Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

August 3, 2013

The Players’ Voice in Washington DC

Rep. Joe Barton on poker as a game of skill, and moving legislation on the Hill

During the past month, Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) has been on the move in his quest to bring about federal legislation favorable to online poker with an equally favorable revenue component for government.

At the end of June, the Congressman hit the road for his 3rd annual visit to the World Series of Poker—this time, to preview his latest federal legislative bill before introducing it into the U.S. House of Representatives. The official introduction of his newly minted bill H.R. 2666, the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013, followed on July 12.

Days later, Barton held a telephone press conference to discuss the new bill which “establishes a program for the licensing of Internet poker by States and federally recognized Indian tribes, and for other purposes.”  The teleconference was attended by media outlets across the country, including this reporter. However, it wasn’t until last week, when I met with the Congressman in his congressional office in Washington, D.C., that I got the complete picture of where he stands on poker and poker legislation. At the end of this day, Barton remains as unclear as anyone on the likely time table for passage of federal legislation to legalize online poker, by the Congress, but he exudes confidence that day will come.

Barton Invokes the President’s Name 
Barton is methodical. He is an engineer by training. He is a seasoned politician. He has held his Congressional seat since 1984. He rates himself as a good amateur poker player. By all accounts from mutual friends, this is an understatement. With a slight twinkle in his eye and a  poker player’s understanding of a well-placed semi-bluff, Barton goes further than mere prediction in stating that he expects President Obama to sign his legislative bill to legalize online poker, if it reaches his desk.

Barton talks the talk at poker tables and he walks the walk around the House in gambits to prod progress on the right online poker bill. He seeks a sensible federal law that will allow online poker in states that are so inclined, under the best conditions for all concerned.

He is also a pragmatist who recognizes the road will not be easy. His latest online “poker only” bill, like the others in which he has been intimately involved, previously, is designed to exempt poker from the category of “games of chance” which are subject to anti-gambling statutes. During our hour-long visit in Washington and a subsequent telephone call, Barton resonated as “the genuine article.”

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Posted by at 7:43 pm

January 23, 2013

Caesars Emperor Advises Federal Gov on Social Security, Medicare

Loveman-led panel of biz leaders suggests sweeping changes

GaryLovemanAn association of influential chief executive officers, which includes Caesars Entertainment Corp. Chairman and CEO Gary Loveman, suggested several changes Wednesday to Social Security and Medicare that would protect both programs.

Loveman, chairman for the Washington, D.C.-based Business Roundtable’s health and retirement committee, outlined the recommendations during a news conference at the organization’s offices. He also outlined the plan in a Wall Street Journal opinion article.

The suggested changes to Social Security include gradually raising the retirement age from 67 to 70, changing benefit formulas to increase progressivity, updating the method for calculating cost of living adjustments and including newly hired state and local workers in the system.

The Business Roundtable’s plan would protect those 55 and older from cuts, but younger workers would face significant changes. The plan unveiled Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for all Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees would be smaller.

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November 19, 2012

Shot Clocks, Player Bans, Obama Poker and Bitcoins FTW!

Relevant Op-Ed rundown

Here’s a quick rundown of some opinions from the past week or so from various corners of the internet that got me thinkin’ one way or another … all raising plenty of interesting questions that various poker people are sure to wrestle with in the future.

Opinion
Poker Shot Clocks Coming?
There seems to be some growing buzz for it, especially since so many of us found ourselves glued to a TV for 12 hours watching totally enjoyable poker but realizing we can’t be tryng to be the next Cricket if we expect TV to help our game grow. So how much longer do we have to wait for poker technology to catch up with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? [InsideSTL Sports]

Opinion
Free Willy?
While Vegas grinders want Aria and other MGM Resorts to ban Howard Lederer, across the country in Atlantic City players are trying to get Caesars to unban a player who goes by “the poker monkey.” No idea what the story behind this one is and whether or not the dude’s a table shithead or unfortunate victim of poker room imperialism … so you decide what to do with William Souther, who apparently has enough fans to get a petition encouraging Caesars to reconsider forbidding his presence on their properties. [Change.org]


