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blueday

POKER/GAMBLING NEWS

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Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley declined to certify a petition to legalize online poker in the state.  The petition, titled, " An Act Relative to Establishing Regulated and Taxed Internet Poker in Massachusetts" was sponsored by Poker Players Alliance (PPA) state director Randall Castonguay.  According to the Attorney General's 2009-2010 Petitions website, the petition was rejected because it was "not in proper form."  According to PPA Executive Director John Pappas, Coakley's beef was that the petition uses the words "register" in one section and "license" in another when referring to financial services providers.  For some reason, Coakley was unable reconcile the two terms, feeling they made the topic of financial services providers too vague for voters to understand.  Despite a formal legal brief that showed why this concern was invalid, Coakley still did not certify the petition.

 

Lips

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Poker keeps looking better all the time......

 

Bob Barr, the 2008 Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States, stated in an online column that support for internet gambling in the halls of Congress may be growing.  In the piece, which appeared on ajc.com, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's website, Barr stated that while supporters of online gambling have historically argued that adults should be able to do what they want with their own money in the privacy of their own homes, the angle that is getting more attention now is the financial one.  Barr estimates, based on figures provided  by PricewaterhouseCoopers, that the small two percent tax on internet gambling deposits proposed by Rep. Barney Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation and Taxation Act would produce $51 million in revenue for the federal government over the next decade.  And in today's economy, this looks great to legislators.  Even some opponents, primarily brick-and-mortar casinos, are starting to come around, he said, as they realize that the more people get interested in gambling online, the more they may get interested in trying the games live in a casino.  While now a Libertarian, Barr served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia's 7th district, as a Republican.

 

Lips

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Its all very interesting stuff.  What do you think the outcome will be Lips?

 

I ponder this quite often as I see more and more news about all the different things that are being said in favour of online gambling....using the tax for the health reform etc etc.

 

What are your views as to what the end result will be?

 

blue

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Hi Blue,

 

With there being more focus on the potential $$$$ generated and less focus on potential gambling addicts and money laundering....there is finally some hope.

 

The revenue brought in from online gambling as whole, not just limited to Poker and Sports Books will really help the financial crisis that the US faces. 

 

With a deficit that is hard to even fathom must less to try to recover from....government is now taking a closer look. I am confident the laws are about to change.....they would be fools not to lift the restrictions.

 

Money talks.....and it will amazing to see the turn around in congress.

 

Lips

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Hi Lips,

 

It certainly would be an amazing turnaround.  I really do hope that it happens for all poker, casino and sportsbook players. 

 

blue

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One of the legendary Las Vegas entrepreneurs and characters passed away Friday.  Bob Stupak lost his battle with leukemia at the age of 67.  Stupak was perhaps best known as the developer of the Stratosphere, the northernmost of the "major" Las Vegas Strip casinos.  Its Stratosphere Tower, which is what attracts most people to the property, is the tallest free standing observation tower in the United States.  During its development in 1995, Stupak was in a horrific motorcycle accident in which he shattered every bone in his face, went into a coma, and was not expected to survive.  Stupak was a solid poker player, as well, winning a World Series of Poker bracelet in Deuce to Seven Draw in 1989.  He also appeared on the first season of High Stakes Poker.

 

Lips

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Poker Player Alliance has filed a Petition to Delay UIGEA Compliance

 

The PPA filed a petition with U.S. Treasury Secretary asking for the date of compliance, which is Dec. 1, to be extended one year under the Administrative Procedure Act.

 

I guess we will have to wait to see where this goes.

 

blue

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Guest Tony Trader

The deadline to fall into full compliance with the regulations of the Unlawful Internet Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is December 1st for all companies in the financial services industry.

 

In the meantime, the Poker Players Alliance is working hard on delaying the deadline. Bill HR 2266 was introduced by Congressman Barney Frank in May of this year and this piece of legislation aims to push back the compliance date to December 1st of 2010.  The bill suggests that lawmakers on Capitol Hill could find a method for taxing and regulating the internet gambling activities in the US.

 

 

The bill was successful with 48 cosponsors. “We are working with Barney Frank and others for a non-legislative solution to clarifying or delaying the UIGEA regulations. Given everything on the Chairman’s plate, one thing off of it is a good thing. We’re hoping to see a delay.”

 

The PPA ahs also gathered efforts to use the Administrative Procedure Act which allows individuals and organizations to weigh in with the Department of Treasury and ask for a delay of a proposed rule. It has been hard though as poker is probably, and reasonably, not the main concern of the US government administration at the moment.  “The reality is that our country is facing a lot of challenges. From a poker player’s perspective, the UIGEA may be the top priority, but it’s not the top priority of Congress. Until Barney Frank can solve the issues facing his Committee, ours is not going to take precedence.”

