April 2, 2013
2-to-1 says it happens anyway, so why shouldn't Vegas be allowed to play?
In Europe, it’s known as novelty betting. Bookmakers from Paddy Power to William Hill post odds and take bets on a variety of activities, from who looks good to win the Nobel Prizes this year to whether Prince Harry’s next girlfriend will be a blonde or a brunette and who might host the Oscars in 2014.
Paddy Power’s favorite to host the Oscar’s next year is Justin Timberlake at 2-to-1 . The odds are 8-to-11 that Harry’s next girlfriend will be a blonde.
But what produces increased publicity if only modest handle for British bookmakers is betting on U.S. politics. And oddsmakers and gaming industry analysts in Las Vegas said that if successful, a Nevada state senator’s efforts to legalize betting on politics will produce more notoriety than revenue.
March 6, 2013
But will new law keep them out of Nevada?
Online gaming giant PokerStars folded its hand last summer after a 15-month legal battle with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Since that time the company has been on a heater.
It was the right call for PokerStars to accept a $731 million forfeiture to the federal government and shed a nine-count indictment. The settlement also absolved PokerStars of any wrongdoing in accepting Internet wagers from American customers.
PokerStars, through its Isle of Man-based parent The Rational Group, said in January it was buying a casino in Atlantic City. On Feb. 21, it announced plans to open a live-play poker room at the City of Dreams in Macau, while its online business grew to more than 50 million registered customers through legal Internet gaming markets.
The only place PokerStars can’t earn a seat at the table is Nevada.
March 1, 2013
Fahrenkopf suggests Barton bill redux in IGNA address
, who will step down in June after 18 years as president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, said Wednesday he believes a comprehensive federal bill legalizing online poker will be brought back to Capitol Hill this year.
Fahrenkopf expects Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, to reintroduce an Internet poker-only bill in the House. Barton has tried before but failed to garner enough support in the House to pass an online poker bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., were working on a bill last year, but it never materialized, much to the disappointment of Fahrenkopf and other gaming industry leaders.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if a new bill was introduced in this session,” Fahrenkopf told gaming regulators and executives during a question-and-answer session at the 2013 iGaming North America Conference at Planet Hollywood Resorts.
He said the association was “still hopeful something will get done,” but with Kyl’s retirement they are working to “find a conservative Republican from a nongaming state” to support a federal bill legalizing online poker.
January 30, 2013
Mass. governor to decide today if Barney Frank will hold John Kerry seat
John Kerry got confirmed as the next US Secretary of State yesterday, which means he steps down from his role as senator from Massachusetts. That also means there’s a good chance that retired Rep. Barney Frank, one of the first Beltway champions of licensed and regulated online poker, could take the role.
A special election during the 4th week of the WSOP will decide Kerry’s full-time replacement, but Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick gets to appoint a stand-in in the interim — which has Frank, who just ended his career as a 16-term Congressman a few weeks ago, ready to come out of retirement.
Though no guarantees, if anything, Frank could prove a strong ally for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid … at least with Frank, he wouldn’t have to get him up to speed on the important issues and/or online poker.
As Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank, together with out-of-the-box GOP hero Rep. Ron Paul, created bi-partisan legislation that was set to undo the UIGEA back in ’08 … but a committee vote on a key amendment that resulted in a surprising tie killed a Republican-assisted effort to slip it into some bank relief. It was online poker’s first big loss in Congress (post-UIGEA), and for many new Pokeraticos, our introduction to lower-level political dirty tricks.
Frank, perhaps curiously, was not a huge fan of “poker only” legislation that he would find himself pushing. The anti-UIGEA stuff he originally put out there with Paul was built on prinicipals of personal freedom, consumer protections, and keeping government off your computer … and if they really believed all that, Frank argued, along with their own estimates online gaming’s ability to generate $40 billion over 10 years … then why limit it to poker, leaving slot players and sports bettors to fend for themselves?
Gov. Patrick says he will announce today who’ll get the temporary job. And he’s already suggesting how Frank might not be the guy. But likewise, Frank’s also got potentially better things to do, like playing a Senator in “Fiorello”, which you may recall is the Broadway musical that pays homage to the longtime, ever-dynamic relationship between poker and politics.
January 11, 2013
Frank Fahrenkopf, a Reno native and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Monday he will step down as president and chief executive of the American Gaming Association.
Fahrenkopf, 73, has led the Washington-based gaming industry lobbying group since it was formed in 1995. His resignation takes effect June 30.
