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New York Online Poker Hearing

A generally positive vibe, but not much interest from legislators.
Wednesday's hearing on New York internet poker, chaired by the New York state Senate’s Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering head Sen. John Bonacic, turned out to be a mild affair with generally positive comments...but the presence of only two legislators from the 11-man committee suggested a lack of real interest in the project...and even those two lawmakers did not stay for the whole hearing.
Despite the lack of colleagues in adjacent chairs, Bonacic plugged on with the hearing, which heard evidence from seven witnesses:
Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas
James Featherstonhaugh, president of the New York Gaming Association
Michael Pollock of the Spectrum Gaming Group
John McManus, general counsel of MGM Resorts
Caesars Entertainment government relations VP David Satz
Borgata president Tom Ballance
Kevin Cochran, a legal analyst for the publication GamblingCompliance
Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive
Much of the views aired at Wednesday's meeting are by now well known to industry observers, having been argued in previous hearings or in the media.
The New York Gaming Association's James Featherstonhaugh perhaps understandably urged caution and thoroughness in reaching any decisions on internet poker legalisation. Without condemning the legalisation of online poker, he pointed to the future arrival of three more land-based resort casinos in addition to the state's nine existing racino operations and suggested that the online decision should be held in abeyance until the impact of the new developments could be accurately assessed.
Feathstonhaugh conceded that online wagering for horse racing has been successful, and that studies have indicated that 85 percent of online poker players in New Jersey hadn't previously been to a land casino, making it likely that racino revenues could be enhanced.
There was little that is new in Pappas's testimony, which focused on the benefits in consumer protection that legalisation could bring, whilst Pollock argued that the racinos' player base was thinning and that online poker offered an opportunity to access a fresh demographic. He also reiterated the key point that the online poker demographic is different, and that legalisation will not cannibalise land revenues, using New Jersey as an example and suggesting that online punters could be converted to actually boost land business..
MGM's John McManus opined that in today's business environment companies - including racino enterprises - needed to keep up technologically, in particular by embracing the advantages of the Internet if they were to avoid being left behind, whilst David Satz from Caesars estimated that New York state could harvest up to $425 million in taxes from a $2.8 billion online poker sector over the next decade if online poker was legalised and a reasonable taxation rate of 15 percent was imposed.
However, both executives had reservations about a proposed $10 million licensing fee.
Satz was not in agreement with Featherstonhaugh's earlier recommendation that decisions should be put on hold for up to three years, commenting that such a delay could be catastrophic if it was exploited by the federal passage of the Restoration of America's Wire Act, a possibility which clearly concerns him.
"I think it's critical everyone understands the federal threat and effort by a certain individual to ban Internet gaming in all states is very real," Satz said. "There were hearings in March, and there's rumor of more hearings this fall. Sitting and waiting as one witness suggested I think could be a mistake. What's at stake here is the 10th amendment rights for a state to determine its fate."
Tom Ballance of the Borgata has previously and repeatedly said that in his practical experience online gambling does not cannibalise land casino business, and he reiterated that view at Wednesday's hearing. He was very positive on the contribution online gambling had made to his land operations, despite his initial doubts.
Clearly a convert, Ballance suggested that confining legalisation in New York to just poker would constrain the state's potential in the sector, pointing out that online poker delivered only 18 percent of New Jersey online revenues and that a general legalisation of online gambling was a better option.
He also underlined the importance of provisions for poker player-sharing compacts between like-minded states, and urged the monetisation of skill-based games, which appeal to up and coming demographics.
Importantly, Ballance opined that in his experience online gambling is more closely monitored and controlled than the land equivalent in regard to underage and criminal activity.

"There's no such thing as an anonymous bet in legal, regulated online gambling," Balance observed. "One of the key elements is when you sign up, first you have to give us your name, then your address, then your social security number. We've got three-to-four different databases to match up and guarantee everything matches up to that name, address and social security number and that you're 21 years old. Then it goes out to the IRS database to make sure that it's not a deceased person's social security number. If you're not using your ID, you have to be using someone else's perfectly and their credit card as well."
The day's final witness, Richard Schwartz from Rush Street Interactive, was definitely positive on legalisation, saying that it was a great marketing opportunity for land-based operators, and using as an example the Golden Nugget in New Jersey, which reported better player-spend in the land casino following the introduction of online gambling.
Three negative reactions had been received in respect of Sen. Bonacic's legalisation plans, all submitted in written form, the Senator revealed. He noting without disclosing details that these would be considered, along with other submissions which may come in before the end-September deadline.

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Gambling News :

Wanajump Launches - #Wanajump Spanish online and land gambling operator Grupo R. Franco appears to be emulating the William Hill group, announcing this week that it is to begin a start-up accelerator program for innovative entrepreneurs, which it has titled Wanajump.

Coral Launches player proposition betting product - Digital Sports Tech, a business-to-business software provider of sports betting solutions, has signed a deal with UK online and land sports betting operator Coral to provide an innovative player proposition betting product.

Oshi online casino now accepts fiat currencies - The Oshi online casino, which started just a year ago as a Bitcoin-denominated operation, has described its expanded activity in a statement this week, noting that in addition to Bitcoin it now accepts fiat currencies and has added new game providers to its roster of suppliers.

New Standards for UK Online Gambling - Online gambling service and technology providers, along with operators and testing agencies will be studying the new gambling software and technical standards proposal published by the UK Gambling Commission following a public consultation.

Pennsylvania Gambling Bill 1887 returned with additions - The interaction between the Pennsylvanian House and the state Senate has become increasingly like watching a game of ping pong as the two political establishments wrestle with online gambling legalization and court-ordered tax fixes in the dying days of the current political season.

UK’s Advertising Standards Authority vs Ladbrokes - A Ladbrokes Casino email promo has fallen foul of the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority who deemed significant terms and conditions concerning bonusing to be unclear or misleading.

Mybet Earnings Struggle - The statement this week reveals that Mybet continued to be hampered by negative trends from historic quarters, making its original performance estimate "unrealistic".

Tom Horn Awarded Malta Gaming License - Online gambling software provider Tom Horn Gaming has been awarded a Malta Gaming Authority license that permits the company to host and manage Malta-based gaming operators.

Calvin Ayre invests in new Antigua Business Center - Ayre joined with government officials this week in a ground-breaking ceremony for a five-story centre on Antigua which will be home for the venture. The "green" building will be solar powered and provide employee-friendly services like catering, a gym and child care.

Attack of the Zombies Slot - Online gambling games developer Genesis Gaming has unveiled its latest game, with a theme based on a horror story of the undead, exploiting the current trend....and just in time for Halloween.

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