by Wendeen H. Eolis
As exclusively reported at pokerplayernewswpaper.com, on November 7th, PokerStars will not be part of the iGaming fraternity operating in New Jersey on its historic scheduled launch date of November 26th.
Look for statements from PokerStars and/or DGE pledging that the dance continues—but for more on the back story to this state of affairs, stay tuned to pokerplayernewspaper.com.
by Wendeen H. Eolis
The New Jersey gaming license application of Poker Stars has been a bruiser after a series of battles instigated and propelled by indignant opponents united under the umbrella of the American Gaming Association (AGA). But the fallout from the warring parties’ activities is far from over—regardless of the outcome on the PokerStars application this week.
The time worn precept that a zealous foe who seeks to bury his target had best to build two graves may apply here. The AGA has succeeded, beyond a shadow of a doubt, in spotlighting PokerStars as a company that poses serious suitability issues in the context of New Jersey’s traditional casino licensing standards.
At the same time, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s disorganized and dragged out proceedings, have provided regulators in other jurisdictions quite the primer on potential pitfalls in licensing deliberations. Perhaps as important, regulators have been motivated to take a harder look at the suitability of potential licensees, even if already licensed elsewhere. This food for thought was not likely anticipated by other gaming companies now being held accountable to more stringent standards than ever before.
by Wendeen H. Eolis
This past week has seen a frenzy of activity over the license application submitted by PokerStars to New Jersey regulators.
This morning previously proven sources with direct knowledge of current affairs reconfirm PokerStars remains shut out of the starting line up for online gaming in the Garden State.
"No approval tomorrow," say law firms with direct knowledge of late breaking developments. Insiders closely associated with PokerStars say founders Isai and Mark Scheinberg are actively preparing for worse news on the near horizon.
More news coming shortly on the pressure brought to bear by competitors outraged by "unfair competition." One lawyer peripherally involved says current "mess" is made by New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement making promises to PokerStars that we're not in concert with New Jersey regulatory tradition of stringent suitability requirements.
by Wendeen H. Eolis
Update Bulletin: PokerStars Faces Red Lights in NJ
After months of investigation by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the regulators have made their determinations and are expected to step up to the plate today with announcements of the companies licensed for Internet gambling in NJ, on the opening date of November 26.
The lead up to the announcement has been accompanied by plenty of turmoil among warring parties. Throughout this period, however, PokerStars and its boosters including various state officials, PS private lobbyists, and high placed friends, have exuded confidence without interruption, only to hear of their failure to secure a license at this time.
Regulators are said to have railed against pressure to turn a blind eye on the outstanding criminal case against PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, arising from his indictment dating back to 2011. Word has also leaked out through sources close to officials in Atlantic City and in the Statehouse of growing concern as to the role of PokerStars founder in the Company's current activities.
While Isai Scheinberg is described by the Company as a "Fellow" and not part of management various opponents to PS licensing are continuing to argue that Scheinberg still operates within the Company as if he is in charge, with respect to matters that interest him. If true, this would violate the Company's settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice in connection with its legal troubles arising from the indictment and companion civil case U.S. v Scheinberg et al.
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 Wendeen H. Eolis
Just as the 2013 World Series of Poker was beginning to wind up its engines for the main event at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX-) rolled into town for his third visit to the annual WSOP; this time to rev up support for his updated poker bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Poker Players Alliance hosted a Town Hall Meeting designed to preview Barton’s online gambling bill HR 2666, the “Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013,” which was subsequently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, July 12.
While the PPA has been beating the drums for Barton’s “poker only” bill it is also applauding the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013 (HR 2282) introduced by Congressman Peter King (R-NY) last month. The King bill proposes “poker plus” other casino game options excluding, sports bets.
Unity is hard to come by in the business of online gambling and this week, from out of the blue, came a new wrinkle in the debate of online gambling consumer protections. The complexities in bringing online gambling to U.S. players seamlessly across the country grows at every turn, and so does the cast of characters with unique skin in the legislative game—at both the state and federal level.
Barton and King—Different Visions
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
By Shari Geller
Today, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) introduced the “Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013” which will legalize online gambling and address the regulatory uncertainty surrounding online gambling resulting from a December 2011 Justice Department ruling.
After years of prohibiting online gambling, DOJ’s 2011 ruling made online gambling of every type, except sports betting, legal at the federal level if it is lawful at the state level. But while online is legal, it is not uniformly regulated, the operators are not licensed, and consumers lack protection from fraud and abuse. With states approaching this issue piecemeal, it can lead to conflicting or inconsistent laws from state-to-state, varying levels of consumer protection, and a perverse incentive for a race-to-the-bottom on standards to attract gaming operators and revenues.
by Wendeen H. Eolis
Last March poker aficionados attending the annual “ATLARGE” gathering in Atlantic City, were energized like never before. The buzz in the Atlantic Club and Casino and Hotel (ACC) poker room that weekend was all good news. PokerStars, a staunch supporter of the online poker community had announced its intentions to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel (ACC), the property at which they were meeting. New Jersey had recently legalized online poker. And the world’s largest and most popular online poker site was poised to obtain an Interim Casino Authorization (ICA). PokerStars had fast plans to take online poker forward in a big way on these American shores.
The ATLARGE revelers along with ACC personnel and associates of PokerStars celebrated together their expectations of a fast slam dunk deal. Steve Eisenstein, a member of the law firm Lum, Drasco, and Positan, LLC, and an avid poker enthusiast was one of the attendees at the ATLARGE festivities; he could not have imagined at that time what would come of the deal, all too soon. Two months later, the New Jersey law firm at which he practices was hired by PokerStars to sue the ACC in an effort to preserve its investment and protect its plans to purchase the ACC property. It was the Firm’s first engagement with Poker Stars according to Eisenstein, who was otherwise more circumspect than informative as to the possible next steps in this progressively messy situation. He is schooled in the ways of big companies. He offered up the PokerStars’ Director of Communications, Eric Hollreiser as the right man for media inquiries.
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