Archive for May, 2011

Former Poker Professional Sentenced for Parents Murder

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Problem gambling is not unheard of. We all hear stories from time to time of someone who made a desperate attempt to find more money to gamble with. Sometimes jokes are cracked about those who have an issue gambling, or that gambling can even be a problem. But problem gambling does exist, and regardless of whether you enjoy online gambling or playing in a land casino, you always have to be aware of your playing; you do not want to end up feeling desperate.

And desperate is exactly what has led former professional poker player Ernest Scherer III to spending the rest of his life behind bars. And life behind bars is exactly what Scherer was sentenced with for the murder of his parents.

The murder happened in 2008 in California and has become one of the most notorious murders to have happened in California, perhaps because it was done out of desperation which resulted from a gambling addiction. His career as a poker professional was on the decline with no signs of making a rebound and he needed money to try to keep on playing. Finally he had gone to his parents in hopes that they would give him money to continue playing the poker circuit with. Either unimpressed with their son’s aspirations in life or in an effort to try to prevent him from sliding further down the slope of problem gambling, his parents denied him.

This is when desperation turned ugly. After being denied, Scherer stabbed and beat them to death with a baseball bat. It is believed he had hopes of receiving the $1 million inheritance that would come to him at the time of their death. Scherer never got the $1 million. While investigators could not find hard evidence that linked him directly to the murder of his parents, there was enough evidence, such as CCTV footage of Scherer’s car in the vicinity of his parents’ home on the night of their murder, to go to trial were jurors found him guilty of the murder of his parents. Next came Scherer’s life behind bars sentence, ensuring that he never has to worry about finding money for poker again.

While the majority of problem gamblers never reach this level of desperation, this serves as a cautionary story of why all gamblers, regardless of whether they are online poker, online blackjack or land casino card players or slot machine players, should always be mindful of their gambling habits. At the first sign of an addiction help should be sought.

Xenophon Wants Police to Go After Online Gambling

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Xenophon-6111488Nick Xenophon, the staunchly anti-gambling independent South Australian senator, is disappointed in the efforts of the Australian Federal Police to curb the so-called problem. Though the Interactive Gambling Act bans online gambling in the country, it is still a thriving business and, according to Xenophon, the AFP is doing nothing about it. The AFP is like Australia’s version of the FBI in America.

Recently, the AFP has begun investigating PokerStars at the urging of the FBI. Why they would listen to the FBI, who has no international jurisdiction, is another issue entirely. Xenophon says that they have been dragging their heels and allowing online gambling websites to access the Australian market, including breaking the law by advertising in Australia by sponsoring sports franchises. It seems that the federal authorities were content to let the gambling happen, perhaps thinking that it’s not worth their time. That they are investigating now is a sign that they are willing to be pushed around by U.S. federal authorities.

To Xenophon, though, it’s too little too late. “There could be a hidden epidemic of problem gambling from online gambling that we just don’t know about,” he said to the Sydney Morning Herald. Of course! If only the Aussie feds went around busting websites that let people pay money to play a game, we would know how many gambling addicts there are!

The good Senator is calling on the AFP to crack down on online gambling and has also asked that the inquiry by the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform include online gambling. The AFP, however, seems unfazed by his criticism. Their customary response to comments like Xenophon’s is to reiterate that they have a process to determine which cases receive attention from their limited resources. The implied response is “dude, we have more important things to worry about than online gambling.”

Alberta Still Says No to Online Gambling

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Here is the thing with the North American continent: it is dominated by the United States, which is a tad odd considering that it is not the largest country on the continent (Canada is the largest at 3.86 million square miles as compared to the US’s 3.79 million). When it comes to online gambling, the US is not the only North American county to be turning over the idea of regulating it nationally.

In Canada three provinces are looking at online gambling as a source of revenue. And to keep their people happy since they want to play online casino games anyway. This would be similar to individual states in the US considering online gambling except Canada does not have an Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) to work around. Oh, and provinces are a lot bigger than states…except for maybe Alaska.

As it stands now British Columbia and Ontario are moving forward to regulate online gambling in their provinces. These two are the front runners in the Canadian realm of online gambling. British Columbia launched their own online gambling portal last year; while the site has met with some hiccups, including a privacy issue at its onset, the site is now functioning quite well and has a good future. Ontario is set to launch their own online gambling portal this coming fall.

