Pennsylvanian Municipalities Act to Prohibit Casinos

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A recently passed legislation in Pennsylvania paves the way for the expansion of the state’s gambling by allowing up to 10 new casinos to be established within its jurisdiction. However, this endeavor has not been welcomed by some of Pennsylvania’s municipalities in the Centre County who are not for the idea of having a casino business operating in the area.

Just a couple of months ago on October 30th, Democrat Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 271 into law – the law which backed by the concurring General Assembly authorized gambling expansion opportunities in every part of Pennsylvania. This expansion would, for instance, create up to 10 category 4 slot machine licenses in addition to Pennsylvania’s 12 currently operational commercial casinos. About 300 to 700 slot machines and 50 table games can be operated by each of the Category 4 casinos though, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, none of these casinos can be operated within 25 miles of the state’s existing Category 1, 2 or 3 casinos. The only exception would be in the case of an operator opening a category 4 casino that is within 25 linear miles of its own Category 1, 2 or 3 facility.

As it stands, the municipalities have the power to either prohibit or even opt out of a casino that is located within its borders. To do this, the municipality’s governing body is required to send a resolution to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board before the 1st of January. A number of Centre County municipalities have already sent resolutions to prohibit the establishment of a casino.

The move by the municipalities is mostly driven by the long-term implications of gambling – the town’s residents believe that the casino would be a bad idea since most of the money that will be gambled and eventually lost will come from the town’s ordinary occupants. On the same note, they also did not see any benefits coming to the town as the mini-casinos would not be offering any ‘high-profile’ jobs to the county’s residents.

Any municipality that prohibits the location of a casino within its borders is allowed to revoke the prohibition, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board – however, upon revoking the prohibition, the municipality loses the right to prohibit the location of the casino again.

2018 World Series of Poker Schedule Officially Announced

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It is a very exciting time for poker players who can now start sharpening their poker skills after the recent announcement of the longest-running, richest, and the most prestigious poker series in the world, the annual World Series of Poker. The poker series which has been in existence for nearly half a century unveiled its 49th series schedule for the summer of 2018 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. While there are several additions and changes to the 2018 WSOP, the online poker segment will be an eye-catching series of events that will feature four bracelet events hosted by the WSOP website. This is a clear indication that internet gambling is on the verge of a revolution especially because of the fact that there is a lot of optimism that the interstate online poker liquidity agreement could be passed before the 2018 series comes to an end in the summer.

“With today’s announcement, we hope there is enough time to adjust your holiday wish list,” said Jack Effel, WSOP Tournament Director. “We feel very good about the multitude of offerings on the 2018 World Series of Poker schedule and look forward to welcoming everyone to the Rio in Las Vegas this summer.”

The WSOP tournament series is set to begin on May 29th and come to an end on the 17th of July with the series being kicked off by the satellites, cash games and tournament registration on May 29th. Many of the fan-favorite poker events have been retained in the schedule and they included the $1,500 Millionaire Maker that is scheduled for the 9th of June, $565 Colossus on June 2nd, $888 Crazy Eights for June 30th, the $50,00 Poker Players Championship for June 15th and not forgetting the $2,620 Marathon of June 11th. These aside, poker players will also be treated to a number of new and exciting World Series of Poker events including the $100,000 HIGH ROLLER No-Limit Hold’em, the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty NL Hold ’em, the $50,000 HIGH ROLLER No-Limit Hold’em and the $1,500 THE CLOSER No-Limit Hold’em among many others.

Also, for the very first time since 2014, poker enthusiasts will see the return of the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop which is the most expensive and perhaps the most exciting poker tournament to enter in the history of American poker. The mind-boggling event that is tailored for bankroll giants kicks off a day after the Main Event is concluded on June 14th.

You can view the entire 78-event gold bracelet tournament schedule on http://www.wsop.com where you will find all the events neatly listed. There is a downloadable version of the list you can download and keep offline as well.

Is Sports Betting on the Verge of Going Mainstream?

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With several legislations being pushed for at the Supreme Court, we should soon expect sportsbetting to explode nationwide the same way casino gambling quickly bloomed after it was officially legalized in Atlantic City in 1978. Now, the eagerly awaited Supreme Court ruling on New Jersey’s proposed legislation should be upon us within the next few months into 2018. This is even more exciting because the gaming expansion bill that was recently passed says that in case the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey’s sportsbetting bill, the state of Pennsylvania will also move to have sportsbetting legalized.

