Posts Tagged ‘poker-on-trial’

Nevada GCB Investigation of Cantor Gaming Stuck in Mud?

Inside Gaming: Case challenges state regulators working across jurisdictions

by , Aug 22, 2013 | 9:16 am

Michael Colbert, caught up in a major New York sportsbook bust, has brought the heat on Cantor Gaming.

The case against Michael Colbert, for his alleged role in internet sports betting malfeasance, has brought the Nevada heat on his former employer.

A state investigation of sports book operator Cantor Gaming, launched after a company official was indicted for his alleged involvement in an illegal bookmaking and money laundering operation, has gone radio silent.

That doesn’t mean the matter has been swept away — not by any stretch.

Sources confirmed last week the Gaming Control Board’s inquiry into Cantor is moving forward, albeit at a slow pace.

Agents are trying to determine to what extent Mike Colbert, Cantor’s former sports book director, had with the betting operation, which was associated with offshore Internet wagering sites.

Investigators also are trying to determine if any of the illegal bookmaking allegations can be linked to Cantor. The state-licensed sports book operator was not a target of prosecutors, nor was the company even mentioned in the New York-based indictment.

After the inquiry opened, Cantor instituted damage control measures. The company distanced itself from Colbert, immediately severing ties with the oddsmaker.

Cantor went about its business. The company operates eight Las Vegas race and sports books — The Venetian, Palazzo, M Resort, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Tropicana, Silverton, Hard Rock and Palms — poker rooms, and manages a line of mobile gambling products.

However, Colbert has suddenly resurfaced.

Cantor officials can’t be too happy about this turn of events.

Colbert, 33, was the most prominent name among the 25 individuals indicted in October by New York authorities on allegations of ties to the illegal betting ring. Law enforcement alleged the operation yielded payouts of $50 million over an 18-month period.

More…


Duke of Fremont Set to Face Assailants

Op-Ed: Punishment should fit the crime of trying to kill me!

by , Jul 31, 2013 | 3:18 pm

Duke of FremontOPINION

Duke of Fremont


OPINION

I will be personally appearing before Judge J. Bixler at the sentencing hearing of Edmond Paul Price at 8:30am in room 10C at the Clark County District Court Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101 this Thursday morning, August 1st 2013. As the victim in this crime I will read my impact statement, which I am composing today. Afterwards Judge Bixler will sentence Edmond Price for the six felonies he was convicted of committing against me:

1) Conspiracy to commit kidnapping
2) Conspiracy to commit robbery
3) Robbery with a deadly weapon
4) Burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon
5) False imprisonment with a deadly weapon
6) Battery with a deadly weapon

Unbelievably, the jury acquitted Edmond Price on the charge of Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Murder. The following is my opinion in regard to the jury’s recent Attempted Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Murder acquittal of Ed Price:

On June 26th, 2010 I was cowardly attacked from the rear with a tire iron by Edmond Price. I was initially hit at least twice on the head with full force with this lethal item. Have you ever been hit by a tire iron with full force? It could easily crack your skull open and spill your brains out. As dazed as I was I still had the presence of mind to grapple with Price to keep him from hitting me with this tire iron again. While defending myself against Price’s attack Victoria Edelman, his fellow conspirator, starts bludgeoning my cracked skull with anything she can get her hands on. She breaks a lamp over my head into thousands of chards of glass. She breaks a toilet tank lid over my head. She impales the crown of my head with an iron. She takes my two wheel dolly and converts it into a hoe that she rakes across my bleeding skull. These are only the items I recall being pummeled with. There were probably many more. During this assault I sustain a severe concussion, fractured cheek bones, ruptured ear drums, several severe lacerations on my head and hands and multiple broken bones in my hands and fingers. My right thumb is almost detached, my left middle finger is almost severed. My ring finger nail is almost ripped off. My ribs are all damaged, perhaps fractured, making it excruciating to breath. Somewhere in this fray I am even scalped! In this century I’m probably one of the only people in the entire World who has had the misfortune of being scalped let alone surviving this brutal torture!

