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 Borgatacasino.com, Borgatapoker.com, NJ.Partypoker.com, HarrahsCasino.com, WSOP.com, us.888.com, us.888poker.com, us.888casino.com, CaesarsCasino.com, tropicanacasino.com, virgincasino.com, betfaircasino.com and 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
Former World Poker Tour winner Vadim Trincher and his two sons, Illya and Eugene, are among the latest group of five defendants who have reached deals with federal prosecutors in settling claims including racketeering, money laundering, extortion and the operation of illegal gambling businesses. Vadim Trincher faced several of the more serious charges and could still face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced next March, though he is expected to receive a much shorter term. Trincher also agreed to the forfeiture of more than $10 million in cash and property. More than half of the 34 defendants in the case, including many with prominent poker connections, have now reached deals with prosecutors.
FULL TILT REMISSION APPLICATION PERIOD CLOSES
Full Tilt Poker remission claims administrator Garden City Group announced the closure of the window for applying for refunds from the site, which ceased US operations following 2011’s “Black Friday” More than 35,000 former FTP players filed refund applications at last report, with refunds themselves not expected before March 31, 2014. The Ohio-based GCG also announced a 30-day extension for applying for some former affiliates and minor sponsored pros who received only indirect and minor forms of compensation from the site.
ADELSON’S ONLINE GAMBLING ATTACK CAMPAIGN EXPANDED
Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO and Chairman of the Board Sheldon Adelson has reaffirmed his attacks against any form of US-regulated online gaming, with prominent appearances on the topic in Forbes and the Washington Post in recent weeks. Adelson, famous for donating tens of millions of dollars to the failed presidential campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in the last election cycle, has now turned his sights on internet-based gambling, including the launching of a new site dedicated to his effort: stopinternetgambling.com. The stance by Adelson, the driving force behind many LVSands properties including the Venetian, continues to cause a rift within the American Gaming Association, America’s leading pro-casino lobbying group. Other AGA-affiliated casino corporations have actively supported the expansion of properly regulated online gambling in states such as Nevada and New Jersey.
VOTERS GIVE THUMBS-DOWN TO FOXWOODS BOSTON-AREA CASINO PROJECT
Residents of Milford, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, turned down a chance to authorize a Foxwoods-operated casino in a recent referendum. The proposed billion-dollar casino project, which likely would have snared one of three available Massachusetts casino licenses, failed by a significant margin, 6,361 to 3,480. Wynn and MGM are still the favorites to snag two other Boston-area casino licenses, while the third now awaits an uncertain future.
BITCOINS’ WILD RIDE CONTINUES
Unregulated virtual currency, Bitcoin has seen its value soar in the wake of the much-publicized arrest of the alleged San Francisco-based founder of the internet’s largest underground marketplace, Silk Road. The demise of the original Silk Road, infamous for open sales of drugs and other illicit items, had an unintended effect of both trimming the number of Bitcoins in circulation and drawing mainstream attention to their use as well. Bitcoins are used as a transfer medium on several smaller online poker and gambling sites and have experienced a massive run-up over the last two years from roughly $10 per virtual coin to nearly $900 in early November, before dropping back to $650. US authorities have announced plans to regulate Bitcoins and similar “virtual” currencies.
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.