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United States Jurisdiction News

This Week in Gambling: More sports betting, more problems
We continue to wait for the Supreme Court decision on sports betting reform in the U.S., and as we do, we're seeing some of the problems that regulated sports betting may bring.

APCW Perspectives: Speaking of gambling news . . .
An interesting show this week, as one story seems to flow directly into the next. News from the U.K., Canada, the U.S., Australia and China make it a well-rounded episode.

This Week in Gambling: Blurring the line between land-based and online gambling
There's always been a line between online gambling and land-based casinos in the U.S. This week, J. Todd examines how that line is becoming more blurred as U.S. land-based gaming companies move online.

This Week in Gambling: Online poker legislation is stayin' alive
New York's online poker bill is back for 2018, and there's a real chance the state may become the fifth to regulate online gambling.

This Week in Gambling: The integrity of sports betting in the US
With sports betting on the verge of legalization in the U.S., many of those who used to oppose the industry are suddenly becoming allies. One professional sports league has even thrown their support behind sports betting.

APCW Perspectives: Gamblin' in the rain
This week, a decision looms regarding Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in the U.K., and there's some increased interest in the potential U.S. sports betting market.

APCW Perspectives: Rollin' with the changes
The changes keep on coming for the U.K. market, with news this week from the Gambling Commission and Advertising Standards Authority. J. Todd is also covering stories out of the U.S. and Australia.

This Week in Gambling: New Year's online gambling ban
The new year brings to the U.S. another attempt to ban online gambling. Four U.S. Congressmen have sent a letter to Rod Rosenstein at the Department of Justice, once again asking him to reverse course on the Wire Act.

APCW Perspectives: Shifting sands and changing tides
J. Todd is talking about more online gambling changes in the U.K. as well as the dramatic about-face on sports betting that could be affecting the U.S.

It's too soon to start high-fiving over legal sports betting in the U.S.
Casino sports book industry executive Vic Salerno argues that despite the possible upcoming repeal of PASPA, there will be more heavy lifting to be done.

APCW Perspectives: Net neutrality and online gaming threatened
The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) in the U.S. is poised to kill net neutrality within two weeks. What would that decision mean for online gambling and the internet in general? Also, the U.K. Gambling Commission is teaming with the Advertising Standards Authority, and the results are getting, well, stupid.

This Week in Gambling: Time's running out for the US sports betting ban
The countdown to the 4 December sports betting challenge has begun, and things continue to look promising for the gambling industry. More and more states have thrown their support behind regulation of the industry, and an end to sports betting prohibition seems to be within reach.

This Week in Gambling: Tribal gaming goes online and international
The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma has obtained an international online gambling license from the Isle of Man, and they plan to launch for real money in the coming months. Plus, more on sports betting reform in the U.S.

Shocked and saddened by a horrific night in Las Vegas
Casino City's Gary Trask explains the confusion and shock that overcame the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Sunday night as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history unfolded three miles away.

Top 10 random thoughts and observations from the casino gaming industry
This week's top 10 is a testament to the ever-changing landscape of the gambling industry. Sports betting, burgers and eSports -- what's next?

APCW Perspectives: News from the US, the UK and Belgium
This week, J. Todd reports on several online gambling and fantasy sports stories from the U.S., including a major development for FanDuel and DraftKings. Also, he examines significant changes from the U.K. Gambling Commission that will affect licensees.

American Sports Betting Coalition launches campaign to repeal PASPA
The coalition aims to end the 25-year-old federal ban known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which prohibits sports betting outside of Nevada.

APCW Perspectives: Weather-worn gambling news
This week, J. Todd braves the elements to bring you a world of gambling news from Germany, Denmark and all over the U.S. Plus, a new APCW sponsor.

This Week in Gambling: The US sports betting situation
This week in gambling, there's been a lot of talk about legalizing sports betting in the U.S., even if that reality is a long way off. But public opinion seems to be in favor, and the state of New Jersey is leading the charge to change the laws.

APCW Perspectives: Amaya Gaming, Gala Partners and Jeff Sessions
Anxiety is growing over what U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions may do to online gambling. J. Todd also provides news from Amaya Gaming and Gala Partners, as well as an update on Videoslots Affiliates.

APCW Perspectives: New Jersey's supreme sports betting challenge
New Jersey has pushed its sports betting challenge almost as far as it can, and the only stop left is the U.S. Supreme Court. Will the case be heard?

APCW Perspectives: News from Europe and the US
This week, J. Todd covers online gambling news from the Czech Republic and Switzerland, as well as takes a look at what's happening in the U.S. Plus, what would a show be without an update on GVC Holdings?