More…


Kentucky Gov Says Whoa, Not So Fast Closing Books on Black Friday

Beshear: We're not done shaking down Full Tilt and PokerStars

by , Jun 24, 2013 | 3:21 pm

Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) says, "I'm better than Tom Schneider at HORSE."

Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) is almost single-handedly making sure horse racing interests gets their cut of online poker spoils.

I’m paraphrasing, of course, but I dunno man … it’s starting to seem inevitable that Antonin Scalia may eventually have to reveal his screen name and/or recuse himself to avoid violating any PokerStars T&C’s. But until then, the state of Kentucky is doing its part to make sure the Black Friday cases don’t go away.

The governor’s office put out a kinda strange press release last week, just to let people know, hey, don’t be confused by recent reports of certain online gambling cases achieving final settlement. The great Commonwealth of KY, you may recall, made the bold assertion in ’08 that it had a right to take over foreign web domains that failed to block access by Kentuckians. And now they would like you to know with extra certainty that Kentucky only let go of their claims against Absolute and UB (after a $6 million score) but have not otherwise released claims against poker sites that still have any money left, which they plan go after in full force.

Click here to read the whole press release.

Below is a quick Cliff’s noting some peculiars:

More…


Vegas Bookie to Plea Not Guilty of Federal Money Crimes

Poker players accused of operating in sports gambling's shadow economy

by , Nov 16, 2012 | 1:32 pm

Paul Sexton (no relation to Mike) is a former Full Tilt player accused of running money for an illegal online sports gambling ring. [GPI profile]

A lawyer for a former Cantor Gaming executive charged with four felonies in connection with an illegal bookmaking ring said Thursday he will plead not guilty later this month at his initial court hearing in New York.

Michael Cristalli, a Las Vegas-based lawyer, declined to comment on the charges against his client, Mike Colbert. Colbert was arrested with seven other people in Southern Nevada on Oct. 24 on warrants stemming from an 18-month investigation into illegal bookmaking and money laundering.

He is scheduled to make a court appearance in New York on Nov. 29.

Colbert on Thursday did not speak during a procedural hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court. He is charged with enterprise corruption, conspiracy to operate an illegal gaming enterprise and three counts of money laundering.

Cristalli said Colbert’s next court appearance in Las Vegas is scheduled for Dec. 3. He remains free on $50,000 bail.

Colbert appeared at the hearing with Jerry Branca, Steven Diano [GPI Profile], Joseph Paulk, Paul Sexton and Ian Mandell. Brandt England and Kelly Barsel were in New York for their initial hearings and did not appear in court Thursday.

More…


Shifting Opinions: United States v. DiCristina

Fine lines persist between skill games and gambling crimes

by , Sep 18, 2012 | 1:50 pm

I intended to blog about the DiCristina decision since it was released on August 21st, but I haven’t made the time until now. With the usual great commentary about the case coming from all over the gaming spectrum, many of the more interesting points about the facts of the case itself and about what it means for poker have already been made. This post is really intended to be something of a summary of the commentary and reactions to date. If nothing else, hopefully Pokerati can act as a repository of documents and reflections on the case.

The Decision
Let’s start with the facts and the decision itself, a copy of which is here (all 120 pages of it). This summer, a jury convicted Lawrence DiCristina of operating (and of conspiracy to operate) an illegal gambling business contrary to the federal Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA). Those were the only federal charges against him. Mr. DiCristina ran a two-table, twice-weekly poker club in the back room of a Staten Island warehouse. The house at this business charged a 5 percent rake; the dealers were paid 25 percent of the rake collected. The defendant brought a motion for acquittal, arguing that the operation of the poker games didn’t violate the IGBA. The US District Judge in the case, Jack Weinstein, wrote his memorandum, order, and judgment in response to this motion. After an extensive discussion of the statute and its relationship to poker, Judge Weinstein vacated Mr. DiCristina’s conviction and dismissed the indictment.