D-Beaver County’s Representative Robert Matzie is the biggest champion of the legislation to legalize sportsbetting even though it is dependent on the Supreme Court decision to overturn the ban. Matzie has always been of the opinion that the growth of online fantasy sports has been a core propellant of sportsbetting – it is nearly mainstream at the moment. In a memo to the legislators, Martzie pointed out that:

“Sports betting in the United States totals an estimated $400 billion per year, with only 1 percent taking place in legal form. Fantasy sports betting draws in an estimated 57 million participants. The reality is that not only has the perception of sports betting changed over the years, but the ways in which to participate in some form of sports betting has greatly increased.”

In Nevada, about $5 billion was wagered on sports in 2016 and in October this year, sports bettors wagered a record-breaking $517 million. Compared to the amounts that are speculated to be wagered in offshore online betting joints, these numbers are rather minute – if sportsbetting is legalized then all that revenue will be channeled back to various states.

However, major sports leagues have been very open about their disapproval of the bill as evidenced by the huge role they played in opposing the attempt to lift the ban on sportsbetting in New Jersey. This is likely to shift with the new federal legislation that is being pushed for by NBA’s Adam Silver – this would be a logical move since it now seems to be inevitable that sportsbetting will be legalized and the only way to go about it is to find a way of profiting from it. Gamblers enjoy a plethora of options most of which are illegal and by passing this bill, the lawmakers are hoping that sportsbetting will gravitate towards legal market instead hopefully within the shortest time possible.

MGM Welcomes Competitive Bidding for Bridgeport Casino

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MGM Resorts’ long-running feud with Connecticut’s tribal gaming operators has recently shifted to the town of Bridgeport where MGM has proposed the construction of a gaming and entertainment complex worth $675 million. Amidst all this, MGM Resorts International has reasserted a bid that sought to have the state establish a competitive bidding process for a casino in Bridgeport – the Southeastern gaming tribes of Connecticut have shown interest in partaking in this process as it seems to be the best way to go about the issue.

“The Tribes’ request yesterday to be ‘part of that discussion’ is good news for the people of Connecticut,” MGM Resorts senior vice president, Uri Clinton wrote on Thursday in letters addressed to Connecticut’s Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the state’s legislative leaders. “There appears to be, for the first time, agreement that such a discussion is in the state’s best interest.”

“That the Tribes also see the tremendous potential of Bridgeport confirms our analysis that Bridgeport is by far the best-situated location in the state for a commercial casino — and the only location with the potential to actually grow the State’s gaming revenue,” he added.

Prior to this, the chairmen of the Mohegan and Mashantucket tribes who are the respective owners of the Mohegan Sun and Foxwood Resorts Casino had sent a letter to Governor Malloy as well as state legislative leaders declaring their interest in establishing a casino in Bridgeport.

“Back in 2015, our initial proposal would have authorized three new facilities, one in north-central CT, one in the Danbury area and one in Fairfield County,” the letter read. “It was the legislature’s decision to move forward with only one site in the north-central Hartford region. If circumstances have changed and there is now real interest in putting a casino in Bridgeport, we want to be a part of that discussion.”

The two tribes have had an exclusive deal with the state to operate their casinos on the Southeastern corner of Connecticut for years and the entry of MGM Resorts presented a stalemate. They, therefore, wrote to the state lawmakers asking to be partisan to any deliberations involving Bridgeport. There is, of course, no love lost between MGM Resorts International and the bill that aims to grant the tribes exclusive rights to develop a third casino in Connecticut – instead, the casino operator is pushing for an alternative bill that calls for competitive bidding on which of the two parties get to build a casino in Bridgeport.

The casino gaming agreements signed by the casinos years ago had the casinos share their slot machine revenue with the state in exchange for being granted exclusivity within the borders of Connecticut. This was however on condition that the no other entity would be given the opportunity to establish a casino business in Connecticut, otherwise, the payments to the state would stop. To clarify this further, the spokesman of the tribe, Andrew Doba had this to say:

“MGM can say whatever it wants, but the facts are simple. Their project would cost the state $1 billion or more in lost revenue. Continuing our partnership costs the state nothing and will in fact only enhance the amount of revenue the state already receives.”

Is The Ban on Sportsbetting on the Verge of Being Overruled?

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The tide is turning again and soon we should see some significant changes in regards to the state of sportsbetting in the US. Once considered to be nothing more than a long shot, the idea of legalized sportsbetting has come a long way and can now be said to be a safe bet thanks to the efforts of like-minded individuals including U.S Rep. Frank Pallone. Pallone who has been championing the legalization of sportsbetting, however, clarified that his involvement was not in any way personal after speculations about his motives arose;

“I do not bet. People think I am a gambler because of all of this, but I am not.”

