#1. Pennsylvania representative Tina Davis (finally) introduced a bill to regulate online gambling late last week. Expect more specifics to emerge this week; early word is that the license fee is $5m and the tax rate is 28%.
#2. Illinois members of the PPA just received a survey concerning PokerStars, leading one industry observer to speculate that Stars is considering buying their way into Illinois’ online gambling market. PokerStars wouldn’t need to take over a full casino to get in; electronic gaming license holders and advance deposit wagering license holders are also eligible to apply under proposed online gambling regulation in Illinois.
#3. Caesars is reportedly considering a sale of NJ property Showboat - and the eligibility to apply for a New Jersey online gambling license that goes with it. It will be interesting to follow the story (and reaction from the markets) in the coming days. Will Caesars get a premium for the online component? And, if so, will that spark the sale of more New Jersey land-based properties?
Sam Trickett AU$2,000,000 – Aussie Million $250k Challenge
Andy Hwang $730,053 – Borgata Winter Poker Open Main Event
Sam Trickett is the next champion in Melbourne when he won the Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge. One of the biggest buy-in tournaments around drew a tough two table sit-n-go with 18 players and a long $500k bubble. Trickett defeated Tobias Reinkemeier heads up for the title and $2,000,000 in Australian cash. This adds to his already impressive career totals but his first tournament cash since the end of end of August. The Aussie Millions Main Event final table will play down to a winner on Saturday with Dan Shak coming in as chipleader.
Andy Hwang is the latest WPT championship after winning the Borgata Winter Poker Open, which well surpassed the $2,000,000 guarantee with 1,042 entrants. Hwang began final table play with a decent chip lead but pulled away as play extended through the afternoon. Fan favorite Matt Salsberg was unable to capture his second WPT title of the season when he was eliminated in 6th place. Next stops for the World Poker Tour are the Seminole Hard Rock in Florida, WPT Vienna, and the massive LA Poker Classic.
Tweet of the Day – A lot of well deserved barbs as Team Phil Ivey keeps naming new pro for Ivey Poker with little in the way of information about what Ivey Poker really will be, Calvin Ayre with my new favorite. For the record, I like Christina Lindley (especially since she thought I was Kevmath for 2 years) and she’s the next addition to the team.
Online Gaming Bill To Be Introduced In Pennsylvania – Yet another state trying their hand at an online gaming bill. As a resident of the Keystone State, I’m surprised if those chuckleheads in the state government can find their way to the capital without getting lost a dozen times. No chance.
CardPlayer Poker Tour? Who knew? Seems it slipped my mind CardPlayer joined the ranks of those creating a series of events around the smaller casinos for the smaller buy-in crowd and a more acceptable schedule for Joe “Poker Player” Smith who has a real job. I barely remembered BLUFF Magazine bought the Mid-States Poker Tour. I guess everyone took a look at the Heartland Poker Tour model and will try to mirror their success.
Without letting the Pollack fox in the henhouse of course.
The World Poker Tour is also kicking off their 11 season in lovely Cyprus this weekend in a non-televised event but still drawing interest thanks to the Mediterranean atmosphere. The WPT returns to Cyprus for the first time since 2009 when the buy-in was $10,300 and drew 181 players. This time it’s only $4,400 but involves re-entries for those who bust (or low on chips) on Day 1A.
Tweet of the Day – Matt Savage always knows how to rub it in, especially to those stuck back in the States with soaring temparatures and a closeup view of their neighbors (who should really keep their shirts on).
PPA Players Repayment Resource Center – The Poker Players Alliance set up a page with all the latest information for US player repayment following the PokerStars/Full Tilt settlement, which right now is a bunch of links with a big dash of hope.
Do we owe PokerStars our gratitude? – One of the interesting reactions to PokerStars buying Full Tilt is the almost universal genuflection at the feet of Stars. Because they did this out of the goodness of their heart and not because it was the best business decision.
