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Internet Poker Could Make a Comeback By Going Brick-and-Mortar

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the pulling-a-reverse-amazon dept.

Businesses 93

pigrabbitbear writes "It's the most modern lament in retail: Brick-and-mortar shopping has gone the way of the dodo as everyone buys their junk online. But for the once-booming online gambling market, salvation may require a reversal of that trend. For one online gaming giant, buying a casino in Atlantic City is the first step to bring Internet poker back to the U.S. In 2006, playing online poker for real cash was deemed illegal. While that didn't stop more serious players from playing, especially once the big hosts started funneling cash offshore, the FBI and DoJ's crackdown on April 15, 2011 did. The big trio of online poker – PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker – were all shut down, domains seized, and executives arrested on charges related to fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling. While PokerStars and others continued operations in foreign, legal markets, the U.S. poker craze pretty much collapsed. That doesn't mean the lucrative market has gone away. Now, the Rational Group, which owns both PokerStars and Full Tilt, may be hinting at a workaround: the company is looking to buy a struggling casino in Atlantic City. Rational faces a rather large mess of regulatory hurdles, but if it does end up acquiring the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, it would have a huge foothold in New Jersey's young market for internet gambling."

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Gambling Company taking a gamble? (-1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#42952877)

Just like on me getting first post!

Re:Gambling Company taking a gamble? (-1, Redundant)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#42952881)

Just like on me getting first post!

err, once i learn to type properly. or something. sorry, public school education here.

Fingers crossed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952885)

As a poker pro who has had to relocate overseas since Black Friday,"ONE TIME" please.

Really not expecting anything to happen til 2014 though. Gov't moves about as fast as Usain Bolt on opposite day.

Re:Fingers crossed (3, Interesting)

bhlowe (1803290) | about a year ago | (#42953023)

I was a semi-pro and quit about 3 months before black friday.. Don't miss it a bit and hope my kids never take it up..

Re:Fingers crossed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953077)

You probably weren't making $250/hr over a 3 million hand sample. Having said that, I wouldn't recommend it to my kids either. Interesting article by Dusty Schmidt solidifies this and has made me strongly consider rejoining the real world as I've had some of the same problems he outlines here:

Re:Fingers crossed (1, Insightful)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about a year ago | (#42953183)

and if you're anything like the dozen or so people i've met who also claim to be making ridiculous amounts of money on online poker, you aren't either. in my experience, online poker players are particularly likely to overexaggerate their winnings while not mentioning their losses. furthermore, nearly all such players try to tell me of the sites where there are many novice/donk players out there that can be reliably won from. none of these claims stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny for a number of reasons, and there is excellent reason to suggest that as with brick and mortar casinos, the only people consistently making good coin are the casinos themselves or the russian hackers who extort them.

Re:Fingers crossed (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#42953227)

I need cards if I'm going to play. I just don't trust the computer to be honest. I don't have any way of knowing if there's a scam going on where some of the other players are privy to my hand. With real cards, I have at least some awareness of what's going on. With electronic cards, I have no way of knowing if I'm just having a bad day or being cheated.

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953493)

Sure, but if you're losing the most likely explanation is that you suck, not that the software is cheating you.

Re:Fingers crossed (2)

halcyon1234 (834388) | about a year ago | (#42956041)

With electronic cards, I have no way of knowing if I'm just having a bad day or being cheated.

Sure, no way of knowing. Not hand history, win/loss analysis, expected value based on your play, etc. If you don't realize the game is all about numbers, and that those numbers are there for your analysis, then maybe you shouldn't be playing online.

Or, on second thought, maybe you should. I'll send you an invite to my private room. There's lots of donks and noobs there, ripe for the picking.

Re:Fingers crossed (1, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#42957429)

Sigh, this sort of arrogance is why these scams will continue into the future.

So, what you're saying, is that as long as somebody only cheats a little, that's OK for them to be undetectable. Nice to know that. And no, I won't be playing cards with somebody who has such a low set of ethics.

The fact of the matter is that there are scams like the one I mentioned that happen from time to time where somebody has access to information that they shouldn't have. And are ultimately only caught when they try to push things too far. You don't have to win a huge number of games to make a nice living cheating, you just need to make a few hundred a week.

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | about a year ago | (#42957585)

I'm saying that any significant cheating will be detected, and any cheating so small as to fly under the radar requires so much work and gets such little results-- that it'd be cheaper and easier to earn money doing almost ANYTHING else.

Also, 99.9% of the time, if you think you're being cheated-- you're playing poorly.

Re:Fingers crossed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42962279)

There actually was never any known scam regarding non-randomized starting cards, flops etc. The scams that did happen exploited security holes and allowed some people to see your hole cards. Risk- Reward isn't really there for such a scam and if it existed, it would favor the weaker player and not the pro because that would generate the most rake.

