A new bill was just introduced to the state senate of New Jersey that would allow Atlantic City casinos to offer online gambling services. The game terminals would have to be located in restricted areas of casinos and racetracks, and all equipment would have to be located within the boundaries of the city, making this more “local intranet” gambling than true internet gambling.
Press of Atlantic City: Legislation would permit online betting at Atlantic City casinos
New legislation introduced a few days ago would allow online gambling at casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The bill is sponsored by state Senator Raymond Lesniak. Specifically, it would allow “New Jersey residents to place wagers on casino games via the Internet.” All online games from blackjack to poker would be available.
The bill would require that all computers used for legal online gambling be located in a separate area of a casino, “but within the territorial limits of Atlantic County.”
An annual tax of 20% on gross revenue from online gambling would be paid into a casino revenue fund. A new unit would be created under the state’s Casino Control Comission called Division of Internet Wagering.
The Casino Control Commission along with the New Jersey Racing Commission would also allow the operation of online gambling terminals at racetracks, where “individuals who have registered to participate in Internet wagering may wager on games conducted at casinos in Atlantic City.”
WebProNews: New Jersey Considers Legalizing Online Gambling
A newly proposed law introduced in New Jersey would allow players there to gamble online through special websites run by casinos in Atlantic City.
The bill was introduced into the New Jersey State Senate last week by Senator Raymond Lesniak. Incidentally, Lesniak also introduced a different bill which asks New Jersey residents to vote on a constitutional amendment which would allow state-regulated sports betting at Atlantic City casinos.
Right now, New Jersey offers legal online gambling on horse races to local residents through the 4NJbets.com website. If this bill passes, the state will change the law to permit online versions of any game currently allowed in Atlantic City casinos, such as poker, blackjack and baccarat. The new online gambling system would be controlled and regulated by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, which would establish a new Division of Internet Wagering to manage operations and licensing.
“We’re happy that New Jersey has taken this issue into their own hands,” said iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Jr.
StandardBred Canada: Gaming ‘Terminals’ Coming To NJ Tracks?
A newly proposed bill introduced by New Jersey state senator Raymond Lesniak could allow Atlantic City casinos to offer online gambling services to New Jersey residents. The bill reportedly has some support in the senate already, but those that do not want to online gaming at the state’s racetracks are voicing their displeasure.
An article by Press of Atlantic City states that Mark Juliano, who is chief executive officer of the three Trump Entertainment Resorts casinos in Atlantic City, revealed that the legislation appears to allow racetracks to also get video lottery terminals.
The report further states that any equipment used to run the new internet gambling system must be located within the territorial limits of Atlantic County, such as within a casino or at another secure location.
The bill reportedly states that the New Jersey Casino Control Commission might also let racetracks operate online gambling terminals. These terminals will likely be identical in appearance to slot machines found at local casinos.
After Gov. Riley’s anti-gambling task force was deterred from action by a judge’s order in Alabama recently, the debate over gambling and its legality has escalated rapidly. The subject has the potential to split the states vote, and a scandalous resignation has fueled the fire.
WTVM 9: AL task force commander quits after gambling win
The commander of Alabama Gov. Bob Riley’s task force on illegal gambling has resigned due to a recent, $2,300 win at a brick-and-mortar casino in Mississippi. David Barber, the commander, resigned on behalf of his actions potential to be a “political distraction” for the task force.
The commander submitted a formal resignation in a letter to the governor on Friday. In the letter, Barber explained that he gambled at a casino in Mississippi and legally won the money in a game.
Both Riley and Barber, the former district attorney in Jefferson County, claim that the electronic bingo machines used in a new facility operated in Alabama are, in fact, slot machines, which are currently illegal in Alabama.
Barber’s resignation arrived on the same day that the Alabama Supreme Court lifted a judge’s order which had blocked the task force from raiding electronic bingo operations at Country Crossing in Dothan.
CBS 42: Jackpot! Gambling Task Force Commander Resigns
Bob Riley’s Commander of the Illegal Gambling Task Force, David Barber, struck a generous jackpot of $2300 on recent trip to Mississippi. Trying to remove himself from the politics circling around the issue, David Barber resigned from his position. Here are a few excerpts from the Commanders resignation and the Governors reply:
Commander David Barber
I hereby resign as Commander of your Task Force on Illegal Gambling.
While I remain committed to the Task Force’s goals, I have concluded that my continued participation will become a political distraction from the Task Force’s important work. On a recent visit to Mississippi, I visited a legal casino and won a $2,300 prize playing a legal game. While my actions were in full compliance with the law, I am convinced that the forces that operate illegal casinos in Alabama will focus on my actions as part of their continuing effort to smear you and your Task Force.
With regret I accept your resignation as Commander of the Task Force on Illegal Gambling.
I want to commend you for your service to the State of Alabama as the Task Force’s leader. Adherence to the rule of law is the cornerstone of the free and fair society that we enjoy in our state and nation. Thank you for being willing to take a stand in support of that most fundamental principal.
WSFA 12 (NBC): Congressman Bright weighs in on gambling debate
Without a doubt, gambling is the hottest topic in Alabama. According to 2nd District Congressman, Bobby Bright, “This shouldn’t be an issue that divides our state.” Regardless, this is one such issue. The definition of gambling legality is creating tension between the state’s residents and leaders.
Congressman Bright thinks there’s a more suitable solution to the issue than ridding the state of electronic bingo machines according to the wishes of Gov. Riley.
“What we could all do is agree on a referendum and let the people decide. That way it eliminates the Governor having to go down into a community and raid and make it look like he’s fighting the local leadership.”
Should the situation lead to a referendum, there must be boundaries.
“It would need to be regulated. A commission should be set up and private individuals should not be profiting from the proceeds of a gambling initiative if it passed,” he adds.
While the congressman doesn’t agree with gambling, he knows the decision isn’t his to make.
“I also am a public servant speaking for my constituents. And whatever they choose to do, however they choose to live their life in their communities, I will honor that.”
