Industry notes: California sports betting bill advances
Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl ends a 26-year Congressional run this November, and for those of us interested in legalization of online gambling, it can’t come soon enough.
Kyl was the driving force behind the odorous 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which has wreaked havoc on the industry for more than half a decade, and now as states labor to bring some clarity to Internet gaming, Kyl once again is muddying the waters.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Kyl and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid are piecing together legislation that would regulate and legalize online poker in the United States. Depending on the language of the bill, it could undercut states’ efforts to legalize other casino games.
It also might complicate efforts and delay efforts by New Jersey to challenge the 1992 Professional and Sports Protection Act (which outlawed unfettered sports betting in all states except Nevada) for months or even years.
Kyl, a hard-right Republican who received national notoriety for making intentionally false statements about abortion on the Senate floor last year, and Reid have formed a strange alliance regarding online gambling. Early last year they co-signed a letter asking the Justice Dept. to clarify the federal government’s policy regarding Internet gambling, and last December the DoJ responded by stating that except for sports wagering, the states are pretty much free to do whatever they want regarding online betting.
Now that some state governments have moved to the front of the cafeteria line, Kyl and Reid are now pushing federal legislation that would undercut and supersede any laws passed by any state.
Hopefully Kyl and Reid will live long lives, but any gambling legislation they come up with will die a quick death.
New Jersey sports betting bills being consolidated?
While Kyl and Reid conspire in the Senate, in the House, New Jersey Reps. Frank Lobiando and Frank Pallone are joining forces in a Hail Mary attempt to legalize sports betting.
The two had filed separate bills – Pallone’s would add only New Jersey to the list of states allowing sports wagering, while Lobiado’s would give any state in the country until 2015 to decide on its own whether to legalize. It’s not certain how the new collaborative bill would handle things.
The first step is to get the backing of rest of the state House delegation and present a combined front before trying to get the entire House to look at it. Chances of passage are nil, but the effort will give Pallone and Lobiando political cover as they campaign for re-election this fall.
California sports wagering legislation advances
SB1390, legislation that would overturn California’s ban on sports wagering, got a big boost last week when the state’s Senate Governmental Organizing Committee voted unanimously (13-0) to approve the measure and send it to the full Senate.
Sports wagering would be allowed at horse tracks, card rooms, Indian casinos and dozens of poker halls throughout the state if the bill is passed and the federal government’s ban on sports wagering is overturned. California will be among the first states to cash in if New Jersey is successful in its expected court challenge to PASPA.
Adelson can’t seem to get his story straight
The definition of a gaffe, it’s been said, is when someone accidentally tells the truth. That appears to have happened in Las Vegas recently when Las Vegas Sands boss Sheldon Adelson might have undercut his opposition to online gambling by saying “[Online] legalization will cause a 10 percent to 20 percent decrease on land-based gaming revenues.”
While at least one study has shown just the opposite, Adelson’s comments raised eyebrows because only a few months ago he said he was opposed to legal Internet wagering because children might have access to it. Like Roger Clemens, Adelson probably just “misremembered” his early comment.
Assessing Poker Stars’ motives in Full Tilt deal
The web is ripe with conflicting reports about the interest Poker Stars has in purchasing the remnants of the shuttered Full Tilt Poker. Some are speculating that Poker Stars is wheeling and dealing with the Dept. of Justice on a plan to would make some of the charges against it go away if it assumes Full Tilt and the estimated $300 million that FTP owes players world-wide.
But other reports indicate that Poker Stars execs indicated in last year’s April 15 Black Friday indictments would not be able to buy their way off the legal hook even if PS purchases FTP and gets it out of the DoJ’s hair.
Rapper, Game Show Network, Facebook combine on blackjack app
Rapper 50 Cent, the Game Show Network and Facebook have joined forces on a new virtual blackjack Smartphone app. 50 Cent, who was known as Curtis James Jackson III before hitting it big in hip-hop (three No. 1 hits and 19 total on Billboard’s Top 100), lends his cred to facebook.com/50centblackjack, which can be accessed on Android and Apple devices.
While you complete only for virtual currency, once you reach the end of an arduous registration process, 50 Cent & Co. will charge you $5 from your credit card for the privilege of playing. Virtual blackjack and any other casino games are available free at dozens of Internet sites. GSN did not return an email seeking comment.
“Take my wife. Please.”
Virendra Vanvasi was in a bind. After a bad gambling run he owed some money to local thumb-breakers in his village in northern India. Old story. So when the muscle came to his house to collect, instead of the cash, he channeled his inner Henny Youngman and offered his wife as payment.
Might have been Vanvasi’s way of killing two birds with one stone. Who knows? Anyway, his 22-year-old wife apparently didn’t get a vote in all of this. She took offense and fled the scene before the actual payment could be made, taking refuge with a local village leader. Police say they know nothing about the incident, and there’s no word if the happy couple, who have celebrated seven anniversaries, will ever get to No. 8.
Sounds like they have more issues than gambling to resolve.