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#42957825)

It's technically possible for a crooked casino to be cheating with real cards (e.g. as in Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels). It's just a bit easier to do for online casinos. Detecting cheating by the house is probably about equally hard for online and real casinos. It would require a bunch of data and statistical analysis to find systemic cheating, or actually catching them in the act somehow (e.g. finding a hidden camera, or hacking into the poker server, or acquiring a confession from an insider) for individual cases.

Re:Fingers crossed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953327)

That's not true at all. Sorry, but I'm a college student playing poker at a professional level as well (specifically HUSNGs). Go look at and search names like Adonis112 and livb112 (both are Olivier Busquet) and just look at the top winners in general. Many of these guys have been winning for many years and at a high rate. Olivier is up some 6 million over the last 5 years and plays a lot of hands. The same is true for cash games and you can check out nanonoko's graph to verify that. There is plenty of money in poker if you are a strong player. Just in January the top HUSNG player made over 300k It's an interesting as well as challenging game with many important life-lessons. The amount of discipline I've gained from playing high level poker is unrivaled even by my struggle to become a Class A chess player. There's almost nothing comparable to it in the sense that you need tremendous confidence to maintain high-level play when immediate results can suggest you're doing something wrong.

Anyway, one thing's for sure in my mind. The government has no business regulating poker and such a result is little more than greedy casino lobbyists getting their way. I still play on Black Chip Poker though and couldn't care less because I find it so absurd that anyone would have the authority to stop me, as an adult from playing a game I enjoy with my own time and money. Wasn't this supposed to be the land of the free?

Re:Fingers crossed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954273)

In my seven years as a pro I've had three losing months. All three of those months I played less than a quarter of my normal volume (so variance is more of a factor) and none of those losing months are anywhere close in absolute value to my best three winning months. Unlike your dozen or so people, my $250/hr number is pulled directly from a spreadsheet that matches up perfectly with my bank account since I use it for taxes. The only way the number could be perceived as inaccurate is that it doesn't include time spent reading articles, books, and forums about poker, though you could argue that I'd be doing those things for fun anyway.

My favorite part about your post is how you say "none of these claims stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny for a number of reasons" then choose to list zero of said reasons.

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about a year ago | (#42957917)

Actually, the only way your number can be perceived as inaccurate, is to realize it's coming from an Anonymous Coward with absolutely no data to back it up. You might claim that data exists, and it very well might, but you'll have to understand if other people don't believe your claims without more information.

Re:Fingers crossed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42960783)

Or they choose not to... there are multiple huge tracking databases like PokeProLabs, HighStakesDB, PokerTableRatings and Sharkscope (which until recently covered PokerStars as well but apparently fish complained that their losses were public and PokerStars paid big money to have those stats locked). These cover a wide array of data that supports his point. While players making $250/hr+ are rare, they do exist and the more disciplined ones have done it for nearly a decade. I don't know how any reasonable person expects him to give you data in a forum post as I don't think you can have attachments and apparently you don't trust what he says. Either way, it's a conundrum that can't be solved in the eyes of someone skeptical and labeling such a post or similar as -1 just because you don't believe him is childish and immature. Both were on topic and accurate. The initial post was ignorant as any high-stakes poker player will tell you and there are tens of millions of hands that prove it and are available for view publicly for many sites. I guess it's the old "I can't do it so no one can or I hate them if they do" mentality.

Re:Fingers crossed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42956185)

You used "probably", so it's hard to argue...

I'm the author of one of the third-party (and fully legal on most sites, including PokerStars) tracker software (the ones displaying HUDs with stats about *past deals* of your opponents [not current deal, nothing about the current deal can be analyzed or your 3rd party software becomes flagged as against the sites' EULA and the players using it could have their funds confiscated]).

And I can tell you that I definitely had some players winning a *lot* of money. $20K a month and more. I could see it with the hand histories they'd sent me (for debugging / testing purposes) and I could see it back when sites were allowed to datamine *all* the hands, from all the tables, from basically every single sites out there. All that was needed was then a player name and you could see that there were some very real players making way more than $100K a year.

You can also go to any forum about whatever subject (not watches) and watch the off-topic "what is/are your watch(es)" thread... You've got people posting collection of watches including $50K Patek Philippe (and which are obviously amateur pictures) that they bought by grinding 12-tables of mid-stakes Internet poker.

$20K a month may not be $250 / hour but it's not an order of magnitude off either.

There are of course much more losers than winners but it's not as if big and regular winners were something unheard of.

(gone reading that cardplayer article)

Re:Fingers crossed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42957863)

That article reads like a kid writing that he's just discovered masturbation. What a fucking idiot. Took all of that to discover that poker, day trading, politics, etc. is uncertain and therefore stressful. And that, kids, can affect your mood and relationships. Not sure that his "processing loop" is all that fast after all. He appears to think he's discovered something amazing that the rest of us don't know or don't cope with.

