Posts Tagged ‘United States Congress’

January 23, 2013

Caesars Emperor Advises Federal Gov on Social Security, Medicare

Loveman-led panel of biz leaders suggests sweeping changes

GaryLovemanAn association of influential chief executive officers, which includes Caesars Entertainment Corp. Chairman and CEO Gary Loveman, suggested several changes Wednesday to Social Security and Medicare that would protect both programs.

Loveman, chairman for the Washington, D.C.-based Business Roundtable’s health and retirement committee, outlined the recommendations during a news conference at the organization’s offices. He also outlined the plan in a Wall Street Journal opinion article.

The suggested changes to Social Security include gradually raising the retirement age from 67 to 70, changing benefit formulas to increase progressivity, updating the method for calculating cost of living adjustments and including newly hired state and local workers in the system.

The Business Roundtable’s plan would protect those 55 and older from cuts, but younger workers would face significant changes. The plan unveiled Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for all Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees would be smaller.

More…


January 11, 2013

Fahrenkopf to Step Down as AGA Boss in June

fahrenkopf-g2e-b2Frank 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.”

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January 2, 2013

Fiscal Cliff Shmiscal Cliff

Gaming stocks end 2012 on high note

gaming-stocks-dec12What fiscal cliff?

Gaming stocks were oblivious to investor worries that the lack of a year-end agreement in Congress to avoid wide-ranging tax increases and spending cuts would push the economy over the edge.

The sector closed out 2012 on a positive note in December.

Of the 12 gaming companies followed by Las Vegas financial adviser Applied Analysis, 11 showed marked increases in their average daily stock prices during the month.

Eight of the companies finished 2012 with a higher average daily stock price than in 2011.

Applied Analysis principal Brian Gordon told the firm’s clients Monday in a research report that investors believed a compromise would likely take place in Congress concerning federal revenue enhancements and other measures.

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November 22, 2012

Some Question Constitutionality of Federal Internet Poker Bill

"Penalty box" provisions may have to be left to States

U.S. Capitol BuildingWASHINGTON – 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.”

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October 4, 2012

PPA Update from Capitol Hill

Poker legislation under serious consideration

U.S. Capitol BuildingAs you have likely heard, there has been widespread discussion regarding online poker legislation on Capitol Hill. Having poker legislation under serious consideration on the Hill is certainly great news; it shows just how much our efforts as a community in advocating for our rights are paying off!

I am glad we are all doing our part to be heard. Given that the House of Representatives voted to ban online poker in 2006 by 317-93 (that bill, the freestanding HR 4411, was watered down in the Senate backrooms and emerged attached to the SAFE Ports Act as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), having Congress considering any legislation to authorize online poker is obviously a huge, almost unprecedented turnaround.

More…

Posted by at 10:00 am

December 3, 2010

Detailed Legal Analysis of Reid Internet Poker Bill

Draft revealed: “The Prohibition of Internet Gambling, Internet Poker Regulation and UIGEA Enforcement Act”

Stu Hoegner, our resident international gaming attorney here at Pokerati – a.k.a. @GamingCounsel as he is well-followed on Twitter – has located a copy of a document that has been widely requested by our readers in the past 24 hours.

Check it out -> Las Vegas Review Journal has placed the following draft copy of the Reid Internet Poker Bill on the web.

Hold on to your legal hats … here’s Stu’s detailed analysis of this draft copy of Reid’s bill.

******

This post is based on one version of the Reid bill that is circulating. There may be others.

The top-line provisions of the Prohibition of Internet Gambling, Internet Poker Regulation and UIGEA Enforcement Act (the “Bill”) are as follows. This is not an exhaustive analysis - it’s too soon for that and the participation of many others in that kind of exercise is required (and salutary).

1. Findings

The Bill acknowledges that Internet gambling has continued to flourish since adoption of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and that the UIGEA has been unable to stop operators from offering sports wagering and other forms of gambling. The Bill goes on to affirm the longstanding federal policy against interstate gaming on professional, scholastic, or amateur sporting events.

