Legal Developments

iGaming Rundown: PokerStars Delay in NJ Explained; Congressional DFS Hearings; Plan for Poker in Cali in 2016

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In this installment of the iGaming Rundown we’ll get you caught up on all the latest legislative and online gambling news going on in the United States.

We have a lot of news coming out of New Jersey this week, including a look at the August online gambling revenue numbers in New Jersey; the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s explanation as to why PokerStars license application has been delayed; and the DGE’s decision to allow casinos and racetracks to offer fantasy sports contests on premises.

We’ll also take a look at Chris Grove’s four-point plan for California online poker in 2016; potential congressional hearings on daily fantasy sports; and a whole lot more.

NJ online gaming revenue continues to rise YoY

New Jersey’s 2015 online gaming revenue continued to outperform 2014 in August, and by a fairly wide margin. Overall, the industry is seeing sustained growth in iCasino revenue, but at the same time is being weighed down by faltering online poker revenue. Fortunately, iCasino’s growth is exponentially larger than iPoker’s decline.

A four point plan for California online poker in 2016

Chris Grove recently wrote a column laying out a four-point plan he believes will allow California to make progress on an online poker bill in 2016.

Here is the overview of Grove’s plan:

  1. Create political pressure with a truly grassroots movement
  2. Make the state’s gaming regulatory agencies whole
  3. Get PokerStars out of the spotlight
  4. Get the horse racing industry a good deal, and convince them to take it

Congress could explore DFS

It looks like Congress will tackle the increasingly hot topic of daily fantasy sports, but it may not be this year, and if hearings are held this year, the issue is unlikely to move beyond that stage. “My sense is that we will do a hearing,” Representative Fred Upton, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said. “There’s a lot of things on our front burner right now, but I think this is an issue that we ought to take a look at.”

The DFS hearing was called for by New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone, who seems to have a sour taste in his mouth after the 3rd Circuit Court ruled against his home state, upholding the ban on sports betting.

Fantasy sports coming to New Jersey casinos and racetracks

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has given Atlantic City casinos and New Jersey racetracks the go-ahead to offer fantasy sports contests on premises. The DGE has approved fantasy sports contests for 270 days with the intention of extending it in perpetuity if all goes well.

One interesting aspect of the announcement is the state will not tax or regulate fantasy sports as gambling, as they see it as a new marketing tool and a way to boost foot traffic at casinos.

“The casinos’ vast customer base and the ability to have contest winners utilize the casino cage to accept entry fees for fantasy sports tournaments and payout winnings resulting from those tournaments provides an exciting opportunity to bring fantasy sports tournaments to Atlantic City,” NJ DGE Director David Rebuck said in a press release. “We see this as an added amenity and beneficial to the casinos and their customers.”

NJ DGE boss explains PokerStars delay

Speaking of David Rebuck, he recently did an interview with GGB Magazine’s Roger Gros where he talked all things Atlantic City and New Jersey gambling, including the reason PokerStars license application is taking, in the words of Squints Palledorous… FOR-EV-ER.

According to Rebuck, the delay is simply the Division being extremely cautious in their vetting of the company. Rebuck told Gros they’ve interviewed some 80 people and flown to half a dozen countries to make sure they’ve left no stone unturned.

Perhaps the most interesting takeaway was, despite the popular opinion of PokerStars being a matter of when not if, Rebuck left the door open for the company to be denied a license. “We’re going to do this in a very professional way which will be published to the world, because whatever decision we come down on will be scrutinized, and some will hate it and some will love it,” Rebuck told Gros. “It will be done in a way that I can, through this division, have pride in saying this is accurate.”

Further reading

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