But Alberta is still saying no to online gambling for their province. But unlike the US Conservatives, they are not trying to judge what is morally right and wrong for its residents. Instead they would rather focus on gaining some control over problem gambling in their province and to establish a method of help for those with problem gambling before moving forward with any online gambling regulation. “We found that between 36 and 39% of Alberta government gaming revenue is generated by people who have a gambling problem,” said Robert Wood, who is a professor at the University of Lethbridge and has studied gambling in Alberta.

That is a pretty high percentage, so it is commendable that Alberta would want to establish a system o deal with problem gambling before moving forward with a program that would potentially increase problem gambling in their province. “We have been talking about it all along, and the last is three or four months back now, and my recommendation, as I say to Cabinet, is that we do not proceed and we are not planning to,” said Alberta Solicitor General Frank Oberle.

It appears at this time that Alberta will not have regulated online gambling or online poker anytime in the foreseeable future. However once they establish a structure for dealing with problem gambling. Alberta may turn around and create a regulation infrastructure at some point in the future.

IS DOJ Colluding with Casino Industry?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a wild conspiracy theory here on OnlineCasinoSuite.com, so I thought I would share one that has been making its rounds in the office. Coworkers have been jokingly talking about a conspiracy between Realtime Gaming (RTG) and the U.S. Department of Justice.

While several online gambling operators have been specifically targeted by the Justice Department and several casino software developers have gotten spooked and left the market, RTG seems comfortable. Microgaming was already more or less out of the American market, but they pulled out completely after Black Friday. Vegas Technology got spooked recently and it seems that every day we are learning about a new gambling website that is leaving the American market. Meanwhile, RTG seems comfortable, almost as if they are immune from prosecution…

For the record, we respect RTG and don’t actually think that they are doing anything wrong. However, it’s an interesting question to ponder. What if one of the big casino companies is colluding with the government? What if there is a deal with the government where the DOJ eliminates their competition in exchange for big kickbacks under the table? Certainly there is a long history of the government having similar deals with other industries. Is it possible that’s what is going on with online gambling? Of course. Is it likely? I don’t know.

It would almost make recent events seem to make sense. There is no federal law banning online gambling, but the feds don’t like the activity because it doesn’t benefit them. Company X goes to the feds and says “hey, how about we work out a deal? I’ll pay you good money and in exchange, you get rid of my competition. To get rid of them, I’ll tell you all of the complex inner workings of the industry that you need to know.”

Again, that is probably not what is happening. It’s just a joking conspiracy in the office. However, given how corrupt the Justice Department is, it wouldn’t surprise me if that conspiracy turned out to be true.

Available Bonuses at Bodog Casino

Monday, May 30th, 2011

bodog-girls-posingWe at OnlineCasinoSuite.com are pleased to announce a new member on our white list: Bodog Casino. One of the biggest and most respected names in the business, Calvin Ayre’s company has its own unique brand of awesomeness. They have a great collection of casino games, good bonuses and tournament action, a popular sportsbook (unless you live in the U.S., where online sports betting is illegal) and of course, the Bodog Girls. The Girls make every appearance by the company a little more exciting, though a female coworker of mine calls Ayre and his girls “smarmy.”

If you are new to Bodog, there are some good bonuses that you will want to know about. First, of course, there is the signup bonus. No online gambling website worth its bandwidth doesn’t offer a bonus for joining the site. At Bodog, whether you sign up at the casino, poker room or whatever, you get a 10% deposit bonus, which is worth up to $50.

If you play Bodog Poker, there is another great bonus. You can get up to $1,100 in bonus money. Bodog gives you a 10% match bonus up front, but then you get an addition bonus of up to 100% based on your play over the next 60 days in the poker room. Bodog also rewards you for being a frequent player by giving you extra for winning a lot. If you earn 2,000 or more points in a month, Bodog Casino will double your cash rewards. There are also a number of situational bonuses, such as the Bad Beat Bonus and the Royal Flush Bonus for poker players. Referring a friend will also earn you the $100 Friends with Benefits bonus.

Bodog has made a name for themselves through reliability and constant media exposure (the Bodog Girls help with that). They are licensed in the UK – through the Kahnawake Gaming Commission – and in Costa Rica. The company used software developed by Realtime Gaming. And now they’re officially approved by Suite. What more could you ask for?

Online Gambling Legal in The Netherlands After All?

