Posts Tagged ‘online gambling in us’

U.S. Government Regulates Internet Betting With Get out of Jail Cards

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Dethroned U.S. powerhouse sportsbook, Sportingbet has settled with the U.S. Department of Justice, agreeing to pay $33 million in exchange for not facing prosecution charges. Well lookie here Mama! Money can buy justice after all! Yippie!!!!

Well, good for Sportingbet. But you know what? It’s cases like this that cause me to believe the United States is never going to regulate online gambling. Maybe it will trickle in on a State level, i.e., online poker in California and Flordia, but when you look at what the feds are doing to “enforce” the UIGEA, it definitely makes me go hmmmmmm.

Just to fill you in, Sportingbet is a long-running online sportsbook that used to do lots of business with United States citizens. In fact, like most other internet betting sites before the passing of the UIGEA, Sportingbet did the bulk of its business with Sportingbet. However, that came to a screaching hault when some of Sportingbet’s top brass were detained after stepping foot on U.S. soil.

In actuality, this was before the passing of the UIGEA, which goes to show that nothing has really changed other than a lot more reputable online casinos dropping out of the U.S. market, only to have their stead filled by rogue operators in the business of cheating players, or at least not paying out when times get rough – if you catch my drift. 🙂

What’s most interesting is the fact that the (former) charges looming over Sportingbet applied to before the passing of the UIGEA (before 2006). Apparently this all falls under the Wire Act (passed in the late sixties, I believe), which in itself, is said to be a very grey piece of legislation in regards to online gambling.

If you really stop to think about it, the federal government has been making a killing with cases like this. Not too long ago, Party Gaming agreed to dish out a whopping $105 million for uncollected gambling taxes. But wait, online gambling is illegal in the U.S. There is no tax. And why should there be with seizures like this. At this rate, the U.S. government stands to reap way more than they would letting State governments tax gaming revenue.

Then again, perhaps this is all just a precursor to regulation in the States. Says the feds: Let’s get all the money we can on “illegal” activity from the past, THEN we will regulate. It’s their way of admitting they should have been taxing gaming revenues all along, in a way. If they were just to make it illegal right now, all the past stuff could potentially become null and void. Okay, no I’m confused. Just regulate for Christ’s sake!

Atlantis Internet Group Signs With Cake to Power Tribal Online Poker

Monday, September 13th, 2010

AtlantisInternetGroup2In what could be a sign of things to come for online casino gambling in the United States, Las Vegas-based Atlantis Internet Group has signed an agreement with the popular Cake Poker Network (powering U.S. favorite, Doyle’s Room), to create a wide area online poker network for players residing in regulated tribal casino State’s.

While this may seem, at first, a bold and dangerous move in light of the UIGEA – albeit an ineffective online gambling ban – Atlantis Internet Group Chief Executive, Donald L. Bailey, says the agreement will give the Tribal Gaming Network (a patent pending intratribal/intrastate online casino network) an “immediate and legal solution” for tribes seeking to offer internet betting.

That’s because the UIGEA has exemptions for Indian Casinos, intertribal internet gaming, as well as State’s with intrastate online gambling laws. Personally, that’s news to me – I thought the only carveouts in the UIGEA were for horseracing, lotto and fantasy sports betting.

TribalGamingNetworkBut according to the National Indian Gaming Commission, which oversees tribal casino regulations in the State’s, the Tribal Gaming Network is 100% legit. It’s also 100% loaded. Synced with over ten tribal casinos and potentially allowing players in thirty State’s to play online casino games, the Tribal Gaming Network has the potential of offering one of the largest wide area progressive jackpot networks on the Web.

For now, Atlantis Internet Group has it’s sights on online poker, which currently holds the greatest potential of becoming regulated in State’s where tribal casino gambling is legal. California leads the way with an amended poker bill scheduled for legislative action before the year is out, while both New Jersey & Florida are considering similar options.

The Cake Network is certainly a great choice for launching an online poker network. With thousands of players online at any given moment and an open door to the U.S. online poker market, Cake will give the Tribal Gaming Network instant liquidity, not to mention credibility, while a giant surpluss of players will only serve to strenghten Cake in return.

