Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

UK Gambling Mergers and US Gambling Politics

by , May 24, 2016 | 6:06 pm

If you thought RAWA was dead, think again! Sheldon Adelson has some politicians in his pocket more than happy to sell their integrity to do his bidding. Also, mergers in the U.K. could spell more trouble for William Hill. Links to the stories from the show are listed below:

RAWA Still Raging:…
New Jersey Online Profits:…
Pennsylvania Online Bill:…
Fantasy Hearings:…
Ladbrokes / Gala Coral Merger:…
Full Tilt Merger and Affiliates:…

Empire (State) Poker Returns?

by , Mar 18, 2013 | 11:42 am

From for the week of March 18th …


#1. The Revolution Network is dealing with two unresolved stories – one regarding lengthy payment delays to a skin and one regarding a possible software bug related to hole cards – as the Lock-fronted network continues to lose ground.

#2. Empire (State) Poker: NY’s tentative step toward regulated online gambling will thrive or die between now and April 1st, the deadline for the state’s budget. Gov. Cuomo seems open to the idea, but we should get a good sense of what support the initiative actually has in the days ahead.

#3. IL and PA. This week could pass with no movement in PA, where a few soft deadlines for the introduction of an online gambling bill have come and gone. But the pressure for legislative progress on the larger issue of casino expansion is significant in IL and should result in a quicker timetable for online poker – one way or the other.



A quick FAQ on Full Tilt repayment. And Marco Valerio’s interview with Salim Adatia, CEO of GLI Interactive – the company behind software testing in Nevada. Plus an update to my Illinois FAQ to reflect last week’s changes to the bill’s “bad actor” clause.


#GoodRead – The New York Times has a good write up of the uncertain environment surrounding daily fantasy sports. Much of it should sound familiar to followers of online poker.

@Follow – @Pokeraddictnet. Often first to news on U.S. facing rooms + regulatory developments at the state level.

Governor Calls for More Casinos ASAP!

by , Jan 27, 2012 | 3:40 pm

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address on Jan 4 to say, “We have long flirted and dallied with another potential economic engine — casino gaming — and when it comes to gaming, we’ve been in a state of denial.” Instead of flirting, Cuomo recommended a constitutional amendment that would finally consummate the state’s relationship with gaming.

Aside from making industry lobbyists flush, the governor claimed the Full Monty approach to gaming would generate $1 billion in economic activity. Of course estimated gaming-related revenues have to be taken with a grain of salt. In the fictitious town of Lake Wobegon, all the children were above average. When it comes to gaming revenue estimates, every state and municipality assumes an above-average piece of the pie, ignoring the expansion plans of its neighbors. Read More States Betting on Casino Gambling for Jobs, Revenue.

Not everyone stands to gain. NY currently has nine Indian casinos, five of which are run by the Seneca Nation. The Seneca have a 21-year agreement that gives them exclusive territorial gambling rights. After Cuomo’s speech, they wondered if their gambling treaty would end up being one more “broken promise.” Ouch.  You can read more about their anxiety: Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Gambling Push Opposed by Native American Tribes. 


Penn National Growing Pains?

by , Jun 16, 2011 | 1:12 pm

Exactly two weeks to the day after Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN) announced its acquisition of M Resort, a casino workers labor union, UNITE HERE!, issued the following press release that might be of special interest to investors who paid nearly $40/share. (So far, after short-lived giddiness, their stake continues to drop like a rock.)

Read below for the official announcement:

The overwhelming majority of shareholders at Penn National Gaming, Inc. voted last week to change the way the company’s directors are elected. 40 million out of 67 million shares were cast for a shareholder resolution that nominees to the board must receive a majority of the votes cast in order to be seated. Under Penn’s current bylaws, a nominee needs only a single affirmative vote to be elected in uncontested director elections.

“A majority vote standard transforms the director election process from a symbolic process to a meaningful voice for shareholders,” ISS Proxy Advisory Service wrote in a report criticizing Penn National Gaming, Inc. on May 23, 2011. More…

Poker “Predominantly a Game of Chance” Says Pennsylvania Judge

by , Apr 3, 2010 | 9:49 am

As Stephen A. Murphy over at CardPlayer suggests, this news perhaps comes as a bit of a head-scratcher. But then again, poker players have come to expect high variance when it comes to state courts’ attempts to decide the issue of whether poker is a game of skill or chance.

