Archive for October, 2011

Would Online Gambling Hurt State Revenue?

Monday, October 31st, 2011

congressAs the U.S. federal government desperately searches for ways to trim the national deficit, reduce spending, and increase revenue, online gambling has become a hot topic. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on regulating the industry, presided over by Republican chair Mary Bono Mack, a proponent of regulation.

There are many objections to federal online gambling regulation from many different groups. There are the groups who oppose all gambling on moral grounds. There are the tribal groups who are worried about losing business at their tribal brick and mortar casinos. And now we are starting to hear more opposition from leaders in state governments.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley wrote a letter to Congress, saying that in Maryland “federalized poker and casino gambling would put at risk the $19 million annually we generate from our state Lottery – our state’s fourth largest source of revenue – and jeopardize the jobs and survival of lottery retailers, many of which are small businesses.”

It is a very real concern. Just as online versions of other businesses have become tough competition for their brick and mortar counterparts (think of the Amazon.com effect), the same could happen with gambling. If people can play their favorite games online from home, would fewer people make a trip to state casinos? Probably.

That is why it is important for the states to get onboard with the regulation. If online gambling regulation happens at the federal level, states need to be involved to get a piece of the pie. Many states, such as New Jersey and California, are attempting to pass their own laws regulating online gambling. If no federal regulation is passed, the states could only allow gambling to take place within state borders. That limits the size of the casino’s customers, but at least there is no federal encroachment. If the federal government regulates the industry, though, the state-licensed online casinos could accept customers across the entire country (and possibly internationally). The feds would get some of the tax revenue, but the state would as well.

The great challenge facing lawmakers is not whether or not to regulate the online casino industry. Most people believe that will happen eventually, and probably soon. The challenge will be finding out a way to benefit everyone, so the states and tribal casinos don’t suffer.

Halloween Promotions at High Noon Casino

Friday, October 28th, 2011

I’m not sure if the people of the Old West were really that into celebrating Halloween. I certainly can’t imagine Wyatt Earp coming to the sheriff’s office dressed as a vampire. But maybe I’m wrong. In any case, High Noon Casino, one of the best casinos in the business and one that is highly recommended here at OnlineCasinoSuite.com, has a special weekend promotion for the Halloween holiday.

From Friday, October 28 to Monday, October 31 (which is Halloween), the online casino is running the Halloween Week Special. During that time, the casino is offering a 100% deposit match bonus. The bonus has a maximum amount of $1,000. However, they are unlimited, so you can claim as many $1,000 bonuses as you want. Each bonus would be subject to the wagering requirements, though.

The coupon code for that bonus is BLACK. Each deposit and bonus under this promotion must be wagered a minimum of 25 times before a cashout is allowed. Only wagers on online slots, keno and scratch cards count toward the wagering requirement.

In addition to the special Halloween bonus, High Noon Casino continues to offer two regular bonus promotions. One is unlimited 65% match bonuses for players of slots, keno and scratch cards. Obviously, that is a lower percentage than the BLACK bonus, but there is no maximum bonus amount. Players of blackjack, video poker and any table game can also get unlimited 55% match bonuses. The coupon codes for those two bonuses are SLOTS65 and OTHERGAMES55, respectively. More information can be found on the promotions page of High Noon Casino.

Halloween Aladdin’s Gold Casino Promotions

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Right now, Aladdin’s Gold Casino is running a bonus promotion for the Halloween holiday. It is called the Halloween Weekend Cash Back and it is a good way of putting more money in your pockets to spend on costumes and alcohol.

The promotion, which runs from Thursday, October 27 to Sunday, October 30, allows you to recoup some of the money you lose playing at the online casino. If, during that period of time, you have a net loss while playing at the casino, on Monday the casino will reimburse you for 31% of the money you lost. It’s a good way of easing the sting of losing money at the casino.

