Nevada Online Poker Review February 27, 2014

Nevada’s online poker industry has experienced quite the week on the legislative front. First with Senator Dean Heller implying that a federal ban on online gambling (with a carve out for online poker) could be introduced soon, and then the far more real situation that took place on Tuesday when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed a historic agreement that will see the two states form an interstate online gambling compact. In this week’s Nevada Online Poker Review we’ll get you up to speed on both of these stories and a whole lot more Nevada partners with Delaware in online gambling This is a huge story, not because it will change the online gambling landscape in the United States (chances are there will be little change when Nevada and Delaware pool their players) but because the agreement signed by Delaware and Nevada on Tuesday opens up a whole new realm of possibilities in the US. You see, not only did Delaware and Nevada form an interstate online gambling partnership, but they also left the door wide open for other states to follow. While joining the interstate group that currently contains Nevada and Delaware may not attract the New Jersey’s and California’s of the world, smaller states now have a greater incentive to pass online gambling bill as the fear of ample player liquidity can be taken off the table. Here is an excellent breakdown of the agreement from Chris Grove at OnlinePokerReport.com. Dean Heller’s online gambling ban; will it happen? Last week Nevada Senator Dean Heller announced that there could be a renewed effort to pass a federal ban on certain forms of online gambling, with the obvious exception of online poker which is legal in Heller’s home state. If you missed this story you can find the details here, but in this section I’m going to explain the main reason this bill is destined to go nowhere, and what will likely happen to the bill in the halls of the US Senate. It puts most republicans between a rock and a hard place Two of the Republican Party’s core principles are state’s rights and social conservatism, and these two issues are on opposing sides of the proposed legislation. For Republican voters [read as: Primary Voters] voting for this bill will be seen as voting for a massive expansion of online gambling—thanks to the bills carve out for poker and potentially other forms of gambling—while at the same time trampling on state’s rights. Voting against this bill allows representatives and senators to appease the state’s rights crowd, but it can also be seen as rubber stamping an even larger expansion of online gambling. Basically, Republicans are damned if they do and damned if they don’t with this bill, and asking senators and members of the House of Representatives to deal with the fallout of pissed off social conservatives and/or state’s rights advocates over this fairly innocuous issue is a tough sell. What will likely happen? I wouldn’t be surprised if the bill does get introduced and as per senate rules, sent off to committee. However, I would be surprised, but not completely shocked if some form of this bill passed through a committee. I would be picking my jaw up off the floor if this bill was ever voted on in the senate. Remember, the committee chair decides what they take up, and the democrats are in control of the committees, so it’s not out of the question that this bill just sits in purgatory for the entire session. Furthermore, if the bill does get to the floor it will need to get through the numerous amendments different senators would want to attach to it (which could send it straight back to committee) and it would need to achieve cloture before a vote on the bill could even be held. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada After remarking on two major stories above we’re going to make this section short and sweet this week. WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed The $15k Guaranteed at WSOP.com had 82 entrants this past week, creating a prize-pool of $16,400. It looks like Tom McEvoy (unconfirmed) and Christina Lindley (confirmed) made the final table finishing 5th and 6th respectively. Here is a look at how the final table participants fared:
boomerfancy $4,674.00
Juantoo3fore $2,706.00
redmike99 $1,640.00
mnbass1 $1,312.00
Mcevoy $1,131.60
lindleyloo $967.60
newhippy $803.60
Forthekids $557.60
butters $442.80 The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker Ultimate Poker’s $100 buy-in ($91+$9) $10k Sunday Guaranteed pulled in 115 players this past week, once again, just enough to reach the guarantee, this time with $465 to spare.
AC Slater $2,658.78
Ted Sticle $1,862.08
SinCityLover $1,270.05
CROOK $946.70
telemere $732.69
LoungeMode $568.68
unlvrebel74 $464.01
BigHarryLV $359.34
Slowbedon $252.67 Traffic trends in Nevada It was another fairly static week for Nevada’s online poker traffic according to www.pokerscout.com. WSOP.com once again maintained average traffic numbers of 110-120 cash-game players; Ultimate Poker ticked down ever so slightly from 75 to 70 average cash game players; and the recently launched Real Gaming is still operating a graveyard. The word on the street Pro-Online Gambling advocates getting more vocal While Sheldon Adelson and company continue to setup their soapbox wherever they are allowed, and scream about the evils of online gambling, the other side seems to have gone to the garage and dusted off their soapbox as well, considering a number of pro-online gambling editorials have been popping up lately, like this one from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Senators Reid and Heller On Banning Internet Gambling

