Posts Tagged ‘gambling-laws’

January 7, 2013

Texas Gambling Expansion Faces Big Hurdles

Inside Gaming: Pinnacle most interested in Lone Star State

TexasGamblingTexas lawmakers will again take up the issue of gaming expansion during the state’s biannual legislative session that begins next week.

And, as in previous years, a gaming bill has as much chance of passing through both Lone Star State legislative houses as the Dallas Cowboys have of winning the Super Bowl with Tony Romo at quarterback.

Slim and none.

“There are a host of detractors and hurdles standing in the way of Texas passing gaming expansion anytime soon, from religious groups, out-of-state gaming interests, a conservative Legislature, and animal rights groups,” Union Gaming Group managing director Bill Lerner told investors.

National gaming expansion talks always focus on Texas when that state’s Legislature convenes for roughly five months in odd-numbered years.

More…


November 28, 2012

Texas: Casino Gaming Should Be Our Choice

It's time to amend the state Constitution to give voters a proper say


Dave Nalle

OP-ED

Every legislative session, the issue of expanding gaming comes up for consideration, and every session it becomes the target of inflammatory rhetoric, propaganda campaigns, and back and forth struggles among different factions until it stalls somewhere in the legislative process.

A dozen or more different bills may be offered, along with polls, sermons, editorials and heated testimony. But historically, gaming gets everything except the one thing that the people of Texas deserve — a chance for a statewide public vote on the issue.

As Texans, we can decide for ourselves how we spend our time and money. We like big sporting events, such as the Cotton Bowl and NASCAR. We like destination vacation attractions, such as the River Walk, SeaWorld and Moody Gardens. We like our fairs and rodeos and town festivals.

Some think legislators are under too much pressure from different interest groups to act objectively. But legislators don’t have to be for gaming to support a vote of the people.

We spend a lot of money on entertainment, and if what we want isn’t available here in Texas, we’re willing to travel to get it. With our relatively strong economy, our prosperity spills over into neighboring states, and we don’t spend that money grudgingly, even if we’d rather spend it closer to home.

More…

Posted by at 7:00 am

July 8, 2012

Infograffiti: What Online Gambling can Do to Solve US Debt Woes

Betting on America?

Everyone loves a good infographic even if its hardly been fact-checked … and this one (with lots of pretty colors) from the presumably good folks at Casino.org (via Fox Business) breaks down some numbers that say to lawmakers, hey, if your state isn’t looking to online gambling to alleviate debt troubles, then why not? (Don’t you care about the kids and school?)

More…

Posted by at 12:34 am

September 28, 2011

The Future of Online Poker (as per the AGA)

Pokerati: Unpublished

The 11th annual Global Gaming Expo kicks off next week in a new location, the Sands Convention Center, in Las Vegas. Of all the gaming expos worldwide (there seem to be about two a month these days) G2E is one of the big ones (if not THE big one) … not just for vendors hawking comfortable casino seats and slot-machine rides, but also for the sessions in which casino industry leaders gather to chat about everything from gaming technology to online regulation to Indian nations to rewards programs.

Check out the lineup for G2E ’11 here.

Just got the press release about what AGA/G2E chief Frank Fahrenkopf plans to speak on in his media address: (Yay. Looking forward to it.)

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE CASINO INDUSTRY, ONLINE POKER TO BE
KEY TOPICS AT FAHRENKOPF’S ANNUAL G2E MEDIA BRIEFING

Preliminary Topline Results of Major Economic Impact Study to be Unveiled

Also got word that this year G2E has very clear “no audio or video recording” rules for their extra-informative sessions. (Crap, there go Pokerati’s plans for recording as many as possible and sharing them with you and others who didn’t pay to attend.)

Either that wasn’t policy last year or I mighta missed the memo. (Oops?)