Bright hopes that if a referendum were passed, education would be the recipient of the industry’s revenue.
They will receive varying charges according to their activities on site. Children were released to relatives and 118 fighting cocks will be exterminated due to the ruling of a judge on the matter.
Police raided an illegal gambling cockfight in a small town near Fort Worth, TX, and arrested 169 viewers (among whom 15 children as young as 7 were present) and cock owners, and seized over 100 roosters condemned to fight to the death.Cockfighting is illegal in 39 states including Texas, and an illegal gambling misdemeanor in the remaining 11, but it continues to flourish.
Steroids , illegal gambling and other supplements are often given to the birds to heighten aggression. Sometimes metal knives are strapped to their legs to ensure that fights end in the death. Law enforcement authorities say that cockfighting rings are often tied up in drug smuggling and money laundering rackets.
Illegal gambling cockfights often have up to $30,000 purses riding on them. Owners pay about $300 to enter a bird for an event, and spectators pay a further $30 to enter. Last month saw several raids on fights around the US.
Authorities in Texas said 169 people were arrested and 114 roosters were seized during a raid on a local cockfight. Saturday afternoon’s raid occurred after authorities kept the site under surveillance for two weeks.
County Sheriff Larry Fowler said charges will vary among those arrested in the area barn but illegal gambling will be one of them. “The people who were arrested for illegal gambling will go before a judge and be charged with a gambling offense,” Fowler said. “We will look into charging some who were arrested with federal charges. A charge of engaging in organized crime is a possibility for some.”
The Star-Telegram said authorities found a number of dead and injured roosters at the cockfighting site, along with an unspecified amount of drugs and money.
Over 100 Arrested in Cockfighting Bust
Over 100 people were arrested as of Saturday night after police raided an illegal gambling rooster fight. The Parker County Sheriff’s department found over 100 birds, injured and dead, along with drugs and children abandoned by fleeing parents as officers raided the scene. The kids were taken into the custody of Child Protective Services while dozens of adults were sent to jail.
Cockfighting is a crime Sheriff Fowler says he’s never seen in Parker County. Those arrested will face gambling charges and possibly felony charges for their involvement in the cockfighting operation.
Texans illegal gambling on a illegal cockfight that was raided Saturday leading to the arrest of 169 people were arrested, amongst them children as young as 7.
It’s shuffle up and deal time: The World Series of Poker has begun in Las Vegas with 7,319 entrants, the second-largest pool ever assembled for the world’s biggest poker event. Yesterday alone, 2,391 players entered, as Thursday marked the last day to buy in for $10,000.
Based on entrants, the total prize pool will be $68.8 million and the top prize is a huge $8.94 million; the top 747 finishers will win prizes. Last year, there were 6,494 total entrants for a prize pool of $61 million and a $8.55 prize for the winner Joe Cada, youngest ever to take this tournament.
As always, some celebrities were on hand to try their hand at a few poker hands, including Jason Alexander, Emmitt Smith, and Shannon Elizabeth, just to name a very few.
Though the peak number of participants set in 2006 was not reached, the numbers are up 12% on last year. Alexander was enthusiastic to an Associated Press reporter, to whom he said “I’m glad people are feeling like the economy’s back enough that they can do [play in the World Series of Poker]. It wasn’t because the interest in poker went away, so I have to assume people weren’t willing to speculate.”
Most observers also factor in an overall drop in attendance since 2006, as after the tournament the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed, thereby discouraging many online poker rooms from accepted U.S. players – and getting them into the World Series of Poker.
Not so long ago, Harrah’s Entertainment was one of the most vocal detractors of regulating online gambling sites. Today, however, they’re rapidly becoming a force for full legalization of Internet gaming in America. In fact, Harrah’s will be among the most visible pro-online gambling lobbyists in Washington beginning next month.
Harrah’s Entertainment is of course best known for the Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Hotel and Caesar’s Palace, while ever gaining in household name recognition thanks to its sponsorship of the World Series of Poker event. Back in 2006, Harrah’s was a chief player in getting the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the law which imposes serious restrictions on playing online in the United States, passed as part of the Safe Port Act.
With the economy tanking in 2008 and 2009 while profits steadily eroded, Harrah’s has performed an about-face on their opposition to the gambling online. The first major step was in hiring former Party Gaming CEO Mitch Garber to head up its newly formed “interactive gaming division,” followed by the launching of its own website affiliated with the World Series of Poker – at which U.S. players are not allowed to play.
But last week saw the biggest indication yet that Harrah’s is exuding effort into overturning UIGEA and getting more rational laws regarding online gambling in the U.S. as the company hired the lobbying firm Capitol Counsel to plead the casino giant’s case on Capitol Hill. In 2010, Harrah’s has already spent nearly $1 million in lobbying efforts.
Speculation has it that Harrah’s expanded lobbying efforts are in advance of Congressional hearings scheduled for July on legislation proposed by Rep. Barney Frank that would overturn UIGEA. The Nevada Gaming Control Board is also reportedly investigating the relationship between gaming provider 888 and Harrah’s for possible violations of state and federal law.
Two things seem certain and universal about Internet gambling: One, if people want to gamble online, they will in spite of vague threats from law enforcement; and two, somebody somewhere is making a lot of tax-free money.
Many European nations are currently modernizing their national laws to account for the rise in Internet gambling in the past 10 years. In countries such as France and Italy, a combination of pressure from the European Commission on fair competition laws plus the realization by state-run gaming monopolies that benefit would come from regulation and taxation will soon result in more freedom and safer gaming for those countries’ consumers.
Though the amount of online gambling being done is impossible to know, virtually every country without regulation in place has commissioned a study on how much money their government could stand to earn in revenue should online slots (estimated to represent 85-90% of all gambling monies collected) and reputable online casinos offering them be legalized.
While advisory firm KPMG has forecasted that the global online betting market will reach $32 billion by 2012, some specific representative numbers from around the world include the following.
