California poker bill threatens player felonies

California poker bill threatens player felonies

California’s new online poker bill has received the blessing of the usual suspects, while those who have traditionally stood opposed have yet to indicate any willingness to retreat from their line in the sand.

On Friday, Assemblymen Adam Gray and Reggie Jones-Sawyer filed a draft of AB 2863, the state’s latest attempt to authorize legal online poker play. The bill is largely similar to a revised draft of Gray’s AB 431 bill that was filed last month, although some of that draft’s fiscal specifics have been expunged.

The revised AB 431 specified a tax rate of 15% of gross gambling revenue and initial license fees of $15m, which would serve as a deposit from which monthly tax revenue would be deducted. Both these figures have been removed from AB 2863, likely due to pushback from stakeholders, who insisted that AB 431’s economics didn’t leave room for profits.

The most significant new detail of the revised AB 431’s has remained, i.e. the promise to funnel up to $60m per year of the state’s share of online poker revenue to state racetracks, on the condition that the tracks give up the right to join tribal casinos and state cardrooms in offering online poker.

It remains to be seen whether racing will accept this bribe. For one thing, there’s no guarantee that the tracks will receive anywhere close to $60m per year. The number is simply a cap on the sum the tracks could receive from a combination of state revenue and license fees, and that number will be hard to reach once the number of operator licenses reaches critical mass and those initial deposits dry up.

Like AB 431, there is no ‘bad actor’ clause in AB 2863, which leaves the suitability of online poker service providers a matter for regulators to determine. This may not sit well with the coalition of tribes led by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, which continues to insist that companies like Amaya Gaming’s PokerStars have no business diving into the state’s online poker pool.

The tribes that have struck an online partnership with PokerStars have already gone on record as supporting AB 2863. On Monday, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) – which includes the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians – issued a statement saying AB 2863 met CNIGA’s principles of how online poker should be regulated.

Other tribes, such as the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, which has partnered with Caesars Entertainment for online poker, have also voiced support for AB 2863. But until there’s full tribal unity on the online poker issue, winning the required approval of two-thirds of legislators in both the Assembly and Senate will likely continue to elude supporters.

One new wrinkle in AB 2863 may prove troubling for poker players. Assuming the bill becomes the law of the land, international sites not holding a California license could face felony charges for offering services to state residents. Moreover, players who patronize such sites would face their own felony charges. Land of the free, huh?

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NBA Betting — Warriors Laying Points as They Visit Hawks

NBA Betting -- Warriors Laying Points as They Visit Hawks

Last season there were only two teams to win 60 games in the NBA regular season, and they will be clashing on Monday night. What those teams actually did with their 60 wins was somewhat different. The Atlanta Hawks made it into the Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but got stopped. The Golden State Warriors took things all the way to an NBA title, and appear to have gotten even better this season, to the extent that they may wind up with the best regular season mark in NBA annals. These clubs tip it off at 8:05 PM ET at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, and BetAnySports customers have an opportunity to place wagers even after things get underway, using the facilities provided by Live Betting Extra.

Golden State currently stands at 49-5 straight-up and 30-22-2 against the basketball pointspread. This puts them 3.5 games ahead of another scorching team, the San Antonio Spurs, in the Western Conference pecking order. Atlanta is fighting for playoff position in the East, with a 31-26 mark (27-29-1 ATS), which is good for sixth place. But thy are just two games behind the third-place Boston Celtics, and at the same time just 3.5 games ahead of ninth-place Detroit. That’s how tight it is.

The Warriors were walloped 137-105 by the Portland Trail Blazers in their first game coming out of the All-Star break, but came back with a 115-112 win over the L.A. Clippers two nights ago. Still, they have dropped four straight games against the number.

In the NBA betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Warriors are laying some points on the road:

Golden State Warriors -6 Atlanta Hawks +6

Over 225.5 points -110 Under 225.5 points -110

One of the things that would give us a little confidence about Golden State here is that they have gone 18-11 ATS on the road. The Hawks have lost four of their last five games, both straight-up and against the spread. This came after a three-game winning streak in which they shot a collective 52% from the field.

When the Warriors visited the Phillips Arena last season, Atlanta was able to turn the eventual champs back by a 124-116 score. In that game, Golden State had 26 more shot attempts and hit almost 46% from the floor. But Atlanta got the calls, holding a massive 37-15 advantage in free throw attempts, not to mention a blistering 15 for 27 from beyond the arc.