From Pokerati’s vast archive of yet-to-be-seen-or-heard content … have a listen to Fahrenkop’s 2010 G2E media pow-wow. And hear, now with the benefit of hindsight, what the AGA leader had to say about how some wanted to work with (or against) online poker sites such as Full Tilt and PokerStars … and what the vision was (and presumably still is) for a combination of state and federal regulations being the future path for legalized online gambling in the US.

AGA’s “new reality” (circa 2010): 1. Doing the Macau-rena; 2. “Hey Harry, pull my finger!”; 3. Poker (only) face.

MEDIA BRIEFING: Frank Fahrenkopf at 2010 G2E
40:22

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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Posted by at 4:59 pm

April 2, 2011

Wait, Changes to Sports Betting in Canada off the Table (for Now…)

On the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, the Governor General (the Queen’s representative in Canada) dissolved the 40th Parliament on Saturday May 26th of this year. We are now in a general election campaign. Election Day is May 2nd.

Dissolution brings to an end all business before both houses of Parliament. All government bills and private members’ bills are terminated and, to be resurrected, will need to be re-introduced in the next Parliament.

The upshot is that Joe Comartin’s bill to liberalize sports betting laws in Canada, discussed here and here, is now dead. We will have to wait and see what the membership of the House of Commons looks like after the election and whether Mr. Comartin (if re-elected) will re-introduce the measure.

Posted by at 12:27 am

March 3, 2011

Christie Press Conference Gives No Decision on New Jersey iGambling

New Jersey Governor Christie did hold a press conference this morning, but it did not answer any questions regarding today’s decision on the fate of iGambling for New Jersey.

Press of Atlantic City reported here:

Gov. Chris Christie said at 11:30 a.m. today that he has not yet decided whether to sign or veto a bill creating an intrastate online gambling system.

Christie has just hours to decide whether to allow the system, which would be a first nationwide but which has faced questions about its legality within state and federal law.

Christie said he plans to decide the issue later today.

If he does not act by the end of the day, the bill becomes law.

The official live-feed site for Governor Christie went into “password protected” mode at about 11AM EDT, leaving those of us geeky enough to have gotten to the presser early to remain in the open chat room staring at a blank feed, and everyone else who wanted to watch *out*.

PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato appeared on Fox Business at 12:15PM EDT to discuss the governor’s upcoming decision. When asked what he thought was on Christie’s mind were this afternoon. D’Amato said:

“I think the governor would like to pass it [S490], but there may be a constitutional prohibition.  He’s studying that right now.  And it may have to first go through the people for legislative approval.”

Whatever Christie might be thinking or “studying” today, he has only until midnight tonight to veto the bill before it is made law.

Posted by at 11:20 am

New Jersey Intrastate iGambling Decision Day

Governor Christie holds press conference

Governor Christie is expected to announce today if he will sign/veto/ignore S490 which, if made law, “permits Internet wagering at Atlantic City casinos under certain circumstances.”

He is holding press conference shortly at 11am EDT, where he is expected to comment on his decision.

A live stream of Christie’s press conference can be watched-> here.

Posted by at 8:42 am

January 27, 2011

Vegas Comes to the Channel Islands

Alderney & Nevada Regulators Sign Memorandum of Understanding

I was all set this morning to write a blog entry on the continuing dispute in Kennedy & Omotoy v. Full Tilt Poker et al. (The original post by Dan Michalski was back in 2009.) This litigation is fascinating; it has bounced from state court to federal court and back to state court in California, and an update would be fun. But something else caught my eye: a public statement from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission stating that Alderney has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The statement is here.

As just about everyone familiar with Internet gambling is aware, Alderney is one of the handful of jurisdictions worldwide that actually licenses online interactive gaming, including poker. (Other such jurisdictions include Gibraltar, Malta, the Isle of Man, Antigua, and Kahnawake.) Probably the most prominent poker website operating under Alderney’s regulation is www.fulltiltpoker.com. Obviously Tilt is a US-facing site, which is interesting fact number 1. Interesting fact number 2 is that Alderney only regulates i-gaming. This makes sense. The place is a speck of an island off the north-western coast of France with a population of 2,400; it doesn’t have any bricks and mortar casinos.