Recently the junior senator from Nevada, Dean Heller, made some very interesting and contentious comments to the Las Vegas Review-Journal with regard to online gambling. Echoing many of Sheldon Adelson’s and the Coalition to Stop Intern Gambling’s talking points (and referencing Adelson by name) Heller told the LVRJ that a bill banning all forms of online gambling with the exception of online poker would be introduced into the Senate in the near future. Heller also spoke for his fellow Nevadan who also happens to be the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, telling the LVRJ that, “There is no daylight between where Senator Reid and myself are on this particular issue.” If this is indeed the case it is a very worrisome statement for online gambling advocates. But are these two really on the same page when it comes to online gambling? The answer could be yes and no, as I’ll explain below. What you would like vs. what you will do There is a big difference between what you would personally do and what you think should be done in general, and this is especially true in politics where you see people who are pro-life in their personal lives voting pro-choice, and this may be along the lines of what Harry Reid is playing at here. Reid might completely agree with the premise of the bill, that online gambling sans poker should be banned, but he may not think this is the right move for Nevada or for the country. Furthermore, it could all be phooey; little more than politicking 101. To me, this entire “Wire Act Fix” proposal is little more than effort to appease Sheldon Adelson while at the same time appeasing the already launched online poker industry in Nevada. And the best outcome for all involved is for nothing to happen on the federal level, which is why the proposed bill is designed the way it is (more on this at the end of this article). If you want to know what will likely happen with this legislation you can read my thoughts in this column, but if you just want the cliffs version: The bill will be stymied at every step during the legislative process to keep it from coming to the floor for a vote. Amendments in committee; amendments on the floor; filibustered for cloture; filibustered for a vote. Assuming the bill even gets introduced it will face so many roadblocks and the 100 US Senators will make it unrecognizable and unpassable simply to avoid taking a vote on something that puts them between State’s Rights advocates and Christian Conservatives. I’ve used this analogy in the past and it still fits quite perfectly: Federal online gambling legislation is like Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. The 2012 Reid / Heller Bill is a good indicator of the muddy process This is precisely what happened to a similar bill back in 2012, where it didn’t even clear the first hurdle. In 2012 Harry Reid was very vocal about his desire to pass an online poker bill, and became a public cheerleader of the proposed bill that never came to be. Reid initially laid the failure at the feet of Senator Heller, saying he was unable to muster any Republican support, later changing his tune to the more diplomatic, “we have simply run out of time in this legislative calendar.” Now this time around it’s Heller who is the public face of the potential bill (which would certainly resemble the previous incarnation from 2012) while Reid stays on the sidelines without making a peep, letting Heller speak for him—a complete reversal of 2012. One of two things may be going on here.
Harry Reid may have told Heller if he wants to introduce the bill he will have to do the cheerleading this time around, as the failure in 2012 was attached almost exclusively to Reid. UNLIKELY.
The two of them may be putting on a nice dog and pony show for Sheldon Adelson in order to court his favor for upcoming election campaigns—or at the very least to not draw his ire—and at the same time keep the other Nevada casinos happy with their online poker carve out. HIGHLY LIKELY. If the answer is #2, then yes, both senators are on the same page, but the bill still has virtually no chance of making it to the senate floor for a vote… And even if it does it then has to go through the House of Representatives, where any changes made (assuming it then passes) would send it back to the Senate, and so on and so forth. Basically, it’s an ugly process, and when you have a contentious bill that delves into debates over state’s rights vs. the morals of gambling, with the added headache of a carve-out for a particular type of gambling; it’s a vote very few lawmakers are going to want to take. Interestingly, it looks as if it will be South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham who will introduce the “Wire Act Fix” bill but without the online poker carve-out! Obviously Reid and Heller will quickly try to amend this and you’ll have your first battle lines drawn, and you can expect many more before an online gambling (pro or con) ever gets a vote in the Senate.