More…


Federal Court Rules Poker a Game of Skill, Not Illegal Gambling

Whoop-whoop! Update from the PPA

by , Aug 22, 2012 | 1:30 pm

I have great news. Yesterday, a federal court — the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York — ruled that poker is a game of skill and is not illegal gambling under the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act (IGBA)!

PPA played a central role in the case of U.S. v DiCristina. In coordination with the defendant’s lawyer, PPA provided the arguments and briefs and extensive expert testimony. Lawyers representing PPA wrote the principal briefs and presented the principal oral arguments. Judge Jack Weinstein’s opinion relied heavily upon the information the PPA provided the court.

This was the first federal court decision on whether poker is a game of skill rather than gambling. In his ruling, Judge Weinstein said, “Neither the text of the IGBA nor its legislative history demonstrate that Congress designed the statute to cover all state gambling offenses. Nor does the definition of ‘gambling’ include games, such as poker, which are predominated by skill.”

I hope you will take a moment to read this historic decision and PPA’s amicus brief supporting the argument that poker is a game of skill (click here for both). I also urge you to check out the Associated Press coverage (here), as it summarizes everything nicely and provides great information on PPA’s involvement in this case on behalf of the poker community.

This decision reinforces to all of us that now is the time for Congress to enact a fair and reasonable regulatory model that protects players and provides for a stable market for online poker in the U.S.
More…


PokerStars, Justice Department Reach Settlement

$731 million enough to close proceedings for dominant online poker sites

by , Aug 1, 2012 | 9:34 am

Internet gaming giant PokerStars will forfeit $731 million to the U.S. government over the next three years to settle a criminal complaint with the Department of Justice, although the company admits no wrongdoing as alleged in the April 2011 “Black Friday” indictments.

Some of the settlement will be used to refund money owed to U.S. and foreign customers of the now defunct Full Tilt Poker, which was also named in the original indictments.

PokerStars, which refunded money it owed to American gamblers more than a year ago, will acquire the assets of Full Tilt and relaunch the gaming website in legal markets as a separate brand.

The settlement, announced separately Tuesday by Isle of Man-based PokerStars and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, puts to rest many issues surrounding “Black Friday,” in which federal prosecutors cracked down on Internet poker in the United States, stopping three of the largest companies from taking wagers from gamblers in the United States.

PokerStars continues to operate legally in Europe and other markets where online gaming is regulated.

Under terms of the settlement, PokerStars can apply to offer Internet poker to U.S. customers if state or federal governments legalize the activity.

“We are delighted we have been able to put this matter behind us, and also secured our ability to operate in the United States of America whenever the regulations allow,” PokerStars Chairman Mark Scheinberg said in a statement. “The way we have operated our business since the U.S. Department of Justice brought its claim has underlined our credentials as a responsible online poker operator.”

More…


Full Tilt Victims to Get Back Money

Hot off the DOJ presses: PokerStars is the hero!?

by , Jul 31, 2012 | 8:42 am

It’s all moving … Nelson Burtnick landing at Newark airport to surrender, and the DOJ puts out their word just before lunchtime across the river in New York City. Full Tilt players will have the chance to be reunited with their beloved bankrolls … all thanks to the fine and awesome work of our Department of Justice in the United States of America. Phew, now everything can return to normal, lol.

Details will be everywhere, for sure … so pick your slant and poison — whether it’s 2+2, Diamond Flush, Gambling 911, Twitter or whatever. The PokerStars spin machine got ahead of the game first with their version of near-billion-dollar events.

Read below for what the most powerful Preet Bharara DOJ has to say about it all:

More…


Signed, Sealed, and Undelivered

Players on edge with latest claims that Stars deal to pay back Tilt players before 2013 is #DOJApproved

by , Jul 30, 2012 | 6:14 pm

Just when the poker masses had all but given up on the latest rumor about PokerStars settling with the DOJ … In just a few sentences published early on Friday in Poker Player Newspaper, Wendeen Eolis threw fuel on smoldering embers of hope for those still dreaming of someday seeing monies attached to Full Tilt Poker.