 

Barney Frank also introduced HR 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. It attracted 60 cosponsors and it wasintroduced on the same day as HR 2266 and establishes a complete licensing and regulatory framework for the internet gambling industry in the United States. Hopefully we will see some results soon as the deadline is approaching.

 

 

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This article is also available in the "news" section above.

 

Democrat calls for regulation instead of prohibition on Internet gambling

 

In an op-ed article published this week in the Washington publication Roll Call, Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) argues that regulating Internet gambling in order to protect consumers and generate up to $42 billion in new revenue is a "sensible approach."

 

Based on his experience of having started and managed several Internet-based companies, Rep. Polis says Congress should "...scrap the ineffective attempt to ban Internet gambling in the U.S. and, instead, replace it with a regulated environment where adult consumers can elect to place a wager online with assurances that they are protected from fraud and abuse."

 

"Regardless of what one thinks of the proper public policy approach to gaming in general, it's time to acknowledge that this incidence of ill-conceived prohibition has failed, is failing and will continue to fail because it completely ignores the reality of the Internet," states Rep. Polis.

 

"A new policy approach is needed to address this issue and protect Americans and the freedom of the Internet."

 

Rep. Polis further encourages support for the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267), introduced by Rep. Barney Frank, which would "replace the current, ineffective ban on Internet gambling with a strict regulatory environment where operators must be licensed and required to implement safeguards to protect against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, fraud and identify theft."

 

Readers can find the complete article here: http://www.rollcall.com/issues/55_54/guest/40373-1.html

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A recent news item confirms that a company in Cambridge UK have developed an anti-bot software which can protect online gamblers from fraud.

 

The company specialises in technology that uses behavioural analysis to protect online casinos and stock trading websites from fraud.

 

In a recent deal, the company are providing the software to a well known game site and a large online casino - Betfair.com.  Their software is able to determine whether it is a human playing or a "bot".

 

I personally hope they sell their software to all the poker sites as the number of bots in online poker is quite scary.

 

"Robot poker players" software is available on ebay for a very small price and is the ultimate cheating program.  Hopefully, this software will stop these cheats and we can all get a better game of poker.

 

blue

 

 

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Interesting piece of news just posted....

 

North Carolina court finds for 'sweepstakes' games loophole, but this issue has a way to run

 

The so-called sweepstakes parlours in North Carolina have dodged the legal bullet following a finding by an appeals court which preserved a broad ban on physical video poker machines, but found that phone card sweepstakes do not at present constitute illegal conduct.

 

Sweepstakes parlours sell phone cards to punters which gives them Internet time on virtual video poker slot machines, creating a legal loophole which has been the cause of repeated clashes between enforcement officials and sweepstakes parlour operators in the United States.

 

This week the media in Raleigh, North Carolina reported that the court finding supports operator claims that their business isn't gambling because patrons are paying for computer time or a phone card. Operators say that the hands of video poker or results from virtual slot machines on computers are promotional devices used to coax customers to buy a product and get a chance to win a prize.

 

This round of the enforcement vs. operators tussle in North Carolina is over...for now. A Superior Court judge in High Point has blocked police from cracking down on the sweepstakes parlours until a lawsuit specifically over their legality is resolved.

 

Legislative leaders say they plan to keep an eye on the lawsuit and the industry, and there will undoubtedly be further developments in the new year.

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Well this just speaks volumes:

 

"More fish the objective, say observers.

 

Today (January 5th) will see the start of a new policy at the Microgaming Poker Network, according to several reliable sources. Observers say the policy is designed to encourage online poker sites on the network to bring in more "fish" (less experienced and therefore more likely to lose than win) players to ensure that the balance between deposits and withdrawals moves closer to the former.

 

Poker News, commenting on the move, reports that beginning January 5th, MPN will move from the contributed method of rake calculation, in which the operators’ rake is calculated by splitting pots between the total number of players, to the weighted method, whereby rake per room is generated proportionally according to the amount that individual players contribute to each pot.

 

"Although this may sound confusing to most people, it essentially means that it pays for Microgaming skins to attract players who are more likely to redeposit when they loose their cash playing. In other words, the sites recognize they won't make money from successful players who cash out winnings over the long run," is how the poker information site interprets the policy.

 

The Microgaming Poker Network is not the first to move in this controversial direction; the general strategy has been extensively and publicly debated by operators for some weeks and is already being implemented by major networks such as Boss Media's International Poker Network, Playtech's iPoker network and the Bodog network, which penalise skins with higher withdrawal than deposit ratios (see previous InfoPowa reports). The Merge network is also reported to be pursuing a similar policy."

