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Over the last 50 years, the World Series
of Poker has not only become the preeminent tournament poker series in the
world but also built up a lengthy and storied history. As this year marks their
Golden Anniversary, the WSOP will be commemorating the event with a special
evening of honors, called the “First Fifty,” a dinner and a VIP poker
Fifty” to Honor 50 Influential People
The “First Fifty” will look to honor 50
people who have become synonymous with the World Series of Poker. Either
through their play, their innovations in the tournament or some other means, a select
group has been convened to select the 50 people who will be honored in a
special dinner. This select group has a difficult task ahead of them as
choosing from the 50-year history of the WSOP ONLY 50 people to recognize is
going to be a tough task (more on that in a minute).
Along with these ceremonies to honor the “First
Fifty” will be a special dinner to be held in the Brasilia Room. On June 29 at
8PM, the dinner/awards ceremony will be conducted, with WSOP bracelet winners requested
to be in attendance. The awards will be hosted by the WSOP/ESPN broadcast team
of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, who should be able to provide some excellent
background on the nominees. Following these festivities, a VIP poker tournament
will be held to end the evening.
“From its founding by the
Binion family in 1970, no one could have foreseen what the modern-day World
Series of Poker has become,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “It’s
only fitting we take an evening out from poker playing to celebrate the great
game of poker and all the characters who have made a mark on the WSOP over the
past five decades.”
Categories to be Determined by Fan Vote
In addition to the “First Fifty,” the WSOP
is looking to the fans to make their choices for seven special moments in WSOP
history. Those categories are:
Most Memorable WSOP TV Hand
Best Overall WSOP Performance, Single Year
Most Likely to Succeed (Player Under 35 to Win the Most Gold Bracelets between
Fan Favorite Player
WSOP Favorite Bad Boy
Most Impressive Main Event Win
Four Most Important Players in WSOP History
For those who wish to let their voice be
heard, the WSOP has a handy voting area on
their website. To encourage people to head to the polling booth, the WSOP
will award several prizes to participants. A seat at a $1000 WSOP event, two
tickets to the “First Fifty” festivities, and other assorted WSOP merchandise
and memorabilia will be handed out. Voting for these seven categories will be
open until June 15.
Deserves to be in the “First Fifty?”
It’s tough to look back at the history of the WSOP and narrow it down to only 50 people who had an impact on its growth and prominence. For the players, you can start with the “Mount Rushmore” of Doyle Brunson, Stu Ungar, Phil Hellmuth and Phil Ivey, men that have truly left their impression on the game and the WSOP. You could also make significant arguments for Johnny Chan, Johnny Moss, Chip Reese (hell, there’s a trophy named after him for the Poker Players’ Championship) Scotty Nguyen and Michael Mizrachi (hey, when you’ve won three Poker Players’ Championships, you’ve made your mark).
If you want to look at the ladies who have made a mark, Barbara Enright, Marsha Waggoner, Annie Duke or Jennifer Harman would all be good choices. As far as those who have impacted the game from outside the felt, Matt Savage, Nolan Dalla, Mike Paulle, Max Shapiro, Eric Drache and Jack McClelland would all be top notch selections. And if you’re name isn’t here, it’s only because it didn’t immediately leap to mind…suffice it to say, there are going to be some difficult decisions to make for the “First Fifty.”
For almost two decades, the World Poker
Tour has brought the magic, the drama and the skill of poker to the television
viewers. As they prepare for their eighteenth season of action, the WPT has
announced which venue and tournament will earn the honor of holding the Season
XVIII season opener.
Gardens Casino to Host Season Opener
The Gardens Casino in Hawaiian Gardens,
CA, will be the location for the inaugural stop of Season XVII of the WPT. For the
second consecutive year, the 2019 Gardens Poker Festival will play host to a
$5000 Main Event from July 20 to July 25, when the champion will be crowned. In
addition to winning the first stop of the new season, the Gardens Casino will
gift the victor with a brand-new BMW X1. Preliminary events, including satellites
for the Main Event, will begin on July 12.
