One of the most noteworthy additions to this year’s WSOP schedule is the inclusion of an online-only bracelet event. Event #64, a $1,000 NLHE tournament to be held on July 2 will take place almost exclusively on in Nevada. I say “almost” because the final two combatants will battle it out live under center stage at the Rio. The WSOP’s decision to launch such an event is a stroke of cross-promotional genius that will undoubtedly facilitate the legitimization of legal, regulated online poker in the United States. There’s only one problem: players on in New Jersey will not be permitted to directly compete for the bracelet. Yes, they’ll probably be able to satellite their way in, but should they want to procure WSOP gold, they’ll still have to pack their bags and gravitate towards the Rio. There has to be a better way. With all this forward thinking going on behind the scenes in Nevada, isn’t it high time the powers that be at least consider allowing players located outside of Nevada to compete for a bracelet? The most obvious means by which this can be accomplished is for Nevada to enter into a liquidity sharing compact with the Garden State. In all likelihood, that isn’t going to happen in 2015, leaving only one other alternate solution: Hold simultaneous events in both Nevada and New Jersey, where the winner from each state meets up the Rio to determine a victor. Remember last year, when traffic on WSOP NV skyrocketed during the live Series, but remained relatively static in New Jersey? The allure of a bracelet event in the Garden State could extend the poker media hoopla that envelopes Las Vegas from late-June to July to the East Coast, helping to raise iGaming awareness and in turn attracting wannabe poker players to regulated New Jersey sites. Going further, should WSOP NJ feature the bracelet event as the Main Event of an extended online series, it may inspire out-of-state players from Pennsylvania and New York. many of whom can’t necessarily make it out to Vegas, to shack up in the Garden State for a week or two, driving cash liquidity upward during a season when it’s typically at its lowest. Alright, so what does this have to do with California? Simple. There’s no good reason why once (if) California introduces online poker into its already diversified swatch of gambling options, that bracelet participation cannot be extended to the Golden State, in so long as has established a presence therein – which seems a near inevitability. Picture a final table consisting of one representative from each state where poker is legal, each of whom won their way in online. Better yet, envision a scenario where offers a special rakeback, or other lucrative promo to the state from which the winner qualifies. Now that’s cross-promotion at its finest. Which is really the entire point. There’s simply no stronger vehicle for promoting online poker than at the live Series, and what better way to do it than to have players from each state where online poker is regulated to represent their site. It could prove a game changer, that is at least until Gov. Sandoval and Christie reach terms on a liquidity sharing pact. Considering just how long PokerStars reentry into the United States has been delayed, I won’t be keeping my fingers crossed on that one. In any case, the WSOP’s decision to host an online-only event is a bold maneuver, and one that could pay dividends later on if fully realized. Previous Post Next Post About Robert DellaFave Robert DellaFave writes for a variety of online gaming sites and is also working on programming a poker simulation creative enough to beat the best. Follow Robert on Twitter @DivergentGames and on Google+

Winning the World Series of Poker Main Event requires a whole lot of skill, and with the field size now measured in the thousands, it also requires a whole lot of luck. As does winning any poker tournament, even the small field Super High Rollers that have caught on in recent years. Professional football is quite similar, where unlike the other professional sports where championships are decided by a best of seven series, in football it’s one and done, which means luck and variance will play a larger role, in what is already a high variance game. The best team doesn’t always win, just like the best player at the final table doesn’t always walk away with the bracelet. There are simply too many variables at play – weather, a strange bounce, an injury to a key player, a missed penalty, and so on. The phrase “On any given Sunday” exists for a reason. With this in mind, and as the New England Patriots prepare for their sixth Super Bowl in the past 15 years, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the accomplishments of the Patriots over the past decade