Re:Fingers crossed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42960493)

Seriously? You have no idea what it takes to 15 table and be as profitable as the author of the article. If it was so easy and similar to politics and day trading there would be way more people doing it. There's no way you can possibly lump him in with "the rest of us" as you have no idea what kind of stress is involved being a top tier poker pro. I used to play 20 6max tables simultaneously (very rarely timing out) before I realized I was basically guaranteed to get carpal tunnel at some point even when using both hands to click.

Is playing poker like daytrading stocks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953831)

I've heard it is. You have to know when to fold, know when to go all in - that applies to both poker and day trading.

I have been successful at day trading over the past year, but I also wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Very difficult, takes years to master, and even if you're good it is very stressful.

Re:Is playing poker like daytrading stocks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954175)

One of my colleagues in the poker world worked for a high speed trading firm out of college before quitting to play poker full time. From how he described his job I'd say it's very similar - lots of windows open across multiple screens making educated guesses about equity and dealing with variance. In general your edge (advantage over the competition) is much smaller in the finance world than in poker, however the stakes are much bigger. Unless you're a well known pro or know a lot of millionaires it's extremely hard to find bad players willing to play for a lot of money in poker, whereas anyone with proper funding/leverage can make enormous bets in finance.

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#42955017)

I was a semi-pro and quit about 3 months before black friday.. Don't miss it a bit...

You were that good, huh... :p

"everyone buys their junk online" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952939)

I don't buy my junk online because I like to touch my junk before I buy it.

Re:"everyone buys their junk online" (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#42953031)

I like to touch my junk before I buy it

This is best done in the privacy of one's home.

Re:"everyone buys their junk online" (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#42953199)

If you post it online is it still in the privacy of your own home? ;)

be nice if... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42952985)

"The big trio of online poker ... were all shut down, domains seized, and executives arrested on charges related to fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling"

It'd be nice if something like that were to happen to some banks these days.

Re:be nice if... (3, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#42953463)

"The big trio of online poker ... were all shut down, domains seized, and executives arrested on charges related to fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling"

It'd be nice if something like that were to happen to some banks these days.

Or, hell, maybe they can start with whoever runs the various lotteries? It is also gambling and of a much worse kind:

1. The lottery only pays back about 50%, while most casinos skim a small percentage and pay back the rest.

2. At least theoretically, you can get good at poker.

Re:be nice if... (3, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#42954077)

The main difference between lotteries and casinos is the number of rounds played. Even if a casino skims only a small percentage, it skims it every round, and that's where the money is made. Not many people enter a casino once a week to play exactly one round, as it is with lotteries.

If you play for instance Roulette, your payout on average is 36/37 per round. After 25 rounds you have on average about 50% of your capital left. An evening of Roulette thus gives the casino the same share of your money as does playing one round in the lottery.

Re:be nice if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42956421)

The difference is who gets the money. Unless the government can ensure their cut(taxes), internet gambling will remain illegal.

Re:be nice if... (1)

FreshlyShornBalls (849004) | about a year ago | (#42958633)

Not many people enter a casino once a week to play exactly one round, as it is with lotteries.

You must not have heard of Quick Draw. Here in New York, there's a new game every 3 minutes.

Re:be nice if... (1)

matunos (1587263) | about a year ago | (#42953859)

The big banks launder far too much Mexican drug money to allow that to happen.

Re:be nice if... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#42955583)

But the banks aren't gambling! If they take a big loss, they just come running to the taxpayer for a bailout! It's not gambling if there's no risk! Right?!

Really? (2)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about a year ago | (#42952987)

Why was this even accepted?

Re:Really? (1)

socialleech (1696888) | about a year ago | (#42953019)


Re:Really? /verttisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953287)

Pump & Dump.
Damn NeoCons control Every fuIing thing.

Sooo.. this is a comeback, how? (2)

ixarux (1652631) | about a year ago | (#42953067)

Internet poker going brink-and-mortar is just plain old poker. Something that never did go out of fashion.
Unless out here people are sitting in a casino on terminals, playing with each other. That might work. Internet poker in a closed sealed room. I await movies made about this.

Re:Sooo.. this is a comeback, how? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#42955265)

Internet poker going brink-and-mortar is just plain old poker. Something that never did go out of fashion.

No, it can't be plain old poker ... this is the new hotness. It has to be ePoker, or iPoker, or CyberPoker (or Kissand Poker ;-)

How else can marketing sell this? If it's the same old poker you play with your buddies, where's the fun in that?

Actually, it takes a bit to find it in the article .... By legally forcing online gaming to have a home casino in the States, it could both reopen the online market while also capitalizing on that sweet tax revenue. I think what they're saying is you can't be an online casino if you don't have a corresponding regulated casino to be based out of -- or something, it's not big on details.