“The Gardens Casino looks
forward to opening Season XVIII of the World Poker Tour with another grand
event inside our WPT Tournament Room,” Cavin Quintanilla, Tournament Manager of
The Gardens Casino, said during the stop announcement. “Players can expect
another exciting tournament as we continue to strengthen our partnership with
the World Poker Tour.”
2018 Global Poker Award
winner Angelica Hael, the Vice President of Global Tour Management for the WPT,
was in tune with Quintanilla’s comments. “Following two incredibly successful
events at The Gardens Casino in Season XVII, the World Poker Tour prepares to
open Season XVIII at this wonderful property. The WPT Gardens Poker Festival is
sure to attract players from around the globe who are looking to capture one of
the most prestigious titles on the World Poker Tour.”
Strong History of Legendary Venues to Host Opener for WPT
The WPT has given the opening
tournament of a WPT season to some highly prestigious casinos and card rooms.
The very first season of the WPT saw the Bellagio host its Five Diamond World
Poker Classic in 2002 as the first ever event for the tour, with another U. S. tournament,
the Legends of Poker from the Bicycle Casino, also in the mix as the first
event. For a few years in a row, the Aviation Club in Paris served as the season-opening
host for the WPT Grand Prix de Paris, one of the most popular (and arguably
classiest) stops for the WPT.
There have also been a
couple of venues that joined the Bellagio in Vegas as opening host for the WPT.
The Mirage hosted the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown in 2005 and, along with the
Mandalay Bay, served as the first two venues for stops on the WPT in Seasons VI
and VII. Foreign sites have also served as the opening stop for past seasons of
the WPT, including Beijing, Montreal, Cyprus, Venice and Barcelona.
The start of the WPT season
is also beginning to creep closer to the end of the World Series of Poker. In
the past, the WPT season would occasionally start before the WSOP and not
resume until August after the event. Now, the WPT will be starting their season
almost immediately following the close of the WSOP.
Other Dates Not Announced
The WPT hasn’t given any indications as to what the rest of the Season XVIII schedule will look like. According to the WPT website, there are only two other stops – the WPT UK at Dusk ‘till Dawn Casino in Nottingham in September and the WPT Montreal at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal in October – currently on the roster. The WPT will more than likely continue with the precedent set in Season XVII and hold all the final tables at the HyperX eSports Arena in Las Vegas, although this hasn’t been set in stone yet.
The World Series of Poker draws the world
together around the card table but, by the end of June, players are a bit spent
(both physically and cash-wise). The “powers that be” with partypoker and their
extremely successful LIVE series aren’t daunted by this, however, as they have
teamed up with ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for the inaugural partypoker
Million Guarantee, Tournament Starts on June 28
The tournament will be the continuation of
the successful MILLIONS series that partypoker has put forth and their first
step into Las Vegas will be a big one. The $10,000 ($300 juice) event will
feature two Day Ones for players, with one entry allowed per day. In a change
of pace for the series, players will also be able to buy in on Day 2 during the
first two levels of action. This should ensure that the $5 million guarantee is
met, which will take 500 players (or thereabouts).
“The partnership with ARIA in Vegas is a
significant step, marking the first time partypoker LIVE has hosted a
tournament in the United States,” John Duthie, the President of partypoker
LIVE, stated to the
“The poker team at ARIA is well known for being genuinely passionate about the
game. We believe they see things the same way we do and that it’s not all
business, it is about listening to players and growing the game.”
Sean McCormack, the Director of Poker
Operations with ARIA and one of the most respected industry professionals in
the game, echoed Duthie’s sentiments. “We’re looking forward to MILLIONS making
its debut this summer at the resort. Our team is excited to add an event of
this magnitude to our extensive summer schedule.”
What isn’t known at this time is if there
will be other events that will lead up to the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Vegas.
There will be four satellites for the event, two $515 events (with unlimited
re-entry) on June 27 and two more that will be held on June 28 (for the Day 1B
action). A final satellite with a $2000 buy in (and unlimited reentry) will be
run on June 29, with those players getting into the action for Day 2.
