Category Archives: politics

State scrutiny of daily fantasy sports grows

It was only a matter of time before some states challenged the UIGEA exemption for daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings, DraftDay, and FanDuel.

Starting with Nevada — which has told daily fantasy sports (DFS) operators to cease operating within their state without a gambling license — other states are now taking a much closer look at DFS.

One of the key issues is that DFS operators use gambling and betting related vocabulary when speaking about their site to anyone other than law enforcement. Another issue is the sniff test — it sure smells like gambling to anyone that cares to take a whiff.

But let’s take another look at this. It takes skill and analysis to determine the most probable profitable players to draft each week. You think that Manning will earn the most points this week? Who cares! The real question is which players — as a group — will earn the most points PER SALARY DOLLAR SPENT on drafting that player that week.

Gambling or not — DFS does make for a much more interesting sports  watching experience.



Marking 10 Years in Online Gambling

This month marks my 10th year in the online gambling industry:

Oh, how things have changed since 2005.

Thinking back over the past 10 years, here’s my take on just some of big shifts that have happened in the industry. In no particular order…

  • Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 : A rider on a “must-pass” port security bill, the UIGEA resulted in the banning  of US players by 100s of online gambling sites. There are still several dozen online gambling sites that accept US players, but only a fraction of the number that were available prior to this act.
  • In 2008, Kentucky attempts to seize gambling site domains in an effort to stop illegal online gaming. Sites are down for at most a day or two; most just redirected to a .net or .eu domain. However, many online gambling sites now specifically ban players from this state.
  • Absolute Poker / Ultimate Bet Online Poker Cheating Exposed on 60 Minutes in 2008 : Savvy players analyzed online poker hand histories and discovered statistical anomalies that alerted them to the cheating. Former owner Russ Hamilton has since admitted his guilt in this scandal, having stolen around $17M.
  • Online Poker’s “Black Friday” of 2011 : Online poker in the United States is decimated as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker were indicted on charges of bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling. It still has not recovered. Settlement talks are ongoing, some agreements have been reached, and some of the brands are attempting to make a comeback as US states begin to legalize and regulate intrastate online poker.
  • 2012 to present, states are moving to legalize and regulate intrastate online gambling. Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey all have some form of legal, regulated online gambling, with California, Washington, and other states not far behind. States are essentially claiming that online gambling, like lotteries and land-based casinos, are the purview of the states and not the feds — and it seems like no one is going to challenge that.

Some recent trends include:

  • The rate at which new online gambling sites come online has rapidly decelerated. Years ago, there were several new sites a month; now, I rarely hear about a new site coming online.
  • Many of the disreputable sites have gone out of business. Of the online gambling sites that remain, the vast majority are reputable, have been around for years, and have all the hallmarks of being in business for years to come.
  • Online gambling sites have adapted their sites to tablets and mobile phones; more and more players are playing on their iPads, iPhones,  and Android devices.
  • Just recently in the United States, some online gambling sites are paying out winnings to a player’s credit card. An all-electronic deposit and withdrawal system is necessary for widespread adoption of online gambling. Pre-UIGEA, NetTeller filled this role, but they were busted, paid fines, relocated from Canada to another jurisdiction, and currently steers clear of all United States markets.

FBI shuts down Internet poker sites

The FBI has shut down Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker. Visitors are shown a message saying, “This domain name has been seized by the F.B.I. pursuant to an Arrest Warrant.”. (Read the full article at the LA Times.)

Until all of this gets sorted out, here is a list of  the top 5 online poker sites that accept US players. (In case you are interested, here is the full list of all online poker sites that accept US players.)

Bodog Poker: 110% bonus
Create an account and download Bodog Poker for free with our Getting Started Guide. Play free online poker on our play money tables or head straight to the real money tables and earn Bodog Poker Points.

Sports Interaction Poker: 110% bonus
Bonus code: signup110. You can play for free, or at our 24/7 cash games and enter any of the tournaments of your choice. All you have to do is download, register, and play.

Poker4Ever: 100% bonus is a fast-growing cardroom offering your favorite poker games: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi/Lo, and 7 Card Stud. also offers the ultimate tournament experience with its multi-table tournaments

BetUS Poker: 110% bonus
We have an amazing new first time deposit bonus for all our new players. We offer you 110% bonus up to a fantastic $1000. Simply make a deposit, in the poker room click rewards, deposit bonus and enter the code POKER1000.

Doyles Room Poker: 100% bonus

You won’t be able to find another poker room where you can participate in tournaments, ring games and heads up matches with Doyle Brunson — author of SUPER SYSTEM (the bible of poker), winner of 10 WSOP Bracelets and player in every single WSOP.


Online Gambling to be Regulated in the US? Not Likely

As reported in yesterday’s The Wall Street Journal, the House Financial Services Committee voted 41-22 to approve legislation that would regulate many forms of online gambling, including poker and bingo, while specifically banning betting on major US sports leagues like the MLB, NFL, NBA, and others.

