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Tag Archives: Online Poker
“Poker isn’t predatory gambling – it’s the All American game and Texas Hold’em is a natural for Texans to play. In fact, I learned to play in Boy Scouts. It is a game of skill, not one of chance.” – U.S. Rep. Joe Barton
That quote gives you a pretty good idea of where Rep. Barton stands on the issue of online gambling. He’s calling on colleagues and hoping to legalize online poker by creating interstate licensing. His proposal has drawn a variety of sponsors from both parties as well as support from the general poker-playing industry.
But naysayers will say nay. The Stop Predatory Gambling-Texas group sent Barton a letter and asked him to back off.
“We oppose the expansion of gambling,” said Stephen Reeves, a lobbyist affiliated with the group. “We don’t want gambling through the internet going into every home, office and smart phone through the country.”
But Barton says it’s all about the money, and plenty of it. Interstate licensing means more money coming into each state and that means more jobs. And if it stays within our nation’s borders—SURPRISE!—you can TAX it.
“People are playing poker on the internet for money in the United States today,” Barton said. “They are playing on overseas sites that are outside the reach of U.S. law—leaving the consumer unprotected and the government without the ability to tax the winnings.”
Barton’s bill would create a program that would let states be licensed for Internet poker and give participating states a share of the revenue generated.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s get this done.
In another clear effort to link online paying customers to physical Vegas locations, Bally Technologies has reached a deal to provide their online poker platform to American Casino and Entertainment Properties, LLC, the company which owns the Stratosphere Casino.
Vegas property owners are increasingly pursuing online poker licenses as a means to bring business to brick-and-mortar locations. ACEP’s director of gaming development Alec Driscoll called online gambling a “player acquisition tool,” and is especially useful when you load up the user experience with advertisements and promotional content to draw folks to the Strip.
Last week, the NGC granted ACEP an online poker license along with WMS Gaming Inc. ACEP also operates the Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin, plus two Arizona Charlie’s properties in Vegas. The platform that Bally Technologies is going to offer to ACEP must be vetted through a testing phase before allowed to go public.
According to ACEP CEO Frank Riolo, “We are pleased to be involved in the leading edge of this emerging segment in the U.S. This partnership with Bally will allow us to establish a play-for-free poker site by the end of the year, which we plan to use to further enhance our brands and enable us to be poised to launch a real-money poker site at such a time as permitted.”
International Game Technology is currently shutting down online poker operations in Europe. Regulatory changes resulting in some countries barring residents from playing outside their own borders has convinced the company’s CEO Patti Hart that it’s no longer feasible to conduct business in the area.
The business “shifted from dot-com to dot-country,” Hart said. “There’s less profitability and the product becomes less interesting.”
The Reno-based IGT paid a handsome $115 million last year for a Swediwh online poker provider called Entraction Holing AB. The company still plans to use elements of that acquisition in order to continue offering online bingo, slot machines and sports betting in Europe.
IGT fell 1.2 percent to $12.86 at the close in New York. The stock has declined 25 percent this year.
Is the development of international regulations against online poker in Europe a foreshadowing of the future here in the United States? So far, we’ve been proceeding on a state-by-state basis (and the Democrats want to keep it that way, while the Republicans want to ban it all together) Patti Hart issued some words of wisdom to companies planning to offer poker in the United States, which will “have to look at their own economics,” she said. “It’s much more challenged when it’s a single state.”
As you know by now, Nevada has started to issue licenses to online poker operators. Presently, there is an online poker bill championed by Nevada Senator Harry Reid, which would generally establish a federal system to regulate online poker, and in the process, scale back a revised Justice Department opinion on the 1961 Wire Act that gave states the go-ahead to offer online gaming within their borders.
But there’s a rift opening up between the two Nevada senators. Harry Reid (D) and Dean Heller (R) are at odds over the bill. Heller objected to the deadline that Reid proposed, saying “this was not a strategy we discussed” and said the best bet would be for the Senate to step back and allow the House of Representatives to act first on online poker.
The Las Vegas Sun featured an excellent breakdown of the developing feud.
“His direction might sound like a simple scheduling switcheroo. But for the controversial poker bill, it is a potentially devastating change with ramifications that could undermine the Nevada economy—and, top Democrats charge, a clear indication that Heller dropped the ball.”
This is not good news for the online poker scene. The Republicans are notoriously against the practice and the Democrats are pretty much silent on the issue. With the election coming up, we’re not sure what the future holds for online poker legislation. But we’ll be keeping our eyes on it.
In a landmark ruling yesterday, a New York federal judge declared that poker is predominantly a game of skill, not chance, and therefore cannot by prosecuted by a law designed to stop organized crime.
The decision by Judge Jack Weinstein could be a major boon for advocates of legalizing online gambling in the United States. In his ruling, Weinstein relied heavily on the testimony of an expert witness who analyzed Internet poker games.
“Chance [as compared to skill] has traditionally been thought to be a defining element of gambling and is included in dictionary, common law and other federal statutory definitions of it,” Weinstein wrote in his 120-page decision. “Expert poker players draw on an array of talents, including facility with numbers, knowledge of human psychology, and powers of observation and deception.”