Setting Up Shop in the Western Hemisphere
To say that partypoker LIVE is setting up
shop in the Western Hemisphere for the next few months would be an
understatement. They will conduct the MILLIONS North America at the Playground
Poker Club in Montreal from now until May 26. After their stop in Las Vegas at
ARIA, the LIVE staff will zoom back across the Atlantic for a quick stop at the
King’s Casino in Rozvadov. The MILLIONS Europe will run from August 10-18 with
a €10,000 Main Event and a €5 million guarantee for that event.
It will all culminate in a run to the
Caribbean. The partypoker Caribbean Poker Party has become one of the more
popular stops on the international tournament poker scene, probably because of
the opportunity to head to the Bahamas and get out of the cold in November.
From November 15-24, the Caribbean Poker Party will rage, with it all
culminating in the MILLIONS World Bahamas Main Event from November 18-23.
partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Becoming A Major Tour?
In just a short couple of years, the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS events have begun to challenge those tournaments with more age. Players are now having to decide on playing in the MILLIONS events or with the European Poker Tour and the World Poker Tour, who are the two circuits that have the best credibility. Under the leadership of Duthie and with Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton involved with partypoker, the LIVE circuit is beginning to make inroads. Could they be considered a “major” circuit very soon?
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 617 into law on Monday, legalizing sports betting in the state. Though the law is effective immediately, no sports betting is available yet, as the regulations still need to be hammered out.
“Gov. Reynolds believes that legalizing sports betting will bring this practice out of an unregulated black market. This law will regulate, tax, and police sports betting in a safe and responsible way,” spokesman Pat Garrett told the Des Moines Register.
The bill passed a Senate vote 31-18 a month ago and after some amendments, passed the House 67-31 on April 22. Iowa is the third state to legalize sports betting this year, after Montana and Indiana.
Operators will have to pay a fee of $45,000 to apply for a license and then $10,000 for renewals; the tax rate will be 6.75 percent. Eligible licensees are the 19 casinos in Iowa. Sports betting can be done at any of the casinos (provided they open a sportsbook, of course), as well as online. Online wagering can only be done once a customer visits a casino in person to prove his/her identity. Each casino can have two online skins if they would like.
Sports betting will be overseen by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, which is the body that will develop the regulations. It anticipates that the regulations will go live in August.
“For right now, nothing really has changed,” Brian Ohorilko, administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, told the Des Moines Register.
“If everything goes smoothly, then I think it is reasonable to expect that bets will be taken before football season,” he added.
We are now up to double-digit states with legalized sports betting, though not all of them have actually launched their industries yet. This has all come about from the overturn of PASPA almost exactly a year ago. PASPA, put into motion in 1992, made sports betting illegal in the United States. Four states – Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware – were grandfathered in, but Nevada was the only one with traditional, odds-based sports wagering.
And though it might seem like only getting into the double-digits in a year isn’t much, it is actually pretty incredible when you think about a) how slow the legislative process normally works, and b) how against sports betting state governments have been. They are clearly seeing the revenue opportunity in sports betting and realizing that people are going to do it regardless, so the state might as well get a piece of pie while at the same time protecting consumers via regulation.
Major media companies have also gotten to work. Recently, PokerStars and FOX announced that they will be creating a sports betting product (two, actually: one real-money, one play-money) called FOXBet and ESPN and Caesars announced a partnership to create sports betting content on the ESPN platforms.
The appetite for sports betting in the United States is strong; expect the majority of states to legalize it within the next few years.
We are two weeks away from the start of a
historic moment (OK, technically 13 days, but you get what I mean). The 50th
Annual World Series of Poker will begin on May 29 at 11AM with its traditional
first event, the $500 Casino Employees Event. From there, the prestige only
gets bigger as some of the largest fields in tournament poker will gather at
the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to try to etch their names
into the history books.
So, what can we expect? Will there be surprises? Or will it just be a Bacchanalia of cards with total disregard for money? (Answers? Yes…and yes!) Let’s look into the crystal ball to see just what might occur.
