Author: Petesede

Online Poker Black Friday payouts from the Justice Department coming soon

For many players the events of Black Friday, as it came to be known, feels like a lifetime ago.  On April 15th 2011 the Department of Justice stepped in and shut down a handful of online casinos that provided mainly online poker tournaments.  Mass arrests and asset seizures soon followed and in the end, thousands of players were left wondering if they would lose their money, be subject to arrest or neither.  Operators and representatives of the four casinos involved were charged with bank fraud, money laundering and violations of the relatively new Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The waters got muddy afterwards as one of the operators Full Tilt unraveled as an organization and two of the operators that were shut down has used poor accounting practiced and had merged customer accounts with their overall operating accounts which made government seizures and player refunds more difficult.  The first problem with Full Tilt was resolved when  PokerStars cut a somewhat unbelievable deal with the DOJ and paid a fine of over $500M which was to be used to refund players of both PokerStars and Full Tilt.   PokerStars would then assume management of what was formerly Full Tilt.  Not exactly the typical way to do a merger.  It took a few years, but most reports are that most if not all players from Full Tilt and PokerStars have received...

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DraftKings lose by winning in Massachusetts.

Major Daily Fantasy Sports provider DraftKings has spent millions of the dollars over the last few years mainly aimed at individual state legislatures in an attempt to become legal in major US states.  One of the leading technicalities they are trying to impress upon lawmakers is that what they provide is a game of skill, not gambling.  A special commission convened by the state of Massachusetts did not see it that way and while they recommended that the state legislature pass legislation to legalize and regulate Daily Fantasy Sports, at the same time they recommended that DFS be classified as gambling.  But in another twist, the same commission recommended that Massachusetts continue to prohibit online and real casino gambling. The victory is hollow for DraftKings for two reasons.  First it opens them up to be in a highly regulated industry within Massachusetts and be subject to extreme ´sin´ taxes.  But probably even more damaging is the fact that if the state legislature does follow the recommendations of the commission, it could be something other state legislatures use as their starting point when they consider legalization of DFS.  DraftKings as can be expected is not happy at the prospect of being able to operate in all 50 states, but be at the mercy of individual state legislatures when it comes to tax rates and regulations. DraftKings did not take the...

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Who knew how much 8oz gloves would change gambling

The historic fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conner McGregor has had all the twist and turns of a daytime soap opera over the last few years when rumors of the fight first began to appear.  In the early days, the fight was dubbed the ´Fight that has to be made´ just because of the insane amount of money everyone knew it would bring for everyone involved, or as McGregor would call it, ´red panties night´.    But once the fight was actually made, the odds-makers were put into a difficult position of placing odds on such an unusual event.  The early, and still prevalent, conventional wisdom is that Mayweather is too good of a defensive fighter to be hit by an amateur boxer and that Mayweather will either make it an easy 12 round decision, or score a KO by scoring a huge number of weak punches. But in their efforts to sell PPVs, both fighters seem to be doing their best to make this appear as it will actually be an exciting fight with an unpredictable outcome.  In recent weeks, Mayweather has made remarks about having lost a step or feeling slower than in the past, along with making comments about the respect he has for McGregor´s one-punch power.  At the same time, Team McGregor has leaked video showing the UFC champion roughing up, and knocking down...

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Las Vegas still doesn´t have a handle on E-Sport gambling

In recent years casinos in Las Vegas have caught onto the fact that E-Sports are a viable means to reach younger people and attract them to the mega-capital of gambling.  The games range from fighting games, to Real-Time strategy games to sports games, no matter which genre, the competition is high and the amount of fans willing to travel to see live events is growing.  The growth has been so rapid, and the target audiance so elusive for traditional casino games, that Las Vegas is going all in on providing venues for E-Sports.  Downtown Las Vegas already has the Neonopolis, an expansive E-sports arena, while MGM is in the design phase for their own E-sports arena.  The MGM did lead the way, however, with its´skill-based gaming area inside the MGM Grand. As the focus and growth of competitive E-sports continues, the desire for legal, above-the-board gambling has grown with it.  For now, gambling is mainly limited to side wagers between two parties.  This type of betting is legal in Las Vegas as long as their is no ´house cut´ going to anyone.  In the last few years more than side wagers have been available at major tournaments where organized, underground gambling is available through a few organizations that operate illegally at the tournaments.  The problem for casinos is that E-Sports are not well regulated and thus far the Las...