Other news articles point out that the legislation also would deny licenses to any online site that has allowed, or currently does allow, US players to gamble online. Looking ahead, this would appear to effect PokerStars, FullTilt, and other online poker rooms that have continued to serve US players despite the UIGEA of 2006.

Other key elements of the legislation include player loss limits, rigorous age verification systems and frequent testing thereof, and allowing states to opt out of this legislation and ban its citizens from online gambling.

And the legislation that was passed does not cover how the industry is to be taxed — that’s covered in a separate bill that hasn’t made it out of the House Ways and Means Committee.

It is unlikely that this legislation will be voted on before the current Congressional Session expires in September. The scheduling is simply too tight. If it is not voted on, the process will need to start again next session. Perhaps it will be attached to some other legislation, as was the UIGEA of 2006. Even so, if the legislation is approved, it still would need to be signed by Obama.

We are still years away from any comprehensive online gambling policy in the United States. Need proof? The UIGEA of 2006 took nearly 4 years before it actually went into effect this past June 1 — and there are still plenty of loopholes in that legislation that allow US players to fund and withdraw money from their online gambling accounts… or so I’ve heard. 😉


Keeping Poker Legal in the United States

The Poker Player’s Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, seeks to raise additional funds leading up to a crucial vote this summer on legislation to license and regulate online poker. On July 1, their goal is to raise $50K.

Please donate — even if it’s just a buck!


Article: Bush Urged To Lift Ban On Online Gambling

This Barney Frank guy is serious…. I’ll give him that much. There can be no doubt that this guy is seriously against online gambling prohibitions. At every stage of the game, he’s in there trying to get hearings, trying to sway votes, writing letters, giving interviews.

A recent InformationWeek article reported that Frank wrote a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, in response to the finalization of the UIGEA regulations.

“I am deeply disappointed to hear that your agency is proceeding with what I consider to be unseemly haste in issuing regulations implementing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. This midnight rule-making will tie the hands of the new administration; burden the financial services industry at a time of economic crisis.”

In the final analysis, I do not think that sending the letter will do any good… it’ll be up to the Obama administration to take the necessary steps to curb or stop the regulations from being enforced.


UIGEA Regulations Finalized, Banks Must Comply By 12/2009

Yesterday, the United States Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board jointly issued a press release announcing the finalization of UIGEA regulations. The press release includes a link to the actual regulations, a 60+ page document that contains various regulations with which banks have been given a year to comply.

I published my analysis of the UIGEA regulations when they were published in draft form about a year ago. In the coming days, I will be reading the finalized regulations and offering my analysis here.

One initial thought is that the 12 month window that banks have to comply with the regulations is ample time for the Democratic Congress and new Obama Administration to take action to completely repeal the entire UIGEA. More on that later….


US Gamblers: STOP the Bush Administration r.e. the UIGEA

The outgoing Bush administration is trying to pull a fast one in its last days in power. According to a 11 Nov 08 Dow Jones Newswire:

The Treasury Department has finalized regulations that would effectively ban online gambling in the U.S. and is trying to have them implemented in the waning days of the Bush administration.

The controversial rules would make it illegal for banks to process credit card transactions from most Internet gambling sites.

Their implementation has been opposed by groups advocating individuals’ right to gamble, the banking industry, Democratic lawmakers in Congress and even officials at the Federal Reserve.

The rules stem from a last-minute addition to a law passed in the final hours of the Republican controlled Congress in 2006. The provisions related to online gambling were included in an unrelated port security bill.

The wire goes on to say that it is “…standard practice for outgoing administrations to finalize controversial regulations before leaving office, a practice known as a midnight drop.”

Really? The global financial markets are in crisis and the U.S. government — our government — wants to add more work for our banks? I don’t think that this is where our priorities should be at the moment!

Have your voice heard by providing feedback to the Federal Reserve Board via their Contact Us page. Select the second radio button, select Consumer complaints from the drop down list, and enter your views in the text box. Here is a template that you can use to get you started.

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the Treasury Department’s finalization of regulations to enforce the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. I understand that the regulations were finalized and forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 21, 2008, and am opposed to their being put into practice.

There are two reasons why I am opposed to the implementation of these regulations:

1. The global financial markets are in turmoil. The world is looking to the United States banking system to provide the stability necessary to get financial markets back on track in as short a time as possible. If the proposed regulations were put into practice, this would result in lost time, energy, and effort on the part of our banks in dealing with compliance with the regulations. Our banks’ priorities need to be on staying solvent and providing leadership in this time of crisis!

2. The impact on the average American citizen has not been studied. If US banks were required to comply with these regulations, there is no telling what the impact on the bank’s customers may be. The issue needs to be studied, and that study must include thought-leadership from the banks themselves, and not lawmakers.

If you want to call them, please do!

  • Consumer Complaints, 888-851-1920
  • Public Affairs, 202-452-2955