11/08/2006 12:00AM

Gamblers like Dems House sweep


LAS VEGAS – You don't often hear sports bettors, or gamblers in general, talking politics on a daily basis, but after the Republican-controlled Congress tacked the Internet Gambling Ban on the Port Security Bill in September, a lot of people who bet sports and play poker online were not too happy with government getting involved in their activities.

Horse racing has already gotten its exemption from the new law, which specifically eliminates the transfer of money for the use of gambling, and the Poker Players Alliance, a grassroots advocacy group for the game, sees the change of power in Congress from Republican to Democrat as a good thing in trying to get similar treatment.

"We believe this will be a more favorable environment moving forward," said Michael Bolcerek, president of the Poker Players Alliance. "A fresh perspective is needed, and we are hopeful that the new congressional leadership will objectively consider the skill game of poker for an exemption from Internet gambling prohibitions passed this year and create good public policy by licensing, regulating, and taxing Internet poker in the U.S."

Global gaming expo growing fast

This issue and other casino-related subjects will be among the topics discussed next week at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Monday through Thursday. The industry's biggest trade conference has grown in recent years and this year is boasting a 35 percent increase over last year in pre-conference registration and is taking up 14 percent more of exhibit space in the main show room. The conference is not just limited to American casino companies and suppliers as there's a 20 percent increase in international exhibitors.

In all, 750 companies will have exhibits in the 320,000 square feet of exhibit space (nearly the size of six football fields). And there will be at least 150 new products making their debut. Full information, including how to register, can be found at globalgamingexpo.com.

Last men standing

Every weekend in Las Vegas, there are $10,000 first-place prizes in local football contests, but the first big winner of a season-long contest was determined Monday night in the Last Man Standing contest at Texas Station, when the Seahawks beat the Raiders 16-0. Heading into the weekend, only two of the original 925 entrants were still alive in the contest, in which players pick one game a week against the spread. Losers are eliminated and winners advance a week.

On Sunday, one of the two remaining entries went down with the Bears -13 1/2 vs. the Dolphins, and the partnership of Mitch Moss and Doug Dugless had the Seahawks

-7 1/2. Moss and Dugless work for Lotus Broadcasting, which has sports stations KBAD AM-920 and KENO AM-1460. Moss hosts a show from 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday on KBAD and Dugless is a producer and appears twice a week on Moss's show, which has undergone a name-change from "Boss in the Box" (his former nickname) to "Last Man Standing."

Moss said Dugless put up the $25 entry fee, and it wasn't a comped entry. The two debated their picks every week before settling on what turned out to be nine winners in a row to win the pool's $17,625. (Note: the difference in the size of the pool compared to the number of $25 entries is because people who bought three entries got a fourth for free.)

Sports book notes

On Saturday night at Mandalay Bay, Floyd Mayweather Jr. entered the ring as a Roman centurion, with the striking contrast of his pink boxing gloves. But he was pretty in pink as he put on a clinic in taking the welterweight belt from Carlos Baldomir. Mayweather, after being as high as a -700 favorite, went off at -500 as late money did come in on the underdog, but the fight was over not long after it started. Mayweather dominated throughout as he continually landed jabs and blocked Baldomir's attempts. Mayweather, who is now 37-0 with 24 knockouts, probably would have scored another KO, but he hurt his right hand in the sixth round and pretty much coasted the rest of the way. Mayweather won all 12 rounds on two of the judges' scorecards and all but two rounds on the third. The punch stats were just as impressive with Mayweather landing 43 percent of his punches and 34 percent of his jabs, compared to Baldomir connecting on only 12 percent of his punches and 11 percent of his jabs, none of which did any damage to Mayweather's good looks. After the bout, Mayweather said he would fight only one more time and wants it to be against Oscar De La Hoya. The date of May 5 has been set aside in case they can get a deal done. That's Derby Day and also Cinco de Mayo, which is always a big draw for De La Hoya fans and would probably help that matchup set all kinds of records.

* There is no major bout in Las Vegas this weekend, with the top out-of-town fight being the IBF/IBO heavyweight title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York between Wladmir Klitschko, the defending champ and a -400 favorite, and Calvin Brock.

* On Friday, the end-of-the-year gimmicky golf tournaments begin with the Merrill Lynch Shootout in Naples, Fla. The Hilton has the team of Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini as the 7-2 favorite in the 12-team field.

* Nascar's Chase for the Cup is down to the final two races. Jimmie Johnson is the points leader and Station Casinos has him as a prohibitive 5-9 favorite to win the title. Matt Kenseth still has an outside shot at 3-1 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 8-1. Tony Stewart, the defending points champion who didn't make the Chase this year, has won the last two weeks on the circuit. This week in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Speedway, Stations has Stewart again as the favorite at 6-1 with Kevin Harvick at 9-1, Kenseth and Kasey Kahne at 10-1, and Johnson, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards at 12-1.