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Internet Gambling Compared to Pornography During U.S. Senate Subcommittee Hearing

It would be difficult to imagine a more tilting hearing for poker players to watch than the one Wednesday in the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.

Internet gambling was compared to pornography, discussed as a hotbed of money laundering by criminal organizations and terrorists, and said to be an avenue for human and drug trafficking.

“I think there was some crazy fear mongering at the hearing that really had no basis that we’ve seen,” said Rich Muny, vice president of player relations for the Poker Players Alliance. “I hope that every poker player has a chance to listen to this because many people think this should be easy. This is a real fight and we need to do our part to advocate for the right to play.”

The archived webcast of the hearing, titled “The Expansion of Internet Gambling: Assessing Consumer Protection Concerns,” and written testimony from witnesses can be viewed here. None of the four witnesses were particularly in favor of online poker regulation.

The Senators themselves seemed more uniformed than at any hearing on the issue since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed in 2006. That’s not surprising given that most movement on the issue has taken place in the House of Representatives. Even though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has floated a proposal two of the past three years that would have legalized online poker, no such bill has officially been introduced in the Senate during that time. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who worked with Reid on last year’s proposal, is ranking member of the subcommittee.

In a roundabout way, there were some good developments from the hearing. The committee members seemed to uniformly agree that the current system isn’t working and that the federal government needs to step in to ensure consumer protection.

“One of the positives of the hearing is that it was clear everything they’re concerned about would be addressed best with a good regime of licensing and regulation,” Muny said. “Prohibition really wouldn’t address any of them. We’d be in the same place as today, except maybe the DOJ would have some more tools.”

Most of the Senators and witnesses seemed to be considering regulation and prohibition as options. The only person to speak against prohibition was witness Jack Blum, an attorney specializing in money laundering compliance, who said, “I do not believe prohibiting Internet gambling will work. The horse has left the barn. The Internet is too open to control and, in any event, controls will not work across state and national borders.”

Sen. Heller did make the case for online poker being separated from other forms of gambling.

“I also believe that Congress should examine the merits of providing a path forward for limited federally regulated online poker,” Heller said. “Poker, a game of skill not a game of chance, is different than other house-banked games such as blackjack or roulette. I believe that, if given the opportunity, appropriate consumer protection standards could be put in place to protect American consumers while still providing for play of this nationally recognized peer-to-peer game.”

At least the Senators are now thinking that unregulated online gambling is a problem they need to address. Getting more Senators interested in taking action on the issue is the biggest key at this point, trusting that Senate Majority Leader Reid should be able to mold that interest in a way that allows regulated online poker for the casinos in his home state of Nevada.

“I can’t see how the Senate would be able to push something past Sen. Reid that would ban online poker outright,” Muny said. “I think we’re in an interesting position where we’re gearing up the Senate, not in the way I would do it but in a way they know that the status quo is not acceptable and something needs to be done.”




The Expansion of Internet Gambling in the US

Senate Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Legalized Internet Gambling


A Senate Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing for this coming Wednesday pertaining to the legalization of Internet gambling in the USA.

The Expansion of Internet Gambling: Assessing Consumer Protection Concerns Jul 17 2013 10:00 AM ET Russell Senate Office Building – 253 –

There will be live streaming of this hearing on the Net.

This news follows the announcement that Texas Congressman Joe Barton, a Republican, has introduced his own bill to legalize online gambling at the federal level.


H.R.2666 – Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013

If passed, the Internet Poker Freedom Act will require all Internet poker facilities to go through a licensing process in order to be deemed legal operations.  In order to become licensed, an applicant must demonstrate that it maintains appropriate safeguards and mechanisms, including the ability restrict (to a reasonable degree of certainty) that participants are 21-years of age or older, physically located in a jurisdiction that has not prohibited such poker bets at the time they are placed, protected from having their personal information disclosed or disseminated and offered games that are fair and honest, which prevent cheating and the use of cheating devices (including software programs known as “bots”).  Failure to become licensed could result in the individuals associated with such facilities to be fined and/or receive up to five years in prison.  Licenses issued will be valid for five years upon receipt.


view entire Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 bill here


US Online poker site completes 30-day trial

Ultimate Gaming.com, the first fully legal United States online gambling and poker website, has now received the recommendation of the Nevada Gaming Control Board to be fully approved by the state’s gaming commission. The iGaming market is booming everywhere and other states are looking to follow Nevada’s lead.

SBR reported on February 22 that Nevada made history by legalizing online poker. One week later, NJ Governor Christie signed an internet gambling bill for his state. Atlantic City is expected to have its internet games up and running near the end of the year.

