Posts Tagged ‘UIGEA’

March 11, 2013

The Euros are Coming!

Nevada gives thumbs up to 888 to provide WSOP, TI, and WMS with online poker

888 logoThe Gaming Control Board spent almost two hours Wednesday delving into the background of European online gaming operator 888 Holdings, which is seeking an interactive Nevada gaming license.

After recommending that Gibraltar-based 888 be approved the state’s 20th interactive license, the three control board members spent all of five minutes discussing Treasure Island’s request to hold the state’s 21st interactive license.

“I don’t have any questions, unless you want me to make some up,” Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett told Treasure Island attorney Frank Schreck.

It took board member Shawn Reid longer to read the license conditions into the public record than it did to approve Treasure Island.

Why?

More…


January 30, 2013

Poker Champion Headed to US Senate?

Mass. governor to decide today if Barney Frank will hold John Kerry seat

barney-frank-1John 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.

Posted by at 6:03 am

October 23, 2012

Online Pokerer Plays Big in Election Politics

@FiveThirtyEight on the art and science of reading presidential tea leaves

PresidentTracker: One of the world’s 100 Most Influential People of 2009 at the WSOP in 2011.
(Photo: PokerListings)

Plenty of talk about polls as we head into the homestretch of our 2012 US Presidential election. Who’s up, who’s down, who asked what and margin-of-error how? Just remember: no matter where you are on the political spectrum, in the horserace journalism of it all, the mainstream media are primary beneficiaries of a tight race. At least that’s what I keep telling myself after making some rather significant wagers on essentially a “gut” feeling that the national economy was improving and no way more than 43 percent of Americans would vote for a guy who strapped his dog to the roof of a car.

But proper analysis is apparently not so simple.

No wonder so many pundits are looking to a former online poker semi-pro to tell us who’s the best bet for president.

Nate Silver, 34, is author of The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t … and he’s all the rage among the politerati these days. His book apparently brings multi-level thinking taught by hand histories into the political sphere. And in doing so, Silver puts online poker on the same level as other imperfect but predictive sciences such as hurricane tracking and counterterrorism. (And nobody seems to be laughing at the comparisons!)

The Signal and the Noise came out the chute in September on the New York Times bestseller list, where it’s currently #15 among all non-fiction books. And at the time of this posting, the book ranked #1 on Amazon for books about math, #1 for technology, and #2 for politics and social sciences.

More…

Posted by at 1:31 pm

September 18, 2012

Shifting Opinions: United States v. DiCristina

Fine lines persist between skill games and gambling crimes

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…

Posted by at 1:50 pm

July 31, 2012

Instapoker

PokerStars takes over the world, Fossilman takes over HPT #200


Today’s Boxscore

Greg Raymer $71,875 – HPT Route 66 Main Event
David Allan NZD$110,600 – ANZPT Snowfest Main Event
Dan Sun $77,103 – BLUFF MSPT Meskwaki Main Event


All hail our new PokerStars overlords. As Dan posted earlier (and you’d have to be living in a cave or passed out to not have noticed), PokerStars reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to pick up Full Tilt assets in exchange for backing up a dump truck full of cash. This opens the door for Stars to pay out FTP bankrolls, reopen Full Tilt for play, and take over the online poker world.

Stars stated they will release bankrolls for non-US players within 90 days but US players will need to go through the DoJ to collect. This might open up a huge can of crap for players but it’s a step in the right direction.

Official DoJ document regarding US player funds: Regulations Governing the Remission or Mitigation of Civil and Criminal Forfeitures (PDF format)


With all the online news, the latest Heartland Poker Tour champion is pushed below the fold. They wrapped up their 200th episode and none other than 2004 WSOP Main Event Champion Greg Raymer captured the title. HPT could not have asked for a better result coming through their Epic disaster and new ownership. Allen “Complainsaw” Kessler, Kathy Liebert, and former HPT champion Rob “veeRob” Perelman we also part of the 131 player field.

Link Dump

Tweet of the Day 1 – Understated by Poker Stars

Tweet of the Day 2 – Todd Terry has lost his damn mind. Why stop at thanking the DoJ? Why not thank Bill Frist, Jon Kyl and everyone else who sat on their hands while UIGEA was rammed through Congress?


PokerStars FAQ for Full Tilt Players – Almost everything you want to know as a player on FTP including turning the lights back on within 90 days. Also, thanks but no thanks to France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Belgium and Estonia.

A Statement by Nolan Dalla – It’s great to see Nolan Dalla back to writing on his site (plus using Twitter!) and here’s his take on the Full Tilt/Poker Stars news. Now if he would just change the white text/dark background format so my retinae don’t burn out.

Poker Community Reacts to PokerStars-Full Tilt Poker Deal – Thanks to BLUFF for saving me the time to collect the Twitter reactions to the news. They also have comment from Blair Hinkle, who has $1.15million locked up on Tilt, plus statements from the PPA and Ray Bitar.

U.S. Department of Justice Requests Settlement Agreement with Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet – Oh yeah, now what about the Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker fire sale and player funds? Lost in the big news seems to be the DoJ reaching a settlement agreement with UB/AP to dump their assets to pay back players. That should get them a solid $3.50 to divide between everyone.