But circumstances have changed somewhat for the Hawks since then, as BetAnySports patrons know. This was a team that was rumored to be sending away three players who were in last year’s All-Star Game (Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver) for various reasons. But they isn’t really make any earth-shattering moves. Not that this necessarily solidifies them, but the Hawks have a better shot to get through the East with a minimum of upheaval.

Golden State, which shoots almost 49% overall, made a minor transaction for purposes of getting a role player. Anderson Varejao, who had been dealt by Cleveland, then cut by Portland, wound up available, and the Warriors can certainly use some of his rebounding and defense coming off the bench, so long as he’s healthy.

Teague may not be healthy. The Atlanta point guard logged only 17 minutes this past Saturday because of an injured wrist, but e is probable for this game. Under normal circumstances, these are two of the NBA’s best teams at getting the ball around, as they are 1-2 in assists.

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Atlantic City backers decry northern New Jersey casino expansion plan

Atlantic City backers decry northern New Jersey casino expansion plan

leas from Atlantic City business, political and community leaders that allowing casinos in northern New Jersey would devastate the already struggling seaside gambling resort failed Monday to stop New Jersey lawmakers from moving forward with plans for a statewide vote on the issue.

A state Senate committee held a public hearing on the referendum plan, which would ask voters whether to approve two casinos in separate counties at least 72 miles from Atlantic City. It does not specify where they would be built, but the two leading candidates are the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, where the NFL’s New York Jets and Giants play, and in Jersey City, where footwear magnate Paul Fireman has proposed a casino resort costing up to $5 billion.

Northern New Jersey casinos also would draw customers away from Sands Bethlehem Resort Casino by offering a place for residents of the region to play much closer to their homes.

Sen. James Whelan, the Democratic former mayor of Atlantic City, echoed the findings of an Associated Press assessment of the northern New Jersey casino proposals that found that they would be spectacularly successful for a while, but could be hurt within a short period of time if New York state allows a casino in Manhattan or elsewhere in New York City.

“We’re not going to have casinos in North Jersey [enjoying] a 20- to 25-year monopoly,” he said. “It will be [only] a matter of years before New York City has casinos in Manhattan or in the Bronx. What Atlantic City is experiencing now, North Jersey will experience at that time.”

Whelan said the North Jersey casinos could have the market to themselves for as little as two or three years before facing competition from New York.

Joe Kelly, president of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, predicted two more of Atlantic City’s eight casinos will close when faced with in-state competition, putting 14,000 more people out of work. He also said the millions of dollars in tax revenue from the new casinos that would go to Atlantic City remain too vague to count on at this point.

“We don’t know what kind of revenue will be returned to Atlantic City, we don’t know who it will be returned to or how it will work,” he said.

Sen. Paul Sarlo, a Bergen County Democrat, said the money would not go to Atlantic City or Atlantic County governments. It would, he said, go to a yet-to-be created private entity that would invest it in Atlantic City’s redevelopment.

He envisions “some type of not-for-profit, private board which will be able to make wise investments in Atlantic City and work with residents for job creation and take it out of the hands of those who frankly haven’t done a good job over the years.”

A second public hearing is scheduled for March 7 in the state Assembly. After that, the bill will be voted on in both houses of the Legislature.

If it is approved by a three-fifths majority in both houses, the ballot question will automatically go before voters in the November election.

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Trump and Clinton are the best Presidential candidates for gambling

Trump and Clinton are the best Presidential candidates for gambling

Now that we’re down to five real candidates who can win the U.S. Presidential election the question emerges as to which is the best for gambling interests in the United States, both for bettors and those involved in the industry. This is always a difficult question because no politician generally talks about gambling in their platforms. Aside from Wayne Allen Root, who said he would legalize all gambling if elected as president from the Libertarian Party in 2008, and Ron Paul, who said he would legalize gambling since his Libertarian viewpoints dictate that adults should be able to spend money as they like, no candidate in recent memory has outright said they would ease barriers to gambling if made president.

