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S.W.A.T. Raid Targets Florida Flee-Play Poker Event and more

by Haley Hintze

S.W.A.T. Raid Targets Florida Flee-Play Poker Even  Florida Play-Money Poker League Raided by S.W.A.T. Team

 Bar patrons playing free poker with only small-value prize certificates at stake found themselves staring down the business end of a S.W.A.T. team’s weapons in a recent Tampa, FL raid. The overzealous raid in the suburb of Largo targeted participants in a free poker league with miniscule merchandise prizes organized by The Nutz, one of many such groups that hold similar events in exchange for a share of the bar’s receipts. Typically, such “free” poker events avoid prosecution because the players themselves do not place wagers or offer other consideration for their participation, which was scant consolidation for the event’s 140 players, who were held at gunpoint. Six people involved with organizing the event were arrested and led from the scene to an arraignment on what the league’s organizers subsequently reported as felony gambling charges.

 Boyd, Fertitta, and Golden Nugget Snag Nevada Licenses

 Three more gaming corporations have been given the thumbs-up to offer online poker services by the Nevada Gaming Commission. All three of the latest companies to be licensed are gaming companies with plans to launch sites, Boyd Gaming, Fertitta Interactive LLC, and the Golden Nugget. Boyd’s most prominent brand name is the Atlantic City-based Borgata, and it also operates the Orleans and several “Coast” properties in Nevada. The Golden Nugget is one of Nevada’s most historical gambling names, while Fertitta Interactive, which owns the Station Casinos chain, will move forward with its Ultimate Poker brand, linked to its Ultimate Fighting Championships efforts.

 Cantor Gaming Officer, Two Noted Poker Players Arrest ed in Online Sports betting Sweep

 Cantor Gaming’s sportsbook director, Mike Colbert, was among 25 people arrested in a nationwide crackdown targeting the indirect operations of US-facing internet sites based in Panama and Costa Rica. Colbert, 32, managed the sportsbook at Las Vegas’ M Casino. He was arrested as part of the sweep, along with noted poker players, Steve Diano, and Paul Sexton. Two California residents and alleged owners of the offshore Pinnacle Sports site were also arrested as part of an investigation dubbed “Operation World Wide Wagers,” along with several New York and New Jersey bookmakers with alleged ties to organized crime.

 CO PA Dissolves, California Online Poker Scene in Disarray

 The California Online Poker Association (COPA), an entity linking the interests of 29 California tribes and 31 smaller, independent rooms offering poker, has ceased operations. COPA’s collapse, fueled by the pullout of the San Manuel and Morongo bands of Mission Indians, adds to the uncertainty regarding California’s online-poker future. COPA’s dissolution was confirmed by editor, Victor Rocha, who also noted that the group’s online domain at has been discontinued. COPA had lobbied for tribal exclusivity in any legislative deals regarding online poker engineered by the state. COPA had also contracted with software giant Playtech to offer a play-money site for Californians called CalShark, which remains in operation but whose future is uncertain.

 Governors Spar Over Reid-Kyl

 The recently released draft language of the not-yet-introduced Reid- Kyl bill has already drawn conflicting volleys from state governors. In a letter to federal Congressional leaders, Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear, and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, expressed their opposition to the measure, writing on behalf of the National Governors Association. Separately, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, whose state and its existing framework would be treated favorably under the measure, wrote the same legislators to express his support for the bill. Both camps stressed the need for states’ rights regarding gambling matters to be preserved in the event a federal measure is passed.

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.

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