Archive for April, 2011

All Slots Casino Giving Away $25 Gift Cards & Free Entry to Grand Slam of Slots II

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

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Gambling.com Domain Sold

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Okay so this has nothing to do with the Royal Wedding that is happening today. You will either like me for excluding royal nuptials or you will dislike me. But we here at onlinecasinosuite.com are excited about gambling, and their marriage looks pretty solid so we will turn out attention to things happening in the online casino and online gambling world. Prince William and Kate Middleton may be together forever now but Media Corp and the Gambling.com domain will not be.

Media Corp, who bought the gambling.com domain back in 2005 for $20 million, has sold it to an unnamed buyer for only $2.5 million.

The sale of the domain was managed by Sedo, who specializes in selling high profile domains. Some of their past successes include the sale of Slots.com for $5.5 million, the $3 million sale of Vodka.com and the whopping $13 million paid for Sex.com. Not surprising that last one—the only online business industry that is larger than online gambling is online ‘adult entertainment.’

Despite the difference in the price Media Corp paid for Gambling.com six years ago and its selling price, most view this as a favorable sale. Sedo’s CSO, Lisabeth Mack-de-Boer, said, “The high sale price paid for Gambling.com is a real confidence booster for the global domain industry.”

You might be asking yourself ‘How could a $17.5 million difference be a good thing?’ For starters the global economy was in a much better state six years ago. Also Media Corp’s purchase of Gambling.com took place before the US signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) into law. Now there is the shake up in the US from the Department of Justice’s seizure and indictment of the three largest online poker sites facing the US; and the US is the largest online gambling market. Definitely a contributor to a lower sale price. As for the domain itself, it was put under penalty in 2007 for ‘undefined reasons,’ and was under that penalty for two years. The penalty dropped the domain’s profit from $1.1 million to $0.5 million.

Media Corp said the reason behind the sale of Gambling.com was to boost their cash revenue. Their plan it make other strategic acquisitions that will expand their interests. Media Corp is an advertising and online gambling company.

Online Poker Indictment an Intimidation Tactic?

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

That may be the question here. More details are emerging about the indictment and seizure of three major online poker sites two weeks ago. And those details are pointing at the possibility that the indictment and seizure was meant to serve as a way to intimidate US citizens about playing online poker and other casinos games in online casinos.

Professor I. Nelson Rose certainly thinks this is an intimidation tactic. He says, “The timing of these indictments is suspect. The grand jury has been meeting for at least one year and on the indictment itself, it is dated March 10th, but they did not release it until April 15th. Why now? What has happened?”

What has happened is that online poker and online gambling in general is beginning to get more attention. For one thing states need the revenue to fill in holes in their budgets and US citizens want to play. As a result several states, which we have followed here at onlinecasinosuite.com, have begun discussing bills to create an intrastate online gambling or online poker network that would allow residents of their state to gamble online. These bills have met with varying degrees of success or unsuccess, but the point is that where there were no discussions, they are beginning to happen; and more states are joining New Jersey, Florida, California, Nevada, Iowa and Hawaii in pondering online gambling regulation.

But the icing on the cake was when Washington DC came out of nowhere and legalized their bill for intrastate online poker. Right there in DC, right under the Conservatives’ noses online poker passed. Now the Conservatives, who appear to have been building momentum and biding their time, have struck.

Rose continues by saying, “There was a lot of movement in March and April to legalize Internet poker in particular. I think what is going on, at least part of this, is the Department of Justice has been waging a war of intimidation, quite successfully, to scare the players, operators, affiliates and payment processors into not doing business in the United States.”

Rose’s point certainly explains why they would rather try to quash online casinos and online poker rooms than to legalize it, regulate it and generate jobs and revenue. And while Poker Stars and Full Tilt have bowed to the Conservatives (who must be roosting in the Department of Justice), Absolute Poker has not and is considering legal action against the US. Antigua and Barbados are considering bringing the World Trade Organization into the matter.

The timing is right. The events surrounding the indictment are right. The hold on a release of the indictment is right. It certainly seems to add up that the online poker indictment were meant as an intimidation tactic. The question now will be will federal lawmakers allow this fascist behavior and allow another Prohibition of sorts, or will they move this country forward?