The federal ban on full-fledged sports betting outside the state of Nevada has been in place for 25 years now but significant changes are expected to be initiated by Frank Pallone and other like-minded lawmakers who are going to have to face off against pro-PASPA politicians. According to Public Affairs for the American Gaming Association vice president, Sara Slane, fifteen states have already prepared relevant legislation that will authorize sports gambling as soon as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is overturned. This could be as early as 2018.

“You already are starting to see states get in front of this issue,’’ she said. “And again, I think that speaks to the desire to want to administer sports betting if they so choose to.’’

Oral arguments about PASPA’s constitutionality are set for a hearing at the Supreme Court on Monday with the nine justices expected to issue a ruling on the same by spring 2018.  A lot of pressure has been diverted to this particular legislation and now even Utah, a state where there is no gambling has teamed up with 19 other states to sign a court filing that seeks for the abolishment PASPA on the grounds that it infringes on the rights of individual states. In addition to this, the American Gaming Association has also pointed out that PASPA has indirectly facilitated an underground sportsbetting industry that is not regulated, avoids billions of dollars in taxes and is worth well over $150 billion dollars.

At this point, Pallone and like-minded lawmakers do not need to put in too much effort to be heard as far as the abolishment of PASPA is concerned – the reason being that his quest for the legalization of sportsbetting has been endorsed by many other powerful entities. One of these powerful organizations includes the Capitol Hill-based American Gaming Association which is funded by casinos. Much of the research used to preach the benefits of the legalization of sportsbetting has been paid for by this organization something that has been labeled as a concerted campaign that is hell-bent on liberating the sportsbetting industry.

Geoff Freeman, American Gaming Association president is of the opinion that a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court would, of course, be welcome but it is not vital at this point in time. According to him, support for the repeal of PASPA has continued to grow and will most likely have more influence on how the legislation plays out.

Resorts World Catskills Still on Track for Launch in 2018

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The fourth, and the last, of the upstate casinos authorized under the gambling expansion in New York, Resort World Catskills, is still expected to launch within the first quarter of 2018. The Acting of Director of the state Gambling Commission, Don Ochrym, in a recent press release confirmed that the casino is expected to kick off its operations by March 1st next year. Resort World Catskills is to be opened in Monticello, Sullivan County with over 200 participants expected to join in – casino machines are already being delivered and dealer training schools have already begun training people expected to work for the new establishment.

Previously known Montreign, the Resorts World casino by the time of its completion is anticipated to have used up at least $1.2 billion – but considering the revenue that the casino is expected to rake in, the budget can be said to be worth every penny.

In September the Times Union in a report acknowledged that these new casinos (Resorts World Catskills and three others that have been opened in the last year) are the state’s economic engines though they lagged behind in the first-year revenue projections. However, these financial struggles are expected to change a bit with industry officials and local stakeholders saying that it takes time to see whether a business is going to be a success in the long term especially if it is a casino.

The 1.6-million-square-foot, five-star Resort World Catskills is further promising customers of certain key features that will set it apart from all the existing casinos. Charlie Degliomini, who is the executive vice president of Resorts World Catskills parent company, Empire Resorts says that once construction is complete and the casino is officially complete, they expect up to 4 million visitors every year. He further pointed out that the casino’s core offering will be luxury as portrayed by the personal pools, private balconies, garden suites as well as the elite-guest gyms for third-floor residents – and, of course, not forgetting the three bars and six eateries.

Guests looking to grab a quick bite will love the food court and when they are not gaming they can indulge in a bit golfing on the casino’s Rees Jones-redesigned 18-hole golf course! Alternatively, there is a salon where they can get their nails down as they unwind or prepare for the next games.

Regardless, gambling is still going to be the biggest moneymaker for Resorts World Catskills. Degliomini expects that about three-quarters of its 332 suites will be allocated to the casino section to accommodate all the 130 table games and the 2,150 slot machines.

So far, everyone seems to be happy about the resort-casino project – local union leaders are so enthused about the project’s utilization of an all-union workforce of over 680 construction workers which gets even better as the number is expected to rise to 800 as the launch date nears. The union’s representatives are also excited about the great post-launch prospects that the casino will have for the local economy – about 1,400 jobs will be created at the main hotel, the golf course, and the casino.

NBA Shifts Its Position on Legalized Sportsbetting

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) was recently reported to have changed its position regarding the state of legalized nationwide sportsbetting. This shift comes with the revelation that the organization intends to rally behind Congress members seeking reforms in the existing sportsbetting laws. A report from Legal Sports Report stated that NBA would not actively advocate for the repeal of the Professional Amateur Sports and Protection Act (PASPA), despite standing behind the regulation of legalized gambling.