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

So, apparently online gambling in The Netherlands was never legal. Judging by the amount of betting activity generated by the Dutch, you would have probably never known this. But as is the case in non-regulated markets like the United States, where there is demand to gamble online, there is supply.

And that’s what the Dutch government has finally gotten wind of.  More precisely, the Dutch government has finally come around to the idea of liberalizing it’s gambling laws to allow foreign betting operators to do business with Dutch citizens. In effect, online gambling hasn’t been illegal in The Netherlands – just online gambling at betting sites not operated by the Dutch government monopoly, Holland Casino.

In many ways, the recent approval by the new coalition Dutch government to permit the issuance of gaming licenses to offshore companies is vindication for the European powerhouses, Betfair and Landbrokes, both of whom opened a case against the Dutch government with the European Court of Justice. Needless to say, that case lost, and Dutch citizens have since had far fewer options to “legally” play their favorite online casino games.

Another thing to confuse the masses regarding iGaming regulations in The Netherlands is the fact that online gambling has long been legal in Curacao (popular with U.S. friendly online casinos and home to Vegas Technology Software), which is one of the Netherlands, Antilles islands – an autonomous country within the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Curacao is often mistakenly cited as being governed by The Netherlands, which it is not.

Besides, now that Vegas Technology is dropping out the U.S. market (current players will apparently still be eligible to play), the topic of regulation in The Netherlands has become much clearer. Say goodbye to United States online gambling revenues and hello to the burgeoning European iGaming market. Say hello to Dutch online gamblers.

Rafflepalooza Promotion Through June 22 at Go Casino

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

GoCasino-RafflepaloozaFor all the sweepstakes hunters and lover’s of free casino bonuses out there, Go Casino Online (which is no longer open to USA players, by the way) has a fantastic promotion taking place for the next four months. From May 1 to August 22, 2011, Go Casino is hosting the inaugural Rafflepalooza. Offering as much bang in bucks as its namesake – the alternative music festival, Lalapalooza, does in electric guitar, Rafflepalooza is one seriously loaded sweepstakes promotion as far as online casinos go.

The overall bounty on Rafflepalooza is tallied at over $300,000 just in cash prize bonuses alone. Additionally, there are five luxury travel packages with round trip travel and hotel accommodations, as well as sixteen iPad 2’s up for grabs, spread out over weekly and monthly draws.

In order to qualify for the sweepstakes, players must make a real money deposit and wager at least $50 on the selected game of the week. For every $50 wagered thereafter, players will receive an entry for that particular week’s sweepstakes. The weekly bounty is worth $7,500 in cash prize bonus money to be shared by 100 lucky players. The first prize winner will walk away with an iPad2, which I’m not even sure can be used to gamble online at Go Casino. The iPad 1 is not compatible with Flash and Go Casino does not have an iPad app. So, unless the iPad 2 can do Flash, the iPad winners will simply have to find something else to do with their iPad’s (which shouldn’t be too hard, all things considered).

All eligible players for the weekly sweepstakes will automatically receive entry in the monthly draw (May, June and July), as well as the Grand Prize draw on September 1, 2011. The monthly sweepstakes prizes include $25,000 in cash prize bonuses to be shared by 100 players and a 3 night vacation getaway for two. May’s vacation trip goes to Orlando, Florida, June’s trip is to Las Vegas, and July’s lucky winner will enjoy a trip to Maui (my personal favorite Hawaiian island).

Extending to yet another sweepstakes tier, Rafflepalooza includes a grand prize final draw, with the top three lucky winners receiving a weeklong luxury trip with travel and accommodations paid for two. First place goes to Italy, second place gets a trip to Paris and third place is going to Punta Cana. Five-hundred players will share a bounty of $100,000 in grand prize bonus money.

For a complete list of draw dates and prize winnings, see the Promotions page at Go Casino. Please note that all cash prize bonus winnings are subject to wagering conditions. These include a 10x play-through requirement on select games (slots and specialty games), and a maximum cashout of $250 in winnings earned from bonus play unless otherwise noted. Game restrictions for meeting the play-through include Blackjack, Video Poker, Hold’em, Craps, Roulette, Let Them Ride, Casino War, Red Dog Poker, Mulligan Poker, Caribbean Stud and Tri-Card Poker.