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California joins states ready for Supreme Court sports betting decision

Grandfather is probably not a word you would think of when talking about the Supreme Court or sports betting, but in the history of gambling in the USA, the word grandfather has had huge effects that can be counted in the tens of billions of dollars.  In legal terms, grandfather is a term used mainly to express the exception from a law by organizations that were doing something before it became illegal.  In many cases, a new law will allow people to continue doing what they were doing, but will not allow new people to do it.  It was the exemption for sports betting that many believe allowed Las Vegas to thrive while Atlantic City died.  Because Las Vegas had sports betting before it was made illegal, they were allowed to continue offering it, while states like New Jersey were forbidden from starting up sports betting.  The law created a near monopoly for Las Vegas. It is that monopoly that is at the heart of this years case to be heard by the Supreme Court where New Jersey has finally found enough support to force the Supreme Court to hear the case.   But other states are watching carefully.  New Jersey has passed legislation that allows sport betting, but of course the federal ban prevents casinos from actually allowing it.  Many outsiders and legal expert believe that the Supreme...

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Advances in electronic monitoring cutting down on free booze at casinos

In another sign that technology is changing gambling in unforeseeable ways,  some of the major casinos in Las Vegas have begun monitor free drinks and tying them to their comps system.  In recent months, the Golden Nugget and Caesers Entertainment has joined a handful of smaller casinos in monitoring patrons gambling habits and linking it to their free drinks.  As the ability to monitor customers electronically becomes easier and cheaper, expect more casinos to require customers to request monitoring in order to receive free drinks. Free drinks have always been a draw for casinos, but often has attracted people who go to the casinos mainly for the free drinks and entertainment, rather than for the gambling which is where the casinos make their profits.  Some of my own personal experiences with gambling where driving to Atlantic City with $5 in my pocket and spending a few hours in the casinos with friends drinking for free.  From the casinos standpoint, the free drinks were also believed to be a way to keep customers in the casino longer, and maybe not be able to make the best financial decisions.  Free drinks plus nearby ATM machines often result in increased profits for casinos. It seems though that the casinos have done some more analysis, and with the cost effectiveness of electronic monitoring, now they feel it is the time to try to...

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Tourist gambling becomes more dangerous as new organized crime emerges

For most of the  past 150 years, organized crime and gambling have gone together like peanut butter and jelly.  In the early days when gambling was not legal, it was the mob that ran many of the largest underground gambling houses in the country and as gambling became legal, it was the mob that had control, in one way or another, over most of the casinos that opened.  Today, the former organized crime operations handle many legal businesses in some of the biggest gambling towns in the country and still exert control over much of the gambling industry.   However a new breed of organized crime has emerged, one focused not at allowing an illegal service to happy customers, but instead at targeting customers of the now legal gambling establishments. The new organized crime groups are committing crimes such as cyber-fraud, identity theft, robbery and kidnapping, all targeting specific customers who travel to casinos to gamble.  Physical security has always been an issue and casinos and their big winners have always been a target for robberies, and as time has gone by, the casinos have adapted to crimes against their customers.  But many of the ways that casinos have used to fight physical crimes have resulted on more emphasis on electronic commerce, and as expected, the criminals have adapted and now electronic identity theft and cyber-theft is on the...

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Current Bovada Promotions and Special Events, July 2017

If you are new to online casinos, you may quickly find out that many online casinos offer very similar products and provide the same level of security and game selection.  In the end, many times the major thing that differentiates the casinos is their promotions and loyalty programs.  Some players will want to enjoy huge new player bonuses, while others may want to build their loyalty with the casino in order to earn lucrative perks down the line.  This article is going to outline the promotions and loyalty program of Bovada Casino, one of the most respected out there.  With this article, everything is presented in a concise format with special attention to the restrictions and requirements so that you can make an informed decision without missing any important facts that might be apparent on the casino´s own website. Bovada Casino offers two different new player bonuses depending on if your deposits are made with Bitcoins or not, with the Bitcoin promotion being more substantial.  For players making normal non-Bitcoin deposits, the promotion is still very generous, offering a 100% match on your first three deposits up to a maximum of $3000.  This comes with a 25x play-through requirement which can be fulfilled using any games except craps, with some games offering fractional credit.  With Bitcoins, the casino match is improved to 150% with a maximum of $4500.  The...

