Posts Tagged ‘internet-laws’

Senate GOP Vows Halt to All Lame Duck Action

UIGEA proponent Jon Kyl co-authors pledge

by , Dec 1, 2010 | 3:44 pm

This morning, Harry Reid received a letter in which the Senate Republicans have pledged to halt all action on lame duck legislative items until a deal is reached on tax cuts.  In this Nov 29 letter to Reid, signed by all 42 GOP Senators, Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) penned the following:

“… we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke closure on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate’s attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.”

Jon Kyl has been an important anti-gambling figure in the poker-politico scene, maintaining his objections to internet gambling since his election to Senate in 1994. He was a key figure in the passage of UIGEA, and stands strong against the act’s repeal.  Notably, “angry about the Treasury’s role in delaying the enforcement of the UIGEA”, Kyl blocked US Treasury officials from taking office this past February.  He is also a key supporters of the controversial internet domain blacklist bill – the Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA).  Perhaps the Homeland Security knew that all such lame duck actions would be stalled by the GOP when they preemptively seized 82 “illegal” domains last week under the moniker: Operation Our Sites II.

A video of Reid’s reaction to the Kyl/McDonnell filibuster was published on the SenateDemocrats YouTube channel today.

According to an article on the filibuster published in The Hill, “McConnell and other congressional leaders met with President Obama at the White House Tuesday to try to reach a deal on the tax cuts.” In Reid’s video, he states that Kyl has been chosen by the Republican party to represent them in these negotitations.  Reid has selected Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to represent the Dems.

A number of measures, in addition to COICA and the completely dead HR 2267, that have been hoping for motion during the last session of the 111th Congress, are the DREAM Act (immigration reform bill), extensions on the nation’s unemployment benefits, a repeal of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”, and the long-stalled nuclear arms START treaty.

Everyone can rest safely on one account: @SenatorReid tweeted today that the bipartisan food safety bill made it in just under the wire.


GamingCounsel’s Weekly Briefs

Danish Delays, Kentucky Legal Derby, Cypriot Missiles, Excapsa Escapes & Congressional Guessing Games

by , Nov 30, 2010 | 2:51 pm

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]
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  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.


Feds Begin Seizing “Illegal” Web Domains

DOJ, Homeland Security assert controversial web authority

by , Nov 29, 2010 | 7:37 pm

Sign of things to come? A notice greeting visitors to seized file-sharing search engine torrent-finder.com. Federal graphic artists have been hard at work designing this new splash page for websites the DOJ intends to shut down.

Lame-duck Congress resumed today, and international headlines are resounding with cries of unprecedented web censorship on news of a heavy federal hand laying a virtual smackdown on internet freedom as we know it.

During this otherwise quiet past Thanksgiving week, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division (ICE) executed seizure warrants against dozens of domains that ICE alleges to be facilitating illegal file-sharing of digital goods such as music and video, along with those that “appear to be connected to physical counterfeit goods.”

While affected domains so far all fall under the purview of copyright infringement, one has to wonder what this could mean for any other sites on the DOJ’s list of domains-non-grata.

ICE first became actively involved in matters of online gaming with the government’s case against Daniel Tzvetkoff, a payment processor for Full Tilt and PokerStars who was the first person publicly indicted for UIGEA violations.

More…


Pokerati Blocked in Israel

by , Nov 5, 2010 | 2:55 pm

TEL AVIV–While waiting to check in to our flight to Zurich from Ben Gurion intl airport in Tel Aviv I figured I’d hop on the free wifi and see what’s going on at Pokerati. As you can see, no luck. Dan needs to work on Pokerati’s international relations.




Markup of HR 2267 airing now

by , Jul 28, 2010 | 7:26 am

Watch the markup hearing here

The markup hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee started shortly after 10am. The schedule is to discuss HR 2267 until 11am ET, then take a one-hour break. The Committee will return at 12pm for more discussion with a vote scheduled by 2pm ET.


Re: Andy Bloch returns to Rio to defend Internet freedom

It’s about more than just poker, but poker important part of it

by , Jul 23, 2010 | 10:16 am

Thursday morning at the Rio, Andy Bloch was part of a panel at Netroots Nation titled Internet Freedom: Protecting Rights in the Digital Realm. Many in the poker community have heard Bloch’s points about how the government is infringing on the freedom of poker players (UIGEA), but to most in the audience, it was new information to them.

