Delaware looks to ease the burden on casinos

delawareDuring the Internet Gambling forum held in Massachusetts, Vernon Kirk the Director of the Delaware Lottery jokingly, but not really jokingly, explained how tiny Delaware had to continue to push the envelope in order to continue to stay a step ahead of their larger neighbors –who were continually stealing Delaware’s ideas.

And now it appears Delaware has come up with their next innovation. According to an article by the Associated Press Delaware will try to ease the burden it has imposed on its Brick & Mortar casinos by having the state assume some of the fees to slot machine vendors:

“Members of a study commission, established by Delaware lawmakers in the face of growing competition from casinos in Maryland and Pennsylvania, agreed that the state should split 75 percent of the costs for slot machine vendors and fees with Delaware’s three casinos, rather than having the casinos continue to pay the full amount.”

Theoretically this would allow Delaware’s casinos to offer better promotions and put more money back into the operation by reducing their burden. However, the tradeoff for the proposal, which also included the elimination of The panel also approved elimination of the annual $3 million table games fee paid by the casinos effective July 1, 2015, would be a significant reduction in the amount of revenue the state would receive from Delaware’s casinos in half, from 29.4% down to 15%, and costing the state, $7.2 million annually according to the AP article.

All of the recent measures, from adding to table games, to online gambling, to the reduction of the burden casinos are responsible for is a byproduct of the gambling arms race that is currently taking place across the United States, but particularly along the eastern seaboard where states tend to geographically small with large border populations.

With Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and soon Massachusetts expanding their gambling footprint potential customers are continually poached by other states and these types of restructurings and expansions into new forms of gambling have become all too common.

The problem of course is that as Vernon Kirk joked, what can be done in one state can easily be copied in another. What we are likely to end up with is a game of gambling chicken, where the states continue to push the envelope until one eventually peels off and says, “you know what, it’s just not worth it.”

 

 

A busy week for the Global Poker Index: New POY and ambassador

gpiThe Global Poker index has been the source of a recent Twitter kerfuffle that has pulled in some of poker’s biggest names (Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth) into the fray, along with Global Poker index CEO Alexander Dreyfus.

I wrote a lengthy column on the current GPI debate, which has focused on Super High Roller tournaments, but there is certainly a much larger problem with poker rankings.

But this wasn’t the only news the GPI has made in past few weeks.

Deepstacks Poker Tour POY Rankings

Earlier this month the Global Poker Index announced they would be the official statistics provider for the poker tour’s Player of the Year rankings. The Deepstacks Tour will now have access to the same formula the GPI uses for their overall Player of the Year rankings.

“As we continue to grow, so do our goals of further distinguishing DSPT as a leader in the poker industry,” said DeepStacks CEO Chris Torina. “GPI has proven to be the foremost authority, in among other things, tournament tracking and statistical analysis. We find this, and their global digital presence, to be very intriguing. This partnership makes complete sense.”

“We are extremely happy to be working with the DeepStacks Poker Tour. The DSPT hosts events both in North America and around the world, further extending our GPI and THM brands”, said GPI and THM CEO Alexandre Dreyfus. “The DSPT features a hard-working team and we’re certain that this partnership will benefit both organizations. Best of luck to all players participating in upcoming DSPT events!”.

Boris Becker… Ambassador

On Wednesday the Global Poker Index made another announcement, saying the GPI had signed tennis legend and poker aficionado Boris Becker, who will take on the role of an ambassador for the poker rankings system.

The signing of Becker is just the latest sports celebrity signing in the poker world, a trend that began with PokerStars and seems to be an attempt to appeal to a more mainstream audience.

 

Interstate poker in Nevada and Delaware could be live by 2015

online-pokerAccording to an article by Michael Chesney of WBOC.com in Delaware the historic agreement between Nevada and Delaware we told you about earlier this week could be ready to go before the calendar flips to 2015.

Chesney cites Finance Secretary Tom Cook who said before 2015 would be a good timeline, but he prefaced his prediction by saying the states wouldn’t be rushing things, and will make sure they “get the system right” before launching the first licensed interstate online poker platform in the US.

