WSOP Poker Pro Accuses DOJ of ‘Racially Motivated’ Debt Collection

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 31 August 2016 3:15 pm

World Series of Poker (WSOP) pro Travell Thomas is accusing the US Department of Justice of racial profiling in its effort to prosecute him for debt fraud.

Thomas is also looking to depose Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara as part of the process.

The WSOP circuit player was one of 11 people who were arrested last year in Buffalo, NY for their roles in a debt collection agency the DOJ regularly used abusive tactics to collect cash. Workers at the agency allegedly threatened physical harm to clients; and sometimes posed as law enforcement officials, both of which violate legal standards for US debt collection.

During the course of their run, however, the belligerent bill collectors were able to haul in slightly over $ 31 million from their clients, according to the New York Post.

Thomas not only dismisses the charges out of hand, he also says that Preeth’s office is racially biased when it comes to its prosecution of debt collection companies. In his complaint, he points out that the only debt companies Preeth’s office prosecutes criminally are those run by African-Americans, like himself.

Preeth’s office denies any wrongdoing in their prosecution and were quick to point out that the civil actions Thomas is referring to originated from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), not the DOJ. The DOJ also points out that none of the actions Thomas uses as examples even rose to the level of criminal prosecution.

Thomas’ move to depose Preeth as part of the process is a long shot that seems aimed more at annoying the widely despised prosecutor, rather than actually proving a point.

If convicted on all charges, Thomas faces a maximum of 40 years behind bars.

 

 

 

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Winamax Launches French Daily Fantasy Sports Market

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 29 August 2016 3:14 pm

Winamax, a French operator, has broken ground on the French daily fantasy sports market with the launch of  Le Jeu de l’Entraineur (JDE) (the Coach’s Game) game.

Could this the beginning of something tres grand?

The company is the first and, as of this writing, the only operator with its hooks in this totally unproven market.

The Coach’s Game is a pretty standard daily fantasy sports game that’s being presented with a celebrity endorsement. French national team manager Raymond Domenech. Each week, Domenech will be making his own picks and providing DFS analysis for the country’s legion of new daily fantasy sports players.

Players will have the option of picking five-man squads or full-teams for their DFS rosters throughout the French Ligue 1 season. As of launch, players will only be able to participate in leagues with stakes of €2, €10 and €50. It’s anticipated that larger entries will be available as the market matures, according to a report on LegalSportsReport.com.

So how do French gaming regulators view daily fantasy sports on the skill-vs-chance spectrum? The French fall squarely on the side of skill and have lumped the game alongside other games of skill including sports betting, horse race betting and online poker.

In fact, there was almost no debate among French gaming regulators as to how the game should be categorized at all.

French authorities have also spelled out, in great detail, the rules for Franco-facing daily fantasy sports and seem keen to keep a lid on the internal DFS industry shenanigans that have cause so much trouble for the US-facing DFS businss.

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Ladbrokes Response to UK Ad Regulators: ‘Iron Man is for Adults’

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 27 August 2016 3:17 pm

Ladbrokes is defending itself against complaints that a recent Iron Man 3-themed promotion targeted children with a novel argument; Iron Man is for adults.

The provocative, and actually quite logical, statement came after the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) suggested that Ladbrokes’ used of Iron Man images went against rules prohibiting gambling ads from targeting underage customers.

Ladbrokes fought on behalf of the e-mail, which went out on May 4, by pointing out to the ASA that not only were most Iron Man fans adults, but that they had the data to back their claim. According to a report on Gambling911, Ladbrokes referred the ASA to a survey taken at a recent ComiCon that suggested the Iron Man demographic skewed adult.

Besides, Ladrokes added, their e-mails only go out to parties 18 and over so by rights, they were not targeting children.

Never one to loosen its stiff upper lip, the ASA wouldn’t budge from its original argument. They backed their argument with a bit of iron-clad adult logic saying:

We understood that Iron Man was a popular character that would appeal to many adults but considered its comic book nature, and the availability of various related toys, meant it was likely to have particular appeal to children and young people.

We therefore concluded that the ad breached the code.

Not surprisingly, the yeah-but-there-are-Iron-Man-toys argument did not sit well with Ladbrokes. According to a report from the BBC, the company issued a statement saying that they were aware of the ASA’s ruling, but they aren’t willing to give up just yet.

They went on to say that they would likely appeal the ruling by requesting an independent review of the case.

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Philippine Gaming Regulators Whistle Different Tune for Foreign Operators

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 25 August 2016 3:28 pm

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is opening its doors to foreign operators. This stunning move comes just weeks after PAGCOR, acting at the behest of Philippines President Rorigo Duterte, is actively working to shut down their domestic-facing gaming industry.

According to a report from Reuters, PAGCOR is now offering online gaming licenses to operators that focus on international players. When issued, the licenses would be issued in six-month increments and PAGCOR did not make any mention of how many would be issued or what kind of tax structure they would adhere to, thought she did suggest that they will be expensive.