and a half and try to put them into perspective with the help of poker. What Have You Done For Me Lately The Patriots won the first three Super Bowls they appeared in during the Brady/Belichek era (managing to do so in a span of four years), but since then the team has gone 0-2, losing two incredibly close games. The Patriots resume is the best in the NFL over the past 15 years, but with many people seeing the NFL in absolutist terms, fostering a “Super Bowl or bust” mentality, they consider the Patriots inability to “close out” a season with the Lombardi Trophy has tarnished their legacy a bit. The Patriots went from winning three Super Bowls in four years, and on their way to immortality and the moniker of the best team ever, to not having won in a decade and people wondering if they even belong in the conversation with the 1980’s/1990’s 49ers, the 70’s Steelers, and the Packers teams from the 1960’s. My feeling is, even if they lose to the Seahawks this year, the Patriots appearing in six Super Bowls in 15 years is utterly amazing. They’re accomplishments from their last Super Bowl is success most teams yearn to taste: Super Bowl appearances in 2007 and 2011, and 2014 (2014 yet to be played), 6 Conference Championship appearances with a 3-3 record, and a near perfect season in 2007. In poker terms, what the Patriots have done since their last Super Bowl victory is a feat on par with Dan Harrington’s back-to-back final tables in 2003 and 2004 or Mark Newhouse’s back-to-back 9th place finishes in 2013 and 2014. Appearing in six of the last nine Conference Championships is something non-absolutists would consider more impressive than (or at the very least on par with) winning a Super Bowl, much like Newhouse’s and Harrington’s feats are considered. Oh, and by Sunday night they’ll either be 3-6 or 4-6 in the Super Bowl over the past 15 years. Win or lose what they have done is impressive any way you slice it. Comparing the NFL to the Big One for One Drop It’s certainly not a perfect comparison but making the NFL playoffs is akin to making the final table of the Big One for One Drop tournament. Continuing with this theme, making the Conference Championship (the NFL’s Final Four) is akin to cashing in the One Drop event, which means just making it to the Super Bowl would be on par with playing heads-up for the One Drop crown. By these metrics, if the New England Patriots were a poker player, they would have made nine out of 15 final tables, cashed six times, and gone on to play heads up for the title 6 times, so far winning three with one game in hand. A poker player accomplishing this feat in One Drop tournaments would likely have won close to $100 million. No matter how skillful they are (or think they are), if you offered a poker player the chance to either take those predetermined results or test their own skill and play One Drop 15 times and accept those results, they would take the Patriots results without even batting an eye, no one is egotistical enough to think they could better the results the Patriots have put up over the past 15 years. Just ask the New England Patriots. Over their first 30 years in the NFL they made the playoffs nine times, went to the Conference Championship twice (and won them both), and were 0-2 in the Super Bowl. Previous Post Next Post About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including,,, and USA Today.

The fight for online poker in California took an unexpected twist on Thursday with the introduction of a new bill to legalize the game. The Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2015 (AB 167) was introduced on Thursday by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer and this bill seeks to address many of the key concerns that have held up online poker legislation for years. Jones-Sawyer promised sweeping changes last year when he announced that he would refile the file in 2015. The two largest changes have to do with race track participation and the bad actor clause. Under the new bill, race tracks will be permitted to offer online poker in the state. The industry had been excluded in recent years and tensions had been mounting over the issue. The other major change is the virtual elimination of the bad actor clause from the bill. There is language in the bill that would ban companies that have been convicted of felonies in connection with poker, but PokerStars was never actually convicted of felony activity. Bill Highlights Include Strict Player Identification and Penalties for Illegal Gambling As expected, AB 167 covers most of the topics involving licensing, player registration and taxation. Below are a few of the bill highlights: • Licenses are good for four years and can be renewed for four years.