Cook went on to explain the benefits of the agreement, particularly for small states with sparse populations like Nevada and Delaware: “In the game of poker,” said Cook. “The game is more lucrative and attractive to players if there are more people participating at one time. This increases the availability of players to participate against each other.”

What the deal means for online poker in the US

Most people who follow iGaming don’t see the deal itself leading to some type of golden age for online poker in Nevada and Delaware (both states, even combined, have less than 4 million residents), but the precedence it sets, and the simple fact that Nevada and Delaware have now taken the “next step” bodes well for online poker in the United States moving forward.

The bill is a game changer in that it makes interstate online poker a reality.

The first step was of course passing an online gambling bill, followed by the second step of launching an online gambling industry, and now step 3, forming an interstate compact is signed, sealed and delivered. The final step, a federal online poker bill or near nationwide online poker is still quite a ways down the road in my opinion.

 More information on the interstate agreement between Nevada and Delaware

5 Takeaways from the Historic iGaming Agreement Between Nevada and Delaware

Nevada and Delaware Agree to Compact for Online Poker. Who Wins and What’s Next

Should New Jersey partner with Nevada and Delaware in online gambling?

Delaware and 888 Biggest Winners in Poker Compact

Why we could use Federal Online Poker Legislation right about now

congresslargeLegal, licensed online gambling became available in three states in 2013, completely transforming the US online poker landscape.

Since Ultimate Poker launched in Nevada on April 30, 2013, US online poker players in certain states no longer have to choose from a list of bad and worse options. The unlicensed collection of cannibal zombie survivors of the great apocalypse of April 15, 2011 are no longer the only option in three states, and hopefully more down the road.

Before you go buying stock in online gaming companies keep in mind that we’ve also seen that licensed online poker isn’t going to be all smooth sailing, and there are still plenty of fights that need to be won.

So even though the future of online poker is looking extremely bright, I don’t think you need to wear shades just yet –it’s a song from the 80’s.

What a federal online gambling bill will accomplish

This is where a federal bill would solve an awful lot of problems.

Instead of this same battle being waged each and every legislative session of Congress, and skirmishes flaring up in every state that introduces an online gambling bill (for or against) a federal bill could put this issue to bed once and for all, and we could all move on to more important things.

I’m unaware of a single country that has passed online gambling legislation that is ruing their decision, and the list is longer than you think, and includes some countries that are kind of a big deal: The UK, Italy, Spain, France, and Canada to name just some.

The debate over whether online gambling should be legalized is pointless; whether it’s legal or illegal doesn’t matter because it will exist wither way. This debate isn’t about IF people should be allowed to gamble online, the actual debate is over how people will gamble online.

Do we want consumer protections, more jobs and tax and licensing revenue, credible player verification methods, and detection and preventative measures to identify problem gamblers? Or do we want unregulated providers.

Until we have a federal online poker bill here is what we will face:

* We will still have entirely too many shady incidents occurring. With no consumer protections and regulatory bodies in name only, online poker sites will continue to run their sites in perilous and often unscrupulous ways to continue to operate in the US.

* Most of the general public will continue to have no clue online poker is legal and will continue to be confused over the legality.

* US players will still have far too many issues even accessing an online poker site due to the restrictive geolocation safeguards in place. A federal bill removes the need for pinpointed geolocation techniques in most areas.

* In addition to geolocation, the confusion of the Wire Act and UIGEA are keeping a lot banks and payment processors from recognizing online gambling as a legitimate industry, even in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.

* We will be subjected to the slow slog of the state by state approach, which is incredibly slow, and as mentioned above will see the debate flare up over and over again.

My final point needs more than bullet: Players will continue to push the envelope and take advantage of other players because there is no recourse.

Player on player crime has become rampant in the online poker world, with a considerable number of players willing to lie, cheat, and steal their way through their poker careers.

Federal legislation and regulations may not end all of these issues, but having laws in place that will punish the cheaters monetarily and possibly criminally, is a lot better than the current public-shaming on online forums.

Legislation not only means you can play online poker, it also means you can take your case to regulators and law enforcement if you feel you’ve been wronged.