Vocal Opponent of U.S. Online Gambling Regulation Does About Face

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
I HAD to put this picture in... just couldn't help myself.

I HAD to put this picture in... just couldn't help myself.

Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid is hard to pin. I mean, let’s face it, he’s a politician is he not? The Nevada Democrat who holds the reigns in the U.S. Senate has made a “surprising” turnaround, recently citing he stands behind the regulation of online gambling. Now, it would be another thing if Reid, who obviously knows something about the casino gambling industry, was indifferent or even undecided in his views about online gambling. However, Reid has been nothing but the opposite, in fact, actively taking an outspoken stand against the legalization of online gambling in the States.

So what, my dear friends, has caused Reid to change his mind? I’ll give you one guess. It smells like paper and rhymes with funny. You see, while Reid has a little man on his left shoulder, letting him know how important Las Vegas is to Nevada, there’s a louder, larger man on his other shoulder telling him that Nevada needs tax revenue – and the constituents of Nevada far outweigh the sway of the casino operators. Right? Errr, it could very well be the other way around given other circumstances and a different time, i.e., when the mob ruled Vegas, which is exactly why Reid deserves at least some credit. I mean, he is supporting the regulation of online gambling, is he not?

Granted, one of the largest players in Las Vegas, Harrahs Entertainment, has come out of the closet to proclaim support of online gambling regulation, also formerly taking an open stance against online casinos. So, even with some vocal disappointment being expressed by some of Las Vegas’ casino operators (mainly the smaller guys), the big dogs like Harrah’s and most likely MGM are waiting patiently for the time to pounce and launch online versions of their bread and butter offering.

Also, Congressman Barney Frank’s bill to overturn the UIGEA recently passed the House of Representatives and is serving a dual purpose of helping educate lawmakers on why it’s more important to regulate than ban and how online gambling can be effectively regulated, in particular, preventing underage and problem gambling addictions. In other words, Reid could very well be coming around simply because it’s the right thing to do. Hopefully, more U.S. Senators will do the same.

American Gaming Association Reveals Just How Hot its Casino Members are for Online Gambling Regulation

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

All things said and done, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is in favor of legalizing online casino gambling in the United States. The irony is (other than the fact that the AGA used to be dead set against regulating online gambling) that the AGA isn’t necessarily in favor of individual States being “united” in exercising their right to regulating internet betting. In other words, the AGA is a proponent of giving individual States’ the choice to offer regulation, or rather, that such a right to decide is, in fact, available.

Now, whether or not the AGA is in support of every single State in the Union legalizing online gambling, isn’t necessarily clear since they really haven’t come out of the closet to announce their position to the world, albeit I can pretty much guarantee AGA members, which include the likes of Harrah’s, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Mirage, Boyd Gaming, Bally Technologies and International Game Technology, are licking their chops to get a footing in as many State’s as possible.

Sooooooo, while the online casino software “institution”, Cryptologic, has reported a loss of $12 million in the second quarter of 2010, the American Gaming Association has revealed it has spent over $360,000 lobbying U.S. government officials in a bid to get online gambling regulation legislation (say that 10 times real fast, I dare you), passed into law, and consequently, the infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) overturned and placed alongside prohibition as the stupidest bills ever placed into law. This figure is in addition to the $430,000 spent in the first quarter!

Obviously, the AGA’s money is the money of the aforementioned member companies. And there’s no denying that Harrah’s Entertainment wants a large piece of the pie. In fact, the U.S. based casino gambling giant already has an online casino in the works and is currently testing out the waters in the regulated European online gambling scene. IGT is already benefiting via the company’s software developer, Wager Works, which supplies the popular UK Casino, Virgin Games.

So yes, there is plenty of firsthand proof that there is plenty of money to be made off of the legalization of online gambling, no matter where in the world. And everybody knows the American gambling scene supplies the bulk of online gambling activity (even with the UIGEA in effect). So long as regulatory laws are not passed that foster competitive advantages or disadvantages between commercial casinos, Native American casinos, State lotteries and parimutuel betting operations, the AGA says, regulate, regulate, regulate!

eCOGRA Reports Less Complaints Per Approved Safe and Fair Online Casino

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
eCOGRA Reports Fewer Dispute Mediations in 2010

eCOGRA Reports Fewer Dispute Mediations in 2010

In terms of raising the standards of online casino transparency, eCOGRA has definitely achieved the most success of any other non-profit (heck, for-profit) in business today. Operating with this end in mind, eCOGRA ensures online casinos are operating fairly and responsibly, and also provides player assistance if/when dispute resolution services are needed.