• Sites will be taxed at 8.5% of gross gaming revenues
• $10 million licensing fee
• Only online poker will be legal
• License holders can operate two online poker sites
• Players must be 21 or older and provide verification
• Once passed, gaming commission has 270 days to setup regulations One new addition to this bill is penalties against players who choose to gamble on unregulated online poker sites. According to provisions under section 19990.303 of the bill, a player is not allowed to gamble on any site not authorized by the state. Those choosing to do so are subject to felony prosecution, including prison time. Players will also have to provide extensive information to prove they are of legal age and within state boundaries. In order to play for real money in California, players must submit the following:
Legal name
Primary home address
Primary phone number
Social Security number
Valid Email Address
Proof that the player is 21 or older Pechanga Already Oppose Bill It didn’t take long for the Pechanga to respond to the new bill. Late Thursday, Pechanga Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro released the following statement: Solid Start but Divide May Prove Too Great to Achieve Passage One must commend Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer for his initiative in creating a bill that attempts to bridge the divide between stakeholders in the state. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of ground to cover before parties will allow the issue to move forward. It is hard to see the Pechanga back down from their position regarding PokerStars without some type of concession from either other stakeholders or even Amaya. The horse racing issue is in reality a lesser issue that would have likely been resolved easily provided the bad actor hurdle be cleared. Expect the bad actor issue to become the primary focus of negotiation for the next few months. However, if significant progress isn’t made by April there will likely be little chance this bill passes in 2015. Previous Post Next Post AB 167|California Online Poker About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

It appears that California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) is serious about working with all side towards legalizing online poker in the state. On Thursday, his office issued a press release that detailed key amendments to AB9. The most important of those amendments eliminating the requirement that new accounts and initial deposits be made in person. In the press release, Gatto reiterated his desire to work with all stakeholders in the process. He stated… Live Registration and Deposit Now Optional The most controversial part of AB9 besides the bad actor clause was the requirement that new players register for an account at a live casino or card room and their first deposit must be made live. Many, including this reporter, felt that it put an undue burden on new players and that it would prohibit growth in areas where casinos and card rooms were not a convenient drive. According to Gatto, “After meeting with security experts and hearing from poker players and industry professionals, I have concluded that online poker would be best served by making in-person registration an option rather than a requirement,. State of the art technology currently used by operators in other states when registering players accesses many of the same databases used by financial institutions to verify the identity of registrants and prevent fraud.” In the three legal states, players have the option to register and deposit at a brick and mortar casino but it is not a requirement. Electronic payment methods have proven convenient and secure and the states have been working with banks to soften restrictions to provide even more payment options. Gatto Considering Whether to Prosecute Non-Regulated Sites The other amendment under consideration for AB9 is one that would prosecute non-regulated online poker sites in the state. If added, the amendment would make it a felony for a non-regulated site to offer services to California residents. This would effectively force sites such as Bovada to pull out of the state. The amendment would also provide additional resources to the Attorney General and law enforcement to combat illegal online poker operators. Washington State has a law on the books making online poker illegal in the state but they have not pursued operators. It is unknown if California would act alone on this prosecution or enlist the aid of the federal government to prosecute for UIGEA violations. Amendments a Positive First Step While these amendments fail to address larger concerns regarding AB9, they are a positive first step towards bringing the bill to an actual vote. The spirit of cooperation shown by Gatto is one that may help bring the bad actor issue to a resolution sometime this year. Gatto has stated before he plans to continually meet with all stakeholders and work towards a solution that benefits the state and its residents. Early on, it appears that he is keeping that promise and in doing so, he has raised the hopes of many hoping to play poker in the Golden State. Previous Post Next Post Mike Gatto|online poker legalization About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

On Friday we learned of a new online gambling bill in Nevada that calls on the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) “to adopt regulations which encourage manufacturers to develop and deploy gaming devices that incorporate innovative, alternative and advanced technology.” The bill (SB 9) was pre-filed on December 19, 2014 by the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it was also referred. According to the bill’s text, SB 9’s intention is to:
Define and differentiate between the requirements for and the outcomes of a game of skill and a game of chance;
Allow flexibility in payout percentages or the outcome of a game as determined on the basis of nondiscriminatory identifiers;