IWG pens deal with GVC Holdings
The supplier's full suite of instant win games will be made available to GVC via its remote game server, allowing the operator to roll-out instants across its portfolio of brands.

This Week in Gambling: Industry threats and Jeff Sessions
This week in gambling, the threat to the online gambling industry in the U.S. is growing as the inauguration of Donald Trump draws near. We also take a look at Trump's nomination for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and the impact that could have on internet betting.

APCW Perspectives: Something wicked this way comes
If you were wondering how the transition to the Trump administration is going to affect online gambling, then you may be looking at some bad news on the horizon. This week, J. Todd looks at what Trump's attorney general nominee, Jeff Sessions, has to say about the industry. He also covers news from Portugal and Australia.

Poker Players Alliance urges review of RAWA
The PPA yesterday reacted to a commitment by Sen. Jeff Sessions, nominee to be the Attorney General of the U.S., to review the Department of Justice's position on the Wire Act.

United States

The United States now permits intrastate online gambling, i.e., gambling contained by the borders of one state. Gambling that includes wagers that cross state lines, with the exception of fantasy sports and horse racing, remains illegal.

Online gaming in the U.S. wasn't as profitable as its proponents projected in 2014, but it did provide an infusion of cash into state coffers and showed some growth potential for the future.

In 2014, three states licensed, regulated and permitted intrastate online gaming: Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

New Jersey – the most populous of the three states, with close to 9 million residents in 2014 – allowed Atlantic City casinos to launch real-money online gaming on 16 November 2013.

Online casinos in New Jersey must have their servers located in an Atlantic City casino and are permitted to offer any game played in the casino.

Like New Jersey, Delaware offers the full suite of casino games online. It began offering games on 31 October 2013, but has struggled to generate much revenue because of its small population. To compensate, it signed an agreement to pool liquidity for online poker with Nevada. The agreement was implemented in 2015, and Nevada and Delaware poker players are now playing against each other online.

The only online gaming activity Nevada regulates is online poker. Other forms of online gaming – with the exception of betting on horse races – remain illegal in Nevada.

One online gaming company, Ultimate Gaming, closed in 2014. Ultimate Gaming was the first company to launch an online poker room in Nevada (Ultimate Poker), in April 2013. It also operated both an online poker room and online casino in New Jersey.

The road to permitting intrastate online gambling has been a long and winding one. The chief obstacle to intrastate online gambling has been the Department of Justice's (DOJ) interpretation of the Wire Act.

The Wire Act was enacted in 1961 to prevent bookmakers from accepting sports bets over the telephone. For years, the DOJ maintained the Wire Act prohibited all forms of internet gambling, while online gaming proponents maintained the Wire Act only applied to sports betting.

The DOJ's position prevented the domestic growth of online gaming in the U.S., although jurisdictions outside the U.S. offered real-money play to American residents.

In 2011, the DOJ reversed its long-held position that all forms of online gambling were illegal because they violated the Wire Act. In a letter released on 23 December 2011, the DOJ said the law applied only to sports betting, and intrastate gaming outside of sports betting did not violate the law. Gambling across state borders, say between poker players in California and Nevada, remained illegal according to the DOJ.

The ruling cleared the way for states to regulate and license intrastate online gaming. Nevada began issuing licenses to operators and software providers in 2012.

Nevada also adopted legislation in 2013 that allows it to sign compacts with other states to build player liquidity. Essentially, if Nevada signs a compact with a state, players on Nevada online poker networks will have access to players on poker networks in the other state and vice versa.

Delaware and New Jersey quickly joined Nevada in passing online gaming legislation. In June 2012, Delaware authorized online gambling in response to expanded brick-and-mortar casino gambling in Maryland and Pennsylvania. In February 2013, New Jersey signed into law online gambling legislation in an effort to help Atlantic City casinos. Unlike Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are licensing and regulating the full suite of casino games, including table games such as blackjack, roulette and craps.

Historically, gambling regulation in the U.S. has been reserved for the state governments. However, sometimes federal law supersedes state law. The Department of Justice (DOJ) had, prior to 2011, held that the Wire Act prohibits all forms of online gambling in all the U.S. states, and that view colored past prosecutions of online gaming cases. (Federal gambling law does not address games of skill or state lotteries that wish to offer subscription services on the internet.)

Accusations of Wire Act violations are usually accompanied by other charges, including conspiracy; money laundering; and violations of the RICO Act, Travel Act and Illegal Gambling Business Act. Enforcement of the Wire Act is directed at the gambling operators; there is no language that makes it illegal for a consumer to place a wager.

