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blueday

POKER/GAMBLING NEWS

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Hey Blue

 

i found this in Washington Post. Inside Online Poker's Cheating Scandals. Washington Post investigative reporter Gilbert M. Gaul answered questions on Monday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. ET about his reporting on Internet gambling, joined by Serge Ravitch, an online poker player and one of the "detectives" in the Absolute Poker scandal.

 

Richmond, Va.: This is all very interesting, but I thought online betting was illegal. True?

 

Serge Ravitch: Placing sports bets is illegal as per the Wire Act, but playing online poker is not covered by the Act and is not illegal under federal law. A handful of states (Washington state) do ban it, but it's legal to play in the vast majority of the US.

 

Also there are other interesting question people where asking. I don't know why i can't link this page but its Washington Post. Knowing u  u know the answers to those question already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1st June 2010 marks the date upon which financial institutions are now legally responsible to comply with the UIGEA.

 

I'm seeing loads of comments on the internet like "blip on the screen", "bump in the road" and *hiccup".

 

I also see these comments from the PPA - "The UIGEA does not make online poker illegal“  "The UIGEA does not criminalize any new forms of internet gambling, something the U.S. third circuit court of appeals made explicit in its ruling last year." "No American has ever been charged for playing online poker."

 

It seems the UIGEA is only intended to affect deposits and not withdrawals from online gambling sites.  I expect you will find longer deposit times as well as withdrawals taking longer too. 

 

EWallets seem to be the way forward I would say from all the information I have read.  Putting money into an ewallet cannot be seen to be illegal as you can spend the money in your ewallet on other goods apart from gambling.

 

 

 

 

Hi kynettie,

 

In response to your post - I looked at the Washington Post and it says I have to register to read any articles.  I certainly will register later on and come back to you.

 

blue

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FROM THE NEWS SECTION

 

Is this the first step toward regulated online gambling in a US state?

 

In what could prove to be an important breakthrough in US intrastate online gambling regulation, New Jersey state senators Thursday released a bill from committee that would allow casinos to build online websites for poker,blackjack and other games.

 

Members of the Internet-gaming business lobby hailed the legislation as a significant step forward for New Jersey to establish itself as the first state to allow full Internet gaming within its state jurisdiction.

 

The day started with the state’s Senate Wagering and Tourism committee hearing testimony on a bill that would allow online betting on poker and casino games. Legislators were told that allowing embattled Atlantic City land casino operators to create online sites would provide at least $200 million in additional state revenue and bring an estimated 1 500 high-tech jobs to south Jersey.

 

However, opponents, mainly from the horse racing industry which already has federal exemptions to operate online wagering, said that New Jersey's battered horse racing industry would take another hit if forced to compete with online wagering from the casinos.

 

Horseracing supporters were also less than pleased when senators removed a provision to allow "gaming rooms" at racetrack venues where customers could get online to gamble.

 

Cash strapped US states – especially Florida and California - are showing growing interest in the possibilities of regulated internet gambling, citing the autonomy of individual states that allows them to decide on intrastate

issues.

 

Under the bill discussed at the hearing, New Jersey would allow an intrastate online gambling network, relying on high-tech online software to allow customers within New Jersey's borders to access the land casino-run online websites.

 

At the close of the hearing, Senators on the committee approved the bill by 3 votes to 1.

 

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Senator Ray Lesniak, argues that federal law has given New Jersey a window to try an intrastate approach to developing an online-gaming business model.

 

Representatives of the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association, which supports the proposal, said the bill could bring between $210 million and $250 million in annual gross gaming yield to casinos and between $47 million and $55 million in new state revenues. Still greater revenues could be created if New Jersey succeeds in attracting Internet gaming companies to headquarter in the state.

 

"The state would benefit by being a 'first mover,'" said iMega chairman Joe Brennan Jr. The existing casino industry, combined with the space and workforce available around Atlantic City to create centers of technical support and data storage to the new industry, all within reach of Wall Street investment firms, give the city a strategic advantage over other states, he pointed out.

 

"New Jersey will be able to position itself as the national and potential global capital of the next gaming industry," he added.

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115 hour marathon poker session sets a new benchmark

 

Poker pro Phil 'Unabomber' Laak (37) has successfully completed his attempt on the world record for continuous poker play, convincingly breaking all previous records with a hard-to-beat 115 hour benchmark.

 

His well documented success will be sent to the Guinness Book of Records for official recognition, he announced after ending the initiative Monday.

 

Laak started playing at 12:04pm on June 2 in the Bellagio Poker Room in Las Vegas, and broke the world record by 36 hours and 15 minutes when he stopped at 7:04am on June 7.

