Betting That Online Gambling Will Play Big

How much do you want to bet that online gambling will become legal across the U.S.?

If you bet no, Richard “Skip” Bronson will take that bet.

Bronson is chairman and co-cofounder of U.S. Digital Gaming, a company set up to help states provide legal online gambling. Though online gambling is illegal in the U.S. about $5.5 billion in illegal wagers changed hands last year.

“So many are doing that and getting away with it,” he said. “If you are playing poker online (with real money) you are breaking the law.”

A law passed in 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, prohibits businesses from “knowingly accepting” bets or wagers over the Internet. It prohibits banks and credit card firms from transferring funds but does not specifically outlaw the sites. Some online gambling sites left town but two big ones stuck around: Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.

I’m not a lawyer and can’t figure this stuff out but apparently real money does change hands and it’s illegal, said Bronson, who blogs here.

He hopes to help make it legal. States across the U.S. are hard up for cash and see legalized gambling as a cool way to pay up. The trend started with state lotteries and 43 now have them. It seems that above-board gambling is no longer seen as devilish. For the record, the politically correct term for gambling is gaming.

“It is becoming socially acceptable,” said Bronson, who served with Steve Wynn as one of two inside directors of Mirage Resorts until the company was sold in 2000. He is also CEO of Bronson Companies LLC, involved in the development of more than 100 shopping centers and office buildings. He spearheaded development of the $1.2 billion Borgata resort hotel in Atlantic City, N.J.

Bronson presented his views at the METal breakfast in Marina del Rey on Saturday, hosted by Ken Rutkowski.

State governors are seriously considering online gambling as a way out of debt. Among the bills is SB40 in California, which would license and tax Internet gambling. It has the support of the California Gaming Association. Among the opponents is the powerful Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, which runs the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Ca.

Bronson’s company, U.S. Digital Gaming, has a stellar list of executives, two of which are members of METal. They are co-founder Scott Painter, a dynamic fundraiser and digital entrepreneur, and Oded Noy, chief technology officer with a stellar list of accomplishments.

Painter is best known for disrupting the auto sales industry with his Web sites that include CarsDirect.com, Zag.com and TrueCar.com.

Scott Painter

“We believe no one should get screwed on buying a car,” said Painter.

Gentlemen, start your engines.

Painter, who has started more than 35 companies and raised more than $1 billion in financing, also presented at the METal breakfast Saturday. He said there is a “huge rebound” taking place in the U.S. auto industry, with Ford being in a good position. He also noted that the Japan earthquake affected “about 30% of global production.”

Oh, and if you own a car dealership, you might want to consider launching an Internet gambling site, instead.

Painter said major disruption is under way in the car dealership field.

“We see massive attrition,” he said. “We have way too many dealers. I think we will see one-third of U.S. car dealers hit the skids.”

Other METal notes:

In the weekly “Quigley Report,” venture capitalist William Quigley of Clearstone Venture Partners commented on U.S. unemployment falling to 8.8%.

“We’re adding 200,000 jobs a month. We need to add 300,000 a month,” he said. “If we can do that within 3.5 years unemployment will fall to levels last seen in 2007.”

In Silicon Valley he said the hiring of engineers this month came back to pre-recession levels.

“It’s really taken a long time to get out of this,” he said.

Here’s something else to write down in your notebook. Quigley recently said the hottest Internet sector right now is gaming (not gambling). To that list he now adds mobile payments. An example of that is the deal Google has with MasterCard and Citigroup.

Tim Sanders

We also got a brief presentation from Tim Sanders, an amazing intellectual who just published his fourth book, “Today We Are Rich.” He is a highly desired keynote speaker on developing strong business relationships.

Here are a few nuggets of motivation he presented Saturday, on the matter of how positive thinking can improve your lifestyle. He said changing your psychology to boost your lifestyle “takes twice as much effort as physical workouts but pays off enormously.”

It has been shown to lift nations out of recession. Negative thinkers, those who say the sky is falling, need to be avoided.

“They are a disease, and fear is an airborne disease. It pollutes our culture,” he said. Staying positive, especially during hard times, will prevent competitors from coming in and steamrolling your business.

“Be the phoenix instead of the fodder,” he said. Sanders will be a future METal presenter, and I can’t wait.

On a separate note, yesterday I did a blog post on what METal man Morgan Wandell wrote and said about his recent trip to Saudi Arabia and his obervations of its youth, here.

Thanks for reading.

Strength & honor,

Brian

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