Issue 306
July 24 - July 30, 2006
Volume 6
page 2

Jeff Simpson Sees Dangerous Trend in Nevada's Inaction on Growing Online Action

by Jeff Simpson - Our Partner at the Las Vegas Sun

LAS VEGAS, Nevada– Nevada gaming regulators need to get tough, in a hurry.

The state's Gaming Control Board takes great pride in being strict enforcers of the rules that govern Nevada gambling.

And they are - for the most part.

But the meteoric growth of the poker business has blinded the gaming industry's cops, and they seem unable to deal with the new realities that have accompanied the rise of Internet poker.

Playing poker online for money is illegal in Nevada, according to state law, and the federal government says it is illegal everywhere in the United States, a stance the online poker business hopes the courts will overturn.

Nevada gaming regulators originally took a tough stand against Internet poker.

They forced prospective gaming license applicants to sell their ownership stakes in online casinos. They prohibited poker tournaments in state casinos from licensing online poker rooms to conduct official satellite tournaments that send winners to play in Nevada events.

They did so because almost every top Web poker room accepts bets from the United States, including Nevada.

Regulators considered the poker Web sites to be lawbreakers.

That was when the online poker business was still relatively small. But after Tennessee accountant Chris Moneymaker parlayed his $40 PokerStars satellite victory into a (non-officially sanctioned) entry into the 2003 World Series of Poker championship event at Binion's Horseshoe and took down the top prize of $2.5 million, the online business exploded.

Online poker sites ran countless commercials on the dozens of hours of televised poker shows available each week.

The revenue stream fueled more poker TV shows. With Moneymaker's win and the TV exposure, Web poker boomed, as did revenue in Las Vegas poker rooms and the tournaments they held.

The World Series of Poker championship event drew 839 entries in 2003, a number that jumped to 2,576 in 2004, 5,519 last year and is expected to reach 8,000 or more this year.

Those skyrocketing numbers have been driven by online sites.

One week ago PokerStars held a single online satellite tournament that will send an incredible 234 players into this year's WSOP $10,000-entry championship event. Dozens of other sites will send thousands more entrants.

What I find astonishing is that the Gaming Control Board allows the properties hosting major poker events to ally themselves so closely with poker Web sites that invite players to break the law.

At the WSOP, now under way at the Rio, Harrah's sold official hospitality rooms just steps away from the poker competition to several online poker rooms: Doyle's Room, Bodog and Ultimatebet. Other sites rent luxurious suites at the host hotel, the Rio.

• • •

From the felt tops of the WSOP poker tables, which feature a PartyPoker logo, to World Series media director Nolan Dalla, also a top spokesman for PokerStars, the incestuous relationship between legal Nevada casino poker and illegal online poker has never been clearer.

Harrah's can get away with the close partnerships because the online operators use their Web sites' "dot net" suffix, meaning that they call themselves by the names of their "educational" sister sites that offer free play instead of poker for money., where you can bet, with a wink becomes, where you can't. So Harrah's isn't technically partnering with illegal operators, and regulators aren't technically allowing a rule-breaking partnership.

Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander says the distinction between the dot-coms and the dot-nets matters and that regulators don't see a problem with the dot-net marketing at the WSOP.

He's wrong. The dot-net distinction shouldn't make a difference. Nevada casino operators shouldn't be partnering with illegal online casino operators - or their shadow sites.

It's time for Nevada regulators to say enough is enough and prove they still have the backbone to stand up to the big money of online casinos.




Betfair Poker Launches Leaderboard
Press Release

Betfair Poker has launched the most comprehensive skill-based leaderboard structure of any poker room. "Betfair Poker leaderboards" reveal the top players in ten disciplines of tournament and cash play.

Players are ranked according to their financial success at the tables, so only the most profitable will appear.

Betfair Poker has pledged half a million dollars a year. Every month, thirty thousand dollars will be given away to the top players from each of the ten leaderboards. There will also be a freeroll for a seat at the Betfair Asian Poker Tour in Singapore for players in the top three of each leaderboard.

When players join a game at Betfair Poker, they can look at the leaderboards and know immediately if they are up against one of the elite.

Some players consider this information will give their opponents an advantage and have opted out. But most are thrilled to be able to intimidate the opposition and build their reputation at the tables. Leaderboard players might get away with a few more bluffs as others will know to tread carefully when facing one of the big guns.

Although, as Betfair's Ben Fried says, there is a flip side. "The Betfair Poker leaderboards add another dimension to assessing your opponent. The top players might be able to steal a few extra pots as people respect their raises, but they can also get caught out by bluffing on the basis of their reputation."

The competitive banter in the Betfair Forum has already begun as players scan for their name in this lucrative competition for bragging rights.

Internet Betting Firm Freezes Trading After Arrest
As reported by the Guardian

LONDON, England -- "The UK internet gaming company BetonSports today suspended trading in its shares, after the arrest of its chief executive in the US.

"BetonSports also said it was making 'urgent enquiries' with the relevant US officials to clarify its position.

"Shares in the company plunged by as much as 24% yesterday, after it emerged that its chief executive, David Carruthers, was detained by US federal authorities on Sunday night, as he changed flights at Dallas en route to the company's headquarters in Costa Rica, from the UK.

"Mr Carruthers is being held in custody in Fort Worth, Texas, after a federal grand jury in the eastern district of Missouri issued a 22-count indictment against him, other individuals and four companies on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud. BetonSports has been unable to contact Mr Carruthers since his arrest.

"...Besides arresting Mr Carruthers, the US department of justice has issued a temporary restraining order requiring the company to stop taking sports bets from the US, and to return money held in wagering accounts to account holders in America..."

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July 16, 20 - 23, 30 - 31
August 6, 18, 19

Time: 8pm Saturday - Thursday, 9pm Friday

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For more information: (866) 80-SHOWS

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