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 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 Haley Hintze
FIVE JERSEY CASINOS APPROVED TO LAUNCH ONLINE POKER SITES
As of early November, five of the 12 land-based casinos in New Jersey have been approved by state gaming regulators to offer online poker and other internet gambling to residents and visitors to the state. The Borgata, which received the first license in October, has since been joined by the Golden Nugget AC, Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, and the Tropicana AC in receiving the go-ahead. These five casinos will soft-launch online sites on or around November 21st, with the first real-money gaming scheduled for November 26th. A number of sites connected to the licenses awarded have already begun accepting player registrations, including Betfairnj.com (Trump Plaza), Borgatacasino.com, Goldennuggetpoker.com, Letsplaynj.com (Trump Plaza), Partypokernj.com (Borgata), Tropicana.net, and Ucasino.com (Trump Taj Mahal, Ultimate Poker).
DELAWARE LOTTERY DEBUTS ONLINE POKER, GAMBLING SERVICES
Hopeful online bettors in New Jersey’s neighbor Delaware had to wait one extra week as last-minute wrinkles were ironed out, but on November 8th, the Delaware Lottery and the state’s three licensed land-based casinos (Dover Downs, Delaware Park, and Harrington Raceway) went live with real-money offerings. Players age 21 and over and located physically within the state were able to play poker in addition to several casino games; Delaware thus became the first US state to offer officially authorized online casino games. Traffic was reported as light to moderate in the sites’ early days, with users occasionally reporting the same sort of geo-location verification problems that plagued Nevada’s online-poker launch earlier this year. Delaware officials continue exploring the possibility of multi-state compacts to increase player liquidity and revenue. DICRISTINA VERDICT APPEALED TO US SUPREME COURT Convicted New York City poker-game operator Lawrence DiCristina has announced an appeal of his 2012 conviction to the US Supreme Court. DiCristina, a bike-shop owner who ran a smallstakes poker room in a Staten Island warehouse, was convicted by a jury of violating IGBA (the Illegal Gambling Business Act), though the verdict was set aside by presiding judge Jack Weinstein in a landmark ruling, citing poker’s skill attributes. However, Weinstein’s decision was overturned by an appellate court in August, which ruled 2-1 that the skill aspects cited were irrelevant to the case. The Supreme Court appeal represents the last hope for DiCristina, and it’s a slim one; SCOTUS, as it’s often abbreviated, only accepts a tiny percentage of the appeals submitted to it.
POKERSTARS, WYNN LEFT WAITING AS NEW JERSEY AWARDS WAIVERS TO OTHER SOFTWARE, HARDWARE PARTNERS
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
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.
CAESARS EXITS MASSACHUSETTS CASINO RACE AFTER RUSSIAN MOB LINK EXPOSED
A minor link to an alleged Russian mobster was enough to torpedo the efforts of Caesars Entertainment to snag a sought-after Boston-area casino license, according to published reports. Caesars had planned to partner with Suffolk Downs Racetrack in a planned billion-dollar casino project, but exited after Massachusetts regulators recommended that Gansevoort Hotel Group, another partner of Caesars, not be recommended for any Massachusetts license. Gansevoort, a Caesars subsidiary which operates Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, has seen one of its investors, Arik Kislin, tied to Russian Mob money laundering operations in German court documents. Caesars subsequently terminated its relationship with Gansevoort, but bemoaned the strictness of Massachusetts regulators in citing an unrelated business deal in its background checking.
GOLDEN NUGGET ANNOUNCES SOFTWARE DEAL WITH AMAYA GAMING
By Wendeen H. Eolis
The World Series of Poker did itself proud, deciding to host a full on celebration of the elected inductees in the 2013 class of the WSOP’s Poker Hall of Fame. Tears of pride and joy trickled down the faces of poker professionals Tom McEvoy and Scotty Nguyen as each accepted the highest honors conferred by a grateful poker world at a dinner in their honor, last night.
A Cool Wine Cellar
The WSOP executive team chose the sophisticated wine cellar at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino for the cocktail reception. Impressive wines were uncorked. The drinks flowed freely and the hors d’oeuvres were elegant. An hour later the doors to an inner sanctum were opened for the sit-down dinner and organized celebration of two good men.
Filet mignon was served, but the sizzle in the steak was the poignant and gracious words that were spoken in the course of the induction ceremony.
WSOP Executive Director Moves the Needle
The penultimate day of the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event is in the books and after seven and a half hours of play we're down to heads up. The only non-pro at the table, Vegas club promoter Jay Farber, has the chip lead on his side while 23-ywar-old pro Ryan Riess has confidence, some say arrogance, on his. Farber was responsible for three eliminations and Riess took the other four as the two completely dominated the final table in slightly different styles. Farber mixed it up more and was extremely aggressive, while Riess was more surgical in picking his spots before a loud crowd at the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Resort.
By Barbara Rogers
Great news for poker players! The GAME CONTINUES. The place where it all started, Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana will play host to the Hollywood Poker Open. It started here, in Brad Hinson’s poker room and it traveled all across America. Penn National Gaming did a tremendous job of making sure players from just about everywhere in this country had a shot at winning a seat in the Las Vegas main event of the HPO. And all the while, paying out plenty of prize money in a multitude of events that players found affordable. Once the poker room manager, Brad Hinson got the ball rolling with super efficiency, it just got bigger and bigger. With an all-out effort and a “takeno- prisoners” attitude, they were determined to make this big and make it work.” And I know for a fact, the talk among the poker players was, “man I sure hope Hollywood does this again.” And they are
Qualify at Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg November 15-24, 2013 for the 2014 Las Vegas Hollywood Poker Open and win a trophy. But, there are plenty of other reasons to play in Lawrenceburg. The schedule is huge. From Deep Stack NLH, Seniors NL, NLH (Ante Only), Pot Limit Omaha, Ladies NLH, daily and nightly Cash NLH to NLH Last Chance. View it in detail in their ad in this issue of Poker Player. [Download the PDF]
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