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
PartyPoker became the first US-regulated online poker firm to sign an advertising deal with major pro sports teams after inking a deal with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. The deal will put plenty of ads for Party’s new New Jersey onlinepoker offerings, in conjunction with Atlantic City’s Borgata casino, in front of fans at the teams’ respective venues, the Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia) and the Prudential Center (Newark). Both franchises are controlled by a management group headed by money-management magnate Josh Harris.
DRAFT LEGISLATION PROPOSING WIRE ACT ‘FIX’ EMERGES
A draft proposal of federal legislation to amend the 1961 Wire Act to ban all forms of internet gambling has emerged under questions regarding its authorship. Numerous media outlets have claimed the bare-bones draft legislation, called the “Internet Gambling Control Act,” is the work of the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, a group openly funded by Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO Sheldon Adelson. Adelson, who as LVSands’ CEO exercises control over the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas, has vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to stop the spread of US-based internet gambling, despite that position being against the stated stance of the American Gaming Association (AGA). The proposed Internet Gambling Control Act, which has yet to find a Congressional sponsor, would amend the Wire Act by overriding a 2012 DOJ opinion by Attorney General Eric Holder that the Wire Act applies only to sportsbetting and not to other online gambling forms. The bill, if passes, could clamp down on more than just online poker and casino games; fantasy sports leagues and online lotteries would also be impacted.
COMPROMISE REACHED IN MICHIGAN CHARITY-POKER BATTLE
Ongoing controversies over Michigan’s widespread charity poker operations are close to be finalized amid the drafting of new regulations by the state. Michigan’s charity gaming regulations had seen a proliferation of the rooms, many of which operated as virtual floating casinos, open every day, and which had also been frequent targets of armed robberies and other violent crimes. At least 40 of the rooms currently exist throughout the state. The new proposals include a four-days-a-week limit per room, and the participation of only one charity per day. Both are designed to introduce financial caps on the money flow through the charity-gaming operations. 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.
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.