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Online Poker Black Friday

April 15, 2014 - 11:43am
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Poker News Brief: PPA Announces “Fight Back” Campaign

by Haley Hintze

The Poker Players Alliance has announced a grass-roots campaign designed to put poker players directly in touch with federal legislators to protest anti-online-gambling bills under consideration in Congress.  Called “Fight Back,” the new effort targets twin measures introduced by US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and US Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), that are backed and drafted by the Sheldon Adelson-CEO’d Las Vegas Sands Corp.  While the twin bills have signed up about 20 co-sponsors, several legal and political groups have protested the bills, often as a violation of states’ rights regarding gambling.  Among the groups opposing the Graham and Chaffetz measures are Democratic Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL). More at: http://theppa.org/fight-the-ban/

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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: 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.

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 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 Briefs: California Online Poker Bills Introduced and More

by Haley Hintze

Competing California Online Poker Bills Introduced – Two California intrastate online-poker measures were introduced in late February in the state’s legislature ahead of a deadline for 2013-14 consideration.  Both bills are supported by competing tribal-casino factions. One of the two is the reintroduction of an earlier bill (now known as SB 1366) by State Sen. Lou Correa, with the backing of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. A newer and competing bill, AB 2291, offered by State Rep. Reggie Jones-Sawyer, is backed by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and other tribes. One possibly controversial element of the Jones-Sawyer bill is language that would make the playing of online poker on unlicensed sites a misdemeanor. Both bills were submitted as urgency measures, meaning two-thirds approval is required.

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Poker News Briefs: First Wave of Full Tilt Refunds Reaches Players

by Haley Hintze

Full Tilt Remissions Administrator Wires $76M in Refunds – DOJ-authorized claims administrator Garden City Group has delivered the first wave of Full Tilt Poker refund payments to US players whose bankrolls on the online site have been in limbo since April, 2011.  On February 28th, GCG sent a total of about $76 million to more than 27,500 former FTP players. The mass refunds represent the first of several payment waves to be issued by GCG over the coming months, and represent those players who accepted the balances shown in Full Tilt’s system without protest. Players with disputed balances and players who enjoyed either affiliate or rakeback relationships with the site, which was at one time the second-largest US-facing online poker offering, are subject to lengthier, individual review.

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Poker News Brief: Pro-Online Gambling Lobbying Group C4COP Debuts

by Haley Hintze

A new lobbying group favoring the regulated oversight of online poker and gambling has debuted.  The new Coalition for Consumer and Online Protection (C4COP) is funded by MGM International with support from the American Gaming Association.  C4COP was created to counteract the anti-online push of CSIG, with C4COP immediately announcing a $250,000 media buy, primarily around Washington, D.C., to promote a pro-online political agenda.  Among the political figures already signed to front the group are former GOP Congressmen Mike Oxley and Mary Bono and former Obama administrative staffer Jim Messina.

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Poker News Brief: Pennsylvania State Senators Seeks to Criminalize Online Poker Playing

by Haley Hintze

Pennsylvania Pols Announce Support for Online-Gambling Ban – Three Pennsylvania state legislators have announced support for a yet-to-be-introduced piece of legislation that would criminalize the playing of online poker and other forms of online gambling. The statements by State Sen. Mario Scavello and two others propose summary fines and misdemeanor penalties for playing poker and other forms of gambling online, and if enacted would make Pennsylvania only the second US state where playing online poker is regarded as criminal. (The state of Washington passed a felony law in 2006.) The LV Sands-funded Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) immediately hailed Scavello’s proposal; Scavello’s PA district, coincidentally, is adjacent to the one where the Sands-owned Sands Bethlehem casino is located.

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