Foreign Money Fuels Faltering Bid to Push Online Poker
By Eric Lipton
WASHINGTON — For the past four years, the foreign companies that control the global Internet poker industry have helped bankroll an elaborate lobbying campaign here, seeking to keep the United States from shutting their American operations down.Al D’Amato is also founder and managing director of Park Strategies LLC, a lobbying firm with upwards of $3.5 million in annual revenues. A gambling affiliate (Gateway Casino Resorts) organized by Detroiters Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik to secure an opportunity to operate an Indian casino on Long Island, retained D’Amato’s firm this year.
Former Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, Republican of New York, has been the public face of the effort [Poker Players Alliance, theppa.org], which has included charity poker tournaments featuring members of Congress, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to a disparate assortment of lawmakers, including Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, the majority leader.
But late last week, the United States Justice Department delivered an unexpected thunderbolt to this huge lobbying campaign when it indicted top executives at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, accusing them of fraud and money laundering. In doing so the government has taken on a politically powerful industry that for a while seemed like it might transform gambling around the world... (Complete Story)
One of D’Amato’s Park Strategies associates is Anthony Cancellieri, former Chief Deputy County Executive of Nassau County. D’Amato got his start in politics when he was appointed Public Administrator of Nassau County and from 1977-1980 he was vice chairman of the Nassau County Board of Supervisors. The Detroiters’ current scheme would include developing and operating a casino for the Shinnecock Indian Nation at Belmont Race Track in Nassau County.
D'Amato's advocacy group is also a major contributor to U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), the majority leader. The Detroiters have failed to win support from Reid for their various Indian casino schemes across the U.S. and in some cases Reid has blocked/stopped their progress.