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Yes exactly.  The fish are rubbish at poker and lose their money to the sharks.  The fish re-deposit and the sharks win a bit more.  Its really just a balancing act and thats why they love the fish and want more of em.

 

It sucks cos the fish get lucky with the dire RNG (but thats another subject which I won't get into here) and win the money off the sharks and then the sharks have to re-deposit - either way, the poker sites win.

 

blue

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OPPAGA presentation date to Senate committee set

 

The Florida state legislature's Office of Program Policy & Government Analysis (OPPAGA) has announced that it is to present its final review of online gambling regulation pros and cons to the state Senate Regulated Industries Committee on the late afternoon of January 19th.

 

The presentation follows OPPAGA research and deliberations late last year which are commonly believed to have been prompted by Florida's need to close budgetry gaps.

 

In October and November last year Florida House legislators studied the contents of the review, which presents politicians with options and contingent advantages and disadvantages (see previous InfoPowa reports).

 

In the event that the state government prefers to take the lead from federal lawmakers instead of adopting an individual state approach to the legalisation of Internet gambling in general or poker in particular, then nothing need be done to change the present status quo. But the downside is that such a course could see the state presented with a federal solution that would not meet or suit state priorities.

 

In the event that a decision is taken to actively prevent online gambling, then there are difficult and expensive law enforcement considerations, quite apart from opposition from voters who may view online gambling as desirable.

 

Legalising online poker within the state has the advantage of regulatory control over the activity and the generation of tax revenues desperately needed to shore up the state finances. In this context it will be interesting to see whether the review has a better grasp of the financial benefits than it's previously stated: "...at this time no objective estimates exist to assess potential state revenues."

 

That statement last year created some waves, coming on the heels of an educated estimate by the Poker Voters of America organisation of $90 million a year from legalised online poker alone. 

 

 

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Guest Tony Trader

Barney Frank Online Poker Bill Up For Vote Next Month.

 

We expect within a few short weeks, most likely in the month of February, there will be a committee vote on this legislation," said John Pappas, President of the Poker Players Alliance. "This is a very critical and important for vote for the Poker Players Alliance, as well as the poker community, and we need everyone to step up and make sure that their voices are heard."

 

What Pappas expects and what will actually happen are two different things, however, though we trust that the PPA is in tight enough with Congressman Frank to know his future intentions.

 

Rep. Frank, the chair of House Financial Services Committee, introduced H.R. 2267 ("The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009") in May of last year.

 

For right now Frank may have more pressing concerns.  At the top of the list is Government Run Healthcare.

 

On Tuesday, Republican Scott Brown won the Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy and Kennedy is no doubt turning over in his grave.

 

Brown proved to be an attractive candidate while his opponent, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, not so.

 

"She let it become a personality contest and that was a mistake," Frank said.  He admitted earlier that her defeat would essentially "kill the health bill."

 

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Poker players' organisation is gearing up for the big battle - the legalisation of online poker in the United States.

 

John Pappas, executive director of the million member-strong Poker Players Alliance, has asked his membership to prepare for the biggest legislative push yet to legalise online gambling in the United States.

 

In a PPA video posted on the Alliance's website this week, Pappas marshalled the members for the imminent introduction of HR2267, Congressman Barney Frank's proposal to regulate and tax Internet gaming, to a committee vote and possible mark-up that could come as early as February 2010.

 

“We expect within a few short weeks, most likely in the month of February, there will be a committee vote on this legislation,” Pappas revealed. “This is a very critical and important for vote for the Poker Players Alliance, as well as the poker community, and we need everyone to step up and make sure that their voices are heard.”

 

The PPA initiatives in the past encouraging members to lobby their political representatives on HR2267 have proved to be influential, and this occasion is no different, Pappas noted, urging poker players to contact their members of Congress and let them know that they support the Frank’s bill.

 

“This will be the first time - ever - that there will be a vote on licensing and regulation of Internet poker and Internet gaming in general,” said Pappas. “We need bi-partisan support, and we need your help in achieving that. Over the next few weeks, you’ll be hearing more from us about things you can to do to alert your members of Congress about this important committee vote and why they should vote in support of HR 2267, so get ready to advocate for poker.”

 

Congressman Frank, who chairs the powerful House Financial Services Committee, has seen the start of the new year bring a further two politicians onto the roll of those supporting his H.R. 2267 “The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009”, which was introduced in May 2009.

 

In the first two weeks of January, New York Democrat Eliot Engel and Charlie Melancon, a Democrat from Los Angeles signed up for the measure, bringing political endorsements to 65 representatives.