There’s no question that the two best candidates for gambling have already dropped out. Chris Christie signed a bill to make online gambling legal in New Jersey and he went to bat to make sports betting legal in the state. He did at times go against the gambling proponents in the New Jersey legislature but when push came to shove he did indeed do what was the best interest of the state and there is little question he would have done the same for the country. Rand Paul, like his father, has a strong libertarian belief system and while he may not be a gambler himself, he also made it clear that he was not prepared to block adults from betting, if that’s what they wanted to do with their own dollars. Without question Jeb Bush would have been the worst candidate for the gambling sector given his actions against gambling as Florida governor, not to mention his strong connection to his brother, who is mostly to blame for the hardline actions against online gambling interests and the passing of the UIGEA. But now that Bush has dropped out that fear has disappeared.

So of the five Presidential candidates left who is the best and who is the worst?

Worst – Marco Rubio:

Marco Rubio would almost certainly be the worst candidate for gambling in the United States. Not only did Rubio, along with Lindsay Graham sponsor RAWA, Sheldon Adelson’s bill to overturn the 2011 DoJ opinion that said the Wire Act only applies to sports betting, but he also has very firm ties to the Republican establishment who condemn the activity. The majority of fundamental Republicans oppose gambling (at least gambling not run by Sheldon Adelson) and they have no qualms telling Americans so. Rubio is a very close friend of Sheldon Adelson and will no doubt take his marching orders from him along with other Republican purists. There is also a concern from gambling interests that if Rubio does win and Obama is unable to appoint a successor to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia then one of the criteria Rubio will ensure before electing a new judge is that the new chief justice opposes any form of federal gambling expansion and will put a limit on the rights of states to legalize the activity. But more than anything the fact that Rubio sponsored RAWA is reason enough for gambling proponents to oppose him vigorously in this election

2nd Worst – Ted Cruz

Cruz is a strong proponent of state’s rights which is good for any state that wants to introduce gambling to help bolster state coffers but he is also an evangelical Christian and almost by definition evangelical Christians oppose gambling, along with any activity they deem to be addictive. There’s no question that if Cruz is elected it will be mostly because of the evangelical vote and he will have to answer to the churches and special interests that helped elect him President. Cruz’s list of supporters according to his website include James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, Phil Burress, the president of Citizens for Community Values Action, Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of The Family Leader and a whole slew of evangelicals who have stated their opposition to gambling expansion. In fact as many will recall when the UIGEA was passed and there was a delay in the implementation of the regulations for the law, James Dobson released a scathing attack on George W. Bush for not implementing them fast enough. Dobson also joined forces with the NFL to oppose any suggestions at legalizing sports betting. Cruz has never talked about gambling itself and has been far more focused on issues like abortion and same sex marriage, but with the friends he is beholden to and his strong evangelical background it’s almost certain that aside from Las Vegas Sands casinos, Cruz will not endorse any new gambling in the United States. Cruz’s proposed support of a value added tax can also be seen as bad for the gambling industry.

3rd best . . . or worst – Bernie Sanders

Of all the U. S. Presidential candidates Sanders is the most difficult to figure out. Sanders did vote to pass the UIGEA, as did Hillary Clinton, but those votes can be ignored. The UIGEA was attached to the Safe Port Act and there was no way of voting on the two bills independently. The Safe Port Act was seen by both parties as a necessary step to protecting the borders and to oppose it would have been political suicide. In fact only Barney Frank was willing to oppose the bill solely because of the UIGEA’s attachment . . . but he also wasn’t standing for re-election. There was no vote or discussion on the UIGEA so Sanders’ so called support can be ignored. One thing for certain is that Sanders will raise taxes big time and he’ll be looking at any new revenue sources which of course includes gambling. Sanders has also stated that he opposes special interest groups which means that the NFL lobby, Sheldon Adelson and groups like Focus on The Family will get nowhere with him as president. So Sanders will probably be good for gambling interests but because he hasn’t even looked at it remotely in his campaign, this is really just a guess. One thing for certain is that Sanders will be far better for gambling interests than Rubio or Cruz.

