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Internet Poker Could Make a Comeback By Going Brick-and-Mortar 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the pulling-a-reverse-amazon dept.
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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Internet Poker Could Make a Comeback By Going Brick-and-Mortar

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @12:46AM (#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... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @02:34AM (#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... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Sique (173459) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @05:14AM (#42954077) Homepage
        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.

        • 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.

    • by matunos (1587263)

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

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      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?!
  • Why was this even accepted?
  • 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.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      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 mark

      • by Zephyn (415698)

        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.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        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, succ

    • 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.
  • Wouldnt internet poker going brick-and-mortar make it a casino?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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

  • 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.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      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 (Score:4, Informative)

        by rahvin112 (446269) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @01:47AM (#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.

        • 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) the
          • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • by eksith (2776419) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @01:39AM (#42953241) Homepage
    Funny name for a company that exists only due to its customers suppressing that line of thought when they place their bets
  • 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.

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

  • 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
    • by will_die (586523)
      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 com
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Just this morning, the Atlantic City casino Revel filed for bankruptcy [philly.com], 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.
  • I want US based online sports betting

  • 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 t

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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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