What Impact Will Trump China Talk Have on Worldwide Gambling Industry?

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 30 January 2017 3:15 pm

How long will it be before Donald Trump’s tough talk on China has a real impact on the worldwide gambling industry, specifically in areas controlled by China like Macau?

It’s a fascinating question that was examined in some depth in a recent, and fascinating, editorial titled, Las Vegas Sands in Danger as Trump Threatens War Over Chinese Islands, by Rafi Farber that appeared recently on CalvinAyre.com.

The basis for Farber’s article is Trump’s increasingly belligerent tone when speaking of disputed islands in the South China Sea. China, not surprisingly, has said that it will protect its “irrefutable” sovereignty of the disputed territories. It doesn’t take a degree in international relations to see where this conflict could go.

Farber quite correctly points out that one of the first corporate victims of a trade or traditional war between the US and China would US-owned casinos on Macau like the Las Vegas Sands.

The Sands, as you might recall, is owned by Sheldon Adelson who also one of the GOP’s top donors. Adelson donated around $ 25 million to Trump-related super PACs during the last election cycle, according to the Guardian.

A question worth asking at this point is, how much influence does that $ 25 million buy Adelson in the Trump White House? Is it enough to get him to stop antagonizing the Chinese? Trump is often tough to predict, but Adelson does wield a great deal of influence in GOP circles.

It also seems reasonable to suggest that if Adelson’s interests in Macau are suffering due to a trade war, he will probably focus more efforts on his pet project, preventing the spread of internet gambling in the United States. This goal could easily be accomplished by getting Congress, which is controlled by the GOP, to take an active interest in Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA).

Should RAWA pass into law, the embryonic US online gambling industry would be shut down indefinitely.

Farber also points out that a trade war with China would have a significant impact on the US economy, including a spike in inflation due to a lack of cheap imported goods that come from (you guessed it) China.

With fewer dollars in their pockets for household goods, US consumers aren’t likely to be spending nearly as much at entertainment complexes like casinos.

In short, a trade war between the US and China would have a palpable, and likely devastating, impact on the worldwide gambling industry. The implications of a ground or naval war between the two superpowers are almost too awful to contemplate.

 

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Pennsylvania and Michigan Ready to Join US Sports Betting Fight

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 28 January 2017 3:16 pm

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Michigan are gearing up to join New Jersey in the fight for legalized sports betting in the United States. There’s just one catch, they want New Jersey to foot the bill.

Early this week, Pennsylvania State Rep. Robert Matzie wrote in a memo to fellow lawmakers that he’s planning on introducing legislation that allow the Keystone State to offer sports betting, should it become legal at the federal level.

In Michigan, Rep. Robert Kosowski is reviving his efforts to put a measure on the ballot that would allow his state’s citizens to approve sports betting in casinos. This measure also depends on a repeal of the federal prohibition on wagering.

Neither Rep. Matzie nor Rep. Kosowski has expressed any interest in helping New Jersey actually pay for the court battle, which has already cost the state millions of dollars.

For New Jersey politicians, the influx of new allies is something of a double-edged sword. While more support for regulated sports betting from other states is a good from a public relations standpoint, it’s also bad news for Atlantic City’s troubled casinos.

One major factor in the decline of Atlantic City has been increased competition from casinos in neighboring states, particularly Pennsylvania. And anyone who thinks Rep. Matzie is joining the fight on principle should take a look at his comments on the subject, as reported on by LegalSportsReport:

Our Commonwealth is uniquely positioned to oversee sports betting in all its forms, and should be ready to act should the federal ban be lifted. As evidenced by yet another record setting year of gaming revenues, our licensed facilities are thriving. Legalizing sports betting will simply enable Pennsylvania to regulate a multimillion dollar industry that already exists.

In short, New Jersey’s effort to save Atlantic City through legal sports betting is something that could actually hasten the demise of even more of its few remaining casinos. That is the dictionary definition of the word irony.

