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Poker News: American Gaming Association Adds New Members and more

HOUSE HEARING SCHEDULED TO BANKRUPTCY AUCTION

The Atlantic Club Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, will close on January 13th after a bankruptcy auction failed to find a bidder willing to operate the casino. The only bid, which was duly accepted, was a $23.4 million joint offer by Tropicana and Caesars that will see the two NJ competitors divvy up the Atlantic Club’s equipment and physical assets, with Caesars holding the rights to the property and attached casino. Roughly 2,000 workers will be unemployed through the Atlantic Club’s closure. The Atlantic Club’s failure came after casino owners Crown Colony LLC backed out of a 2012 sale to PokerStars parent Rational Group, which sought a point of re-entry into the US market. The casino’s closing leaves 11 operating properties in the state.

LAS VEGAS SANDS, ADELSON ABANDON SPANISH EUROVEGAS PROJECT

Las Vegas Sands, Inc. and its CEO Sheldon Adelson, announced the abandonment of Sands’ major EuroVegas casino project after failing to win added concessions from Spanish officials. Negotiations broke down this fall over Spain’s refusal to grant extra tax breaks and guarantee no adverse changes to Spanish tax policy. The giant $30 billion project, slated to be built outside Madrid, had planned for six casinos, 12 hotels, major shopping outlets and as many as 250,000 jobs.

COLORADO POLS TO CONSIDER ONLINE GAMBLING

Add Colorado to the list of states where online gambling is expected to receive state-level consideration. Pro-gaming legislators and officials of the Colorado Gaming Association have announced plans to place an online-gaming bill on the state’s 2014 legislative docket, with one study suggesting the state could generate over $100 million annually from Internet-based gambling, roughly a third of that from online poker. As the topic garnered media buzz, Colorado’s Attorney General, John Suthers, noted that an amendment to the state’s constitution might be necessary to make online gaming legal within the state.

GUILTY PLEA FOR ‘POKER PRINCESS,’ OTHERS IN TRINCHER GAMBLING RING CASE

Prosecuting attorneys in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced several more plea deals in the largescale prosecution targeting a major sportsbetting and gambling ring with ties to Russian organized crime. Six new plea deals in the case were announced in late November and early December, including that of Molly Bloom, the so-called “Poker Princess,” who was accused of organizing and operating poker high-stakes, raked poker games with the assistance and protection of the ring’s leaders, which included former WPT winner Vadim Trincher. The pleas for Bloom and others mean that 24 of the case’s 34 defendants have now reached deals with SDNY prosecutors.

WYNN GETS MASSACHUSETTS APPROVAL, CAESARS SUES STATE GAMING BOSS

The Massachusetts Gaming Board has announced that Wynn Resorts has been judged suitable for operating a casino property, clearing the way for the construction of a billion-dollar casino project in the Boston suburb of Everett. Wynn’s approval came after a project involving rival casino operator Caesars was rejected by the state, which cited questionable ties and an official for New York-based Gansevoort Hotel Group with alleged ties to the Russian Mob. In return, Caesars filed suit against Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby, claiming a conflict of interest and financial incentive involving Paul Lohnes, part owner of the land slated to be involved in the Wynn project.

AGA ADDS THREE NEW MEMBERS

The American Gaming Association has announced three new additions to the group’s lineup of casino-entertainment and gambling entities. Wynn Resorts, Station Casinos and Churchill Downs Inc. are the lobbying group’s latest members; the AGA represents a majority of gambling interests in political and legislative matters and is the largest such group in the US. The AGA was in the news in recent weeks when its CEO, Geoff Freeman, and the vice president of AGA member Las Vegas Sands, Inc., Andrew Abboud, backed opposing viewpoints in a Congressional hearing on online gaming.

Veteran poker-industry writer/editor Haley Hintze is the author of an upcoming book on the Absolute Poker and UltimateBet online cheating scandals, to be released later this year.

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