Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

From time to time we have tried to keep you up-to-date on the status of online gambling in the U.S.  We imagined it would be an ongoing update with states falling in line to follow Nevada’s lead, but boy were we wrong!

In fact, since 2013 only New Jersey and Delaware have followed Nevada’s lead to legalize and regulate online poker, despite the millions of dollars generated in each state.

FINALLY, there is an update! As of October 30, Pennsylvania became the fourth state to legalize i-gaming, which includes i-poker. In a new white paper, “ Analysis: Pennsylvania Moves to Regulate Online Gambling,” several key points regarding the regulations as well as the revenue potential for the state are described.

For example, Pennsylvania will have a unique licensing structure, dividing licenses into three categories of Interactive Gaming Certificates (IGCs) – poker, table games, and slots. Licenses can be in only one or in all three categories, but buying an IGC will cost a hefty $4 million.

Also, Pennsylvania has some of the highest taxes on land-based casinos in the world and the same will apply to online gambling, with a 42% blended tax rate for the three online gambling options . . . more than twice the tax rate in New Jersey.

That means that New Jersey can afford to spend more than twice what Pennsylvania can on critical items like advertising and promotion. This explains why the online gambling market in New Jersey has been so successful, generating over $100 million in tax revenue in 2017.

On the positive side, the Pennsylvania bill is designed to facilitate a quick to market approach, taking advantage of the four years of experience and templates available to them from New Jersey and Nevada. The bill is also designed to make it easy for the state to share the online poker player pools already established by the other three states.

It will be fascinating to see how it goes in Pennsylvania. Just counting the projected upfront licensing fees, the state should see approximately $120 million injected into their state budget.

As Greg Raymer, Board member of the Poker Players Alliance states, “Every state has a chance, and the best way to get online poker in your state is to let your representatives know you want it, and that their decision on this issue makes a difference when it’s time for you to vote.”

In the meantime, we’re predicting that New York will become the fifth state to legalize online gambling. Which state do you think will be next?

Send me your comments or thoughts!

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

We’ve written about how generous many poker players are about donating a portion of their earnings to various charities before, but there are some that have a passion for a special cause and create a tournament dedicated to raising money for it. For example, there’s poker super star Vanessa Selbst, who is hosting her “Justice Is Blinds” (see what they did there?) event for the third year in a row, on September 26, in New York City. Tickets are $1,500 to enter and $2,000 for VIP access.

Selbst loves the idea of helping her home town’s most socioeconomically challenged populations by raising money for the Urban Justice Center (UJC) a non-profit that provides legal services to thousands of NY residents, including survivors of domestic violence, international refugees, veterans, the homeless, and more. A huge advocate in the fight for a just and equal society, Selbst feels that she can best support the UJC by hosting this extremely popular annual tournament.

As she said, “There’s actually a great community of poker players [in the city] who don’t get to play very often because poker isn’t legal here, but charity poker is. There are a lot of people who come out just for charity events.”

And a lot of celebrities and poker stars show up, too, which helps make this one of poker’s premier charity events. This year they are expecting Erik Seidel, Andy Frankenberger and Jonathan Little, not to mention co-hosts Daniel Negreanu and Olivier Busquet.

“Justice is Blinds has been a tremendous success the last two years,” said Gretchen Wagner Nealon, director of development at the UJC. “Vanessa knows how to throw a poker tournament! We have heard many people at the tournaments say it’s the best poker tournament they have ever been to. We raised over $180K last year and hope to surpass that this year.”

Top prize will be a $15,000 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure package. Players can also win other tantalizing prizes. The best prize, of course, is helping a worthy cause.

Send me your thoughts and comments

Lynn "Queen of Hearts" ParisLynn “Queen of Hearts” Paris

It has never failed to amaze me that more states, in fact all states, don’t want to take advantage of the huge amount of extra revenue generated by online gambling, especially poker. I would have thought by now we’d catch up to the rest of the world, yet more than three years have gone by with only Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware successfully passing legislation, and reaping the benefits, of making online poker legal.

Online PokerAfter more than three years, why does there suddenly seem to be more action in more states to get similar legislation passed? There’s California, of course, which has tried and failed on several occasions to get internet poker legalized. Until they can get the politicians, card rooms, horse racing crowd and the Indian tribes that currently have the monopoly on gambling to come together and make it happen, the latest bill from online gambling advocate, Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, will probably die on the vine. That sure leaves a whole lot of money on the table that the union’s largest state could definitely make use of.

New York has managed to get two bills to the committee stage, which, if combined into one actionable and acceptable-to-all bill, might just have a chance of being signed by Governor Cuomo. Pennsylvania is also eager to have online casino gambling, but still needs to pass the necessary regulations. Their HB 392 would authorize full online casino gaming but also would open daily fantasy sports in the state; it has lots of support but hasn’t passed anything yet.