 

 

Nevada and Delaware sign historic interstate online gambling agreement

ultimate pokerThe burgeoning online gambling industry in the United States was taken to a new level on Tuesday when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed an interstate online gambling between the two states.

The agreement is the first of its kind in the United States (and for that matter in the world of segregated markets) and speaks to the possibilities of online gambling moving forward.

The important details

Thanks to the live tweeting of OnlinePokerReport.com’s Chris Grove during the signing press conference we know the following:

The agreement allows Nevada and Delaware to pool their players, but precisely how this will be accomplished was not mentioned. It’s unclear if the same companies must be licensed and operating online poker rooms in both states, or if in the case of 888 (which operates all three online poker rooms in Delaware and supplies Caesars Entertainment with their WSOP.com software) matching software will be the requirement.

Delaware players will be subject to the laws and regulations in place in Delaware and Nevada players will be subject to the laws and regulations in place in Nevada. Furthermore, revenue sharing will be based on the players location, with Delaware players generating revenue for Delaware and Nevada players for Nevada; most likely through a contributed rake method.

The two states have created the Multi State Internet Gaming Association and are urging other states to join. The MSIGA will set base minimums when it comes to regulations and other factors such as taxation rates.

You can read more about the details of the historic agreement at OnlinePokerReport.com.

Potential

While the pooling of the two markets is unlikely to cause a significant increase in participation rates (Delaware averages just 25 or so cash-game players according to www.pokerscout.com’s data) the deal does give other states a greater incentive to create their own online gambling industries; especially smaller states that simply don’t have the population numbers to maintain a viable player pool.

Additionally, this paves the way for the courtship of New Jersey, as well as for companies like Boyd Gaming and bwin.party to get their Nevada online poker site up and running.

 

US Online poker to figure prominently at upcoming iGNA Conference

gop debateThe iGaming North America Conference taking place at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada from March 19-21 will now feature three discussions centered on online poker.

Debate between Mitch Garber and Andy Abboud

The first discussion will see two men on opposite sides of the aisle offer up their thoughts on online poker. The panel is called “Is iGaming the problem or the solution” where World Poker Tour founder Steve Lipscomb will moderate the panel of:

* Mitch Garber, CEO, Caesars Acquisition Co and Caesars Interactive Entertainment

* Andy Abboud, VP of Government Relations, Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The start time for the panel is 2 PM on March 19th, as this will be one of the first items on the 2014 iGNA agenda, and will probably be one of the most contentious as well.

Here is a description of the panel from the iGNA website:

This session will undoubtedly offer widely divergent views on the future of iGaming in the US. One advocate will discuss the risks of online gambling and the need for prohibition. Another will weigh in as a proponent of the legalization and regulation of iGaming as a necessary means to proactively address potential concerns. This lively debate will offer a view of the future of the industry in the US, and perspectives of these prominent leaders will allow listeners to hone their own opinions as to how the industry should grow and evolve.

Online Poker in the US

The second online poker specific panel will take place on Day 2 of iGNA, as a panel of four iGaming experts discusses what has transpired thus far and what we can expect going forward.

Chris Grove, founder and publisher of popular iGaming news hub OnlinePokerReport.com, will moderate the panel which includes two company men and two independent observers:

* Chris Danek, Poker Product Manager at Ultimate Poker

* Bill Rini, Head of Online Poker at Caesars Interactive

* Dan Stewart, Founder and Publisher of Pokerscout.com

* John Mehaffey, Independent iGaming Consultant

The start time for this panel is 3:45 PM and the discussion is scheduled to last 45 minutes.

Here is a description of the panel from the iGNA website:

With U.S. online poker having launched anew in the middle and later parts of 2013, March 2014 will be an appropriate time to take a good look at what progress has been made and what lessons have been learned from numerous attempts to recreate an industry destroyed by Black Friday. The competition has been fierce and there is plenty of work ahead. Representatives from some of the major online poker companies in the U.S. space will put their differences aside for 45 minutes and share their views on where the U.S. online poker world stands today. How have online poker rooms performed so far on the liquidity they have available? How far can they continue to operate at the current level, and what is the liquidity outlook for the next few years? What have we seen from more “localized” efforts to raise awareness about intrastate online poker? What has worked and what hasn’t?