“There have been dramatic changes to the industry over the last 17 years,” Fahrenkopf said. “When we opened our doors in July of 1995, Native American casinos and riverboats really started taking off. Then it was racinos.” Today, 22 states have commercial casinos with annual revenues topping $35.64 billion.
Fahrenkopf’s retirement was planned well in advance. He said planning a transition with the board of directors took two years, and an agreement on his departure date was reached in December 2011.
“It’s the perfect time for me to step down,” Fahrenkopf said. “We have a new president and a new Congress. I wanted to stay on through the election to work on Internet poker and other issues.”
January 9, 2013
Bill seeks to give internet compact authority to governor
Nevada’s budding Internet poker market could eventually accept wagers from players in other states under a proposed legislative change in the Silver State’s interactive gambling regulations.
In a bill draft submitted to the Legislature, the Gaming Control Board wants to amend interactive gaming regulatory language that would allow Nevada’s governor to enter agreements with other states that legalize Internet poker.
Conceivably, the interstate gaming compacts would allow Nevada-based Internet poker websites to accept bets from gamblers from states with similar interactive gaming laws, considerably growing the size of the potential player pool.
Under Nevada’s interactive gaming regulations, websites in the state can accept wagers only from players gambling on computers or mobile devices within the state’s borders.
December 20, 2012
But reforming online gaming laws a frontburner item for 2013
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.
November 22, 2012
"Penalty box" provisions may have to be left to States
WASHINGTON – A bill to legalize online poker that is being written in Congress and that Nevada senators are trying to pass by the end of the year could be challenged in court and found unconstitutional, according to a legal analysis by a former top government attorney.
The bill would set up a framework to license and regulate Internet poker companies, and to nourish a U.S.-based online poker industry. But former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement said he found flaws in segments of the bill that seek to punish overseas providers that ran games in the United States and continued to take bets from U.S. players even after Congress enacted online restrictions in 2006.
The so-called “penalty box” provisions would prohibit those companies from applying for an online poker license for five years, and from selling their trademarks or software to others seeking a license.
Clement said the bill being formed by Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., “raises serious due process concerns.”
October 29, 2012
Other states (remember Kentucky?) balk at current draft
WASHINGTON DC – Gov. Brian Sandoval went to bat Thursday for a federal online poker bill, breaking away from fellow governors ramping up to fight it.
Sandoval split with the National Governors Association, which told congressional leaders the proposed bill would restrict states from pursuing their own forms of legalized gaming, and the revenue gained would help fund schools and social programs.
A draft bill reviewed by the governors was unacceptable, according to Govs. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania and Steve Beshear of Kentucky.
“We oppose the draft Senate legislation in its current form as an unnecessary pre-emption of state authority,” said the governors, who head the association’s economic development committee.
October 24, 2012
Update from the PPA
The big news this week is the release of the draft of the legislation that, if passed into law, will license and regulate online poker in the U.S. This bill, officially titled the “Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012″ but more often referred to as the “Reid/Kyl bill” after backers Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), will potentially see introduction during the lame duck session of Congress (the session immediately following the November elections). I encourage everyone to read the draft here, and Chris Grove’s summary of the bill on QuadJacks Poker News here.
In addition to giving us licensed and regulated poker in the U.S., this bill provides for consumer protections, including mandated segregation of player funds, background checks of providers, and criminal penalties for cheaters. It also provides a real framework for the game. With a solid foundation upon which to build the game, rather than watching online poker degrade each year, we would once again watch our game grow and thrive year after year.
October 8, 2012
Lobbyist says online poker bill needs luck to pass
Passage of federal Internet poker legislation during Congress’ upcoming lame duck session will “take a little bit of gamblers luck,” the casino industry’s chief Washington, D.C., lobbyist said Tuesday in Las Vegas.
American Gaming Association President Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said legalizing Internet poker in the U.S. continues to be an overriding issue for the casino industry, which officially kicked off the Global Gaming Expo at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. The four-day conference and trade show is the industry’s largest annual meeting.
Fahrenkopf, whose organization co-produces G2E with Reed Exhibitions, said Internet poker legalization is the most talked about subject among the gaming community. Most of the major casino companies and gaming equipment manufacturers have taken initial steps to jump into a legalized American Internet poker market.
September 17, 2012
Reid blames Heller for not securing Republican votes
WASHINGTON – A rift between Nevada’s senators widened Monday over a high-stakes bill that would clear the way for Nevada casinos to offer legal online poker to gamblers nationwide.
The split between Sens. Harry Reid and Dean Heller elevates the already steep odds that Congress could pass a lucrative yet controversial gaming bill in the waning days of this year’s session.
Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, has readied an online poker bill and has been seeking a way to get it passed, even as Senate officials acknowledge it is 15 votes or so short of the necessary majority.
Reid had set a deadline of Monday to see whether enough votes could be gathered for the bill to move in the less than three weeks remaining before Congress recesses for the November elections. It is expected to return for a lame-duck session after Election Day.
September 16, 2012
But that still doesn't mean our bill is gonna pass in 2012
Not a story about poker, but an interesting op-ed nonetheless about a bipartisan effort in the US Senate to clarify financing options for college loans, grants, scholarships, etc … In the piece, Times columnist Gail Collins uses the newly not-released Reid online poker bill as a comparative benchmark for a bill that everyone might want in principal yet still stalls at the peak of election season.
Franken is hoping the Senate might take up his proposal next year. I presume you weren’t expecting anything sooner. Congress can’t even get it together to keep the Postal Service from defaulting. And the Senate leaders admitted the other day that they’re not going to be able to pass a bipartisan bill to legalize Internet gambling on poker, which seems to be a really high priority for some important people. If they can’t do poker, they are not going to get to student loan transparency.
So OMG did they just call
the PPA Harry Reid Big Casinos the 2+2 community poker players “important people”? Whoop-whoop! Wait your turn whiney college bitchez! And yet with the online poker bill(s) … well, the implication is that any stalemates in Washington DC are now all but official. (Or at least that’s what our Senate Majority Leader would like us to believe!) So bummer, but not a shocker going into the Presidential debates … hope may still be alive, but no matter what your special interest, it’s gonna have to wait until at least 2013.
Of course for poker being #1 at the gate probably means we can expect an artificial bubble of opportunity in states looking to move forward with their own online gambling legislation a la Nevada and/or Delaware …
ALT HED: Four More Years?
September 1, 2012
Casinos say Nevada jobs at risk without federal bill to validate intrastate regs
What seemed like a tremendous decision for the gaming industry nine months ago – the re-evaluation of the Federal Wire Act of 1961 – may not be so advantageous for Nevada unless Congress takes steps to enact Internet poker legislation.
A window of opportunity that could place Nevada at the center of the potential U.S. Internet gaming market is closing quickly, and some in the gaming industry worry that lack of federal action could cost the state tax revenues and casino customers, while making Nevada subservient to less-regulated states.
“There are different standards for gaming regulation in one state versus another,” Station Casinos Vice Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta said. “We know some companies will shop for the lowest common denominator. We could start seeing bets being taken away from Nevada.”
The U.S. Department of Justice on Dec. 23 reversed a 50-year-old interpretation of the Wire Act, saying the law covers only sports wagering. Legal experts said the decision frees individual states to let online operators offer poker and traditional casino games such as slot machines and blackjack if the play doesn’t cross state lines.
It’s been estimated that U.S. gamblers spent as much as $26 billion annually gambling online before federal prosecutors indicted the operators of three of the largest Internet poker websites in April 2011. Closing those sites, which had violated federal law by accepting wagers from the U.S., effectively walled Americans off from the online gaming universe.
Now, states dealing with tight budgets are looking at that huge, untapped Internet market and are increasingly open to allowing – and taxing – it. Lawmakers in several states are in various stages of adopting regulations to allow full-scale online gaming.
Several Nevada gaming companies are on the verge of offering in-state online poker, but they foresee trouble ahead if their market is limited only to players in the sparsely populated Silver State.
And not only are they concerned about missing out on poker profits, they fear gamblers who can play online at home won’t bother traveling to Las Vegas’s tourist-dependent resorts.
August 30, 2012
Sen. McCarran was racist SOB, says non-racist SOB successor without civic buildings bearing his name
Nevada’s most famous senator, Democrat Pat McCarran, liked to string up communists and oppress immigrant minorities.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Friday cast his lot with those who would like to remove the name of former U.S. Sen. Pat McCarran from Las Vegas’ main airport.
Reid acknowledged that he has no say in the decision – that rests with the Clark County Commission because the county owns and operates the airport. Nevertheless, Reid made his feelings clear in response to a question from the Las Vegas Review-Journal during a ceremony at McCarran International’s new Terminal 3.
“Pat McCarran was one of the most anti-Semitic … one of the most anti-black, one of the most prejudiced people ever to serve in the Senate,” Reid said. “It’s not a decision I am going to make, but you asked me to give you my opinion. I don’t think his name should be on anything.”
McCarran, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1932 until his death in 1954, authored the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, which set the airline regulatory framework for four decades, and pushed for the development of civil aviation. In recognition, the county named the airport McCarran Field in 1948.