Nevada Online Poker Review March 5, 2014

There was a lot of wheeling and dealing going on in Nevada this week as Caesars Entertainment did a little restructuring of some assets (and by little I mean four casinos), while the latest revenue reports from the state show a fairly significant dip in January revenue compared to last year, but it’s not as bad as it first appears. In this week’s Nevada Online Poker Review we’ll get you up to speed on both of these stories and a whole lot more, including the latest results from the Sunday Majors at Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com, as well as the latest online traffic trends in the state. Caesars sells 3 LV properties, 4 overall The Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a very interesting story this week, detailing the sale of four Caesars Entertainment properties to a subsidiary company of the gaming giant, Caesars Growth Partners. What makes this story so intriguing (restructuring and cash shuffling aside) is the potential impact it will have on Caesars Growth Partners, which prior to taking on the four brick & mortar casino properties was mainly invested in Caesars’ online operations. With the addition of four B&M properties to their balance sheet it will be interesting to see if investors are still as bullish about CGP as they have been in the past. Make sure you check back later this week as we’ll have an in-depth look at this story later up in the next couple of days. Nevada casino revenue down Nevada’s gaming revenue was down nearly 3% in January (compared to last January’s numbers) but according to analysts who took a closer look at the figures the decline isn’t as big of a cause of concern as it first appeared. According to the analysts, a significant amount of the decline came from players running above EV on the tables. “It was a strong month,” Mike Lawton, a senior control board analyst was quoted as saying. “Volumes were up both for slots and tables, but we were impacted by hold issues, mainly table games and baccarat.” Still, the decline was felt across Las Vegas as revenue dipped on the Strip as well as in Downtown Vegas, while halfway around the globe Macau had a record-setting month according to PokerNews.com, which has many wondering if Vegas can once again rise as the gambling capital of the world. All that being said, everyone is now eagerly awaiting the next revenue numbers which are expected to include online poker revenue numbers for the first time—Regulators wanted three online poker rooms up and running in the state before revealing any data, and a couple weeks ago, with the launch of South Point’s Real Gaming website, the criteria was met. Ultimate Poker launches Big 25 promotion From March 2nd through the 9th players at Ultimate Poker in Nevada can take part in the site’s Big 25 promotion. UP will host 10 separate $25 buy-in R&A tournaments over the course of the promotional period, each with a $2,500 guaranteed prize pool. In addition to the tournament prize-pool there will also be a separate leader-board where the Top 10 finishers throughout the entire promotion will split up $2,500 in cold hard cash. You can find out more about this promotion by visiting www.UltimatePoker.com. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed The $15k Guaranteed at WSOP.com made a nice comeback after a disappointing turnout last week (just 82 entries) as 106 players registered for the $200+$15 tournament, generating a prize-pool of over $21,000. Here is a look at the final table payouts from the tournament:
Piejay $5,936.00
alicia_keys $3,434.40
iLvpoon $1,971.60
BossMabel420 $1,547.60
DrMcBoy $1,335.60
norcal83 $1,123.60
ATLien $890.40
Rick2007 $593.60
mnbass1 $445.20 The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker Ultimate Poker’s $100 buy-in ($91+$9) $10k Sunday Guaranteed went the opposite way of WSOP.com’s as traffic dipped this week to 96 players, compared to last week’s 115 runners. WSOP.com’s 24 player increase seems to have come almost entirely at the expense of UP, whose attendance declined by 19 players this week. Here is a look at the final table payouts from the tournament:
Stink Palm $2,900
elvislover67 $2,000
DeadSpread $1,500
luckisreal $1,000
ShakaBraddah $800
donthavename $600
kemo650 $500
TCAPPS $400
Rick2007 $300 Traffic trends in Nevada The needle barely moved this past week, as both WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker ended the week right where they started, with an average of 120 and 70 cash-game players respectively, according to www.pokerscout.com. There is some hope on the horizon for a traffic uptick however, as the World Series of Poker (which starts at the end of May) will bring an influx of potential online poker customers to the state, and by the end of the year Nevada and Delaware’s interstate compact might be up and running. The word on the street Caesars cutting back on live poker A very interesting article appeared at USPoker.com on Tuesday as John Mehaffey took an in-depth look at the brick & mortar poker industry in Las Vegas, and specifically, Caesars downsizing of their live poker offerings. John drew several conclusions from the data, and offered up several interesting fixes for Caesars, including the creation of WSOP branded poker room – something Caesars recently unveiled at Bally’s in New Jersey. You can check out John’s other suggestions as well as his breakdown of the live poker industry in the city at USPoker.com.