Player’s Panel

The final discussion is a poker player panel moderated by PokerFuse.com’s Michael Gentile.

* Shaun Deeb, Professional Poker Player

* Jason Somerville, Team Pro, Ultimate Poker

* Dominic L. Ricciardi, MD, Chief of Staff, St. Rose San Martin Hospital

* Danielle Andersen, Professional Poker Player

Here is a description of the panel from the iGNA website:

iGNA once again invites a panel of  professional and semi-professional poker players to share their perspectives on the business with industry participants.The 2013 session presented a treasure trove of information that only the players can provide, and this year’s panel is sure to do the same. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear from some of the most informed members of the online poker community.

More information on iGNA 2014 can be found at their official website, including a full schedule of panels and speakers, as well as pricing information for attendees. For more details on the poker specific panels you can check out this press release.

 

Where do people use mobile gambling? The answers will surprise you

iphoneinthetoilet014According to some interesting research conducted by Betfair Casino in New Jersey, people have a very tough time putting down their smart phones and tablets when they are in the middle of some online gambling, and some of the places people have participated in mobile online gambling are not only shocking, but perhaps a bit disturbing.

Here is what Betfair found:

Of the New Jersey residents (age 21-58) surveyed, we asked them to “Select all the places you have played a game on your mobile device”. These were the results:

* 42% On the toilet

* 39% In bed with your partner

* 3% In the shower / bathtub

* 41% During your commute

* 47% At work

* 31% At the dinner table

* 13% At the gym

* 5% At church / temple / place of worship

Let that sink in for a second. Essentially the people you are gambling with online could be doing just about anything! In traffic on their way to work; after being rebuffed by their significant other in the bedroom; in between bites of peas; while they are supposed to be spotting someone at the gym; and even at religious service!

So what does this tell us about the gambling habits of people? Not very much I suppose, but I’d keep an eye on that 5% that gambles during religious ceremonies, I believe that’s one of the problem gambling questions (and if it’s not it should be) and I’m positive that if you’re firing up a game of online blackjack at a funeral you might want to seek some professional help.

So where is the strangest place you’ve ever gambled? Let us know at www.pokerforums.org

 

Ultimate Poker adds Bet Raise Fold star Danielle Anderson to roster

ultimate pokerOn Wednesday Ultimate Poker announced it had signed Danielle Anderson to their Team U roster, and will be a regular at the Ultimate Poker tables playing under the name “dmoongirl.”

Danielle Anderson, better known as “dmoongirl” in online poker circles played a starring role in 2013’s poker documentary Bet Raise Fold, which followed Anderson and two other online poker pros before, during and after Black Friday.

In the film Anderson’s was perhaps the most heart-wrenching tale. The daughter of a “problem” gambler, Anderson was juggling the life of a poker pro and a wife and mother, and made it abundantly clear that her aspirations were to become a sponsored pro; one of the only ways to have a stable income in the poker world.

She was working towards that dream until Black Friday pretty much ripped it from her grasp.

But the poker world is in a different place in 2014, with online poker legal in three states, which means sponsorships are once again a tangible goal, as Anderson found out when Ultimate Poker came calling.

“I’m very excited to begin a new chapter in my poker career as I sign on as the newest member of Team U. I’m looking forward to my return to the online poker tables and the first legal online poker site in the United States seems like the perfect place to do it!”

“We’re excited to add Danielle to Team U,” remarked Ultimate Poker Chief Marketing & Operations Officer, Joe Versaci. “We love the energy that she brings to the online arena with her competitive attitude.”

In their press release, Ultimate Poker described Anderson as “arguably the highest earning female online cash game player in the history of online poker.”

Here is a short video of Danielle joining Team U: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ-SZvWpto8&feature=youtu.be

Stephen sizzlinbetta Reynolds continues NJ tournament dominance

why-new-jersey-2Just a few months into legalized poker in the state, outspoken poker pro Stephen Reynolds (who goes by the handles sizzlinbetta and sizzlinbetts at the online poker tables) is establishing himself as one of the top online poker players in New Jersey.

