April 12, 2011

PokerStars covers lawmakers' 'educational' trip

Apparently, state lawmakers are allowed free trips overseas, as long as the trips are "educational and fact finding."

At least that's the case according to Brenda Erdoes of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, who approved trips paid for by PokerStars for Democratic lawmakers Kelvin Atkinson, William Horne, and Steven Horsford. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the lawmakers traveled to London and the Bahamas last year to meet representatives from the online poker website Pokerstars. Erdoes told the RJ:

..[T]he trips paid for by PokerStars were permissible because of the likelihood of online poker becoming a legislative issue.

Since the trip, Horne has sponsored Assembly Bill 258, which would regulate online poker, and none of the lawmakers were required to disclose the costs of their trip or report it as a gift in financial reports.

Ultimately, lawmakers received free trips, and got away without having to reveal the trips' value.