Posts Tagged ‘US vs. DiCristina’

One Win and One Loss

Update from the PPA on Full Tilt remissions and US court's skill game reversal

by , Aug 8, 2013 | 6:30 am

Last week, I shared with you a plan to get individual lawmakers involved in helping to expedite remission processing for those of us with accounts on Full Tilt Poker. I have very good news on that front. On August 1st, Full Tilt Poker Claims Administrator Garden City Group posted a status update on their website promising that the claims process will begin “shortly” and clarifying that remission will be based on final balances and not on deposits. I encourage you to read the entire statement on their website, atwww.fulltiltpokerclaims.com.

This announcement shows that progress is being made. Over the past several weeks, PPA and the poker community intensified its pressure on the DOJ and Garden City Group to expedite full remission of player funds. Even members of Congress began weighing in on behalf of their constituents. While many factors contributed to the timing of the announcement, there is little doubt player activism played an important role.

While this announcement is much-needed good news, we cannot rest now. We are seeking specifics, including dates for application, expected dates for processing, etc. We are also seeking as streamlined a process as possible.

U.S. vs. DiCristina Appeal Update
Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the U.S. vs. DiCristina ruling. The ruling was not contested on the basis of poker being a game of skill or not, so that remains intact. Here’s PPA’s statement on the unfortunate reversal:

“Today’s decision by the 2nd Circuit Court, while unfortunate, only adds to the growing call for federal clarity on the definition of gambling. The 2nd Circuit clearly did not dispute the district court’s finding that poker is a game of skill. This is a key point distinguishing poker from the types of gambling games that Congress and state legislatures have often tried to prohibit. What the court did was conclude that the IGBA does not set forth an independent federal definition of gambling, but instead only incorporates state law.

“Ample academic studies and judicial rulings at the state and federal level have concluded that poker is indeed a game of skill. Period. The PPA will continue to advocate for a clear, federal definition of gambling as a game predominated by chance, thus preserving the right of Americans to play this great game of skill.

“The PPA stands ready to support Mr. DiCristina should he choose to appeal this decision, and we are committed to working through the judicial and legislative processes to establish a clear definition of gambling based on the predominance test.”

More…


The Players’ Voice in Washington DC

Rep. Joe Barton on poker as a game of skill, and moving legislation on the Hill

by , Aug 3, 2013 | 7:43 pm

During the past month, Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) has been on the move in his quest to bring about federal legislation favorable to online poker with an equally favorable revenue component for government.

At the end of June, the Congressman hit the road for his 3rd annual visit to the World Series of Poker—this time, to preview his latest federal legislative bill before introducing it into the U.S. House of Representatives. The official introduction of his newly minted bill H.R. 2666, the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013, followed on July 12.

Days later, Barton held a telephone press conference to discuss the new bill which “establishes a program for the licensing of Internet poker by States and federally recognized Indian tribes, and for other purposes.”  The teleconference was attended by media outlets across the country, including this reporter. However, it wasn’t until last week, when I met with the Congressman in his congressional office in Washington, D.C., that I got the complete picture of where he stands on poker and poker legislation. At the end of this day, Barton remains as unclear as anyone on the likely time table for passage of federal legislation to legalize online poker, by the Congress, but he exudes confidence that day will come.

Barton Invokes the President’s Name 
Barton is methodical. He is an engineer by training. He is a seasoned politician. He has held his Congressional seat since 1984. He rates himself as a good amateur poker player. By all accounts from mutual friends, this is an understatement. With a slight twinkle in his eye and a  poker player’s understanding of a well-placed semi-bluff, Barton goes further than mere prediction in stating that he expects President Obama to sign his legislative bill to legalize online poker, if it reaches his desk.

Barton talks the talk at poker tables and he walks the walk around the House in gambits to prod progress on the right online poker bill. He seeks a sensible federal law that will allow online poker in states that are so inclined, under the best conditions for all concerned.

He is also a pragmatist who recognizes the road will not be easy. His latest online “poker only” bill, like the others in which he has been intimately involved, previously, is designed to exempt poker from the category of “games of chance” which are subject to anti-gambling statutes. During our hour-long visit in Washington and a subsequent telephone call, Barton resonated as “the genuine article.”

More…


Cleaning up or Cleaning out?

@OPReport's Online Poker Bulletin

by , Jul 2, 2013 | 6:30 am

Weekly bulletin from OnlinePokerReport.com for the week of July 1st …

logo-OPReport

STORIES WORTH WATCHING

#1. Bet Raise Fold – Sunday was the worldwide release of the much-anticipated online poker documentary that has – so far – garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from advance viewers. Buy your copy here. If you supported the KickStarter campaign, you should have already received your link to view the movie via email.

#2. Kentucky – After successfully extracting a cool $15mm from bwin.party, Kentucky looks set to continue their litigious ways against other operators that took online bets from the state (and have some resources to target). I’ve been told to expect a significant legal filing related to Kentucky’s actions this week.

#3. PokerStars vs ACC – The ACC filed their response last week to Stars’ application for interlocutory appeal. While we don’t have a firm deadline for a ruling, I can’t imagine the courts are interested in letting this battle drag on much longer, especially given that it clouds the ability of the ACC to pursue an alternative sale. The holiday may result in a delay, but a decision could still be forthcoming in the next few days.