The agreement between Nevada and Alderney “paves the way for enhanced cooperation in the field of gaming regulation.” Not too helpfully, the public statement specifies that this co-operation will extend to “the areas of sharing of information, expertise, knowledge and skills as well as exchange visits and training.” I hope for the sake of the Alderney parties that the “exchange visits” are mostly one-way and in Vegas, especially at this time of year.

So the Internet gaming regulator of a US-facing poker site (that, along with all currently US-facing poker sites) has a memorandum of understanding prescribing areas of co-operation with Nevada. (Don’t parse that previous sentence too closely; Nevada may still have a problem with i-gaming operators that turned off US players back in 2006 when the UIGEA was passed and that aren’t currently US-facing.) And since Alderney only regulates Internet gaming, the co-operation must be at least partly with a view to Nevada understanding and learning more about Internet gaming. Apparently Nevada doesn’t have a problem with recognizing the authority of Alderney to regulate Internet gaming; it only has a problem with the behaviour (sanctioned by Alderney) of some of their licensees. These kinds of agreements between gaming regulators aren’t particularly new. The Kahnwake Gaming Commission has struck agreements with Alderney and with Antigua that would appear to go much further than this accord between Alderney-Nevada. But it’s still interesting that Nevada is reaching out to engage with current online regulators – even online regulators that accept US-facing licensees.

What this means for Internet poker in the US is anyone’s guess, but it seems clear that Nevada is heading for regulation at some point. Nevada regulators were going to be at the forefront of the licensing structure contemplated by the Reid Bill draft that was floating around last month. The Nevada Gaming Commission was going to be one of the leading Qualified Bodies under the bill on a number of measures. It’s safe to say that Nevada will have a leading role if poker regulation happens at the federal level in the next couple of years; federal action may actually be more likely if more and more states start regulating intrastate gaming, including poker. At an intrastate level, Nevada’s signals have been mixed at best. This kind of agreement with Alderney, however, may indicate that Nevada could be thinking about going its own way absent federal interactive gaming oversight.

Internet poker regulation in the US may be one (very small) step closer.

Posted by at 11:39 am

January 11, 2011

New Jersey Assembly Approves Internet Gambling Bill

Online poker, for all intents and purposes, legalized in United State

Fully legal online gambling is coming to the United States … like this year, if not pretty much right now … regardless of whatever happened with the Reid Bill whereby one of the most powerful men in the world was not able to deliver to his strongest backers a relatively inconsequential bill that came with money and jobs for his own state (on a piece of legislation that was two years in the making) despite his party’s having control of the Senate, the House, and the Executive Branch.

But we’ll have to save that discussion for a later date … Last night the New Jersey Assembly (the Garden State’s version of the House) approved a package of five bills to recharge their battered Atlantic City-based gaming industry, one of which allows their casinos to offer online gambling (not just poker, but casino games, too) within NJ borders. Their Senate had already given the measures an official “like”, so now all that remains is needing a signature from Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has given no indications of wanting to veto.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Those bills’ final passage marks the first real change in more than three decades to how business is conducted in the nation’s second-largest gaming market, which is reeling from the weak economy and regional competition. The resulting structure mirrors that of Nevada.

More…

Posted by at 5:00 pm

January 4, 2011

Gaming Counsel Toolkit: Seven Requirements of Arbitration Clauses in Poker (& Other) Agreements

Much of a good lawyer’s work comes down to listening (more than talking), reading, and writing. This is no different for gaming attorneys. I spend a large part of my time reading and writing. Gaming generally describes the type of clients I have and some of the more specialized issues that come up, but most of the drafting issues that I encounter aren’t unique to gaming; many attorneys will come across them regularly, too.