 

"I was shooting for 80 hours all along and eventually it came," said Laak. "It was loads of fun and of course impossible without my crew. This has been one of the most wonderful journeys I've ever taken, touchingly human and beautiful on so many levels. Thanks to everyone who shared in this amazing ride."

 

Laak used the record-breaking attempt to raise money for Camp Sunshine, an organisation that supports children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families through various stages of illness. Unabomber donated half of his winnings and raised additional funds by selling several of his signature hooded sweatshirts, along with numerous tee shirts worn during the record setting game, for up to $500 each. He also won a 58th hour challenge to do 30 pushups for a $1,000 donation to the charity. Additionally, fans were able to donate $10 to the camp by texting.

 

Many of Laak's poker pro friends and peers came to play with him or offer support. In addition to his longtime girlfriend, actress and poker pro, Jennifer Tilly, other pros who stopped by included Scotty Nguyen, Prahlad Freidman, James Mitchell, Rod Fani, Eric Liu, Huck Seed, David Wells, Mike Matusow and Jean-Robert Bellande.

 

The record setting game was a thoroughly modern affair that included Laak tweeting throughout to give updates to his followers, and an ongoing web video stream of his game that was viewed in 120 countries by over 177,000 people. The Unabomber Poker Blog has plenty of coverage of the event as well as a Picture Gallery composed of images from the entire challenge.

 

A support team comprised of Susan von Seggern, Jeff Bass, John Srednicki, Ace Jones, Jennifer Tilly and Wolf Rosenberg rotated in shifts to ensure that the proper Guinness documentation requirements were met at all stages, and that Laak was properly nourished with appropriate foods.

 

He was served small meals every five hours by nutritionist, "All American Dave," who kept the player's blood sugar at a consistent level with a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean chicken and fish and sweet potatoes.

 

Laak pulled the plug after 115 hours, nearly two days longer than the official world record of 72 hours and 2 minutes held by Larry Olmsted. Last September, Paul Zimbler overtook the Olstead record (see previous InfoPowa report) by playing for 78 hours and 45 minutes, but it was not sanctioned by Guinness World Records.

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PPA Announces Fundraising “Money Bomb” on July 1st

 

Building on the momentum of the past year, the Poker Players Alliance announced this week that it will drop a fundraising "money bomb" on July 1st in order to raise additional funds leading up to a crucial vote this summer on legislation to license and regulate online poker.

 

A money bomb is when an organisation asks all of its members and supporters to make a financial donation – of any amount – to the group on one specific day. The PPA hopes to raise $25,000 from its over one million members throughout the United States.

 

"We would not be where we are today without the support and dedication of the poker community. Yet, there is much more to be done to assure that every American has the right to enjoy a game of poker from their computer, in a casino or at their kitchen table," said Alfonse D'Amato, chairman of the PPA.

 

"This unique fundraising effort is another way for our members and all players to demonstrate to lawmakers the broad support for online poker, while at the same time helping PPA continues its advocacy efforts."

 

As a reminder to donate on July 1st, players can visit www.pokermoneybomb.com to download the event to their calendars. Even if individuals are not members of the PPA, they are able to donate for this drive and will not be required to become a member.

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South Carolina's Supreme Court will hopefully produce a sensible ruling on a long-running issue

 

Four years ago the police in the South Carolina town of Mount Pleasant busted a group of residents playing poker in a private home. Whilst many of those arrested took the easy way out and pleaded guilty, five took exception to the raid and hired lawyers to defend them in court, claiming that poker did not fall within the definition of illegal gambling because it was a game in which skill predominated, not chance.

 

They lost the first round in a local city court, but lodged an appeal which saw the case appear on the rolls of a South Carolina Circuit Court, where Judge Markley Dennis lifted the spirits of poker players by ruling, after hearing extensive academic and other evidence, that Texas Hold'Em was primarily a game of skill.

 

However, the state of South Carolina did not rest there, with Attorney General Henry McMaster taking the issue directly to the South Carolina Supreme Court on the grounds that the case had become a constitutional matter.

 

The court will hear the case later this year at a date yet to be decided, but the defiant poker players will again put forward their arguments, and legal representative Jeffrey Phillips believes there is a good chance that the matter will be settled in their favour and once and for all.

 

Adding to the capabilities of the defendants is the Poker Players Alliance, which is supplying legal assistance and advice, raising comparisons with games like chess, tennis and golf.

 

The case is important not only because it has the potential to remove the game from the risk of prosecution for 'illegal gambling', but because a favourable ruling could become a positive element in efforts within the state to pass legislation regulating and therefore formally legalising the game.