• U.S. congressman Barney Frank, the chief advocate of creating regulatory law for online casinos in America, claims that online slots alone could generate $41.3 billion in tax revenue over the next 10 years. Taxing all gambling would make $62.7 billion for the government.
• Officials estimated that Thai citizens will spend $1 billion on World Cup gambling alone.
• Upon announcing that Greece could have online gambling made fully legal by 2011, state monopoly OPAP stated that the country’s market could be worth about €5 billion ($6.13 billion) in taxable revenue.
• An estimate from Denmark shows that citizens there spend €8.3 million per year at online casinos.
• Australia’s Productivity Commission estimated that nearly 750,000 Australians would *lose* $1 billion on unregulated online casinos in 2010.
The point: By allowing online casinos to go unregulated, the world’s governments are losing money hand over fist daily. One would think that in this global economy, such an opportunity would not be wasted. In the case of online casino slots, all that glitters could be gold – if only the politicians let it.
Internet gambling in the United States has received quite a lot of media attention lately. Earlier this month, an old bill from 2006 passed into law – it’s called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and its aim is to make it more difficult for Americans to gamble online. The new law does not make online gambling in the US illegal. In fact, there are dozens of online casinos accepting US players, along with a wide range of excellent poker rooms, bingo halls, and sportsbooks that let US players sign up and gamble.
The only place where US players might run into problems is banking. The UIGEA essentially goes after American banks, forcing them to block credit and debit card transactions that involve online gambling. This leaves fewer options open to American players, but fortunately, there are still plenty of ways to get money to and from online casinos and other gambling sites.
Most solutions involve alternative internet banking services called e-wallets. These online gambling payment methods act as liaisons between players and gambling sites, taking money via credit or debit card from players then transferring it on their behalf to an online casino account. There are several of these banking services that accept US players, including eWalletXpress and UseMyWallet. They are the fastest and easiest way for American players to make deposits and withdrawals with online casinos or similar sites.
The easiest way to go about things is to first find an online gambling site that accepts US players, then after creating a new account there, talk with the customer support staff (many sites offer live chat services) and ask them to point out which payment methods they offer work well for players in the United States. Often, customer service representatives will be able to walk players through the whole process to help them fund their account quickly and easily.
At the end of the day, the hardest step is deciding where to sign up. A good place to start is this online gambling directory where players can read reviews of online casinos or other sites that accept US players. Sites like these are backed by many years of experience, and have a good understanding of what players are looking for. Remember, the US government is working hard to figure out the best way to open up the country’s online gambling industry, so it’s only a matter of time until things get a lot easier. Until then, enjoy the many great sites that still accept US players – good luck, and we hope you win!
On June 01, 2010, American gambling laws changed. An old bill from 2006 called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) went into full effect, forcing US banks and credit companies to stop processing transactions to and from online casinos and other internet gambling sites. The law represents an attempt to put a stop to online gambling in the US.
The reason for this round-about approach to the issue of internet gambling is simple: an all-out ban would be completely unenforceable. While American companies are absolutely not allowed to offer online gambling services, there are plenty of countries around the world that do offer gambling over the internet, and many of these foreign-based online casinos accepting US players. While the American government doesn’t like this, they can’t stop it directly, simply because these websites operate in other countries where American authorities have no jurisdiction.
The UIGEA is therefore a rather feeble attempt to slow down gamblers. It has been a long time coming, and everyone connected to the industry has been preparing for it since it was first announced in 2006. The initial announcement had a big effect, driving some online casino software providers out of the American market. A few stayed, however, leaving players with a decent selection of sites where they can sign up and gamble online.
The biggest issue now is banking. US players will find it difficult, if not impossible, to use their credit or debit cards to deposit money directly into an account at an online gambling site. Instead, they simply make indirect deposits – there are alternative banking methods that re-route funds, taking money from the player then passing it on to the gambling site (and vice versa when it comes time to collect winnings). US players have already been relying upon these alternative online gambling payment methods for several years.
At the end of the day, the UIGEA does little to prevent US players from gambling online. One thing it most certainly does not do is to ban internet gambling. Despite what the media says, online gambling in the United States is not illegal. While certain individual states do have laws against gambling in general, players enjoy some leeway with the system, since the internet creates questions about jurisdiction. US lawmakers seem to be moving slowly towards the regulation of internet gambling, but it could be a few years off – until then, Americans continue to enjoy online poker, internet casino games, even bingo and sports betting, all without breaking the law.
An idea first proposed last year in California will take the next step toward realization on Tuesday, when State Senator Rod Wright issues his bill proposing the creation of an intranet poker network. Naturally this proposal has provoked much discussion in local media. The proposal seeks to limit the number of online casinos offering legal gambling in California and to collect a minimum of 20% of revenue from these websites to fill the state budget deficit. Some estimates say that Californians spent $300 million on poker websites alone in 2009.
The (Sacramento) Press-Enterprise: Online poker bill to emerge
A bill from state senator Rod Wright is expected within a few days that would provide players in California the opportunity to legally choose between multiple online poker websites, in hopes of generating billions of dollars in tax revenue for the treasury.
Competing with Wright’s proposal is a plan put forth by the Morongo Ban of Mission Indians, a group that would create a “tribal intrastate Internet poker consortium” to act as a monopoly over a California-wide poker network, but Wright seeks to introduce a system of natural competition with his bill.
Expected to be put out on Tuesday, Wright’s bill seems to be based on the standard European model. Wright proposes that the California Department of Justice award five-year contracts to between one and three online poker websites based within the state. A minimum of 20% of revenue generated would be paid to the state in taxes.
Wright estimates that after passage of the bill, it might take another three years to have such an online poker system running. Californians spent an estimated $300 million on Internet poker last year. The state of California will have a $19.1 billion deficit as of June 2011.
NBC Bay Area: Can Online Gambling Save California?
The taxation of online gambling may be a way to solve part of the state’s budget problems – even more so than marijuana legalization. Supporters of decriminalisation of Internet gambling have claimed that regulating and taxing Internet gaming could earn up to $42 billion in federal taxes.