… + THE WEEK THAT WAS

—————–

OPR OUTPUT

On this week’s Rabbit Hunt, Mark and I cover the One Drop action at the WSOP, debate the best way of responding to Adelson and try our best to read the tea leaves of PokerStars’s battle with the ACC.

QuadJacks ran an article of mine imploring people to Stop Writing Responses to Sheldon Adelson. Finally, I offered up some thoughts on the Online Poker Compact Conundrum in the regulated U.S. market.

 

PICKS

#GoodRead – Brad Polizzano penned an informative and concise rundown of the 2013 NCLGS at QuadJacks.

—————–

Get in touch

Chris Grove / chris@onlinepokerreport.com / @OPReport / Google + / Skype: chrisgrove404


New Jersey for Sale?

@OPReport's Online Poker Bulletin

by , Jun 24, 2013 | 10:00 pm

Weekly bulletin from OnlinePokerReport.com for June 24th …

logo-OPReport

STORIES WORTH WATCHING

#1. New Jersey – With a weekend deadline for potential licensees to announce partnerships, expect a flurry of activity – and possibly even the announcement of a casino sale agreement – in the next few days. Keep a close eye on Station / Ultimate Gaming, who have hinted they’ll be live in New Jersey at launch, and also the Trump properties.

#2. DiCristina – The general sense of observers is that the DiCristina hearing went well for poker players. Read a synopsis of the hearing at TwoPlusTwo (start at post #18) and at Diamond Flush, and then read Grange’s sober assessment of exactly what impact a favorable ruling would have on the legal status of online poker in the United States. There is no firm timeline for a decision, which could come as early as this week.

#3. Sheldon Adelson – The LVS CEO raised the hackles of online poker players with an opinion piece at Forbes  slamming online gambling regulation and a follow up interview with Bloomberg. Expect more information / insight in the days to come into why Adelson is choosing to publicly attack an industry he once embraced at this particular point in time – and perhaps another blast from Adelson.

… + THE WEEK THAT WAS

—————–

OPR OUTPUT

On this week’s Rabbit Hunt, Mark and I cover Adelson’s slam of online poker, WSOP happenings of note and the DiCristina hearing.

And here’s the latest installment of OPR’s comprehensive Online Poker in the States, providing regulatory updates for all relevant states in the U.S..

 

PICKS

#GoodRead – Kim Lund articulates the Migratory Patterns of Online Poker Players in an interesting piece over at QuadJacks.

@Follow – Great land-based casino coverage from David McKee over at @StiffsGeorges.

—————–

Get in touch

Chris Grove / chris@onlinepokerreport.com / @OPReport / Google + / Skype: chrisgrove404


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…


Court Rules Poker Is a Game of Skill, But …

Sunday Op-Ed: (Now What?)

by , Sep 16, 2012 | 8:00 am

A federal judge in New York shook the gaming world in August 2012 by ruling that poker is predominantly a game of skill and therefore not “gambling” under the federal Illegal Gambling Business Act (“IGBA”).

The editorial headline from the Christian Science Monitor was typical:  “Misdeal on Internet poker gambling:  A federal court ruling that poker is mainly a game of skill and thus not gambling could steer Congress down the wrong path of approving Internet gaming.”

The opinion is significant.  The IGBA was the most important remaining federal statute that could be applied to Internet poker, now that the Department of Justice has limited the Wire Act to sports betting.  And any court that wants to declare that poker is predominantly chance will have to deal with Judge Jack B. Weinstein’s detailed 120-page-long opinion.

But the impact will be less than most commentators think.  The decision deals with only one specific statute, the IGBA, and expressly states that poker is still illegal gambling under other laws.  And the decision is so weak in so many places, that it will probably be overturned, if taken up on appeal.

More…


Republicans Reaffirm Commitment to Abolishing Online Poker

GOP platform calls for end to abortion, gay marriage, internet sit-n-go's

by , Aug 29, 2012 | 11:19 am

Due to the terrific efforts of the entire poker community, we have seen some nice victories, including the Department of Justice’s revised interpretation of the scope of the Wire Act as not applicable to poker and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruling in the U.S. v DiCristina case that poker is a game of skill and is not illegal gambling under the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act. We clearly have the momentum in this fight.

Unfortunately, as the saying goes, for every two steps forward, we do have the occasional step back. The step back to which I am referring was delivered by the 2012 Republican Party Platform Committee. The just-released GOP platform contains a plank calling for a ban on online poker. Here’s the text, from page 32 in the section entitled Making the Internet Family-Friendly (view here):

“Millions of Americans suffer from problem or pathological gambling that can destroy families. We support the prohibition of gambling over the Internet and call for reversal of the Justice Department’s decision distorting the formerly accepted meaning of the Wire Act that could open the door to Internet betting.”

As we all know, the DoJ decision the plank calls for reversing is the very one that determined that the scope of the Wire Act does not include poker. Also, as we all know, our opponents are including poker in “gambling” activities they seek to ban. Some have even taken to calling the activity “poker gambling.”

It is unfortunate that the authors of the plank are at odds with many House Republicans who are leading the charge for licensed and regulated online poker, but it is even worse that they are so out of touch with the actual voters. Let’s all be sure to do our part through Election Day to ensure that all lawmakers understand where the people are on this important issue.
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…