 

“The South Carolina case is not a direct corollary to our efforts in Congress,” says PPA execvutive director John Pappas. “It’s just part of our mission. We believe a rising tide lifts all boats, and a victory in South Carolina would help us make the point that poker is a game of skill – on the internet and elsewhere."

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The Economist opines that bans will not work, and it is better to legalise, tax and regulate a popular pastime

 

The respected UK business and economics publication 'The Economist' criticised attempts in other countries to ban online gambling this week in a leader article pointing out the advantages of properly licensed and regulated internet gambling activity.

 

Noting that history has shown that prohibition of a popular pastime - the alcohol bans in the United States for example - rarely works, the article goes on to examine the difficulties faced in enforcing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the United States, and the workarounds that have developed to overcome government attempts to disrupt financial flows to so-called 'illegal' internet gambling websites.

 

"...after a brief dip, Americans are now betting online about as much as they did four years ago. The Justice Department still maintains that online gambling is illegal, yet large numbers of Americans carry on regardless. The reason is simple: anyone who wants to gamble and has an internet connection can do so," The Economist points out, illustrating its point with some statistical facts.

 

The piece discusses the motivation of those seeking to kill off this modern evolution of gambling, opining that commercial protectionism and a fear of competition is a real element. It also poses the question of whether punters are better protected by banning the pastime and driving it underground, as is happening in the United States, or properly regulating and taxing it as is done by more enlightened governments such as the United Kingdom and a growing number of European states.

 

Online poker is particularly singled out as an example of a gambling genre that, thanks to modern media coverage, has grown from 'a niche game with a rather louche reputation' to a booming one, rightfully respected for the mental agility and improvisation it requires.”

 

Read the full article at http://www.economist.com/node/16539402

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CHEATING CHINESE REPORTED AT POKERSTARS

 

Members of collusion ring could have profited by up to $750 000…but no longer.

 

Discussions on the popular poker message board 2plus2 reveal that a large scale collusion ring involving several dozen Chinese players, who profited by as much as $750 000 on the PokerStars.com website, has been uncovered.

 

Initial reports indicate that PokerStars moved quickly to deal the cheaters out, and has already agreed to reimburse players impacted by the fraud to the tune of $587,000.

 

The ring apparently operated on $108 Double or Nothing sit and go tournaments, starting last summer but being unmasked as early as February this year.

 

One of the fraudsters, using the nickname Jane0123 brought the issue into the limelight when he whined on the 2+2 forum that his PokerStars account containing winnings of $10 000 had been frozen by the operator.

 

In the storm of responses that followed it was alleged that the poster had been a member of the ring who had been reported by other players to PokerStars, and that relevant Sharkscope data showed that Jane0123 had played 11,766 Double or Nothing tourneys with an average stake of $87 and had achieved a profit of $56,300.

 

Other big players from the Double or Nothing leaderboard at PokerStars were also accused, including one ‘Wudiya’ who made around $96 000 on the DoN games last year.

 

2+2 revelations include the claim that often half of the players in any given game have been part of the ring, most of them coming from the Chinese town of Hangzhou.

 

The cheaters may have generated up to $600,000 as rake to PokerStars, some posters claim. While users on 2+2 admit that DoN's are an easy target for colluders and such collusion can be difficult to detect, others say that the cheating happened on such a scale and duration that PokerStars' security should have put their sensors up much sooner.

 

Investigations continue, but many suspect that so is the cheating, this time possibly by another group of Chinese players who recently joined from the Wenzhou area in China.

 

Any player suspecting that they have been affected by collusion should contact PokerStars at email address gamesecurity@pokerstars.com.

 

Read the full story at http://www.coinflip.com/news/collusion-scandal-pokerstars-don-sit-gos.html

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Is the next stage of a US attempt to legalise online gambling about to start?

 

The on-again, off-again HR2267 Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act authored by Congressman Barney Frank and supported by almost 70 so-sponsors (see previous InfoPowa reports) may be back centre-stage soon, according to the Poker Players Alliance, a US players association with over a million members that is active on the American political scene.

 

According to PPA officials at the 41st World Series of Poker currently taking place in Las Vegas, the proposal could be marked up as early as next week, presumably in the House Financial Services Committee, which Congressman Frank chairs.

 

The bill was introduced in the House last May, but has been delayed by the volume of other financial work in the committee, and probably by careful tactical timing by the Congress-smart Frank.

 

The PPA recently raised an additional $27 000 for its campaigning through a widespread appeal, or 'money bomb' to its 1.2 million members (see previous InfoPowa reports).  The cash will be used to fund political publication advertising targeted on Washington politicians.