In California, some politicians who are pro-online gambling push such taxation as potentially bringing money and jobs to the state. This includes firms in Silicon Valley such as CyberArts, which produces Internet casino architectural software known as Foundation.
Though online gambling remains controversial even in California, the time to make it legal may have come. One consult was quoted as saying “it’s generally easier to pass something like (online gambling regulations) in a recession.”
Tech Jackal: California close to being the first state to legalize online poker
California may be on the way to becoming the first U.S. state to legalize online poker, because of state senator Rod Wright’s proposed new bill. Wright heads up the California Senate committee which overseeing gambling among other areas.
The addition of further taxes and revenues created from state-based gambling websites would go to directly addressing the state budget deficit, though Wright emphasized he sought to avoid a single-company monopoly.
Wright said that online gambling taxation “is an asset that is underperforming and it belongs to the state. It should be nondiscriminatory in terms of the people who participate. It’ll go to the people who want it and show up and bid.”
In order to take advantage of any opportunity to establish online poker or casino gaming for California citizens, website operators will have to meet certain specified legal, technical and financial conditions.
Nicodemo Scarfo, a man with alleged ties to the New York-based Lucchese crime family, was detained from his home Friday and taken into custody on charges of racketeering, money laundering, and gambling. Scarfo allegedly had ties with an illegal bookmaking ring that processed billions of dollars in bets through an online gambling site to a wire room in Costa Rica. His bail has been set, and his attorney expects he will be released soon.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Scarfo’s bail set at $350,000 in betting operation
Nicodemo Scarfo says he is an unemployed research analyst who did legal consulting work for attorneys. New Jersey state prosecutors paint a different picture, saying he is an organized crime involved in a $2 billion illegal online sports betting operation.
Theses contrasting biographies were drafted during yesterday’s bail hearing in Morris County Superior Court before Judge Thomas Manahan, where bail was set at $350,000.
Scafro is a reputed member of the Lucchese crime family. He faces charges of racketeering, conspiracy, money-laundering and illegal gambling, all stemming from his alleged involvement in an online sports betting operation that funneled bets through a wire room in Costa Rica. Scarfo is just one of 34 reputed associates of the Lucchese family charged in the case.
Authorities watched the gambling ring for more than a year, in a probe they called “Operation Heat”.
During the probe, they collected hundreds of secretly recorded conversations on wiretaps and other electronic listening devices.
NBC: Reputed former crime boss from Ventnor indicted by grand jury
The New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office has announced that a grand jury indicted Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., 44, along with more than 30 other people with alleged ties to the New York-based Lucchese crime family.
Scarfo, said to be the head of the the New Jersey faction of the family, faces racketeering, conspiracy and gambling charges.
The indictment is the result of a long-term investigation called Operation Heat aimed at uncovering an international criminal gambling ring that dealt with several billion dollars in sports wagers over the internet.
According to records from the investigation, the gambling ring processed an estimated $2.2 billion in wagers in just over a year using a password-protected website that funneled bets to Costa Rica.
Attorney General Paula T. Dow said, “The Lucchese crime family allegedly employed sophisticated measures such as electronic record-keeping and offshore wire rooms designed to thwart detection of their illegal gambling activities by law enforcement.”
“I’m proud to say that their innovations did not stop our investigators from infiltrating their criminal enterprise and obtaining the evidence needed to indict their alleged top leaders in both New York and New Jersey.”
Press of Atlantic City: Bail on mob-related charges set for Nicodemo S. Scarfo
Nicodemo S. Scarfo, son of a former Atlantic City crime boss, may soon be released prison after his bail was set on Tuesday.
Superior Court Judge Thomas V. Manahan set his bail at $350,000 shortly after Scarfo was arrested last week on racketeering charges.
Scarfo, 44, was detained from his home on Friday after authorities announced his indictment relating to an illegal internet bookmaking operation.
Sarfo’s attorney James Leonard called the scenario a “trumped-up book-making case” and expects his client to be released on bail soon.
The House Ways and Means Committee will hold an inquiry on the possibility of installing taxes and/or regulations on Internet gambling within the U.S. on Wednesday. The inquiry is being held in light of the upcoming implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which essentially puts online gambling into a state of prohibition and is scheduled to go into effect on June 1.
The Hill: Online gambling before Ways and Means on Wednesday
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee will explore the taxation of Internet gambling at a hearing in Washington. Emphasized in the inquiry will be certain tax-and-revenue proposals advanced in the past congressional session. All of these directly address the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (or UIGEA), implementation of which was delayed six months to June 1, 2010.
A hearing on the subject that was supposed to have taken place before the House Financial Services Committee in April was cancelled due to scheduling purposes, but will be rescheduled at some point. Such a hearing would center on bills entitled the “Reasonable Prudence in Regulation Act” (which would simply delay implementation of UIGEA until June 1, 2011) and the “Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act,” a wide-ranging proposal involving the elimination of UIGEA altogether.
Miami Herald: Is online gambling a win-win?
U.S. House Representatives Barney Frank and Jim McDermott are among those proposing to repeal the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and replace it with plans that would legalize and tax online gambling.
McDermott’s current proposed bill, which will be among those investigated at a Ways and Means Committee hearing tomorrow, calls for a 8% tax on deposits made at online casinos or poker rooms, of which three-quarters would go to state and tribal governments, and the remainder to the federal government. Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the bill could earn up to $72 billion over the next 10 years.
American professional sports leagues are said to be against these bills for fear of expanding wagering on sports events. because they think it will expand wagers placed on their games.
Frank also defends the legalization of Internet gaming on libertarian grounds: “American adults want to be able to do what they want with their own money without the government interfering,” he says.
New York Post: ‘Worse than Subprime’
Although regulating online gambling would appear to be an easy moneymaker for state and federal governments, some are arguing the same people behind the subprime crisis are supporting new gambling law.
Groups such as the Justice Department and the National Association of Attorneys General remain opposed to Rep. Barney Frank’s efforts at refining the Internet gambling industry, theorizing that as much as $20 billion might be wagered in a “surge among gamblers” when casino gaming is truly out of prohibition.