There are terms and conditions for the cash back bonus. The bonus must be wagered at least two times before you can withdraw the money. There are no limitations on the games that apply to the cash back bonus, so even money lost on progressive slots count. To claim your cash back bonus, once the promotional period ends, send an email to promotions@aladdinsgoldcasino.com requesting the bonus. The casino should award the bonus to you within 24 hours.

Once Halloween starts, the casino will have a different bonus for you. The Trick or Treat bonus will give you a bonus if you deposit $50 or more. You pick one of the two bonus codes, TRICK or TREAT. As is appropriate for Halloween, you won’t know what the bonus is until after you claim it. All of these promotions and more can be found at Aladdin’s Gold Casino.

Congress Holds Online Poker Hearing

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

mary-bono-mackPerhaps Congress is really serious about trying to regulate online poker in the United States. On Tuesday, a panel of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on regulating interstate online poker. The hearing was chaired by Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), a proponent of regulating the industry.

The hearing saw testimony from a number of witnesses related to the industry, including Poker Players Alliance Chairman Alfonse D’Amato, a former New York senator. D’Amato and others testified that there is currently nothing preventing Americans from playing poker online at overseas online poker rooms. By not regulating it, the United States is simply losing out on the tax revenue and the ability to ensure that the websites are safe. It is estimated that Americans wager $16 billion on online poker per year.

Echoing the fact that the attempted prohibition isn’t working, Mack said that “to stand in the way of the Internet can create consequences that are impossible to recover from.” Fellow Republican Joe Barton (Texas) said that poker is an “All-American game” that is enjoyed by many, including President Obama.

The most outspoken opponents of regulation are those representing tribal gambling. Ernest Stevens Jr., chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, testified that “tribes are concerned that legalized Internet gaming will threaten their gains.” The tribal casino industry brings in $26 billion each year. The tribes are worried that increased access to online gambling will cause many of their customers to simply play from home instead of visiting the casinos.

Barton is the lead sponsor of HR 2366, which would regulate the online poker industry by creating an Office of Internet Poker Oversight. His bi-partisan bill is co-sponsored by Republican Ron Paul (Texas) and Democrat Barney Frank (Massachusetts).

NC Court to Judge Sweepstakes Machines

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

north_carolina_state_mapNorth Carolina’s Court of Appeals will finally make a definitive (as least, until it is appealed to the Supreme Court) decision on the legality of sweepstakes machines. The decision is being anticipated by people on each side of the issue, as a legal gray area has complicated things for some time.

Gambling cafes offering sweepstakes machines have been a source of controversy across the United States, including in North Carolina. Some cafes offer Internet sweepstakes games where gambling is not legal. They claim legality of the business by saying that customers are paying for time on the Internet, rather than directly making wagers. Other times they are physical sweepstakes machines, with the argument being that they are not gambling games as defined by the law.

In North Carolina, in 2007 the legislature passed a law banning traditional video poker machines, which had been operated in the gambling cafes. The ban was strengthened with new laws in 2008 and 2010 that more clearly defined what games are banned. The gambling cafes, however, have continued to operate sweepstakes machines. According to the business owners, the games are not gambling machines and therefore do not violate the law. They say that letting customers use the computers to uncover potential prizes, including cash, is a marketing gimmick to sell Internet and phone time. It is not gambling, they say.

Last year, state trial courts took the case after the government tried to shut down the businesses and the business owners sued. The courts gave different decisions, with one ruling on behalf of the cafes and one ruling that the games are illegal. The cases were then appealed to the state Court of Appeals. Today the court will hear the first arguments for the case.

Trump Speaks in Favor of Online Gambling

Monday, October 24th, 2011

The Apprentice Season 3As reported last week on OCS, Trump Entertainment is close to inking a deal for a joint venture with Avenue Capital Group to offer online gambling in the U.S. once the industry is regulated. Donald Trump is now publicly speaking about the venture and about the future of the industry.

Like many in the gambling industry, Trump sees that a lot of money that American residents are gambling is being spent at overseas online casinos, meaning American businesses don’t get the money and the government doesn’t get the tax revenue. Trump wants to tap into the market and plans to offer an online casino as soon as Congress passes legislation to regulate the industry.

