Archive for the 'Casino' Category
Governments around the world have been trying to decide how they will deal with bitcoins, but have been reluctant to regulate them. The United States government finally decided to take action earlier this week. The United States Department of Homeland Security froze a United States account in Dwolla.
Helen Popper of the Santa Clara School of Business said that the law requires companies to report when they are holding someone’s money. This may create new challenges for both bitcoin firms and companies that accept the virtual currency.
Many people are trying to understand the implications of this announcement. The news can have a major impact on many companies that use the digital currency as a form of payment, including some online gaming firms.
Some online gaming firms have allowed players to make payments through bitcoins. A few gaming providers use bitcoins as the sole payment option. There are a number of reasons that gaming operators allow players to use bitcoins. Many players enjoy the anonymity the virtual current provides.
Players in the United States and other countries that have banned online gaming can use the virtual currency to circumvent the laws. Tim Worstall wrote a post in Forbes earlier this year stating that bitcoins could be a way for more Americans to enjoy gambling over the Internet. Many gaming providers know this and are allegedly using bitcoins as a way to reach players in unregulated markets.
The government’s sudden interest in regulating bitcoins appears to have raised concerns for many online gaming providers. SatoshiDice, a gaming provider that accepts the virtual currency, recently announced that they are no longer accepting U.S. players on their site.
Other gaming companies may follow suit. They believed that bitcoins may be a great way to sidestep U.S. gambling regulations, but more stringent regulations may force them to change their business model and start reporting players using the virtual currency. The bitcoin providers will need to do the same.
Whether you play online blackjack or online poker, all players are required to deposit money. Hence, online casinos try to do everything they can to make it easy for its players to deposit money and withdraw their earnings. However, one of the options that have been removed is the credit card.
Due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), credit cards more often than not are declined as a funding source, especially if the card was issued by a bank in the US. If a credit card is to be processed at an online casino in the US, then the casino has to officially satisfy the credit card merchant that it is officially and legally operating. Only then will the payment be approved.
Now that a number of states are legalizing online gambling, online casinos are looking for ways where they can work out a deal that allows a credit card to be used and not declined. The states of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have recently legalized online gambling and want to make sure that credit card payments remain a smooth transaction for its online players.
Credit Card providers are currently very strict on their procedures. As of now, any online casino that wants to credit card payments must pay a $5,000 registration fee and also provide all documentation required to confirm that it is indeed a legal entity to provide online gambling services.
The Singapore government is currently conducting a new study to determine whether it should implement new laws to regulate online gambling. They have not shared all the details about the scope of the study or the regulations they may introduce, but most experts believe they will have a major impact on the online gaming industry. Bryan Tan, a partner in a renowned Singapore law firm, said that the online gaming industry should be prepared for these changes by next year.
S. Iswaran, the Second Minister for Home Affairs, said that the government wants to decide how it should limit access to online gaming sites and restrict the types of activities players can engage in. The government has a number of questions about online gambling. Their biggest question is whether the current gambling laws apply to online gambling or if lawmakers would need to introduce a separate set of regulations. Iswaran said that their biggest concern was preventing minors from engaging in online gaming.
He said they plan to complete this study by the end of the year. At that time the government will announce whether it intends to create a separate set of regulations or tailor existing laws to cover online gambling.
Tan said that the government is concerned about the social implications that online gambling can create. He mentioned that Singapore residents are frequent gamblers and the government may need to take additional steps to limit the risks online gambling has created. He said that the government has not hinted what types of changes it will make, but stated some experts are concerned that the new laws could be much stricter than necessary.
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas introduced a new bill that could legalize online gambling earlier this week. Licensed gaming providers would be able to setup websites to offer online gambling services to local citizens and tourists. Permanent residents and permit holders would also be allowed to gamble through these websites.
This will be a major step for the Bahama’s gambling industry. The country had previously banned anyone outside of the country to gamble while visiting. The new bill would permit people to gamble through a website based in the Bahamas as long as they are based in a region that allows online gambling.
Damien Gomez, the Minister of State for Legal Affairs, said that the bill has been under consideration for nearly a year. Gomez said that many people raised concerns that the bill could encourage fraud and gambling addictions. They were also concerned that citizens from countries were online gambling has been banned may try to circumvent the laws in their own jurisdiction.