Support integration of social networking technologies;
Facilitate among enrolled players the interactive and concurrent play of games supported by networked server computers;
Accommodate secure account wagering and transactions using electronic commerce; and
Require, when applicable, appropriate information to be disclosed to a player explaining that the outcome of a game will be affected by skill or identifiers. The bill seems aimed at new technologies, and the new, unregulated areas of the gaming sphere, namely social and skill-based games. However, as Chris Grove noted, the bill would seemingly give the NGC the power to regulate a broader scope of games, including the aforementioned social games, but the bill may also possibly allow the NGC to delve deeper into real-money online games beyond poker. This seems similar to what the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement was touting in 2014, calling on social gaming providers to come to New Jersey and submit their games for regulatory approval. Like New Jersey, Nevada may be trying to outfit their casinos with variants of skill-based games such as the popular Words With Friends and at the same time take on an oversight role for social games. The following passage seems to be aimed at regulating social games (i.e. social casinos) and attracting gaming developers to develop skill-based games that could be deployed in casinos: “Existing law also requires the Nevada Gaming Commission to adopt, amend or repeal regulations for purposes of carrying out those provisions… This bill requires the Commission to adopt regulations which encourage manufacturers to develop and deploy gaming devices that incorporate innovative, alternative and advanced technology. This bill also provides that such regulations may include technical standards for the manufacture of gaming devices that incorporate certain features.” Social gaming operators downplay regulation Channeling their inner Pink Floyd, social gaming providers have long held that their products are not gambling and because of this “we don’t need no regulation.” The idea that states would move to regulate social games was roundly scoffed at by social gaming providers and operators I listened to at G2E 2014, but industry analysts have seen the potential for gaming commissions to step in and impose stricter regulations on the nascent industry for quite some time. The products are generating quite a bit of revenue, and in the case of social casinos are nearly indistinguishable from real-money gambling, with the exception that at a real casino you have the chance to win money, something that can’t happen at a social casino. While you cannot win money at a social casino you can certainly lose money by purchasing virtual coins, and in some cases players are rewarded with real-world prizes for achieving certain ranks. It may not be gambling in the classic sense, but it does walk like a duck and quack like a duck. In fact, a number of casino operators also run social casino platforms for a variety of reasons – a source of revenue and player acquisition being just two of the reasons. Gaming expansion on the table in many locales 2015 is shaping up to be a big year for gaming expansion, both online and land-based. California and Indiana have also introduced gaming expansion bills, and several other states from New Hampshire to Pennsylvania have intimated they will be doing likewise. Considering the early introduction of these bills, and the chatter taking place in other states, I fully expect 2015 to be a very interesting and fast-moving time for gaming. Previous Post Next Post About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including,,, and USA Today.

Back in October 2014, online poker juggernaut PokerStars provoked the wrath of the community when it unveiled sweeping changes to its rake schedule. Apparently, Stars took the outcries of its loyal players to heart, as the company has recently announced that it will be reversing course on most of the changes, and will not be instituting scheduled amendments due to go into effect this month. Instead, according to PokerStars Head of Corp. Communication Eric Hollreiser, Stars will only be increasing rake in the growing number of “jurisdictions where we have already or will experience increased gaming duty or VAT.” The number of countries that have regulated online poker has grown dramatically over the past several years. Unsurprisingly, the rollback was met with near universal approval from members of various poker forum groups. Winners and losers One beneficiary of Stars’ sudden change of heart are low-to-mid stakes heads-up grinders, who in November saw the rake cap of all no limit and pot limit HU games increase from $.50 to $1.00. Other winners include hyper satellite and heads up hyper-turbo Sit & Go players, the latter of which will notice slight increases to prize pools. For hyper satellite players, it will be business as usual, as the rake increases that were set to take hold on January 1 will never happen. But I’d argue that the biggest winner of all is none other than PokerStars itself, who by spinning itself as a company that takes the community’s feedback very seriously, has in one fell swoop restored at least a portion of its lost brand credibility. On the other side of the fence are Spin & Go enthusiasts. In November, the rake for the popular lottery format SnGs was bumped up to 5-6% across the board. Looks like those changes are here to stay. Additionally, it doesn’t appear as though Stars’ lucrative Battle of the Planets promo will be making its way back into the promotional rotation. Possibly the biggest losers are players housed in markets were online poker is regulated. Unfortunately, legal poker comes with a price tag, and someone has to pay up. And that someone is typically the player. Although as indicated by Hollreiser, Stars’ does intend on shouldering a portion of the burden: Fair enough, but while decreasing VPP multipliers for players in select countries seems like a relatively intuitive and clean solution, how exactly does Stars intend to rake certain players on its .com site at a higher rate than others? Apparently, Stars’ has a plan in mind, albeit one that may cause mass confusion and a second round of community outcries. Different strokes for different folks In Tuesday’s press release, Hollreiser states the following: As I see it, this presents one of two potential complications, depending on which approach PokerStars decides to take. On one hand, if a larger rake is taken out of some players’ winnings, it creates an imbalance in the poker ecology. To illustrate, imagine a scenario where Player A, who is from a grey market, and Player B, who lives in a country where online poker is taxed, are competing for the same $30 pot. If Player A wins, he’ll receive $28.50. Should Player B be the victor, he’ll only receive $28. See the problem? In short, players that live in countries where poker is subject to taxation will be at a clear and visible disadvantage compared to those who do not. In turn, these players must play that much better in order to have the same edge as their grey market competitors. With regards to perceived fairness, that’s a big problem. The more veiled solution of increasing certain players’ contribution to the pot carries problems of its own. In this scenario, grey market players who engage players from regulated markets will feel the burden of the regulated market player’s increased contribution. Effectually, the rake increases for all players. Admittedly, this is a more elegant and fair solution, but savvy players may recognize that they’re better off not sitting at tables comprised of mostly regulated market players. Again, this is a problem. Implications for the U.S. regulated market That’s not to say the concept of different rake/fee schedules within the same player pool is necessarily a bad idea, far from it. It’s just that any proper solution will require a great deal of planning and ingenuity. If anything, should PokerStars manage to get this right, it opens up a slew of possibilities, particularly in fragmented markets like the United States, which will ultimately rely on interstate compacts between states that tax online poker at different rates. A malleable rake schedule eliminates one of the biggest hurdles holding these types of compacts back. Previous Post Next Post pokerstars About Robert DellaFave Robert DellaFave writes for a variety of online gaming sites and is also working on programming a poker simulation creative enough to beat the best. Follow Robert on Twitter @DivergentGames and on Google+

Sheldon Adelson‘s list of supporters for his proposed iGaming ban is longer than many people realize. His adherents may not have brought along conservative and libertarian groups in the numbers the opposition has, but the individuals who have spoken up on his behalf are not to be counted lightly. Adelson’s staunchest allies in the fight to ban online gambling are the chairs of the lobby group he himself created, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling or CSIG. Over the course of 2014 CSIG Chairpersons Blanche Lincoln, Willie Brown, George Pataki, and Wellington Webb have written op-eds, created YouTube videos, and made television appearances espousing Adelson’s views on online gambling. Adelson has also unleashed his right hand man Andy Abboud to conferences, state houses, and the airwaves, as well as Mercury Public Affair’s Fabien Nunez who helped spearhead Adelson’s efforts to thwart online poker expansion in California. Casino Allies Adelson is opposed by virtually every other casino interest when it comes to online gambling, but he does have one seemingly staunch ally, along with one tepid ally. John Farahi, The owner of Monarch Casino has thrown his lot in with Adelson, which came as a bit of a surprise considering Farahi’s Atlantis Casino in Reno, NV was one of the companies that applied for an online poker license. Adelson also has an ally in Steve Wynn, but Wynn’s opposition (which is probably too strong a word to describe his online gambling stance) is based solely on the casino magnate’s belief that in the current environment there is no money to be made in online gambling. Another strange coincidence is that several of the letters seem to be carbon copies, or at the very least, heavily drawn from others. The Governors The biggest names in Adelson’s stable are the Governors he has recruited to his cause. All five governors are serious political players, and four of the five have, or are rumored to have, serious aspirations for higher office. Adelson’s growing list of governors includes Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor and former Presidential candidate Rick Perry, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and Floria Governor Rick Scott. and have called for a federal ban. Like most advocates of an online gambling ban, the governors seem to have adopted the arguments and talking points of Adelson and CSIG whole cloth; it’s as if they are reading off of the same script. RAWA Supporters Sheldon Adelson’s lawyers are believed to be the authors of a proposed federal online gambling ban, as it closely matches a bill draft Adelson floated in January, called the Internet Gambling Control Act. The federal bill built on this framework was introduced in March of 2014, and was dubbed the Restoration of America’s Wire Act or RAWA for short. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced RAWA into the U.S. House of Representatives and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) did the honors in the U.S. Senate, but both are believed to have done so at the behest of Adelson – Chaffetz has long been a critic of online gambling while the issue is completely novel to Graham. RAWA received modest support following its introduction. The senate version of RAWA was cosponsored by longtime gambling opponent Diane Feinstein (D-CA) as well as two republicans, Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Senator Kelly Ayotte. In the House of Representatives RAWA support is a bit more robust, particularly on the House Judiciary Committee which would be the bill’s first stop in the legislative process. Original co-sponsors from the House of Representatives who joined Jason Chaffetz in support of an online gambling ban were:
Cleaver, Emanuel [D-MO]
Franks, Trent [R-AZ]
Gabbard, Tulsi [D-HI]
Holding, George [R-NC]
Jordan, Jim [R-OH]
Lankford, James [R-OK]
Matheson, Jim [D-UT]
Smith, Lamar [R-TX]
Wolf, Frank [R-VA] A like number of cosponsors were added between June 19 and July 22:
Dent, Charles [R-PA]
Rogers, Mike [R-MI]
Forbes, Randy [R-VA]
Gowdy, Trey [R-SC]
King, Steve [R-IA]
Lipinski, Daniel [D-IL]
Gohmert, Louie [R-TX]
Richmond, Cedric [D-LA]
Bachus, Spencer [R-AL] Interestingly, a total of 11 of the 19 sponsors/cosponsors of RAWA in the House belong to the House Judiciary Committee: Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Randy Forbes (R-VA), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), George Holding (R-NC), Trent Franks (R-AZ), and of course Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). Previous Post Next Post sheldon adelson About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including,,, and USA Today.

The reasons are varied, and their opposition doesn’t necessarily translate into support of legal online gambling (particularly at the federal level) but Sheldon Adelson’s attempts to ram through a federal online gambling has sparked a number of groups to speak out in opposition to his efforts. With the American Gaming Association (AGA) withdrawing from the online gambling debate, the advocates of online gambling are now being led by the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), with some help from a newly formed group (created by iGaming friendly AGA members like Caesars and MGM) called the Coalition for Consumer Online Protection, or C4COP for short. Also speaking out against a federal online gambling throughout the year were several groups ranging from the Fraternal Order of Police, to political groups like the Democratic Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries. Most of these groups have lined up in opposition to a federal online gambling ban because their states, or member states, have passed online gaming bills. In Congress, Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) continues to be the online poker champion, although Barton’s proposed bill would make online gambling illegal while legalizing online poker. Here is a look at the other individuals and groups that came out in opposition to Sheldon Adelson’s RAWA in 2014. April 28, 2014: FreedomWorks Among 10 Groups Opposing RAWA When it comes to political power on the Republican side of the aisle few groups can match FreedomWorks, and the group, led by former Speaker of the House Dick Armey, has been quite critical of Adelson’s attempted online gambling prohibitions. In April, FreedomWorks was one of 10 signatories of a letter sent to Congress opposing RAWA.
Joe Jansen, Alliance for Freedom
Steve Pociask, President, American Consumer Institute
Michelle Minton, Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Matt Kibbe, President, FreedomWorks
Coley Jackson, President, Freedom Action
Carrie Lukas, Managing Director, Independent Women’s Forum
Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty
Tom Giovanetti, President, Institute for Policy Innovation
Eli Lehrer, President, R Street Institute
David Williams, President, Taxpayer Protection Alliance More evidence of FreedomWorks opposition to gambling bans can be found here and here, and evidence of their support of online gambling regulation can be found here. August 22, 2014: Georgia lottery has their say This summer the Georgia Lottery Corporation ramped up their opposition to a federal online gambling ban. Georgia is one of three states currently selling lottery tickets online, and in a letter sent to a US House attorney, GLC head Debbie Dlugolenski Alford, stated a ban would have negative consequences for the state’s lottery to the tune of $39 million. Dlugolenski Alford called online sales: October 6, 2014: New Jersey chimes in When talk of RAWA potentially being brought up the New Jersey Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Assembly Committee passed a resolution (which had been sitting untouched since June 9th) calling on Congress to, “oppose S.2159 and H.R.4301 which would prohibit states from authorizing and conducting Internet gaming.” While more of a symbolic measure, the resolution did get its point across as it garnered some public attention. November 13, 2014: PA lawmaker introduces resolution opposing RAWA A month after new Jersey’s gesture, Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Sturla introduced a similar measure, a House Resolution calling on Congress to vote against any bill seeking to ban online gambling at the federal level. November 16, 2014: Ron Paul’s blistering editorial As the Lame Duck session neared, one of the biggest names in politics, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, decided to go on the offensive against RAWA, penning a blistering editorial on his Ron Paul Insitute website. Paul called RAWA crony capitalism at its worst and made a number of accusations regarding the motives of Adelson and the people perceived to be doing his bidding in Congress: November 20, 2014: 12 Conservative/Libertarian groups join the fray On November 20th a coalition of 12 conservative groups including the ultra-powerful Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to the leadership of Congress voicing their “strong concerns” over the Restoration of America’s Wire Act bills.