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Australian Online Poker Alliance Ready to Fight Poker Ban

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 26 January 2017 3:15 pm

Australia’s online poker community is gearing up for the fight of their lives and Australian Online Poker Alliance is leading the charge.

The grassroots organization, which tracks its origin to a thread on the TwoPlusTwo poker forum, is engaging in a range of civic activism including an online petition. They’re also using their website to help direct their supporters to their local elected officials.

While it’s unclear exactly how much support the AOPA has, it’s pretty clear that they’ve got a tremendous fight on their hands.

Australia’s Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, recently introduced a bill to Parliament that was aimed at snuffing out in-play sports betting and unlicensed gambling operators. In the wake of the bill’s introduction, several big-time international operators, including 888poker, pulled out of the Australian market. Like most international, and above board, operators, 888 is loathe to operate in a grey market once regulators begin stringently enforcing anti-gambling laws.

The AOPA’s answer to Tudge’s legislation, and their message to lawmakers, is that online poker is being unfairly lumped in with a perfectly legitimate in-play sports betting ban. The group also wants lawmakers to know that poker players who play in a regulated market are offered a great deal more protection than those who wind up playing on black market sites.

Australian online poker players are also angry at the aspect of losing the game they love. AOPA media spokesman Joseph Del Duca says that support goes far deeper than just a few hardcore grinders:

The support has ranged from people of all ages from right across the country. It just shows that poker is truly a game which can be enjoyed by everyone. This is why we are fighting so hard to keep it.

While it’s far too early in the game to speculate on how much support the AOPA has, there is a precedent for their action, the Poker Players Alliance in the United Stats. This group, which isn’t quite as grassroots as the AOPA has proven to be an effective lobbying force in Washington that has kept anti-gambling laws like the Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA) off the books.

Whether the AOPA will have similar success remains to be seen.

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Poker Chip Counterfeiter Released from Prison After Serving Eight Months

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 22 January 2017 3:16 pm

Christian Lugardi is a free man after serving eight months in prison for using counterfeit chips during a poker tournament at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

Whatever luck Lugardi, age 42,  may or may not have had at the poker tables is  dwarfed by his incredible luck when it comes to the prison system.

Lugardi was originally sentenced to serve three to five years on two counts of copyright infringement and trafficking in counterfeit labels. Though the sentences were to be served concurrently, Lugardi still walked out of the clink after serving less than a year.

He also caught a break in avoiding any publicity when he was released last July as the poker media is only recently caught wind of the news through a posting on PokerFraudAlert.

Unfortunately, this was not Lugardi’s first brush with the law. The hapless criminal had previous run-ins involving the importation of counterfeit DVDs from China. He also faced counterfeiting charges for making fake Borgata chips.

Lugardi’s most recent legal troubles stemmed from his actions during the 2014 Borgata Winter Poker Open $ 2 Million Guarantee in Atlantic City. Casino officials very quickly figured out that someone had used fake chips during the tournament and cancelled the tournament. Shortly after, New Jersey law enforcement officials issued a warrant for Lugardi’s arrest.

One week later, Lugardi was arrested at an Atlantic City motel. During that same period, plumbers at the Atlantic City Harrah’s removed $ 2.6 million worth of Lugardi’s counterfeit chips from a clogged sewer line.

The incident, known as Chipgate in poker circles, was a brazen attempt to cheat the system that is certain to earn Lugardi both lifetime notoriety, and a lifetime ban from any credible casino.

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Philippines Authorities Begin Deporting Chinese Gambling Workers

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 20 January 2017 3:22 pm

Philippines immigration authorities have begun the process of deporting more than 1,300 Chinese nationals arrested during a crackdown on illegal gambling operations.

The Chinese were working for casino magnate Jack Lam when the arrests occurred.  Lam, who has been targeted by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as part of his war on online gambling, escaped the country and has been on the lam for nearly a month.

According to a report on CalvinAyre.com, approximately 259 of the 1,316 who were initially arrested in the raid on Lam’s call center have already been sent home. Authorities have promised to send the remaining workers home, “as soon as possible.”