The eCOGRA “Safe and Fair Seal” is bestowed to internet gaming operators who pass a comprehensive inspection and audit, and who continually meet ongoing requirements to par with government regulation. In fact, eCOGRA’s seal requirements are more stringent than many a so-called online gambling commission. In terms of building player trust, there are no better sites than eCOGRA online casinos.

Unfortunately, most, if not all online casinos boasting the eCOGRA Safe and Fair Seal are closed to U.S. players. It goes to show what happens when the government attempts to impose bans rather than regulating, and consequently, putting an end to the underground market. But that’s for another blog post.

As for eCOGRA, let’s just say they have taken the complete opposite approach and are doing their job with flying colors. As mentioned, one of eCOGRA’s tasks is to provide dispute mediation for players at eCOGRA-approved online casinos. In a perfect world, there would be no disputes whatsoever. However, we all know this isn’t a perfect world.

The fact of the matter is that online casinos AND players make mistakes. When the two sides can’t exactly agree on how to fix said mistake, that’s when eCOGRA’s Fair Gaming Advocate, Tex Rees, steps in. As reported by Rees, the first half of 2010 has thus far generated less dispute mediation requests than the same time last year. What’s even more impressive is that eCOGRA has eleven more approved online casinos than last year.

Breaking the numbers down, Rees reports there were a total of 376 complaints, of which 287 were deemed valid. The remaining 89 invalid complaints were either due to insufficient detail, irrelevance, player abuse, anonymity or pertaining to a non-eCOGRA approved online casino.

Further attesting to the sway of eCOGRA, 76% of all valid complaints were resolved within 48 hours, of which nearly half (47%) were resolved in favor of the player. 43% of the disputes were pertaining to withdrawals (down from 51%), 21% regarding bonus issues and another 21% pertaining to locked accounts.

This averages to 11.03 disputes per week, which correlates to 0.34 disputes per awarded “Safe and Fair Seal” (lower than last year’s rate of 0.37). As Rees points out in her report, these numbers must also be gauged in light with increased transactions with players.

Said Rees, “We can attribute a portion of this drop in disputes to the fact that we have now been working with many of the Seal operations for several years and as a consequence a number of policies and procedures have been developed that translate to less cause for disputes. Our operators are also better equipped and motivated to deal with disputes at the operator level, which results in eCOGRA receiving fewer complaints.”

Summing it up, Rees stated “This level of performance is satisfactory and well within the standards we have set for our operators.”

Well, considering all the complaints Online Casino Suite receives regarding non-eCOGRA approved online casinos (and non-OCS approved casinos at that), we can’t disagree. Congrats eCOGRA! Keep up the good work!

A Little Insight on Those Who Resist Online Gambling Regulation in US

Friday, August 6th, 2010
The ERLC's Latest Anti-Gay Poster...

The ERLC's Latest Anti-Gay Poster...

And to think I used to call myself a “Christian”. Okay, wait I take that back. Not that I don’t identify with the more universal tenants of Christianity and the true message which I personally believe Jesus preached, it’s just that I can’t deny the flaws in the doctrines espoused by the greater mass of Christian religions. The same is true in other religions, and I suppose then, that perhaps the more accurate statement is, “to think I used to say I was religious” (even though I never really did).

Anyhow, before this becomes about something other than what I’m not intending it to be, let me just say that anti-online gambling resistance is being vocalized once again up on Capitol Hill. And could you guess who just might be doing all this vocalizing? The ballpark answer “Christian organizations” would indeed be correct, although a more specifically correct answer would be that of Christian and pro-family leaders, including the likes of Southern Baptist and President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Richard Land.