Ultimate Gaming CEO Tobin Prior released the following statement on the news: “The Nevada Gaming Control Board has set regulatory requirements for online poker at the highest level. We are thrilled that our product is the first to not only meet these standards, but exceed them.”

If you’re thinking of anteing up, you’re going to have to be at least 18 years of age and physically present in the state of Nevada at the time. Many companies are spending significantly to recruit firms specializing in geo-location technology to ensure the strict licensing standards are met. SBR reported on one such company’s deal with Bwin.party earlier in the week.

Just years ago, the US seemed determined at a federal level to outlaw most forms of internet gambling. The states, on the other hand, are desperate to bring in more revenue through taxes. Internet gambling is just the beginning of the conversation with respect to the land of the free; across the country NJ is undergoing a federal battle for sportsbooks in Atlantic City that might end with the repeal of federal law PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) – which could see states other than Sin City accepting wagers on sports games in the future.


Phil Ivey getting involved in online poker deal in California

Ivey League Online Poker Ready in California

The United States has been moving ahead at a steady pace on the legalization of previously prohibited online poker. California has been making noises regarding its progress delivering legal online poker legislation to its citizens. A recent article on the Tight Poker web site has revealed a partnership deal between Jim Ryan, the former chief executive officer of Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, and the Pala Band of Mission Indians in California.

It was also revealed on the Pokerfuse web site that online poker professional Phil Ivey will be taking a major role in the venture. A new company called Pala Interactive, is now preparing to launch online casino and poker products in California as soon as the state legislates legal online gambling. The partnership deal is limited at this time to online gambling products for California, but can also be adjusted  to launch in more US jurisdictions. Pala Interactive is expected to operate on Realtime Edge Software, which is currently being utilized by other major online gambling operators including, GTECH, Bwin.party digital entertainment, and ClubWPT.

Phil Ivey, who was a sponsored pro poker player at Full Tilt Poker prior to its demise has launched Ivey Poker which is home to a team of professional poker players. Ivey Poker, recently acquired LeggoPoker, an online poker training portal and launched a social poker gaming application on Facebook.  LeggoPoker’s, former owner Aaron Jones, has plans to create another poker training site called Ivey League, which will be one of the poker training sites on the Ivey Poker Network, an online network of poker sites to educating and train online poker players.

LeggoPoker will be rebranded as Ivey League when the launch is applied. Ivey Poker is a social online poker room, where players can play games for free. California has still a ways to go to find consensus for online gambling legislation but Pala Interactive will be hitting the ground running when it happens.


Published Thursday, July 11, 2013 – Online-Casinos.com


Second bill to legalize Web poker in US introduced yesterday

“Poker is an all-American game. It’s a game that I learned as a teen and continue to play today. Just like millions of other players I enjoy the strategy and skill involved. I continue to be supportive of the Americans who play poker online. They deserve to have a legal, on-shore system that makes sure everyone is playing in an honest, fair structure.”

 Barton’s legislation, dubbed the Internet Poker Freedom Act, would only apply to poker and would allow states to opt out of the federal system.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Rep. Joe Barton wants to help Poker-lovers stay on the couch.

The Texas Republican introduced a bill in Congress Thursday that would pave the way for states to legalize online poker without fear of federal intervention.

It’s the second such Internet gambling bill introduced this year. In June, Republican New York Congressman Peter King introduced a piece of legislation he called the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013.

Unlike Barton’s bill, that gambling act would open the door to all forms of casino games, not just poker.

The federal government cracked down on Internet gambling in 2011. But the same year, the U.S. Justice Department issued a ruling making online gambling legal so long as it’s permitted on the state level.

Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have legalized some kind of online gambling, and legislatures in other states are weighing the issue.

Barton’s legislation, dubbed the Internet Poker Freedom Act, would only apply to poker and would allow states to opt out of the federal system.

The Texas lawmaker said the bill is needed to protect players and the integrity of the game from shady offshore organizations and confusing patchworks of state-by-state regulation.

“Poker is an all-American game. It’s a game that I learned as a teen and continue to play today. Just like millions of other players I enjoy the strategy and skill involved,” he said in a statement. “I continue to be supportive of the Americans who play poker online. They deserve to have a legal, on-shore system that makes sure everyone is playing in an honest, fair structure.”

Congress flirted with an online gambling bill in 2012, but industry infighting and partisan disagreement ultimately doomed it. When that legislation failed, states began moving ahead on their own.

Online poker remains a legal gray zone, though, with no federal regulatory structure in place.

Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2020, online gambling in the U.S. will produce the same amount of revenue as Las Vegas and Atlantic City markets combined: $9.3 billion. But states cannot get there on their own. A more fluid market is needed to drive up pots and create a robust stream of tax revenue.

The summer could see the introduction of a third online gambling bill.

Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who once called the passage of an online poker bill “the most important issue facing Nevada since Yucca Mountain,” is working on new legislation with fellow Nevadan Republican Sen. Dean Heller.


More Casino / Internet poker pairings emerge


•    Trump Taj Mahal – Ultimate Poker
•    Trump Plaza – Betfair
•    Tropicana – Gamesys
•    Borgata (Boyd Gaming) – bwin.party
•    Golden Nugget – Bally Technologies
•    Caesars (Caesars Entertainment) – 888 Holdings
•    Bally’s (Caesars Entertainment) – 888 Holdings
•    Harrah’s (Caesars Entertainment)  – 888 Holdings
•    Showboat (Caesars Entertainment) 888 Holdings


Sheldon Adelson finds a new nemesis: Online poker

The casino mogul says his new fight against Internet gambling is a moral one, but others see “JUST PLAIN GREED”


Sheldon Adelson finds a new nemesis: Online poker

Adelson, despite making more than $20 billion off his casino empire, has launched a war on Internet gambling, setting up a website, producing a Web ad that calls Internet gaming “one of the worst … [ideas] in the history of bad ideas,” and pushing his message in media interviews and Op-Eds. With deep pockets and back-channel access to senior GOP leaders, Adelson is quickly making himself the biggest enemy of people who want to play poker online and states that want the tax revenue from legalizing it.

Internet gambling right now exists in a bit of gray area, effectively illegal on the federal level but recently legalized in some states, including Nevada and Delaware. New Jersey followed in February and the nation’s first legal online poker site launched in April, serving Nevada residents exclusively. A number of other states are moving quickly to be next and two bills will soon be introduced in Congress to change federal regulation. The online poker train seems unstoppable, but Adelson has planted himself astride the tracks and is determined to derail it.

One reason the casino mogul might fight online gaming is easy to see — it’s a threat to his casinos. Adelson denies this is his motivation, writing in Forbes that online gaming’s “impact on my company’s business would be limited.” His motivations are purely moral, he says, based on his experience as a father of two teenage boys. “It’s a threat to our society — a toxin which all good people ought to resist,” he wrote. But not everyone is convinced. Online poker players are outraged by his opposition, and some are calling for a boycott of Adelson’s Venetian casino starting later this month.

“I don’t know his motivations,” John Pappas, the executive director of the pro-online gaming Poker Players Alliance, which has not joined the boycott, told Salon. “But there are only two kinds of groups right now that are completely against Internet gaming: Sheldon Adelson and groups like Focus on the Family.” Even the National Council on Problem Gambling is OK with online gaming, as long as it’s strictly regulated, Pappas noted.

“The anti-gambling contingent is really pure in their motivations,” Pappas continued. “Not only do they oppose Internet gambling, but they probably oppose Mr. Adelson’s brick and mortar casinos too. Adelson has kind of picked and chosen what kind of gambling he’s going to oppose.”

Later in Adelson’s Forbes Op-Ed, he acknowledges that “the rise of Internet gaming has clearly come at the cost of land-based casinos in Europe.” Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, after making a fortune in Asia over the past two decades, is now staking its future on building “EuroVegas” outside Madrid in Spain.

And the casino mogul didn’t always have such puritanical opposition to online poker. In 2001, the Las Vegas Sun reported that Adelson was “pleased” the Nevada state Legislature was taking a lead on Internet gaming, adding that the Sands was poised to be “a big player in cyberspace if and when Internet gambling is legalized,” the paper reported. “Our hat will be in that ring,” Adelson said

He even spoke to other casino operators’ reluctance to accept online gaming. “When the industry first fought Atlantic City, I felt that a rising tide would raise all boats and we [Las Vegas] would get our share,” Adelson told the Sun, explaining that cyberspace would be no different.

And Mark Blandford, who founded the U.K. online gaming site Sportingbet and has been in the industry since the late 1990s, hit back at Adelson by pointing out that the mogul made a plaintive stab at online gaming in the early 2000s. In 2003, a company Adelson controlled was granted an online gaming licence by the gambling commission of a British Channel Island government that hosts many online gaming sites. “An Internet gaming license in Alderney provides Venetian Interactive with some of the highest regulatory standards and controls in the industry, which supports our goal of providing a user-friendly gaming,” said Richard Depew, CEO of Venetian Interactive, a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands. But the company never really took off.