Opinion
Bitcoin Revolution?
Here’s a piece that says why our Donkdown radio cohort Bryan Micon may or may not be a genius as per his dedication to an open-source, bankless digital virtual currency that is apparently all the rage with Somali pirates, drug traffickers, and of course, online casinos. [CalvinAyre.com]

(For optional reading, here’s a bonus non-poker Bitcoin opinion from Al Jazeera … and a recently released assessment from the European Central Bank, who have been through it before with Lindens and Second Life.)

Opinion
4 More Pokers?
Zack Tracy thinks Election Day couldn’t have gone better for US poker players, with the stars finally ready to align for Americans who have too long borne the brunt of bad poker news. [Pokerfuse]

Posted by at 1:43 am

November 17, 2012

Piles of Cash, Torrents of Tweets, and a Whole Lotta Crazy

Inside Gaming: Industry loonies emerge from political fray

Hard as it seems, Peter Carlino and the folks at Penn National Gaming outdid Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn and Donald Trump in terms of political lunacy this year.

And it only cost the regional gaming giant $42 million to embarrass itself.

Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., dumped at least $53 million of his own money into a variety of super PACs that supported Republican candidates around the country, including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Other than U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., all his picks fell flat.

Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd., seemed to spend more time appearing on Fox News than in his company’s boardroom. Wynn used any and every occasion to attack President Barack Obama’s policies.

“It would be a complete disaster if Obama wins, which is why I’m urging my employees to vote for Romney,” Wynn told the Huffington Post the week before the election.

Obama beat Romney in Nevada by more than 66,000 votes.

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November 9, 2012

Instapoker

Obama wins, Whiners win and lose, Full Tilt Poker is back


Today’s Boxscore

Barack Obama – 2012 U.S. Presidential Election
Brandon Cantu – 2012 Whiner Series of Poker


Perhaps you were visiting friends in Antarctica or stuck in a pesky coma if you missed the U.S. Presidential election this week. Incumbent Barack Obama easily handled GOP contender Mitt Romney after every politician across the board dumped a ton of money to blast my swing-state airwaves with constant ads. The jury is still out on how this will impact the future of online poker in the States, but I think they’ll have a few more important things to handle at the moment.

In far less exciting news, Brandon Cantu defeated Jon Aguiar in a replay of the controversial Mix-Max WSOP Europe heads up match. To refresh your memory, Cantu whined like a newborn after Aguiar beat him for the bracelet in September because of Main Event scheduling issues and then managed to stand in for an insta-classic PokerNews interview (linked at the bottom of this post).

While no stranger to acting a fool when it pleases him, Aguiar offered to play heads up after Cantu wouldn’t let up on the subject. They played for the difference between 1st and 2nd, but not for the bracelet, at Aria, where Cantu somehow feels vindicated after winning the match and ~$135,000. Lose/lose.

Link Dump

Tweet(s) of the Day – Following the match, Cantu showed his ass.

Shuffle Up and Deal! Full Tilt Poker Opens for Real Money Online Poker – In the middle of all this excitement, maybe you noticed that Full Tilt Poker has returned to the world of the living. “Rest of World” players outside the U.S. (and various other freedom-bashing countries) are back check/raising the Donkeys/ATMs/Cowboys/Random other avatars.

Players Flock to FTP Tables Despite Cashier Bugs – Full Tilt is making an immediate impact in the poker world according the traffic site PokerScout. So again, congrats to all you players living outside of the States.

Destination Poker: Eight Things You Didn’t Know About Moving to Play Online Poker – Now that Full Tilt Poker is back (and insane Republicans after the election), even more people are looking to move themselves out of the country. PokerNews has a nice writeup of somethings you should consider.

Online Poker One Of 25 ‘Thorny’ Issues In Lame-Duck Session – CardPlayers takes a look at the chances of anything being done for online poker over the next few months of the Congressional lame-duck session. Not too rosy.

