Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Frustration, outrage, charges of blackmail. These were just some of the sentiments expressed by online poker players as they watched the events of the last few days unfold surrounding the long-awaited Alderney Gambling Control Commission hearing on the future of Full Tilt Poker. While these players didn’t expect to see their $150 million or so returned to them overnight, they had hoped to see some progress made, or have Full Tilt Poker feel the pressure of a tightening noose. Unfortunately, the hearing started off with massive media hype but ended in a sizzle after both sides ‘agreed’ to have the meeting postponed until September.

The meeting began in London this week, with a request by Full Tilt’s solicitor, Martin Heslop, to postpone the hearing, citing fears of jeopardizing ongoing buyout negotiations by interested European investors as a reason. He also asked for future meetings to be held in private, away from the eyes of the media and players who were not only invited, but also encouraged to attend by the AGCC.

The Alderney Commission discussed the request for a private hearing, and an hour later, frustrated players and the media were ushered out of the room. There are no minutes of the meeting that transpired between the two sides in the private hearing, and the only statement that ended the day was that the meeting was going to be adjourned until September 15th. Poker forums, however, have noted that one of the reasons why the AGCC capitulated to these demands is that Heslop told the commission in no uncertain terms that Full Tilt would promise to pay back the GBP 250,000 in unpaid licensing fees owed to the commission if it granted the motion to have the hearing adjourned. The media went one step further and called this blackmail.

Watch this space as more details of the ongoing Full Tilt saga.

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Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Late last year, DC Councilmember Michael A. Brown added a provision to a budget bill that essentially allowed online gambling within the jurisdiction. When Congress did not object to the provision, it became law in April this year, making Washington DC the first jurisdiction in the United States to allow online gambling.

However, now that push comes to shove, there are efforts being made to repeal this provision. The Democrat Councilmember representing DC’s Ward 6, Tommy Wells, announced this week that he is making plans to introduce legislation after the summer that would put a halt to online gambling before it gets off the ground, and is hoping to get the provision repealed.

Wells claims that he did not fully understand the consequences of the provision when it was entered into the budget bill by his colleague, Brown and that he objected to the way that it was introduced.

He told the media: “It’s not good government. It’s not transparent.”

Following a hearing prompted by the Council’s chairman for the committee of finance and revenue, Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 3), the DC Lottery agreed to delay the implementation of online gambling until the beginning of the fiscal year, in the fall. Another hearing on the matter will be held in October and it is said that Wells is not keen to repeal the provision altogether until more information is heard by the lottery group.

Evans said: “I’m not going to do it until I’m very comfortable that this thing is OK. It could be a long time or not. I don’t have a timetable in mind. It’s not going to go into effect certainly until October, if at all.”

The DC Lottery said that it plans to implement an online gambling model that would limit anyone under the age of 19, and to cap deposits in accounts at $250 per week. The platform is already being designed by Intralot, and the idea has the potential to generate $13 million for the local government over the next four years.

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Friday, June 3rd, 2011

The long arm of the US law reached the long arm of the law in a poker raid on Thursday. The FBI busted a poker ring that was running in New York for some time, and found that some of those involved were police officers and fire fighters from the city. All in all, fifteen people were arraigned on federal gambling charges, including a New York City Police Department detective assigned to Brooklyn, a retired NYPD Sergeant and two active Brooklyn firefighters.

Between February 2010 and up until recent weeks, the 15 are suspected of sending text messages to gamblers and inviting them to four gambling parlor which they ran in Staten Island. They netted at least $2K a day in their activities. Some of the defendants acted as dealers, while others recruited players.

Action has been taken against the active policemen and firefighters. “We suspended the two members pending charges and it’s under investigation,” said police commissioner Ray Kelly and fire commissioner, Salvatore Cassano. “And as we get more information, as things work out, we’ll look at further disciplinary action if it’s warranted.” The active members were suspended without pay for 30 days.

The case has become particularly high profile because it deals with law enforcement officers and city employees. The FBI will want to make an example of these men and show that even policemen are not above the law. However, lawyers for the defendants argue that “it’s all allegations of playing poker, or playing cards.”

“That’s the bottom line,” noted one layer. “Nothing else.”

Another lawyer said: “I don’t understand the expenditure of resources just for a card game.”

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