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.
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]
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]
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.)
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]
Not an isolated incident, NGC says, but "pattern of abuse"
Caesars Entertainment Corp. is paying the state a $100,000 fine to settle underage gambling charges, but may face a stiffer penalty if it happens again.
“This is not an isolated incident, but a pattern of abuse,” Nevada Gaming Commissioner Randolph Townsend said Thursday as the regulatory panel voted to accept the settlement with Caesars over multiple charges of gambling and alcohol consumption by underage customers at several of the company’s Strip resorts between 2010 and May of this year.
Townsend, whose comments were echoed by fellow commissioners John Moran Jr. and Tony Alamo Jr., said Caesars was getting off easy.
“If it happens again, I want a seven-figure settlement or else we will litigate it,” Townsend said. “As we enter the Internet gaming world, this becomes a significant issue.”
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.
Preliminary IPO teaser brings us 300+ pages closer to fully legal online poker
It feels like we’ve been talking about Caesars going public since before they were Caesars (we have) … but their latest S1/A filing with the SEC suggests not only that CZR really
is might be ready to kick it Zynga-style with a big fat IPO … but also that any public offering from the worldwide gambling empire may be in preparation for imminent legalization of US online poker.
While such hefty levels of high finance are still probably a little beyond my ken … you can read the nearly 300 pages of Big Casino corporate speak and decide for yourself. Somewhere in here, I’m pretty sure, is a blueprint for the future of poker and/or online gambling.
At a minimum, I found this snippet on page 7 suggesting that Caesars is getting ready for something big related to online
We believe that additional jurisdictions will legalize online gaming due to consumer demand, a broader understanding of the need to regulate the industry and to generate income through taxes on gaming revenue. As such, we support efforts to regulate the online gaming industry to ensure that consumers are protected. We believe that the potential for online gaming is substantial and believe that we will command, at a minimum, our fair share in any legal jurisdiction. An H2 Gaming Capital study conducted in 2010 projects that the global online gaming market will grow to $36 billion in revenues by 2012. We believe that the largest opportunity in online gaming in the near term is the legalization of online poker in the United States. [emphasis added]
There’s tons more in this document worthy of perusal … some of which I’ve already skimmed. And it doesn’t take much to see how an actual Caesars IPO — not just talk of it — could-well coincide with legalized American online poker hubbub (finally!) reaching critical mass.
Caesars, after all, formerly known as Harrah’s, was a publicly traded company until going private shortly after passage of the UIGEA in 2006. Changed their name to Caesars in November 2010 — the last time they prepped seriously for an IPO (right after their boy Harry Reid won re-election and owed them a favor) only to withdraw plans for a public offering of stock shares
right after someone told them the lame-duck online poker Reid bill was just a farce for other political purposes a couple weeks later.
Senate hopeful Berkley: keep government off your computer, undo the UIGEA (now!)
Berkley 4 online poker: Let's gitter done!
“We’re going to do everything we can to legalize online poker,” said US Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) to a crowd of mostly women Friday night at the Golden Nugget. She was the opening speaker at the Women in Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and wanted to let nearly 300 attendees know that she hasn’t wavered in her position against government interference in online poker, and now is the time for Washington DC to get Americans back online.
Berkley, who declared her intent to run for US Senate the day before Black Friday, was one of the few representatives to call the UIGEA “a travesty” at the time of its passage and one of the first to jump on board to co-sponsor Joe Barton’s (R-TX) post-Black Friday online poker bill.
“There’s no reason people shouldn’t be playing online. It will be good for the 26 million poker players … it will be good for our country, and it’s going be good for our economy,” she said. “We’ve got to get this piece of legislation passed!”
Have a listen to what all she had to say in Las Vegas before heading back to DC:
Shelley Berkley at the Women in Poker Hall of Fame 2011
Corporate poker giants have been good stewards of the game
At the World Series of Poker, they announce the event and coveted bracelet winners and then play the national anthem of the country they come from. Play stops at all the cash games and the players stand and remove their hats. When an American won, my table stood with their hands over their hearts and sang. I looked out over that vast sea of poker players and was overcome by emotion. The song always gives me tingles but there was also a love and astonishment at how wonderful the playing conditions have become for this sport. Yes, it is a sport.
The players’ manners are terrific today compared to the past. Johnny Moss was known for being abusive to dealers. Puggy Pearson was worse. He pissed on one once. Another Hall of Famer, Joe Bernstein, bit a dealer.
I cannot sing enough praise for the poker management of Harrah’s. I had long conversations with Bill Sattler, Director of Poker, and aslo Jake Reville, Cathy Klufer, and Carrie Jacobs. For twenty years, I taught management subjects at Texas Tech. The magnificent professionalism of Harrah’s management makes me wish I could go lecture on how great they are. I played in the cheap no limit where you only buy $300. I’ve never lost at the Rio, but only played there seven times. I’m not trying to beat the best in the world anymore. I’m too old.
Since it seems the Feds aren’t gonna allow the world to come to the WSOP (via the internet) … the WSOP is now taking steps elsewhere across the world. Caesars Interactive Entertainment, formerly HIE but still parent company to the WSOP, announced Italian partnerships that will allow the Montreal-based company (with operational headquarters in Las Vegas) to establish its presence live and online in the regulated Italian market — and ultimately make it easier for these poker paisanos to get to Vegas in the summer.
Read below for official details:
Regardless of what you call them, the WSOP parent company’s old logo
was like so 2010.
The Las Vegas Sun reports that the name change is now official, citing chairman and president Gary Loveman as the source. The Sun gives no context, however, as to why this time he really means it, other than to provide a rather generic summary:
“The new name can open new opportunities for the company in the future.”
Hmm, a name leading to new opportunities? Harrah’s has been talking about the name change for more than a year — pretty much ever since they opened up their non-poker online gambling opportunities at CaesarsCasino and CaesarsBingo dots-com — but have never gone through with it, at least in any marketable or taxable way. But sure enough, a form filed with the SEC yesterday confirms that Harrah’s Entertainment Incorporated would now, finally and officially, like to be called Caesars Entertainment Corporation. At least in the eyes of Uncle Sam.
And while the new monicker may lend itself to illustrations of Loveman in a toga eating grapes and future mockery should Harrah’s-cum-Caesars ever wanna deny its imperialistic nature … some of us can’t help but wonder if there isn’t even more to it than that. Why now for such a bold move? Surely it will cost a few million bucks to get everyone new business cards and change the labels on bottled water … so what relation, if any, might it have to seemingly accelerated online gambling pursuits and/or, most recently, a (suddenly) delayed IPO — both specifically addressed in the same document as the name change.