In fact, PAGCOR boss Andrea Domingo didn’t seem to know much about the licenses at all saying:

We don’t know yet how saleable it is. There might be no takers, or there could be many applicants. We’re readying the application forms. It’s no longer the Filipinos who are betting but foreigner

Given the fact that Domingo’s office has yanked the licenses of multiple domestic operators without warning and is unlikely to renew the remaining licenses, her offer to foreign-facing operators might not have many takers.

As it odd as the move sounds, it makes perfect sense when viewed through the lens of President Duterte, whose strongman approach to governance has earned criticism abroad, but enjoys popular support at home. Duterte claims that domestic bingo and lottery sites exploit the people of the Philippine Islands and are a moral scourge.

What does matter to the Duterte regime is the pile of tax revenues that online gaming sites and domestic bingo parlors dump into government coffers. After all, crushing the domestic e-gaming business would cost the government around $ 250 million (USD) a year in lost revenue.

Domingo added that the government would “finetune” the licensing process, “…if it is profitable.”

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Olympic Sports Betting Flops on Vegas Strip

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 23 August 2016 3:14 pm

If you think that sports betting and the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are a perfect fit, you might want to have a chat with owners and operators of Nevada’s legal sports books.

The purveyors of Sin City sports betting offered action on the games for the first time in more than 15 years and their customers replied with a resounding, “Meh.”

According to a number of published reports, including this one from Bloomberg News, Nevada’s sports betting community and Vegas tourists were not exactly dropping Olympic-sized wagers on Olympic events. Jay Rood, a bookmaker at the Mirage, described the Olympic action to Bloomberg saying:

We probably have taken about as much in Olympic wagers as we would on a big baseball game, regular season.

Baseball, as Bloomberg correctly points out, is not one the more popular sports for Vegas bettors.

To say that Vegas sports book operators were disappointed by their Olympic-sized flop is something of an understatement. After all, someone had to put out a line on every Olympic sports from basketball to Judo. In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, oddsmaker Johnny Avello expressed the industry’s collective frustration when he said:

I put in a lot of time in it for very little action.

Even worse, most sports books reported that visitors were very interested in watching Olympic sports, they just weren’t interested in betting on them.

The sole exception to the Olympics sports betting slump was USA Basketball, which is packed with name brand NBA stars.

Sports betting on Olympic events was outlawed from 2000 until this year in an effort to help protect the integrity of amateur sports. Turns out, that ban was definitely not necessary in the United States.

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CSGO Lounge Halts Online Gambling for Skins

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 21 August 2016 3:14 pm

CSGO Lounge will no longer allow gambling on esports on for skins. It’s a move the company has resisted for weeks, but also signals the end of an era in the budding world of esports gambling.

The announcement of the skins betting was posted yesterday on the site’s Facebook page in a post reading:

Today we are announcing that we are closing our virtual items betting functionality with immediate effect. Depositing virtual skins and items in order to place a bet is not possible anymore. At the moment we are working on a solution for items withdrawal, please stay tuned for an update on this topic.

Skins betting, which involves players wagering virtual items such as decorations for guns, is a controversial practice that’s been criticized as legalized sports betting for children. As of this writing, skins betting is an unregulated industry that does, in fact, allow players of pretty much any age to wager items that can be quite valuable on the outcome of professional video game tournaments.

Besides the whole, underage-gambling-thing, there have been plenty of questions about the level of transparency at the sites that promote skins betting. This issue blew up last spring when it was revealed that a popular skins betting site called CS:GO Lotto was owned by the hosts of a popular esports YouTube channel.

CSGO Lounge had resisted the growing clamor to crack down on skins betting for weeks, but gave in to pressure from Valve, the company whose API allows skins sites to operate in the first place. The company will also be cracking down on other forms of unregulated esports betting on its digital properties.

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California Online Poker Update: 5-Year ‘Bad Actor’ Ban for PokerStars?

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 19 August 2016 3:15 pm

California’s slow march towards regulated online poker continued this week with a proposed 5-year ban on bad actors, such as PokerStars, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The amendment was added to AB 2863 earlier this week by the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced). Representative Gray’s proposal would prevent any operator that accepted action from US players after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed into law in 2006.

Gray’s proposal is clearly aimed at the crown jewel of the Amaya Gaming empire, PokerStars. PokerStars, the venerable and controversial king of the online poker world, is widely known to have worked US players after the UIGEA went into effect.

The ban, which is also known as a penalty box, is a feature of Golden State regulated gambling that is supported, and was almost certainly written at the behest of, California’s power tribal gaming interests. A coalition of these groups, led by the Pachanga Band, has been lobbying California lawmakers in an effort to keep competitive online operators out of the California gaming market.

The fact that lobbyists were able to work a bad actor clause into the latest version of AB 2863 suggests that tribal gaming is definitely running the show when it comes to California gaming.

Of course their efforts to shut down online poker may not have ever been necessary in the first place. AB 2863 has never had a lot of support from lawmakers and every version of it that’s been introduced so far has been killed in committee.

