Archive for the ‘Law & Politics + Crime’ Category

Scheinberg Shuffle

@OPReport's Online Poker Bulletin

by , Jun 18, 2013 | 10:55 am

STORIES TO WATCH THIS WEEK

#1. PokerStars filed a request for interlocutory appeal late last week in connection with their attempt to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino. This week could bring a response from either the ACC or the NJ courts, moving us closer to a final resolution. Read an in-depth analysis of PokerStars’ filing on OPR here.

#2. New Jersey regulators recently set a deadline of June 30th for casinos to ink online gambling partnerships . With more than half of the state’s potential operators still unaffiliated, the new deadline could spark a series of deals in the brief window that remains. A deal involving Trump and an as-yet-unnamed partner could come this week.

#3. Illinois lawmakers will convene for a special session this week to address the state’s pension crisis. Gambling expansion and pension reform have been joined at the hip politically in Illinois, meaning that if pension reform is on the table, gambling expansion probably is too. Movement on online gambling is a long, long shot, but not completely implausible in a session that could potentially produce unexpected results.

… + THE WEEK THAT WAS

OPR OUTPUT

On this week’s Rabbit Hunt, Mark and I talk PokerStars’ appeal, Scheinberg’s settlement and controversy over the the growth of hold’em at the WSOP. And I offered what I see as 5 Reasons Rep. Peter King’s Online Gambling Bill is DOA.

Finally, I have a new article in the June issue of CEM – “Player Segregation in Online Poker: Fad or Future?”

PICKS

#GoodRead – Missed this one while I was on vacation, but Grange95 has the most in-depth writeup of thePokerStars Purchase Agreement with the Atlantic Club Casino that I’ve seen anywhere.


The OPR Weekly Bulletin is delivered directly to subscribers and appears first at OnlinePokerReport.com. To connect with Chris Grove: 
chris@onlinepokerreport.com / @OPReport / Google + / Skype: chrisgrove404.


From Poker-Only to Poker-Plus

King bill expands internet poker legislation to include casino games

by , Jun 13, 2013 | 2:00 pm

Give me online slot machines or give me death!

Give me online slots or give me death!

A New York congressman introduced legislation last week to legalize all forms of Internet wagering by establishing a federal licensing and regulatory system.

Internet gaming supporters quickly applauded the measure, authored by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., which goes beyond previous attempts to legalize just online poker.

Others expressed caution and wanted to take a closer look at the 134-page bill.

“Our team and the board will need some time to fully review this legislation before taking an official position,” American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said in a statement.

Last year an online poker bill backed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and now-retired U.S. Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., was leaked in Washington, D.C., but never introduced.

Partisan politics and opposition from Indian gaming tribes and state lotteries sank the legislation. Several online gaming and online poker-only bills have surfaced in Congress over the past few sessions.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, told Internet gaming proponents he will introduce online poker legislation later this year. Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said the Democratic leader and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., “continue to work together in this issue.”

Former Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., now a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., said the King bill most likely will take on a different form as it comes up for debate and additional online gaming bills surface.

More…


Fahrenkopf, Reid at Odds over Internet Poker Failures

Outgoing AGA chief calls busted bill draw "my biggest disappointment"

by , Jun 12, 2013 | 1:30 pm

For Frank Fahrenkopf and Harry Reid, it was like their rankings in the Bluff Power 20 meant nothing.

For Frank Fahrenkopf and Harry Reid, it was like their rankings in the Bluff Power 20 meant nothing.

Two of Nevada’s longtime political power players — gaming lobbyist Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — took turns blaming each other for the failure for Congress to legalize Internet poker last year.

The dust-up surprised many because the longtime Nevadans had always been complimentary to each other.

Fahrenkopf, chief executive of the Washington, D.C.-based American Gaming Association, is retiring at the end of the month.