Take, for example, the arbitration clause. Very generally, arbitration is the non-judicial resolution of a dispute by an appointed person. It’s not mediation, where the parties to the dispute have to agree on the settlement; an arbitrator appointed to settle a dispute concludes it independent of the parties’ agreement on the terms of settlement. Arbitration can offer a great deal of autonomy, flexibility, and privacy for parties to a dispute. Large-scale arbitrations are not cheap, but they’re seen as highly efficient alternatives to litigation.

Gaming clients also perceive the benefits associated with arbitration. My clients include poker sites, other skill games operators, software deveopers, marketing agencies, and professional players. All of them like the confidentiality that can be built into dispute resolution by arbitration, but they really appreciate the expertise and specialized knowledge that arbitrators can bring to complex gaming matters instead of putting things before a generalist judge. Even judges on the Commercial List here in Toronto, while specialized in discrete areas of corporate and commercial private law, don’t have a deep knowledge of the domestic or international gaming sectors. (To be fair, the public and policy-makers don’t expect them to have such knowledge.)

Accordingly, arbitration has become and remains an important part of many written agreements. In fact, arbitration has become one of the standard boilerplate clauses that lawyers routinely drop into a contract. As is often the case with boilerplate, however, clauses are inserted without focusing on their particular meaning in the context of the commercial relationship between the parties. Sometimes lawyers put in language that’s inappropriate to the occasion or that they themselves do not fully understand. Where they are required, arbitration clauses are often poorly drafted and don’t fit with what the parties intend.

Some people like their arbitral clauses expansive in an effort to deal with any contingency. This can be appropriate, depending on the parties and the nature of the agreement. However, sometimes one comes across arbitration clauses that are disproportionately long or convoluted; there are relatively short written agreements out there prepared by otherwise able counsel that have arbitral provisions taking up 15% of the document. Where possible, I like to keep my arbitration clauses short and clear. Many of the framing issues in arbitration can often be worked out when and if arbitral rights are invoked, so they need not consume page after page of contingencies in an agreement. Many arbitrators also agree that, when it comes to arbitral clauses, less is more. That is, tinkering with short, tight clauses will get you into more trouble than leaving them alone.

At a minimum, a properly-drafted arbitration clause must address the following seven items:

  1. The Rules of Arbitration – The parties can set out a complete set of rules to govern the arbitral proceedings or they can use a ‘ready-made’ set that is available from any one of several international or domestic bodies. Rules can be adopted with variances by the parties, but there is enough variety in the arbitral marketplace that a set of complete rules (without modifications) should be available that are satisfactory to all parties. Examples of robust and useful arbitration rules that are available include the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIR) Rules, the various specialized rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and the ADR Institute of Canada National Arbitration Rules.
  2. Appointing Authority - This is the body that appoints the arbitrator – if the parties do not designate one – and will often be the institution that conducts the arbitration itself according to the rules specified. If the parties select their own individual arbitrator (assuming one arbitrator only), they then need to turn their minds to providing for the replacement of that arbitrator if s/he is unavailable or refuses to act. Leaving this decision to a reliable appointing body resolves this issue. Well-known and respected appointing authorities include the LCIR, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (the AAA’s international affiliate), and the ADR Institute of Canada.
  3. Number of Arbitrators - The number of arbitrators will affect the costs of the arbitration. A panel of three, for example, will cost more but allow for greater expertise. In all but the most potentially large and complicated international arbitrations, I like one arbitrator as the default, and I generally like this arbitrator to be chosen by the appointing body (see 2, above).
  4. Legal Place of Arbitration - The seat of arbitration is the legal location or juridical place of arbitration, which may be different from the place(s) at which the arbitral tribunal meets or hears evidence. The seat fixes the lex arbitri, or the law of the place where the arbitration is to be held. This can raise complex questions of jurisdiction and attornment. Irrespective of the governing law of the commercial agreement, the law applicable to the arbitration will generally be the lex arbitri. Also, as any arbitral award is often deemed to be made at the place of arbitration, enforcement issues can become important. This issue can become even more important and complex in Internet poker- and other online gaming-related agreements where the performance of the underlying contractual obligations may be illegal in the jurisdiction of the legal place of the arbitration.
  5. Language of the Arbitration – Parties should specify the language to be used in the arbitral proceedings or the tribunal will decide the language.
  6. Scope of Arbitration - The parties should consider whether, like a time is of the essence clause, arbitration can be invoked with respect to all provisions and schedules of the agreement or whether it is to be limited to particular items in the contract.
  7. Appeal Rights - Will the arbitration be subject to rights of appeal in limited circumstances or will the arbitral decision constitute the final resolution or settlement of all questions submitted for determination?