Caesars Entertainment looking like the Roman Empire

Earlier this week Howard Stutz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran a column indicating that Caesars Entertainment had sold four of its casino properties to one of its subsidiary companies, Caesars Growth Partners. The move has many people wondering if the restructuring is Caesars way of preparing for a bankruptcy filing down the road or if it’s just creative accounting to keep the company afloat and far away from bankruptcy court. While a bankruptcy filing, and even the talk of bankruptcy for a company with an estimated value of over $20 billion that is the owner of the most recognizable brand in poker, the World Series of Poker, may come as a shock to the average person—considering that if you live in the United States there is a good chance you are within driving distance of a Caesars property—for followers of the industry it has been a matter of “when” not “if” Caesars will undergo a restructuring with a possible Chapter 11 filing. The sale According to Howard Stutz, “Caesars Entertainment will transfer ownership of Bally’s Las Vegas, The Quad, the under-construction Cromwell, and Harrah’s New Orleans to Caesars Growth Partners for $2.2 billion.” Caesars Growth Partners will also take on over $400 million in debt and obligations. The sale of the four properties saw Caesars stock prices dip slightly, $.39 a share, but shares are still selling at over $25 a piece. Investors and analysts were skeptical that the sale would help either company in the long-run, and the move seems to be more of a short-term band aid by infusing Caesars Entertainment with some operating capital. In the LVRJ article Moody’s felt the sale “is likely the first in a series of steps to address (the company’s) unsustainable capital structure.” Needless to say the company’s financial sheets don’t exactly instill many people with confidence that Caesars can dig itself out if its hole. Don’t misunderstand what a Chapter 11 filing would mean A lot of people hear the world bankruptcy and immediately think of seized property, auctions, and shuttered doors. But don’t think that Caesars and its properties are just going to be auctioned off if the company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Chapter 11 allows the business to continue operating, under court supervision, while it restructures its debts. While I’m definitely not an expert in bankruptcy law, my understanding of the situation is that by selling the four properties to their subsidiary, Caesars has effectively removed these properties from any restructuring by the court—which could force Caesars to liquidate certain assets to meet its debt obligations. Caesars problems are their own doing Caesars is a very fitting name for a gaming company whose empire stretches far and wide, and while I don’t expect the company’s downfall to come at the hands of an insurrection during the Ides of March as befell the historical Caesar, their end may be caused by the same failings that brought about the decline of the Roman Empire, namely being spread too thin. When gaming was booming, Caesars / Harrah’s was very active in acquiring properties in the run-up to the financial meltdown, and just before the economy took a turn for the worse the company went private. So yes, external factors (the economic collapse of 2008) exacerbated Caesars problems, but the company’s business plan shoulders the brunt of the blame. With the numerous purchases and takeovers of rivals, the company may hold some $20-something billion in assets, but Caesars has also racked up an unbelievable $20-something billion of debt, and now owns a number of properties worth a fraction of what Caesars paid for them prior to the real estate bubble bursting. Caesars future While they are in a tough spot at the moment, it would be extremely premature to write Caesars off. Here is why:
Caesars is the only casino operating a relevant online gambling site in both Nevada and New Jersey, and the company has been at the forefront of the online gaming industry.
Caesars is also the most prominent company in Atlantic City gambling, owning four of the 11 casinos in the city, and owning the now-closed Atlantic Club property.
Caesars is also the only major casino corporation with properties in multiple states from Iowa, to Mississippi, to Missouri, to Louisiana, to Ohio. Having a presence in so many states should make Caesars path to interstate online gambling much easier than their competitors. Basically, Caesars is primed to be a leader in the online gambling market in the US, and if that’s where the company sees the future of industry (which is an arguable point) than they have positioned themselves perfectly.