Reversing a ruling from early last year, a Pennsylvania appeals court this week ruled that poker was more chance-based than skill-based, thus making it a form of “unlawful gambling” according to the state’s predominance test. The court voted 2-1, with Judge Robert Freedberg authoring the opinion. “While the outcome of poker may be dependent on skill to some degree,” wrote Freedburg, “it is predominantly a game of chance.”

The ruling thus goes against the January 2009 decision in the case concerning a private home game of $1/$2 no-limit hold’em. In that one, Judge Thomas James explained that “in conjunction with analyzing skill versus chance… it is apparent that skill predominates over chance in Texas Hold’em poker.”

The Poker Players Alliance chimed in to express “disappointment” in the ruling. The defendants’ lawyer has suggested the case will likely be headed to the state’s Supreme Court.

Read more about the Judge Freedberg’s decision over at

Now Delaware Pushing for Poker

Iowa pushing for even bigger poker

by , Jan 25, 2010 | 2:49 am

… and other table games. If they move fast enough, they’ll be able to get cards in the air before Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile the state of Iowa thinks poker is booming, and though they already have legal poker there, they think it would be neato to have really big tournaments. And thus there is a new bill pending — and being pushed by the House Majority Leader — that would make room for more tables to accommodate big special poker events.

Their numbers and expectations however, may be a bit off:

“We have the people already playing poker in Iowa. We have a zillion poker players. Apparently, they’re just going someplace else to do it,” Hudson said.

How a Bill May or May Not Become a Law, Part 186

Pennsylvania swears it’s ready to expand gambling+poker

by , Jan 5, 2010 | 11:40 am

Man, things take a long time in politics. Remember Pennsylvania? We almost forgot about them too … it’s been more than three months since they “agreed” to move forward with more casinos in a way that would bring more legal poker to the state with “must pass” legislation to balance the budget … which was already three months overdue. Yet as these things go, there’s been one hurdle after another in pushing this through legislative halls.

Anyhow, they’re back at it starting today — with Gov. Ed Rendell creating a direct and immediate association between casinos (+poker) and jobs. Specifically, the governor has said pass this thing THIS WEEK or 1,100 state employees will be without work. The process of firing them begins Friday.

The nitty-gritty they’re down to is upping the number of licensed resort casinos from two to three (with an option for four in 2017), and increasing the max number of slot machines at each venue from 500 to 600. Fuckin-A. How ’bout three resort casinos, compromise on the slots numbers at 550 … all for a vote to be named later? Politics doesn’t have to be this hard … or maybe it does?


Meanwhile, the Rivers Casino, in Pittsburgh, seems to be getting ready for expanded table games offerings by hiring a bunch of Harrah’s executives to help them run the ship in new waters. David Patent will be the new big-big boss in Pa. His plans include opening a sports bar and running TV commercials. [Pittsburgh Business Journal]

A few other semi-related links:

The PPA plans to attend CPAC again this year — that’s the Conservative Political Action Conference, where all the GOP muckity-mucks gather to shmooze/grovel for money and power. Should be a feisty event, and @TheEngineer is trying to rally some conservative troops to turn against Spencer Bachus (R-AL), calling him out as a past-his-conservative-prime dimwit whom the party should abandon, or at least treat as ineffective and irrelevant. []

In South Carolina, a Catholic church rejoices over Fr. Andrew Trapp’s near-million-dollar run on the PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge. If only he coulda prayed as well as Jerry Yang! [WBMF]

Also in South Carolina, Attorney General Henry McMaster is appealing a court ruling that poker is a game of skill, and trying to take the prosecution of a busted home game to the state Supreme Court. [Charleston Post and Courier]

Toledo, Ohio, is getting ready for its first casino+poker to open. The pre-launch message going out: OK, we look forward to your money, but you better be damn good citizens. [Toledo Blade]

Although jobs and economic development are critical to the city’s recovery, Mayor Bell has to avoid the temptation to give Penn National Gaming a blank check as Toledo’s casino project takes shape. Gambling is not a panacea for Toledo’s ills.

