentially key ways from, the legislative language floated by a tribal coalition last summer.
Marco Valerio conducted a phone interview with Gatto only hours after the bill was filed. Their conversation revealed that Gatto had a bill ready to introduce last year, covers the Assemblyman’s assessment of poker’s chances in 2015 and why Gatto thinks his approach to the so-called bad actor issue is less aggressive than some might think.
Marco Valerio: When did you begin to study online poker? What work had you done on it ahead of introducing this bill?
Mike Gatto: I’ve been interested in it since approximately 2001. That was the second year of law school for me – I took a class that had some of these topics in it. I read some papers by some of the authorities in Internet gaming law – I. Nelson Rose, people like that. It’s something I’ve followed for about 14 years now.
In terms of my career as a legislator, I actually wrote an online poker bill during the last legislative session. I had it ready to go – and I was asked by the chairman of the GO committee to defer to the gentleman who authored last year’s version.
So I deferred. I willfully did not move forward with my bill last session, but I spent this year researching a framework that would make sense, and I came up with some ideas that we thought made really good sense, so I decided to go ahead and introduce a bill this year.
Valerio: Interesting, I didn’t know that about your previous efforts. You are referring to Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer whom you deferred to?
Valerio: Understood. So what did you make of previous years’ efforts to legislate and regulate online poker in California?
Gatto: I know there have been proposals, and I think the first bill was introduced in 2008. There have been anywhere from two to six proposals every year since 2008. Obviously, the fact that none of them have been signed into law – not one of them has even passed one house of the legislature – that weighed into my decision to get involved.
I think any successful proposal – whether it’s mine or anyone else’s – will have to address two things. Number one, it has to address the external challenges. These are challenges from groups that are not involved in gaming: law enforcement, parents groups, church groups, people who traditionally point out certain concerns with online gambling – that it might allow minors to gamble, that it could serve as a front for money laundering. Religious groups usually have a problem with gambling in general. So a good proposal addresses the external concerns.
It will also have to address the internal concerns, and there are many different players who wish to participate in online poker. They are not in a state of agreement right now, and I think you have to address both of those sets of concerns to be successful. I think addressing the external concerns will create momentum, which in turn will make things feel more real for the internal players, and that ought to make them come to the table with more seriousness about arriving at some sort of agreement.
(Mod: Good to see that Mike views law enforcement as an "external challenge." Best to keep the cops out of the on-line poker racket. Gets in the way of earning. Maybe with a little luck certain school districts could pre-program those i-Pads they've been giving kids with only Sacramento approved on-line poker sites. You know, the ones that are ethical.)