JERSEY SPORTSBETTING INJUNCTION UPHELD
New Jersey’s controversial 2012 challenge to the federal-level Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), approved in a voter referendum, was ruled invalid by a federal appeals court in late September. New Jersey had been sued by the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, with those states successfully gaining an injunction earlier this year preventing New Jersey from implementing Nevada-style sports betting, which was grandfathered in under the 1992 federal law. New Jersey officials now face the non-guaranteed prospect of a US Supreme Court appeal in hopes of implementing sportsbetting, with the niche’s increasing popularity having reverberating effects on casino-development plans in Jersey and elsewhere. The three-judge court ruled 2-1 against New Jersey’s interests in the latest decision.
WYNN AND 888 ANNOUNCE SOFTWARE DEAL
by Haley Hintze
FULL TILT CLAIMS PROCESS GOES LIVE
Garden City Group, the DOJ-appointed administrator for refunds to former US-based players on Full Tilt, announced detailed remission instructions on September 16th, with e-mails sent out on that date. Beginning on September 18th, GCG began accepting applications from players who have filed a formal petition for a refund (remission) of their online balances, which were frozen as of “Black Friday,” April 15, 2011. Affected players will have until November 16th to file for refunds, and GCG has announced that some categories of players, such as all former player/owners of FTP, known as “Team Full Tilt,” will be ineligible for refunds. All remission applications will be reviewed sometime after the process closes in November, with the actual payment date for refunds as yet undetermined.
IVEY REPORTEDLY CONFIRMS EDGE-SORTING IN CASINO FLAP
Poker News: Garden City Group Announces Window for Full Tilt Poker (FTP) Remission Application and moreAugust 27, 2013 - 11:05am
by Haley Hintze
STARS PARENT RATIONAL GROUP FULL TILT REFUND APPLICATION PROCESS TO BEGIN IN SEPTEMBER
Garden City Group, the claims-administration firm retained by the Department of Justice to administer the Full Tilt Poker remission process, has announced that former US players of the site will soon be able to apply for refunds. GCG will be mailing application materials to former FTPers on or about September 16th, 2013, at the start of a 60-day window running through November 15, 2013 within which players who had balances frozen on the site as of Black Friday may apply for refunds. The refunds will come from roughly $184 million paid by fellow Black Friday company PokerStars to acquire Full Tilt’s assets; if the total refunds applied for by players and approved by GCG exceeds that amount, the refunds would be prorated. Affected players who have not already registered at the GCG website associated with the FTP remission process, FullTiltPokerClaims.com, will be able to access the application materials on that site on or soon after September 16th.
MICHIGAN TO TIGHTEN CHARITABLE POKER REGULATIONS
STARS PARENT RATIONAL GROUP CONCEDES DEFEAT IN NEW JERSEY PURCHASE ATTEMPT, LEGAL BATTLES CONTINUE
The efforts of PokerStars parent Rational Group to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City, NJ have been formally abandoned, even as PokerStars continues a legal battle to recoup some of the $11 million already spent on the abandoned purchase. Stars’ attempt to purchase the Atlantic Club went haywire after a technical application deadline passed amid controversy over Stars’ hopes to reenter the New Jersey market, with Atlantic Club owner Resorts International Holdings reversing itself on the original sale while still demanding a final $4 million installment. The American Gaming Association also launched a protest against the attempted purchase by Rational. In the meantime, Stars and Rational continue to pursue an alternate New Jersey plan, a software agreement with Resorts Casino Atlantic City, which is no longer part of the Resorts International group.
BLACK FRIDAY VALANCES TO BE USED IN FULL TILT REMISSION PROCESS
Former American online poker players at Full Tilt Poker, which went out of business following the April, 2011 “Black Friday” crackdown against several US-facing sites, have learned that their existing balances as of April 15, 2011 will be used as the basis for refunds. The news came amid a brief statement issued by Garden City Group, the DOJ-appointed claims administrator for the remission process, which is unlikely to begin in earnest until 2014. GCG has issued several brief updates over the last several months, and maintains a site at fulltiltpokerclaims.com where former FTP players must register.
SOUTH POINT’S “REAL GAMING” BEGINS ACCEPTING APPLICANTS, VERIFYING IDS
By Haley Hintze
FOP PRESIDENT LINKS ONLINE GAMING TO AFGHANISTAN AND TERRORISM IN SENATE TESTIMONY
A mid-July Senate subcommittee hearing addressing the potential cybersecurity problems posed by online gambling disintegrated into ad hominen attacks by gambling opponents against Internet-based gaming and the late-2011 opinion by US Attorney general Eric Holder that the 1961 Wire Act applied only to sportsbetting. The committee’s minority leader, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), drove much of the proceedings, with the attendees’ general consensus that regulation of online gaming was a federal matter that shouldn’t be left to the states. Fraternal Order of Police president Chuck Canterbury, one of the hearing’s four testifying witnesses, even claimed that “[T]here are indications that terrorists in Afghanistan have been using illegal gaming sites to launder their money.”
BARTON INTRODUCES FEDERAL INTERNET POKER BILL
US Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has introduced the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013. Barton’s bill, dropped in early July after several months of planning, defines poker as a skill game, citing the case of US v. DiCristina, and calls for the creation of a new Office of Internet Poker Oversight as part of the Commerce Department. It’s the second attempt at a federal online-poker legalization for Barton, who introduced a similar measure in 2011.