Be sure to check out our new sponsors at Face Up Gaming. Legal, subscription-based online poker with plenty of great prizes including cash, WSOP seats, and poker trips. Sign up with Bonus Code pokerati.

Posted by at 3:09 pm

July 26, 2012

Instapoker

Another Prison Sentence, Affiliate Licensing, PokerNews Future

Another guilty plea related to “Black Friday” and another stint in jail. This time it was Ira Rubin finally hearing the wrath of U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan after pleading guilty in January to “money laundering, bank and wire fraud, and gambling offenses“. He was expected to receive 18-24 months in Federal lockup, but instead got the nice round number of 3 years.

As quoted by Bloomberg, Kaplan told Rubin “You are an unreformed conman and fraudster.”

Ray Bitar must be questioning why he didn’t follow the Scott Tom and Isai Scheinberg strategy of staying the hell out of Dodge. I hear Dublin is lovely this time of year. I’m far from an expert but I have to think if a payment processor received 3 years, then the bigwigs at FTP/UB/Stars would have to be looking at some decent time.

Link Dump

Tweet of the Day – Must have been a slow (non)news day for the “entities” or they are just going to pick this carcass to the bone.

Opinion: PokerStars to Acquire PokerNews.com – Interesting Op/Ed from Matt Showell at PokerListings about a potential PokerNews/PokerStars buyout. He brings up some good points concerning one of the biggest poker “media” sites going from affiliate to shill. True unbiased poker reporting is a rare thing and this is a big test for those media sites who dined mostly on affiliate fees in the past.

Nevada Online Poker Affiliates Will Need Licenses – So you make a bunch of money as an affiliate for an online gaming site? If Nevada has it’s way, you’ll need a license to operate along with the $3,000 application fee and the ability to withstand an investigation from The Man. Or at least that’s how I read it.

Zynga: Closer to Real-Money Online Poker? – Zynga’s stock takes a dump and CNBC.com posts a story about the company investigating the possibility of real-money poker games on their platform. The most shocking part of the article? CNBC name checks Gambling911.

Pinnacle Entertainment Announces Positive Earnings, Plans to Expand Heartland Poker Tour – Pinnacle had a good second quarter but more importantly (for a lot of people I know), they have plans to expand rather than contract their newly purchased Heartland Poker Tour. No one wanted to see the HPT get completely jack just because they were introduced to Jeffery Pollack, and it now looks like they were bought by a company looking to help them improve. Pinnacle properties seem to fit nicely into the HPT philosophy.

Winstar Casino “Play Big” – Since the WSOP has wrapped up, it’s become tough to find interesting videos. When in doubt, put up something with Maria “SEOGold” Ho. This commercial has too much Raymer, not enough Ho.

Posted by at 11:34 am

June 1, 2012

¡Qué Bueno! PokerStars Gets Licensed in Spain

Still haven't saved Full Tilt yet, but hey, maybe mañana

I wasn’t paying close attention … but a glimpse of Twitter in the wee hours (morning time in Europe) revealed people waiting like they were watching the NBA lottery to see who would get the go ahead to serve up online poker in Spain.

I figured it was a done deal for PokerStars, the way all that spam those press releases started coming in a couple weeks ago from Estrellas Poker Tour.But apparently there was quite the scary period as the “first wave” got read — Codere, Cirsa, Jaxx, bet365 and Sportingbet — but now apparently all has returned to normal with PokerStars, the #1 online poker site in the world still, becoming more and more legit in places that don’t rely on weak or at least legally questionable laws (I’m looking at you, UIGEA) to facilitate a proper American-style shakedown.

Statement direct from PokerStarzistan below …

(My question: with PokerStars.es getting the license, is PokerStars.com still the largest poker site, or for the sake of accuracy should we start calling it “the world’s largest alliance of geographically restricted online poker sub-sites” or something like that? This kinda makes a difference for those of us still thinking about how online poker is gonna work in the US with that inter-vs-intra-state thing. But ultimately it’s all PokerStars.com, right? And so that dot-net thing you really was just a bunch bullshit-dot-us? OK, Just checkin’ … and congrats!)

More…

Posted by at 6:06 am

March 28, 2012

Police Lobby Voices Support for Online Poker

Old internet gambling foe now an ally

I have terrific breaking news to report. The National Fraternal Order of Police sent Senator Harry Reid, Senator Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi a letter in support of “a strong regulatory framework for legal gaming”! As FOP supported the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, this is significant for us. Click here to read this important letter.


December 28, 2011

The unco-operative Mr. Beckley (Part II)

No question mark this time—further indications that he's not a co-operating witness

I wrote a blog post a week ago suggesting that Brent Beckley, who pleaded guilty on December 20th to two federal counts in the Black Friday indictments, may not be a co-operating witness for the government. This was based on a reading of the press release issued by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (the USAO) and a comparison of what we know of Mr. Beckley’s situation with what we know of Bradley Franzen’s circumstances. Recall that Mr. Franzen pled guilty this past May to three counts associated with the same superseding indictment. Last week’s post was not based on a review of Mr. Beckley’s plea agreement, a copy of which was posted at the Association of Players, Casinos, and Webmasters’ website.