“It should be approved here,” Trump said on Thursday, speaking with the Associated Press. “An awful lot of money is leaving the U.S. that should and could stay in this country.”

Like many, Trump thinks that the biggest obstacle facing companies that want to get a start in the American market is developing brand recognition. Unlike brick and mortar casinos and other American businesses, most online casinos are not known by the general public. The key, Trump says, is to have the best brand in the online gambling market. Not surprisingly, he thinks he has the best brand: himself.

“We think we have the hottest brand there is, the Trump brand, my personal brand,” Trump said. “We think it’s going to do phenomenally well.”

Robert Griffin, the CEO of Trump Entertainment, said that the stakes are high. He thinks the industry will eventually be regulated, but believes that millions of Americans are currently playing at unsafe online casinos. “Currently, millions of Americans engage in online gaming with illegal offshore operators, and do so with no oversight, no regulation or no consumer protections.”

Of course, that’s not accurate. There were actually four incorrect statements (out of four) in that sentence. First, playing at offshore online casinos is not illegal in the United States unless your particular state, such as Washington, bans it. There is no federal law banning online gambling, aside from sports betting. Mr. Griffin should also be aware that there is oversight, regulation and consumer protections at online casinos; it is just not done by the U.S. federal government. Instead, the oversight, regulation and protections are done by foreign governments (such as Curacao and Gibraltar), private regulatory agencies (such as eCOGRA), and private software testing agencies (such as TST).

Play Online Casino Slots at LuckyFreeSlots.com

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

If you’re looking for slot machines to play on the Web, there are many options available. Depending on whether you want to strictly play for fun, for prizes, real money or in tournament form, the internet has it all. Here at Online Casino Suite, we like to think we have it all too, however, every now and then, our editors come across a niche site that we think our reader’s would benefit from checking out. Such a site is Lucky Free Slots.

For the newbie who is seeking to play online slots for real money in both tournament and solo form, there are many internet casinos willing to cater. If you want both free slots to play and a good recommendation for an online casino, visit the preceding link. Sites like this provide a chance to test out the slots before opening an account at an online casino and depositing real money. Secondly, fly-by-night online casinos do exist, so it’s very important to gather research from reputable resources and choose your online casinos carefully.

For the beginner’s out there who are looking to try out online slot machines for the first time, it is highly recommended to initially do so in fun-money mode. While it may be tempting to drop a few penny spins, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the structure and rules of the game first so as to better understand your winning opportunities and overall risk associated with each game. Furthermore, software glitches have been known to happen – So be sure to learn the paying symbol combinations. FYI, if a glitch and consequent non-payout were to happen to you, grab a screen shot of the rested reels and report the malfunction to your casino manager.

Another route for newbies seeking out the best real money internet slots is to read up on the various gaming software providers. By verifying the credentials and reputation of the software platform itself (through which the source code and RNG are developed), you are one step closer to ensuring you will be getting a fair bet. For the record, Microgaming is an outstanding platform for the UK/Euro online gambler, while Real Time Gaming provides top-quality slots for the U.S. player.

Beyond this, the hallmark differences between slot machines of different software provicers often lies in the actual entertainment experience. The most entertaining internet slots are programmed with realistic interactive elements and accompanying story lines corresponding to one’s amount of play, often drawing out many hours, even weeks of new and original entertainment. Rival Gaming’s iSlots, for example, are apropos to leading PC video games.

Again, the best way to gauge a slot machines entertainment factor is to test it out in fun-money mode. As mentioned earlier, a great destination to play free casino slots and launching pad for real money online casinos is luckyfreeslots.com. It’s been around a long time, has a nice Facebook following and actually offers free play at cutting-edge slot, which is why this site often gets recommended by players.

If you catch the bug and become a slots fanatic (not an addict, mind you), there are several internet communities worth joining, namely, player forums and free prize tournament sites. In other words, where there are slots, there are players!

