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April 15, 2014 - 11:43am
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Online Poker Black Friday

April 15, 2014 - 11:43am
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Haley Hintze

Poker News Brief: More Full Tilt Refunds Issued

by Haley Hintze

The Department of Justice-appointed administrator for the Full Tilt Poker remissions process, Garden City Group, released a second wave of refunds in early April.  Almost $6 million in online-poker balances was sent to about 2,800 players whose banking information could not be verified in time for inclusion in the larger first wave of payments earlier this year.  All told, GCG has issued about $81 million in FTP payment to date, with two large categories still under review – online affiliates and former players who enjoyed some form of sponsorship relationship with the site.  The funds for the ongoing refunds came from the 2012 PokerStars settlement with the DOJ, which acquired Full Tilt’s remaining assets in exchange for the remission funding.

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Poker News Brief: Borgata Sues Phil Ivey for $9.6 Million Over Alleged “Edge Sorting”

by Haley Hintze

The “edge sorting” technique used by Phil Ivey in conjunction with his ongoing suit against London’s Crockfords Casino has again surfaced, this time in the form of an action filed by New Jersey’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa against Ivey and companion Cheng Yin Sun.  The lawsuit alleges that Ivey and Sun conspired against the Borgata by exploiting minor printing variations on the casino’s cards, with Ivey winning over $9.6 million during four 2012 high-stakes sessions.  The Borgata also named as a defendant the cards’ manufacturer, Gemaco, for the same amount, alleging defective cards that failed to meet the terms of the company’s card-supplying contract.  The nearly 60-page legal document accuses Ivey and Sun of an elaborate series of manipulations and requests, many of which were described as “superstitions,” but which the Borgata alleges were intentional ruses designed to tip the odds in Ivey’s favor.

Poker News Brief: New York State Online Poker Bill Introduced

by Haley Hintze

New York State Senator John Bonacic (R-42) has introduced a measure seeking to authorize intrastate online poker. The new proposal isn’t the first time online poker has been considered in Albany, after being considered in conjunction with a controversial casino-expansion effort that finally passed in 2013. Bonacic’s new bill would define poker as a game of skill and would create as many as ten online poker licenses, and would open the door to player-pooling compacts with other states also offering regulated internet poker, including neighbor states New Jersey and Delaware. The original draft language of Bonacic’s bill does include bad-actor language designed to block any online sites that serviced New York residents following the passage of the 2006 UIGEA.

Poker News Brief: Illinois Legislators to Reconsider iPoker

by Haley Hintze

State regulated online poker will again be on the agenda of topics as Illinois legislators return to the topic of expanded gambling within the state.  Several different forms of expanded gambling have been proposed for the revenue-strapped state, including a proposed downtown-Chicago casino, the large, new Rivers Casino near O’Hare, the online sale of lottery tickets… and, of course, state-regulated internet poker.  Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton has indicated only tepid support, stating that the controversial downtown-Chicago casino question must be answered before plans for Illinois online poker can move forward.

Poker News Brief: New Charity-Poker Measure Introduced in Michigan

by Haley Hintze

Michigan State Sen. Rick Jones has introduced new legislation in Michigan that would formally regulate standalone charity poker rooms in the state.  Michigan’s charity-poker offerings had proliferated in the past decade as unofficial gaming venues governed under the state’s 1972 bingo bill, but had evolved in many cases as independent operations with no bingo or other gaming evolved.  The rooms’ growing popularity had its drawbacks, however, including sometimes lax security that led to a spate of violent crimes, including armed robberies, and sometimes lax oversight that allowed some locations to operate far beyond legislators’ previous attempt.  State gaming rules modification issued last year addressed some of the existing issues, but Jones’s new bill, supported by a bipartisan collection of legislators, hopes to take additional regulatory steps for the charity-funding operations.

Rift in California Tribal Negotiations over Possible PokerStars Software Deal

by Haley Hintze

Negotiations between competing California tribal-casino factions over differences in language in rival Cali intrastate online poker bills have fallen apart over allegations that PokerStars may be negotiating to at least one tribe and two major independent cardrooms. A 12-tribe group led by the state’s Pechanga and Agua Caliente bands issued a public statement against PokerStars and its parent Rational Group, demanding that a “bad actor” provision, designed to block PokerStars, be included in any California i-poker legislation. The rival Morongo tribal nation and the Commerce and Hawaiian Gardens card rooms have been named in media reports as negotiating with Stars for software services. PokerStars paid more than $500 million to resolve its federal “Black Friday” case but admitted no legal wrongdoing, and would currently be subject to approval by California gaming regulators rather than being blocked by a Cali i-poker bad-actor provision.

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Poker News Brief: Harrah’s Tunica Plans June Closing

by Haley Hintze

The World Series of Poker Circuit Series will lose one of its venues next season, following the announcement by parent company Caesars Entertainment that the Harrah’s Tunica casino will close on June 2nd.  The Mississippi casino-report is the largest of three Caesars-owned properties in Tunica, but remained awash in red ink despite the success of the WSOPC Tunica stop.  Mississippi’s Tunica casinos have seen sharp revenue declines, with much of the region’s casino business shifting to the state’s resurgent Biloxi / Gulf Coast region.  The most recent WSOPC Tunica visit was in late January, with the stop expected to be removed or replaced on the tour’s 2014-15 slate.

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Poker News Brief: British Poker Pro Murdered in "Honey Trap" Robbery

by Haley Hintze

Well-liked British poker player Mehmet Hassan was murdered in what British authorities described as a pre-planned robbery gone wrong. Hassan, 56, was beaten and robbed just hours after winning £3,000 playing poker at London’s Palm Beach Casino, apparently after a trip to celebrate the victory. Hassan and a companion, 24-year-old Leone Granger, celebrated Hassan’s poker wins at the London’s upscale Nobu restaurant, then returned to Hassan’s Islington flat, where Granger and two accomplices are alleged to have undertaken the robbery-murderer, targeting tens of thousands of pounds Hassan kept as his poker bankroll. The popular Hassan was a veteran of the British tournament scene, and was remembered fondly by numerous players and industry officials.

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Poker News Briefs: Twin Online Gambling Ban Proposals Introduced

by Haley Hintze

Twin Congressional measures seeking to reinvigorate the 1961 Wire Act and thereby make illegal most forms of Internet gambling, including poker, have been introduced in Congress. The bills, submitted by US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and US Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), originated with the deep backing of billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which operates the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas. The preliminary forms of both bills were written by a federal lobbyist funded by Adelson, who hopes to curtail Internet-based competition to his existing land-based casinos. Both new Congressional measures, denoted as S. 2159 and H.R. 4301, respectively, have been sent to Congressional committees.

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Poker News Brief: Ultimate Poker Signs Deal with Reno’s Peppermill Nevada

by Haley Hintze

Licensed online poker site Ultimate Poker expanding its reach into the state’s second-largest market in early March, courtesy of a major deal with Reno’s Peppermill Resort Hotel. The recently renovated Peppermill is one of the leading casino destinations in the Reno-Tahoe market, whose population is dwarfed by greater Las Vegas, but remains the state’s second most populous region. The deal also includes four smaller Peppermill affiliated casinos -- Western Village (Sparks), and the Rainbow, Peppermill Wendover, and Montego Bay (all in Wendover). Ultimate Poker is associated with the Vegas-centric Station Casino family, and lacked prominent landbased casino exposure before this deal.

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