by Haley Hintze
SEVEN NJ CASINOS GRANTED INTERNET GAMING APPROVAL
A late rush in approvals by New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement saw seven of the state’s 12 casinos and a total of 13 online sites approved for the state’s soft launch of real-money online gaming, which began as scheduled on November 21st. The sites approved included www.Borgatacasino.com, www.Borgatapoker.com, www.NJ.Partypoker.com, www.HarrahsCasino.com, www.WSOP.com, us.888.com, us.888poker.com, us.888casino.com, www.CaesarsCasino.com, www.tropicanacasino.com, www.virgincasino.com, www.betfaircasino.com and www.ucasino.com. The late additions included six Caesars affiliated sites, with Caesars owning four of the state’s 12 land-based casinos.
VADIM TRINCHER, TWO SONS PLEAD GUILTY IN NYC GAMBLING CASE
by Haley Hintze
BORGATA, OTHER NJ ONLINE POKER SITES PREP FOR NOV. 26TH OPENING
Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa received the first interactive gambling license to be issued by New Jersey state gambling regulators. The license, granted in early October, means that the Borgata will be among the Atlantic City casinos expected to launch real-money online gambling, including poker, on Tuesday, November 26th. The live date for realmoney action will follow a brief, five-day soft launch for final software and hardware testing. The Borgata is a collaborative venture owned by Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts International, and its online brands are expected to be powered by bwin.party software. All 12 Atlantic City casinos are seeking approval to launch online versions of their brands, which will be available to anyone age 21 or over who is physically present in New Jersey.
ZYNGA WITHDRAWS NEVADA IGAMING APPLICATIONS
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
FLORIDA INTERNET CAFE CRACKDOWN PROMPTS LEGISLATION BANNING ELECTRONIC GAMING DEVICES
A $300 million scandal involving the arrest of 57 individuals and the resignation of Florida’s attorney general has prompted the introduction of a new bill which includes a sweeping ban on all electronic devices that can be used for gaming purposes. Florida’s new HB 155 measure swept through the state’s House on a 108-7 vote, following the disclosure that of $300 million netted by supposed charitable organization Allied Veterans of the World, which operates dozens of the video game-style slots parlors throughout the state, only $6 million went to the intended charities. The resulting move to ban such “internet cafes” includes language so broad it endangers almost all forms of electronic gaming, from arcade devices to the internet, regardless of whether skill or luck is involved.
888 HOLDINGS, TREASURE ISLAND
by Wendeen H. Eolis
Over the past two weeks the American Gaming Association and PokerStars have sparred over the future of the online gaming company’s activities in Atlantic City. There is no end in sight for a battle that has AGA pressing the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) on behalf of its members into a long methodical examination of the merits of PokerStars’ entry into the United States casino market.
While the plot thickens and the legal issues unfold, more than a dozen lawyers are responding to my call for help to dissect in plain English what is happening. Lawyer sources for this article have intimate knowledge of the online and live casino industry. Many have represented one or more of the following: PokerStars, MGM, Caesars, other brick and mortar casinos and online gaming companies and/or the AGA. They weigh in today on a few of the questions they have brought to the table for discussion.
Author's disclosures: The writer is a a legal consultant but not a lawyer and therefore does not offer legal advice and does not express any legal conclusions in the matters presented in this article.This acknowledges without specific reference that the writer and/or EOLIS companies have had business dealings at one time or another with most of the businesses mentioned in this article and necessarily, have retained confidences provided in the context of those relationships.
Please also note: For the avoidance of doubt, readers are advised that no spokesperson for either PokerStars or the AGA was solicited for comment with regard to this article and none of the responses reflect authorized comment by either organization
The questions and the summarized answers provided as a result of consulting with a wide variety of gaming law experts and white collar crime specialists follow:
1. Why did Poker Stars conclude affirmatively that their online poker fare was legal in America after enactment of UIGEA?
by Wendeen H. Eolis
Breaking News: The ups and downs and glitches in negotiations between PokerStars and the United States Department of Justice with respect to Full Tilt Poker have come to an end.
Without giving away the identity of a consistently impeccable resource, it is now safe to say announcements for public dissemination are in the works. At this point I am ready to go out on a limb; FTP customers will see their monies well in time for Christmas shopping.
WSOP Puts Poker Stars, Full Tilt & Epic Poker League in the Shadows; Phil Ivey Signs on For the Big OneJune 20, 2012 - 10:26am
By: Wendeen H. Eolis
Phil Ivey Signs on For the Big One
Phil Ivey the most worshipped poker star will take a seat in the upcoming million dollar buy-in tournament at the 43rd Annual World Series of Poker that is now well underway at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. No longer battling with his Full Tilt alma mater, far from the embrace of Isai Scheinberg and PokerStars when outside the US, and oblivious to the short–lived Epic Poker League, Ivey is back in his element after a two year sabbatical at the richest and most prestigious poker tournament in the world.
Nevada Commission approves Bally’s for Online Licensing
The first corporate entity to clear a questioning hearing before Nevada’s State Gaming Control Board as it seeks licensure to do online-poker business in Nevada is established gaming manufacturer, Bally’s. Bally’s, which acquired online network, ChiliGaming, in April, has already rolled out a free-play poker site for downtown Vegas’ Golden Nugget casino. A real-money Golden Nugget online poker site is likely to be one of the first offerings, provided to Nevada residents, several months down the road.
Illinois Casino measure passes assembly, Faces Threatened Veto
by Paul 'Dr. Pauly' McGuire
I moved to San Francisco, the epicenter of hipster geekdom, and played in a home game with an eclectic gaggle of tech-savvy poker enthusiasts. The weekly gathering epitomized binge-drinking and cardslinging, but unfortunately, the more intoxicated everyone became, the more the action slowed down. A few bored players killed idle time by playing Zynga Poker on their iPhones.
Zynga Poker became the most popular version of online poker played in America, because of its partnership with the social media behemoth, Facebook. Bored housewives, college students, and cubicle slaves, battled it out on the virtual felt through Zynga Poker, a free app readily available on Facebook.
by Wendeen H. Eolis (Updated 01/20/12 6:58 EST)
The Parade of Unsung Departures - Updated
Special Note: This article updates the author's breaking news and follow up story about PokerStars CEO Gabi Campos ' departure plans, taking into account relevant communications--not marked confidential--between Poker Stars and the reporter.
In a personal email to this reporter one day after publication of the breaking news, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg confirmed "Gabi's (Campos) departure. Hours after Poker Player Newspaper broke the story, Poker Stars gave an exclusive statement to Poker News, attributed to "top officials" of the Company :
“Poker Stars announced today that Gabi Campos has decided to step down from his position as Chief Executive Officer, effective February 1, 2012, to pursue other opportunities. The company thanks Gabi for his hard work and commitment and wishes him the best in all his future endeavors. A search for Gabi’s replacement is under way.”