UP Signs Deal with Peppermill, Launches “Strip Magic” Web Series, and More

Ultimate Poker has been very busy in Nevada over the past week, as the nation’s first licensed online poker room inked a deal that will bring five new casinos under the Ultimate Poker umbrella; announced a new $25 freeplay offer available to all new players at the site; and launched a new web series starring UP Pro and brand ambassador Antonio “The Magician’ Esfandiari. So, if you haven’t been keeping up with the latest goings on at Ultimate Poker here is what you’ve missed. UP’s deal with Peppermill At the tail end of last week Ultimate Poker announced it had added Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nevada to the UP brand, along with the company’s four other casino properties in northern Nevada, the Western Village Inn and Casino in Sparks, Nevada and the Rainbow Hotel Casino, Peppermill Hotel Casino and Montego Bay Casino all located in Wendover, Nevada. While the deal isn’t exactly in the earth shattering category—Peppermill and it’s four other casino properties will be something more akin to affiliate sites of Ultimate Poker and not skins for the online poker room—it should be quite beneficial to Ultimate Poker on two separate fronts. First, Ultimate Poker can now use Peppermill’s extensive player list databases to market directly to a whole new group of players. Secondly, with all of the payment processing issues US players are currently facing the addition of the five Peppermill properties gives Ultimate Poker five new locations throughout Nevada where players can deposit and withdraw funds from their UP accounts. This is especially helpful considering the Peppermill properties are in Reno, Sparks, and Wendover, as Station Casinos (the owners of Ultimate Poker) already have the Las Vegas area covered. The deal still needs the approval of Nevada regulators, but there is nothing out of the ordinary or controversial that is likely to prevent it from being finalized. For more information on the deal you can read Howard Stutz’s excellent column. Ultimate Poker’s new $25 Freeplay offer Ultimate Poker is looking for new players and they are rewarding prospective customers with a free $25 to get them started. This offer is available to all first-time players at the online poker site, and does not require the player to make a deposit of any kind. As the Ultimate Poker website states: Strip Magic with Antonio Ultimate Poker’s chief spokesmen and best known sponsored pro is Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, and if you’re wondering how Antonio got his nickname it wasn’t because he could make his opponent’s chips disappear and reappear in his own stack (although he is pretty proficient at that as well). No, Antonio got his nickname because in his pre-poker days he was a budding magician and judging by the first installment of the Strip Magic web series released by Ultimate Poker he has been keeping up with his sleight of hand tricks. The videos not only show Antonio performing impromptu street magic on the Las Vegas Strip, but also delve into his background, including his time as a magician and how he worked his way up through the poker ranks. All in all, it’s a very well done video. At two and a half minutes it’s not so long as to be unwatchable and just long enough to leave you thirsting for more episodes. “Filming street magic takes me back to a special time in my life,” remarked Ultimate Poker Brand Ambassador and magician Antonio Esfandiari. “I was a kid with a dream to be the next David Copperfield. That is all I cared about until I discovered poker. To succeed at poker and go back to magic as a hobby on the streets of Las Vegas was very fun for me.” For more episodes of Strip Magic and to see UP’s other YouTube clips you can visit their YouTube page at youtube.com/ultimatepoker.

Nevada Online Poker Review March 13, 2014: Potential for 6 Poker Sites

As we patiently await the first batch of iGaming revenue numbers from the state of Nevada (which should be coming in the very near future) let’s see what else is going in the Nevada online poker market. This week we’ve got several interesting stories to cover including some perspective from 888 CEO Brian Mattingley on the interstate online poker deal between Nevada and Delaware. We’ll also discuss how Locaid will play an integral part in the interstate compact with the addition of its player verification and geolocation services to the two states. We’ll also take a look at the potential overcrowding on the horizon for Nevada, bring you the results of the latest weekly tournaments, take a look at traffic trends, and see what story is making the rounds at the Nevada rumor mill. 888’s Mattingley discusses interstate deal 888 CEO Brian Mattingley has been a very busy man when it comes to the emerging US poker market, and his company will likely be the biggest beneficiary of the new deal that will see Delaware and Nevada combine their player pools. 888 is the only operator in Delaware, where they have a monopoly, and already boasts one product in Nevada (WSOP.com) and are likely to launch several others this year. 888 is also very active in New Jersey as well—as I said, a very busy man. Mattingley spoke about the new interstate compact with NorthJersey.com’s John Brennan and made some interesting comments; perhaps the most notable being that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that different companies (such as Ultimate Poker in Nevada and 888 in Delaware) could pool players. While this is unlikely to be the case as software compatibility issues would surely arise, it shows how forward thinking many people are being in the burgeoning US industry. Locaid teaming up with NV and DE In other interstate online poker news, iGamingBusiness.com is reporting that Locaid has been selected to handle the geolocation duties for the new interstate online agreement between Nevada and Delaware. The President and CEO of Locaid, Rip Gerber issued the following statement on his company being selected to handle the landmark duty, saying, Potential for 6 online operators in 2014 Nevada’s online poker market could become a wee bit crowded this year, as there is potentially three more operators looking to launch, which would bring the total number of online poker sites in the state up to six. This was first reported by Chris Grove at OnlinePokerReport.com and was somewhat corroborated at Tuesday’s Massachusetts Internet Gambling Panel when Jim Barbee of the Nevada Gaming Control Board explained that 888’s WSOP.com online poker room is nearly finished with its field trial, which is expected to conclude at the end of March, and when they are officially approved they will be permitted to start launching some of the other poker sites along with their Nevada partners—most notably TI and Wynn. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed 91 players registered for this week’s tournament, creating a prize-pool of $18,200. While it’s unconfirmed, it looks like Kathy Liebert may have finished 3rd in the tournament.
BShriever5 $5,187.00
Gatsby $3,003.00
pokerkat $1,820.00
IBEENGrindN $1,456.00
COOKIEBEAR $1,255.80
nevada $1,073.80
TimTebow $891.80
Sir1_Sack_U $618.80
MSAHM4 $491.40 In addition to the Sunday $15k Guaranteed, “AstroBoy” won the $10,000 WSOP Main Event seat in this weekend’s satellite tournament. The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker Attendance was way down this week at Ultimate Poker as just 88 players took part in the tournament, creating an overlay of over $1,800 in the $10k Guaranteed tournament. Tournament pro Brent Hanks made the final table, finishing 5th place, while one of Nevada’s top online tournament players “Butters” finished in 4th place.
The Agnostic $2,900
PokerPro $2,000
needs_a_boat $1,500
Butters $1,000
BHanks11 $800
JaminOnFaces $600
luckisreal $500
platinum $400
bulldog53 $300 Traffic trends in Nevada Traffic ticked up ever so slightly over the past week in Nevada, with the three (one of which, Real Gaming, has average traffic of ZERO players) online poker sites in the state totaling average cash-game traffic of 200 players, about a 5% increase over last week’s tally. It was Ultimate Poker that accounted for the gaining, as the site’s average traffic rose from 70 to 80 players. WSOP.com still has the lion’s share of the traffic with 120 players on average, while Real Gaming is struggling to gain any traction with average traffic of 0, and peak traffic of 2 players. All traffic data courtesy of www.pokerscout.com. The word on the street UP making headlines Earlier this week we shined the spotlight on Ultimate Poker, bringing you three separate stories related to their Nevada product. If you missed this article you can read it here, as we discussed the sites new freeplay promotion, the recently launch Strip Magic web series featuring UP Ambassador Antonio Esfandiari, as well as the company’s deal with Peppermill Casino.