Of course, the big question, is why is America so against the notion of gambling? Is this just another morality issue, or because they're not getting taxes?

Re:Sooo.. this is a comeback, how? (1)

Zephyn (415698) | about a year ago | (#42955845)

Of course, the big question, is why is America so against the notion of gambling? Is this just another morality issue, or because they're not getting taxes?

It's more due to lobbying by existing brick and mortar casinos. The law was passed in 2006 just before congressional adjournment, tacked onto a bill that otherwise dealt with shipping and port security. It specifically prohibits things like internet poker while still allowing long distance transactions on other forms of gambling that the brick and mortars had already established, such as horse racing. So it's about as moral as any other business that uses its lobbyists to legislate away its competition.

Re:Sooo.. this is a comeback, how? (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#42956427)

Of course, the big question, is why is America so against the notion of gambling? Is this just another morality issue, or because they're not getting taxes?

Every society where injustice exists - which is all of them - needs some sort of excuse why it's not really unjust. In the USA, that excuse is the American Dream, which says that the rich deserve to live in luxury because they earned their riches by working hard, whereas the poor deserve to live in misery because they lack ambition. In other words, success becomes evidence of great personal virtue and poverty a proof of moral failure - a classical Just World Fallacy.

Gambling directly contradicts this mythology, because correctly guessing random numbers cannot possibly be attributed to personal qualities. Someone going from poverty to riches through sheer dumb luck threatens the stability of the whole system, because if the mythology is wrong in one case, it might be so in others. And if the rich didn't earn their riches through personal virtue, if there was some element of luck involved, then what's to stop the have-nots from deciding their share of the pie is not fair, and demanding more?

In short, America despises gambling because it makes it harder to justify capitalism.

Re:Sooo.. this is a comeback, how? (1)

JonnyCalcutta (524825) | about a year ago | (#42958709)

Sorry, commenting to remove bad moderation. Bad computer, don't do it again!

Re:Sooo.. this is a comeback, how? (1)

venicebeach (702856) | about a year ago | (#42955891)

The summary does a very poor job of explaining it. Here's what's going on:

New Jersey is considering a bill that would legalize online poker within the state. However, operators would be limited to brick & mortar casino owners. So in order to get in on the NJ online poker market, PokerStars is going to buy a physical casino.

Wait a second.... (1)

Apothem (1921856) | about a year ago | (#42953089)

Wouldnt internet poker going brick-and-mortar make it a casino?

Re:Wait a second.... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953153)

For those that don't want to actually read the articles before making comments like these, they would be "going brick-and-mortar" so that they could then obtain a license for their online site. The UIGEA initially lumped poker in with sports betting, horses, blackjack, etc., but the DOJ recently conceded that poker was a game of skill so Nevada and NJ took that as a sign that they could start moving forward while most still interpret online poker to be illegal. They're starting by giving licenses to already established casinos as I'm sure they don't want a bunch of new and untrustworthy sites popping up without federal regulation. Plus I assume there's a ton of lobbying to keep out new competition.

a question (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#42953105)

How does owning a brick and mortar casino in the states make an illegal service feasible? Online poker for real money is still against federal law. If it wasn't all the casinos would be doing it.
It is kind of like buying a pharmacy and saying that makes it legal for you to sell weed.

Re:a question (2)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#42953245)

Because if you have to drive into a physical location to put money in your account or remove it from your account it's no longer interstate commerce. IIRC the problem with internet gambling was the money being transferred to and from your account.

Re:a question (3, Informative)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a year ago | (#42953281)

No, it's been illegal since the days of Al Capone to place a wager by telephone across state lines, those same laws apply to internet communications. Funding has been an issue, but never the only issue. If they start allowing people to wager across state lines they are going to end up in jail. This is the very reason the US went after the operations in the first place, Gambling is a state regulated activity.

In my state in particular there isn't a single form of legal gambling. No horses or dogs, no lottery and no table games of any kind. In fact the state refuses to allow a lottery because of the fear of the Indian tribes opening casinos (Tribes can only open casinos if gaming is allowed in the state, by that I mean any form of gaming, if the state outright prohibits gaming of all kinds the Tribe is unable to open a casino under federal law). But the state directly to the north allows a state lottery, as a result the major Indian Tribe has a very large Casino inside the reservation.

Re:a question (1)

Sciolist321 (2022370) | about a year ago | (#42955345)

My understanding is that the wire act hasn't been used to apply to anything on the internet. The DOJ wrote an opinion to this effect last year too.

The UIGEA applied to "illegal gambling" but didn't define what illegal gambling was. There's nothing on the federal books saying that poker was illegal gambling (though there IS for sports betting). It was therefore the opinion of PokerStars et al that they didn't need to change anything. However, when the UIGEA regs came in (I believe 18 months later) they were so onerous for financial institutions that they mostly decided to not allow any transactions. The Black Friday charges mostly relate to the sites trying to transfer money in and out.

