by Haley Hintze
The internet homes of prominent Las Vegas casino resorts Venetian and Palazzo were knocked off line for several days in February following attacks by internet hackers. The attacks appeared motivated by the pro-Israel politics of LV Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, and text left by the hackers included a reference to an oblique recommendation Adelson made last year about bombing the Iranian desert as a show of strength supporting Israel. The hacking included the publication of private information of LV Sands employees. The LV Sands corporate website was also affected, as were the sites of its other casino properties, in Pennsylvania and Macau.
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.
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.
Wendeen H. Eolis
By: Wendeen H. Eolis
The leading suspect in a scheme to rig a poker tournament, at the Borgata last month, has gotten into more hot water with the law, this week. Christian Lusardi of Fayetteville, North Carolina was arrested January 24th in connection with the introduction of counterfeit chips in the opening event at the Borgata Winter Open. Unable to make the $300,000 cash payment for bail, Lusardi has been sitting in a jail cell since.
This week, prosecutors have upped the ante for Lusardi with new charges against him--wholly unrelated to the allegations of meddling with the publicly exhibited Borgata contest. While Lusardi was holed up in Atlantic City, federal agents apparently acted on a search warrant. They d found more than 37,500 illegal DVD disks in his home. Lusardi is now charged with a DVD bootlegging operation, as part of his rap sheet.
The picture is still not clear, however, as to whether the current status of the investigation into Lusardi’s activities will soon prompt the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to come forward with a final resolution concerning the tainted poker tournament.
Investigation of Borgata Chip Caper is Ongoing According to DGE
by Barbara Rogers
After six months of growing into the regions largest Bad Beat jackpot to date, the Horseshoe Cincinnati paid out the largest Bad Beat jackpot in the regions history. $270,000 was paid out on Feb. 12th. Gary Costa of Cincinnati had the losing hand of quad 7's, and took the larger share, a whopping $108,000. Michael Humphreys, also a local, had the winning hand, a jack high straight flush. His cut was $54,000 and the other six players sharing the table received $18,000 for being in the right place at the right time.
(Photo: Gary Costa is to the right of the dealer; Michael Humphreys is on the left. Behind them are the other six players at the table.)
Poker News Brief: Sentence for Ting in NYC; WSOP.com Leak Reveals Possible $10 Million Main Event GuaranteeFebruary 11, 2014 - 11:21am
by Haley Hintze
Five-Month Sentence for Ting in NYC Poker / Sportsbetting Case
Edwin Ting, one of 34 defendants in a large sports betting and poker ring based in New York City, was sentenced to five months in prison for his role in organizing and operating high-stakes poker games for the ring’s leaders, who have been alleged to be part of the Russian mob.
WSOP.com Site Leak Reveals Possible $10 Million Main Event Guarantee
Will the 2014 World Series of Poker main event guarantee $10 million to its winner? That’s possible, following the capture of a partial schedule of events for 2014 that appeared briefly on the site before being removed by programmers, possibly in advance of a later press announcement. Sharp-eyed observers captured screengrabs of the possible goof during the few hours it was visible. The page showed only those events with buy-ins of $10,000 or higher, including the main, which will be Event #65 if the information proves correct. The possible $10 million guarantee would make the 2014 winner the second-richest ME winner in WSOP history, behind only the $12 million snared by Jamie Gold in the final pre-UIGEA year of 2006.
by Haley Hintze
Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, home to one of the largest poker rooms in Las Vegas, will relocate its games elsewhere in the casino to dedicate more floor space for the adjacent, popular PURE nightclub. The imminent move likely means a need for a new home in 2015 for the annual National Heads-Up Poker Championship, which has been filmed in late February or early March and has been televised by NBC in recent years. Several other Caesars tournament series and regular cash-game action will also be transplanted. Caesars has not announced a new location within the sprawling Caesars Palace complex for a relocated poker room, nor whether the casino will downsize from the 62 poker tables currently offered.
by Haley Hintze
New Jersey’s Lesniak Seeks International Players – New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak, one of the state’s most instrumental legislators in getting New Jersey to authorize and offer intrastate online poker, has now proposed legislation which would allow the state’s licensed online sites to accept players from other countries in addition to New Jersey residents and visitors. Lesniak’s new S980, with State Sen. Jim Whelan as co-sponsor, renews a bill sponsored by Lesniak in late 2013 which would allow the international players, though players from other US states would still be barred.
by Haley Hintze
FIRST EVENT IN BORGATA WINTER POKER OPEN FROZEN AFTER BOGUS CHIPS CONFIRMED
The Borgata’s annual Winter Poker Open suffered a blow when New Jersey gaming regulators ordered the cancellation of the WPO’s opening event after a large quantity of counterfeit chips were discovered. Twenty-seven players remained in the event, a $560 buy-in tourney which drew a massive 4,814-player field, when the full extent of the cheating was uncovered. No arrests have been made in the matter, nor has a final resolution been made regarding a possible distribution of more than $1.4 million in prize money to the event’s remaining players.
ATLANTIC CLUB DOORS CLOSE AFTER TUMULTUOUS FINAL YEAR
Atlantic City’s Atlantic Club Casino closed permanently on January 13th after court approval of an asset purchase by two AC competitors, Caesars and Tropicana. The Atlantic Club entered bankruptcy proceedings last year, shortly after backing out of a deal with PokerStars that could have kept the casino, Atlantic City’s oldest, open—pending regulatory approval for PokerStars, which may have been unlikely. The Tropicana claimed the gaming equipment while Caesars assumed ownership of the hotel and land itself in the accepted deal; the closing of the Atlantic Club itself resulted in layoffs for the casino’s approximately 1,800 workers.
PARTYPOKER SIGNS MARKETING DEAL WITH 76ERS, DEVILS
By Wendeen H. Eolis
Four thousand + players journeyed to the Borgata Winter Open, for its first tournament -- a $560 buy-in, deep stack confection, with a two million dollar guaranteed prize pool. The numbers proved themselves; it was a “must play” event. But with twenty-seven players remaining in the field, the tournament was suspended before the commencement of day three, last Friday. One day later Event 1 was canceled.
The Big Guns Get Involved
The tournament had been compromised, said Joe Lupo, Senior Vice President of Operations at the Borgata. He explained that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement made the decision to cancel the tournament and place the remaining unpaid prize monies in a trust pending a further resolution. Lupo has had his hands full since revealing the discovery of "significant counterfeit chips" in play at the tournament. He has been juggling his time among competing priorities. He must cope concurrently with expectations of top management, availability to DGE and other investigative professionals, continued oversight and collaboration with his teams, and extensive attention to the plight of players whose dreams were smashed by a compromised tournament or its cancelation, and maybe both.
Players Put Men "The Master" Nguyen On Stage