Welcoming the New York Times to our world

The New York Times

Thursday, July 29, 2010

online poker
Playing poker online at home.

The coverage of gaming news is an ever evolving event; there are two factors driving the changes at the moment, the expansion of gaming and the contraction of print media.  Over the last eight years as I have followed gaming online there has been a switch in coverage, newspapers that once had a regular gaming reporter, such as the Kansas City Star, Reno Gazette-Journal, Hartford Courant, Detroit News, Biloxi Sun-Herald and others have either eliminated the reporter or expanded his beat to other subjects, leaving gaming as a secondary subject, at best.

Others publications as the Philadelphia Inquirer, Las Vegas Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Allentown Morning Call, Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain Dealer have either added a beat reporter or in other some way expanded their gaming coverage in response to the expansion and growth of gaming in their region.  For the papers that eliminated gaming as a beat it was mostly a financial decision; all print media are suffering from declining ad revenues and have eliminated staff, reduced coverage and narrowed the scope of their business.  In jurisdictions were gaming revenues are down dramatically gaming advertising is also down dramatically, reducing the industry’s importance to the newspapers and that of course further reduces gaming coverage.

Major newspapers such as the New York Times, Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times have traditionally covered gaming only when there was a story of scandal, disgrace or corruption; and to be fair the occasional story on gaming finance, stock prices, major mergers or new enabling gaming legislation. As a general rule, however gaming was of less than  back page interest.

One subject in particular l has been even further down the line than that, online or internet gambling – even the newspapers that have great gaming coverage and have been expanding that coverage have ignored the subject.  Even the passage of a bill in 2006 that effectually made gambling on the internet from within the United Sates illegal got little mainstream attention.  Barney Frank has been working on this bill for a couple of years, slowly building a base of support within the House of Representatives before he ever introduced the bill.  The discussions within the committee since the introduction of the bill have been ongoing.  But if it were not for the online, gaming related web sites, usually with direct ties to one of the gambling sites, one might never know anything of the bill until it passed the committee yesterday.  Today, every major newspaper in country covered the story, produced at least one editorial on the subject and started some kind of comment-debate section for readers to weigh-in on it.

Gaming coverage has often been frustrating, focusing as much as possible on negative aspects; but online gaming has been the worse.  I have been annoyed all along trying to find legitimate reporting on the progress of the bill. Hopefully that will change.  As of today, gaming really exists, not just in regional newspapers or trade journals, but in the mainstream press.  I think that is important; if gaming is ever to grow past its past and become just another regulated but legitimate industry, this is a necessary step. So today I say “Welcome” to the New York Times and all others that found gaming via Barney Frank, come join us and help us improve this industry and make it more responsible.


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