WSOPE 2012: Brandon Cantu Speaks his Mind – Brandon Cantu, channeling his inner Hellmuth, rambles in this glorious interview by Sarah Grant on PokerNews. This should be added to the Library of Congress.

Posted by at 1:00 pm

November 8, 2012

Millions Bet Overseas on US Presidential Election

Serious fun with William Hill, bookmaker

After a customer placed a $47,000 wager in a Manchester, England, sports book on President Barack Obama to win re-election today, William Hill was forced to update its odds overseas on the U.S. presidential election.

The updated odds were released Monday as Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, spent their final day on the campaign trail before Election Day.

William Hill shorted Obama’s odds to 2-9, with Romney at 10-3 [the day before the election].

After their final debate in October, the bookmaker trimmed Obama’s odds from 4-9 to 2-5, while Romney was shifted from 7-2 to 15-8.

“With the race to the White House entering the final furlong, political punters appear to believe Obama is beginning to pull clear,” said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.

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October 19, 2012

William Hill sets Obama’s re-election odds at 2-5, Romney now 2-1

British bookmaker in Vegas determines US presidential spread

The line on the U.S. presidential election has shifted again.

After Tuesday’s debate between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, William Hill Plc, a British bookmaker with about 2,350 shops in the United Kingdom, adjusted the odds overseas on the election.

Obama’s improved performance from the first debate resulted in him going from a 4-9 favorite to a 2-5 favorite Wednesday. Meanwhile, Romney bumped from a 7-4 underdog to 2-1 to win the Nov. 6 election.

“The consensus of opinion seems to be that Barack Obama may not have won the second debate against Mitt Romney, but neither did he lose it, and punters have taken that as a signal to back him again after a couple of weeks during which momentum had swung towards the challenger,” William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said in a statement Wednesday.

A reminder for local gamblers – you can’t place a wager at any of William Hill’s 159 sports books or kiosks in Nevada. The bookmaker did not seek regulatory approval to post odds and take bets in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@review journal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.
________________________________________________________________
Copyright 2012 Stephens Media Interactive GamingWire.
All rights reserved.


September 4, 2012

Inside Gaming: As Feds Investigate Big Casino Biz Practices,
Steve Wynn Goes Mute with Obama Opposition

Until recently, it appeared Steve Wynn had abandoned politics.

Wynn spent three years as the de facto voice of the gaming industry’s unofficial anti-Obama coalition, a high-profile membership of two than included Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson.

Wynn provided the rhetoric. Adelson provided the money.

The chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts Ltd., never missed an opportunity to appear on Fox News or other conservative media outlets to bash President Barack Obama’s administration for what he considers its failings in handling the economy.

Wynn often peppered his remarks with bombastic comments.

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February 7, 2012

The Re-Publicing of Caesars

Sign Federal online legalization is almost here?

Buckle up … the news (we care about) has been moving too fast for Pokerati be the lone source keeping up with it all. And with this latest — Caesars has made it official … the Empire is going public (again)! — don’t be surprised if February/March 2012 turns out to be the biggest news month in poker since April 2011.

I haven’t quite yet figured out if and how this is different from an IPO. But I do know these sorta things don’t happen in a vacuum. And considering the last time Caesars — soon to be better known on NASDAQ as CZR — looked serious about going public was the last time they had reason to believe passage of online poker legalization was imminent (Dec 2010) … uh, um, gahhh! So much going on, so many old docs to look at, so much for Kevmath to hopefully fact-check … my head is spinning with the possibilities! (And I can only wonder who Barack Obama met with on the side when he visited Las Vegas long enough to stay the night in the suburbs a couple weeks ago,)

Probably not a bad time to remember that Caesars was a public corporation (called Harrah’s) that went private almost immediately after passage of the UIGEA, controversial legislation that leveled the impact of the biggest online poker sites in the world (at the time).