Often, these basic elements are enough to address the parties’ reasonable concerns, although I would caution that that’s not always the case.

The single biggest problem I come across with arbitral provisions isn’t in the clause itself, but in the rest of the agreement. Often, an agreement will contain language requiring the parties to, for example, “reasonably” discuss a dispute with a view to settlement, or to act “in good faith” with respect to certain contractual undertakings. There are valid reasons for inserting language like this, but it is anathema to a completely effective arbitral provision. This kind of subjective language provides a ready-made basis for jurisdictional challenges to invoking the arbitration clause. That is, if one party seeks to proceed to arbitration, the other may claim that there have been insufficient “good faith” efforts (for example) to resolve the dispute prior to arbitration and may turn to the courts under the governing law and venue clause of the contract to foreclose arbitration. This can create a dysfunctional arbitration clause where the parties cannot get their differences resolved efficiently and may have to litigate in order to end the stalemate, which may defeat the parties’ original commercial intent.

As gaming matters become more complex, parties will rightly and increasingly demand alternatives to expensive litigation if disputes emerge, including arbitration. It is incumbent upon counsel to be familiar with the key components, benefits, and potential pitfalls associated with arbitration in order to properly advise and effectively partner with their clients in the broader gaming sector.

Posted by at 7:08 am

December 3, 2010

Reid Online Gambling Bill: Inside The Draft

UIGEA strengthened; foreign sites wanting US license must obey

As word that Harry Reid was authoring his own poker/casino-friendly bill repealing UIGEA filtered through the press today, people in the poli-poker world have been itching for a look at the draft filtering around Capitol Hill.

Fortunately, the global gaming consultants at Gambling Compliance have not only had eyes on this constantly-changing document, they also have had ears on Capitol Hill itself.  The analysis of the Reid Online Gambling Bill by folks in-the-know is available on their website for paying subscribers.  Although a portion of the document summarizes stuff we learned from the Wall Street Journal article posted late yesterday, there is is a huge amount of new (and compelling) info from what we had available last night.  Probably the biggest surprise is a strengthening of the UIGEA mentioned the text of the leaked Reid bill, and not the complete repeal per early reports.

Top Ten Facts From Inside The Draft ->

1.  The “entities controlled by” casinos, race tracks, and slot makers would be “immediately eligible” to get licenses for online poker.  How soon is not clear.

2. The bill prohibits new US licensees initially from “pooling any player liquidity from any international poker networks.”  I’m not exactly sure what this means, but my take is that US licensees would not be able to pull in bankrolls from Full Tilt, Poker Stars, UB, or any foreign poker gambling site for some period of time.

3. US Department of Commerce would oversee regulation, but “the most well established” state and tribal authorties would gain power over “licensing, investigatory, and enforcement” issues.

4. US online poker operators would need to pay a ostentatious rake licensing fee on monthly customer deposits, “possibly as high as 20 percent.” Revenue to be split between feds, state that the poker player lives in, and the state the company operates from.

5. Spoiler! Bill wants “beef up enforcement” of UIGEA by requiring Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to submit a blacklist of “unlicensed Internet gaming enterprises” to the US Secretary of the Treasury.  Wasn’t this supposed to be an anti-UIGEA bill?