How the Money Laundering of the Online Poker Sites Worked

Friday, May 27th, 2011

It has been in the online gambling news for the last month and a half. First three online poker sites and now ten more online gambling portals have been seized. The executives of these thirteen online poker and online gambling sites have been indicted on charges of bank fraud and money laundering. Oh, and operating an illegal online gambling business—cannot forget that one since that is high likely to be the driving force behind the Department of Justice’s desire to prosecute.

So the terms money laundering, as well as the charges, have been bandied about without anyone really looking at what was actually happening. So we are going to take a look at how some online gambling industry favorites got busted.

Online gambling operators do not operate in the United States. Instead their base of operations is located overseas in Europe, Central America or the Caribbean. They are located overseas because it is illegal for them to set up operations and be based out of the US. It is hoped that once the federal government gets its head out of the sand and moves to regulate online gambling that operators will be able to establish a branch of operations in the US.

Okay, so online gambling operators are overseas. With the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in place to work as a wall between them and their player’s money, they have to find a way around the UIGEA wall. Enter payment processors and associates in the US.

Online gambling operators, according to the DoJ, would have associates in the US open bank accounts. Players’ money that was deposited into one of those US bank accounts that the associates opened under a fake business name. The payment processor would then take the money from the US bank account and transfer it to an overseas bank account for the online poker or online gambling operators. At this point operators would keep their profit and then transfer money back through the payment processor to the US bank accounts in order to pay players their winnings.

And that is how the money laundering charges came about. As much as we all love Poker Stars, Full Tilt and the other eleven online gambling operators, it is sad to say that they did commit money laundering for all intents and purposes. But on the other hand they were willing to take the risk in order to help US players play the online casino games they love.

Kansas Casino Targeted by Jobless

Friday, May 27th, 2011

kansas-location-mapOne of the most common reasons given for casino expansion is an economic one. Proponents of casino expansion say that adding casinos will create more tax revenue, inject more money into the local economy and create jobs. A planned Kansas casino is already getting plenty of attention from job-seekers, according to the Wichita Eagle.

The Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas is not expected to open until February 2012, but it has already received almost 4,000 job applications online. Those applicants are fighting for 575 jobs. Those numbers show you two things: First, there are a lot of people in Kansas (just like the rest of the country) who are out of work and desperate for a job. Secondly, it shows you that those people are confident in a casino’s ability to provide jobs. Though some of the opponents of casino expansion balk at the economic impact, a flood of applications almost a year before the casino opens says a lot.

That news is both optimistic and sad at the same time. It’s a good thing that the upcoming Kansas casino has people so excited. It’s a good thing that it will generate new jobs. However, it’s very sad that so many people have applied for jobs that won’t even be available until next year. How helpless do you have to feel if you don’t think you’ll find another job before then? A few years ago, I was unemployed for a period of 6 months, and I can tell you that by the end, I felt desperate, hopeless and worthless. I imagine a large number of the 4,000 who have applied for jobs at the Kansas Star Casino so far feel that way as well.

Though the first phase of the casino will employ about 575 people, that number will eventually be bumped to 800 when the final phase is complete. Of the job people are applying for, the average salary is $38,000.

New Delaware Casino Bill Introduced

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

delaware-locatemapA new bill is making its way through the Delaware legislature that would make it easier to expand gambling in the state. The bill will be introduced by Representative Dennis E. Williams, who wants to add more casinos to Delaware as a way of boosting the economy.

In an effort to bring more casinos to the state, Williams is set to introduce a bill in the House that would change the selection committee for gambling locations. One of the most important things it would do is take some power away from the governor. Currently the governor is basically able to stack the panel with his own appointees, which is bad news if the governor is against casino expansion. Williams’s bill would change the makeup of the selection committee. Three panel members would be appointed by the governor, three would be chosen by the Senate president pro tempore and three would be chosen by the Speaker of the House.

Another part of the bill, according to the Delaware Online, would “establish a broader criteria for evaluating the long-term financial benefits and costs to the state that additional gambling venues would bring to Delaware.”

Williams is the latest to take up the casino expansion cause. In March, legislation proposed by Representative Pete Schwartzkopf failed in the House. Some of the House members who opposed Schwartzkopf’s bill think the new one is better. One common complaint was a perception that Schwartzkopf’s bill was designed to benefit a single developer in Sussex County.

Williams said that “can’t say whether that was a fair or unfair assessment,” but he thinks some people who opposed the bill used that as an excuse. He is glad to take that excuse away. Schwartzkopf has also said that he is fine with being removed from this legislation and just wants to see it pass.