Read below for an official press release.

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Posted by at 5:23 pm

January 24, 2012

State of the Poker Union

@PPAPoker speaks to @BarackObama about "common sense"

I’m fairly certain Barack Obama has known a little bit about the online poker “situation” for a while … at least since the White House released its Strategy to Protect Online Consumers and Support Innovation and National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace on April 15, 2011.

And you gotta think Obama probably got briefed as the DOJ officially changed its position on the Wire Act, September 23rd — the first day of Fall, and the same day the DOJ labeled Full Tilt Poker a Ponzi scheme and took all of Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and Rafe Furst’s money. But why then did the ever-PR-conscious DOJ wait some 60 business days later until December 23rd — the quietest media day of the year — before telling the rest of America about the Executive Branch’s significant change of digital heart?

I suppose it might not even matter at this point; SOPA and PIPA have been tabled for now, Megaupload has been slapped hard with the same government quarantine the Feds beta-tested on online poker sites, and Kim Dotcom is in jail awaiting a fate that Full Tilt and PokerStars lawyers say he coulda avoided simply by changing his name to Kim Dotnet!

OK, maybe I get a little factually carried away sometimes jest … but John Pappas has a serious message for the President — essentially a 22-second synopsis of all those emails and tweets from the Poker Player Alliance’s 1.2 million members, and a plea for “common sense public policy” on the eve of what could be Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.

Posted by at 6:00 am

September 23, 2011

Weekly Update from the PPA

Petitioning Obama, Big Debt super-committee outreach, say "hi" to the DOJ

The big news this week was, of course, the amending of the Department of Justice’s online poker civil suit claiming that Full Tilt Poker was engaged in a “Ponzi scheme” that defrauded its players. Needless to say, this was a sad day for American poker players that underscored our need as players and enthusiasts for consumer protections.

I have spoken with many poker players who have been deeply affected by the failure of Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and Ultimate Bet to repay its players since Black Friday. While I have roughly five figures of my own money locked up on Full Tilt Poker, this is nothing compared to the heartbreaking stories I have heard from many of my fellow players. We all need to take a stand — for the present AND for the future.

You all received PPA’s update yesterday detailing how to contact the Justice Department’s Victims and Witness Services program. I encourage everyone affected by this to take a good look at both this program and at PPA’s legal analysis of the options available to individual players who have not been able to access their online poker funds.

PPA has worked to ensure that all proposed online poker legislation includes provisions for consumer protections even well before Black Friday. Needless to say, PPA will continue to push for these important provisions. We all deserve safe, licensed, accountable sites on which to play. I am glad the poker community is standing together, united in this fight for our rights.

Here are some actions we can take right now to continue to advocate for our rights. These take less than 60 seconds each!

 

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July 6, 2011

Poker Players Pepper Obama w Tweets

Barack Obama was taking questions from the masses today in 140 characters or less. It really is a rather unique evolution in political communication. It’s not too different from standing on a soapbox back in the day … except here the crowd is millions strong, and – bo has enabled his @replies.

The PPA rallied the troops to make sure that of the millions tens of thousands of people jumping up and raising their hands with a question, at least one that got heard was about online poker:

Don’t forget today at 2PM EDT, President Obama will be hosting a Twitter town hall and answering questions tweeted to him. Please take a moment to use Twitter to submit a question asking the President if he supports licensing and regulating online poker by clicking here. To follow the Town Hall as it happens, please click here.

Let’s make our voices heard. Tweet your question to President Obama now!

Proud to play,
Drew Lesofski
Director, Grassroots and External Affairs

I sent mine in. No answer … but we’ll see if @BarackObama maybe includes @Pokerati in his next #FollowFriday.

UPDATE: Follow this guy, New York Times politics blogger, to see what questions got asked and how they got answered.