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Las Vegas East? Viva Vladivostok Russia!

Russian President Vladimar Putin would not be someone you would think of when talking about gambling or casinos.  Once quoted as saying that casinos preyed on the dimwitted and compulsive, Putin has essentially outlawed gambling for Russians, but apparently he is more than happy to profit from dimwitted and compulsive foreigners.  The Russian Government under Putin has poured billions of dollars into the eastern seaport of Vladivostok in an effort to transform it into a clone of Las Vegas and Macau.  Vladivostok is located on the pacific ocean just north of China, the Koreas and Japan and across the ocean from Alaska and British Colombia. The selection of Vladivostok as the destination is an ideal strategic location because of the proximity to three economic powerhouses in South Korea, China and Japan, all of which have very stringent restrictions against gambling inside their own borders.   The situation is similar to what occurred with Windsor, Canada, which is located just across the border and with easy access to several US states with strict gambling laws. At this point ( Summer 2017) there is only one casino operating in Vladivostok, with between four to eight more in various states of construction or planning.   It is obvious from the restaurants and themes that the target audience are rich asians traveling north rather than Russians traveling east.   It goes so far...

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Jeff Sessions recuses himself after revelations regarding personal lawyer

Is the glass of water half-full, or half-empty?   When evaluating the shocking turn of events this month in regards to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the American Wire Act it is hard to feel very optimistic.  Just a brief history, in 2011 President Obama´s Department of Justice decided that large parts of the American Wire Act did not apply to the internet, which instead was ruled to be a public utility rather than a media source.   Basically their decision was that the internet should be treated more like electricity rather than public TV.  This decision drastically changed a lot of the regulations placed on internet service providers and helped protect privacy and also increase the ease of providing internet service to rural areas.   At the time, then Senator Jeff Sessions was ´shocked´ by the decision.  Fast forward six years and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, very quickly in the Trump Administration has been a strong proponent of the so-called  RAWA ( Restoration of the American Wire Act) which basically does nothing more than return the internet to where it was in 2010 with an added green-light for ISPs to collect and sell personal information about customers and their browsing habits.  Another part of RAWA would directly go after online gambling at a federal level. However, early last month, revelations began to appear that Jeff Sessions had...

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Mayweather gets the odds, McGregor gets the bets.

Floyd Mayweather Jr is a heavy favorite in the mega-fight next month at the Las Vegas MGM Grande, but that is not stopping people from betting on McGregor who some reports are saying is pulling more than a 2 to 1 advantage in number of bets made.  Of course this could easily be explained by the heavy betting odds in favor of Mayweather, where a $50,000 bet would net less than $7000. As the trash-talk and wagering information gets heated up, it will be interesting to see how the lines move.  While McGreggor is getting a lot more bets made on him, they are mainly small bets made by new or infrequent gamblers,  the big and more experienced money is overwhelmingly going for Floyd Mayweather Jr and most boxing experts believe it is unlikely that McGregor will be able to even touch Mayweather who is currently 49-0 and who is considered by man the best defensive boxer of all time, and many say the greatest overall boxer of all time. Of course the one-punch power of McGregor is almost legendary at this point, with the highlight being a 13 second, one-punch knock-out of long-time champion Jose Aldo.   But of course the question remains if McGregor will be able to even touch Mayweather who has rarely been hit hard in his 49 professional fights, and certainly not in the...