Senator Kyl Changes Stance on Internet Poker

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

TAX CUTSIn what could be a sign of growing support in Congress for federal online poker regulation, it seems that even Jon Kyl is coming around. Kyl, the Republican Senator from Arizona, has been one of the biggest opponents of online gambling in the U.S. He was one of the architects of UIGEA and has been outspoken against online gambling on many occasions.

However, his website shows that his view on poker has softened. Kyl’s official website has a section giving his opinion on a variety of legal issues, including online gambling. Some folks on the 2+2 forum noticed that his website drastically changed its language regarding online poker.

In the past, not only did Kyl not differentiate poker from online gambling, but he said that it was the “most addictive form of gambling activity among American youth.” He said that online poker players “are more likely to exhibit problem gambling symptoms than other types of gamblers.” He used that to justify being opposed to all forms of online gambling, including poker.

The language currently on his website is much different. He explains that he opposes online gambling because it doesn’t have the same protections as gambling at casinos. He worries about the societal problems caused by it. However, this time he suggests that poker isn’t as bad:

Efforts to carve out an exception for games like poker, which many believe is a game of skill, may be considered later this year. Until I have the chance to review them, I cannot make a judgment about their merits; but I will consider them carefully as long as they leave in place the broader proscriptions against online betting.

That’s hardly an endorsement, but coming from Senator Kyl, it’s a big change. He’s willing to consider that online poker regulation can be a good thing, or at least acceptable. Since he’s not going to run for election, his vote only matters if the legislation comes to a vote this year. However, even if it doesn’t, the fact that Kyl is starting to come around could signal a shift for Congress as a whole.

U.S. Land Casinos Benefiting from Black Friday

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

DeptOfInjustice-smallFor U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice, everything is political. It is a Justice Department that picks and chooses which laws they want to enforce, who they want to prosecute, who they want to make an example of, and who they want to set free. Those decisions always have a political angle, so when you look at the Black Friday online poker indictments and domain seizures, you have to determine who it benefits.

Make no mistake, this isn’t about the government trying to protect the citizens from untrustworthy businesses. After all, the players who frequented PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker weren’t being ripped off. All of the charges, the alleged frauds, stem from the fact that the poker websites are foreign-operated companies. As foreign companies, they don’t pay taxes or other fees to the U.S. government. That’s what this is really about: The U.S. government’s play for power and money.

It’s fitting that Black Friday occurred on Tax Day, April 15. There have been movements for years to regulate online gambling in the U.S. Even if it is never done at the federal level, many states are looking at intrastate online gambling. Indicting the largest foreign poker rooms can exclude them from the American market once regulation is in place. That means more money for the government. Aside from occurring on Tax Day, the indictments were unsealed and the domains were seized two days after the District of Columbia passed a law to regulate online poker within the district. Once the D.C. lottery is running its own gambling website, it won’t have to worry about competition from PokerStars and the other indicted companies. As part of an agreement with the Department of Justice, they no longer accept any American customers.

If players either can’t play at foreign gambling websites or are afraid to, they are likely to turn to American options, which benefits the IRS. That brings us to the other big winners on Black Friday: the brick and mortar casinos. It’s no secret that many of the largest casinos in America are opposed to online gambling. Some casinos have come around, thinking it’s best to partner with the online casinos, but only because they think it’s impossible to stop Americans from gambling online. But is it?

Prohibition never works entirely, but as we’ve seen already, it does change where the money flows. Unable to play at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker or Absolute Poker, players have been turning to the land casinos. Since Black Friday, the U.S. land casinos have reported increases in attendance of up to 50%. That means a big boost for the largest casino industry in the country, Las Vegas, which is in dire financial straits. Just when they needed some help, they get some from the Department of Justice. By sheer coincidence, the U.S. Senator representing Nevada, Harry Reid, is the most powerful person in the Senate. Reid, a Democrat, is a shill for the Vegas labor unions and casinos, both of which benefit from Black Friday. He is also close to the White House, where he has a lot of influence. It is likely that he played a part in the Justice Department’s decision to go after the companies seen by most Vegas casinos as competitors.