In an interview with online publication Gambling Compliance that was published Thursday, he said the failure of Reid and now-retired Arizona Sen. John Kyl to introduce an online poker bill last year “was my biggest disappointment” in his 18 years with the American Gaming Association.

Asked if he blames Reid and Kyl for not introducing legislation, Fahrenkopf said, “If I had to blame anybody — I mean I’m sure they did their best — but that’s where the failure is. Blame is not probably the right way to put it, but there was a failure because nothing was introduced.”

More…


Intrastate of War?

@OPReport's Online Poker Bulletin

by , Mar 12, 2013 | 7:20 am

From OnlinePokerReport.com for the week of March 11th …

3 STORIES TO WATCH THIS WEEK

#1. PokerStars and the AGA  threw first punches last week in what could develop into an extended and mutually bruising battle. Are they interested in cooling down, or escalating further? This week should provide some clues. Also: It turns out PokerStars’ NJ application could drag out well into summer.

#2. IL and PA could both take legislative steps toward regulation. PA State Rep Tina Davis “might” introduce her bill mid-week (20% gross tax, no compacts, licenses to existing operators only). As for IL, look for clarification on the next step for online gambling after a planned Senate vote on the combined live/online gambling expansion bill was scuttled late last week. Seems like some IL Dems didn’t like what they saw?

#3. New Jersey was supposed to finish up a first draft of online gambling regulations last week. No word on what shape they’re taking, but with the pace to date I would expect more details – and more launch projections – as we move into the middle of March.

+ THE WEEK THAT WAS

RECENTLY FROM OPR

I offered my quick take on the Illinois gambling bill . And on the timing of the AGA’s petition to bar PokerStars from NJ, which I also discussed on last week’s TwoPlusTwo Pokercast.

PICKS

@Follow – It’s tax time, and U.S. poker players with questions would do well to follow both @QuantPoker and@taxdood.

#GoodRead –  …and to check out their respective blogs: quantitativepoker.com and taxdood.com


Numbers Game

Study shows huge support among conservatives for gambling choice in Texas

by , Feb 12, 2013 | 5:58 pm

Eff the Tea Party … my dream is someday for a P-Party … because really, we all know it, Poker is more than just a game … it’s a belief system, a religion if you will … an outlook on life and cards that transcends everything we do. And we all remember from our days playing Party Poker (with accounts funded by Netteller) that this game we play, this recurring exchange of virtual currency with two cards yet to come, is the KEY to a bustling economy and/or world peace!

Among registered voters, 76% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats say they gamble. Here's a look at the states that get their spend. Destinations to which Texans have travelled to visit a casino include.

76% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats say they gamble, either in Texas or another state.

OK, ok … before I get ahead of myself and any poker relevancy, there’s a singular issue at hand in Texas right now … and it’s about money, civil rights, and freedom — all part of a message that seems to resonate with an electorate that may or may not be currently stockpiling guns. But first they need some data to show what we all have known to be true deep down inside. Thus, pro-gambling reformers in Texas are championing a new study that reveals Texans — GOP primary voters in particular — overwhelmingly support whatever it is that might-could allow for better game selection closer to home.

Here’s the report. (More about the data and methodology here.) And below is a summary of the semi-scientific study that essentially challenges GOP lawmakers who might be thinking about roadblocks to go ahead … press your luck and fall on the side of ignoring the will and interest of an engaged supermajority.

More…


The Mounties Always Get Their … Website?

CFSEU shuts down Platinum Sports Book

by , Feb 9, 2013 | 9:29 am

Last Sunday evening, police in York Region, north of Toronto, raided a Super Bowl party in Markham, Ontario. But not just any party: a 2,300 person, invite-only party that authorities allege was a common gaming house hosted and run by a criminal organization.