Online Poker Ties and Bribery Allegations Haunting Harry Reid

There are a number of storm clouds forming around Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with allegations of bribes being paid to/discussed in order to gain Reid’s support for online gambling legislation according to an excellent summary of the current situation by Jocelyn Wood of PokerFuse.com. Fortunately for Reid, the Department of Justice has decided to not investigate the matter, which was brought before them by Utah prosecutors in a report that also includes allegations against Utah Senator Mike Lee. This current wormhole all began with the Black Friday indictments, and in particular payment processor Jeremy Johnson, former Utah Attorney General John Swallow, and the bogus payment processing that was occurring between US-facing online poker sites and SunFirst Bank in Utah prior to Black Friday. However, there may have been a relationship stretching back even further based on one of the allegations. The bribery allegations There are two separate allegations that tenuously link Harry Reid to Johnson. The first, according to pokerfuse.com, is a purported $1 million allocation of funds to Reid via Full Tilt Poker in exchange for Reid’s support of online poker legislation that was brought to light by Jeremy Johnson back in January of 2013—it should be noted that Johnson’s accusations on the secretly recorded tape are second-hand to begin with, and it also fits in with the narrative he is trying to sell Swallow to make his FTC case go away; that Reid can be bought. Reid’s possible ties to Johnson and Swallow surfaced again in a the 200+ page report by the Utah legislature who relied on the private investigation company the Mintz Group to compile the evidence. Haley Hintze of FlushDraw.com (who also wrote the PokerFuse.com story mentioned above detailing the alleged $1 million bribe) is breaking down the report in an ongoing series. There is also an excellent write-up at DesertNews.com detailing what is specifically on those taped conversations. This second mention of Reid has to do with Johnson’s FTC case where he tries to enlist the help of Swallow to get a favorable outcome, and includes several references to Reid, as well as “Reid’s Guy” who is identified as Richard Rawle, who passed away in December of 2012. From page 13 of the report: From page 19 of the report: From page 20 of the report: What this means for iGaming With allegations circulating of seven-figure bribes circling around him it’s unlikely Harry Reid will want to touch anything to do with online gambling, either for (which would only ignite further scrutiny and headlines) or against (which would not only be a reversal of his previous stance but would lead to a lot of raised eyebrows as to why) which means you can reduce the possibility of a federal online gambling bill in 2014 from small to almost nonexistent in my opinion anyway. In addition to the likelihood of a bill being passed dwindling, these allegations also reflect extremely negatively on the online gambling industry as a whole, even though the bribery attempts seem to be isolated to just a few particular puzzle pieces that were operating illegally post-UIGEA. What this means for Reid in 2016 Whether these allegations have any legs to them is somewhat of a moot point, as the allegations themselves are usually enough to harm a politicians career. It wasn’t a given that Harry Reid would be running for reelection in 2016 to begin with (although all signs are currently pointing to yes) and I say this for two reasons: #1: Had the Republican Party fielded a candidate other than Tea Party darling Sharon Angle in 2010 there is not a doubt in my mind that Reid would have lost his reelection bid. While I can’t rule out another daffy Republican nominee, it’s quite unlikely that Reid will hit a two-outer on the River two times in a row. If he does run in 2016 he will almost certainly face a far more competent opponent. #2: The Democrats may not hang on to the Senate. If Republicans regain control of the senate in 2014, or it looks like they will in 2016, Reid may very well call it a career when his term is up in 2016, when he will be just a month shy of turning 77 years old. In the current climate, being the minority leader of the Senate is probably a role Reid would not like to have. On the other hand, if the Democrats are in firm control of the senate when the 2016 elections roll around Reid might very well run again.