NBA is also purported to have joined forces with National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) in the US Supreme Court a month ago to defend the legislation that restricted sports betting or wagering to venues in Delaware, Oregon, Montana, and Nevada.

In last week’s Sports Betting USA conference in New York, NBA Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Dan Spillane had the following to say;

“Our view has been that if it’s illegal, that’s not the right way to start off legal sportsbetting in the United States; under a cloud doing it in violation of federal law. At the same time, we agree with New Jersey on the ultimate policy outcome that having legal and regulated sportsbetting in the United States is the best place to end up. The disagreement is just on how to get there.”

This also comes on the onset of a lawsuit seeking to overrule a 25-year-old federal legislation that restricts sportsbetting to only four states in the US. Dan Spillane is further reported to have assured the public of ‘a little bit more clarity’ once the issue is settled which would then create room for more open discussions regarding legalizing sportsbetting in all the remaining states. NBA’s rowback has been welcomed by the American Gaming Association lobby group whose CEO, Geoff Freeman, recently proclaimed that the group was in the same boat with NBA as far as ‘commitment to integrity and rigorous regulation’ are concerned.

In similar news, the value of illegal sportsbetting has risen to nearly $200 billion in the US – which accounts for about 97 percent of all of the country’s sportsbetting. These findings seem to be partially responsible for propelling the demands and subsequent lawsuits seeking for the legalization of the multibillion-dollar sportsbetting market. With the case for the legalization of sportsbetting to be heard next month by the Supreme Court, the significance of illegal sportsbetting in the US market is speculated to cause major ripples. Policy experts have had their fair share of criticism (and support) for the legislative restrictions that have been raised against sportsbetting in all but the four states mentioned earlier, terming the laws as ‘madness’ – but it is hard to tell how this will affect the Supreme Court’s landmark hearing that is only a few weeks away.

CoinPoker and Crypto: The Future of Online Poker?

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Cryptocurrencies have seen a tremendous growth in general use over the past couple of years – a reality that has faced equal amounts of criticism and acceptance.

Bitcoin, for instance, has reached record highs in terms of its price even though there have been concerns raised about the rogue nature of the cryptocurrency. Nonetheless, CoinPoker, a fairly new cryptocurrency-loving poker site seems to be exploiting this opportunity and it has gone as far as launching a new poker site that is set to revolutionize the casino industry.

The unexpected pre-ICO launch of CoinPoker’s new cryptocurrency-based poker site has already attracted a lot of attention from online poker enthusiasts as well as the cryptocurrency communities.

With a 100 million CHP token hard cap, CoinPoker further offers a 30% bonus with the price of a CHP token standing at 0.05 EUR as of this day (November, 19th 2017).

The online poker platform’s real money gaming features are, however, scheduled to be officially launched at the beginning of January 2018 with added enhancements to eliminate unfair games using the best block chain technology in the market.

As of now, players can enjoy CoinPoker’s free play software that brings back the fun, competitive and transparent poker games that every poker player craves for.

Isabelle Mercier, a renowned member of the poker industry and CoinPoker representative assures players that CoinPoker’s mission is to deliver poker games that can be termed as transparent, trustworthy and, most of all, safe.

But she is not the only big name in the poker industry that is backing CoinPoker’s bold approach towards turning the tides of the poker industry – Legendary poker player, politician, celebrity and entrepreneur Antanas “Tony G” Guoga has stepped up to support the initiative.

On November 12, 2017, Tony G openly declared his approval of the cryptocurrency-based poker platform in a tweet while bashing systems used by many online poker operators currently.

“Poker is my passion. I love this game. But online #poker is sick and some things need 2 be changed there. Blockchain & cryptocurrency could make poker trustworthy again. That’s why I am backing coinpoker.com idea #blockchain #cryptocurrency #ico”

CoinPoker aims to provide remedies to many of the problems that have plagued the online poker industry which included transparency and fairness in gaming logic, transaction speeds as well as other issues revolving around the payment services used by most online poker sites.

Equally as important is their global accessibility agenda which intends to utilize blockchains to guarantee the transparency of their Random Number Generators (RNG) and CHP (CHIPS) – which is based on Ethereum – as their in-house gaming currency.

Essentially, this implies a tight fairplay security system and an unbeatable anti-fraud system, both of which are to be implemented on a global scale.

CoinPoker’s pre-ICO should end by the 1st of December after which the remainder of the ICO will be picked up and implemented within the first quarter of next year. More detail on this is available on their website along with an introductory video and an equally detailed white paper.