Grover Norquist, President Americans for Tax Reform
Larry Hart, Director of Government Relations, American Conservative Union
Steve Pociask, President American Consumer Institute
John Tate, President Campaign for Liberty
Lawson Bader, President, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty
Gary Johnson, Honorary Chairman, Our America Initiative
David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Katie McAuliffe, , Executive Director, Digital Liberty
Jeff Mazzella, President, Center for Individual Freedom
Tom Giovanetti, President, Institute for Policy Innovation
Andrew F. Quinlan, President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity With the addition of Norquist to the rolls of RAWA opponents many felt the bill had little chance to pass. December 9, 2014: Two more politicians publicly oppose online gambling ban While the $1.1 trillion CRomnibus federal spending bill was being debated, Representatives Jared Polis (R-CO) and Steve Cohen (R-TN) sent a signed letter to the leaders on the appropriations committees in both the House and the senate, urging them to keep RAWA out of the bill. Neither representative is known for taking a vocal stance on this issue before, so it will be interesting to see if they continue to fight for online gambling (or at least oppose any calls for a ban) in 2015. Previous Post Next Post sheldon adelson About Steve Ruddock Steve Ruddock is a longtime member of the online gambling industry. He covers the regulated US online casino and poker industries for variety of publications, including,,, and USA Today.

Earlier this month, Assemblyman Mike Gatto filled AB 9 in the latest attempt to legalize online poker. With a couple of exceptions, the bill is very similar to those from the past and one that some feel has little chance of passing in its current state. Marco Valerio of Online Poker Report conducted an interview with Assemblyman Gatto following the filing of the bill. What he reveled during that interview could help to preview the path that this bill could take in 2015. Gatto is Not a New Player to the Issue Valerio asked the question that many of us were wondering in what qualified Gatto to introduce this bill. Gatto revealed that he’s been examining the issue since 2001. He was a second-year law student at the time and had classes covering some of the topics raised by online poker legislation. He also studied papers from various authorities in internet gaming law. Gatto also revealed that he had authored an online poker bill last year, but was asked by the chairman of the GO committee to defer to Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer. He deferred and decided to spend the year researching a framework for the bill and worked out some fresh ideas for the bill. That led to him filing AB 9 for 2015. The Bill is Just a Starting Point Later in the interview, Gatto talked about the progression of bills through the state legislature and how that one bill was modified 79 times last year before it was passed. As such, he says that the current draft of AB 9 is by no means the final product. He called it an “opening statement.” Gatto is also keeping an open mind when it comes to the “bad actor clause” currently in AB 9. He states that he cannot uphold any particular agenda, other than doing what’s best for the state. With that in mind, he wants to make sure that all stakeholders have a chance to participate without the state relying too heavily or favoring one group over another. Discussions to Be Held With All Stakeholders – Including Amaya Coalition Gatto revealed that he’d begun meeting with various stakeholders last year prior to being asked to defer on his bill. He cancelled the remaining meetings but has restarted the process of reconnecting with those stakeholders. He specifically pointed out the Amaya coalition and stated that by the end of December he plans to hold a meeting with them to discuss their vision of the bill. Gatto stated that he’s talked around 40 percent of interested stakeholders and that most feedback has been positive. However, he did state that “there are vast chasms between a lot of different stakeholders that need to be bridged to make this a truly consensus bill. There’s still a lot of work to do and a lot of meetings to have.” Flipping for Failure? Gatto made an interesting statement towards the end of the Valerio interview that speaks volumes about the chances for legalization this year. After stating that he was under no delusions, he went on to say that:”This is a very difficult bill. It’s going to be a very, very difficult