“I regard it as naked self-interest. I think he’s fearful of anything that he sees as being a threat to his revenues, and that includes the Internet,” Blandford told Salon of Adelson’s opposition. “Adelson has tried to look like a modern day King Canute while wiping the history of Venetian Interactive,” he said, referring to the Viking king of England who legendarily tried to hold back the tides.

Ironically, it’s now Adelson who stands alone among his competitors in opposition to online poker, as most of the other casino operators have abandoned their opposition and are now adapting to the times. The American Gaming Association, the industry’s lobby organization, used to oppose online gambling, then went neutral, and now supports federal legislation to legalize online gambling.

Adelson hasn’t said if he’ll spend big money fighting the rising tide of online poker, but such vocal opposition from someone who dropped $150 million on the 2012 election has to worry some pro-gaming politicians, especially those with national ambitions like Chris Christie, who pushed New Jersey’s online poker rule into law.

“I don’t reward or punish politicians,” Adelson said when asked about it in a recent interview on Bloomberg TV. “It’s not my job. I’m only one vote, plus that of my family. I do support a lot of politicians, but I do so because of their ideology and the sharing of values with me.”

Last year, a gaming lobbyist told the Las Vegas Sun that online gaming wasn’t the casino mogul’s top goal. His first priority was stopping President Obama from getting reelected, and his second was making the Senate flip to Republican control. Both of those agenda items are now moot.

Advocates of online poker say all of Adelson’s arguments about why online gaming is worse than casino play — minors may access it, it lowers the burden of play and is thus more addictive, for instance — have been asked and answered by effective regulation. “Adelson’s concerns are more than a decade old,” Casino City Times columnist Howard Stutz wrote. “Technologies, such as age verification, geo-location, and other safeguards have been approved by independent testing laboratories and Nevada gaming regulators.”

Pappas of the Poker Player’s alliance says because everything is tracked in real time, online play can actually be better controlled than face-to-face gaming: “It’s really a regulator’s dream.” He pointed to a Harvard study that found that regulating Internet gaming is safer than trying to ban it entirely, which is impossible anyway since people will always find a way to flout prohibitions.

“We thought your love of freedom was why you left the Democrats and joined the Republicans,” Nicholas Kisberg, the CEO of the online poker forum CardsChat.com, wrote in an open letter to Adelson. “That’s the beauty of gambling online. It gives you the power to choose.”

Alex Seitz-Wald            Alex Seitz-Wald. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald

Pennsylvania Introduces Bill to Legalize Online Gambling

With New Jersey recently legalizing online poker as well as the long anticipated opening of Nevada’s online poker games, it was only a matter of time before other states began legalizing online poker too. The tiny state of Delaware followed suit with legalizing online poker and we’ve heard rumors of California and even Iowa allowing online poker as well. Now, Pennsylvania becomes the latest state that may possibly enter the legal online poker fray.  The bill would also allow for other type’s of casino games, not just poker. For a business to provide online poker or other online casino games, it would need to be an established land based casino in the state, and users would register with the site by going to the casino. Third party providers could work with the casino to provide the software (so a casino may partner with say 888 Poker to provide games). Pennsylvania is a fairly large state and currently has the second largest gaming market, recently overtaking New Jersey. If online poker is legalized there, it would be a huge step towards a general legalization effort in the United States.


Casinos Rush For Licenses As Online Gambling Dawns in US


Caesars Entertainment (CZR) and 11 other Atlantic City casinos have begun  the process of getting Internet gaming permits ahead of a Sunday deadline set by  New Jersey regulators.

They’re part of a rush to get in on the ground floor as online gambling gets  ready to go mainstream nationwide.

New Jersey will in November be the third state to launch statewide online  poker and other gaming, after Nevada and Delaware.

A sample poker game is played on the Ultimate Gaming website in Las Vegas of April 29, 2013. The Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, N.J., has...A sample poker game is played on the  Ultimate Gaming website in Las Vegas

The new gaming outlet became possible when the federal government did an  about-face in December 2011. After adamantly opposing online gambling for years,  the government said states could issue licenses, but must limit gambling to  residents who live within that state.

Las Vegas casinos Las Vegas Sands (LVS), the world’s largest casino resort operator,  MGM Resorts International (MGM) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) are expected to jump into online  gambling.

Sands, MGM and Wynn all have multibillion-dollar hotel casino complexes in  Macau and rely on it for the bulk of their growth.

Former Portuguese colony Macau, on China’s southern coast across the straits  from Hong Kong, is the world’s top gambling destination and fastest-growing.