 

Frank continues to play his cards close to his chest, with PPA executive director John Pappas telling an ESPN interviewer at WSOP that the politician has hinted that a mark-up may be imminent.

 

The last hearing on HR2267 was in the Financial Services Committee last December when the usual for and against arguments were offered. At that time the senior (and anti-online gambling) Republican representative, Spencer Bachus, protested at the absence of officials from the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve - two key federal government departments involved in the much-delayed drafting of the regulations supporting the UIGEA, which were implemented on 1st June this year..

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UIGEA enforcement mechanisms are flawed, says Shelley Berkely in political assessment

 

Shelley Berkely, the feisty Nevada Democrat who supports properly regulated and controlled online gambling in the United States, came out strongly against the recently implemented Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act this week in a major feature article in the Washington DC political publication Roll Call.

 

Berklely says that Nevada is famous for its skill and experience in effective gambling regulations, and for keeping pace with technological and other dynamics impacting the gambling industry. The state is expert at turning these to best advantage to ensure that enforcement is effective, and that players are assured of getting a fair bet, the house is protected against cheating and money laundering and other crimes are controlled.

 

She points out however, that the current prohibitionary approach to Internet gambling in the United States has resulted in an environment where instead of being protected by regulations designed to prevent rip-offs, fraud and identity theft, Americans are being left vulnerable as a result of the moralistic UIGEA.

 

“This failed legislation sought to pin a cyber “tin star” to the chest of the financial industry with the idea that these companies would become the new “virtual sheriff” in town and that together, they would prevent anyone under U.S. law from taking part in any illegal online gaming,” Berkely writes.

 

“In reality, countless Americans logged on to their computers June 1 — the day the act took effect — and placed bets over the Internet. In the time it takes to read this sentence, thousands of players from Alaska to Hawaii and across the rest of the U.S. will have participated in some form of online wagering. And these men and women will keep right on playing, knowing that the law doesn’t even make clear what is illegal gambling and what is not when it comes to the Internet.”

 

Berkely goes on to compare the bans on internet gambling financial transactions with American failed historical attempts to prohibit the consumption and trading of alcohol, saying that the law actually helps the bad guys instead of protecting Americans against criminals.

 

She asserts that prohibition as a policy is doomed to fail and it’s time to start over.

 

“I firmly believe adults have the right to choose how they spend their leisure time and money, and that includes the ability to participate in Internet gaming from the privacy of their own homes and computers,” Berkely continues.

 

“That is why I vehemently opposed the UIGEA when it came before Congress and why I continue to support the efforts of House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) — and others — to replace what would be better called the Unworkable Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.”

 

Berkely points to what she refers to as the “fatally flawed enforcement mechanism” of the UIGEA, which places the burden of deciding which transactions are illegal on the shoulders of an inexperienced and overworked financial services industry. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that the Act is imprecise and does not clearly define what is regarded as an illegal gambling transaction – something financial institutions have been cautioning the government on for some time.

 

And she stresses there was never a penalty intended against those placing the bet, only against the banks now tasked with policing customers to stop any and all cyberbets.

 

Berkely suggests that the way forward is to tap into the expertise developed by Nevada’s world-class gaming regulators, and those in other states, which would enable the development of a new framework that would give adults the right to choose for themselves to visit a virtual casino or play in an online poker game with competitors drawn from around the planet.

 

“Every day the U.S. fails to act, we are also missing out on new business opportunities that could flow to legally authorized American operators of regulated Internet gaming ventures,” she warns.

 

“In addition, technology has dramatically improved identity verification and enhanced other protections designed to prevent those who are underage from doing on the Internet what they could not do in person during a visit to any resort casino on the Las Vegas Strip,” she adds.

 

“It’s time to let the UIGEA ride off into the sunset and to replace the virtual Wild, Wild West it has created with workable regulations designed to protect American adults — in numbers that only continue to grow — when they choose to place a bet over the Internet.”

 

Read the full article here: http://www.rollcall.com/features/Technology_Telecommunications/tandt/48164-1.html

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HR2267 will again be front-and-centre on July 21st

 

The PPA's heads up earlier this week that Congressman Barney Frank's bill to legalise online gambling in the US is due for another hearing has turned out to be right on the mark.  The House Financial Services Committee chaired by Frank has confirmed that HR2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, will again be debated on July 21st.

 

Less time has been allocated to the hearing than was the case last December, with the current debate starting only after lunch at 13h00 in Washington DC. A committee spokesman said that the anticipated mark-up of the new legislation would not on this occasion take place,

 

The PPA issued a statement on the hearing, in which executive director John Pappas said: “We appreciate Chairman Frank calling another hearing on HR 2267. We hope this is the final step toward an eventual vote in his committee on this legislation before the August recess. The PPA and the poker community stand ready to secure its passage.”