It's not at all clear which charges apply to PS, which to FTP and which to UB/AP, but some of the charges are straight bank fraud.

Re:a question (1)

Sciolist321 (2022370) | about a year ago | (#42955373)

Oh, and the original news post is ill informed.

This isn't a "workaround" - NV have state law that explicitly allows online poker. Operators need a live presence to offer it. The first will come online in the next couple of months.

dodo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953117)

It's the most modern lament in retail: Brick-and-mortar shopping has gone the way of the dodo as everyone buys their junk online.

I thing that's must be American thing, because the malls are packed here in Vancouver Canada. Or maybe we're the exeption to the rule.

Re:dodo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954901)

Nah. I live near one of the largest malls in the world and retail is doing fine in the entire area. Best Buy and Radio Shack aren't, but that's not all of retail.

I'd guess things are pretty different between, food, clothes, and dvd's.

"Rational" (2)

eksith (2776419) | about a year ago | (#42953241)

Funny name for a company that exists only due to its customers suppressing that line of thought when they place their bets

Taking a cue from WoW (1)

jlaprise1 (1042514) | about a year ago | (#42953261)

Maybe the online poker industry should take a cue from WoW where player conventions are huge. Online players get to meet face-to-face. They could set up regional, national and international events to attract players for special prizes and recognition. The conventions could have workshops by leading players etc.

Re:Taking a cue from WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955535)

Poker has all of these. The WSOP is similar to the yearly convention many industries have. Lasts a month and it's just as much about schmoozing as it is about playing. Then there's the WPT, EPT as mixtures of national/international gatherings. In the years leading up to black friday all these events were 50%+ online players.

Nah... (1)

wakeboarder (2695839) | about a year ago | (#42953283)

I prefer burning my money, or the lottery...

Re:Nah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953623)

How does any of this relate to a game that has skill as well as luck and where one can win long-term?

Unfound claims (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953329)

I played online for money before it was shut down (of course in the US), and from what I could find there was no evidence of any crime, none of the online big wigs or even startups faced any charges, to this day the DoJ and FBI have not done anything to prove there claims. Again if I remember right no fines, or charges were brought forth, both departments threatened parties involved with charges. Almost all these pokers sites tried to refile/renew for a license outside the US. which they had in order to operate, before the shutdown, since the shutdown the licensing boards rejected them, even tho the poker sites had done nothing that constituted a shutdown. I am not completely sure but the US Gov can tie this up for years without ever filing any charges or fines, I believe the sites tried to use the courts but the DoJ and FBI still were "investigating".

Yes I do know of the 2006 law, but the law is terribly written, a lot like the CFAA law. Both parties (Rep, Dem) for years along with players, and the poker sites have been trying to get the laws changed to define gambling, which games should be labeled skilled, or chance, and there is a difference..

To me it seems to be about the US gov not getting its piece of the pie this is what happens when you try to go outside the US Gov, having said that, they pick and choose which companies to go after, we have heard about Gaagle, Aphole (careful not to get busted with a DMCA for using the real names (sarcasm) and others getting away with evading taxes using the same methods.

If they can get a foot ground in the US using a real brick-n-mortar casino the money stays within the US, but it has been months since I read anything on the progress of changing the online gambling law, unless that gets changed US players will still have to wait there turn. if you want to read about it, your going to need to look through the site but it is very easy to find about about the laws, and the still pending DoJ, FBI cases/

Reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953439)

I buy on-line because it:

- is cheaper
- offers varied products
- sometimes better quality!

than products in the local department store.

... continued operations in foreign, legal markets ...

Wasn't there a slash-dot article recently about the US government wanting to shut-down foreign online casinos? Plus there is the bun-fight over fair trade with Antigua.

Combatting Moral Hazard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953499)

I think it's interesting that Congressional laws against online gambling can be enforced. The DoJ is actually capable of arresting executives and charging them with felony-class crimes - when they want to. Nonetheless, they are totally incapable of bringing charges against even one Too Big To Fail executive or board member who profited from flagrant and documented fraud that caused a greater worldwide loss of wealth than any gambling addiction has ever caused.

Hope so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953515)

I've been playing online poker professionally for six years and Black Friday and the withdrawal of Stars and Full Tilt from the U.S. market was a huge blow to my career. I'm now playing more than double the hours for less than half the income, and am relocating to Canada soon so that I can rejoin the international player pool. I don't expect to see a return to the poker boom era anytime soon, if ever, but getting Stars back in the U.S., even if in only a handful of states, would be fantastic.

And for all the people talking about online poker players throwing their money away and lying about winning, think of online poker like day-trading. Most people who do it grossly overestimate their own abilities, most people who do it lose money, but there is an elite top few percent who can and do make money consistently, and in some cases a lot of money. There are dozens of fish for every shark, but the sharks are out there.