A recently released federal study, the “2009 United States International Gambling Report,” mostly reiterated the findings of the 1999 US National Gambling Impact Study Commission, calling Internet gambling the “worst type of electronic wagering.”
Despite the fact that the online gaming industry is frowned upon by the United States Government, it’s undeniable that it is popular. Thousands of people enjoy the benefits of the industry and they are safe from punishment, operators however can be preyed on by the governments as is shown in the case of this unfortunate Canadian.
Reuters: Canadian man pleads guilty in web gambling scheme
According to federal authorities in Manhattan, Canadian man pleaded guilty to illegally transmitting bets and wagering information through wires in connection with an alleged $350 million internet gambling scheme.
The office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Douglas Rennick, 34, entered the plea on Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein. Rennick agreed to forfeit $17.1 million, and could face 6 to 12 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15.
Prosecutors accused Rennick of transferring more than $350 million from a Cyprus bank to U.S. accounts to pay U.S. residents who wanted to cash out gambling winnings from 2007 through June 2009.
According to an indictment last August, Rennick told U.S. banks that his accounts would be used for the issuance of rebate and refund checks, payroll processing and other legal purposes. Instead, he used them to launder money for Internet companies that offered poker, blackjack, slot machines and other casino games.
The government originally charged Rennick with conspiring to commit bank fraud, money laundering and engaging in illegal gambling, and could have ordered him to forfeit $565.9 million, court records show.
24 Hrs. Vancouver: Vernon man charged in $350M online gambling scheme
A Vernon, B.C. man charged in a massive online gambling scheme pleaded guilty in New York Tuesday to illegally processing offshore bets by Americans.
Douglas Rennick, 35, was charged Aug. 5, 2009 with bank fraud, conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to operate illegal gambling. Authorities claimed Rennick transferred $350 million from a Cyprus bank account to various U.S. banks “in order to pay funds to gamblers” in the U.S. “as directed by various offshore Internet gambling companies.”
Rennick admitted in court that he transferred money from online gambling companies to gamblers in New York State. Among the websites was PokerStars. He forfeited $17.1 million and is free on $400,000 bail until his Sept. 15 sentencing.
Courthouse News Service: Huge Recovery From Gambling Operation
Douglas Rennick, a Canadian man, pleaded guilty to processing more than $350 million for online gamblers and funneling their winnings into the United States. He agreed to forfeit nearly $566 million and faces 2 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced.
Rennick, 34, pleaded guilty to one of the three counts he faced: using the wires to transmit bets and wagering information in interstate commerce.
Rennick set up fictitious corporate accounts in Cyprus to issue checks for rebates, refunds, sponsorship checks and other payments, from 2007 to June 2009. Prosecutors say that he actually used the accounts to receive money from offshore Internet gambling companies and send the money to U.S. residents who wanted to “cash out their gambling winning.”
Just when we thought it was safe to get back in the water, research shows that the dreaded recession is still pressing down on Americans. Overall, national revenue through gambling dropped over 5%, but progress in some states even during the recession gives a nation hope.
USA Today: Casino gamblers tightened purse strings in recession
Americans have been rolling the dice less as the economy soured. According to the American Gaming Association, revenue from casino gambling fell 5.5% overall last year, with the take falling $1.8 billion from the $32.5 billion of revenue in 2008. Revenue fell in 8 of the 12 states that have casino gambling.
Interestingly, consumers spent more last year gambling at casinos than they did on candy or movie tickets. Spending on lotto tickets hasn’t dropped much. According to La Fleur’s 2010 World Lottery Almanac, states had lottery revenues of $53.1 billion in fiscal year 2009, compared with $53.4 billion in fiscal year 2008.
Six of 12 states with racetrack casinos reported revenue increases, and six reported decreases. Maine had the largest increase, 17.2%, and Iowa took the biggest hit, a 6.7% decline.
Colorado, Indiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania were the only states that posted an increase in casino gambling revenue, according to the association. Pennsylvania saw revenue rise because two casinos opened last year. Kansas, brought in nearly $2 million after its first casino opened
New gaming laws increased some revenue. Colorado relaxed bet limits and increased hours and types of games. Missouri removed loss limits. Casinos in 13 states employed about 328,000 workers last year, compared with about 357,000 in 2008. Casinos contributed $5.6 billion in tax revenue to state and local governments last year, a 1.6% drop from 2008.
Stateline: Gambling slowdown reduces states’ take
The economic slowdown that’s battered the bottom line of states has also reduced their take of gambling taxes, according to a report released Thursday. The American Gaming Association said gaming revenues dropped 5.5 percent across the country last year. State revenues from taxes on gaming dropped 1.6 percent.
New Jersey took the biggest hit, as gaming tax revenues dropped 18.6% between 2008 and 2009. Nevada and Mississippi were also hard-hit, losing 10.4% and 9.4%, respectively.
Four of the 13 states that allow commercial casinos actually did better last year than in the previous year. The report credits voter initiatives in 2008 that legalized more gambling for boosting revenues in both Colorado and Missouri.
Colorado raised its bet limit from $5 to $100; and state gaming taxes increased by 2.6%. Missouri did away with a rule that limited gamblers’ losses to $500 in a two-hour period; its taxes went up 5.9 percent. By far the biggest revenue winner, though, was Pennsylvania, which opened two new casinos in 2009. Its gaming revenues jumped by 21.6%.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: State’s casino numbers buck national trend
Pennsylvania, where new casinos are still opening and legalized slot play is still a novelty, added more than 3,200 gambling-related jobs and yielded big revenue increases in 2009, a year in which casino revenues declined nationally by more than 5%.
Statistics were presented in the American Gaming Association’s annual industry report, which was released Thursday. Pennsylvania’s revenues increased by almost 22%, aided by the 2009 opening of Rivers Casino on the North Shore and the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem.