Caesars, which missed the boat to Macau, hopes to rake in the chips online.  Analysts project the online gambling revenue opportunity in New Jersey alone at  $500 million to $1 billion annually.

Analysts speculate online companies such as leading social network Facebook (FB), which offers non-money games now,  might join the party. Facebook rose 0.5% Wednesday.

Caesars fell 1.2% Wednesday in stock market trading.

Sands was unchanged, MGM Resorts rose 0.4% and Wynn Resorts edged down  fractionally.

Caesars has focused mainly on its U.S. properties and is one of the biggest  casino operators in Atlantic City. It also has resorts in Las Vegas and Reno,  Nev., Baltimore, New Orleans, Philadelphia and other U.S. cities, as well as in  Cairo, London and Emerald, South Africa.

It was one of the first to file for a permit earlier this year.

Caesars CEO Gary Loveman told reporters on a May earnings calls, “We’re  pursuing emerging opportunities, including real-money online gaming in the  United States and international expansion.

“The successful launch of real-money online gaming in Nevada and New Jersey  could be a model for other states considering the legalization of online  gaming,” Loveman added.

Like other casinos, Caesars is teaming with an established online gaming  company. The four Atlantic City casinos owned by Caesars paired with European  online gaming operator 888 Holdings.

The Trump Taj Mahal casino signed an agreement with Las Vegas-based Ultimate  Gaming to bring online gambling to New Jersey. In April, Ultimate Gaming  launched online poker in Nevada.

And Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino, jointly owned by an MGM divestiture  trust and Boyd Gaming (BYD), teamed with British territory Gibraltar-based  Bwin.Party. Boyd fell 0.5% Wednesday.



Delaware Releases Draft Online Gaming Regulations

Delaware Releases Draft Online Gaming Regulations


The Government of the US state of Delaware has released the draft proposal of its online regulations for comment by the state’s public.

Delaware is set to launch an online gaming industry in September, which will follow Nevada, which was the first US state to launch regulated online gaming back in April. The draft regulations are 27 pages long are available for comment by the Delaware pubic until the end of July.

The draft regulations state that the Delaware State Lottery will oversee the state’s online gaming industry when it is established, which would be different to how Nevada and New Jersey’s industries are run. In those states, the online gaming industry is run by state gaming regulators.



article by Bruno  de Paiva


PokerStars Makes Deal to Enter Online Gaming Market in New Jersey

PokerStars Makes Deal to Enter Online Gaming Market in New JerseyPokerStars and Resorts Casino Hotel have announced a partnership agreement that will permit the world’s leading online poker site to provide online gaming software in New Jersey.

Just one day following the revelation that PokerStars was again prevented by New Jersey courts from succeeding in their quest to buy the Atlantic Club casino comes the news that parent company Rational Group has found another way to finagle into the U.S. market. The full details of the partnership agreement have not yet been released, but both companies are ecstatic to be joining forces.

“Resorts is a fantastic partner for us and we are looking forward to launch PokerStars in the U.S. in association with the other quality brands Resorts has brought to Atlantic City,” said Mark Scheinberg, Rational Group CEO.  “We are very happy to invest in New Jersey and we are excited about building a successful relationship with Resorts.”

Resorts Casino Hotel was the first brick and mortar to open on the Atlantic City boardwalk and has previously established partnerships with other brands such as Margaritaville and Mohegan Sun. “This [PokerStars] is another blue chip partner for Resorts to complete a wonderful series of brands,” Resorts’ Company Chairman Morris Bailey told a PRNewswire reporter.

New Jersey gaming officials must still approve the partnership agreement. It’s natural to assume that the American Gaming Association will again try to intervene in keeping PokerStars from gaining the green light to form an allegiance with the landmark casino.

PokerStars has been eyeing the U.S. online poker market for quite some time. Many believe that the deal brokered with the DoJ last year that saw Rational Group acquire Full Tilt Poker was done partly to get in the good graces of U.S. authorities. PokerStars did receive the DoJ’s blessing to enter the market if possible.

In the absence of federal online poker legislation, individual states have been enacting their own laws and some are including bad actor language to keep out the likes of PokerStars, who continued operating in the U.S. post-UIGEA. New Jersey has no such provisions in its statute, making the Garden State the best opportunity to get a foot in the door of the U.S. market.

That door has now been opened by Resorts Casino and PokerStars wants in. It will be up to state gaming officials to decide upon PokerStars’ suitability as a partner. PokerStars has shown tremendous tenacity in striving to be included in the newly-regulated online poker and gambling market in the U.S. I wouldn’t bet against them at this point.


article by Charles Rettmuller



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