 

HR2267 was the subject of a Congressional hearing in early December, although the bill was not marked up on that occasion as interested parties discussed the issues around the measure. That may be about to change, says Pappas, commenting that a markup may be on the Frank schedule: “The big next step for us is the markup," Pappas said, adding that the PPA has identified political opinion formers and was targeting them in its lobbying efforts.

 

Should a mark-up take place, it could lead to a debate on HR2267 on the floor of the House of Representatives in 2010, opening up possibilities for political tactics to push the bill through.

 

That's sometime in the future; for now the biggest challenge is to ensure that partisan politics does not derail a well crafted bill, Pappas notes.

 

Frank and other politicians have also secured a victory of sorts in further delaying the implementation of the UIGEA regulations until June 1st 2010, giving space to manouevre in a bid to ensure that this time the initiative to legalise online gambling is given the attention and discussion that it deserves.

 

The passage of the UIGEA is notorious for the undemocratic manner in which it was passed in 2006, riding on the coat tails of an unrelated 'must pass' security bill in a late night session of Congress right before an electoral recess.

 

(LPB News article also available here )

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OMG - posted in News section:

Millions of gambler records offered for sale to Brit newspaper

 

The start of a major furore over privacy was signalled over the weekend when the Daily Mail reported that the confidential records of millions of British gamblers who bet with top bookmaker Ladbrokes had been offered for sale to The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

 

The Mail reports that this huge alleged theft of data is now at the centre of a criminal investigation. There are allegations that the newspaper  was given the personal information of 10 000 Ladbrokes customers and offered access to its database of 4.5 million punters in the UK and abroad.

 

The newspaper group alerted Ladbrokes to the damaging security breach and handed the customer files to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), Britain's data watchdog, which immediately began to investigate.

 

The records include customers' home addresses, details of their gambling history, customer account numbers, dates of birth, phone numbers and email addresses. Credit card and banking details are reported to be excluded from the material.

 

Ladbrokes has called in the police and began contacting customers over the weekend to reassure them that their credit card details, passwords and other financial information were safe.

 

The Daily Mail reports that the sensitive database was offered for sale by a mysterious Australian, who claimed to be a computer security expert who had worked at Ladbrokes in Britain.

 

The newspaper led the seller on to get more information, and during protracted negotiations via email and in one phone call, the man, who gave his name only as 'Daniel', claimed to represent a company based in Melbourne, Australia.

 

The company, DSS Enterprises, is run by one Dinitha Subasinghe, a Sri Lankan-born IT expert.

 

Approached by the newspaper, Subasinghe denied any involvement in the data theft. He designs websites and also runs a wedding planning business with his British-born girlfriend Charlene King.

 

Checks with Australia's companies house found that Subasinghe was described as a 'sole trader'. His recent work has involved designing websites for estate agents in Melbourne, but he also lists Ladbrokes and the UK Ministry of Defence as clients.

 

Subasinghe told reporters: "I have no access to any Ladbrokes database or any other information. I provided analytical services to them for 18 months during 2007 and 2008."

 

Subasinghe said he had been on holiday in the UK in November and still kept in touch with members of Ladbrokes staff on a social basis, adding: "Unless my name, my signature, my fingerprint is on anything, it has nothing to do with me.

 

"I had a call from a senior person at Ladbrokes this morning. I did not take the call. I don't know what they are ringing me about."

 

With the story breaking fast, The Mail on Sunday received an email from 'Daniel' saying that he was ending the negotiations and warning the newspaper against passing his details to the authorities.

 

David Smith, the ICO Deputy Commissioner, said: "The ICO takes breaches of individuals' privacy very seriously. Any organisation which processes personal information must ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to keep that information secure.

 

"We are grateful to The Mail on Sunday for bringing this security breach to our attention and will be contacting Ladbrokes to establish how it occurred and to find out what steps it will be taking to ensure that such a breach cannot happen again.

 

"We are particularly concerned that up to 4.5 million customer records containing personal information are allegedly for sale. Stealing personal data and selling it is a criminal offence. We will investigate whether an offence has been committed."

 

The Mail on Sunday was apparently first approached by 'Daniel' - using the email address 'theinsidescoopuk' - earlier this (January) month. He claimed to have worked as an IT security consultant for Ladbrokes two years ago. He said he had been passed the data by a 'relatively junior' employee, who was trying to sell it on.

 

'Daniel' claimed that his initial intention was to tip off Ladbrokes about the security breach, but he then decided it would be better to contact the media.