Because the Act was written in 1961, its language is limited to communication systems that use "wires," and the types of betting it describes are limited to fixed-odds propositions, such as are offered on sporting and other events. It simply was not possible to have foreseen remote casino and poker games over 50 years ago, so taken literally, the language of the Wire Act is not adequate to apply to casino gaming and poker over the internet. In a case involving online gamblers who tried to get their credit card debts ruled unenforceable because their online casino gambling had been illegal, the Louisiana Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declared in 2002 that the gambling losses were indeed enforceable because "the Wire Act does not prohibit non-sports internet gambling."

The DOJ disagreed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, and for years the Wire Act served as the foundation for all of the DOJ's arguments against the legality of internet gambling for both sports wagering and non-sports wagering. DOJ officials asserted this belief several times before Congress since 2002. The DOJ also asserted this belief when advising the U.S. Virgin Islands and the states of Nevada and North Dakota against regulating online gaming. They also threatened and settled with media companies that advertised for online gambling companies.

The DOJ was successful in convicting Jay Cohen, president of World Sports Exchange, for Wire Act violations in 2000.

Internet gambling on horse racing is permitted by the Interstate Horse Racing Act in states that have chosen to regulate such wagering. Although the DOJ insists that the Act is not consistent with the Wire Act, it has never filed charges against any of the many domestic remote horse race wagering operators.

In fall 2006, the United States enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which makes it illegal for financial institutions to facilitate payment transactions between offshore gambling operations and American customers. The law says nothing about it being illegal for a person located in the U.S. to gamble on an internet site.

The UIGEA resulted in the online gambling industry's publicly listed companies withdrawing from the American market, while many private companies continue to serve it.

UIGEA regulations require financial firms that participate in designated payment systems to implement policies and procedures designed to halt payments being made to gambling businesses in connection with unlawful internet gambling.

Certain participants in designated payment systems are exempt from the rule because the government questions the practicality of these participants attempting to identify and block unlawful internet gambling transactions. For example, participants in automated clearing house (ACH), check collection and wire transfer systems would be exempt, barring a beneficiary's bank or a bank that is directly involved with an illegal gambling business. The rule also outlines the types of policies and procedures that nonexempt participants in designated payment systems may adopt to prevent transactions restricted by the UIGEA.

The UIGEA regulations were approved on 19 January 2009. Financial institutions had to begin complying with the regulations by 1 December 2009.

The states of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Louisiana have all passed legislation that specifically prohibits unauthorized forms of internet gambling. All forms of gambling are illegal in Hawaii and Utah.

In April 2008, federal regulators and representatives of the financial services community testified before Congress that any attempts to enforce the UIGEA would result in serious regulatory burdens. A result of the testimony was new legislation introduced by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, proponents of legalizing and regulating online gaming, which would prohibit the Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve System from implementing any regulations related to the UIGEA. The proposed bill did not pass.

In October 2008, the state of Kentucky was granted permission by Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate to begin the seizure of gambling websites. In January 2009, the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned the ruling in a 2-1 decision, citing that domain names are not gambling devices under Kentucky law. The Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the appellate court's decision, saying the online gaming interests arguing the case lacked standing.

The Kentucky case is still ongoing, although a few online gaming companies have settled with the state. settled its case with Kentucky for $15 million.

In April 2011, the DOJ indicted the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker/UB. The charges, most of which have been settled, resulted in the forfeiture of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and assets, the sale of Full Tilt to PokerStars, the closing of Absolute/UB, and the withdrawal of PokerStars and Full Tilt from the U.S. market. In addition to shutting down the U.S. operations of the most popular online poker sites, the DOJ indictments convinced many operators to shut down their U.S.-facing operations, leaving American online gamblers with a limited marketplace.

That marketplace is now being filled, in a limited way, by the state-by-state expansion of online gaming.

In September 2015, New Jersey regulators approved a partnership between Amaya Gaming, parent company of PokerStars, and land-based casino Resorts Atlantic City. The approval cleared the way for PokerStars to re-enter the U.S. online poker market for the first time since April 2011. PokerStars launched in New Jersey in March 2016.

In early 2015, billionaire Republican power broker and Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson began a push for Congress to ban all forms of online gambling. In February 2015, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R – Utah) introduced a bill called the Restoration of America's Wire Act in the House Judiciary Committee. In June 2015, RAWA was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – South Carolina) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R – Florida).

In June 2015, Rep. Joe Barton (R – Texas) introduced his third attempt to advance federal online poker legislation since 2011 when he introduced the Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2015.

In October 2015, in response to an "insider information" scandal that brought attention to the burgeoning real-money daily fantasy sports industry, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association created a new control board to oversee the U.S. market in an attempt to avoid government regulation.

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