Most of the workers involved in the incident were charged with overstaying tourist visas and working for an illegal gambling enterprise.

Philippine law enforcement appears to be taking it easy on the workers, but is still gunning for Lam’s incarceration. President Duterte has also made public his opinion that Lam not only ran an illegal gambling operation, but also that he attempted to bribe immigration officials.

Arresting Lam will likely be difficult as he is a very well-connected player in the international casino industry with very deep pockets.

A small number of the arrested Chinese, about 40, have claimed that they were mislead about the nature of the work they’d be doing when they arrived in the Philippines. They claim that they were led to be believe that they’d be working in a call center, but did not know that they would be working for an online casino.

Philippine immigration authorities have stated that they only holdup in returning the rest of the Chinese to their homes has been difficulty in obtaining plane tickets for them.

 

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Supreme Court Delay Boosts NJ Sports Betting Hopes

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 18 January 2017 3:17 pm

The State of New Jersey’s dreams of legalizing sports betting were boosted slightly on Tuesday when the US Supreme Court asked the US Solicitor General to file a brief on the matter.

It’s a move that will actually delay the court’s decision as to whether it will take on the case at all, but it’s also given the New Jersey gambling industry a reason to be optimistic.

The court’s decision means that the Justices want to have more information on the case from their own research department, the US Department of Justice and the Solicitor General.

Unfortunately, for anyone who was hoping for a quick decision, the US does not currently have a Solicitor General. Thanks to the transition of power from the Obama administration to the incoming administration, that position is still waiting to be filled and it could be months before it actually is filled.

While they’re not crazy about waiting, the Garden State’s gambling boosters were feeling optimistic about the court’s most recent decision/delay. In a statement to NJ.com, State Senator Ray Lesniak laid out the situation saying:

Obviously, the justices are split and want to delve into this issue more deeply. That’s a good sign. What’s bad about this is it’s going to delay any decision for six months, and maybe even more. But it’s worth the wait.

Legal sports betting would, indeed, be worth the wait. It would, for a short time anyways, give New Jersey racetracks and casinos a major advantage over their regional rivals. If successful, sports betting could literally save Atlantic City from its never-ending death spiral.

What impact legalized sports betting would have on the state’s massive illegal sports betting market remains to be seen.

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Virginia State Senator Seeks to Redefine Poker

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 16 January 2017 3:14 pm

A Virginia State Senator named Louise Lucas is looking to bring her state’s gambling laws into the 21st century by redefining poker as a game of skill.

It’s a strategy that’s worked in reforming gambling laws in other states, but it’s also a strategy she’s tried unsuccessfully at least twice in recent years.

On its face, there’s nothing particularly controversial about the contents of SB1400. At its core, the bill seeks to re-categorize poker as a game of skill with the following legal definition:

Poker games shall be deemed games of skill, and nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to make any such game illegal gambling.

While this redefinition should be music to the ears of reform-minded gamblers, it won’t be creating a land rush for professional poker players. Unfortunately, the bill holds poker tournaments to a legal limit of $ 100 a hand. Those games wouldn’t be held in traditional casinos either.

Under the terms of SB1400, Virginia’s only legal poker tournaments would take place at licensed bingo parlors. (Which would give Phil Ivey a chance to see if edge sorting work on bingo cards, too.)

While SB1400 isn’t exactly what most poker players would like to see, its passage would represent a major step forward for Dominion State gaming laws. Virginia is hardly the most gambling friendly state in the union and making even a few steps worth of progress would considered a major achievement.

Of course the chances of SB1400 actually passing into law are pretty slim. This is Lucas’ third attempt at re-defining Virginia poker. Both previous attempts were voted down.

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Atlantic City Casinos Post First Revenue Gains in a Decade

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 14 January 2017 3:16 pm

Atlantic City casino owners might be among the very small number of people who thought 2016 was a pretty awesome year.

After all, it was the first time in a decade that the city’s casinos actually posted positive revenue. Much of that success, it turns out, was due to an increase in internet gambling.