Would that be religious liberty for all religions, or rather, only those which place emphasis on so-called family values? Just askin’. Oh wait, if you look a little closer on the website of the ERLC, this group is actually the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. No really, you have to look close – it’s in very small writing under the ERLC logo.

And if this is any more telling about the values of the ERLC, the “Latest Word” from the Tennessee-based ERLC blog, which let’s just call the ERLC of the SBC from now on, is that Richard Land is “disappointed that an elderly liberal has been replaced by a younger liberal” in regards to the Senate confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.

Land went on to say in “His Latest Word” blog, “I don’t think most Americans share Kagan’s judicial philosophy. But Barack Obama was elected president, and he has nominated someone who shares his judicial philosophy”.

This was capped with a dose of wisdom that will likely go down in history, putting both Plato and Socrates to shame: “People should remember when they vote that elections have consequences, long-term consequences.”

Joining Land and his stand against the regulation of online gambling in the United States, not to mention black presidents, is Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council Action, Tom Minner of Focus on the Family and Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America.

Needless to say (okay, I’ll say it anyway), Mr. McClusky’s first job was with the Republican National Committee and he now represents the FRCA before Congress on a number of issues, including the sanctity of marriage. As for the FRCA’s President, Tony Perkins, he is a staunch Republican who boasts in his bio as “pioneering measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law” and “launching initiatives to affirm and defend the Judeo-Christian values America is founded upon”. That makes sense, considering the FRCA spent half-a-million dollars campaigning to ban same-sex marriage in Colorado.

As for Tom Minner, he’s not even listed on the Focus on the Family website. However, the group’s founder, Dr. James Dobson, is a staunch Republican, supporter of Sarah Palin and general Obama hater. The stated mission on the Focus on the Family website goes something like this:

“Focus on the Family is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. We provide help and resources for couples to build healthy marriages that reflect God’s design, and for parents to raise their children according to morals and values grounded in biblical principles. We’re here to come alongside families with relevance and grace at each stage of their journey. We support families as they seek to teach their children about God and His beautiful design for the family, protect themselves from the harmful influences of culture and equip themselves to make a greater difference in the lives of those around them.”

As for Penny Nance, I’m not sure which “concerned women” she is speaking for. It’s certainly not my wife. Let’s just say that Nance is a contributor to FOX News and that the stated mission of the CWA goes something like this: “We are focused on helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy. There’s a cultural battle raging across this country and CWA is on the frontline protecting those values through prayer and action.”

In other words, the stand against online gambling regulation in the United States is basically a battle being waged by the Republican Party. Need I say more.

There are Those Who Would Stand in the Way of Regulating Online Gambling in USA

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The fight to get online gambling legalized in the United States, or rather, getting the UIGEA online gambling ban overturned (which just so happens to be marked by carve-outs for various forms of internet wagering, such as horse racing), is far from over folks. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer or anything, but while getting Congressman Barney Frank’s Internet Gaming Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (IGREA) marked up for a vote in the Senate is a huge victory, the war – yes, it’s a war – has only just begun.

The fact remains that many U.S. politicians are opposed against regulating online gambling for one reason or another. Well, I suppose the more succinct statement is that many U.S. politicians do not understand the protocols and effectiveness of regulating online gambling. And the sad part is that many of them do not even want to understand. In other words, those politicians who represent constituents who tend to take a negative stance toward gambling, whether it be kitchen poker games or online casino gambling, will simply preach what the choir wants to hear, and ultimately, what will get them into office or reelected.

And what’s that that’s getting preached, you ask? Well, according to Idaho First District Republican candidate, Raul Labrador, it’s that regulated online gambling will “prove disastrous for families across the nation.” Besides impeaching Nancy Pelosi, Labrador believes (like a good dog), that children and adults with addictive personalities will be just “one click away from throwing thousands of dollars away.”

And while it’s more like several clicks and several faxes (just to prove identity) away from wasting your money gambling at online casinos, (see, I’m not actually refuting that you could indeed throw thousands of dollars away), Labrador and others from his camp (guess which one), refuse to see that actually regulating something will make it harder for illegal activity to take place, i.e., prohibition in the twenties.