In the Bill, Congress finds that poker enjoys a long history and cultural tradition in the US. The Bill states that in the long run the outcome of poker is influenced by the skill of the participants and it distinguishes house-banked games (where wagers are made against a casino) from poker (where wagers are made between and among the participants).

The Findings section of the Bill clearly sets the stage for the licensing of Internet poker only, and the Bill goes on to do just that.

Congress also finds that a new federal Internet poker market “should be regulated by entities that have an established track record of providing a well regulated gaming market to American consumers” and “should be limited to service should be limited, at least initially, to service providers that have an established track record of complying with a strict regulatory environment, have an established track record of providing fair games to consumers, and have significant goodwill and assets at stake, in addition to their Internet poker assets, to ensure they will comply strictly with the new regulatory regime.”

Notwithstanding that the World Trade Organization decisions in the US-Antigua and Barbuda dispute are “erroneous,” the Bill asserts that the US should “conclude” the dispute in an orderly and expeditious fashion that respects World Trade Organization rules and the federal and State prerogative to restrict and control wagering on sporting events and games of chance.

2. Definitions

Some of the more important definitions in the Bill are set out below.

“Bet or wager” as used in the Bill has the same definition as under 31 U.S.C. §5362(1) (i.e., UIGEA) but excludes bets or wagers under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978, bets or wagers that are intratribal transactions, and bets or wagers that are a chance to win a lottery or other game authorized by a state or a tribe that is an intrastate transaction as described under UIGEA.

We have a definition of poker in the Bill. “Poker” means any of several card games in which success over the long run is influenced by the skill of the player and

(A) that is commonly referred to as poker;

(B) that is played by 2 or more people who bet or wager against each other on cards dealt to them out of a common deck of cards

i. including games using community cards that any player may use to make his or her hand, and

ii. including games using electronic devices that simulate a deck of cards;

(C) in which players compete against each other and not against the person operating the game;

(D) in which bets or wagers of one player are often designed to affect the decision of another player in the game; and

(E) in which the person operating the game may assess a commission fee or any other type of fee.

Poker also includes poker tournaments in which players pay a fee to play against each other, including tournaments where the licensee guarantees a minimum tournament pot.

As a threshold matter, poker must be a card game where success over the long run is influenced by skill. This is an interesting definition that will generate a lot of discussion. How long is the long run and how many hands does it contain? How much skill need be involved if the skill of the player must merely “influence” success? Provided any particular iteration of poker that’s out there (and there are many) meet these various tests, it should qualify.

An “Internet poker facility” means an “Internet gaming facility” (also defined) that provides bets or wagers only with respect to a game, hand, tournament, or other contest of poker. Only persons operating Internet poker facilities under a license issued by a Qualified Body (see below) may be licensees under the Bill.

A “Qualified Body” means a State or tribal regulatory body that has been qualified by the Secretary of Commerce as provided in of section 8202(c) of the Bill (including entities qualified as a matter of law under subsection (c)(1)). This part of the Bill automatically qualifies state and tribal agencies as bodies qualified to grant licences that, among other things: currently regulate casino gaming and have done so for 5 years preceding the date of enactment of the Bill; have regulated casino gaming facilities involving gross gaming revenue of at least 5% of the total US casino gaming revenue for at least 3 out of the last 5 years preceding enactment of the Bill; are in states or on Indian lands that are opted in under section 8204 of the Bill (see below). Those not automatically qualified under section 8202(c)(1) can apply to the Secretary of Commerce for designation as a Qualified Body.

Finally, a “Significant Vendor” means an individual or entity that, with respect to a licensee or applicant under the Bill:

(A) knowingly manages, administers, or controls bets or wagers that are initiated, received, or otherwise made within the United States;

(B) knowingly manages, administers, or controls the games with which such bets or wagers are associated;

(C) develops, maintains, operates, the software, other system programs or hardware on which the games or the bets or wagers are managed, administered or controlled;

(D) provides the trademarks, trade names, service marks, or similar intellectual property under which the licensee identifies its Internet Poker Facility to its customers in the United States;

(E) provides any products, services, or assets and is paid a percentage of gaming revenue by the licensee in order to do so; or,

(F) with respect to an applicant, proposes to provide any of the activities, services or items identified in (A)-(E), above.