negotiation and it going to be a long year.” Ultimately, he stated that there is a”50-50 shot we fail spectacularly once again.” In essence, one could claim that we are flipping for the life of online poker in California. While this isn’t exactly the most positive spin we’ve seen put on the chances of getting a bill legalized, it may be among the most realistic. The question now is whether the chasms that Gatto mentioned can be spanned sufficiently to push the bill through in 2015. Prior to this year, we have had online poker analysts and lawmaker all trying to spin a bill of goods and frankly giving off false hope. Gatto’s approach is honest and straightforward and recognizes the challenges faced by all parties. His willingness to work with all sides and not just take a hard-line position could help shift those odds more in online poker’s favor as 2015 progresses. Previous Post Next Post About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

Desert Rose Bingo has been ordered to shut down following a U.S. District Judge’s decision to grant a Temporary Restraining Order. District Judge Anthony Battaglia issued the TRO on Friday after determining that gaming at Desert Rose Bingo was actually Class III gaming and not Class II as argued by the tribes. Gaming Ruled Computer Facsimile – Therefore Class III On of the tribe’s primary arguments was that online bingo was Class II gaming. At Desert Rose Bingo, players could chose which games to play and how many cards to purchase but actually game play was to take place on reservation through a VPN style client. Judge Battaglia then looked into how gaming was conducted on Desert Rose Bingo and demonstrations by defendants actually helped play a rule in his ruling. Defendants showed a video of how the games are played and the only actions taken by players are selecting the cards and the dollar amount. From there, the computer plays the game for the user. This was key in the judge’s ruling because under IGRA, any electronic devices that translates the game into a facsimile of the original game is actually considered Class III gaming. Judge Battaglia was keen to point out while there are enhancements in live bingo halls, the players still have either to track their cards or have someone else track their cards for them. There is some type of interaction required by the player during the game play. At Desert Rose Bingo, the player chooses the game and how many cards they want to play. From there, everything else is done by the computer. As such, Judge Battaglia ruled that the game was a computer facsimile and Class III gaming under IGRA. Online Bingo Also Violates the UIGEA Judge Battaglia also ruled that online bingo violated the UIGEA. He recognized that Indian tribes are exempt from the definition of “unlawful internet gambling” if the wagers are authorized by applicable tribal ordinances or applicable tribal-state compacts. Even so, the location of where these bets are made is important. He pointed to an opinion letter from 2000 drafted by Kevin Washburn, general counsel for the National Indian Gaming Commission. In that letter, Washburg contended that because not all of the gaming for online bingo occurred on Indian lands, internet bingo fell outside both Class II and Class III gaming compacts and could be prosecuted by the state or federal government. He even concluded the letter saying, “In essence, we are confident that Congress did not intend to allow the play of bingo to be extended outside of Indian lands.” What’s Next for Desert Rose Bingo Battaglia has ordered by tribal officials meet with the state to expedite the schedule of a show cause hearing where the tribe will try to argue why the State’s motion for an injunction should not be granted. If they do not reach an agreement by December 26, parties are ordered to contact Presiding Magistrate Judge Nita L. Stormes to set a Rule 16 hearing. Unless the Santa Ysabel can convince the judge that their gaming is not a computer facsimile or bingo, it is hard to see them preventing an injunction on this matter. The “proxy betting” system run by a computer eliminates any true human interaction in the game and really is little more than a bingo slot machine. This also all but puts an end of any realistic hope for the tribe launching online poker in the near future. Not that most expected online poker to actually launch, but if online bingo can’t pass a legal challenge, poker certainly will fail. Previous Post Next Post bingo|online poker legalization|santa ysabel About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.