 

The Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) is also interested in the proceedings, with chairman Joe Brennan noting that whilst hearings were useful in keeping attention on the subject, what is really needed is political progress in the shape of committee and floor votes.

 

"The i-gaming lobby has been working too hard for too long. It deserves more than a hearing," said Brennan. "But, we’ll wait and see who will appear as witnesses. I’d like to see John Pappas finally get the opportunity to appear before the House Financial Services Committee and make the case for the players.”

 

The Committee has not yet issued its witness list.

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Poker pros and politicians to appear before House Financial Services Committee

 

Today’s (Wednesday) House Financial Services Committee hearing on Congressman Barney Frank’s HR2267 bid to legalise online gambling in the US (see previous InfoPowa reports) will feature poker professionals and politicians on its witness list.

 

It has already been announced that the hearing is not intended at this stage to mark-up the bill, but to hear further evidence on the topic, which is described on the Committee’s website as: “At its most basic level, the issue before this committee is personal freedom – the right of individual Americans to do what they want in the privacy of their homes without the intrusion of the government.”

 

The committee has published a list of witnesses that includes respected professional poker player and high profile television personality Annie Duke, who will speak for the Poker Players Alliance, claiming: “To be clear, HR 2267 is not a bill that expands Internet gambling in America. It simply provides the appropriate government safeguards to an industry that currently exists and continues to grow.”

 

Speaking for the Credit Union National Association will be Edward Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Discovery Federal Credit Union, whilst Tom Malkasian, Vice Chairman and Director of Strategic Planning for the Commerce Casino, will speak for his employers. The Commerce Casino is involved with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in seeking the intrastate legalisation of online poker in California (see previous InfoPowa reports).

 

The Mohegan Tribe’s Lynn Malerba and law enforcement and anti-terrorism consultant Michael Fagan will also be appearing before the 71 member Committee, but noticeable by their absence are representatives for the United States Treasury and for the Federal Reserve. This is likely to evoke criticism, as at the last hearing on the bill in December, Republican opponents of the proposal called for officials from these government departments to be present at a follow-up hearing.

 

HR2267 has so far attracted 69 co-sponsors, but timelines for a vote are shrinking as Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the year on October 8th, with a recess planned between August 9th and September 10th. Politicians will also be distracted by the mid-term elections, which take place in November.

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Little that is new surfaces in House Financial Services Committee statements.

 

Wednesday's House Financial Services Committee hearing on Congressman Barney Frank's HR2267 Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act produced valid points in favour of legalising online gambling in the United States, but little in the way of new opinions not already aired in previous such gatherings.

 

Committee members heard testimony from representatives of the financial services, tribal and poker communities who spoke in support of regulating Internet gambling, and dyed-in-the-wool opponents like Republican Representative Spencer Bachus warned against addiction and the corruption of youth.

 

Ed Williams, a director of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) spoke of the challenges faced by financial services companies who are forced to comply with burdensome and imprecise rules in an attempt to prevent unlawful Internet gambling transactions. Williams testified that H.R. 2267 would promote "…regulatory simplicity while assisting financial institutions compliance with UIGEA."

 

Lynn Malerba, tribal chairwoman of the Mohegan Tribe discussed the role tribes engaged in the gaming industry play in Internet gaming and praised chairman Frank for the great respect he has shown "…for tribal sovereignty by actively seeking the input of tribes" to ensure their fair treatment under the legislation.

 

Professional poker player Annie Duke testified about the consumer safeguards and revenue potential under H.R. 2267, maintaining that American poker players "…want to play on sites licensed in the United States, which will provide for even greater consumer protections for the player and yield badly-needed tax revenue for state and federal governments."

 

Duke represented the views of the million-plus membership of the Poker Players Alliance, and noted that 70 million Americans play poker, saying: "This Committee and this Congress should not tolerate laws that seek to prevent responsible adults from playing a game we find stimulating, challenging and entertaining.

 

"HR 2267 provides this freedom in a safe and regulated environment and I urge everyone on this Committee to support this common sense policy. However you might feel about gambling on the Internet, I would suggest that gambling with freedom is far more risky," she said.

 

PPA executive director John Pappas said: "The testimony we heard today underscores the challenges faced by the Federal government due to the unclear definition of what now constitutes unlawful Internet gambling, and the glaring lack of protections for consumers.

 

"Frankly, our opponents can't offer a consistent argument on this issue. Former U.S. Attorney Michael Fagan wants to go as far as banning Internet gambling outright, and Tom Malkasian of Commerce Casino supports licensing and regulation - just not in a competitive marketplace. It seems that our opponents don't even agree with each other here," he added.