More…

Posted by at 10:21 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]
  2. #

  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

September 24, 2010

Online Poker Electioneering Underway

US rep, Dina Titus (D-NV), is sending out mailers to her Vegas constituency in hopes they’ll send her back to Washington DC for a sophomore term. Her campaign material today shows she is indeed willing to make online gambling a key issue — at least amongst voters in her database tagged with “online gambling” as a key issue.

Titus is, of course, a co-sponsor of HR 2267, as is my rep, Shelley Berkley. With absentee props to the Poker Shrink, who is still registered in Titus’ district, here’s a glimpse at how pro-online-poker Vegas pols are speaking about internet gambling as a whole, leading up to the November Election:

(Remember, you can see where your rep stands on “our issue” here.)

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Representative Dina Titus
To: Poker Shrink
Sent: Fri, September 24, 2010 8:30:09 AM
Subject: Online Gaming Update from Congresswoman Dina Titus

More…

Posted by at 4:01 pm

November 25, 2009

Report: UIGEA to be delayed 6 months

More on this to come, but reports coming from the PPA, Pokernews, and other sources state that the UIGEA regulations will be delayed for 6 months. This news, along with an informational hearing of HR 2266 and 2267 December 3rd by the House Financial Services Committee are good news who enjoy online poker and hope for some sort of regulation.

Posted by at 12:22 pm

September 16, 2009

Advice to Congresswomen Opposing Online Poker Bills: Man Up?

Nolan Dalla’s latest article on Poker News Daily has a point. Much of the focus is on the men who helped pass the UIGEA, giving little attention to the powerful women in Congress who now oppose our attempts to pass reasonable online poker regulation bills. No argument on that, but when he cites the female members of Congress who stand in the way of positive change, he lists:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-WA)

Ummm, the last person is a governor! While she certainly screwed up online poker in Washington in a major way, she has little to do with the passage, or lack thereof, of federal legislation. Methinks Mr. Dalla got a little carried away with women who are “bad for poker.”

His advice to the PPA and the voting public is well-taken, though. The PPA should consider refocusing its media attempts at constituents who can make a difference, whether by votes or campaign donations. His closing remarks after the break:

More…

Posted by at 8:07 pm

July 5, 2009

Congressman Barney Frank Visited the WSOP Today

Did Not Arrive in Chariot or With Indian Headdress So Received Little Attention

It was no secret. It has been public information since mid-June, and the PPA announced it days ago that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank made plans to visit the WSOP today. First, he took to the floor of the Amazon Room to speak to the Day 1C players and issue the “shuffle up and deal command,” after which he toured the Rio Convention Center to see poker’s bizness and held a press conference at 1pm. You’d think it might be quite an event for those with any interest in the future of the poker industry.

But while the general reception Frank received in the Amazon Room was positive, it also gave an indication of what kind of struggles his efforts face. Beyond having to deal with the self-promotional shenanigans of Phil Hellmuth and all he brings to the table in the name of poker (for better or worse), behind me on the rail were some poker players/fans/bigots who made hateful gay jokes during his entire short-but-semi-important speech.

Nearing the 1pm start of the press conference in the Full Tilt Chris Ferguson suite, there were about 5 reporters present. No kidding. By the time Frank began speaking, there were possibly twice that, excluding PPA representatives and Full Tilt Poker bigwigs. Of the 5-8 media outlets represented, ESPN got their headshot early and left, before the speech had hardly started.

Some of what the disinterested might have missed:

~It is likely that the Obama Administration was not behind the Southern District of New York’s seizure of more than $30 million in online poker site payments, though Frank is pursuing answers and will attempt to clarify the role of the Department of Justice in the actions.