Gomez said that the government has already taken these concerns into consideration and has imposed the necessary safeguards. He said that players would need to be physically present before they can participate. They will also need to show proof of citizenship to verify that they are from a jurisdiction that allows online gambling.
Lawmakers said that this provision would effectively bar U.S. tourists from participating in online gambling. However, it may create some confusion because some U.S. citizens may come from states that have already passed laws to legalize online gambling.
The new law will be beneficial to the Bahama’s economy. However, the bill is not expected to drive the country’s tourism industry because it won’t lead to an influx of players who can’t participate in their home country.
Illinois lawmakers tried introducing a bill that would expand online gambling earlier this year. The new law would have allowed developers to build at least two more casinos. Existing casinos would also have the opportunity to offer online gambling to their patrons. However, Governor Pat Quinn said that he is hesitant to sign a bill that would expand gambling in Illinois without understanding the potential consequences.
Some lawmakers are still determined to expand gambling in Illinois in spite of Quinn’s objections. Senate President John Cullerton has recently announced that he intends to introduce a new bill to legalize online gambling.
Industry experts are weighing the likelihood that an online gaming bill will be passed. Quinn said that he had reservations about passing the previous bill because lawmakers introduced the online gaming provision at the last moment. He believes that lawmakers will need to spend more time studying the implications of online gambling before he will legalize it. Cullerton feels that lawmakers will study online gambling more carefully if they consider it a separate bill. This may increase the odds that Quinn will sign the legislation.
Dave Ferrara of Pokerfuse.com is pessimistic that Illinois will sign an online poker bill this session. However, he said that Cullerton’s new bill is a significant milestone towards legalizing online gambling. The new bill will at least draw attention to online gambling which could increase the likelihood that a bill will be signed in the near future.
The gaming community hopes that Illinois will pass a bill to legalize online gambling this year. The state has over 13 million people and would help increase the base of potential players and player liquidity throughout the United States.
Pennsylvania Representative Tina Davis has drafted a new bill that could legalize online gambling. The House of Representatives has begun deliberating the bill and released a draft early last week.
The new bill has been referred to the House’s Gaming Oversight Committee. Davis has already made several revisions to the bill since it was first drafted last year. She hopes that the bill will be voted on this session.
Many experts have started reviewing the new legislation. The bill was rumored to contain a clause that would prohibit companies from applying for online gaming licenses if they offered online gaming in the United States after the UIGEA was passed. Those rumors turned out to be false, but the bill does include provisions that offer a competitive advantage to existing land based casinos.
Lawmakers want to ensure that the state regulator will be able to oversee any companies that offer online gaming within the state’s borders. Davis’s bill only allows companies to apply for an online gaming license if they already have a license to operate a slot machine in Pennsylvania. The bill includes a list of locations throughout the state that would be eligible to file an application.
The draft of the new bill calls for a 28% tax on all revenues generated from rakes and tournament fees for online gambling competitions. The bill will not tax earnings from players. This provision is expected to generate a substantial amount of money for the state. The bill also originally called for a $16.7 million licensing fee. The bill has since been revised to reduce the licensing fees to $5 million.
Davis hopes that the new legislation will be passed soon. Pennsylvania casinos are in close competition with gaming providers in New Jersey and Delaware. Both neighboring states have already passed laws that legalize online gambling and Pennsylvania lawmakers hope that they can avoid losing ground.
Caesars Interactive has filed an application for an online gaming license in New Jersey. The new license would be a significant step for Caesars, which has shown an interest in offering some of its popular games over the Internet. Caesars Entertainment is famous for offering the World Series of Poker tournaments. However, they intend to offer other forms of their popular casino games over the Internet if their online gaming license is approved.
Caesars filed its application on the same day as the Rational Group, the holding company of PokerStars. The two companies have been in a heated feud since PokerStars refused a merger Caesars proposed. Caesars and other members of the American Gambling Association have insisted that PokerStars be prohibited from offering online gaming in New Jersey.
Caesars is starting to believe that PokerStars has a strong chance of receiving an online gaming license. The two companies will probably be intense competition with each other if they both receive online gaming licenses.