6. All current sites accepting bets from US resident better stop doing it upon bill passage if they ever “wished to participate in a legal US market.”

7.  In the draft version Gambling Compliance saw, the first US online poker operators could not get their licenses for at least 15 months.  After the 15 month period, there would be a 2 yr period where the US Department of Commerce could decide if they even wanted to open up the market to include those beyond established US gaming entities.

8. Collegiate scholarly types think there is some *serious* preferential treatment in this draft given to the largest state agencies such as Nevada and New Jersey, giving them automatic qualification and a jump on prospectives.

9. Tribals are pretty unhappy with the language of the draft, touting an analysis around around DC which states the bill is “rigged to ensure that Nevada immediately becomes the licensing hub, and that tribal gaming authorities will never be able to qualify.”

10. Clarification is given that both online betting for horse races, and intrastate internet sales of lottery tickets do not violate the 1961 Wire Act.

Keep in mind this bill is a rapidly “moving target”, peeps.  The lame duck session is set to continue at least through the end of next week; final draft of the Reid bill seems unlikely until the end of Congressional session.

In the words of John Pappas, Executive Director of the PPA, “Anyone who says he knows what the bill will be doesn’t know anything.”

Posted by at 3:47 pm

December 2, 2010

Reid Circulates Casino-Approved Poker-Only Draft to Repeal UIGEA

Reid, backed by casino companies that “were among the Democrat’s biggest donors during his fierce re-election fight”, is currently passing a draft-version of his own brand new internet gambling bill around Capitol Hill this week.

The Wall Street Journal published an article today that is must-read for anyone who has been following the (wait-wait-and-wait) saga of legalizing online poker; check it out here -> WSJ.com|Reid Backs Legalizing Web Poker.

Key components of the draft-version of the Reid internet gambling bill:

1. Overturn UIGEA.

2. Provide legislation for poker-only.

3. Limit legal internet gaming to “allow only existing casinos, horse tracks and slot-machine makers to operate online poker websites for the first two years after the bill passes.”  It’s unclear what they are proposing to do with Full Tilt, Poker Stars, Ultimate Bet and the like “rogue” offshore sites during the time-out.

4. Outsource oversight of internet gambling to the *state* government.

5. Earmark revenue on wager to both state and federal governments.

The Vegas B&Ms had this to say on their confidence that new “one-size-please-all” Reid bill might navigate it’s way through the 111th Congress before the end of the lame duck session:

“Alan Feldman, a spokesman for MGM Resorts International, a large Las Vegas-based casino company, said he hoped such a bill had a possibility of rushing through in the next few weeks. ‘A lot of things happen in this kind of time frame,’ he said.”

@ppapoker tweeted the link to the article at about 8p EST/5p Vegas tonight.

Posted by at 8:58 pm

November 30, 2010

GamingCounsel’s Weekly Briefs

Danish Delays, Kentucky Legal Derby, Cypriot Missiles, Excapsa Escapes & Congressional Guessing Games

I’m attending the Legal Marketing Association’s Toronto conference tomorrow today, so my updates to Dan “Slave-Driver” Michalski had to be in a day early. Also, I’ve picked up a bit of flack for making my updates too US-centric – I’ll try to keep a steadier eye on certain international developments, starting today yesterday. That said, here are some thoughts on the five most compelling stories in gaming in the past week from around the world:

  1. Denmark Online Gaming Delays – Denmark had intended to open up its online interactive gaming market by January of next year. However, there has been a complaint about tax rates and a blackout period before the European Commission. The Danish government and the EC are addressing the review and the complaint, but inter-governmental wrangling takes time, especially in Europe. Look for market liberalization to be delayed until Summer 2011.[EGR Magazine]
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  3. Kentucky v 141 Internet Domain Names – This is a fascinating and timely case that keeps getting more so. Latest development: A hearing has been scheduled for December 6th (this will be pushed back to the 13th) in front of Judge Thomas Wingate, who is the original judge that first dealt with this matter back in the Fall of 2008. The hearing is supposed to address the identification of the owners of the 141 Internet domain names that were part of Kentucky’s original suit. Kentucky has proposed that the domain names be split up into groups and that the initial group to be considered by the court comprise the following 5 names: www.playersonly.com, www.sportsbook.com, www.sportsinteraction.com, www.mysportsbook.com, and www.linesmaker.com. The proposed case management order (to be discussed at the hearing) grants 30 days to anyone purporting to be an owner of these sites to file a motion to intervene and prove their ownership of the site(s). iMEGA plans to make a motion to intervene on behalf of these sites, which does not sit well with the Commonwealth; Kentucky has consistently objected to iMEGA and the IGC being granted standing in the proceeding.

    The Commonwealth may lose here – the Supreme Court of Kentucky seemed to like the idea of associational standing but said that the associations did not yet demonstrate that they had standing. The associations can be expected to do what they have to to show this. If iMEGA loses out in December, look for more appeals and legal wrangling. This case has certainly been a boon to the Kentucky bar – it seems that just about every lawyer in the state has had a piece of this lawsuit. [Poker News Daily]

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  5. Cyprus Attempting to Ban (Most) Internet Gaming – Cyprus has drafted a bill proposing a ban on all forms of Internet gambling except sports wagering. This has gone to the European Commission for review. Cyprus argues that the ban on roulette, other table games, slot machines, and poker is in the public interest. Cyprus hopes that the Santa Casa ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2009 in favour of Portugal will work in its favour in this draft. The bill also provides for the creation of a Gaming Board regulating Cypriot online gambling (sports betting only), issuing of licences, and a ban on cash bets and the exclusive use of credit cards and e-wallets to make transactions easier to monitor and tax. [Gambling City]
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  7. Excapsa & the Cereus Network Settlement – In a shareholder communication by Excapsa Software’s liquidator, Excapsa and the Cereus Network appear to have settled their dispute over promissory notes and fraud claims on the network. In return for full and final settlement, it looks like Blanca Games (UB’s operator) will acquire Excapsa’s interest in the outstanding debt for US$2M and a percentage of proceeds if the business is sold by Blanca on or before March 31, 2013. Excapsa will get the remaining interest in the old gaming software (the Towkiro Group – UB’s old owners – had retained a residual interest to use the software for internal purposes). [WSBG Accountants, Montreal]
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  9. What Congress Shall Wil Probably Will May Do in the US – This is the favoured party game of everyone in the Internet poker industry right now. Few know for certain what will happen, but here’s what I think is becoming reasonably clear: a) the Frank & McDermott bills are probably dead; b) if anything passes during the lame-duck session, it will likely be a Reid bill and will probably be attached to ‘must-pass’ financial legislation; and, c) poker is the only thing that will get through this year. My best information is still that it’s more likely than not that a measure won’t pass, but I have been hearing more and more gossip rumblings suggesting that prospects are perhaps better than I have expected. The next week or two could change things and make passage of an interactive poker measure the odds-on favourite. Stay tuned. [Motley Fool]

    Also …
    interesting conference on US i-gaming to take place in Washington D.C. on December 10th. This is a should-attend if you are in D.C. at the time:

    http://www.spectrumgaming.com/conferences/


Attorney Stuart Hoegner regularly follows international gaming law so his lazy hard-working, brilliant editor doesn’t have to; you can follow him @GamingCounsel on Twitter.