Nationally, casinos took in $30.74 billion in 2009, down nearly $1.8 billion from 2008. It’s the 2nd year of declining casino revenues nationally, and as a result, the number of people employed in the industry dropped by almost 30,000, or 8.1%.
Nevada’s casinos saw 2009 revenues decline by 10.4% from 2008 numbers, while Pennsylvania’s neighbors in Atlantic City, N.J., performed even worse, with a 13.3% decline. Western Pennsylvania is still in the running for 2 more casinos – one, a proposed racetrack casino in Lawrence County; the other, a smaller “resort” casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County.
In anticipating of a potential opening of the US online gambling market, Unibet PLC has paid $2.25 million for a 25.9% share in bingo.com. The private placement comes shortly after bingo.com switched to Unibet’s online bingo and casino network. Unibet has also announced its intention to apply for a license to operate in France.
Wall Street Journal Market Watch: Bingo.com Closes $2,250,000 Private Placement from Unibet
Bingo.com, Ltd., owner of the online gaming site www.bingo.com, announced yesterday that it closed a private placement from Unibet Group plc, selling 15 million common shares at $0.15 apiece, raising net proceeds of $2,250,000. The placement represents 25.9% Bingo.com.
“Bingo.com is pleased to have secured a private placement from Unibet,” said Bingo.com’s CEO Tarrnie Williams. “With one of the World’s leading gaming operators as both an investor and operational partner, Bingo.com will now have the resources to support its brand in a number of emerging online bingo markets. We very much look forward to taking on a leading role in the expansion of online bingo worldwide.”
Unibet CEO Petter Nylander was equally positive. “Investing in Bingo.com, one of the strongest bingo brand names in the industry, is exciting for us. We believe in the power of the Bingo.com URL and believe that Bingo.com will be a leader in online bingo for years to come. We look forward to growing our businesses together in existing and new markets.”
Unibet recently developed turn-key online gaming platform, offering partners to be part of their online casino and bingo network.
Business Wire: Unibet Group plc – Interim report January – March 2010
During the first quarter of 2010 Unibet Group plc saw continued growth in terms of gross winnings revenue as well as active customers. Their live betting offerings together with live event streaming and the Unibet Mobile platform have all been important driving factors in recent months.
April also shows very good figures, with average daily gross revenue up over the average daily gross revenue for the previous three months.
Unibet recently decided to apply for a licence to operate in France after the recent opening of their online gambling market. The exact terms of licences in the country have yet to be revealed, but 2010 earnings are not expected to be significant. This change in the regulatory situation renders the group’s financial goals for 2010 obsolete. Given the uncertainty regarding France, Unibet CEO Petter Nylande says it will be challenging to outperform 2009.
Lastly, in preparation for the possible opening of the US online gambling market, Unibet has acquired 25.9% of the NASDAQ listed company Bingo.com through a private placement of $2.25 million.
eGaming Review: Unibet wagers on legal US egaming with Bingo.com stake
UNIBET just acquired a quarter of NASDAQ-listed Bingo.com in hopes that the US online gambling market will soon open up once again.
The Swedish operator now owns a 25.9% stake in the business, acquired through a private placement for $2.25m. The move follows just two months after Bingo.com joined Unibet’s online bingo and casino network in March.
Petter Nylander, chief executive of Unibet, said: “We believe in the power of the Bingo.com URL and believe that Bingo.com will be a leader in online bingo for years to come.”
Unibet also just announced its intention to apply for a licence to operate in the recently-opened French egaming market.
Legislation is being pushed all over the United States in favor of all kinds of gambling in order to raise state revenues. Delaware is one state currently in hot pursuit of the industry, but a recent bid for sports gambling was just rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bloomberg Business Week: Delaware Sports Gambling Bid Rejected by High Court
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to give Delaware broader authority to sponsor sports gambling, and left intact a ruling that allows multi-game bets on National Football League contests while barring other wagers.
The justices rejected an appeal by Delaware Governor Jack Markell, whose state is 1 of just 4 that can offer sports gambling under a 1992 federal law. The rebuff means Delaware can only offer 1 aspect of its sports-wagering plan — parlay betting on 3 or more NFL games. Markell wanted to offer single-game betting as well as wagering on other sports.
Nevada is the only state that allows widespread sports gambling.
The Assosciated Press: High court turns down Delaware over sports betting
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Delaware appeal which sought to expand its sports betting lottery beyond professional football on Monday. Justices denied Delaware’s petition for judicial review without comment, and left limits on sports betting in Delaware to multi-game, or parlay, bets on NFL games.
The court declared that the state’s new sports betting lottery must be similar to the betting scheme used in a failed 1976 NFL lottery which allowed Delaware to be 1 of only 4 states to receive exemptions from the federal ban.
Despite losing the appeal, Delaware still maintains a competitive gambling advantage over neighboring states by being the only state east of the Rocky Mountains in which wagering on the NFL is legal.
Reuters: Supreme court rejects Delaware sports betting appeal
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Delaware appeal that argued the state should be allowed to offer a new sports betting lottery to generate revenue to help ease its record budget deficit. The justices let stand a 1992 federal ruling by a U.S. appeals court that prohibits Delaware from offering betting on individual games in all major sports, without comment.
The North American professional leagues for baseball, basketball, football and hockey and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) all argued that Delaware’s sports lottery plan violated the 1992 law.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, prohibits betting on sports. Exceptions were granted to Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon because they previously ran sports betting operations.
Delaware had expected at least an estimated $17 million in revenues from the sports betting plan in the 2010 fiscal year to help close the state’s budget deficit.
Attorneys for the professional sports leagues and the NCAA told the Supreme Court the appeal should be rejected. They said the estimated $17 million in sports gambling revenue represented a trivial percentage of the state’s $3.1 billion budget.
Elections are a necessary part of democratic politics and mean changes that reflect on the wishes of those who are governed. In the great state of Alabama, the upcoming elections may be decided based on whether or not residents would like the controversial gambling industry to be legalized.
ABC News: Political Minute : April 27th
The two Democrats vying for a spot in November’s gubernatorial election are giving voters more information on some hot button issues.