And though some are beginning to doubt yet again after more than one full business day, Wendeen’s assertion that Stars had indeed settled with the DOJ, and that Full Tilt players will be paid back in full (and rather soon!) was enough to make this rather vocal skeptic do a double-take and re-think. I know Wendeen chooses her words carefully, and she wouldn’t move in like this without the goods unless she has gone completely off her rocker — a possibility she addresses in a follow-up PPN update.

So while the poker world awaits some semblance of official word … I‘m gathering up $60 to pay off a few possibly lost bets, as I’ve had probably a 170-degree POV flip — and now see a DOJ vs. Online Poker endgame that might-could actually include PokerStars resolving its civil matters at the same time Full Tilt and UB players get made whole!

Probably a good time to put out the disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer but … Even though I still see the notion of criminal indictee #1 buying his freedom by offering to take the assets of criminal indictee #3 off the government’s hands for a fire-sale price as rather ridiculous, here’s some recent DOJ-SDNY hand history that I believe supports what Wendeen might be suggesting:

More…


Tribal Casinos in the Balance

Supreme Court decision could stifle expansion of Indian gaming

by , Jun 23, 2012 | 12:52 pm

A lawsuit seeking closure of the tiny Gun Lake casino in Michigan could have a major effect on the nation’s Indian casino market, an industry that posted $26.73 billion in revenue in 2010, according to the Indian Gaming Industry Report.

Analysts say this week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to remand the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals could make it more difficult to fund tribal casino projects or even delay some projects until the matter is settled. The $160 million resort targeted in the lawsuit is in Wayland Township, 20 miles south of Grand Rapids. It was developed and is managed by Las Vegas-based Station Casinos LLC.

“The decision has the potential to change how the federal government takes land into trust for tribes,” said Steven Light, co-director of the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota. “It’s potentially a huge problem for expansion of gaming for recently recognized tribes.”

More…


Sentencing Delay for Brent Beckley

Court Intends to Consider an Upward Departure

by , May 19, 2012 | 6:46 pm

An order has hit the docket in the Black Friday prosecutions in New York. In it, Judge Lewis Kaplan indicates that the court will consider an upward adjustment in Mr. Beckley’s sentence on the ground of “an aggravating circumstance.” What does this mean?

In Mr. Beckley’s plea agreement, the government and he agreed that his U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range was 12-18 months’ imprisonment for both of the counts to which he pleaded guilty, meaning that it would not be unreasonable to expect that his custodial sentence would fall somewhere in the range of 12-18 months. However, these are only guidelines; the court has the power to take into account circumstances that it believes have not been adequately covered by the sentencing guidelines. In this case, the applicable guideline places a premium on “the reasonably foreseeable pecuniary harm” to the bank under the plea to the bank fraud conspiracy count. From a reading of the order’s text, the government is “not in a position to establish pecuniary harm.” However, Judge Kaplan states that the defendant “conspired to circumvent, and circumvented, governing laws of the United States in order to conduct or facilitate an unlawful business or businesses involving billions of dollars from which those businesses gained many millions of dollars.” The judge is concerned that the guideline’s heavy emphasis on loss might not result in an “appropriate” sentencing range and, therefore, appears to believe that an upward departure may be warranted in Mr. Beckley’s case.

More…


What’s in a Name

Does Federated Gaming's domain obsession reveal "wicked" intent?

by , Apr 9, 2012 | 5:54 pm

URL-envy? FS+G apparently wanted to own all things epic, wicked and otherwise on the web.

Lawsuits and bankruptcies are a corporate voyeur’s dream. Legal disclosures offer an upskirt peak at a company’s financial panties. In the case of Federated Sports & Gaming, parent of the troubled Epic Poker League, bankruptcy filings reveal a full-fledged internet domain-name fetish. Literally hundreds of domain names were listed among Federated’s personal property … and in that list, perhaps, lies a bigger story about Epic’s intent.