BWIN.PARTY PARTNERS WITH GEOCOMPLY, AGAIN PURSUES NEVADA MARKET
by Haley Hintze
POKERSTARS INKS PARTNERSHIP WITH RESORTS CASINO ATLANTIC
PokerStars parent Rational Group has announced a deal with Atlantic City’s venerable Resorts Casino AC to offer online gaming in New Jersey. The casino, New Jersey’s oldest, is no longer a part of the Resort’s International family, and is instead operated by Mohegan Gaming Advisors, the management group behind Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun. The new deal is tentative, pending regulatory approval.
BWIN.PARTY SETTLES WITH KENTUCKY FOR $15 MILLION
Commonwealth of Kentucky officials have announced a $15 million settlement to be received from bwin.party, the operators of PartyPoker, for Party’s pre-UIGEA (2006) services offered to Kentucky residents. Bwin. party’s pre-merger precursor, PartyGaming, was targeted by Kentucky officials in a separate lawsuit in 2010, apart from the state’s infamous 2008 seizure attempt launched against 141 online gambling-related domain names. The $15 million adds to $6 million Kentucky recently received from a claim attached to the federal “Black Friday” case.
ULTIMATE POKER, TRUMP SIGN NEW JERSEY PACT
by Haley Hintze
APPELLATE ARGUMENTS OFFERED IN US V. DICRISTINA
Arguments for and against the “poker as a skill game” argument occupied much of the questioning in the recent appellate hearing in United States v. Lawrence DiCristina. The Southern District of New York case in which federal judge Jack Weinstein set aside a jury’s guilty verdict against DiCristina, citing poker’s skill elements, resulted in Department of Justice prosecutors appeal to a three-judge court. Questioning also focused on whether the omission of “poker” from the language of the Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA), the statute under which DiCristina was tried, was intentional or was even considered by the IGBA’s original authors. No date has been set for the appellate court’s decision.
JUNIOR SCHEINBERG SETTLES WITH DOJ FOR $50 MILLION
Mark Scheinberg, the son of PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, and the dominant presence at PokerStars parent Rational Group, has paid $50 million to the United States Department of Justice to resolve any ongoing legal issues between the United States and Scheinberg, or PokerStars, for whom he currently serves as CEO. The deal was officially unconnected to the 2012 PokerStars DOJ settlement, in which the firm agreed to pay $547 million in connection to its pre-Black Friday, US-facing operations. A statement by the junior Scheinberg admitted to “no admission of wrongdoing, culpability or guilt on [Scheinberg’s] behalf.”
OREGON POKER-BANNING MEASURE KILLED
by Haley Hintze
WPT, FOXSports Ink Pact
The World Poker Tour’s new three-year deal with FOXSports assures the venerable tour of running through at least Season XIV. The new deal runs into 2017 and kicks off with coverage of the WPT Legends of Poker at LA’s Bicycle Casino in late August, with four more televised events on slate for the rest of the 2013 calendar year, the Borgata in Atlantic City, Paris’s Aviation Club, WPT Montreal, and the Bellagio’s annual Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Classic.
Massachusetts Online Gambling Amendment
Jettiso ned Over Unspecified Co nstit utionality Co ncerns Attempts to tack an online-gambling amendment onto a 2014 budget measure currently progressing through the state’s legislature was yanked from debate over general concerns over constitutionality, though legislators declined to define exactly why. The amendment, had it gone through, would have granted online licenses (including poker) only to those entities which are expected to be added under the state’s controversial land-based debut, including three full-service casinos and one slots-only venue.
Technical Blunder Briefly Allows Real-Money Play on WSOP.com Poker Site
California Tribal Nations Hammer Out Preliminary iPoker Proposal
Eight prominent California tribes have united in a new effort to bring intrastate online poker to the Golden State. Preliminary text for the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2013 was released by the bill’s tribal supporters in late May. Among the proposed provisions is exclusivity for the state’s existing tribal casinos and established cardrooms, with all other gambling venues (such as pari-mutuel outlets) to be excluded. The bill also calls for the state to abstain from any federal online gambling legislation and to refrain from taking part in any proposed interstate or international online gaming compacts, such as with neighboring Nevada.
Ivey Sues Crockfords Over Frozen Punto Banco Winnings, Casino Alleges Unfair Play
by Haley Hintze
PENNSYLVANIA LEGISLATOR INTRODUCES ONLINE GAMBLING MEASURE
Pennsylvania State Representative Tina Davis has introduced a bill authorizing internet gaming, including poker, for the state’s residents. The bill, HB 1235, was immediately referred to the state’s Gaming Oversight Committee for evaluation. Eastern Pennsylvania, where Davis’s district is located, is an area of increased casino competition facing pressure from both New Jersey and Delaware, nearby states that have already approved forms of i-gaming. Davis’s measure would set an age limit of 21 and require the physical presence of both the players and prospective licensees, with license approval possible only for those entities already in possession of the state’s slot-machine licenses.
OBAMA AMBASSADORIAL CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS FROM CONSIDERATION AFTER CONNECTION TO BUSTED NYC POKER GAMES PUBLICIZED