Just like you could very well walk away a winner or a loser at a Las Vegas casino, online casinos play by the odds, which yes, are mostly in the favor of the casino. However, you might be surprised to find that the best online casinos actually offer better odds than their land-based counterparts. Just take a look at the monthly payout percentage reports to see for yourself. And if you really need to see a tangible example of online gambling actively and effectively being regulated, just look at Mother England, where the latest UK Gambling Prevalence Study still shows no increase in problem and underage gambling since online casinos were legalized in 2005.

Really folks, it’s important to know who those politicians who adamantly stand in opposition to regulating online gambling are. If you happen to reside in the district they either represent or hope to represent in an upcoming election, do your part to ensure they can’t cast a biased and uninformed vote against online gambling regulation. In the potato State, Idaho, the name is Raul Labrador. Don’t vote for him. Instead, cast your vote for Walt Minnick, who was one of the seventy co-sponsors of the IGREA.

In Light of a Bill to Regulate Online Gambling, Another Internet Bookie Goes Down

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

In light of the positive developments regarding the Internet Gaming Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (HR 2267, otherwise known simply as IGREA), which after successfully passing through the U.S. House of Representatives is to go under the knife in the Senate (I have an in-dept article about this in the works), it’s cases like the one below that reiterate why online gambling needs to be regulated in the United States.

Meet James L. Dicapo – a fifty-seven year old “businessman” from the Heart of America’s West, err, Kansas. Dicapo, whom I’m assuming is Italian, recently pleaded guilty to operating an online gambling business. Bringing in more than $3.6 million spanning approximately three years (2006-2009), this was no skimpy business either. Basically, it was your standard bookmaker getup offering phone lines for, well, betting one’s lines on a range of sports events.

These days, phone-in bookies like this are also often inclined to go the way of the Web, if you will. Sports betting online is big business, and the internet is simply helping it become bigger. But rather broadcast their services for all to see, this operation consisted of handing out toll-free digits and a website to sign up. Dicapo and three other men (also charged in the investigation) would simply handle the money, and from what I can understand, actually do the rounds and deal with customers face to face.

Dicapo has attested that the customers for whom he specifically dealt with wagered approximately $1.2 million between 2006-2009. All of this money would then be routed to an offshore business in Costa Rica (where many a sports betting business is set up, I might add). The actual wagers would go through here, and all winning bets would be paid out accordingly.

On that note, while everything Dicapo was doing was deemed illegal, this does not necessarily mean there was shady business taking place internally. In other words, Dicapo and his operation was, for all intensive purposes, a legitimate sports betting service with a base of satisfied customers. I suppose you could say satisfied “clients”, if DiCapo was dealing with a small handful of whales. That hasn’t yet been determined yet, but I’m sure it will be brought to light if that’s indeed what happened.

In relation to what’s going on with the aforementioned IGREA, you might wonder if cases like this will continue happening in the U.S. Well, to make a long story short, the answer is yes. One small provision in the IGREA is that sports betting will not be included with online poker, bingo and online casino games in having the possibility to be regulated on a State level. Online sports betting simply is illegal and will remain illegal even if the IGREA is passed into law.

But that won’t stop operations like Dicapo’s from sprouting up, many of which may not even be caught. The fact of the matter – and this is one reason why sports betting was left out of the bill – is that most sports fans love to wager. And for the millions of these folks who do not have the luxury of making trips to Vegas every time they want to make a wager, the telephone and online bookies serve as a very convenient option for placing the bets on one’s behalf

The Economist Publishes In-Depth Report on the State of Online Gambling in America

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

In the latest edition of The Economist business magazine (one of the best in publication, mind you), an in-depth report and analysis offers telling insight into the US online gambling industry, including the current state of the industry in light of the UIGEA online gambling ban going into effect just a few months ago.

globalgamblingmarketH2Citing stats from 2007, the report shows just how large the global gambling market has become – $335 billion a year. With nearly half of the American population and over two-thirds of British citizens having a go at some sort of wagering, there simply is no denying a formidable demand for recreational betting in existence today.