Seth Palansky, a spokesman for Caesars has said that applying for an online gaming license is an important first step, but their company has many other milestones that they must surpass before they can offer online gaming in New Jersey. He feels that they have a long road ahead of them, but Caesars believes that the wait will be worthwhile. New Jersey has a population of nearly 9 million people, which makes it a significantly more lucrative online gaming market than Nevada or Delaware.
Palansky said that Caesars expects to be the first company to receive an online gaming license in New Jersey. He said that online gaming companies need to draw as many players as possible to create the necessary liquidity. Caesars is confident that their brand reputation will help them dominate New Jersey’s newly regulated online gaming market.
The Nevada Gaming Commission has requested advice from the Alderney Gaming Control Commission on compacts with regulators in other states. The AGCC has responded to that request and made a few recommendations earlier this week. The regulator has also recommended lawmakers revise the current legislation to allow regulators and gaming companies to engage in compacts with their counterparts in other countries.
Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill in February that allows the Nevada Gaming Commission to form alliances with regulators in other states. This was a groundbreaking step for the state’s newly regulated online gaming industry.
However, the AGCC and various stakeholder groups feel that the new legislation is still too constrictive. They feel that international compacts would be highly beneficial to the online gaming industry. The original draft of the new bill contained a provision that would have allowed them to do so. However, that provision was removed at some point during the legislative process.
The NGC may pass that recommendation along to the state legislature. However, they have more pressing issues that must be addressed. They are currently asking for feedback on how revenue should be shared between states. They are debating whether revenue sharing should be based on the location of the players or the location of the server. They are also wondering what safeguards should be put into place to prevent fraud.
The Nevada Gaming Commission wants to make sure that the state will generate as much revenue as possible and extend necessary protections to Nevada players. They will incorporate the feedback from other regulators and industry experts into the future regulations.
Raymond Bitar, the former CEO of Full Tilt Poker, has agreed to a plea bargain with the United States Department of Justice. The new deal stipulates that Bitar will forfeit $40 million in assets derived from allegedly violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Federal prosecutors have agreed not to require Bitar to serve any jail time in return. Bitar is encouraged by the deal, because he was facing up to life in prison if convicted of the charges against him.
The full details of this deal have not been released to the public. However, Bitar’s attorneys announced that their client intends to plead guilty to two of the nine charges that were filed against him last summer. They have not stated which charges he has agreed to plead guilty to.
Bitar’s attorneys requested that prison terms be dropped after he was diagnosed with a major heart failure. According to Bitar’s doctors, he has about a 50% chance of surviving another year without an artificial heart transplant.
His doctors said that he should not travel in his condition. A prison sentence would also likely disqualify him as a potential candidate for a heart transplant. Prosecutors took these concerns into consideration when they struck the plea deal.
Bitar’s attorney has requested that he be allowed to allocate on video from California rather than traveling to New York to testify in court. Judge Loretta Prescott has not yet responded to their motion.
Bitar’s attorneys are encouraged by the deal that federal lawmakers have proposed. However, Prescott could choose to refuse the deal and require Prescott to appear in court. Bitar is expected to make his allocution within the next two weeks.
Representatives from the Navajo Native American Tribe are currently negotiating a new compact with the state of New Mexico. The new compact could create a ban on every form of Internet gambling not provided by the Navajo peoples and other Native American tribes. This new proposal could be used as a template for other tribes trying to protect their own gaming industries.
A recent report in the Albuquerque Journal suggests that the Navajo tribe is using revenue from slot machines as a bargaining chip in the negotiations. The new deal would state that they could withhold this revenue from the state if the state moved forward with a plan to legalize online gambling.
The new deal would require the tribe to negotiate with the state in good faith if an online gaming bill is pursued in the near future. The Navajo and New Mexico government officials could have an arbitrator intervene if they couldn’t come to a resolution on a proposal to regulate online gambling.
Gaming experts have raised concerns about the new legislation. They hope that lawmakers negotiate a different settlement to allow them to pave the way for online gaming in the near future. Native American tribes have prevented other states from enacting legislation to regulate or legalize online gambling.
However, some experts are not overly concerned about the new proposal. They said that it is too early to determine how likely it is that the new compact will be accepted by state lawmakers. They were unable to come to a decision on a compact that was proposed earlier this year and may ask for more favorable terms before coming to an agreement with the Navajo or any other tribe.