Casino News Blog
March 10th, 2014 by
Oregon lawmakers are open to the possibility of legalizing online gambling. However, they have been hesitant to introduce a new bill. They feel that they should pay close attention to developments in other states that have legalized Internet gambling before passing their own bill.
One of the biggest reasons lawmakers are cautious about legalizing online gambling is that they fear it will create a new class of problem gamblers. They already feel that gambling addictions are highly prevalent in the state. They have introduced two new bills that would force the Lottery to promote awareness of gambling addictions and encourage problem gamblers to get help.
Online gambling proponents across the country have consistently argued that online gambling could actually help players with gambling addictions. They have pointed out that many players are already gambling online on unregulated websites. On the other hand, critics of online gambling legislation have stated that more players would begin gambling if it was legalized.
Objective observers feel that there is some credibility to both arguments. They have stated that online gambling could either alleviate the state’s gambling problems or open up Pandora’s Box. Lawmakers feel that the wisest decision is to wait to see what happens in other states first.
Concerns about problem gamblers aren’t the only reason that Oregon has been hesitant to pursue online gambling legislation. The state actually tried to create an online gambling portal before. It invested tens of thousands of dollars and months of man hours building ORcade. The project was abandoned when the Lottery heard concerns that it could be targeting underage gamblers.
Lawmakers are adamant that any online gambling legislation will need to be targeted to adults. They have stated that online gaming providers will need to verify ages of any players before allowing them to access the site.
March 7th, 2014 by
California Assemblymember Isadore Hal and Richard Schuetz of the California Gambling Control Commission held a Symposium last week to discuss the possibility of legalizing online gambling. State lawmakers, tribal leaders and gaming room operators from across California attended the symposium. A recent report from Pokerfuse suggested the recent event showed that efforts to legalize online gambling may be gaining popularity.
The event received a lot of support from online gaming lobbyists across the state. Many groups that have been vocally opposed to legalizing online gambling were unusually reserved.
Hal and Schuetz held the meeting to identify the factors that lawmakers and stakeholders would need to discuss before considering legalizing online gambling in California. The attendees also discussed possible courses that the state could take.
Lawmakers and other people attending the meeting talked about some of the social implications of legalizing online gambling. Some critics are concerned that legalizing online gambling could create problems for people suffering from gambling addictions. Robert Jacobson of the California Council on Problem Gambling stated that recent research suggests that any correlation between legalizing online gambling and addictive gambling is either not statistically significant or nonexistent.
Lawmakers and industry leaders discussed outcomes in other states that have legalized online gambling. The acknowledged that the online gambling markets in Nevada and New Jersey have been growing steadily. Both states have generated a substantial amount of money from the new industries.
While the outcomes in other states are encouraging, the outcome may not be the same in California. Approximately 40 different tribes generate a substantial amount of revenue by offering gambling in the Golden State. Lawmakers need to consider the interests of all of these tribes while deciding on any online gambling bill.
March 5th, 2014 by
The online poker community is eagerly waiting for California to legalize online poker. State lawmakers have tried to pass an Internet poker bill several times, but their efforts have failed to gain any traction. Online poker proponents are optimistic that a bill could be passed in the near future.
Becky Liggero, a journalist and fact checker with CalvinAyre.com, recently interviewed Richard Scheutz, the chairman of the California Gambling Control Commission. Scheutz said that the online gambling community tends to be overly optimistic that online poker will be legalized in California each year. However, he is confident that the state will pass an online poker bill in the near future.
Scheutz said that one of the biggest challenges will be getting the state’s various tribes to support an online poker bill. He said that they have many diverse interests, but are finally starting to come together. He is optimistic that they will come to an agreement sometime soon. However, the state government and various tribal lobbyists may need to negotiate for a while first.
Liggero asked Sheutz if the state would consider legalizing online casino games. Sheutz said that probably won’t happen, because there are so many tribal casinos that feel threatened by online gambling. He said that many of their casinos are located in remote parts of the state and their patrons may not want to travel if they could play online instead. The tribes are not as worried about online poker and appear more likely to support an online poker bill.
Many other states want California to legalize online poker so that they can form gaming compacts. Sheutz said that the state doesn’t know whether it will participate in such partnerships yet. He said that lawmakers need to focus on legalizing online poker before discussing anything else.
March 3rd, 2014 by
The Norwegian government currently has a monopoly on the country’s gambling industry. Several lawmakers have proposed allowing the free market to take control of the industry last October. They feel that foreign gaming operators would improve the state of the gaming industry. The Norwegian Cultural Minister, Thorhild Widvey proposed the first steps on Thursday. Widvey suggested offering a live poker tournament sometime next year.