Andy Bloch talking poker and Internet freedom

Andy Bloch talking poker and Internet freedom (Photo by BJ Nemeth)

Bloch stated three reasons why they should care, even if they’re not an online poker player: Basic freedom, the implications and side effects a ban on Internet gambling would have and how it could move to other areas of the Internet, and that people need to be organized and actively defend their rights. Bloch related a story about how he was playing a $1 SNG online (not mentioning Full Tilt Poker, but he was wearing a PPA patch) with an individual who was visually impaired. He stated that the person he was talking to, and others like him, would not be able to play in a brick and mortar casino. He also described how the UIGEA was passed in the middle of the night in 2006, attached to a must-pass bill. At the time, the PPA and poker community weren’t as mobilized as they are today in the effort to regulate Internet gambling.

The other two individuals on the panel, James Rucker of ColorofChange.org discussing net neutrality and Amelia Donoley of the Center for Media Justice discussing how Internet freedom affects migrant and Latino communities. Most of the audience questions (which were difficult to hear on the video) appeared to be geared toward the net neutrality issue, with the fear that big corporations would control the flow of the Internet, forcing out smaller companies and non-profit groups. Andy stated that there are big corporations supporting net neutrality, as well as to help regulate online poker.

At the end of the panel, each panelist had one final opportunity to promote their efforts. Bloch brought out a poker chip with a bar code to enter into a drawing for an Ipad. The other two panelists seemed impressed with his offering as they each picked up a chip. To watch the hearing, it’s available below:


House Financial Services Committee on HR 2267, 2pm Today

by , Jul 21, 2010 | 8:36 am


Watch the hearing at the House Financial Committee site

UPDATE: A series of roll call votes will delay the hearing until at least 2:15pm.

This afternoon, Barney Frank’s House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing scheduled for 2pm to discuss HR 2267, a bill to license and regulate online gambling.

Five witnesses are expected to testify at today’s hearing (with links to ther opening testimony):

Ed Williams – President/CEO of Discovery Federal Credit Union (on behalf of the Credit Union National Association)
Tom Malkasian – Vice Chairman and Director of Strategic Planning, Commerce Casino
The Honorable Lynn Malerba – Tribal Chairwoman, Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut
Michael K. Fagan – Law Enforcement/Anti-Terrorism Consultant
Annie Duke – Testifying on behalf of the Poker Players Alliance


Full Tilt Gets Public about Politics

Lederer encourages players to “Stand up for Poker”

by , Jul 16, 2010 | 11:06 pm

Supposedly, Barney Frank’s HR 2267 — the Internet Gambling, Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act — has a hearing this upcoming Wednesday in Barney Frank’s House Financial Services Committee. What its about is hard to say — we know it’s not the all-important “mark-up”, but beyond that, little else … It’s been put on the schedule with little fanfare and no witness list (which is kinda abnormal, but not totally).

The bill itself seems like it might be struggling, as might have been suspected in a contentious election year. But poker opponents are rallying their troops, with Focus on the Family getting their members to voice their staunch opposition:

The bills represent the most aggressive expansion of gambling in American history.

The instant accessibility and anonymity of Internet gambling sites will only accelerate addiction and increase the negative social and fiscal costs imposed on U.S. citizens, families and nonprofits.

Research shows gambling is already the fastest growing addiction among the Millennial generation.

Congress voted four years ago to pass the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) to combat, not encourage, these costs.

What we know and can prove about groups like FOF — they lie.

You can see they’re even trying to encourage their usual Congressional supporters to not risk losing the all-important Tea-Party vote by claiming our argument about the money online gambling generates as their own, simply flipping things around to contend these bills — despite a recent study about the 10s of thousands of jobs and 10s of billions in tax revenue that licensed and regulated online gambling would create — will “cost” America money.

More…


Israel Police Order ISPs to Block Access to Gambling Websites

by , Jul 15, 2010 | 5:48 am

This is an odd one … never before heard much out of Israel against online gambling, despite there being no brick and mortar casinos there (I’m pretty sure) … in fact, Israel is something of a haven — if not a headquarters — for all sorts of online gambling related businesses. Yet supposedly, Israeli police just ordered all its ISPs to block access to IP addresses associated with overseas online gambling websites.

Don’t know many details, other than that the ISPs were given a list of banned sites, supposedly including some biggies … but the only known name so far has been Victor Chandler.

Sounds taxy. Anyone have Isai Scheinberg’s number so I can give him a call and say, yo, Mr. Moneymaker, what’s up? Surely he’s gotta know, or maybe live down the street from someone who does …

The ISPs were given 48 hours to respond, and several reportedly have already asked for an extension to a week.

ALT HED: Israel is the New Kentucky?