American Poker: Where does Innovation Come From?

November 7th, 2012  :  Written by Patriot #1

Stars and Stripes

Does innovation come from stifling initiative, shutting down industry, banning in the interest of special-interest, walling-in against technology, throwing up barriers to stagnate and obscure?

Or does innovation come from free-market freedoms, from opening new resources to innovators, promoting and rewarding entrepreneurial work, creating a climate of possibility and hope, and inviting all to participate.

America falls behind because of special-interests and private agendas that thwart innovation and chain-lock change to sustain a status quo.

America leads the way when they are free to dream and make their dreams a reality.

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And America Falls a Little Further Behind…

November 5th, 2012  :  Written by Patriot #1

UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell

“In America it’s Prohibition” ~ UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell at Britain’s International Summit on Gambling

Britain’s culture secretary sought to build support among dozens of nations _ but not the U.S. _ for improved regulation of the global Internet gaming industry Tuesday at an international summit on the sector.

Officials from more than 30 countries debated regulation measures just weeks after the United States effectively banned online gambling amid fears it could exploit children and encourage criminal activity.

And so it goes. The USA did not regulate the growing international business when it passed the UIGE Act.

No, it effectively dealt itself out of the game.

With every passing day, the United States falls a little bit more behind in technology, expertise, and the market-place leadership of a burgeoning multi-billion dollar industry.

“Remote gambling has gone from a niche to mass market in a matter of years,” Jowell told journalists during a break in the gathering, the first summit to discuss the global impact of Internet gaming.

“There is a recognition that it is in the interests of all our citizens that we move to a framework of global standards on Internet gaming.”

The U.S. Congress caught the gaming industry by surprise when it added a provision to a bill aimed at improving port security that would make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to settle payments to online gambling sites. U.S. President George W. Bush signed the law Oct. 14.

The decision closed the most lucrative region in a market worth $15.5 billion this year in ‘spend’ value; the amount gambling companies win from their clients, or the amount gamblers lose.

Jowell likened the U.S. decision to a new form of the 1920s Prohibition on alcohol, warning that it would drive the industry underground.

Well, the UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has nailed it – it is Prohibition. And it’s hurting America, not helping it.

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Party888? Online Gambling Giants Have Coffee

November 3rd, 2012  :  Written by Patriot #1

Party888 logoThe latest news out of the Guardian UK is that PartyGaming and 888 Holdings have chatted over coffee about the possibility of a merger in light of the US Gambling Ban. Both are publicly listed in the UK, both operate out of Gibralter [offices on the same block] and the merger has been estimated at a value of $3B USD. Since the ban Party stock lost 70% of its value while 888 lost about 25%.

PartyGaming runs PartyPoker, what once was the largest online poker room, while 888 owns Casino-On-Net and Pacific Poker, no slouches themselves. The problem for Party mainly lies in the fact that at least 75% of its revenues came from the US market, so when they pulled out after the ban, they started sucking wind. 888 wasn’t impacted as much after pulling out America, since they’ve been marketing internationally for years and perhaps 50% of their revenue comes from the US.

So what do we make of this?

Well, it’s obviously early stage for merger talks, but that aside, what’s the real impact on the industry and players? This is where it gets interesting.

Let’s say I’m a UK player and I’ve been playing at PartyPoker because of the sheer number of other players. Then one day 75% of the players go away because they’re from the US. So what do I do? Stick with Party? No way – I want to go where the players are, so I start looking for poker rooms that still accept Americans, places like Scarlet Poker, Ultimate Bet, Full Tilt Poker, etc [go here for a complete list of places to play]. Where does that leave PartyPoker? Sucking even more wind because now their international players are leaving too, and revenue plummets further. The situation isn’t much rosier for 888 or the other major pub co’s either.

So one move from the US could collapse public, legally operating companies from many other nations. Shining stars of foreign public markets disappear and drive down the value of their stock market index – most countries don’t like that. Imagine if Microsoft disappeared from the Nasdaq one day – that’s impact.

Anyway, there’s an international battle brewing behind the “innocuous” moral arguments of our special-interest friends in Washington. One can imagine Bill Frist getting a cavity search upon arrival at Heathrow. Don’t worry, we’ll publish the photos.

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Shake Up, But No Shut Down

November 2nd, 2012  :  Written by Patriot #1

That’s the consensus across the board just a couple of weeks past the official signing into law of the UIGE Act – there has been no shut down of poker. Only a shake up.

Article after article, post after post, confirms that American poker players are not giving up their game – they’re just playing in the new places that welcome them.

In fact, it seems that the smaller poker rooms are booming. The Tribeca Tables Network that is connected through online poker rooms such as Doyle’s, Scarlet, and Victor Chandler are seeing a huge influx of American players. All that “Black Friday” did was shift players from the publicly traded companies to the private ones.

The bigger rooms that are publicly traded had to bend to the new act, being forced to drop the US market due to a restriction on their books that say they can not knowingly break the law in a country they trade in; this opened the door for smaller, privately owned poker rooms and networks, such as Skill Games, to step up and take on a larger share of the market pie.

It’s working Poker Players. The UIGE Act is un-American – and we’re proving it.

So keep playing poker. Keep talking poker. Because Poker is America.

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Brits Think US Gambling Law is Flawed

October 29th, 2012  :  Written by Patriot #1

Department for Culture, Media and Sport UK logo

In a typically coherant move, Tessa Jowell, the Secretary for the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport has spoken out against the US gambling ban, saying the “new prohibition” makes offshore gambling sites the “modern equivalent of speakeasies,” the illegal bars that opened in the US under alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s. Of course she believes that regulation is far better than prohibition.

The DCMS set up the Gambling Commission back in 2001 to study the issue of “remote gaming,” or any form of gaming that happens away from a physical establishment. By 2005, they had developed the Gambling Act to cover and regulate all forms of gambling in the UK, with a target implementation date of September 2007. This timeframe may be adjusted in light of recent developments. As we stated in a previous post, the UK is working hard to become the world leader in Internet Gambling.

Ms. Jowell is hosting a summit next week with politicians from 30 countries to discuss the achievement of international gambling regulations.

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