2nd best – Hillary Clinton

Like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton is a wild card when it comes to how she’ll support gambling interests if elected President of the United States. She has never made any public statements on the issue but a close friend strongly involved in the gambling industry told me that he met with Clinton on a few occasions prior to the 2008 election and she indicated she had no strong objections to gambling. In fact she subtly indicated to him that she would be friends with those in the gambling industry. That obviously doesn’t mean she will pass laws to help gambling interests but rather she wouldn’t throw up any roadblocks like Rubio and Cruz probably would. Clinton’s voting patterns on other “morals” issues also suggest that if she is presented a bill to support online gambling and it would be of benefit to the country, she would simply sign it. More importantly, Clinton is a Democrat and the majority of actions against gambling interests were initiated by Republicans.

Some will likely point to the arrests of offshore operators including Jay Cohen in 1998 which were initiated by Attorney General Janet Reno under Bill Clinton when she stated “you can’t hide online and you can’t hide offshore,” to refute that argument, however, many in the gambling industry at the time noted that the action may have actually prevented an earlier adoption of the UIGEA. Bill Frist had made it his mission to stop online gambling with his “click the mouse, lose the house,” line and the arrests were an attempt to appease the Republicans in Congress to allow more discussion on the topic as it was fairly clear the Republicans were gaining momentum heading into the 2000 elections. More importantly, the 2011 opinion of the DoJ stating the Wire Act applied to sports betting only and the easing of restrictions to allow states to offer online gambling as they like is proof that the Democrats have grown less confrontational with the gambling industry while the same can’t be said for the GOP. Given the choice of Clinton, Rubio or Cruz almost everyone aside from Sheldon Adelson in the gambling industry would most likely choose Clinton. And while Sanders may actually be better than or as good as Clinton for the gambling industry, one must be realistic and it is almost certain Clinton will be the Democratic nominee.

Best Presidential candidate for gambling interests – Donald Trump

It’s hard to believe that any Republican would be better for the gambling industry than a Democrat but Trump isn’t any Republican. As Trump has shown he really doesn’t care what the Republican establishment thinks, he doesn’t care what foreign leaders think, he tells it like he sees it and he’ll probably do the same as President. Trump recently took on the Pope for his comments about building a wall with Mexico so he won’t have a problem taking on Dobson or any other evangelical leaders who try to sway him against gambling. Trump is actually a fiscal conservative and not a neo-conservative and he will agree to any action that he believes will help the country economically, as long as it doesn’t compromise its safety. No doubt many in the Republican party will restate their concerns about money laundering with respect to online gambling and will say it can be used for terrorist financing which is why it must be opposed. But, having owned casinos himself and having indicated in the past he supports online gambling, Trump would likely just laugh it off as fear mongering. If there is one concern about Trump it’s his comments about banning citizens from other countries from emigrating to America and his stated efforts to erect barriers with other nations but it’s almost certain that wouldn’t entail gambling. In fact one could foresee Trump meeting with the Prime Minister of Antigua and saying “so you want us to approve online gambling from your country, what’s in it for us?” It could involve erecting U.S. casinos in the country and guaranteeing jobs for U.S. citizens along with giving the U.S. its share of gambling revenues. The same holds true for China. Trump obviously is very protectionist and has already stated he’ll start a trade war with China but again as a fiscal conservative he’ll likely make it more of a mission to ensure that Americans are given more rather than an outright embargo. That would likely mean demanding China give up more for the U.S.’s approval including opening up Macau more to U.S. gambling interests.

Will Trump be the best president for the United States? Probably not. For all his good qualities he is boorish, angry, simplistic and confrontational. But in the area of expanding gambling in the U.S. Trump is likely the best choice.

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GAN brokers regulated gaming deal with New Jersey’s Borgata

GAN brokers regulated gaming deal with New Jersey’s Borgata

GAN has struck a deal to provide regulated online gaming services to the Borgata Hotel & Spa in New Jersey, US.

In December, GAN announced that it was to launch its Simulated Gaming online experience with the land-based casino, with this agreement expanded to cover regulated gaming.

However, the deal remains subject to regulatory approval in New Jersey and is conditional upon Borgata granting GAN permission to commence operations.

Should conditions be met, Borgata’s regulated gaming service would be operated through the GameSTACK internet gaming system, which would be deployed on-site, and also integrate the My Borgata Rewards loyalty programme.

“Our strategic market positioning is to serve as an enterprise-level solution for either Simulated Gaming or real money regulated gaming and, in certain circumstances, our single technology platform may serve both requirements,” GAN chief executive Dermot Smurfit said.