A couple of new-to-the-game states have also shown a lot of interest recently. Michigan has a bill, SB 203, to legalize online poker that’s also open to including other forms of online gambling activity. The voters of Michigan seem to be behind its passage, but there are still a bunch of hurdles to go through. And finally, a bill in Hawaii, SB 677, has been introduced to open “internet gaming” in the state, Interesting because Hawaii actually has laws on the books preventing live gambling.

As some might imagine, the desire on the part of these states and perhaps others to get legislation passed quickly has grown considerably since the current administration took office. While no one can predict what the president thinks about online poker (he seemed to be for it five years ago, but we all know that means nothing today), we CAN predict where the new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, stands on the subject. During his confirmation hearings he was asked directly what his thoughts were on the legality of online gaming by famously anti-gaming Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been among those who would love to re-institute the Federal Wire Act of 1961 (passed to deal with racketeering). Sessions testified that he already thought it wasn’t legal for online gambling to be conducted and would look into it further once he was heading the Department of Justice. Don’t you just love these states’ rights republicans?

Keep in mind that in 2011, it was the Department of Justice that announced its belief that the 1961 Wire Act applied only to sports betting, thereby opening the door for states to legalize intrastate non-sport online gambling, such as lottery ticket sales and Internet poker.

Bottom line is that we really have no idea which way this will go, considering the extreme views of certain leading republicans who continue to want to restore the federal Wire Act. Should that happen, states would be unable to circumvent federal law to pass their own internet gambling laws. Although that seems highly unlikely, the uncertainty about it has hastened the efforts of at least a few more states to pass a bill, under the assumption that they would be grandfathered if they had already legalized online poker.

We’ll keep you updated as things progress.

Send us your thoughts!

T-LiciousBy: T-Licious

Continuing our discussion of the public’s attitude towards poker, and how the tide overall appears to be turning from traditionally strong opposition to broad acceptance, we focus on one American-born institution that cannot seem to face its fear of poker: baseball.

As a sociology major in college I remember learning the concept of a ‘social fact’ as originally defined by Emile Durkheim, the father of sociology.  There may be perceptions about a social group or community, but the way you know if they really exist…if they are indeed social facts…is if you cross that invisible boundary causing a reaction.  For example, Don Imus learned a social fact of American racial boundaries when advertisers pulled the plug on his show after he called Rutgers female basketball players, all African American, nappy headed ho’s.

A-Rod from Radar Online

A-Rod – Radar Online

Major league baseball appears to have a strong social fact related to gambling which extends to poker.  We all know that people bet on sports.  We also know that there have always been big heavyweight betters with ties to organized crime whose wagering can have an influence on the outcome of the game itself.  The 1919 “Black Sox Scandal” involving the fixing of the World Series led to the creation of the first commissioner of baseball. And then we have Pete Rose’s betting on baseball scandal of the late 80s where he broke baseball’s rule 21 whereby anyone associated with on-field play (players, coaches, umpires, etc.) is prohibited from betting on baseball games.  These events and their backlashes are understandable.  However, in 2011 we heard stories reported in the tabloids about Yankee’s franchise player Alex Rodriguez being involved in a home poker game held by a record producer.  The Commissioner’s office said that A-Rod could face a suspension if it was proven he had been at the games.

To me this is way different than betting on baseball where he has a chance to affect the outcome of the game.  He was playing in a high stakes game with poker pros, Hollywood stars, and big money executives.  I wouldn’t expect him to play in a local $20 buy-in game…what would be the point?  Why is baseball putting all gambling off limits?  The way the stories read in ESPN, New York papers and magazines, etc., was as if playing high stakes was the alleged violation…as if A-Rod would feel the sting of a $10,000 bet on his 10-year contract worth $275 million.  The story also mentioned that drugs were used by a few people hanging out (not A-Rod).  Welcome to Hollywood my friends.  It’s not Disneyland.  Finally someone attempted to explain that where there is poker there are people who are likely to bet on sports.  Again, no surprise here.  You will also find people who bet on sports may also smoke, drink, and stay out past ten on weeknights.

Does Major League Baseball have the right to restrict its players from anything a sports better might be involved in?  The sad thing is I did not see anyone jump to A-Rod’s defense.  So the end result is baseball is not helping poker’s image even though poker seems to have gained widespread public acceptance over the past 10 years.  Perhaps baseball’s top brass should sit back, relax in a comfy chair at a nice poker table, and take in a friendly poker game the next time one of their friends hosts at their baseball-themed man cave.  Maybe they will see that players deserve to do the same without fear of a lifetime suspension hanging over their heads.

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