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Hard Rock Atlantic City set to open in late spring 2018

As any regular gambler can tell you,  winnings come and go in cycles and the good days can be really good, and the bad days really bad, and the same can be said for the famous Trump Taj Mahal which seems to be set for another high point next summer as it re-opens under the famous Hard Rock name.   Now President Trump made the Taj Mahal a spectacle, well before it ever opened its doors.   The casino was reported to have cost more than a billion dollars to build, and financial planners familiar with Atlantic City casinos have stated that at that price tag, the Taj Mahal would have had to earn over a million dollars in profits every day just to break even. Of course that did not happen and the Taj Mahal quickly became somewhat of a joke among the Atlantic City community as repairs were not made, contractors were not paid and even the local unions were not allowed to operate within the casinos, all with a failed purpose of keeping the overpriced casino profitable, which it never was.  The Taj Mahal originally opened under a slew of controversy and misinformation and in the end, the local zoning regulators prevented a huge section of the casino, including most of its´slot machines, to be closed at the time of its´grand opening because of building violations....

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Marijuana legalization in Nevada creates dilemas for casinos

In last Novembers election, voters from Nevada decided to legalize personal, recreational use of marijuana.  While the vote passed in November, legalization does not begin until July 1st, which has given casinos and the Nevada Gaming Commission little time to prepare for what will certainly be a major event in history of Las Vegas gambling.  For reasons unknown, the Nevada Gaming Commission took and anti-pot stance and continues to warn casinos against allowing marijuana use on their properties.   The powerful gaming commission even went so far as to say that casinos that allow marijuana use could be putting their licensing in jeopardy since marijuana is still illegal at a federal level. Some relief and sanity came recently when by chance, the owner of a casino in Colorado filed for a gambling license in Nevada and was questioned by the five person panel.   Of course Colorado was the first state to make recreational marijuana legal and so far studies have shown little negative impacts, but with significant upside tax revenues for the state.  When asked about the interaction with legalized marijuana and casinos, Jacobs Entertainment representatives stated that at their Colorado casinos, marijuana is treated similarly to alcohol.   When an incident occurs with an employee, they are tested for both alcohol and marijuana and disciplinary action is taken accordingly.  This is of course the stance taken by...

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Realtime Gaming continues the move toward mobile, online games

In the past year, Realtime Gaming has been updating its´older games to allow them to be played through websites and on mobile devices rather than just through the downloadable application.   Realtime Gaming, which is one of the earliest pioneers at providing online casino games, has gone back through they library of games only available as a download and is updating the most popular games.  Back in the earliest days of online casinos, games were not available for mobile devices, and there were security concerns about allowing games to be played through a browser, so most casinos operated by requiring the player to download a computer application that ran the casino games.   But obviously because of the rapid increase in the use of mobile devices, as well as more techniques to make website flash games secure, having to download a program to your desktop seems very archaic.   But rather than just retiring these older, earliest games, Realtime Gaming has gone back and given them a facelift. The two old but popular games that have been refitted for mobile and website play are Double Ya Luck and Penguin Power.   Double Ya Luck has consistently been a favorite at Realtime Gaming Casinos because it features a very elaborate bonus level system which operates more like a board game that a slot machine.  But one of the biggest reasons...

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Microgaming progressive jackpots again on the rise.

One of the more exciting aspects of online gambling is the huge jackpots available from progressive jackpots, especially those administered by the largest gaming developers such as Microgaming.  In March, jackpots were hit in excess of $9.5 million dollars which triggers a reset of the jackpots.  However, due to the publicity created by the winning jackpots, the new jackpot is already pushing $9M again. The Progressive slot machine in question is called Mega Moolah and it available at almost every online casino that offers games made by Microgaming.   Progressive slots are unique in that not only do the jackpots increased until someone wins them, but also because the data and jackpot is shared across multiple online casinos, even those with no affiliation with each other.  This sharing of resources means that jackpots grow rapidly since there can sometimes be more than a dozen online casinos contributing to the same jackpot total. As of early in 2017, Mega Moolah has paid out nearly $200M in main jackpot winnings to about three dozen winners, with the average winner walking away with about half a million dollars.   But as publicity rises of the big winnings that can be won at these progressive slots, the jackpots grow more rapidly after each reset.  With Mega Moolah the reset value is only $40K, but it usually takes only a few days now until...

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