Posted by at 2:51 pm

November 16, 2010

GamingCounsel’s Weekly Briefs

Full Tilt out of Washington, Jersey shores up i-gaming bills, Party fights back, GTECH-who? & Domain event

The midterm elections and the November Nine are over, but interesting things keep happening in the gaming world. For starters, the lame-duck session of Congress is underway; time will tell if anything that affects Internet gaming will pass before the start of the next congressional session. In addition, here are the legal tidbits that I thought were the most interesting and/or relevant coming out over the past week:

  1. FullTilt Turns Off Washington - In big news from last Friday, FullTilt Poker has elected to follow PokerStars’s lead and discontinue providing real money games to players located in Washington State. This impacts players residing in Washington and non-residents of Washington visiting Washington. Tilt’s FAQ on the matter is here. This is being done to preserve Tilt’s Internet-poker-only-is-legal argument. A related fact is that they’re able to protect their poker-only and transparent processing solutions by turning off Washington. This leaves fewer offerings out there willing to service Washington State poker players. [Poker News Daily]
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  3. New Jersey Moves Forward on I-Gaming – Irrespective of what’s happening in Congress, New Jersey continues to move forward in its review of an intra-state Internet gaming offering. This week, the NJ Senate’s Budget and Appropriations Committee reported out S490 (Permits Internet wagering at Atlantic City casinos under certain circumstances); the bill now goes to the full State Senate for consideration. This bill has State Senator Ray Lesniak as the primary sponsor. It seeks to authorize Internet wagering in Atlantic City casinos, thereby allowing New Jersey residents to place wagers on casino games by means of the Internet. All games, including poker, which may be played at a casino in New Jersey, may be offered through Internet wagering under this bill. Several commentators have been saying for some time that New Jersey is one of the more promising states for intra-state gaming; if this bill becomes law – and there’s a ways to go yet – those predictions may turn out to have been prescient. [NJLeg.state.nj.us]
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  5. Kentucky v. PartyGaming - In other US state news, PartyGaming is not (initially, at least) rolling over in the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s attempt to extract damages from Party. Recall that Party was added to the state’s suit against Pocket Kings (Tilt) earlier this year; Microgaming was added last month. Party has now brought a motion to dismiss the complaint on several grounds. This will be interesting litigation as it rolls forward alongside the Kentucky domain name litigation. Watch for one or more of the identified defendants in Pocket Kings et al to settle. [EGR Magazine]
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  7. GTECH Worldwide Expansion – GTECH, a Lottomatica subsidiary, continues to generate interesting news and business. Recently it has struck a number of deals with various operators, including with provincial operators in Canada. Last week two more deals were made public. The first was a 10-year agreement with the Shenzhen Welfare Lottery Center to upgrade existing Keno systems, selling online lottery games, and increasing the operator’s terminal base. [iGaming Business] Then came word that GTECH has received a two-year extension to continue providing support to Pronosticos para la Asistencia Publica in Mexico. [Gaming Intelligence] Even though the parent posted a net loss in Q3, keep watching GTECH, folks.
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  9. gTLD Expansions – This is the most important ongoing story in Internet gaming (and, indeed, in intellectual property) that you’re hearing nothing about. Basically, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is opening up the general top-level domain registry well beyond what’s currently available. Instead of .com, .biz, etc., people will be able to create their own extensions and registries. Some of the new registries could include cities (.london, .nyc), Internet auction providers (.ebay), and people with strong trade-marks and domain names in a host of industries (think of .pfizer or .coke). The implications for Internet gaming are huge. Not only could operators register trade-marked names (e.g., .pokerstars), but they could add security to their offerings by owning, domiciling, and managing their own registries. Some think that a more generic name could be registered by one or more parties: .bet or .poker, perhaps. A summary of changes in the proposed final new gTLD applicant guidebook are here – worth a view. [via CircleID]
Posted by at 11:22 am

November 5, 2010

Pokerati Blocked in Israel

TEL AVIV–While waiting to check in to our flight to Zurich from Ben Gurion intl airport in Tel Aviv I figured I’d hop on the free wifi and see what’s going on at Pokerati. As you can see, no luck. Dan needs to work on Pokerati’s international relations.



Posted by at 2:55 pm