Companies often buy variants of their own domain names to foil malicious cyber squatters and aid surfers prone to typos and spelling errors. This explains why Federated bought epicpoker.us, epicpoker.xxx, eepicpoker.com and eapicpoker.com along with its primary domain name, epicpoker.com. 

Perhaps proving Federated was more psychic than solvent, epicpokerfail.com and epicpokerfailure.com were among the company’s portfolio of web properties. Of course my favorite was fuckepicpoker.com.

And why epicpokerstars.com but no epicfulltiltpoker.com?

It’s hard to know whether names like epicbridge.com, epiccasino.com, epiccheckers.com and epicsportsbook.com represent Federated’s expansion plans, reveal a business model dependent on online gambling legalization, or was just the results of a bad case of domain-name OCD. 

The list goes on and on — everything from palmspoker.eu, .net, and .co.uk to epicscotch/rum/tequila.com — and you can only wonder what market verticals Epic was thinking about when they locked down ticklemedanny.com.

But particularly curious are dozens of web addresses starting with “wicked” — wickedpoker.com, wickedchess.com, wickedbasketball.com, etc. Since Federated isn’t based in Boston, this presumably has something to do with the talented boys over at Wicked Chops Poker. No wonder their coverage of the #EpicFail has been so … well … I hear they had to take last week off just to search for the near-NSFW pics to pair with their story of who ultimately got who’s what in the end.

Read the relevant bankruptcy court document here.

UPDATE: Wicked Chops apparently has more to say on this matter — and they’re naming names! Not just domain names, but real human ones too.


Secrets of PokerStars Revealed?

DOJ financial pressure, culture of corporate camouflage, and the ultimate skill-game paradox

by , Feb 15, 2012 | 3:15 pm

Check out Wendeen Eolis’ story over at Poker Player Newspaper, the Manhattan-based poker journo who apparently isn’t gonna let the young whippersnappers at Subject:Poker and QuadJacks bastardize the reality of what’s going on in her courtside stomping grounds as this DOJ vs. old-school online poker story unfolds.

Just last week Wendeen laid out why the supposed “Tapie Deal” isn’t taking shape the way many purport (didn’t someone say FTP-Europe would be up and running by now?) … and she follows that up with a little shameless expose on PokerStars and the cloak of secrecy covering many of their operations — modus operandi she contends became the norm for a company that couldn’t at once be biggest in the world while still trying to fly beneath various legal radars.

From PPN:

Reports from current and former employees, consultants, business partners, Team Pro players, and media brought many verified vignettes that highlight the secretiveness of the company. The various accounts share a common theme; they all indicate a core value of camouflage that permeates so many of the company’s significant initiatives.

Yeesh, happy Valentine’s Day to someone!

Also extra-fascinating is a part of her story suggesting that PokerStars’ efforts to get poker declared a game of skill could be what does them in, financially, because of European tax laws.


In Brief: Legal Biznass

Poker Law, Politics, Business, and Crime

by , Dec 8, 2011 | 6:26 pm

We spend so much time reading about poker legal developments here at Pokerati that we sometimes forget to share the relevant news before the cycle turns to something else … and then I complain that our readers here aren’t as smart anymore as they used to be? It doesn’t take a JD to see the flaw in my logic there. Thus, here’s a much-needed batch of recent highlights and hedlines to keep the incessant but important buzz in context … a semi-special link-dump, btw, brought to you by our new-good friends at LegalPokerSites.com:

First UIGEA Conviction in the Books The DOJ logged their first win on UIGEA charges — making the supposedly weak law thus far undefeated — against online sportsbook operator Todd Lyons. His arrest back in May 2010 shoulda been a big warning sign to American online poker operators (and players?) — and Full Tilt specifically — that the DOJ was coming to get them! [CalvinAyre.com]

First Black Friday Trial Date Set John Campos and Chad Elie, the Utah banker and PokerStars payment processor indicted for their role in online poker criminal activity, have a trial date in March … creating a tangible timeline for Black Friday cases and added pressure on the big fish the DOJ really wants — Isai Sheinberg, Ray Bitar, and Scott Tom. [Legal Poker Sites]