One of the main issues of the election is gambling. At his news conference, Sparks said that as governor, he’d immediately call a special session of the legislature. He’d propose a constitutional amendment to tax, regulate and expand gambling. Davis said he’d prefer to let the people vote on the issue, instead of law-makers.
NBC News: Davis, Sparks show differences for Alabama governor
Democratic candidates for Alabama governor, Artur Davis and Ron Sparks, are drawing sharp differences on the issues of gambling and Alabama’s constitution.
At news conferences Tuesday in Montgomery, Davis said he’s the only candidate in the governor’s race who favors a constitutional convention to rewrite Alabama’s 1901 Constitution. Sparks says he favors doing it article by article in the Legislature.
Sparks says that if elected, he will call a special session immediately after the inauguration to get the Legislature to propose a constitutional amendment to tax, regulate and expand gambling. Davis says he favors a straight up or down referendum on whether voters want electronic bingo.
Al.com: Gambling, constitutional reform divide Artur Davis, Ron Sparks
The Democratic candidates for governor in Alabama, U.S. Rep. Artur Davis and Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, have sharp differences for voters to examine about gambling and Alabama’s constitution.
At news conferences Tuesday in the Capitol complex, Davis said he favors a constitutional convention to rewrite Alabama’s 1901 constitution. If elected, he’d form a commission to recommend ways the Legislature should rewrite the constitution article by article.
Sparks said that if elected, he would immediately get started on legislation to tax, regulate and expand gambling in Alabama. Sparks said he’s open to a referendum either on electronic bingo or on full-fledged casinos like those that can be found in Mississippi.
Davis said he would support the Legislature approving a straight up or down referendum on whether Alabama voters want electronic bingo. He favors a proposed constitutional amendment that would not ensure electronic bingo casinos for anyone if it passes.
Alabama has several electronic bingo casinos now, with some operating and some closed. The Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling is trying to shut them all.
As a result of the economic downturn that the United States recently went through, many of the nation’s states have considered what was not a high-priority issue before the crisis; the liberalization of gambling laws. Illinois seems to be next state that’s waking up to the bountiful benefits of the industry.
Daily Herald: Lawmakers, chamber receptive to slots at track
Arlington Heights trustees aren’t interested in a video casino even though some suburban lawmakers think video gambling at the local horse track is worth pursuing.
When she heard about a possible deal that would put video slot and poker machines at Arlington Park and other tracks, state Rep. Suzie Bassi said she supported the idea because the slots would be put in areas already under the microscope of gambling regulators.
Under the measure, local governments hosting the machines would get a 5% cut of the slot profits. However, local governments wouldn’t get a say in whether they want the machines at all, a main point of contention for some trustee’s.
Under the proposal, Arlington Park and other tracks in Cook County would get as many as 1,200 video gambling positions. Downstate tracks would get up to 900. The new video casinos would have to be based within 300 yards of the track.
The proposal would help support financing for the state’s massive $31 billion construction project. The massive public works program was supposed to be financed partially through video gambling, but that funding source has started to buckle as local governments refused to allow the controversial gambling machines in their taverns.
Fox News: Video Poker May Be On Way to Horse Tracks
State lawmakers in Chicago are apparently negotiating a proposal that would permit the introduction of video slots and poker machines to horse tracks across Illinois, including Arlington Park.
It’s been reported that the state would regulate how profits and taxes made through the machines would be distributed. One proposal would require race tracks to pay up to $25,000 per machine.
The Communities that would end up with the machines would get 5% of the tax revenue from the machines. Taxes on that revenue would go toward helping pay for construction projects around the state.
ABC News: Gambling machines may be allowed at Ill. horse tracks
An apparent deal being pondered by Illinois state legislators would put hundreds of video slot and poker machines at Arlington Park among other horse tracks located within the state.
Taxes from the games would go toward construction spending. Lawmakers have allegedly agreed on a proposal, after weeks of discussions behind the scenes.
Proponents say the move would give the tracks and local governments a financial boost. Arlington Park and other Cook County tracks would get up to 1,200 gambling positions. Downstate tracks would get up to 900.
These new video casinos would have to be within 300 yards of the track.
Joeseph Baer, 39, was arrested on Tuesday while playing blackjack at a casino in Atlantic City. Baer was suspected of robbing three banks in Philadelpha during the past week. He has been convicted of robbing banks before, and has a history of gambling. Police suspected he might show up at casinos in the area to gamble away the money he robbed.
ABC News Philadelphia: Serial bank robbery suspect in custody
Joseph Baer, a 39 year old man wanted for robbing three banks in the US state of Pennsylvania last week, is now in police custody. He was spotted around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning at the blackjack tables in the Trump Plaza Casino, where he was apprehended.
Baer is an avid gambler, and police suspected that they would find him in one of the local casinos.
Baer is being charged with robbing approximately $1,000 from the PNC Bank in Philadelphia on April 13th. He is also a suspect in two other bank robberies: one at the Citizens Bank and one at the TruMark Financial Credit Union last Friday.
The FBI says that Baer was also wanted for escaping from a halfway house the day of the PNC Bank robbery.
Philly.com: Bank robbery suspect nabbed at casino
For Joseph Baer, a recent trip to gamble in Atlantic City turned out to be a losing bet.
Baer, who was wanted in connection with three bank robberies that happened last week, was spotted playing blackjack at the Trump Plaza Casino by New Jersey state troopers. The officers took the suspect into custody without incident.
On Monday, Baer was caught on camera robbing a Citizen’s Bank branch in Northeast Philadelphia. Last week, he allegedly robbed a different bank in the city’s Mayfair section, where he was also caught on security cameras.
Baer was also wanted for escaping from a federal halfway house on the day of the first robbery. He recently served six-year sentence for robbing two banks in 2004, and had been living at the Luzerne Community Corrections Center in North Philadelphia. His caseworker told authorities that he signed out on April 12 to go to work at a McDonalds.