Since Mid January Reynolds has been dominant, winning the WSOP.com Online Championship Main Event, the Sunday Guaranteed at 888, as well as making three final tables (by my count) in the WSOP.com Sunday Guaranteed.

Reynolds dominance started with some early success in the early stages of the New Jersey market winning the 888 Poker Sunday Guaranteed back on January 14th, and final tabling the WSOP.com $25k guaranteed on the same night.

WSOP.com Online Championship Main Event win

Reynolds followed that performance up a few weeks later with a win in the $250k Guaranteed WSOP.com Online Championships Main Event, booking a $63,750 payday, which remains the largest tournament prize handed out in New Jersey online poker.

Reynolds recent success

Reynolds’ success continued this week (and last week) evidenced by his back-to-back final table in the $25k Guaranteed tournament at WSOP.com over the past two weeks.

Last week SizzlinBetts as he goes by on WSOP.com finished in 7th place:

1. Bigcakes1 – $8,316

2. Cheburashkin – $4,851

3. tntml – $2,772

4. hoysrevenge – $2,156

5. LuckySpewy1 – $1,848

6. margateman – $1,540

7. sizzlinbetts – $1,170.40

8. Markcass123 – $739.20

9. Gracar33 – $523.60

Reynolds followed that up with an 8th place finish this past week:

1. FuriousGeorg – $7,425

2. Fish_Stix – $4,320

3. RIP_Neiko – $2,457

4. GB2005 – $1,917

5. BiggDaddy – $1,647

6. Gunn11 – $1,377

7. BigCakes1 – $1,053

8. sizzlinbetts – $675

9. bucknaked64 – $486

While neither of these scores were overly profitable (by Reynolds’ standards anyway), it definitely demonstrates Reynolds ability to put himself in a position for big scores.

Reynolds on the poker world

A couple weeks back I spoke to Reynolds about a number of different topics and he had some very interesting things to say on the use of VPN’s, online legislation in the US, and some of the New Jersey providers.

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For more stories, gossip, and information on New Jersey’s online poker market visit our dedicated NJ online poker forum

Another great turnout for the Party Borgata NJ $50k Guaranteed

PartyFor the second straight week the partypoker $50k Guaranteed tournament drew a huge field and met both its total prize-pool guarantee and the $10k guarantee partypoker offers the winner.

While it wasn’t as impressive as last week’s 378 entries, the 329 entries this week easily exceeded the tournament’s $50k guarantee (which takes just 271 players to reach) and once again rewarded the winner with a first-place prize of over $10,000; as big.appl3 took home over $12,000 for his victory.

Here is a look at the final table payouts from the partypoker blog:

1. big.appl3 – $12,173

2. tyronebigumz t – $8,308

3. Momar11 – $5,173

4. talk5050 – $3,347

5. MrPumpKing107 – $2,252

6. ISLAMB7 – $1,765

7. jessewill – $1,430

8. DrawingDead – $1,156

9. Mikey_TheKidd – $882

The number of entries grew by leaps and bounds last week (a record-setting tournament in the nascent New Jersey market) thanks to a few changes implemented by partypoker’s two New Jersey sites, NJ.PartyPoker.com and BorgataPoker.com.

The first change was to the start time, as partypoker moved it up three hours to help end the early morning endings the tournament had been experiencing. Additionally, partypoker tinkered with the structure to help make the tournament move along a little faster without sacrificing the deep-stack play that is so appealing to players.

All in all I’d say the changes worked!

And in two weeks this tournament will be even bigger, as partypoker has announced the March 2nd running of the $50k Guaranteed will feature a $100k Guarantee!

As a side note, perhaps the most interesting result of the weekend came on Saturday night when the $10k Nightly Guaranteed at partypoker saw a pair of unusual screen-names finish in 4th and 5th place respectively. The names aren’t unusual in and of themselves, but when combined you’ll see why it caught my attention:

4. grandpa10 -$1,178

5. grandma99 – $1,000