by Haley Hintze
WYNN RECEIVES MASSACHUSETTS APPROVAL FOR CASINO
Wynn Resorts emerged as the clear favorite of the developers of a Boston-area casino after the company was deemed “suitable” by Massachusetts gaming regulator. Wynn plans a $1.2 billion casino complex in Everett, an inner Boston suburb, but will likely have to outlast legal challenges by rival Caesars Entertainment, which had competed for the same single Eastern Massachusetts license, but was forced out over questionable and modest business ties to a suspect New York hotelier. Caesars responded to its ouster by suing a prominent Massachusetts gaming official with alleged close ties to Wynn, meaning that despite the recent Wynn approval, matters aren’t quite settled.
POKERSTARS CLAIMS CONFIDENCE IN INVESTING IN US ONLINE POKER MARKET IN 2014
A year-end corporate blog post by PokerStars Director of Communications Eric Hollreiser promised continued pursuit of a return to the new United States online-poker market while blasting the New Jersey owners of the soon-to-close Atlantic Club casino, Crown Colony LLC, for pulling out of a deal that could possibly help save New Jersey jobs. On behalf of PokerStars, Hollreiser wrote, “[We] remain confident that we will have a strong presence and positive economic impact in the American market in 2014, whether that is in New Jersey or another state seeking the benefits of being home to a world-class online gaming company.” Stars was also recently identified as making a modest and generic pro-gambling lobbying spend in New York State.
GPI NAMES NEGREANU AS PLAYER OF THE DECADE
The Global Poker Index, a relatively new composite ranking of tournament poker results from the entire world, has named Daniel Negreanu its first Player of the Decade. Negreanu returned to top form in 2013 with major wins in Europe and Asia along with a solid WSOP summer that netted him his second WSOP POY award. The extended hot streak, combined with many of Negreanu’s previous wins, earned him the new GPI honor over second-place Erik Seidel and Michael Mizrachi, who finished third.
WPT PLAY-MONEY SITE PASSWORDS EXPOSED AFTER HACKING ATTACK
Over 175,000 player accounts on the World Poker Tour Amateur Poker League Website at wptapl.com had their passwords stolen after a hacker successfully intruded into the play-money site. The stolen data included players’ e-mail addresses and passwords (the latter stored in plain text and not encrypted), indicating that the security of users’ personal information was not as secure as claimed. Nearly 50,000 of the stolen passwords were identical, and were likely a default, generic password used for resets by the site.
UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL RESIGNS, CONTINUING INVESTIGATIONS PROBE ONLINE POKER PROCESSING TIES
Utah Attorney General John Swallow resigned in early December following continuing investigations and mounting pressure over Swallow’s acceptance of money from certain interests and a subsequent massive deletion of e-mails and other data from every electronic device in Swallow’s control. A key element in the “pay for play” coverup was a secretly recorded meeting in April 2012 between Swallow and payday-loan kingpin and online-poker payment processor Jeremy Johnson, who sought legal protection from Swallow and the Utah AG’s office for his various business dealings. Johnson was not named among the 11 “Black Friday” criminal defendants, only because he was already under investigation in a closely related FTC internet fraud case. Investigations into Swallow’s past continues, following recent state investigative findings indicating months of likely deletion of records by Swallow, formerly Utah’s top legal official.
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.