While the first week of the 2019 WSOP has
a boatload of big money events (a $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty on May 29, “The
Big 50” first flight on May 30 and the $50,000 50th Anniversary High
Roller event), it will be the weekends that feature some of the “novelty”
events that have become staples of the WSOP. Tournaments like the Millionaire
Maker ($1 million guaranteed to the winner), the Double Stack, the Monster
Stack, and the “Little One for One Drop” all are scheduled for Friday starts. “The
Closer” also falls into this category as the $100,000 High Roller is being
contested at the end of the WSOP on July 12.
Many thought that these tournaments would
affect the fields in the smaller buy in tournaments, but that turned out to be
unfounded. Thus, don’t expect to see a dip in the numbers during this year’s
tournament; if it were anything other than the 50th anniversary, it might have been a possibility, but the
panache of the Golden Anniversary will be bringing people out of the woodwork. The
smaller buy in tournaments, such as the $400 Colossus and the $600 Deepstack
Championship, may have an impact on other tournaments around Las Vegas, which
love poaching players off with lower buy ins and manageable field sizes (who likes
going through 1500 people at the WSOP only to be in the middle of the pack when
they’re knocked out?).
Will Happen With the “Bracelet Winners” Event?
It’s one of the last tournaments on the
agenda at the WSOP, the $1500 50th Annual Bracelet Winners Only Event.
While this sounds like it would be cool on the surface, diving down a bit
deeper it might not be that smart an idea.
There have been 1334 bracelets (rough count, don’t quote me!) awarded over the
span of the WSOP, with approximately 200 people having won multiple (more than
two) bracelets and the rest being solo bracelet wins. Figuring that there might
be 700, maybe 750 bracelet winning players that are alive, how many of these
players want to battle it out with OTHER bracelet winners, players who arguably
have proven their worth on the grandest stage of all?
Dutch Boyd brought this point up in a
Tweet a couple of months ago and the WSOP bigwigs heard the call:
You’re right Dutch. No excuses. Our bad. How does rake-free sound? Okay, good, we’ll make that change for this event. Thanks for bringing it to our attention and see you there. https://t.co/UY9bdL96Vu
Even with no rake on the
event, will there be anyone who jumps at it? Surprisingly, it might be one of
the easier bracelets to win as all the competitors will be known commodities,
for the most part, and you would figure this would get prominent airtime during
the PokerGO broadcasts and maybe on ESPN.
How Will the Online Bracelets Play Out?
For the first time ever, there will be TEN online events on the WSOP schedule. As my friend and colleague Dan Katz has pointed out, this is more than the total number of online events in the WSOP since they were introduced in 2015 and, as was started in 2017 and continued last year with the four online events, they will be played in their entirety online. In addition to this, players from New Jersey will be able to take part in the tournaments, but there could be issues with that.
Only two of the ten
tournaments will be played before the reintroduction of the archaic ruling on
the Wire Act by the Department of Justice on June 14. Will the players in New
Jersey be able to play in the $500 Turbo Deepstack Event on June 19 or the
$1000 $1000 Double Stack event on June 23? Right now, WSOP officials don’t foresee
any problems with the federal government regarding the interstate play between
the WSOP.com sites in Nevada and New Jersey. But New
Jersey has sued the DoJ over their reversal of the Wire Act and that could
the Championship Event
The 50th WSOP Championship
Event – the “Main Event” moniker was the creation of television; when it was
created it was called the Championship Event (now? It is officially called
Event #73 – $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event – World Championship, quite a
mouthful on its own) – will be massive. But will it be the BIGGEST Championship
Event ever? In looking at the numbers, it could at the minimum make a run at
Since 2015, the numbers for the Championship Event have been on an upward swing. It was only a 300-plus player increase between 2015 and 2016, but that jumped up to almost 500 from 2016 to 2017. Finally, there was a 653 player increase between 2017 and 2018. It isn’t out of the realm of thought that 1000 additional players might come to the fray in 2019 which, added to the 2018 numbers, would make for an 8874-player field that would beat the 2006 record field of 8773.