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Posted by at 2:25 pm

April 18, 2011

Barney Frank Calls out Obama for Online Poker Smackdown

Pandemic of poker metaphors spreads

In a bout of Democrat-on-Democrat tongue-lashing, longtime online gambling champion Rep. Barney Frank pointed to the Obama Administration, which oversees the DOJ, for pointless prosecutions and an unsmart use of resources, but came short of defending any indicted online poker defendants.

Frank mocked the seizures as the administration “protecting the public from the scourge of inside straights,” and lamented that the Justice Department is more focused on prosecuting online poker sites than those responsible for the mortgage crisis and financial meltdown.

“Go after the people responsible for empty houses, not full houses,” Frank added.

Doh! Barney was doing so well with that first poker metaphor, but then kinda blew it with the addendum, imho.

Still, you see the venerable liberal Congressman willing to finger the President more so than Bill Frist and the Republicans or Eric Holder and SDNY or Spencer Bachus or anyone else. Why would he direct his balk at Barack like this? Sour grapes, non-partisan principle, or something more he’d like the DC press corp to know about Obama’s role in the timing of these indictments?

Posted by at 3:25 pm

December 15, 2010

Clock!

Reid Calls for Extended Lame Duck; GOP Pushes for Recess

WASHINGTON, DC – Harry Reid went on record about the lame duck session schedule, telling The Hill, “we need to stay here until we finish.”

Whether or not “finishing” includes passing the online poker bill remains to be seen. What is clear is that the Reid bill is still on the table and continues to be revised, albeit quietly, as the Senate engages in a multitrillion-dollar left-vs-right holiday battle royale. But so far the only thing the bill has attached itself to is what is becoming, as NPR explains, a contentious race against the clock.

The Constitutional deadline for this session of Congress to close its business is noon on January 3rd, 2011.

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Posted by at 5:47 pm

December 13, 2010

Possible iPoker Vehicle Approved by House, awaits Senate

#reidbill: Omnibus or bust?

For a good portion of last week, it seemed likely that the #reidbill was going to be attached to the tax cut bill making it’s way through Congress. On Friday morning, Politico reported that the tax cut bill had no such pokery verbage, but that attachment to that piece of legislation was “still possible” if Reid made “additional modifications” before the tax bill is voted on sometime in the coming days.

Other outs? The House approved a mammoth $1.1 trillion dollar continuing resolution (CR) bill H.R.3028 just last Thursday. The Hill discussed how the CR could be amended into an omnibus:

A CR is needed because Congress failed to pass any of the 12 regular appropriations bills for 2011, in addition to failing to pass a budget resolution at all for the first time since 1974.

Democrats plan to amend the CR in the Senate into an omnibus appropriations bill that has been crafted by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

That Senate bill, which is also being worked on by minority staff in an effort to garner enough Republican votes to overcome a filibuster, would provide about $19 billion more in funding than the House CR and would contain congressional earmarks.

The Washington Post featured the internet poker legislation on the front-page of their website on Saturday, and had this to say about the possibility that #reidbill might be included, in the omnibus -or- in other legislation:

Reid initially toyed with adding the proposal to the tax-cut compromise between Republicans and President Obama but decided against it amid concerns that it would further complicate that bill’s chances for getting passed, according to lobbyists and aides. The measure could be added to an omnibus spending bill or other must-pass legislation in coming days.

ABC News also talked about the timeframe for passing the CR in a report on Saturday:

For all the talk about taxes lately, the Senate’s only must-do issue in the lame-duck session is extending government funding into next year, a fight that appears set to take place late next week. Senators are up against a clear deadline: the latest continuing resolution to keep the government running ends at 12:01am on Sunday Dec. 19th.

-and-

The Senate is set to have its first procedural vote on the tax bill next Monday, so it is likely that the chamber will not take up the omnibus until Wednesday at the earliest. That would mean that both the Senate and the House would have to pass it by the end of Saturday if lawmakers are to avert a government shutdown.

The urgency of this continued resolution to the operation of our government is clear.  Whether the fate of internet poker legislation rests with the same piece of legislation is yet to be seen.

Posted by at 8:04 am