No, it will make a comeback by going Bitcoin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953567)

Re:No, it will make a comeback by going Bitcoin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953789)

And very soon:

So you're ignoring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953587)

the real comeback. Online Poker played with Bitcoin (see Seals With Clubs). And silly me, I thought this was a tech blog.

Re:So you're ignoring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42953847)

I think Bitcoin is too much of a gamble for your average online poker player. Even those that can stomach the highly volatile market rate (up 66% from 1 month ago) will likely balk at supporting such a powerful idea, even though they can do so pretty much anonymously (seals doesn't even ask for an e-mail address at sign up).

I'd love it if this bit casinos in the ass (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#42953735)

The only reason Online Poker is illegal is because the Brick and Mortars don't like the perceived idea of losing business. So they lobbied against it. Now if Pokerstars starts making Brick and Mortar Casinos and taking away from the business of them, I'd feel smug.

I'm a winning poker player up %100,000 until Black Friday hit(Poker is a game of skill). Now I'm just waiting to be able to play Full Tilt again as I have a great strategy for Rush Poker.

Until Pokerstars and Full Tilt get legalized, I'm stuck on Carbon Poker.

Re:I'd love it if this bit casinos in the ass (2)

will_die (586523) | about a year ago | (#42954319)

The major casinos have been lobbing FOR on-line gambling, while they figure they will loss money from people going to the casinos they have said they are already loosing people to indian casinos. They have also said they expect to make money compared to companies like full tilt,etc since they would be more trusted since they are regulated in the states and have physical buildings.
The gambling interests that have been against it are state lottery officials since they see on-line gambling as a potential competitor to state run lotteries.

Learn history in order not to repeat the past! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954063)

Look at Venice (not Florida, but Italy). That city was once the most richest and most populous on Earth, with over 1,1 million gold coins in yearly revenue and 200k residents. Had a fleet nobody dared challenge and a colonial empire around the mediterranean. She was unavoidable for international commerce. That was in the renaissance era and like 350 years later the city was in shambles and at the feet of Napoleon, who duly sacked whatever little remained of her wealth. Today the palazzi are collapsing.

What happened? Not the pestilence, but the gambling epidemic toppled Venice. The wealth was siphoned off, the morals sunk and people only wanted lussuria and nobody cared to maintain or defend the empire any more. The immorality associated with gambling dens brought widespread venereal disease into the water city, making the malekind unfit for military service. The same fate awaits to any place that encourages or even tolerates gambling!

If the US politicians had any mind, they would print "Gambling is death" on dollar bills and let that be so. Why the redskin indians are allowed to run gambling dens, real or imaginary, is beyond me. It hurts them and it hurts the gamblers. The result is drinking to dementia, spread of AIDS and violent crimes.

There is a reason playing cards are called the devil's Bible. Here in Hungary, a rich foreign investor recently wanted to get hold of a large parcel of land on the shore of a beautiful protected lake in order to build an international gambling casino there. The corrupt government offered him a land swap deal for worthless lands in another part of the country, but the 2010 elections changed the regime and the casino deal was annuled, thanks to The Heavens! The catch is, that lake is called "Velencei to" = Lake Venice. Our new government has since closed down all gambling casinos. Looks like we, hungarians do learn from history, of which you, americans know nothing of!

Re:Learn history in order not to repeat the past! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954231)

There have been many cities that at one time boasted the most riches. I can assure you gambling is not even close to the #1 reason any of these cities fell from grace, including Venice.

Even if it was a significant problem long ago, it surely isn't now. We have data to prove it. Currently 2% of Americans suffer from gambling addiction. In a regulated environment these people can be helped.

Re:Learn history in order not to repeat the past! (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#42954535)

I have heard some crackpots in my time, but really...

I'm not a gambler. I'm a mathematician. That doesn't automatically mean that I'm opposed to it, nor that I'd win all the time, nor that I see the odds of winning and just say "no point, then". I *have* gambled, amounts of money I could easily afford to lose, and had fun doing so.

I was on a cruise ship (which have TERRIBLE reputations for gambling in some parts of the world BECAUSE of being forced off-shore in order to do it, but this was the QE2 before she was retired and hence a bit more refined), and there was a poker game.

The stakes were low (an introductory evening), and I was on holiday. I could spend £50 on a meal quite easily, or £100 on a trip to somewhere, or £50 in the gift shop, or £100 on a dance lesson - there was any number of ways to fritter money away to enjoy yourself. Hell, there was a cinema on-board.

But we were at sea for the evening, and I ended up at the poker table. For a matter of £20 I stayed on the table for hours, playing, winning, losing, learning, moving chips. I didn't bother to count the cards or the odds of every move, or judge my opponents, I just played and talked and had a laugh. And it was one of the best £20 I've ever spent.

