Gambling Today: Poker Players Want Las Vegas Mayor Out of Office

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Video Rating:
TV-G
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3:48

Las Vegas has a fairly simple recall election law and professional poker player Doug Polk is looking to take advantage. After watching a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Polk began the process of filing for her removal from office.

Las Vegas resident and Sports Illustrated’s gambling analyst, Frank Taddeo discussed the likelihood of Polk succeeding in his mission to remove Goodman. Like most of the United States, the Las Vegas economy has been virtually shut down due to the coronavirus. About a third of the Vegas population works in the casino/hospitality business that has been closed since the spread of COVID-19.

Watch the full interview with Taddeo above and read the transcript below:

Bill Enright: Sports Illustrated's Gambling Today looks at a story out of Las Vegas, where professional poker player, Doug Polk, wants to remove Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman from office. Let's get our Vegas insider on the line, Frank Taddeo, who covers gambling and fantasy sports here at Sports Illustrated. Frank, give me the latest about the battle between the Las Vegas mayor and these professional poker players.

Frank Taddeo: Yeah, bill, this story is gaining steam as Polk filed paperwork now officially with Las Vegas to try to oust her. He's submitted filings with the local election authority to circulate a recall petition against Goodman after he witnessed her April 22nd interview on CNN when she offered up the city as a, quote, control group to see how quickly reopening businesses would result in new coronavirus infections. But, Bill, proclaiming people need businesses to reopen in order to simply feed their families is not selfish. Despite the claims of the people who want Vegas to remain and other cities to remain closed until we find a vaccine. And, you know, for me, I don't find that to be an equal argument because if each of us had the same amount of cash and the same safety nets, then maybe this kind of argument would hold water.

Bill Enright: All right, let's just go over the details here. Polk wants the mayor out of office because she wants the casinos to reopen and he's arguing that the coronavirus would not be it's not an appropriate time to open the casinos and have people flood into Las Vegas from all around the world because it could help spread the virus among the local Las Vegas residents. Meanwhile, in an effort to be fair and balanced, let's point out that Polk does have a business that teaches people how to become better online poker players. So one could argue that he does have kind of a vested interest in making sure that the casinos stay closed for a little bit longer so that his business can thrive, which thrives on people playing poker online instead of inside the poker room.

Frank Taddeo: Yeah. One hundred percent. I mean, this argument comes down to hard going against and her arguments all going against what Governor Sisolak wants to do. He wants things to remain close. She wants to open up. So he's taken issue with the quote-unquote, higher usage on CNN, saying let's use Vegas as a control group to see if the virus does indeed come back because we don't know if there would be a resurgence in it. But I don't think that's a real fair argument when you're talking about one out of every three people depend on the hospitality and the gaming industry. Vegas is better served, Bill, by using time and resources to find solutions on how to save the state as opposed to these kinds of campaigns, where like you just highlighted. There may be ulterior financial motives and gains behind Polk's businesses from gaining publicity from this kind of campaign. So for me, I just really don't buy it. Vegas needs to reopen. We need to see what's really out there and then we need to get back to, you know, normal. I mean, this too many families that are depending on the gaming industry idea and we can't just stay closed. But these kinds of campaigns, I find them... I don't know. I think there are underlying issues under here. If it's is financial gains from free publicity, then I really take aim at it.

Bill Enright: Frankie, you've been on fire this week. We started off with UFC 249 record handle. We covered a story about drive-through sportsbooks, a new invention that could help get the table games back in Vegas up sooner with some kind of protective shields. You've been absolutely doing great work from our Vegas view. Frank Taddeo, our gambling insider. Excellent stuff, as always, Frankie. Plenty more gambling news from Sports Illustrated. You can find it all by going to SI.com/gambling.

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