Category Archives: Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

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.

A Good Online Casino Alternative for US Players

Due to online poker‘s Black Friday in April of 2011, the number of online casinos that continue to accept real money players from the United States is shrinking every day. Often, this decision is made not by the online casino operator itself, but rather by the online casino software vendor. Rival Gaming is a recent example of an online casino software vendor that has recently informed its licensees that they are no longer permitted to accept players from the United States.

Not all online casino software vendors have pulled the plug on the United States market. One vendor is BetOnSoft, which powers several online casinos, including Grand Eagle, a reputable online casino with a generous welcome bonus of 100% up to $400 when you use bonus code GEWBDB.
I’ve been playing on and off at Grand Eagle online casino for several months now. And while withdrawals were certainly easier when QuickTender/UseMyWallet was available (it isn’t any more), they do offer three withdrawal methods:
  • Courier Check via FedEx with a cost of $30 which takes between 3 – 5 days
  • Check sent via regular mail with a cost of $17.50 which takes 21 business days
  • Bank Transfer to player’s checking account which costs $20. Please note that external fees from bank clearing houses may be added.

I have made one withdrawal via FedEx and two via regular mail — all three arrived within the time frames outlined above. I have not tried the Bank Wire.

Depositing has never been a problem using my Visa. I also tried and succeeded using a Visa Debit card that I purchased at my local Kroger’s supermarket.

The odds that are offered on Grand Eagle‘s online Video Poker are among the best that you are going to find for any online casino that still accepts US players. In fact, their Jacks or Better and their Double Double Bonus Video Pokers offer the absolute best odds that you can get for any online casino that still accepts US players — paybacks of and 99.94% and 98.98%, respectively. Their other Video Poker varieties are close to the best in terms of payback. (I’ve calculated paybacks for all varieties of online Video Poker on a single, easy-to-use page.)

As for table games, Grand Eagle has what you would expect — several varieties of blackjack, American roulette, European (single-zero) roulette, baccarat, craps, and three card poker.

Finally, Grand Eagle boasts an impressive variety of more than 30 online slot machines. Here are just a few.

  • Dream Wheel – A Wheel of Fortune knock off
  • Pieces of Eight – A pirate-themed online slot machine
  • NASCAR – Based on the wildly popular auto racing organization
Don’t wait to download Grand Eagle online casino today. The welcome bonus of 100% up to $400 when you use bonus code GEWBDB is due to expire at any time.

RTG Online Casinos Still Strong in the United States

In the wake of the recent FBI indictment of several prominent online poker room owners / principles, some online casinos (primarily some Rival online casinos) have elected to leave the US market, similar to what happened in response to the passage of the UIGEA in 2006.

I’ve recently been in contact with the owners of several 5-star rated Real Time Gaming (RTG) online casinos, who assured me that their doors remain open to US-based real-money players. Of of these sites — Intertops — has served US players uninterrupted since 1996.

So, if you’ve been locked out of your favorite online casino, why not give these a try? You won’t be disappointed.

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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. 😉


US Missing Out On Gambling Tax Windfall

Godfrey provides some staggering numbers regarding the billions of dollars that the United States is leaving on the table by not legalizing and regulating internet gambling. I mean really — haven’t we seen enough jobs lost in the past 5+ years across a wide range of industries to convince us that we need to find new industries in which compete and perhaps even dominate?

U.S. lawmakers — open your eyes.


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….