 

Ciaran O'Brien, head of PR at Ladbrokes, said: "We have been informed that a person connected to our organisation has offered certain details from a customer database to The Mail on Sunday.

 

"This is a criminal act and we are working with the police, the ICO and the newspaper to identify and apprehend the culprit.

 

"We are in the process of contacting customers to apologise for this breach in security and to reassure them that everything is being done to protect their personal information.

 

"Importantly, we do not believe that customer accounts or banking data can be accessed."

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245622/For-sale-Personal-details-millions-Ladbrokes-gamblers.html?ITO=1490&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailymail%2Fhome+%28Home+%7C+Mail+Online%29#ixzz0dVC1p615

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US-FACING operators have been hit by an overnight crackdown on online gambling payments by credit card giant Mastercard.

 

The US company is believed to have toughened its stance on the widespread practice of operators coding egaming transaction as other kinds of online commerce, which will all its US customers from using their cards to gamble online.

 

Rival US card giant Visa is rumoured to have taken a similar measure, although this could not be confirmed at the time of writing.

 

The action is a sign that banks and payment companies are preparing for implementation of America’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which bans the facilitation of online gambling by payment companies.

 

This was originally supposed to have been enforced from 1 December 2009, although the US treasury later approved a delay allowing companies until 1 June 2009 to comply.

 

The development will increase reliance on alternatives to credit card deposits such as those offered by EwalletXpress or Poker Echecks, which work similarly to traditional paper cheques but are issued electronically, allowing players to deposit and play from an electronic wallet.

 

Sites likely to have been hit by the Mastercard move include US sports betting giant Sportsbook.com which today announced that it will leave the Cake Poker network to join Ireland's Merge Gaming network.

 

The action by Mastercard coincides with a federal appeals court ruling this week upholding a contempt order for refusing to comply with a grand-jury subpoena against two companies owned by Canadian Douglas Rennick, who is accused of processing more than $350m in payments for Internet gambling companies.

 

~from EGR

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Piling on the agony for US online gamblers

 

The giant Visa card processing conglomerate has joined Mastercard in clamping down on Internet gambling transactions, according to growing reportage in the US media.

 

Although the implementation of the UIGEA regulations has been delayed to June 2010, the e-processing companies seem intent halting the allegedly widespread practice of operators cloaking online gambling transactions by coding them as other forms of ecommerce.

 

(posted in the LCB news)

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Despite restrictions, US punters spent $8 billion online in 2009

 

The widely read U.S. IT publication Network World took up the legalisation of online gambling story this week, recapping on the efforts of Congressman Barney Frank to overturn the UIGEA and set up a regulatory and taxation regime for the industry in America.

 

Network World asked the rhetorical question "why would legalizing online gambling be a good thing?" and provides the answer: "Because the public wants it! We know this because U.S. citizens spent an estimated $8 billion last year betting online."

 

Author Mark Gibbs does some simple arithmetic based on a proposition that each online gambler spends a moderate $500 a year, and comes up with 16 million players or about 1 in every 4 US punters over the age of 21 years.

 

The author also draws attention to an online poll by US News and World Report, in which more than 91 percent of respondents answered "Yes" to the question "Should Online Gambling Be Legalized?"

 

Gibbs goes on to examine the standpoints of opponents and supporters of legalised online gambling before observing that despite opposition in some political quarters, there has been no suggestions in the USA that state lotteries or tribal gambling be curtailed or outlawed.

 

He attributes this to the big money involved, which he quotes as $28 billion annually (2008 numbers) in tribal gambling, and over $75 billion in state lotteries, of which some $18 billion flows into state coffers (again, 2008 stats).

 

He then compares this with the potential tax revenues from legalised online gambling, quoting a Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that Congressman Frank's proposed legislation would generate nearly $42 billion of tax revenues over the next 10 years.

 

The author concludes: "I'm not against gambling. I can't find any reasonable moral or ethical grounds to oppose it and, as someone once said, gambling is a tax on people who are bad at math. In fact, I find it surprising that in the land of the brave and the home of the free anyone would want to tell you what you can and can't do with your money.

 

"After all, if it's good enough for the states and good enough for Indian tribes, then why wouldn't it be good enough for Internet users?"

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Guest Tony Trader

These politicians here need to get there heads out of there a**** and get with the program.

 

There are land casinos in about 38 of the 50 states and if theres not a land casino theres racetracks with slot machines in them.

 

If they don't want my tax money from online gambling then it's there loss not mine

 

Tony.

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Exactly Tony. 

 

I'm unclear as to why the US Govt. are not "jumping on the bandwagon" when it comes to gambling.  There is some serious money to be made with online gambling.

 

blue

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