“In 2016, Simulated Gaming will be served to the majority of Borgata’s patrons who live out-of-state and, in the event GAN receives Borgata’s consent to commence operations is equally capable of simultaneously serving real money regulated gaming to the Borgata’s patrons resident in New Jersey.”

Tom Ballance, president and chief operating officer of the Borgata, added: “GAN’s experience and capability, combined with the power of the Borgata brand, will enable the successful launch of Borgata’s Simulated Gaming online experience.

“This launch will add another business segment to Borgata’s portfolio and will further diversify Borgata’s varied offerings.”

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Full Tilt to retire but not for sale

Full Tilt to retire but not for sale

PokerStars is retiring Full Tilt Poker but will keep it for itself.

Amaya Gaming, PokerStars’ parent company, announced its decision to merge Full Tilt Poker players onto the PokerStars platform earlier this week, to boost liquidity, streamline development and improve the overall player experience.

The announcement wasn’t a big surprise as Full Tilt, which used to be runner-up behind PokerStars in online poker liquidity, has sagged to 11th on’s traffic report.

Full Tilt became a weakness for Amaya and the operator had to find a way to cut it loose.

But the news left many speculating as to what Amaya would do with the redundant platform once the migration was complete sometime this spring.

So here’s what Amaya has in mind.

After the merger, Full Tilt software will be officially retired and will operate as a “skin” on the PokerStars network, reported Poker Industry PRO. Meaning, it would retain its branding and design but the software will be the same as PokerStars.

Full Tilt will also share PokerStars’ rake, VIP programs, and software features and the players will have a unified account that can be used to log in to both online poker rooms.

Real money and play chips games will share liquidity with PokerStars’ global online poker network.

Amaya is also planning to keep the Full Tilt Online Poker Series but it will only be available to players on the Full Tilt skin. The 29th FTOPS will be held on February 29 and it will be the last time that the players will use Full Tilt’s software.

Branding of the fast-fold Rush Poker will also remain on Full Tilt, but will share player pools with Zoom while the Full Tilt avatars will continue to be an exclusive feature on the FTP brand but will be visible on the PokerStars client.

Full Tilt’s Managing Director Dominic Mansour will remain with the company to supervise the transition and will assume a new role in the future. The majority of staff will be moved to other roles in IT department.

And for its rival companies thinking of buying the platform, sorry, but Amaya confirmed that it’s not for sale.

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As California considers licensing fantasy sports websites, experts warn of a major problem: gambling addiction

As California considers licensing fantasy sports websites, experts warn of a major problem: gambling addiction

As lawmakers consider licensing daily fantasy sports websites in California, compulsive bettors and those who treat them are warning that a new generation of problem gamblers is being created in the state.

Up to 1 million Californians already have a gambling problem, and existing treatment and education programs are reaching only a fraction of those people, officials say.

The problem may worsen as heavily marketed fantasy sports sites, including DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as Internet poker games separately being considered for licensing by the state, appeal to a younger, tech-savvy crowd new to wagering, experts warn.

“It’s very seductive,” said Yael Landa, director of the gambling treatment program at Beit T’Shuvah, a Los Angeles rehabilitation center for those struggling with addictions. “It’s very high-risk, but many people who play don’t understand that. A lot of people playing fantasy sports are in denial that what they are doing is gambling.”

Landa said the number of people seeking help from her program has doubled in the last year, creating a backlog of those seeking assistance, and the new intakes are more often younger than the usual gambler of 45 or older. “We’re getting a lot of youngsters in their 20s who are into fantasy-sports betting.”

Because California lacks sufficient programs to treat all those with problems, lawmakers should move cautiously and build safeguards into any sanctioned expansion of gambling in the state, advises Timothy Fong, co-director of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program.

“Whenever you have an expansion of gambling, you have an expansion of gambling addiction if you don’t have prevention and treatment programs in place,” said Fong, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry.

Other states have shut down fantasy sports sites, which allow players to pay to choose a lineup of real professional athletes for their fantasy football, baseball and basketball teams. The teams compete against other players’ fantasy teams for cash prizes based on statistics generated by the athletes’ real-game performance.

Daily fantasy sports websites have been deemed illegal gambling operations in New York, Texas, Illinois and Hawaii. In California, a bill allowing the websites has been approved by the Assembly and is being considered by the Senate. The bill must be acted on by the end of August.

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