Six people were arrested and charged with bookmaking, participating in a criminal organization, keeping a common gaming house, and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence. Nine other search warrants were executed on Super Bowl Sunday throughout the Greater Toronto Area. At the Markham party, police seized $2.5 million in cash, computers, and motorcycles and Seadoos that were being raffled off. One of the warrants turned up a large safe that was removed on a flatbed truck. In a move familiar to many Americans and US observers, the website through which the sports betting business was apparently run, www.platinumsb.com, was also redirected to a notice from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stating that the site has been restrained by a Canadian court order granted to the Attorney General of Ontario.

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Will Toronto Roll the Bones?*

It's looking optimistic, but cast of characters stand in way of hometown billions

by , Jan 29, 2013 | 10:00 am

Toronto’s my adopted hometown. I’ve lived here off and on since I came to the University of Toronto for law school in 1993. Toronto has a lot going for it: great restaurants for a city of its size, wonderful family activities and amenities available, and mostly a clean and highly liveable place. It also has horrible traffic and transit and decaying infrastructure. It’s not Chicago or New York City, which really bothers Canadians in general and Torontonians in particular, but all in all, it’s a wonderful place to live.

One thing that Toronto doesn’t have is a casino. We have Woodbine Racetrack out in Etobicoke, which has some slots, we have gaming during the CNE in late summer, and we have a thriving underground poker scene. The casinos in Niagara Falls and Rama aren’t too far. Internet gaming is everywhere, and heavily advertised. But Toronto doesn’t have a full-fledged resort casino like those in Vegas, or even like the casion property in Montreal.

I think odds are good that that will soon change. It’s by no means a certainty, but the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG — the provincial lottery monopoly) wants to develop a casino in downtown Toronto. This is a creating a big and growing debate here. In spite of the attention being generated by the ‘no’ side, I don’t think that Toronto will pass on the economic benefits that a casino property in the city stands to generate, nor do I think that it should pass on it.

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Texas Sends $1 Billion Annually to Louisiana

Group says time to stop funding neighbor's social and infrastructure improvement

by , | 7:46 am

The Super Bowl is coming up in New Orleans … should be good for the Harrah’s casino there, even without sports betting.

Check it out … the Louisiana edition of the Let Texans Decide campaign … I’d say just in time for the Big Game, but I think for Louisiana — not just in New Orleans but also from Shreveport to Lake Charles — its not so much about majillions being wagered on San Francisco vs. Baltimore … it’s more about the recreational spend going across state lines on any given weekend.


Giddy Up?

Texans call for end to casino bussing

by , Jan 23, 2013 | 12:58 pm

Check it out … from the good folks at Let Texans Decide …

Not to cause trouble, and I could be off-base on this because, you know, I’ve been living in poker exile in Nevada for many years now … but I’m pretty sure that’s an Oklahoma accent from the lady in the video. Or maybe that’s just the sound of far North Texas twang these days? Hmm, I suppose someone’s gotta pay for those bus rides …

But linguistic shifts aside … Oklahoma, and her sovereign tribal nations within, continues to receive the benefits of an entire industry that their neighbors just a few miles away aren’t allowed to have.

(And yet if there are indeed costs to gambling, social or otherwise, those in most cases come back to Texas!)


Heating up: Texas Fight for Right to Gamble at Home

Editorial reveals progression of conservative opinion in state

by , Jan 14, 2013 | 4:00 pm

Gambling laws in three of Texas’ neighbor states:

LOUISIANA
Legal gaming: Commercial casinos, tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $2.566 billion

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $1.016 billion

NEW MEXICO
Legal gaming: Tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $923.9 million

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $204.2 million

OKLAHOMA
Legal gaming: Tribal casinos, racetrack casinos

Gaming revenue, 2007: $2.478 billion

Revenue from Texas, 2007: $478.4 million

Source: “The Economic and Tax Revenue Impact of Racino Gaming in Texas,” a study for Texans for Economic Development

The Texas Legislature convened its 140-day biennial session last week … and right out the gate, gambling is an issue du jour.