Big score, btw, for Lyle Berman, who made a $4 million bet in October to help make Ohio casinos a reality, politically, and in return locked himself into 10 percent of Ohio casino profits. [Poker Player Newspaper]

Gambling gambling gambling seems to be the big buzz in cities, states, and regions looking to shore up their coffers. And to prepare for our gambling future, the National Center for Responsible Gambling is advising American universities to develop formal gambling policies for students. []

In Washington DC, readers are challenging editors on their usage of poker metaphors in stories about the Obama vs. Ahmadinejad heads-up match over nuclear proliferation. [Washington Post]

Poker Wins Big Vote in West Virginia

Pennsylvania feeling the pressure?

by , Dec 8, 2009 | 10:42 am

There was a little referendum this weekend that puts some more poker on the map in Darvin Moon Country …

Jefferson County, WV, approved “table games” — including blackjack, craps, roulette, three-card poker, and real poker — at the sure-to-be-renamed Charles Town Race and Slots. In fact, the poker room will likely open before the rest of the new-and-improved “racino” … with cards looking to get in the air by June 2010. The big cities likely to be feeding it players are Baltimore and Washington, DC.

It was a close-ish vote landslide victory, with 6,279 out of 10,622 votes cast supporting the measure — enough for poker to win in 29 out of 32 precincts.

Jefferson County had put the same issue to a vote in 2007 and it lost. Watch the commercial(s) below to see how one race track with a need for gambling was able to make a poker difference:

And though it’s not mentioned in the ads, on the go-table-games website ( ) they do discuss competition from neighboring states as one of the reasons they needed to act now. Indeed, though Pennsylvania legislators have been dilly-dallying for nearly a year on their poker expansion, their House will be debating the practicalities of expanding gambling (in a way that includes poker) today.

Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, a Pennsylvania company got the contract to supply all the tables to Charles Town.

ALT HED: Poker = Jobs

Heidelberg Heist, Harrisburg Holdup

The fight(s) for Pennsylvania poker room profits

by , Oct 26, 2009 | 8:25 am

A presumably friendly game outside of Pittsburgh got robbed last week …

From the Associated Press:

Police Chief Vernon Barkley says the game was held at the Heidelberg volunteer fire hall and was breaking up about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. That’s when the promoter, 53-year-old Sara Lazzaro, was hit on the head and accosted by three armed men who took an unspecified amount of money.

The chief says one player spent a lot of time on his cell phone, and police suspect he may have been conspiring with the robbers.

Hmm, this MO sounds familiar (though with less guns at this point). Am starting to think it may not be the same gang of poker bandits wreaking havoc nationwide, but rather independent cells using standard poker robbery procedure according to some sort of Anarchist’s Super/System. If the process that we have seen replicated in Dallas, Houston, North Carolina, Atlanta, etc. plays out … it shouldn’t be long before more violent firepower comes into play.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania supposedly has every intention of eradicating this problem before it really takes hold by offering fully legal games … but state officials are still bickering in Harrisburg over who gets how much of whatever proceeds that may or may not generate. Gov. Ed Rendell, state-repped casino interests, and now municipalities are all making different threats and demands down to single-digit tax percentages … and there’s even some additional fighting over who gets to appoint board members to oversee it all.

Pennsylvania still doesn’t have a state budget, btw, and apparently the remaining battles over poker (and other casino games) are the last thing holding it up.

More specific details on Pennsylvania poker’s legislative tangle here.

Pennsylvania Deciding on State’s Poker Future

by , Oct 5, 2009 | 8:44 am

A big poker-related legislative battle is going on right now in Pennsylvania. In fact, state representatives debated the matter well into the night on Sunday — an unusual move for the Pennsylvania House.

At issue is the inclusion of table games — blackjack and poker specifically — in Pennsylvania “slot machine parlors”. Doing so would bring in $242 million … and yesterday’s overtime debate revolved around 170 amendments to the bill.

It’s definitely not all about poker though, or gambling for that matter … Pennsylvania apparently has been at a legislative impasse and operating without a state budget for 97 days!

It does seem, however, that the expanded gambling measure could make or break the budget as a whole.


Pennsylvania Tourney Organizer Found Guilty of Gambling

“Game of Skill” defense doesn’t hold up

by , Aug 14, 2009 | 10:08 am

Lawrence Burns, 65, was found guilty of gambling yesterday, despite arguments the real-money tournaments he organized were not gambling because poker is a game of skill. After 2 1/2 days of testimony, the Westmoreland jury took less than 2 1/2 hours to return a verdict.

Though a judge will determine Burns’ sentence, the prosecutor has said he does not believe the offense merits jail time. Burns plans to appeal the court’s ruling.

Regardless of these semi-bummer results, we should probably all take note: while it’s not too hard to convince non-poker people that poker is different from slot machines, lotteries, craps, etc. — and we might even convince them that Texas Hold’em tournaments are as skillful endeavors as fishing tournaments (where the pros generally win, but an amateur can always get lucky) — we’re always gonna have a really hard time persuading them to believe that poker isn’t gambling, game of skill or not. Sucks, but oh well … now we don’t need to hide all the players that like to say things like “gamble gamble!” when all-in on a draw.