Will it happen? Will John Cynn repeat as champion (hate to be a spoiler, but probably not…Cynn has only cashed twice in tournaments since his win last year and no player has repeated as champion since Johnny Chan in 1987-88)? And will it be the “Year of the Pro” or the “Year of the Amateur?” It’s why we tune in each May, to view the drama and the history that takes place. Ready or not, here comes the World Series of Poker!
The 50th annual World Series of Poker begins in about two weeks and though the schedule was finalized quite a while back, there has still been uncertainty about the nine online bracelet events. With the new Wire Act opinion published by the Department of Justice in January, the ability of people in New Jersey to participate is up in the air. Most of it is still up in the air, but recently, the WSOP at least confirmed that players in New Jersey could compete in the first two online bracelet events.
There will be nine online events this year, all beginning at 3:30pm Pacific time:
Sunday, June 2 – $400 No-Limit Hold’em (3x Re-entry) Sunday, June 9 – $600 Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha (Unlimited Re-entry) Sunday, June 16 – $600 Knockout Bounty No-Limit Hold’em Wednesday, June 19 – $500 Turbo No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack (3x Re-entry) Sunday, June 23 – $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em (3x Re-entry) Sunday, June 30 – $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship (3x Re-entry) Wednesday, July 3 – $3,200 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em (3x Re-entry) Sunday, July 7 – $800 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em (3x Re-entry) Sunday, July 14 – $500 Summer Saver No-Limit Hold’em (3x Re-entry)
As you can see, most of the tournaments are on Sundays. The other noticeable feature is that all but one of the nine bracelet events permits re-entries, which will likely perturb many players.
Online Events in Limbo for New Jersey Players
As in previous years, the online bracelet events are open to those with access to WSOP.com in Nevada. Though people in New Jersey can play on that state’s version of WSOP.com, the press release put out by the WSOP in February said that their eligibility for “online gold bracelet events has yet to be determined.”
This is because the new Wire Act opinion says that all interstate online gambling is illegal. This would naturally seem to prohibit interstate poker networks, even if communications originate and terminate in the same state, which is why New Jersey players might be locked out.
The deadline for operators to comply with the new opinion and avoid possible prosecution is a month from now, June 14. In the meantime, the WSOP has confirmed that players on WSOP.com in New Jersey will be able to play in the first two online bracelets: $400 No-Limit Hold’em on June 2 and $600 Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha on June 9. After June 14, though, we still do not know what the World Series of Poker will decide.
The WSOP introduced online bracelet events in 2015; there was just one online event in both 2015 and 2016. A unique aspect of both of those tournaments was that the final table played out live at the Rio in Las Vegas. In 2017, there were three online bracelet events and the live final table was eliminated. The 2018 schedule had four online bracelet events. The nine internet events this year is as many as the history of the WSOP had combined.
Earlier this month, we reported that PokerStars was getting ready to launch “novelty game” tournaments based on new filters that were added to the PokerStars poker client. There was no indication as to when any of these tournaments would appear in the lobby, but now we have answers. On Friday, PokerStars announced that 6+ Hold’em tournaments will begin later this week.
The first 6+ Hold’em tournaments will be part of the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) on Friday, May 17. It is SCOOP Event #22: 6+ Hold’em Six-Max; as it is SCOOP, there are three buy-in levels. The $22 tournament has a $50,000 guaranteed prize pool, the $215 tournament has a $100,000 guarantee, and the $2,100 tournament has a $250,000 guarantee. All of them begin at 2:30pm ET.
The SCOOP tournaments are the only novelty game tournaments listed in the PokerStars lobby right now. PokerStars said that $2.50, $7 and $15 6+ Hold’em Sit-and-Go’s will also be made available soon.
6+ a Different Animal
If any of the novelty games would become a more significant presence on PokerStars, it is 6+ Hold’em, as it has been gaining tons of momentum the last year or two, even in live poker rooms. 6+ Hold’em is an action game (as these new games tend to be) in which all cards valued at five and lower have been removed from the deck; the game is also called “Short Deck Hold’em” for that reason.
Because removing those cards from the deck changes the probabilities of hitting different hands, a Flush is now a stronger hand than a Full House and a Three-of-a-Kind is now better than a Straight.