The government is trying to spin Black Friday and make it about corrupt poker websites. The truth, though, is that their alleged crimes were simply ways around the fact that they are foreign companies that do not pay taxes to America. There have been no allegations that the websites were unsafe places to play or that they were cheating customers. Their only crime was being foreign, which cuts the U.S. land casino industry and the federal government out of the profits. It is that “crime” for which they are paying.

Another Black Friday Man Arrested, Lacks Lawyer

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Currently federal law enforcement personnel are working on tracking down all of the eleven men who were indicted in online poker’s Black Friday. At least one Black Friday man is known for sure to have been arrested and is currently sitting in jail. Now a definite second of the eleven has been taken into custody. We here are onlinecasinosuite.com are not for sure if more than these two have been arrested as only two arrests have made the news.

Monday’s haul for federal law enforcement and prosecutors yielded Ira Rubin. He was located and arrested in Guatemala. The fun fact about Rubin is that he is not one of the top executives of any of the three indicted online poker sites. Rubin was one of the so-called middle men who worked in the US to set up and keep the bank fraud and money laundering running smoothly. As a result he has nine counts against him as opposed to only three, one count of each charge per site.

Unfortunately for Rubin he has to cool his heels since his lawyer was not paid, resulting in a lack of lawyer. He was brought before US Magistrate Judge Andrea M. Simonton in Miami for his initial court appearance and to enter his plea. And it was there the motion to prosecute him had to stop for a breather. Rubin told the judge, “I signed an agreement with a lawyer in New York Friday. I have no idea whether he has been paid as of yet. I have not been able to make a phone call since Monday. The lawyer in questioned was called by the judge and verified Rubin’s statement. Without a lawyer Rubin has no representation, and his hearing has been rescheduled for tomorrow, April 29th in hopes that he will have legal representation by then.

Rubin’s charges include three counts of violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and three counts of operating an illegal online gambling business. There is one count for each site Rubin was connected with: Poker Stars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker. The other three charges consist of conspiracy to violate the UIGEA, conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and finally to commit a money laundering conspiracy.

In all honesty, I think prosecutors can get all but the illegal gambling business operation charges to stick. There is no US law that labels any particular online casino activity or online casino game, including online poker, as illegal. The only online gambling it is forbidden by name is online sports betting. Now prosecutors may try to say that lying to banks to process payments from players to the online poker sites is an illegal gambling business; but that is what the bank and wire fraud and money laundering charges are for. It is like prosecutors are trying to make one type of action stick with two charges. Processing payments is not gambling.

Refunds Start at PokerStars

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

PokerStarsSquarePokerStars customers, if you are an American citizen, now is a good time to get your money back. Today the online gambling company announced that it has reached an agreement with a bank to facilitate the refunding of money to American players. To get the refund, players have to visit the website and apply for one.

Last week, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker reached an agreement with the Department of Justice that allowed the website to reopen. The domains had been seized and anyone who went to them were greeted only with a single page displaying an FBI warning. The Justice Department says that they never seized any player funds and have no intention of doing so. Under the agreement, the websites can be used to refund money to American players, but no Americans can deposit more money or play with money already in their account. The agreement does, however, allow customers from other parts of the world to continue playing. Americans can play for free at the free version of the website, PokerStars.net.

American players have been automatically withdrawn from any tournaments that they have entered or registered for. Foreign nationals who visit the United States are not allowed to play on the website for real money while in America. Likewise, American citizens who are traveling abroad cannot play for real money at PokerStars while they are overseas.

While PokerStars and Full Tilt have reached an agreement to bring the websites back online and return money to players, Absolute Poker has reached no such deal. Their website is still down and inaccessible. The Department of Justice has indicated that they are willing to give Absolute Poker the same deal.

Man Looking at Charges for Stealing Casino Chips

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

The saying goes that ‘Cheaters never prosper.’ I would like to take this moment to adapt that to ‘Stealers never prosper.’ And no, I am not talking about the football team; I am not about to get into one of those debates.

What I am talking about is a man in Cleveland, Ohio who made the mistake of stealing chips at a Pennsylvania casino. The casino is one of the latest to be added to the Pennsylvania line up since the state expanded their casino and table game offerings at the beginning of last year; it is the Presque Isle Downs. And the man is thirty seven year old Christopher Gary.