 

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Update: Gambling on the US Presidential Election

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 17 August 2016 3:15 pm

There’s no question that the 2016 US Presidential election is completely bizarre, even by the standards of the worldwide gambling industry.

While the election is definitely off the rails, there are a number of big issues on the horizon that could impact operators and punters alike. These issues include the passage of a national online gambling bill; the status of daily fantasy sports; and, possibly, a decision by the Supreme Court on regulated sports betting.

These are huge issues that could be seriously impacted by the outcome of the election.

For example, if Donald Trump loses in a landslide, there’s a chance that the Democrats could retake control of the House and Senate. In that scenario, the chances of passing a national online gambling bill, one that makes life easier for operators who won’t have to navigate a patchwork of state-by-state regulations, goes up dramatically.

A Clinton presidency also has the potential to reshape the US Supreme Court. Over the next four years she could wind up appointing as many as three currently serving Justices are over the age of 75. Would Clinton appointees have a more liberal outlook towards sports betting? That’s a real possibility.

While Clinton has never shown much interesting gambling (she voted for UIGEA), she’s also not likely to support anything that Sheldon Adelson endorses like the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).

Should Trump take the highest office in the land, it’s reasonably safe to say, that he would be pretty friendly to the gambling industry. Trump has spoken out in favor of regulated online gambling in the past and, of course, he also once owned a casino himself.

Trump’s ties with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are well known, but whether or not he’d grant his friend any political favors, such as softening the Fed’s view on sports betting, remains to be seen.

Despite, or perhaps because of, his days in the gambling business Trump doesn’t necessarily have the support of executives within the business. Recently, MGM CEO Jim Murren wrote an endorsement of Clinton in the USA Today. Murren, a lifelong Republican, said he didn’t think Trump had the temperament or business acumen that’s required of American Presidents.

As for the vice-presidential candidates, neither one is really known as a friend to gambling. Neither Mike Pence nor Tim Kaine is in favor of regulated online gambling. Both men reluctantly oversaw expansion of land-based gambling during their times as governors of Indiana and Virginia.

 

 

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David Baazov Resigns from Amaya Gaming CEO Post

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 15 August 2016 3:16 pm

Troubled Amaya Gaming CEO, David Baazov is resigning his post just months after taking a leave of absence to fight charges of insider trading. While Baazov’s move came as a surprise to the gambling world, it was welcomed with open arms by Amaya Gaming shareholders.

Baazov announced his big move on Friday afternoon and the company quickly announced that Rafi Ashkenazi would be stepping up into Amaya Gaming’s top spot. Ashkenazi has been acting as the company’s interim CEO since March, when news broke that Baazov was being charged with a slew of financial crimes in Quebec.

In a statement to the Globe and Mail, Amaya Gaming officials explained the importance of the move saying:

It became clear to Mr. Baazov that Amaya needed to secure a permanent steward for the company. Even if the company is engaged in an ongoing strategic process, it needs a clear leader to run the day-to-day operations.

Baazov’s departure ends a tumultuous period in the gaming giant’s history that was marked by sky-high successes and a slew of legal battles that threatened to undo everything Baazov achieved. Of course Baazov’s biggest achievement at Amaya Gaming was securing the purchase of PokerStars from the US Department of Justice. That deal was worth something north of $ 5 billion (USD).

Had his legal troubles not sideswiped his ambitions, Baazov was also in the process of transitioning Amaya Gaming from a publicly held, to a privately held company.

Though his resignation was effective as of August 11, Baazov’s absence won’t have much impact on Amaya Gaming’s day-to-day operations.

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PAGCOR Continues War on Philippines Gambling Industry

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 13 August 2016 3:15 pm

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) launched two recent attacks on the country’s online, and land-based, gambling industries.

Operators in the island nation that survive PAGCOR’s purge will find themselves trapped in a market without a boatload of tax breaks they’ve relied on for years.

Earlier this week, PAGCOR announced plans to revoke a popular plan that slashed the percentage of gross income and revenue that’s used to determine licensing fees.  In some cases, operators will see their fees rise as much as much as 15%. The old rates had been in effect since 2014.

PAGCOR’s change of heart regarding licensing fees comes right on the heels of its decision to revoke, or simply not renew, dozens of gaming licenses for Philippines, and Philippines facing, online and land-based casinos.

PAGCOR boss Andrea Domingo says her agency’s action are all at the behest of newly elected Philippines President Robert Duterte. Duterte, a law-and-order candidate in the mold of Vladimir Putin, has declared all out war on gambling and other vices that don’t jibe with his moral code.

Gambling is not, however, the only vice on Duterte’s radar; illegal drug users and dealers have also been the targets to his administration’s wrath.

According to a report in the Guardian, more than 1,000 people associated with illegal drug use and sales have been subject to extrajudicial killings since Duterte took office. Even worse, the Guardian reports that the vigilantes death squads and police doing this dirty work are working off lists of names compiled by local police departments with the blessings of the Duterte administration.

It’s Duterte’s belief that gambling is making Filipinos lazy and that collecting taxes from the industry is, somehow, difficult for government agencies.

 

 

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