Just One of Several Novelty Games
PokerStars began the concept of temporary cash games last year when Split Hold’em debuted in March. Showtime Hold’em was up next in May 2018; then it was Unfold in August and Fusion in November. 6+ Hold’em launched in January of this year and is still in the lobby, so it might be the first of the novelty games to be a permanent addition.
PokerStars received feedback from players that they enjoyed the novelty games and were disappointed they disappeared after a couple months. It wasn’t unreasonable for the games to be removed, as PokerStars offers loads of options already and more games have the disadvantage of diluting the player pool. But Stars hinted last fall that it may bring some back in tournament form, which is what has happened.
There are other novelty games that appear in the PokerStars tournament filter, though nothing has been scheduled yet: Showtime Hold’em, Showtime Omaha, and Fusion.
Showtime Games (Omaha was never one of the cash games) require players who fold to fold their cards face up and leave them like that for the rest of the hand. This has the potential to alter players’ strategies, as it would be hard to get away with the same play style throughout a session when people know what you are folding every time. It also provides players who remain in the hand much more information.
Fusion games start like Hold’em, but after the flop, players are given another hole card, and after the turn, yet another. The winner at showdown is the player who has the best Omaha hand.
ESPN and Caesars Entertainment announced Tuesday that they are teaming up to produce sports betting programming to be broadcast on ESPN’s different platforms.
As part of the deal, the two companies will build an ESPN-branded studio at the LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. It is there that “odds-related content” will be filmed, content which will be shown on the ESPN networks, ESPN.com, and the ESPN app. The studio, slated to open next year, will also be the home for some segments to run on the ESPN show, Daily Wager.
“The sports betting landscape has changed, and fans are coming to us for this kind of information more than ever before,” said ESPN’s Vice President of Business Development Mike Morrison in a press release. “We are poised to expand our coverage in a big way and working with a category leader like Caesars Entertainment will help us serve these highly engaged, diverse sports fans with the best and most relevant content possible.”
Caesars will provide gambling data to ESPN in this partnership and ESPN will, in turn, display the Caesars brand when using that data in broadcasts.
Chris Holdren, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Caesars Entertainment chimed in:
We’re really excited about the long-term value this collaboration with ESPN will create and thrilled that, starting immediately, ESPN’s platforms will begin featuring odds information generated by Caesars Entertainment. Millions of sports fans look to ESPN as a sports authority, and Caesars is honored to have been selected for having the best odds to serve those fans. When you combine that level of exposure alongside the unique opportunity to build a studio along the famed Las Vegas Strip, this deal is truly unique.
And look, ESPN’s Executive Vice President of Content Connor Schell also had something to say:
Between an increased interest in sports betting among fans, regularly hosting marquee sporting events – like the upcoming NFL Draft and NBA Summer League as well as premier UFC and Top Rank bouts – and the arrival of the Golden Knights and the Raiders, Las Vegas has become an epicenter of sports culture. Having a great partner in Caesars Entertainment and soon a full studio presence in Las Vegas will help us create content that taps into that culture and grows our offerings to avid bettors and more casual fans.
With the overturn of PASPA by the United States Supreme Court last year, sports betting has taken off around the country and it is quite apparent that no gaming company or sports media outlet wants to be left out. Earlier this month, The Stars Group and FOX Sports announced a partnership of their own, but this one is different than the ESPN/Caesars deal. Stars and FOX will actually be creating an online sports betting product. One part is a real-money product while the other is a free-money betting service in which customers can win cash prizes.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has fined Malta-based Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) $25,000 for failing to prevent someone from outside the state to gamble on HardRockCasino.com, a site for which GiG provides its online gambling services.
The incident actually occurred at some point before July 4, 2018, though it is not specified when exactly. That date was the date a geolocation firm was conducting an audit on GiG’s systems and found a browser vulnerability which allowed users to make it look like they were playing New Jersey when they were, in fact, sitting somewhere else.