Weekend Bonuses at Lucky Red Casino

Friday, October 21st, 2011

lucky-red-casinoIf the weekend is here, that must mean there is a new weekend bonus being offered by Lucky Red Casino. One of the good things about the online casino is that they constantly rotate promotions in and out. Rather than have a standard bonus running all of the time, they bring in different promotions to fit the occasion. On the weekend you can usually count on something good.

This weekend, Lucky Red Casino is offering 5 bonuses worth up to $5,000 total. Players who deposit a minimum of $100 can receive a 100% match on their deposit, with a maximum bonus value of $1,000. The bonus can be redeemed up to 5 times during the promotional period, which runs from Friday, October 21 to Monday, October 24.

The coupon code for that bonus offer is GIFTS4U. As always, the bonus comes with certain terms and conditions. The deposit and bonus must be wagered at least 25 times before you can withdraw the money. Only wagers on online slots, keno and scratch cards count toward the wagering requirements.

If you are more of a table games type of person, there is a bonus for you as well. The casino is offering unlimited 55% deposit matches for players of blackjack, video poker and any other table games. If you are a slot, keno and scratch card player but the 5 bonuses aren’t enough for you, there is also an unlimited bonus promotion for you. The online casino is offering unlimited 65% deposit matches. The coupon codes for the two bonuses are OTHERGAMES55 and SLOTS65, respectively. More information on the bonuses and other promotions can be found at Lucky Red Casino.

Donald Trump Online Gambling Venture

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The Apprentice Season 3If online gambling regulation is passed in the United States, Donald Trump wants in on the deal. The iconic businessman, perhaps best known for his hair, firing people on TV and criticizing Barack Obama, will form an online gambling joint venture with Avenue Capital Group to offer online casinos in the U.S.

Avenue Capital took control of Trump Entertainment last year during bankruptcy. According to an October 14 regulatory filing, Trump Entertainment and Avenue Capital would start a joint venture in the event that state or federal regulation in the United States takes place. Trump owns casinos in New Jersey and Iowa, two states that are considering regulating the online gambling industry.

Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter, told Businessweek that it is “just a matter of time” until the U.S. regulates the online gambling industry. Americans wager an estimated $6 billion each year online, and that money is not being taxed and the casinos are not paying any licensing fees to the cash-strapped governments.

For Trump and Avenue Capital, it is important to get into the game right away and be prepared for regulation. Once one state regulates the industry, Ivanka Trump says, “there will be a domino effect, the same way lotteries started in the 1960s.”

The biggest problem for any new online gambling site is developing name recognition. While opening the website doesn’t take much money, companies spend a lot of money promoting and marketing the casino so that it becomes a known product. The hope is that the Trump name will make that a lot easier and give the online casino instant name recognition.

William Hill Dealing With Walkouts

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

williamhillWilliam Hill’s senior staff recently flew to their overseas locations in an attempt to quell unrest from staff that are worried about their jobs. Staff in the William Hill Online offices in Tel Aviv, Israel; Manila, Philippines; and Sofia, Bulgaria walked out on Sunday, amid concerns about their jobs being relocated.

The William Hill offices in Tel Aviv and Manila handle online marketing and back-office work. The Sofia office handles the web chat service as part of the customer service department. In Tel Aviv, 180 staff members walked out on Sunday, protesting William Hill’s alleged plans to relocate the marketing and customer support positions elsewhere. William Hill denies any such plans.

Upon news of the staff walkouts, shares of William Hill’s stock fell 5% on the London Stock Exchange. William Hill says that the walkouts will not affect the company’s ability to support customers at any of their websites. However, one anonymous source told the Financial Times that the customer service departments were not operating at full capacity.

The Tel Aviv, Manila and Sofia operations are all Playtech operations that became part of William Hill online during William Hill’s joint venture with Playtech. William Hill opted for the joint venture to revive their online gambling business after they had problems with their in-house software.

Senior Management on the ground in Tel Aviv are confident that they will resolve the situation and get everyone back to work. However, the Israel office will be closed through early next week as normal due to Jewish holidays.