Widvey has proposed several strict rules that clubs and casinos would need to follow if they ran the tournament. They would need to set a maximum buy-in to prevent high rollers from overspending. They would also need to limit the size of the prize pool. The Cultural Minister hasn’t stated what those limits will need to be.
Widvey discussed the proposal with Roy Steffensen, one of the Members of Parliament. She stated that she wants to create the regulatory framework for the new tournament in the next year.
The government wants to screen gaming providers carefully to ensure they would comply with the proposed tournament rules. Casinos and clubs would need to apply for a license before they could participate in the upcoming tournament.
Steffensen and other lawmakers are worried that the proposed tournament may be illegal. However, Widvey’s interpretation of the Gaming Act state that the government regulator can conduct and oversee tournaments. If her interpretation of the law is correct, Parliament may not need to pass a new law for Widvey to move forward.
Gambling opponents could still challenge her proposal. Widvey may need to defend it before the courts, but she is confident that won’t be a problem. The government is becoming more open to liberalizing the gaming industry and few critics seem like they want to go through the hassle.
March 1st, 2014 by
Online gaming providers are prohibited from offering their services in almost every state in the country. Pennsylvania is one of the 47 states that have not legalized any form of online gambling. However, one Pennsylvania lawmaker feels that the laws targeting online gaming providers are not sufficient. Rep. Mario Scavello wants to pass a law to prosecute citizens that gamble online as well.
Under Scavello’s new bill, online gambling would be punishable as a misdemeanor offense. Players caught gambling could face a $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Scavello said that online gambling raises serious concerns for the state’s citizens. He said that children could visit online gambling sites. Many people with gambling addictions may also have a difficult time resisting the urge to bet online.
The Republican lawmaker compared the online gambling industry to the Wild West. He said that it is impossible to monitor people with online gambling addictions and make sure that they get the help that they need. He feels that the only way to discourage online gambling is by imposing criminal penalties.
Sheldon Adelson founded the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling to deter lawmakers from legalizing online gambling. Lobbyists from the group showed support for Scavello’s new law. They cited a new study from Quinnipiac University showing that nearly two thirds of Pennsylvania citizens are opposed to legalizing online gambling. Scavello, Adelson and other online gaming opponents believe that Pennsylvania voters will support the new proposal.
Scavello is clearly opposed to legalizing any form of online gambling, but his colleagues may not endorse his new bill. The Senate has approved a plan to study the future of the casino industry and is considering legalizing some forms of online gambling. They may not vote in favor of Scavello’s bill if the study’s findings show that it could be beneficial to the state
February 26th, 2014 by
Full Tilt Poker became insolvent in 2011. Former players have been eagerly waiting to be reimbursed. The Garden City Group, the administrator for the Full Tilt account, confirmed that it would be issuing payments by the end of the month. The GCG recently announced that it is testing the payment processing system.
The company stated that it needs to test the Automated Clearing House transferring system before payments can be made. The GCG said that this is a common part of the reimbursement process and may take some time. However, they still intend to make payments by the previously stated deadline.
The recent report also said that banks do not notify account holders if payments are not being rendered. The GCG said that players shouldn’t be concerned if they don’t receive an announcement from their bank. The process takes time, but all players that are owed money should be receive a payment in the near future.
The Garden City Group originally stated that only former Full Tilt players would be eligible for restitution. However, they later announced that nearly 8,500 former affiliates could file for restitution as well. The administrator is still discussing whether or not former Pros will be eligible for remission. A recent article from Pokerfuse stated that Pros should receive a notification in the next few weeks. If they are allowed to file a claim then they will have 30 days to do so.
The GCC will be issuing several rounds of payments. Players have been waiting for nearly three years to get their money back. A number of them stated on Two Plus Two that they are grateful that they are finally about to receive compensation.
February 25th, 2014 by
Sheldon Adelson is urging Congress to change the Wire Act and ban online gambling. Many online gaming advocates are trying to counter his arguments. A recent post from The Hill states that former Rep. Mary Bono is the most recent online gaming advocate to speak out against Adelson.
Bono used to be the Chairwoman of the House Commerce Subcommittee on Trade as well as a member of the Subcommittee on Technology. She recently told her former colleagues to fight back against any efforts to ban online gambling. She also wrote a piece in Roll Call stating “”Whether you gamble or not — and whether you participate in Internet games or not — it is clear that the prohibition of Internet gaming is a bad idea for Americans.”