 

Perhaps the main purpose for the hearing was to re-engage the interest of law makers prior to a move to vote (see following story on a possible mark-up of HR2267 in preparation for a vote).

 

Internet gambling regulation has been the subject of several previous congressional hearings. Most recently, in May 2010, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing to discuss the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2010 (H.R. 4976), a companion piece of legislation to the Frank bill introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott that would ensure the collection of license fees and taxes on regulated Internet gambling activities.

 

According to a tax revenue analysis conducted by the Joint Committee on Taxation, regulated Internet gambling is expected to generate nearly $42 billion in revenue for the federal government over its first 10 years. Estimates suggest that it would also generate as much as $30 billion in new revenues to the states.

 

Chairman Frank's legislation reinforces the rights of each state to determine whether or not to allow Internet gambling activity for people accessing the Internet within the state and to apply other restrictions on the activity as determined necessary.

 

Since its introduction in May 2009, a bi-partisan group of 69 co-sponsors has signed onto the legislation. A recent analysis by H2 Gambling Capital predicts that Internet gambling regulation would create up to 32,000 jobs over its first five years.

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July 27 date scheduled

 

The House Financial Services Committee announced late Thursday that HR 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, will be marked-up on Tuesday, July 27th.

 

The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative (SSIGI)'s spokesman Michael Waxman commented: “Chairman Frank is clearly moving to get his bill advanced before Congress leaves town for their summer recess. Most importantly, the markup shows a commitment by chairman Frank to move forward and his colleagues to address this issue.”

 

Tuesday will be a busy day for the Committee; besides HR2267 there are five other bills on the agenda for discussion, including HR 5814 (Public Housing Reinvestment and Tenant Protection Act), HR 4868 (Housing Preservation and Tenant Protection Act), HR 3421 (Medical Debt Relief Act), HR 4790 (Shareholder Protection Act), and HR 5823 (United States Covered Bond Act).

 

This is the first set of mark-ups to be placed on the Committee’s agenda since May.

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Heavy agenda and long lunch delay HR 2267 vote

 

Industry observers expecting a vote on the mark-up of Barney Frank's proposal to legalise US online gambling Tuesday (see previous InfoPowa reports) were disappointed to learn that a heavy business agenda and lunch break delays curtailed the House Financial Services Committee deliberations before HR2267 was reached.

 

However, the bill is first up for debate Wednesday July 28 when the Committee reconvenes.

 

HR 2267 - the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act - is the third of seven bills before the Committee and has been submitted for mark up following a second Congressional hearing last week (see previous InfoPowa report).

 

Observers expect the mark up debate to centre on precautions against underage and problem gambling and the exclusion of organised crime; states' jealously guarded rights and the manner in which licenses will be handled.

 

Much of Tuesday's Committee activity was taken up by just two other bills that preceded HR2267 on the agenda, and the slow progress was then reportedly exacerbated by the members of the committee taking a three hour lunch break before returning to complete deliberations on HR 4868 the Housing Preservation and Tenant Protection Act of 2010, which was allowed to progress further.

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It's amazing how long this thing is getting dragged on.  I'll still be following this news, though.

 

They are certainly dragging it out. 

 

blue

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HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVE BARNEYS BILL

 

There's still a long road ahead, but the first hurdle has been cleared

 

Wednesday's delayed vote on Barney Frank's HR2267 bill seeking to legalise online gambling in the United States proved to be worth the wait, with members of the House Financial Services Committee voting it forward by 41 to 22 in a bipartisan approach. The vote was taken after a number of amendments were accepted.

 

“My primary goal is Americans ought to be free to do what they wish without this kind of intrusion,” said Frank, referring to the UIGEA which was implemented on June 1 2010 to disrupt financial transactions with online gambling companies. “The intrusive regulation is a problem for the financial institutions," he added.

 

A separate measure authored by Rep. Jim McDermott that depends on the full House approval of Frank’s plan would impose taxes on online poker and other Internet gambling, bringing the federal government as much as $42 billion over 10 years, according to an independent congressional analysis.

 

McDermott’s proposal would require Internet gambling operators to pay a 2 percent tax to the federal government on betting deposits and a 6 percent tax to states. The federal treasury also would collect taxes on gaming-company profits, and bettors would pay taxes on winnings.

 

Opponents of HR2267 included - as usual - Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama, the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, who claimed that legalising online gambling would harm society and that Congress has more pressing issues to tackle.

 

In a rather exaggerated statement that takes little cognisance of extensive measures against underage and problem gambling, Bachus alleged: “With this bill, in one broad stroke, we will allow every child in America to gamble on their home computer or in their dorm room.”