Even in a year where monthly casino gambling revenue has steadily declined, Las Vegas still racked in over $10 billion in gambling revenues, while the gambling utopia of Asia, Macau, brought in nearly $15 billion in 2009. Add to that hundreds of millions in lottery tickets sold every week of the year, and it is still apparent that the land-based gambling industry still holds sway.

However, in an increasingly mobile world and broadening World Wide Web, the trend is one of which that will see unprecedented growth in online gambling – even despite the UIGEA. While online gambling only accounted for 8% of global gambling revenue (approximately $26 billion) in 2009, this was a growth in revenue from all previous years. So while much of the rest of the global gambling industry endures falling revenues, online gambling is expected to continue growing by leaps and bounds.

globalmobilegamingH2The gambling consultancy firm, H2, reports the online gambling market is expected to grow 13% per year, bringing in revenue of $36 billion by 2012. H2 also values the global online poker market at just about $5 billion, with the United States bringing in almost a third of the revenue ($1.4 billion).

The fact is, America remains the largest single online gambling market in the world. Even with the UIGEA in effect, American continue gambling online. Where those online casino operators backed out of the market because of the UIGEA, new operators have filled the void. The scary part is that more under-regulated or even non-regulated online casinos are thriving as a result. There are still many safe and reliable places to wager online for U.S. residents, however, a lot more due diligence is required ahead of time.

The report in the Economist said it best: “Government prohibition of online gambling has worked about as well as prohibition of other online content, which is to say it is observed mainly in the breach….Americans are gambling roughly the same amount online as they did in 2006.”

New Hampshire Lottery to Launch Online Casino While Skirting Around UIGEA

Monday, July 5th, 2010

This is how I'd like to remember New Hampshire - Not the first State that tried to open an online casino

This is how I'd like to remember New Hampshire - Not for opening a lame online casino

Apparently, the New Hampshire Lottery thinks it’s going to cut a deficit gap by opening an online casino. Why the nihilism you ask? And since when did opening an online casino mean there wouldn’t be some serious profiteering, especially if run by a government-based, monopoly-ish entity. I know monopoly-ish is not a word, but you get what I’m trying to say.

Well, besides the fact that I find it utterly laughable that the United States government has not overturned the UIGEA yet, now that individual State’s are attempting to tap into the online gambling industry, I am simply bowled over. In all honesty, I will find it irresistibly deplorable if the UIGEA still has its way after the New Hampshire Lottery opens an online casino. And not that the UIGEA really has it’s way to begin with, considering the millions of Americans still gambling online for real money anyhow.

Now, before I go on, I want to clarify that this is indeed an online casino we’re talking about – not a Web portal for purchasing lottery tickets online. Due to a steady decline in lottery revenue, New Hampshire’s best think the solution is to open an online casino, for apparently, New Hampshire residents want better odds than a lottery ticket affords. Well, can you blame ’em?

Lottery officials also blame online casinos for the loss in ticket revenue, and thus have a legitimate excuse for seemingly spitting in the face of the UIGEA. And while the New Hampshire Lottery may be right about losing business to online casinos – to a certain extent – there are other factors assuredly contributing to losses in lottery revenue during these economic times.

But hold on just a minute regarding that part about defying the UIGEA. Instead of actually taking deposits through their website, the New Hampshire Lottery says they will require bettors (only New Hampshire residents, of course) to physically enter payment centers in New Hampshire. That way, no terrorists can launder any money. In other words, if you’re Arab, good luck trying to make a deposit at a payment center.

But seriously folks, this is more laughable than the UIGEA itself. I mean, haven’t Las Vegas casinos already tried to create a similar setup. If people are forced to drive into a payment center to make deposits, they might as well make the six hour drive to Atlantic City or Pennsylvania, where there are all sorts of casino games available. Maybe six hours is a long drive, but you shouldn’t be gambling that much anyways. Am I right!? Besides, with a hotel comp for the weekend, hitting up Atlantic City or Mohegan Sun is incomparably more fun and entertaining than sitting at your computer, logged onto the New Hampshire Lottery website and playing what will likely be online casino games sans innovation and respectable graphics.

Anyhow, let’s see how it goes, shall we? New Hampshire’s online casino was scheduled to open this month, but due to protestations (probably for a variety of reasons), the launching of the website has been delayed until August.