Mizrachi: ‘I won $100K bet, but guy went bankrupt’ – Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi blasted away on Twitter after the WSOP about getting stiffed on a 5-to-1 WSOP bracelet prop bet. Mizrachi was owed $100,000 but the losing player filed for bankruptcy. While some guessed the bad debt was belonged to a former member of Team Full Tilt, turns out it was Giorgio Medici. The Sun Sentinel even managed a quote from Seth Palansky on the matter.
The Micros! – The gang returns with their take on the PokerStars/Full Tilt buyout.
Yesterday marked the anniversary of online poker’s Black Friday. Anyone who ever clicked a raise button remembers the fateful day, and many are reminiscing about how their world changed on April 15, 2011.
Here’s a best-of list of links, tweets and general brooding from over the weekend:
The Poker Players Alliance continues to evolve, with Rich Muny, aka @TheEngineer2008, appointed Vice President of Player Relations. Now it is officially The Engineer’s job to communicate for the PPA on various blogs and social media forums, from Twitter to 2+2 — pretty much as he has been doing since long before April 15, only now he’ll be the guy responsible for filtering through internet noise to make sure the PPA is hearing poker players’ legitimate concerns as various bills and political stuff moves forward.
WASHINGTON – The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act was introduced in the House today by Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) with Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) as a leading sponsor. Congressmen Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Peter King (R-NY) are also leading co-sponsors. The bill is identical to H.R. 2267 that was passed out of the House Financial Services Committee on July 28, 2010 with bi-partisan support. The bill would establish a federal regulatory and enforcement framework under which Internet gambling operators could obtain licenses authorizing them to accept bets and wagers from individuals in the United States. The legislation comes in response to the enactment of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which restricted the use of the payments system for Americans who gamble online.
No charges have been filed, despite yellow tape identifying this site of a deadly poker game as a crime scene.
This time it was player-on-player violence … leaving one man dead and another injured after a gunfight broke out early morning at a warehouse poker game in Anderson County, SC.
Jermaine LeCorey Scott, 34, supposedly was losing in the wee hours of a game last week, and at some point pulled a gun on five other players. Though not clear whether or not the triggering incident had anything to do with a bad beat or involved accusations of cheating, police contend Scott was attempting to rob his opponents … even though he was not wearing a mask like most (99 percent?) armed poker robbers.
Players supposedly called flagged down police at a nearby intersection around 7 am on Tuesday to report the shooting, and deputies arrived to find two men shot, lying on the ground in the empty warehouse, which may or may not have been cleared of poker supplies before their arrival. Scott died at the hospital from multiple gunshot wounds a few hours later. The other player, unnamed, had bullet wounds to his hand and a concealed weapon permit. Police investigators have ruled the deadly shooting a matter of self-defense — justifiable homicide — and say they have no plans to press any charges.
It really is an offensive law that Washington passed in 2006 — the Internet Gambling Ban, making it a felony to play a computer game online — regardless of where you stand on poker. But we’ll have to see how the non-poker masses take to one man’s challenge the constitutionality of such a government intrusive.
I’m pretty sure the WA Court doesn’t make its decisions on the spot, so it will likely be some time before we learn if the below vid that D’Amato and the PPA just put out is an invitation to a victory party or a battle cry. Either way, it’s still fun to hear D’Amato get all impassioned:
I don’t know Washington state’s gun laws, so for now it’s probably best to leave your weapons at home. But you can still suit up belligerently in appropriate rally attire:
I’ve been a fan of John Stossel, and his willingness to call bullshit on conventional wisdom, since the days I started noticing the difference between good journalism and bad. He has since moved from ABC News to Fox, where his libertarian shtick is a tea-party-friendly line of fiscal conservatism that challenges the moral contingent who want to impose on personal freedoms. Thus, the newest cause he’s taken up (at least for a week) is gambling … specifically online gambling.
Stossel outs himself as a recreational poker player in an episode of his namesake show on Fox Business that aired Thursday: Bans on Betting.
The show re-aired throughout the weekend, and will be on one more time tonight, Sunday, at 10 PM ET.