 

Before passing the bill, the committee insisted on amendments that prohibit operators that have violated U.S. laws from getting licenses (suggested by Rep. Bachus); a statistical record proposal; and one to ensure that online betting on sports such as football isn’t allowed.

 

The panel also approved amendments to help prevent minors from gambling online and prohibit marketing that targets youth.

 

Using credit cards to bet will not be allowed, although debit cards are acceptable.

 

Another addition was a provision that those behind on child support payments will be blocked from regulated online gambling sites by the operators.

 

At one point the sensitive issue of tribal gambling interests was raised, with Rep. Gary Peters of Michigan suggesting an amendment to exempt state and tribal lotteries from having to be licensed by the Federal government. This was passed on the grounds that these entities are already licensed by individual states.

 

One California Democrat, Brad Sherman, said: “I have opposed this bill for years, but I am slowly changing. The best reason for this bill is the prospect for revenue.”

 

HR2267 had already attracted some 69 bi-partisan co-sponsors prior to Wednesday's vote.

 

John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, a pressure group with over a million US members, said that the bipartisan nature of Wednesday's vote adds momentum to the legislation. The focus now shifts to the legislation to tax the betting, which is before the House Ways and Means Committee, he said.

 

Pappas noted that in addition to Frank's wider proposal in the House of Representatives, a bill focusing on internet poker had been launched by Senator Robert Menendez in the Senate, and this could be useful should the Senate find Frank's bill too broad to accept. 

 

Bloombergs business news service reports that the U.S. Internet gambling market is expected to climb to $5.7 billion in 2010 from $5.4 billion last year, according to U.K.-based H2 Gambling Capital. If the U.S. legalises online gambling, the market could grow to $24 billion in five years, according to H2. That excludes most sports betting, which wouldn’t be allowed under Frank's proposals to the House.

 

The global market now is about $30 billion, H2 estimates.

 

The passage out of committee of HR 2267 has already excited wide mainstream media coverage, especially the amendment that seeks to prohibit the issue of US licenses to offshore companies that continued to operate in the United States after the passage of the UIGEA in 2006.

 

Industry observers and analysts point specifically to very large online poker entities like Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars as possible victims of this clause. Many large groups exited the US market in the wake of UIGEA, and others have negotiated their positions with the US Justice Department.

 

HR2267 places heavy emphasis on operator measures to prevent underage, problem or criminally influenced gambling, along with assurances that the autonomy of individual states will be respected and internet betting in states that prohibit it will be blocked.

 

The chairman of the PPA, former Senator Alphonse D'Amato said in a statement after the Frank Bill was approved: “The fact is, online poker is not going away. Congress has a choice – it can license and regulate it to provide government oversight and consumer protections, or our lawmakers can stick their heads in the sand, ignore it, and leave consumers to play on non-U.S. regulated websites in all 50 states.

 

“I’m glad the Financial Services Committee today overwhelmingly chose to act and protect Americans as well as preserve the fundamental freedoms of adults and the Internet. This is a great day not only for poker players, but for proponents of Internet freedom and individual liberty.

 

“We thank Chairman Frank for his leadership on this bill, and look forward to working with him to bring this bill through the legislative process.”

 

Key provisions of HR 2267 include:

 

* Thorough vetting of potential licensees and the creation of an OFAC-style list of illegal operators;

 

* Mandatory implementation of technologies to protect against underage gambling using the commercial and government databases used for online banking to verify age and identity

 

* Requirements for operators to set daily, weekly or monthly limits on deposits and losses to monitor and detect individuals with excessive gaming habits;

 

* High standards to thwart fraud, abuse and cheating to ensure fair games for customers;

 

* Regulation to prevent money laundering; and,

 

* Processes to prevent tax avoidance.

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Thank you bingocrazy  - I was wondering when someone would "get" how big this last story was.

 

blue

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Definately a step forward!!!Thanks for keeping us up to date on all the latest info!!Maybe I'll go in search of my poker chips that I stashed away and invite some friends over to play.I need to refresh my poker skills!!! :P :P

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Online gambling group has a solution for US market entry

 

Speaking to journalists in a post-financial results conference Friday, Party Gaming CEO Jim Ryan addressed the question of obstacles to his company's re-entry to the US market, assuming that market is legalised.

 

The main hurdle - a multi-million dollar settlement with the US Department of Justice over pre-UIGEA activity - has already been overcome but the status of founders and significant shareholders Russ De Leon and Ruth Parasol has been raised in the wake of the merger agreement between Party Gaming and Bwin last week.