(Thanks Marvin-in-Bedford for the heads-up.)

Poker, Law are Both Skill Games

PA attorney convinces court that Texas Hold’em is not “unlawful gambling”

by , Jan 21, 2009 | 8:21 am

Pete Campana, esq.

We clearly have our first finalist for Best Poker Lawyers ’09: Pete Campana of Williamsport, PA, successfully defended two clients caught up in an undercover police investigation into a $1/$2 NL game held in a garage (a dealer and a garage operator) on the grounds that they couldn’t have been engaged in any sort of gambling under Pennsylvania law — because poker is a game of skill.

Click here to read the complete ruling. (via PPA-premium.)

But in a nutshell, what Campana convinced successfully convinced the courts:

Commonwealth and Defendant both agree the controlling issue is whether Texas Hold’em poker is “unlawful gambling” under the Crimes Code.

… the controlling sub-issue is whether Texas Hold’em is a game of skill or chance, or, if both, does skill trump chance or vice-versa. Simply, if chance predominates, Texas Hold’em is gambling. If skill predominated, it is not gambling.

… Pennsylvania courts have not specifically addressed the issue … Our courts have found that poker is gambling within the context of the Liquor Code.

… With the advent of internet poker and tournament poker has come a spate of very intrusive law review analyses of gambling law and poker.

… Using the predominance test, in conjunction with analyzing skill versus chance using the four prong dominant factor test, it is apparent that skill predominates over chance in Texas Hold’em poker.

… Skill comes with varying degrees of competence, but that is the case with any competition involving skill.

The academic studies and experts generally agree that a player must be skillful to be successful at poker. At the outset, chance is equally distributed among the players. But the outcome is eventually determined by skill. Successful players must possess intellectual and psychological skills. They must know the rules and the mathematical odds. The must know how to read their opponents “tells” and styles. They must know when to hold and fold and raise. They must know how to manage their money.

This court finds that Texas Hold’em poker is a game where skill predominates over chance. Thus, it is not “unlawful gambling” under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.

RE: Cops vs. Firemen in Rural Pennsylvania

by , Aug 14, 2008 | 8:53 am

Just found this vid. There seems to be some sympathy for the fire dept., which has no desire to turn over their remaining $32k in poker gains to the cops — they’ve got an engine to pay for, after all!

I gotta think they’re gonna win their battle … because if they do have to turn it over and then for some reason something burns down that shouldn’t … well there would be hell to pay, you can be sure. We’ll see if I’m right. At a minimum, the poker case(s) against proprietors of the Seward VFD game seem to be the ones bringing the concept of poker revenues paying for civil services to light:

RE: More on South Texas Poker Raid

Cops vs. Firemen in Rural Pennsylvania

by , Aug 3, 2008 | 2:08 pm

You can see why raiding a poker room seems like such a win-win for the po-po. It’s such a low-risk operation, the busted citizens have little to complain about when they get to settle for an eensy-weensy ticket, and — thanks to asset forfeiture laws — the cops are virtually guaranteed to walk away with some cash for PD coffers.

But a case moving through the system in Seward, Pennsylvania (a rural community outside of Pittsburgh) is challenging this legal MO (which, personally, I think could sell very well on an infomercial: “For three payments of $79.95, I’ll share with you the ‘Dallas Poker Raid Secrets’ that are helping police department vice units all across the country increase usable revenue by tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands a year!”).

In this case, the room that got busted was the hall of a volunteer fire department — and the guy running weekly fundraiser tourneys was a lawyer, meaning he’s far more inclined to challenge various poker legal issues in court. As things stand right now, the cops want the firemen to turn over $40,000 in poker earnings (they’ve already taken possession of $9k) and firehouse representatives are resisting. Will be very interesting to see how this one is resolved … race situation, imho.

UPDATE: Just to be clear to any non-poker readers out there, by “race situation” we are talking heads-or-tails, not black and white.

Re: Re: Searching for Poker

by , Dec 19, 2007 | 12:14 am

We know you’re looking at us … and perhaps creepily, we’re looking at you. Shout out and big welcome to this reader who accessed the site from Penn State University (Go Big 10!) with a widescreen monitor looking for “gay fat guys”:

traffic profile

Here’s the picture he may or may not have been looking for.