Archive for November, 2015

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.