Based on a comparison of Mr. Beckley’s plea agreement with Mr. Franzen’s plea agreement, I’m even more convinced that Mr. Beckley is not a co-operator.

More…

Posted by at 12:31 pm

December 8, 2011

In Brief: Legal Biznass

Poker Law, Politics, Business, and Crime

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]

Posted by at 6:26 pm

November 17, 2011

Phantom Reid Bill, Take 2

UIGEA author Kyl pushing GOP support in Senate for online poker?

It’s November, and the online poker political buzz seems ready to kick into high gear … we’ve got the Senate Indian Affairs Committee taking on the issue today (with Al D’Amato testifying on behalf of poker players from the MoneyMaker-Duhamel era) … and the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade revisiting the issue tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, the New York Post is reporting that “the smart money is betting Washington will legalize online poker” … with the suggestion that Harry Reid has his own version of the Barton Bill forthcoming. That’s hardly a surprise around here … but what could be something of a WTF, if it turns out to be true, are reportable rumors that Jon Kyl (R-AZ) will likely be a co-sponsor.

Kyl, of course, is one of the original architects of the UIGEA who will be retiring at the end of the current Congressional session. Ahh, it’s all starting to make a little sense now … can you see the path through Congress starting to emerge?

More…

Posted by at 10:28 am

October 3, 2011

Ray Bitar Challenges the DOJ without a Lawyer?

... while B-list Black Friday indictees put forth biggest UIGEA challenge to date

nevada license plate notaryI gotta think representing himself pro se against the DOJ was not part of the original plan. But that’s the real story (imho) yet to be noted in Ray Bitar’s claims that he wants some of his property back (including two bank accounts in Pokerati’s old Dallas stomping grounds).

Have a look at the document. He filed the motion himself — “Verified Claim of Raymond Bitar, Pursuant to Rule G of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims” — with an Irish notary public to make it official.

I certainly don’t know the nuances of Rule G of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims, but it seems complex enough that an attorney might-should usually be filing this kinda thing. And the lack of legal counsel’s involvement in this civil matter raises plenty of questions about the financial status of Bitar … and maybe even the motivations of various comments by Full Tilt attorneys who may or may not be still be getting paid.

More…

Posted by at 10:10 am

September 6, 2011

Congresswoman Reaffirms Support for Online Poker

Senate hopeful Berkley: keep government off your computer, undo the UIGEA (now!)

shelley berkley women in poker hall of fame

Berkley 4 online poker: Let's gitter done!

“We’re going to do everything we can to legalize online poker,” said US Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) to a crowd of mostly women Friday night at the Golden Nugget. She was the opening speaker at the Women in Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and wanted to let nearly 300 attendees know that she hasn’t wavered in her position against government interference in online poker, and now is the time for Washington DC to get Americans back online.

Berkley, who declared her intent to run for US Senate the day before Black Friday, was one of the few representatives to call the UIGEA “a travesty” at the time of its passage and one of the first to jump on board to co-sponsor Joe Barton’s (R-TX) post-Black Friday online poker bill.

“There’s no reason people shouldn’t be playing online. It will be good for the 26 million poker players … it will be good for our country, and it’s going be good for our economy,” she said. “We’ve got to get this piece of legislation passed!”

Have a listen to what all she had to say in Las Vegas before heading back to DC:

Shelley Berkley at the Women in Poker Hall of Fame 2011
4:58

More…

Posted by at 5:17 pm

July 18, 2011

The Jon & Harry Show

Decoding a letter asking the Attorney General for amped up aggression in online gambling crackdown

By letter to federal Attorney General Eric Holder dated July 14th of this year, US Senators Jon Kyl and Harry Reid have made known their views on Internet gaming. Or rather: they’ve let the AG know what they want the Department of Justice to do without exactly saying what their position is. (Thanks to Chris Krafcik for circulating the letter.)

This letter, from two senators coming from very different camps on the Internet gaming issue, is a very interesting document both for what it says and for what it doesn’t say.

What it says is that the Department of Justice has been lax in pursuing foreign private Internet gaming operators and that this has “led to a signficant and growing perception … that the Department of Justice thought that the case [against operating Internet poker and other Internet gambling websites] was uncertain enough that it chose not to pursue enforcement actions.” The senators state that it’s important for the DOJ to pursue “illegal Internet gambling” in the United States “aggressively and consistently.” Most notably in this paragraph, Senators Kyl and Reid assert that Internet poker websites have been offering online play to Americans for many years “with apparently no repercussions.”

More…

Posted by at 12:25 pm

June 10, 2011

Rats! More Black Friday Fallout!

APCW Perspectives Weekly for June 10th, 2011

This week’s online gambling news comes from New York City, where a “Black Friday” defendant has been denied bail. Plus, is legal Internet betting in Washington DC in jeopardy? Also, updates from Merge Poker, Intertops, and QuickTender.

Posted by at 5:52 am