Archive for the ‘online gambling’ Category

Online Poker Bill Passes Committee Vote in New York

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

online poker in new york
Online poker has been talked about in the New York legislature since 2012 but wasn’t actually considered seriously till 2015. New York Senator John Bonacic first sponsored a bill to legalize online poker in 2012, but it never made it to committee, the first step necessary on the way to legalization. Senator Bonacic, chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, said that he never intended to push the bill through at that time. He just wanted to get the ball rolling so that legislators could start discussing the pros and cons of internet gaming (iGaming). The bill was re-written by gaming committee chairman J. Gary Pretlow and introduced in the gaming committee in 2015, but it stalled and never made it out of the committee.

Fast forward to 2016 and it’s a different story. This time the bill, S.5302-B, sailed through on a 9-0 vote. The vote for the online poker bill did not take place publicly, with the entire hearing lasting only four minutes. Sen. Bonacic issued a brief statement on the legislation: “S.5302-B took a necessary step forward today with its vote out of the Racing Committee. The Bill now goes to the Finance Committee and I anticipate having ongoing discussions with my colleagues in both Houses regarding this bill as session moves forward.”
There now appears to be real momentum for online poker in New York. This comes in spite of the fact that there has been so much negative publicity concerning New York’s Attorney General declaring daily fantasy sports as illegal online gambling. So, it doesn’t seem that New York is anti-gambling online at all. They just want to make sure that everything is regulated to guarantee player protection. And, of course, to insure that New York gets its share of tax revenue.

The executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, John Pappas, offered this statement after the vote: “The PPA thanks Chairman John Bonacic and the Committee for acting quickly to pass iPoker legislation through the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering. If passed into law, the bill would provide New Yorkers who play poker online with a safe and regulated environment, while bringing in revenue for the state. We encourage the Finance Committee to move quickly to usher the legislation through the Senate, and also urge the Assembly to move forward with their respective legislation.” Pappas also said that “It would be a mistake for New York to wait for its brick-and-mortar casinos to go online. Moving Internet poker legislation now would establish an existing customer base of poker players for brick-and-mortar casinos when they open their doors for business.”

The Senate Finance Committee will next host the bill, but that hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Online Gambling in Massachusetts Getting Close

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

online-gambling-in-massachusetts

Plans for casino expansion in the state of Massachusetts are well under way. Along with those plans, consideration is being given to legalizing online gambling. Bruce Tarr, the state Senate Minority Leader has been lobbying the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to grant internet gaming licenses to the states’ two planned new casinos, Wynn Everett and MGM Springfield. The option to offering online wagering with its additional revenue stream, is thought to be paramount in getting the new casinos off to a good financial start. Without it, it is feared that other states with legalized online gaming, especially the nearby states of Delaware and New Jersey, will undermine the new casinos potential success. This proposal does not allow for new casino licenses other than those that have already been approved. It was thought that this would be a great opportunity to provide sanctioning for fantasy sports, but such a provision has not been addressed in the new proposal.

The construction of three new regional casinos and a slot parlor will take place over the next four years. The new $1.7 billion Wynn Everett Casino will be 24 stories and located on the Everett waterfront. The price tag for the new MGM Resorts and Casino has already increased from $800 million to $950 million before construction gas even started. MGM Resorts is also currently involved in a campaign to challenge the legality of Connecticut legislation that could potentially the success of their new casino. The state has hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to assist. The Connecticut legislation has granted exclusive rights to two Indian tribes – the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan – to open a casino near the Massachusetts border. Meanwhile, Connecticut doesn’t think that there’s anything Massachusetts can do about it and are expected to award a construction contract by December 15 for the new casino. They are currently considering bids from East Windsor, East Hartford, Windsor Lock and Hartford.

Supports of Senator Bruce Tarrs’ proposal for online gambling feel it would be an excellent way to attract more players. But others feel that the option for internet gaming would diminish the new land based casinos chances for success by taking away potential players. The coming year of 2016 could see big changes for the online gambling marketplace in the United States –especially if Massachusetts and other states currently contemplating legalization do vote to legalize internet gambling.

World Series of Poker Won by “Average Joe”

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

casino-gambling

The World Series of Poker was concluded in Las Vegas with Joseph McKeehen winning the Main Event and taking home $7.68 million.

If ever you needed a definition of “Average Joe”, look no further than Joseph McKeehen. Nothing dramatic stands out when describing McKeehen, he’s just a regular guy who is 24 years old and hails from the outskirts of Philadelphia. He’s proof that you don’t have to be a good looking movie star or a big time professional athlete to excel at poker. His relentless wear-‘em-down playing style and a love of numbers was just too much for the competition.

The final head-to-head showdown featured McKeehen and Joshua Beckley, another youngster at only 25. Beckley drew a pair of fours which gave him a slender edge over McKeehen’s Ace-10. He decided to go for it and went all-in. Then came the flop and a 10 gave McKeehen the hand and the tournament. Jack Effel, the World Series of Poker tournament director said, “I love seeing a dominating force come in with the chip lead, hold the chip lead, continue to play well, continue to overcome obstacles and win. That shows the true skill of the game.”