Now you can say that's the problem, it's making losing money fun. But, where I live, the ticket for two for a blurry, jerky movie, in a crowded, noisy, dirty, smelly public cinema costs more than that, and is less fun. Hell, the DVD would almost run to that and I'd have to have expensive equipment to play it, support drug-addled actors and Hollywood accounting, not to mention DRM and mindless pap. Is that really a better alternative?

Every place I've ever worked has had a lottery syndicate, or made their own "lottery" games of some kind or other (just bet for the bonus ball in a small group of people, etc.).

Gambling is like a gun. It's harmless unless you choose to use or misuse it (I'm VEHEMENTLY for gun control, check my posts, I hate the idea of a private individual near me holding a gun of any legal status). The problem is not the gun, nor the gambling, but the people you let play with it. Some people are JUST THAT STUPID that they will throw away money they can't afford on games they don't understand how to play. But if they didn't, they'd spend it on the shopping channel on crap, give it to some nutter evangelist on the God channel, or some other outlet.

If you don't have the willpower to stay away from gambling, or alcohol, or cigarettes, or buying designer clothes, or getting the latest iPhone, or whatever it is that is your "vice", then you're going to fall down somewhere sooner or later. Ban the casinos and the gambling goes underground and people get into debt (which they wouldn't be allowed to do in a casino without their bank's assistance, and where people would start breaking kneecaps to recoup their losses instead of chasing you via the courts), do it in unlicensed premises, people aren't aware of the risks, are given counterfeit money in their winnings, etc. etc etc.

The problem is not any of these things. Not porn, or prostitution, or drugs, or gambling, or anything else you think of as a vice. The problem is stupid people who have no willpower, no way to question themselves and say "Should I be doing this?" or "Have I gone too far?" or even "Do I need help?". Babysitting them by "banning" things DOES NOT WORK. Sure, you need to enforce laws and curb excesses that are damaging but gambling is a purely voluntary pastime.

All you do by stopping it is drive it underground where it causes more problems, or babysit people who blame you for their own mistakes the next time your ban allows circumvention or comes too slowly.

Take responsibility for your own life, FORCE others to worry about theirs, not babysit grown-ups who pile themselves into debt.

And, to be honest, in terms of willpower the weakest people I know are those that believe what they are told on blind faith, trust in books and deities to guide them in life, and are in fear of anything not officially sanctioned (e.g. gay marriage, etc.). What kind of category does that describe? One that's a bigger drain on the human species than gambling addicts.

Re:Learn history in order not to repeat the past! (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year ago | (#42954561)

Or could it be that the other changes in the world contributed to it's decline?
The new trade routes robbed it's traders of the exclusivity of their goods, stronger neighbors made it hard to capture (or even hold) land, new weapons made it impossible to rely on just city walls for defense,.....

Re:Learn history in order not to repeat the past! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955651)

I personally think that it's decline was caused by mediocre spellers.

Some interesting events (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954223)

  1. * Owners of PokerStars were also a part of the founders of Full Tilt Poker.
  2. * Israeli ex-spy becomes CEO of PokerStars parent, Rational.
  3. * Full Tilt Poker sees increased trouble, with US Government confiscating bank transfer withdrawals of player's winnings.
  4. * Black friday - domain names blocked, sites shut down.
  5. * US Government hands ownership of Full Tilt Poker to Rational. Now the owners of PokerStars owns all of Full Tilt Poker.

Meanwhile, Israel is a known hot-bed for organized crime.

Meanwhile, Full Tilt Poker was fully licensed in Europe, had nearly a thousand employees.

Meanwhile, the US government was violating WTO trade agreements that allow for gambling, blocking gambling sites in Antigua. Now WTO has given Antigua rights to violate US copyrights commercially in order to recoup its massive losses.

Re:Some interesting events (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954261)

Add to those events the US billionaire casino owner who lobbied Washington hard to shut down the competition from the Internet. Guess which other country he's connected to?

USA=default much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954233)

those three poker sites are all running fine for me *shrugs* If there's a problem that affects a small minority of the global population, in a small minority of the world's landmass, it's hardly a big thing *shrugs again, for emphasis*

Internet Poker in Nevada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954331)

It seems that Nevada politicians are looking after the casinos with regards to Nevada legislation to online poker. The AB114 Measure has slammed the proverbial door into the face of Poker Stars and have went to extreme measures to make sure the document is air tight, waterproof and covered in impregnable steel. Poker Stars won't be allowed into Nevada (or other US states) for up to 10 years which is hust enough time for the Nevada casinos to catch up with the online poker world.

More here;

Gambling is entirely legal in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954619)

But they've renamed it to "stocks trading" and "insurance".

Native Americans (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#42954737)

I've always wondered why the online poker services that were under siege for so many years didn't contact/partner with the Indian gaming casinos?