CBS News Philadelphia: Serial Bank Bandit Found In A.C. Casino
A suspected serial bank robber is in custody after police spotted him playing blackjack a casino in Atlantic City on Tuesday morning.
New Jersey State Police detectives detained 39-year-old Joseph Baer on the floor of the Trump Plaza Casino without incident at around 10 a.m.
Baer was wanted for robbing a PNC Bank in Philadelphia on April 13. Security images showed Baer wearing a Donovan McNabb Eagles jersey when he robbed the bank of $1,000 – the images earned him the nickname “McNabb Bandit”. Baer’s identity came to light with a member of the public recognized him from the photos.
Baer is also suspected of being involved in the robbery of two other area banks that were committed last week.
FBI officials say Baer was convicted of two different bank robberies back in March 2004.
Four different casinos were raided on Monday by undercover police officers and their finding was a bit surprising. The disguised internet cafes offered casino-style games and failed to mention the undercover officers could use the internet. Over $22,000 in cash was seized as well as over 120 computers.
The Roanoke Times: Internet cafe raids netted computers, cash
Investigators raided 4 Roanoke County Internet cafes which allegedly harbored illegal gambling. Cash and computers were hauled away along with a pot of winnings from undercover gaming that officers used to build their case.
Some variation of gambling was going on at each of the 4 so called “internet cafes” and officers took a total of $22,580 in cash and 126 computers among other things.
At Bennett’s Internet, customers paid $6 per hour of online access, and got a card that enabled them to play 18 casino-style games until the points on the card ran out, or until the customer bought more Internet time and got more points. Players could win up to $3,000 but winners and losers were predetermined based on the card they bought.
Virginia’s General Assembly’s upcoming veto session may see the approval of legislation that will clarify the application of current anti-gambling statutes.
WDBJ 7: What police seized in “internet cafe” raids
Roanoke County police have cashed in their chips on last week’s gaming parlor raids. Search warrant returns indicate that police seized more than 100 computers from the four “Internet cafes” that were raided on Thursday.
Documents filed Monday indicate the undercover investigation began at Bennett’s Internet on September 3 of last year. The store’s owner claims that he was only selling internet time, at $6 and hour, and a chance to win sweepstakes. County detectives say there was no mention of the internet when they went in, undercover, only casino slots and card games.
The combined take from the four locations adds up to more than $22,000 in cash plus a total of 122 computers.
NBC News: Roanoke Co. Police detail reasons why they raided four Internet cafes
Four internet cafes in Roanoke County are at the center of a big investigation involving illegal gambling and money laundering. Search warrants were granted and an undercover operation was executed on Monday.
At the first business, a detective started with $20, played casino-style games and eventually won $82. At another business, an attendant made the detective sign a document explaining he was purchasing internet time and would be given free entries into a sweepstakes. The detective starting playing with $100 and left with only $13.
After a year-long investigation, police finally went in last week. This time they weren’t undercover. Over 120-computers, well over $22,000 and game cards were seized in the raid.
None of the business owners have been charged, but I spoke with two of them who maintain they were running a legitimate business and plan to fight the case.
Police are sifting through all the items taken from the internet cafes.
They say the investigation could take up to several weeks.
Australian internet entrepreneur Daniel Tzvetkoff was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday, and is being held on charges of money laundering and gambling conspiracy. Tzvetkoff founded an online payment processing company called Intabill a few years ago, but prosecutors allege that he used shell companies to cover up the source of more than $500 million in online gambling funds. Tzvetkoff faces 75 years in prison if convicted.
News.com.au: Fallen online tycoon Daniel Tzvetkoff faces 75 years jail
Internet entrepreneur Daniel Tzvetkoff is facing 75 years in a US prison after being charged with laundering $584 million. The 27-year-old was placed under arrest in Las Vegas on Friday and has been detained facing a bail hearing.
Ipswich-born Tzvetkoff made a mark for himself in 2008 when he founded the online payment processor Intabill, which helped US gamblers fund their online accounts. Because of his involvement with the company, Tzvetkoff faces charges of money laundering, gambling conspiracy and bank fraud conspiracy.
The US Attorney’s Office alleges that Tzvetkoff helped illegal internet gambling companies to launder about $540 million into offshore accounts. Tzvetkoff’s company duped US banks (which have bans on internet credit card gambling) into believing the gambling transactions were just ordinary transactions.
According to the indictment, Tzvetkoff even created dummy companies British Virgin Islands, complete with fake websites and random names, which were used to hide the source of funds he was processing.
ABC News: Businessmen charged over illegal online gambling transactions
United States authorities are charging former Queensland businessman Daniel Tzvetkoff with four offences relating to illegal online gambling money transactions. The 27-year-old entrepreneur was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday.
An indictment has already been presented to the Federal court in Manhattan, which is charging Tzvetkoff money laundering offences.
The US Justice Department alleges Tzvetkoff processed around $500 million in online transactions between US gamblers and internet gaming websites. The company disguised the financial data so the transactions appeared to be unrelated to gambling.
Tzvetkoff’s Las Vegas-based lawyer Mace Yampolsky says he appeared in court on Friday already, and that this initial apperance will continue on Wednesday.
“Obviously, right now, he’s pleading not guilty. He’s innocent until proven guilty,” Tzvetkoff’s laywer saidsaid.
“At this time, I have not seen any of the government’s proof.”
Reuters: U.S. charges Australian with laundering $500 mln
United States prosecutors arrested an Australian man in Las Vegas on Friday, and are holding him on charges of money laundering, alleging that he helped move funds between gamblers and illegal online gambling websites.
Daniel Tzvetkoff, 27, is being accused in a New York court of processing gambling proceeds and covering up their source, making them appear legal to banks. The operation has been running since early 2008.
Tzvetkoff created dozens of shell companies for use in his scheme, whcih he once wrote was “perfect,” prosecutors say.
Tzvetkoff is being charged on four counts, including bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to operate and finance an illegal gambling business. If convicted on all accounts, he faces up to 75 years in prison.