Two relevant bills to follow: the poker bill (Rodriguez – HB 292), which looks to provide for legal and regulated live poker at Texas racetracks and elsewhere; and the casino amendment bill (Ellis – SJR 6), which seeks to establish a Texas Gaming Commission by popular vote of the people, allowing for different types of gaming in specified regions.

Though much remains to be seen about current efforts and their ability to finally bring results to disenfranchised Texas poker commuters and pokerati expats, The Dallas Morning News ran an editorial last week suggesting that the people, even in ever-conservative Texas, are ready to push gaming matters forward, even if it results in a casino:

It makes plenty of good points about money realities (see the sidebar to the right) … and challenges newly elected Tea Party reps to show they really believe in principles of fiscal conservatism more so than being in the pockets of social conservatives. But what caught my eye (and fueled my optimism?) was the “Related” box, where you can see a progression of influential opinion on the matter:

It’s a subtle change, but significant, imho. In 2010 it was about how the legislature *should study* … you know like they should, kinda-sorta look at it, and maybe think about it … by 2011, with Session rolling and different casino interests fighting for the business of building resorts, it was *Texans Deserve*. As in yeah they do, because we’re Texans by-darnit!

Now it’s a more active and agressive *Let’s [do this!]*

So … We should think about it (ok, done that), we deserve this (yes we do), so now there’s nothing else to do but act (and your inaction as a legislator is an assault on my intelligence and freedom).

OK, maybe I’m stretching things a bit. But The Dallas Morning News editorial page is hardly some liberal pink sheet. If anything, the Blue-Haired Lady of Texas journalism represents the collective voice of the conservative heart of the Texas GOP (in a region where George W. Bush and Mr. and Mrs. Pokerati, Sr. alike currently reside). So this slight variation in word choice over the years reveals not just an evolving willingness to see casino entertainment in Texas, but perhaps more important attaches the notion to matters of fiscal responsibility and the conservative principals that got many of them elected.


Reid Says No Hope for Internet Poker in 2012

But reforming online gaming laws a frontburner item for 2013

by , Dec 20, 2012 | 1:00 pm

WASHINGTON – Its dim prospects finally fading to black, Sen. Harry Reid pulled the plug [last] Friday on the effort in Congress to legalize Internet poker this year.

With only days remaining in the session, and with consensus far from reached on a bill that sought to reshape the landscape of online gaming, “we have simply run out of time in this legislative calendar,” he said.

“I am disappointed,” Reid said, adding he and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., “remain committed to this issue and it will be a priority for us in the new Congress.”

Reid’s comment in a statement came shortly after his chief of staff, David Krone, said in an interview that “this bill for this year is dead.”

The poker bill was a priority for several Nevada casino companies seeking a lucrative new and national market for their brands and for poker players seeking legal and federally regulated online games accompanied by consumer protections.

More…


Lederer Settles with DOJ

Agreement to forfeit > $1.5 million over 3 years could be his biggest win


Howard LedererPoker superstar Howard Lederer, facing a $42.5 million civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice over his leadership role with a tarnished online gambling company, agreed Tuesday to settle the case, forfeiting more than $2.5 million in cash and assets.

In a stipulated settlement filed at the U.S. District Court in New York City, Lederer, once one of the most revered players on the poker circuit, did not admit to any wrong-doing in the case that stemmed from the April 2011 crackdown by federal prosecutors on illegal Internet poker operations.

However, Lederer, 49, who was nicknamed “The Professor,” by the poker world, agreed to a two-part money settlement with the government, which includes a civil money-laundering penalty of $1.25 million and $168,000 that will be liquidated from various bank accounts.

Lederer agreed to pay the penalty in two installments, due 18 months and 36 months from now. The penalties are secured by Lederer’s two Las Vegas homes in the ultra-exclusive The Ridges area of Summerlin.

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States, Right?