A total of 6,420 players entered this years’ World Series of Poker Main Event. The entry fee was $10,000 for which anybody could enter who had that kind of cash. The World Series started in May and to make it to the Main Event, a player had to get through 68 events in 51 days. Making it that far put a player in the Main Event starting during the summer where the field was whittled down to nine players, for the “November Nine”. McKeehen started his competition in the November Nine with the chip lead, having a total of 63.1 million chips. With the leverage that the lead brought him, he just started knocking off players one-by-one, winning six of eight head-to-head showdowns. By the time he got to the final two remaining opponents, he had three times as many chips as them, with 128 million. Game over!

Beginning as an invitation only event, the World Series of Poker started in 1970. Now, anyone can enter, as long as they can pony up the five figure entry fee. Tournament poker hit it’s heyday in the mid 2000’s when it was extremely popular and the subject of countless books and movies. Then, the federal government’s crackdown on internet gambling with the passage of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), really curtailed interest in poker online. But now, almost ten years later, with legislation against online gambling starting to loosen up, and the fact that an ‘average joe’ can win, tournament poker seems to be making a comeback.

 

Fantasy Sports Same as Online Gambling says Harry Reid

Friday, November 20th, 2015

betting

Can’t Harry Reid just retire and quit mucking things up. He embodies the quintessential definition of a politician – “what’s in it for me?” Depending on what day of the week it is, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev), is either for legalized online gambling or against it. In his latest rant, Harry Reid attacks daily fantasy sports as “unregulated, illegal gambling” and depending upon fantasy sports sites to self-regulate their industry is total nonsense.

Of course, Harry Reid was referring primarily to DraftKings and FanDuel, the two largest, most successful websites in the daily fantasy sports industry. And in particular, he was commenting on an open letter from FanDuel CEO Nigle Eccles that was addressed to FanDuel’s players and was posted on the website.

In the letter, Eccles said that the industry needed “strong, common sense, enforceable” regulations to protect consumers. He referred to sensible state regulation that’s already in place but didn’t name the state. Legislation such as third-party audits, age and location verification and safeguards against insider company information being used in contests are excellent examples of how the industry can police itself. Eccles went on to say “these are steps I have always advocated for — and now is the time to memorialize them in law for FanDuel and the entire industry.” The letter also noted that “some lawmakers are seeking to prohibit your right to play fantasy sports as you know it.” While Nevada wasn’t named specifically in the letter, gambling regulators recently decided to require fantasy sports sites to be licensed the same as a casino or sports book. Those sites without a license would not be allowed to operate in Nevada.

The controversy surrounding daily fantasy sports is over whether or not this is gambling. The industry points to an exemption for fantasy sports in the federal law (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) that banned online gambling in 2006. Proponents say that even though money is involved, it can’t be considered as gambling because there is a component of skill that is required when putting together a sports team.

Harry Reid agrees with Eccles that insider betting, age and geo location are bonafide aspects that need to be in place to ensure public safety, but that the state needs to be the one to enforce it, not individual companies. And the only way for the state to enforce it, is to charge huge licensing fees. In other words, Reid feels that if the state can’t get a piece of the action from an online gaming site, then it should be banned. In his statement, Reid said “without strong oversight, there is nothing stopping these terrible things from happening and we will continue to see more corruption from this unregulated, illegal gambling.” In referring to online fantasy sports as “what is essentially gambling by another name”, Reid is urging state and federal authorities to regulate the industry.

Nevada Declares Fantasy Sports to be Gambling

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

online-gambling-NevadaSo far, five states have enacted a total ban on daily fantasy sports. But Nevada falls somewhere in between a yes and a no by allowing fantasy sports companies to operate if they are fully licensed. This of course, becomes a new chunk of revenue for the state. If anyone is going to gamble in Nevada, the state wants their piece of the pie. So, really, it’s not a question of ethics and gambling, but rather, who gets the revenue.

Individual states aren’t the only ones interested in the legality of this issue. The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice are looking at possible violations of federal law. Recently, Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said “maybe we need to start treating online fantasy sports gaming like traditional sports betting, which has safeguards in place to protect the player.” Menendez has called for new regulations within New Jersey for daily fantasy sports. No doubt this is an effort to help make up the shortfall from the decline of casino revenue in Atlantic City that New Jersey has experienced in the last few years.

The Nevada gambling licensing process involves extensive background investigations and could take six months. In order to be compliant, DraftKings will disable its product in all Nevada gambling jurisdictions and said in an e-mailed statement “we strongly disagree with this decision and will work diligently to ensure Nevadans have the right to participate in what we strongly believe is legal entertainment that millions of Americans enjoy.”

In recent years fantasy sports have mushroomed in popularity, no doubt caused by the efforts of DraftKings and FanDuel. Fueled by huge investments from Major League Baseball, Time Warner Inc. and others, sports fans have been bombarded by fantasy sports advertising .

Fantasy sports were included in the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. It stated that fantasy sports games didn’t count as betting as long as certain caveats were met. A company had to have set prize pools, the contests had to be skill based and they couldn’t rely on the outcome of any single sports event. FanDuel and DraftKings constructed their games to conform to these points to construe an exemption from gambling laws.