Well, it’s not in New York City, but it’s still in New York, so I’m happy. Even if I no longer live in the Empire State. In a reversal of a policy that originally was implemented precisely to prevent a casino from being built in the Catskills mountains, the proximity rule for Indian tribes to own/operate casinos has been rescinded. No longer must a casino be located close to the reservation. This opens the door for certain New York tribes whose reservations are not near the Catskills to open a casino there. Even Congressmen are saying this is so, not just this blogger. Check it out.
Many of us have played both live and online poker. And continue to do so. Which got me to thinking which I’d prefer. And I want to know your thoughts. Would you rather live within 30 minutes driving/public transportation to a good live poker venue but have online poker be deemed illegal ornever be able to play live poker because it’s just too far from home even for a weekend trip but have online poker be declared legal and be regulated, with no blackout period? Tougher choice than I first thought. Anyway, let me know your thoughts and if we get enough that it makes it worthwhile I’ll post the results with some insights. Happy holidays!
Upset about the revised scaled down plans the Foxwoods group offered for a casino in Philadelphia (which would be the second casino in the city), Pennsylvania revoked the group’s license. For now, there are no plans to replace Foxwoods any time in the foreseeable future. That said, big bucks have a way of making people see straight. PLB is betting that Foxwoods has not crapped out yet and that some compromise plan will be agreed upon.
Just a quick hit, and nothing that if you’re reading this blog you probably don’t know already. (But please keep reading…) ABC News has picked up on the Wall Street Journal’s article on Sen. Reid’s attempt to legalize poker. Some pretty amusing comments are made by Senators about what it is like to support the casinos. Also, a claim that the monetary pie at stake is $25 BILLION. That’s got to make even the most Republican Senator take notice, no? Anyway, I love it when the “mainstream” media gets involved. There’s no such thing as bade P.R. So check the article out here.
Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is offering legislation would legalize online poker, but allow only certain current brick-and-mortar establishments to host the sites for the first two years. Regulation would be done by current agencies, such as the Nevada Gaming Commission, and not by the federal government. Two predictable things have occurred so far: (1) the legislation is supported by major Nevada casinos (who, ahem, donated significantly to Senator Reid’s hotly contested recent re-election campaign), and (2) Republican legislators, led by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), oppose the bill — they claim that important legislation that affects “the young, the weak, and the vulnerable in the name of new revenues to cover more government spending” should not be passed during the lame duck session of Congress.
Normally I’m against cramming legislation in to beat a deadline and in a manner that prays on weakness. But given how the UIGEA was passed, turnabout seems like fair play. Still, I do have serious concerns that prevent me from automatically supporting the legislation. They center around who supports this bill. Internet poker should be legal. But to do it as a means to expand brick-and-mortar casino profits, and not as part of an overarching national framework, seems short-sighted and ultimately counter-productive to the game’s acceptance. The UIGEA should be repealed. But it should not be supplanted by a special interest bill designed for corporate gain. Two wrongs do not make a right.
PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, has banned all real money play from residents of and visitors to the State of Washington. PokerStar’s complete statement and a little more color is included in Cardplayer.com’s description of this major development. The gist of PokerStars’ reasoning is that in light of the recent Washington Supreme Court ruling, it is clear that the state criminalizes online poker and, more to the point, that the questionable legality of the issue no longer is in doubt. At least to the level that PokerStars feels comfortable taking the risk. (Another factor in the site’s thinking likely is the potential that the U.S. will legalize online poker in the next few years, and the rumor that sites that operated illegally prior to that time will be banned.)
Clearly, I disagree with the decision by Washington. However, I do not disagree with PokerStar’s decision. While tragic for Washington residents and anyone considering a move to Seattle to rekindle grunge, it’s pretty much a no-brainer for a mega company like PokerStars. The revenue from Washington, I assume, is a drop in the bucket of its overall U.S. revenues. To risk significant civil — and criminal — penalties to earn that revenue (which may decrease anyway as a result of the effect of the law on the average player) would be foolish from a business standpoint. Have no doubt, PokerStars is a company concerned primarily with its bottom line; it has no grander moral agenda.
If you’re sitting at home in Olympia waking up and reading this for the first time, sorry. But at least take solace in the knowledge that your money is safe (you still can withdraw funds) and if you ever decide to move from your parents’ home to another state you’ll be free to continue playing (just need to prove a change of residence to that new state).
And if you have a friend who lives in Washington, do not pm him for a heads-up game on Stars. That’s just cruel.
Washington’s Supreme Court has upheld the state’s ban on internet gambling, which is one of the strictest in the U.S., if not the strictest. The unanimous decision found that the law did not violate the U.S. Constitution. So if you’re looking to live somewhere beautiful and play online poker, chalk that region of the Pacific northwest off your list. (Oh, ironically, Washington does allow brick and mortar poker. Just saying…)
Here is a summary of federal and state gambling legislation prepared by two partners at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. For all you non-lawyers out there, Skadden is one of the preeminent law firms in the world, perhaps the best. Akin to what Ivey is to poker. Sadly, Skadden’s conclusion is that progress will be “incremental” and likely will occur on a state level before a nationwide resolution is reached.
Legal online poker still is not available in the U.S. at large…but it soon will be on Indian reservations in 30 states. Per an agreement between Cake Gaming and the Atlantis Internet Group, online poker is about to be offered to people in tribal casinos. The venture is called the Tribal Gaming Network.
Not really sure how this will work, or how successful it will be. Do you go to a tribal casino (which, by definition, already has live gambling) and log on to the site and play remotely? Will people actually do this? And/or can people who live on the reservations/grounds play on the site? How many people does this really affect?
Regardless, it is yet another incremental step toward broad legalization of online poker.
Congress returns to session next week. Among the legislation that might be considered is Rep. Barney Frank’s H.R. 2267 effort to legalize/regulate online poker. Could be a pivotal time in online poker history. If you’re so inclined, pick up the phone or the mouse and contact your representative. Let him/her know your stance on the bill.