 

The husband and wife team that founded Party Gaming with IT whiz Dikshit Anurag has not followed in Anurag's footsteps in admitting guilt and paying a large fine for alleged US illegal activity.

 

Ryan pointed out that the company has reached agreement with the duo in the event that their stance presents a problem to the company in regard to re-entering the United States market. He noted that the merger agreement with Bwin had included a provision that if a shareholder presented a problem regarding a licensing application, the company could require that shareholder to liquidate their equity in the company.

 

“There have always been questions about Party Gaming and our position in this regard," said Ryan. "But we have now closed the loop and I think we are very well positioned."

 

Ryan went on to sound an optimistic note on the future of the online US gambling market, noting that legislative moves were looking promising, and pointing to the advantages that a legalised market could bring to US tax coffers, land-based gambling groups, the players themselves and online gambling groups that were able to meet the regulatory requirements that will be imposed if the market is legalised.

 

He noted catalysts for change in the US such as the efforts of Harrah's and GTech, whose pursuit of the possibility of a legalised market has spurred other land entities to explore possible routes to online action and partnerships that could prove useful. He also observed that Party Gaming's acquisition of the World Poker Tour has led to negotiations with a significant number of US land corporates on running WPT events, opening doors for wider discussions on US market opportunities.

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Nevada reps support HR2267

 

But which way will Harry Reid jump?

 

The Reno Gazette-Journal commented over the weekend on federal attempts to legalise online gambling in the United States, noting that three Nevada representatives in the House of Assembly support Congressman Barney Frank's HR2267...but that the support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be critical.

 

That support may not be immediately forthcoming; the crafty leader of the Democrat majority has thus far not committed himself either for or against the proposal.

 

Describing his involvement as pivotal, Democrat and Nevada Representative Shelley Berkley told the newspaper: "He will be the decider when it comes to Internet gaming."

 

Frank's HR2267 passed out of the House Financial Services Committee last week on a 41 - 22 vote of approval and has 70 co-sponsors in the House - the strongest showing yet in attempts to legalise the pastime in America.

 

Independent assessments have shown that a legalised online industry could be safer for American players, create employment opportunities and generate $42 billion in tax revenues over the next decade.

 

The Reno Gazette-Journal notes that most Nevada land casino operators have historically opposed online gambling as a possible competitive threat to their businesses, although in recent years the American Gaming Association has adopted a neutral position. However, the newspaper points out, HR2267 may clear a path for Nevada gambling companies to profit from digital gaming because they did not violate attempts to kill off internet gambling through the 2006 UIGEA, which bans financial transactions with online gambling companies.

 

Major potential competitors already occupying the online space that have persisted in offering internet gambling to Americans since 2006 may be precluded from obtaining US licenses if HR2267 is successful, the publication notes.

 

One example of a US company that could benefit is Harrah's Entertainment, whose interactive division owns the World Series of Poker, already has online ventures operating elsewhere, and backs the bill.

 

Congressman Reid voted for the UIGEA in 2006, but Berkley opined he may vote for legalisation.

 

"I think his position has softened dramatically, but he's going to need to be convinced," she said. "I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I know he's been moving to a positive position."

 

Berkley and fellow Democrat Representative Dina Titus are both among the co-sponsors of the Frank bill.

 

Republican Nevada Representative Dean Heller appears in favour of a legalised industry, writing in a statement last week: "Current law banning Internet gaming is unworkable and needs to be addressed. However, a lot of questions remain on how to appropriately legalise Internet gaming. The passage of this bill is a positive first step in moving the debate forward, but more work needs to be done to fully resolve this issue."

 

Dennis Neilander, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board said that Nevada laws are already in place to regulate online gaming, and noted that if the federal government gives states the green light, the board will have to ensure online casinos can effectively exclude minors.

 

"We would have to see from a technology point of view that it could be done in such a way that would prevent minors from taking part and that you would have to be able to block people from wagering from jurisdictions that make it illegal," he said.

 

Another question is how to tax and regulate online gaming. Nevada lawmakers and gaming officials are adamant about keeping the oversight and taxation of gaming under the supervision of individual states.

 

"Gaming has always been something the states can decide if they want at all, and if they want it, how much they will tax it," Neilander said. He added that the nature of the Internet means Congress will need to be involved in some limited way.

 

"This is sort of a unique animal," Neilander said. "The Internet is such a mechanism for interstate commerce that I'm sure there will have to be some federal regulation."

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Ok so in a nutshell..when can we basically start signing up for new microgaming accounts lol?

 

Really though..when or when is it predicted?

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Fingers,toes and every other body part I can cross are crossed. ;D Damn now I got a charliehorse!!!  :o ;D Thanks blue for keeping us informed! :-*

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