As I understand, they have a broad-brush immunity to gambling laws Federally, I'm no expert certainly but that seems like a nice, safe, legal foundation for hosting online real-money gambling.

Re:Native Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955165)

That is an excellent idea.

I wonder if Pokerstars or Full Tilt have put any money into researching this? If not, they should.

Supply and Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954753)

"While PokerStars and others continued operations in foreign, legal markets, the U.S. poker craze pretty much collapsed. That doesn't mean the lucrative market has gone away."

Shocker! Making something illegal doesn't kill demand for it!

Nevada's already taken a step (1)

VoiceOfSanity (716713) | about a year ago | (#42954861)

The Nevada Gaming Commission has already issued a license to run an online poker site to the American Casino & Entertainment Properties. The site is called AcePlay Poker, and is branded with the Stratosphere Casino. For now, it's only a free play site, but they are working on getting agreements with other states to allow actual pay games.

Can't see this working (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#42955143)

Just this morning, the Atlantic City casino Revel filed for bankruptcy [] , one year after the casino opened. Granted, it was an ambitious plan, including a non-smoking environment, but with gambling in surrounding states draining clientele, the entire AC casino industry is suffering.

This isn't to say they can't make this work, but if they're relying on a majority of their income from poker, well, putting ones eggs in one basket comes to mind.

Re:Can't see this working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42956985)

Except that their plan is to acquire the casino for next-to-nothing, and allow internet poker.
Revel was built at fantastic cost (with fantastic debt) and relies on gamblers to walk through its doors.

Tor and I2P? (1)

cornfeed (2141840) | about a year ago | (#42955155)

Has no one thought of just moving things to the darknet? Or is poker just that hard to code in the browser?

I want US based online sports betting (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42955217)

I want US based online sports betting

Confusion (1)

GigsVT (208848) | about a year ago | (#42955275)

There seems to be some confusion. Internet gambling wasn't banned. They passed a law (stuck in at the last second into an antiterrorism bill, with no debate, when everyone was gone for a holiday) which made it illegal to process payments related to Internet gambling.

This is why the "hard core" can still do it. You just need an offshore bank account with a company that isn't bound by US laws not to process gambling related payments. It's not a crime for someone from the US to gamble online, at least not on the federal level in the US, it's just a little tricky to move your money around to banks and payment processors that are outside US laws.

There's no need for darknet, hiding, or anything like that. It's just a matter of logistics with moving the money around to fund and cash out the accounts.

Re:Confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955579)

Yeah, but the barriers to entry deter a certain demographic of player. Stupid/inexperienced players.

Without these guys to bankroll the fun, games becomes tougher even at low limits.

So lots of the casual players quit too. If you can't see any bad players at your table, you should leave. Because YOU are the bad player.

Treachery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955297)

This isn't news to a lot of poker players, but the UIGEA was a miscarriage of justice. At the last possible moment, a bill banning online poker was tacked onto a bill which was certain to be passed - an antiterrism act known as the SAFE port act. Nice catchy acronym, just like PATRIOT ...

Bill Frist was responsible for this - the guy who got $50,000 from Harrahs brick and mortar casinos that very same year.

I have a better idea (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#42955757)

How about we just go with the old, established brick and mortar casino game full of danger, excitement, thrilling drama....BINGO! :-D Pretty much every casino has Bingo. The one near me actually has a poker room and Bingo but still, World Series of Bingo sounds pretty tempting. From what I hear, there are a lot more fist fights and chair throwing in Bingo than Texas Hold Em.

Government Hates Competition (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#42955991)

The only reason gambling is so tightly regulated, and the only reason playing poker on the Internet is illegal, is because the government hates competition.

The government wants you playing government-run lotteries, like Powerball and Megamillions.

Brick and mortar? How quaint. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42956391)

Poker is already making a comeback with bitcoin. Use your favorite indexing engine to verify :)

isn't it sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42960725)

isn't it sad that legislation gets passed through like this, just so there's no delay in passing some "port security" bill it was attached to for whatever reason. its my money and i want it now! i'm going to call j g wentworth, and think about all the money i'm not making running low risk lotteries online. the point is, every state will lose the money they syphon from gambling addicts (at alarming odds) if someone was to construct a fair lottery which is not really all that hard to do, it would put state lotteries out of business completely. those shiesters.

apple hates online gambling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42961593)

Everyone knows that Apple paid off the US Government to outlaw online poker. Iphones would not be so popular if people were still gambling online.

Playing Online Poker NOT ILLEGAL (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42970975)

The summary is incorrect. Playing online poker was NOT deemed illegal, despite the name of that bill.

Payment processing to online poker sites was made illegal (e.g. credit card payments).

The various other things that people involved with sites did were sometimes illegal payment processing, sometimes other scummy things.

(BTW, I have never played online poker, but I listen to some poker podcasts & watch WPT & WSOP.)

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