~While Frank’s current proposed legislation (H.R. 2267) may not be heard in committee until September, it is a priority for Frank to push his companion legislation (H.R. 2266) that will delay the implementation of the UIGEA through 2010.

Meanwhile, everyone else was standing outside the Rio waiting for Phil Hellmuth to arrive in a chariot with scantily-clad chicks, then following him down the hall like he was someone important President Obama. After that embarrassment spectacle, I noticed that there was more media interested in interviewing a WSOP player wearing a full-length Indian headdress than were in the Frank press conference.

(Sigh.)

I just can’t help but wonder if the people who ignored Frank’s presence today will be the same ones asking why the delay in passing pro-poker legislation, or why their online poker funds are frozen, or why they have trouble finding work in the poker industry.

Posted by at 2:56 pm

May 6, 2009

Re: Ready to Rumble? Frank Introduces Bill Today

I’ll leave the analysis to those with more expertise in legislation and the law, but Barney Frank has issued two pieces of legislation in regards to online gambling. One bill is simply to delay the UIGEA by one year until Dec. 1, 2010. The more important piece of legislation is the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, a summary of which is provided here. The PPA have issued their own press release on the legislation. Plenty more discussion here and elsewhere over the coming months.

Posted by at 9:17 am

May 5, 2009

Ready to Rumble? Frank to Introduce Bill Tomorrow

Rep. Barney Frank is set to introduce his pro-online gaming legislation tomorrow, complete with 10am ET press conference. With any luck, this will get some mainstream news coverage, but we can be assured of at least some C-SPAN live feed.

Someone at Bluff wrote a little ditty about it here, and the official press release from Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative below:

More…

Posted by at 12:18 pm

April 23, 2009

UIGEA Challenge: PPA Raises $3 Million and Bi-Partisan Support

Rep. Barney Frank has yet to introduce (or reintroduce) the legislation, but the likelihood of its passage has already been debated and practically set up for defeat. But just as the words in poker and mainstream media outlets were being penned that any UIGEA repeal effort will likely fail, the PPA raised that bet.

Poker Players Alliance Chairman Alfonse D’Amato first put his thoughts into an article for The Hill with regard to the bipartisan support that has been building for this effort. Shortly thereafter, the Associated Press reported that the PPA has allocated $3 million for lobbying Congress during this upcoming session. (More details can be found in my article on the Bluff Magazine website.)

Sure, the NFL and other opposing groups may have stacks big enough to call that raise, but the PPA might just have the best hand in the end. Still early in the game…

Posted by at 11:57 am

April 10, 2009

Frank’s Plan: Play It Straight to Repeal the UIGEA

The April 9th edition of The Poker Beat included a discussion about the possibility of poker legislation that would repeal the UIGEA, allowing companies like PartyPoker back into the U.S. Dan (the Wolfman?) made some solid arguments, but when he mentioned that Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has the know-how to slyly attach pro-gaming legislation to another sure-thing bill to get it passed, he may not have been aware that Frank has declared his intent to complete the mission of repealing the UIGEA not with political trickery but rather a stand-alone bill.

In a conversation with The Hill, Frank said that attaching his bill to other legislation — as was done with the UIGEA — would be “inappropriate.”

“I want to do this with hearings, discussions, and votes,” he said.

While Frank’s desire to handle it on the House floor as opposed to in the back hallways is being praised by some, others see it as dangerous to the bill, as an intense focus/debate on it could make it more difficult to pass.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Frank has been on UIGEA-tilt since 2006, as was evident by his introduction of H.R. 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (IGREA), in April of 2007. He has likely been calculating the best way to repeal the UIGEA after fighting against it since its passage, and his decision to reintroduce H.R. 2046 as a standalone was not made lightly. Could he have some Republican aces up his sleeve? Does the recently-quiet PPA have a master plan to garner support for the bill? All of this remains to be seen, but methinks Frank would not have been so vocal – to mainstream media nonetheless – since January of his intention to repeal the UIGEA if he did not have a solid plan with which to proceed … which at this point, he is saying begins after Congress returns from their Easter break on April 20th.

Posted by at 11:31 am