Gary did not actually steal the chips from the casino himself; this was not a ‘grab the chips and flee out of the front door’ kind of theft. Rather Gary snagged some of the chips that belonged to the guy sitting next to him at one of the new blackjack tables in Presque Isle not long after 1 am. After stealing his table neighbor’s chips, Gary gave some to a friend and then cashed in $500 of the stolen chips. Then he left the casino, but not in a fleeing for your life kind of way.

Upon discovering that some of his chips had been stolen, the victim worked with casino security staff to identify Gary on the casino’s video surveillance system. Police located Gary, took him into custody and tucked him away in the Erie County Prison where he waits sans blackjack chips for his arraignment.

This is what happens when you steal casino chips. You do not prosper. You do not pass Go and you certainly do not get $200. At this point Gary is likely to faces charges from his theft and it is likely that he will end with less than he started with. Casino chip theft: it is a bad gamble.

Hungary to Liberalize Internet Gambling Market

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

HUNGARYSlowly but surely, Hungary is taking steps toward liberalizing their online gambling market. Under pressure from the European Union, a law is being drafted that would disband the current monopoly and allow for foreign competition.

Currently the state-run Szerencsejáték Zrt has a monopoly on all gambling activities. Any gambling through another party is illegal by Hungarian law. That’s bad news for a number of reasons, with one of them being that Szerencsejáték Zrt doesn’t offer very many games to play.

Under pressure from the EU to conform to their free trade rules, Hungary is now drafting a law that would end the monopoly and allow offshore online casino companies to obtain licenses to operate in the country. The government will accept bids for licenses until May 16. In June, the highest bidders will be revealed.

According to sources, the Hungarian government is taking advice from some of the top online gambling companies in the industry while drafting the legislation. The biggest issue will be taxation. The EU requires the tax rate to be “competitive” with other EU-member states, which means that it can’t be too high or too low. The EU wants all countries to tax the industry as basically the same rate. In Hungary, though, taxation is very complicated. The EU and gambling operators are eagerly waiting to see what the taxation model for the online gambling industry ends up being. The legislation would have to be approved by the EU, so it may go through numerous revisions before the new market is up and running.

Still, the simple fact that the once closed-off country is drafting legislation to open the gambling industry is a positive sign. With countries like Greece heading in the opposite direction, it’s a good thing to see.

Caesar’s CEO says Regulation of Internet Gambling Needed…Now

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Caesar’s may well be against state level regulation of online gambling. But there is no question as of yesterday as to where they stand on federally regulated online gambling. Gary Loveman, Chief Executive Officer of Caesar’s Entertainment Corp, wrote an op-ed piece that was published on cnn.com. Loveman is the first person from a major gaming interest to speak so publicly about the seizure of three online poker sites that took place on April 15th. In his op-ed piece, Loveman makes the argument for federally regulated online gambling.

If the government’s intention was to try to stop online poker playing and to scare US citizens away from online casinos, seizing three online poker sites will not do the trick. And that is exactly one of Loveman’s points: “The question we face is not ‘will there be online poker?’ Millions of Americans have already answered that question through their regular play, and the latest indictments will not change that. In fact, less than 24 hours after the three poker sites were closed, other foreign operators began filling the void.”

And that right there is one of the reasons that online gambling in casinos online needs to be regulated in the US. The market here is too big for foreign countries to resist us. Close one set of sites and make a deal that forces them to withdraw from the US market might make the Conservatives feel good about their ‘saving us from our sins’ and cause them to start patting themselves on the back; but the truth is that taking out three sites will only cause three times as many to flock in to fill their space. The difference is that those sites that are running to fill in the gap are probably less reputable, which puts US citizens at risk. Conservatives would rather put citizens at even more risk than listen to what the people want.

Conservatives cannot hope to seize and make withdraw deals with every single online poker room and online casino in the world. There are too many, and more will come as sites agree to exit the US market. The Conservatives cannot hope to keep the world out, and they cannot build a wall around the US.

So now our federal law makers are faced with a question which Loveman sums up: “Instead, the question is this: ‘Should we seize the moment to legalize online poker, permit a safe and legitimate industry in the US, and bring those jobs and revenues home?’ Unequivocally, the answer is yes.”