Poker advocacy efforts ready for state-by-state push (starting with New Jersey)


I am proud of the effort so many in the poker community made to advocate for federal online poker legislation in 2012 and I thank everyone who participated in ensuring we were all heard. The community fought hard and came back from deep adversity from just a few years ago. After all, the bill that became the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed the House by 317-93 as a freestanding bill (it was not added to the SAFE Port Act until later, in the Senate backrooms).

Though it did not pass this year, the awareness raised by the Reid/Kyl and Barton bills will surely help us in the state-by-state fight in 2013. In fact, an impediment to the federal bill’s passage was the desire of some states to authorize their own online poker.

For a good explanation of why federal legislation makes the most sense, I encourage you to check out Mark Lipparelli’s piece HERE. For PPA’s statement on the matter, please check that out HERE.

2013 will be an exciting time for the poker community. New Jersey is taking this issue up already. Their General Assembly passed legislation to license online poker by a two-to-one margin, and the NJ State Senate will vote on the bill on Thursday. Other states, like California, are sure to take up this issue pretty quickly as well. Additionally, the federal effort is not over by any means. While PPA will shift some focus to the states, be assured PPA will continue to ensure the US Congress hears from America’s poker players and enthusiasts on this important issue!


Take Action

Let’s encourage Gov. Chris Christie & NJ Senate President Stephen Sweeney to support online poker in New Jersey by sending prefilled, editable poker tweets! HERE and HERE.


Texas Fixin’ to Introduce Legalize Poker Bill

by , Dec 17, 2012 | 2:46 pm

Will this finally be the year? That seems to be the question we ask every year federally, and every other year (for no more than six months) in the state of Texas. But there is a process, and glad to see the notion of legalizing Texas Hold’em as a skill game (worthy of being played for big money in all sorts of different places?) will be part of the legislative conversation in Austin for 2013.

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/html/HB00292I.htm

At least that seems to be the plan, with Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) pushing the Poker Gaming Act of 2013. House Bill 292. Have only skimmed through it so far myself … (and we know how early drafts can dramatically change) … but on quick glance noticed:

  • Calls for designation of poker as a game of skill, unlike the lottery.
  • Asks to be regulated by the Texas Lottery Commission.
  • Excludes “online poker” from things the bill is trying to legalize (along with “blackjack, hearts, pinochle, rummy, video poker, or Asian card games such as Pai Gow.”)
  • Calls for crackdown on illegal poker rooms.

We’ll see what this bill becomes and where it goes … as well as who’s fighting the good fight for your poker interests in Texas.

In the meantime if you’re from Texas, have you signed the petition yet to put matters of casino gambling in the hands of voters?

Session starts January 8.


Massachusetts Town Hall and Charity Tourney is upon Us!

Update from the PPA

by , Nov 28, 2012 | 2:53 pm

The New England Town Hall is upon us. PPA Executive Director John Pappas, Director of Grassroots and External Affairs Drew Lesofski, Litigation Support Network Director & Board Member Patrick Fleming, several PPA state directors and I are all gearing up to head to greater Boston to spend this Saturday afternoon with the poker community. We are all looking forward to meeting many of you there, sharing all that PPA is doing, and answering all of your questions!

The Town Hall event itself is free. We are hosting an optional charity poker tournament after the meeting. The tournament will be a lot of fun and will help support a great cause, but please be assured that you do not have to participate in the tournament to attend the Town Hall.

Please let us know if you plan to attend the Town Hall and/or play in the charity event so we can ensure enough space. Contact us TODAY at townhall@theppa.org.

Location: Clarion Inn Hotel Conference Center (link)
595 North Avenue
Wakefield, MA, 01880
Phone: (781) 245-6100

Date: Saturday, December 1, 2012
Town Hall and Q&A: 4pm ET
Charity Poker Tournament: Immediately following the Town Hall
Structure: $100 buy-in, 10,000 chips
Twenty minute blinds
10% of players will be paid

This will be a great opportunity to come meet your national PPA representatives and get the latest information about the current poker landscape!

More…