According to numbers released this week by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), Atlantic City casinos brought in $ 2.6 billion in 2016. That’s a jump of 1.5 percent over the previous year, and a rare bit of good news for the beleaguered casino destination.

In fact, only two casinos saw revenue drop last year and one of those two is the now-shuttered Trump Taj Mahal.

Of particular interest to casino affiliates is the massive rise in New Jersey’s internet gambling revenues. The Garden State’s online poker rooms and casinos saw a whopping 32 percent revenue boost over 2015 with $ 197 million in business.

The success of New Jersey’s online gambling industry is a positive sign that regulated online gambling has a place in the American gaming industry.

In a statement to the Asbury Park Press, Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission gushed over the good news saying:

These are some strong numbers, especially with all the bad news about Atlantic City’s ‘demise.’ There’s a lot of good news here. We have some stronger casinos now, and internet gambling continues to increase. The hope is we’re entering a stable environment now.

Given the decreased competition on the Boardwalk, it seems as thought there’s a real possibility that Atlantic City’s casino gains will continue through 2017.

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Antigua Vows to Stand Up to US on Gambling Dispute

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 12 January 2017 3:16 pm

Antigua’s Governor-General is vowing to stand up to the United States as he seeks to resolve a 12-year-old dispute between the two countries that started at the dawn of the online gambling era. Sir Rodney Williams made his remarks as he addressed the opening of a new session of Parliament.

Williams, and other members of the Antiguan government, have been working to solve the dispute for years, but have met with a wall of resistance from the United States.

Antiguans are particularly frustrated because the World Trade Organization ruled that the US should pay the Antigua $ 21 million for blocking the island’s right to free trade by blocking Americans’ access to internet gambling. The Americans have yet to pay a dime of that fine, which has grown to $ 250 million with interest.

Because the US is so utterly uninterested in paying off the Antiguans, the WTO ruled that the island nation could could collect the cash by selling US intellectual property. In short, the WTO gave Antigua the right to legally open its own version of iTunes that could operate until it made $ 250 million.

Not surprisingly, the Antiguans are loathe to take such a serious action against a country as large as the US, but they haven’t written off the possibility entirely. At the same time, Antiguan politicians like Williams are desperate to resolve the issue without resorting to stealing copyrights.

In a statement reported on by CalvinAyre.com, Williams said his country would ultimately have to do what it had to do to get its rightful compensation saying Antigua would:

…proceed to Parliament to adopt legislation consistent with the WTO ruling, allowing Antigua and Barbuda to nullify US copyright protections and to benefit from so doing.

Williams also expressed his desire to work out the dispute will President Barrack Obama was still in office, but would not rule out the possibility of making a deal with America’s next President.

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Australian Tennis Players Catch Bans and Fines for Match Fixing

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 10 January 2017 3:14 pm

Three Australian tennis players have been handed large fines and bans from the sport after being found guilty of match fixing.

The punishments, which were handed out by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), are meant to send a strong message to athletes in gambling-crazy Australia that match fixing of any kind will not be tolerated.

Nick Lindahl, Brandon Walkin and Isaac Frost were all found to be involved in match fixing episodes during an ITF futures tournament back in September of 2013.

Lindahl, 28, caught the worst of the TIU’s ire in the form of a seven-year ban from professional tennis events and a $ 47,000 fine. He was also found guilty of using corrupt conduct information by a criminal court and fined $ 1,000.

Whether Lindahl will care too much about the ban remains to be seen, seeing as how he retired from the sport back in 2013.

Brandon Walkin, 22, was handed a six month suspension for his role in the scandal, which involved passing information on to confederates behalf of Lindahl. His punishment was suspended and he will be free to compete so long as he stays out of further trouble.

Frost had actually already served a one-year suspension back in to 2013-2014 for his role in the scandal. He was initially accused of refusing to cooperate with the investigation by refusing to hand his cell phone over to investigators.

The TIU is an independent investigative board that’s funded by the the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA as part of an effort to root out corruption from the sport.

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