One player was confirmed to have bet and lost $29 on HardRockCasino.com from Nevada, which, of course, is not allowed. One might wonder why someone would gamble on a New Jersey site from Nevada, where online poker is legal. It is because though online poker is legal, ONLY online poker is legal – online casino games are not. The player may have just wanted to play some table games, spotted the exploit, and gave it a shot. That only $29 was lost could indicate any number of things: a) the player was a low-roller, b) the player was just conducting a small test for a future gambling run, or c) the player was just goofing around to see if he could pull it off. Who knows?
What we do know is that the $29 has cost Gaming Innovation Group $25,000, as indicated in civil action order signed by New Jersey DGE Director David Rebuck on April 30, 2019.
“This one-off single incidence of out-of-state gambling was due to a technical vulnerability which was quickly discovered and reported to the regulator in New Jersey in the first week the company went live in New Jersey,” Gaming Innovation said in a statement to the Associate Press. “An end user from outside the state of New Jersey with technical knowledge managed to access the front end debugger to change the location and pretend to be from New Jersey.”
As the company mentioned, it was the first week GiG was live in New Jersey, so while it was a mistake that should not have happened, it’s not like it was going on for months; it was caught quickly. GiG was approved for New Jersey operation on June 28, 2018.
Then again, this is something that probably should have been spotted during the software testing process and should have never been in the live product in the first place. Shit happens, I guess. One key to remember is that while online gambling opponents might point to an instance like this and say, “See? Regulation doesn’t work! Someone still exploited the system,” I would say that it shows that regulation does, in fact, work. Without regulation, there would have been less incentive for GiG to hire a company to audit its system, there would have been less incentive to self-report the problem, and there would have been less chance that this would have been caught.
It seems that the tide is turning in one
of the more conservative areas of the country when it comes to gambling. The
North Carolina General Assembly, while it weighs whether it will open for
sports betting in the state, has hit the green light for charitable “casino nights”
in the state. This action will allow several “acts of gambling” like blackjack,
poker, roulette and other table games to be played, if it is raising money for
charity. The new regulations even allow for one of the things that was
supposedly taboo at these events, the availability of alcoholic beverages.
Signs Bill After 2017 Veto
On Friday, Governor Roy Cooper signed
legislation that put regulations on the charitable “casino nights.” In the
past, these activities were in a legal limbo and the different counties in the
state treated it as such. In some counties, district attorneys would prosecute the
charities and the operators for illegal gambling, while some counties DAs would
refuse to prosecute. With the bill being signed into law, the activity is now legal.
There is one area of the Tar Heel State
that is barred from any charitable “casino nights.” Any area west of Interstate
26, which stretches from just south of Asheville up to its exit in the Pisgah
National Forest, is still prohibited from holding such activities. The reason?
The exclusive rights of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who operate two
Harrah’s properties in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, and their
casino exclusivity agreement that they have with the state of North Carolina.
Cooper was quite thorough in his look at
this subject. In 2017, he vetoed a similar measure that would have allowed for
the casino nights because he felt that it would bring back video poker
illegally into the state. With the current bill, Cooper was assuaged that this
would not occur, hence his signature to make the bill become a law.
Nights,” Sports Betting…What’s Next?
The passage of the bill regarding “casino
nights” for charity in North Carolina isn’t the only signal that there has been
a thawing of the mood regarding gambling in the state.
The North Carolina Senate passed a bill recently, called S 154, that would open the state for sports betting, albeit in a limited format. The bill would only give the rights to sports betting to the two Harrah’s Cherokee casinos, the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and the Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel. There would be no online sports betting, as any potential punter would have to head to the casinos to place their bets. It is thought that, for those areas around the Cherokee casinos, revenues of $50 million wouldn’t be out of the question, which is leading many in the House to seriously consider the Senate bill.
So, what does this say about the potential for further action in the gaming realm in the Tar Heel State? To be honest, anyone who is a resident of North Carolina should be happy to get this for right now. Live poker took several years to come to the Cherokee casinos and, at first, it was only through electronic tables that players abhorred. There are no indications, even though moves with charitable gaming and sports betting are moving forward, that any other live or online activities are being considered. Thus, players will have to hope that the sports betting option comes home at some point this year and work for some other options in the future.