MGM Sues Poker Domain Squatters Just as Caesars sued (and won) to obtain the domain WSOP.com, MGM has filed suit to repossess the domains mgmpoker.com, bellagiopoker.com, luxorpoker.com, mandalaybaypoker.com, and ariapoker.com. Apparently the casino giant thinks they’ll have need for them soon. [VegasInc]

Barton Says Online Poker Bill Still Alive This Congress Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) gave a luncheon keynote at the DGLP, where he spelled out how his online poker bill is moving forward as a piece of stand-alone legislation and/or still could be absorbed into some omnibus bills. Pretty straight-forward, honest-sounding stuff as Barton even talks about his own live real-money play and admits to multi-accounting for play money on PokerStars. [Pokerati Soundcloud]

Adelson Balks at Readiness for Online Poker The poker masses got spun into a tizzy after Vegas politico Jon Ralston “reported” that Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson has been buzzing around DC that he is morally opposed to online gambling … and that age-verification technology isn’t ready yet. Ralston concludes that this could kill online poker’s chances in Congress as if Adelson alone is more powerful than the combined forces of Caesars, MGM, Steve Wynn, Station Casinos, Boyd Gaming, Michael Gaughan, et al. Quick to cry, some poker players have begun calling for a boycott of Venetian Poker. [Las Vegas Sun]

Nevada Regulations Almost Ready While so many chatter about complex details of future online poker, the Nevada Gaming Commission and State Gaming Control Board seem to be the only ones systematically moving forward with thorough, enforceable rules and regulations for online gaming. In one of the biggest overhauls to state gaming regs in history, they just released a whole bunch of revisions for licensure and suitable ownership that Big and Small casinos alike are paying close attention to. [gaming.NV.gov]

Fry Howie? Funny/sad, shortly after Black Friday I thought we might be seeing T-shirts that said “Free Howard!” not “Fry Howard!” But loyalty can be a fickle bitch when you eff up with someone else’s money. Hence this flash creation for players wishing to express their personal outrage against Full Tilt and Howard Lederer violently. [PokerListings]

UB Player Database Leaked Lots of offline debate over how and why nearly 3 million poker-player IDs leaked out. Work of a disgruntled employee or scuttling the ship before UB ultimately hits sea-floor? And will there be more such pressings of self-destruct? [Haley’s Poker Blog]

Rest o’World: Cyprus on Crackdown, South Africa’s Open-Market Mind, German Pre-unification Some of the other key political moves from the rest of the world, as the future of legal online poker (and gambling) actively takes shape … the mediterranean island that isn’t Malta doesn’t have moral opposition, they just want their cut (kinda like Kentucky) … while South Africa continues its progressive-minded movement from staunch opposition to tolerance to active support of online gambling … all while the German province of Schleswig-Holstein’s acceptance of new online poker rules is so big it actually moved some major market needles. [Legal Poker Sites]


DOJ Response to Black Friday Response: LOL

Alleges PokerStars mafia connek; declares sports betting a game of skill, too

by , Nov 10, 2011 | 10:27 pm

The DOJ has laid out more of its case against Isai Scheinberg, Ray Bitar, et al — in a 58-page response to the response from two Black Friday indictees, payment processor Chad Elie and the Utah banker John Campos.



The People vs. Online Poker



Among other denials, Campos and Elie sought to get much of the case thrown out on the grounds that the UIGEA is a bad law and/or poker isn’t gambling. With the action back on the DOJ, Preet Bharara assistant Arlo Devlin Brown delivers some rather compelling legal composition (the best writing is in the footnotes, imho) that reads like a big STFU from SDNY … with a message of hey, better watch it or we could indict the whole damn poker industry!

I’m paraphrasing, obv … but here’s the full Government’s Response to Defendants’ Pre-Trial Motions. They purport to have a mountain of evidence ready for trial … and show a century’s worth of precedent to snuff out any hopes that poker people could actually win this case.

With the standard disclaimer of “I’m not a lawyer but …” some fascinating elements include:

More…