His efforts to bring the online gambling issue to the fore last week extended far beyond his own show. Here he is on The O’Reilly Factor:
Witht the June 1 enforcement deadline fast approaching, PPA Executive Director John Pappas lays out a new strategy for dodging the UIGEA:
They’re sending a petition around Congress requesting an exemption from the UIGEA for online poker and “peer-to-peer” games. Procedurally, this is similar to what got us that first six-month delay. And while it seems like a bit of a hail mary — starting off with just 22 signatures – if the PPA pulls this off it could be huge. Just guessing a bit here, but an exemption for poker, an ex post facto carveout essentially, seems like it would be a serious reversal of power akin to a middle pocket pair turning a set against an Ace-King that connected on the flop.
Haven’t spoken to anyone about this yet, but I think the big telltale sign here will be whether or not Harry Reid gets on board. He’s the guy other Dems (like my rep, Dina Titus, who recently signed on as a co-sponsor to the stalled Barney Frank bill) often look to for direction. Supposedly the rumors we’ve been spreading about his support for online gambling (and a possible poker-only bill) have been “greatly exaggerated”. And if you recall, his longtime big supporters at the American Gaming Association want more online gambling for sure, but only after this June 1 D-day passes.
I didn’t intend to go here, but while looking up where J. Todd got his information about the $5.2 million spent on online gambling lobbying in Q1 2010, I dug a little deeper into the Bola Verde report (“Business Intelligence for Intelligent Business”) on the IGaming Special Interest in Washington.
(Just a little deeper … the 96-page report itself, which was written in February and updated a week ago, costs $1,200.)
You’ll see that the online gambling lobbying spend is actually down from Q4 2009, but mostly because of cuts from the US Chamber of Commerce. (Had no idea they were even on our side … nor that they were allowed to lobby, lol! Go jobs?)
Also, a breakdown of who’s dropping the dough:
Harrahâ€™s topped the list of spenders at $1.22 million followed by Poker Players Alliance ($785,000), UC Group ($717,239), USCC ($664,442) and the Interactive Gaming Council ($412,580).
The PPA isn’t giving up on moving Barney Frank and Jim Goodlatte’s online gambling bills through Congress before (or after) the June 1 UIGEA deadline. In response to their efforts — and perhaps testament to their progress — one of the original UIGEAers Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has joined forces with his colleague Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) in a letter encouraging all congresspeople to resist any sensible appeal to legalize internet gambling.
They seem to be playing fierce and maybe even a touch dirty. The bipartisan nature of the letter is sure to catch some undecided Congressional eyes — and in it they drop a story about a college student committing suicide after going uber-deep into online gambling debt.
Katkin bought in for a single $300 tax-deductible good-cause bullet, and with blinds rising quickly, maintained a 10-20 BB stack throughout to get to the final table. There, he knocked out Howard Lederer and outlasted Allen Cunningham to win $5,000, a week’s stay in a fancy-room suite at the Rio during the WSOP main event, and $1k in food comps at any of the restos there.
No one should get too excited about the supposed Full Committee Hearing for the Barney Frank (D-MA) bills … engines may be revving for HR 2266 + 2267, but these bills aren’t really “moving”. At best they are spinning their wheels and at worst they are flat-out stuck in political mud.
The PPA informs us that the hearing has been “postponed [until] later next week possibly”. Its being scheduled for a Friday shoulda been the first clue that the House Financial Services Committee wasn’t really serious about having a debate on these bills. At this point in an election season, the members often try to get out of Washington DC as early as possible on a Friday so they can return to their home districts.
The whole purpose of this not-so-scheduled hearing is not for debate and mark-up … but rather to appease a Spencer Bachus (R-AL) beef, who previously complained the last time they talked about these bills that Frank did not do his due diligence and invite the Deptartment of Justice and the Treasury (and maybe the Federal Reserve?) to testify. Supposedly someone from California is also looking to speak, saying these regulatory matters should be left to the states, not the Feds.