Nevada Gaming Clarifies Its Opposition to Dot-Nets, Kinda

by , Jul 13, 2010 | 2:50 am

New article in the Las Vegas Sun, looking at the WSOP and the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s comfort level with online poker sites that do and do not accept American players. No one’s wagging any fingers at the WSOP specifically, but the article does take a closer look at Full Tilt’s and PokerStars’ presence at the Rio (and a little bit UB’s) as well as partnerships these sites have with other casinos.

You get a subtle clue of what the implication might be directly from the article’s URL, as well as quotes from GCB’s chief enforcer of dot-net-dot-com issues:

After the [UIGEA] passed Congress, some sites left the U.S. market, fearing prosecution by federal regulators. Some sites, including and Full Tilt — whose .net logos adorn the clothing of many World Series of Poker players — continue to allow action from Americans, however. Those sites are “purposefully putting that product in the United States in disregard of Department of Justice interpretations of federal law and also Nevada law,” [GCB member Randall] Sayre says.

This closer look stemmed from what would become the rapid rise-and-fall of NAPT-Venetian. The Venetian does confirm in the Sun article, btw, that they have no current or future relationship with PokerStars … you know, despite appearances one might get from and NAPT logos on 119 felts throughout this summer’s Deep Stack Series.

GCB makes it clear that they don’t like to see its licensees in bed with American friendly online poker sites, but they’re still not being clear on where they draw the lines for what might constitute just messing around. Even the regulators contend they can’t begin to tell people what they can and cannot wear on their bodies.

That, of course, begs the question, then why not just let people wear hats and shirts logo’d up with dot-coms?

8 Comments to “Nevada Gaming Clarifies Its Opposition to Dot-Nets, Kinda”

  1. Question Answerer

    People can’t wear dot coms because ESPN won’t/shouldn’t let them.

  2. DanM

    Grange, on what grounds could a state AG sue ESPN if they are merely documenting a real-life event? Not doubting they would, just unclear on what relief they could seek.

    QA, I hear ya … ish. But I’m wondering when you’ve got the GCB saying it’s a free speech issue — the casinos they regulate can’t stop it — doesn’t that carry some weight with legal compliance teams?

  3. Grange95

    “Even the regulators contend they can’t begin to tell people what they can and cannot wear on their bodies.

    That, of course, begs the question, then why not just let people wear hats and shirts logo’d up with dot-coms?”

    My understanding is that the logo rules for personal attire were required by ESPN and the other TV networks showing poker, to avoid any appearance of online gambling advertisements or endorsements. Although ads for legal casinos are permitted by the FCC (at least since the US Supreme Court ruled that way in 1999 in Greater New Orleans Broadcast Ass’n v. U.S.,, online gambling is in a gray area for legality in most states. Since poker shows tend to be broadcast nationally, a prudent TV network won’t want to risk lawsuits by conservative state AGs, or an overzealous FCC over ads or “product placements” for arguably “illegal” businesses.


    I think the WSOP was just trying to avoid issues that would take away from there spectacle when they decided not to allow .com logos.

    I believe the .Net logo sends the same message anyway!

    The article Dan Posted from the Las Vegas Sun is very informative. Vegas is losing money there are casinos now in every state but 2.

    If Vegas cannot control on line Poker they will oppose it out of greed.This is not good for Poker in the USA.

  5. Grange95

    @ DanM: For state AGs, there is usually some criminal solicitation to gamble or false/deceptive advertising angle. To be a little blunt, it’s a colorable argument in many states that “.com” ads, endorsements, and product placements are promoting illegal gambling (the law only permits advertising for legal goods and services). So, you usually are looking at injuctions, fines, and cease and desist orders. See here,, and scroll down to the “Do Not Intentionally Direct Your Advertising To A State With An Unfriendly A.G.” section for a flavor of past state AG crusades.

    Given what happened in Washington state with the case, I could see an overzealous AG trying to make political hay out of “.com” online gambling ads, endorsements, and product placements. Even though a TV network (say ESPN) would likely have little real exposure to liability from merely showing a “.com” patch*, having a “.net” only rule is easier to enforce than dealing with the hassle of running afoul of the FCC or some state AG. Plus, ESPN has a strong financial interest in keeping some distance from “.com” gambling sites, given how touchy collegiate and pro sports leagues are on the issue of sports gambling.

    The real interesting question is what happens when “.com” gambling is legalized, and the WSOP has a vested interest in promoting gaming. Wonder if there will be prohibitions on any Full Tilt, Poker Stars, MGM-online, etc. logos?

    * I hesitate to completely dismiss the liability issue, as ESPN could get in legal trouble for broadcasting video footage of a player’s obscene t-shirt, or a player yelling obscene language. I don’t know if this principle would extend to logos for illegal gambling sites.


    The FCC just passed a rule that vulgar language can be used on the airwaves. I wish I would of read the article a little more and could give you a link (Kevmath heres your que) But showing a shirt with an obscene gesture or saying is not done due to respect I think more than a fine.

    The WPT does not allow one to wear a baseball hat with a Logo that is a name brand. They have a 1 patch rule no larger then 6 square inches and the fans in the stands cannot wear baseball hats with major logos or any type of patch.

    I was allowed to wear my personal logo hat at several events here in LA in the audience but not my organizations patch, which was an approved patch by the WPT

    I think its great for Poker the Nascar concept and I hope to see it continue in a positive manner.

    As for this .net vs .com issue I still think the .net is just as productive.

  7. Grange95

    @ Scott Diamond: I think you might be referring to today’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down the FCC’s “fleeting obscenity” rule. Commentary and links to the opinion and other commentary can be found here:

    I think you are probably right about the display of obscene shirts, etc., as far as cable TV goes, since cable gets a wide latitude in that area (so my example earlier using ESPN is in error). I think the general rules about patches, logos, etc. are in large part to protect the WSOP’s (or WPT’s, or NAPT’s, etc.) sponsorship deals with various endorsers (as you alluded to). I think the “.net” rule is more about avoiding legal entanglements and negative publicity.

  8. Brian G.

    Here;s what I don’t get. All I used to hear is that all we needed to do is get rid of those Bible-thumping Puritan evil Republians, and our civil right to lose our money to bots and “players” that call your all-in with nothing and miraculously go runner-runner on you five times an hour.

    Seriously, this is all about politics, from regulators protecting Nevada’s brick and mortar casinos, and states that need money see internet gambling as a way to extract revenue. After all, it wouldn’t exactly hurt an AG or governor politically to go after an internet gambling site, as they don’t provide any local jobs and most people (even non-evil right wing Republicans) despise internet gambling.

    If I were Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson, I’d have top-notch attorneys on retainer. They are going to need them.