The online gaming community has been fighting for legislation to support online gambling for years. They were ecstatic when the Department of Justice ruled that online gambling didn’t violate the Wire Act in 2011. However, Adelson and other lobbyists that oppose online gambling have been actively trying to make all forms of online gambling illegal again. They stated that online gambling creates a number of serious social risks for the entire country.
Bono wrote that banning online gambling never discouraged Americans from gambling over the Internet. She said that the government needs to focus on making online gambling safer for everyone rather than causing people to gamble on unregulated websites overseas.
Bono said that over a million Americans are taking a huge risk by gambling on foreign websites. She also pointed out that the state is missing out on a massive stream of potential revenue that it could generate by taxing online gambling.
February 23rd, 2014 by
Netherlands lawmakers are growing increasingly concerned about the number of companies that are targeting their players. The Dutch Gaming Authority confirmed that it will be targeting unregulated gaming providers that target citizens in their country.
The DGA has fined two gaming providers in the last few months. Both Global Stars and Mansion Poker have been forced to pay €150,000 for illegally offering online gaming to Dutch citizens.
The new statement included a number of the violations that the regulator intends to target. The DGA stated that companies that abided by the new guidelines could still be fined. However, gaming providers that exercise due diligence will be less likely to be sanctioned. The DGA confirmed that it is targeting companies that intentionally violate the country’s gaming laws.
The regulator said that it will exercise some leniency for first time offenders. They will notify gaming providers of any infractions and give them an opportunity to comply. They will impose fines and take other administrative action against companies that fail to do so. The regulator has the authority to impose fines up to €780,000 or 10% of the revenue generated from Dutch citizens.
The regulator is confident that it can force companies to comply on their own. However, it may need to refer habitual offenders to the Public Prosecution Service if they do not seem willing to make the necessary changes.
Gray market gaming providers are going to have a more difficult time operating in the Netherlands. They may have a hard time reaching customers even if they choose to continue operating in the country. the DGA stated that it has formed agreements with social media sites and other publishers to block advertising for unlicensed gaming sites, which will give a competitive advantage to companies that abide by Dutch gaming laws.
February 22nd, 2014 by
The PokerStars brand suffered from Black Friday, but the company is still very popular among poker players all over the world. The company was recently named the best online poker provider for 2014 at the International Gaming Awards. PokerStars won the same award in 2013.
Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications (the holding company for PokerStars) said that the company is thrilled to have won this award for the second consecutive year. The award shows that the online poker provider is committed to providing the best possible experience to its customers.
PokerStars has reached a number of key milestones and set new records over the last year. The online poker provider dealt 100 billion hands as of last June. It also received an award from the Guinness Book of World Records for running the largest online poker tournament. Nearly a quarter of a million people participated in their World Record Tournament in June.
PokerStars executives are elated to receive this award and intend to keep investing in the brand. They have hired several professional sports legends such as Rafa Nadal to represent the brand. PokerStars has also introduced several new variations of online poker to reach new audiences.
PokerStars was also a finalist for two other prestigious awards. They almost won the Mobile Gaming Operator of the Year, but that award went to William Hill instead. PokerStars is committed to enhancing the user experience on its mobile interface to appeal to more of its customers.
The Rational Group has faced some challenges over the past year as well. They were denied a license to provide online poker in New Jersey and lost over $10 million on a proposed merger with the Atlantic Club. However, Hollreiser feels that the company still has a very bright future in the coming year.
February 17th, 2014 by
Online poker fraud has been more prevalent in the United Kingdom than many other countries. Members of Parliament feel that the existing laws are far too lax. People caught cheating only face up to two years in prison, which lawmakers feel doesn’t deter people from cheating. Lord Moynihan introduced a new bill to address the growing problem.
He is the former chairman of the British Olympic Association and sports minister. He is clearly one of the leading experts in gaming and arguably the most qualified lawmaker to pass such a bill.
Moynihan’s new bill calls for revisions to section on cheating in the Gambling Act of 2005. Players caught cheating face up to a 10-year prison sentence. The bill primarily focuses on sports betting, but the new rules could also apply to other forms of gambling. Police and courts would have considerably more power to enforce these new laws.
Moynihan spoke with Rick Parry, the chief executive of the Premier League. Parry shared a 2010 study on gambling problems facing the country, which included a number of great suggestions that Moynihan chose to embrace.
Moynihan is confident that these new laws would help significantly reduce fraud and corruption in online poker. His bill was inspired by a new law in Australia, which appears to have helped reduce fraud significantly.
The proposed revisions have been published on the Parliament website. Lord Moynihan’s colleagues are still discussing the new bill, but many of them feel that it is a step in the right direction. The new law could be enacted by the end of the year if it is passed by Parliament and signed by George Osbourne.
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