National Anti-Gambling Group Contemplating Lawsuit Against NY Fantasy Sports Law

Contents
1 Group on the hunt for plaintiffs
2 If a lawsuit happens, multiple groups could be in fight
3 Poll says New York residents didn’t want DFS
4 Bill advocate Bonacic says legislation protects consumers Daily fantasy sports have no place in New York, according to Washington, D.C.-based interest group Stop Predatory Gambling. The group, led by National Director Les Bernal, labeled New York’s gambling policies “predatory”. Group on the hunt for plaintiffs The Buffalo News tackled SPG’s criticism in an article earlier this week. The newspaper said the group’s main criticism is that the judicial process did not allow enough time for a thorough investigation of the impact of legalized DFS on the state’s gamblers. In other words, they say, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was a little quick on the trigger when he signed DFS into law earlier this month. When asked if his organization would file a lawsuit against the bill, Bernal said SPG is searching for potential plaintiffs who are residents of the state. Bernal added a not-so-subtle threat to those interested in investing in the six companies who are vying for DFS licenses, including FanDuel and DraftKings. “Anyone investing in these businesses should really keep their hands in their pockets for the near future,” Bernal was quoted as saying. If a lawsuit happens, multiple groups could be in fight Opponents of gambling are only one part of the opposition to DFS in New York. The Buffalo News is saying that SPG’s lawsuit talk could stir up support from casinos who opposed the original bill, as well as Indian tribes who may consider the bill as an infringement on their gambling exclusivity agreements. The New York Gaming Association led the charge in lobbying against the DFS law, but The Buffalo News said it would not be a part of a lawsuit. While there are other parties who have a vested interest in an attack on New York’s DFS law, Bernal has said he will not partner with those organizations if a lawsuit materializes. Poll says New York residents didn’t want DFS In May, New York’s Siena College published a report that said DFS faced opposition in the state. “While Republicans, independents and downstate suburbanites are closely divided on the issue of legalizing daily fantasy sports operations in New York,” the report read, “a strong plurality of Democrats, upstaters and New York City voters oppose allowing companies such as FanDuel or DraftKings to operate in New York.” Bill advocate Bonacic says legislation protects consumers While there were definitely critics of the DFS bill, there were just as many outspoken advocates of the legislation. Sen. John Bonacic was a leading supporter of the bill, and was quite vocal about his opinion of casinos and racinos who opposed it, saying there was a full-court press against the bill by racinos who previously did not say a word about fantasy sports in the state. He also argued that the DFS regulations were necessary because illegal activities were already going on in the state, and that, “under this particular legislation, there will be more strict monitoring, and there will be more consumer protection.” Interestingly, the state is also considering drafting legislation that would challenge the federal ban on sports betting.

Game On At Tioga Downs: New York Racetrack Gets Full Casino License

Tioga Downs finally got its casino license when the New York State Gaming Commission recently voted on the matter, after missing out on the chance several years ago. A unanimous 4-0 decision was the outcome for the upstate facility, much to the delight of Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural. He spoke with the Democrat & Chronicle after the vote. “I really feel good for the people up there, to be honest,” Gural said of the state’s northern residents. “For the people in the Southern Tier, this is a real big development.” The license will allow Tioga Downs to include table games and slot machines, adding to the exist video lottery terminals. After the announcement, Tioga Downs broke ground on a hotel that can accommodate up to 400 guests. Journey began in 2014 with ‘No’ vote Tioga Downs’ big win this week comes about three years after New York voters approved a 2013 amendment (Proposition 1) that expanded the state’s casino count to seven. Shortly after the decision, Tioga was one of four properties to apply for a license. However, it was the only property that did not receive a license, with gaming commission members noting that they chose the three most financially viable options. The decision angered Gural, who express frustration over what he considered a dupe job by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Gural accused Cuomo of pressuring him to contribute to the casino amendment campaign, only to find himself as the sole owner of the four without a casino license. “I think it’s an absolute insult. And the governor asked me to spend $800,000 of my money to pass Proposition 1, and then the intent was that there would be a casino in the Southern Tier. That’s what he said,” Gural told the Democrat & Chronicle at the time. “I feel like a complete fool.” Commission hopeful of Tioga-led economic impact As they did with the 2014 vote, the commission’s reasoning for the Tioga approval was based on the potential for positive economic impact on the region around the casino. An article from political news site State of Politics noted that the commission anticipates the introduction of table games and slots will bring nearly $26 million in revenue to the state’s school-aid fund and more than $3 million to Tioga County and Nichols, the town in which the casino will be located. During the meeting, Gaming Commission Executive Director Robert Williams offered a statement about the decision. He said the casino license will bring hundreds of jobs to the casino, as well as boost economic development and raise millions for local government. Better yet, he was quoted as saying, the project will not rely on a single cent from taxpayers. Local news station WBNG is reporting that a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled to take place on Sept. 6. The casino cannot officially add table games and slot machines to its gambling offerings (or the three other casinos who won licenses in 2014) until final details are worked out by the gaming commission.

Construction On Schedule For New York Commercial Casinos

Contents
1 How the NY casinos are coming along
1.1 Del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County
1.2 Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady County
1.3 Montreign Resort Casino in Sullivan County
1.4 Tioga Downs in Tioga County
2 $1.4 billion invested into New York properties
3 How did New York get commercial casinos? A New York State Gaming Commission hearing late last month provided an update on the status of the state’s four Las Vegas-style commercial casinos. All are still under construction. The progress is significant for the state’s online poker prospects. The New York Gaming Association said at an online poker hearing in September 2015 that the state might want to wait until the new casinos are open before legalizing online casino gaming. How the NY casinos are coming along There haven’t been any major setbacks for the casinos, unlike what operators have experienced in nearby Massachusetts. Here’s a look at the progress in New York: Del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County The casino is nearly 80 percent complete. It is on track to open in February 2017. The project’s initial stage of construction includes the casino, event center, parking garage and the hotel shell. The hotel is a month ahead of schedule and should open in summer 2017. The $425 million investment will include 1,950 slot machines, 84 table games, a 205-room hotel and a 10,000-square-foot spa. Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady County The project is on schedule, with about half the work finished so far. This casino is also coming in two phases, with the first stage including the casino, event center and parking garage. The hotel is phase two. More than 220,000 construction hours have gone into the project so far. The $320 million investment will include a 51,000-square-foot gaming floor, 1,150 slot machines, 77 table games and a 150-room hotel. Montreign Resort Casino in Sullivan County The Montreign project is further behind than the aforementioned two, with overall project completion at 27 percent. Construction ramped up in August with nearly 31,000 construction hours on the site. The $1.25 billion casino is the only of the four that hasn’t finalized financing, according to the state. The casino is likely “awaiting the results of the New Jersey referendum to finalize their financing,” Commission Executive Director Robert Williams said at the hearing. Voters in the Garden State will decide next month whether or not to allow New Jersey casino gambling to be expanded beyond Atlantic City. The property will be an 18-story casino, hotel and entertainment complex equipped with 2,150 slot machines, 102 table games and 332 hotel rooms. Tioga Downs in Tioga County Casino expansion, which is phase one of the Tioga Downs project, is 90 percent finished. The new hotel and amenities building (phase two) are five-percent complete. The racetrack’s project is on schedule and under budget, the state said. Total investment is $122.6 million. The expanded property will include a 32,590-square-foot casino with 1,000 slot machines and 50 gaming tables. There will be 161 hotel rooms. Tioga Downs, which has more than 250 gambling machines already, received a commercial gaming license in August. $1.4 billion invested into New York properties More than $1.4 billion in private money is being invested into Empire State commercial casinos. That’s the same investment as the new MGM casino in Maryland. New York said that the casinos will create more than 4,700 permanent jobs, with the following breakdown:
Schenectady County: 1,300
Seneca County: 1,250
Tioga County: 1,100
Sullivan County: 1,050 How did New York get commercial casinos? Three years ago, New York voters approved Proposal One on the November ballot. The proposal authorized lawmakers to allow up to seven “destination gaming resorts.” The idea was to generate economic activity for upstate communities. More than 50 million people visit New York City each year, and the state’s hope is that some will visit upstate attractions. New York estimated that its residents spend $1 billion each year at out-of-state casinos, a lot of which goes to Atlantic City.