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 Laxalt: The Lex Luthor of Nevada and poker online




Laxalt: The Lex Luthor of Nevada and poker online
Published: 2018-03-15

Uncertainty starts to absorb the gambling industry since the moment when Adam Laxalt announced that had filed paperwork seeking to become the Nevada’s 30th governor this fall.




Laxalt trough his time in the political background has signaled his opposition to Las Vegas casinos, including the offering poker over the internet to people within the state’s borders.

The controversial anti-regulated online gaming Nevada attorney general has officially thrown his hat into the ring for governor. He would replace Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has been at the helm since 2011.

Sandoval, a former state gaming regulator, was the man to sign the online poker legislation in Nevada, and he also brokered online poker liquidity sharing deals with Delaware and New Jersey, all in an effort to grow the regulated online poker market. READ HERE: NEVADA UNCLAIMED WINS COULD EVEN CASINOS PRODUCTION IN ONE QT

MGM Resorts strongly opposed Laxalt’s position as well. The casino operator said that Laxalt’s views placed him “against the gaming industry in Nevada.”

In 2015, Laxalt said he would support plans at the federal level to “restore” a decades-old law in order to effectively ban online casino gaming nationwide.

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Online poker is seen as key drivers of online gambling in India  

Laxalt: The Lex Luthor of Nevada and poker online

The coronavirus pandemic has left many in India stuck at home during a series of total and partial lockdowns, and such isolation, combined with some of the world's cheapest internet rates, has made it both tempting and easy to gamble online. But opportunities to bet and lose large sums while spending only about $20 a year for 24 gigabytes of internet access have brought calls for tighter regulation.

 

Gambling in India, which largely comes under the purview of state and union territory governments, is outlawed by all but four: Goa, Sikkim, Daman, and Nagaland. But online betting apps are illegal only in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which both banned such money-based games in November last year, citing rising bankruptcies and suicides.

 

According to market and consumer data provider Statista, in fiscal year 2018 India had 269 million online gamers, with the figure rising to 365 million in 2020. It is expected to further increase to 436 million in the current fiscal year and to 510 million in 2022. But the consultancy Deloitte said in a January report that India's online gambling industry is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 40% to $2.8 billion by 2022, up from $1.1 billion in 2019.

 

Online poker is seen as key drivers of online gambling. Money-based fantasy apps have also drawn attention and raised concerns over youth vulnerability.

 

Even venture capitalists have committed an estimated $400 million to the Indian gambling sector in the last five years. In September 2020, Dream Sports, the parent company of Dream11, India's largest online fantasy sports company, secured fresh funding of $225 million from Tiger Global Management, with TPG Tech giving it an estimated valuation of $2.5 billion.

 

Also in 2020, Softbank-invested Paytm saw $20 million in funding from AG Tech Holdings. Earlier, in 2019 Sequoia and Times Internet put a $41 million investment into Mobile Premier League, another mobile gaming app.

 

Investors are also looking ahead to India's launch of 5G telecommunications, expected to be rolled out as early as the middle of next year. It is poised to transform the gambling experience through dramatically faster internet connections, likely drawing numerous new users and turning gaming into a spectator sport.

 

That technological leap is what the current wave of nearly half a billion dollars in venture investments is chasing, though it remains to be seen how laws and regulations adapt to the expected further rapid growth.

 

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Poker is set to be legalized in Connecticut  

Laxalt: The Lex Luthor of Nevada and poker online

Late Tuesday night, the Senate passed a bill that would allow the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes to offer both online gambling, including poker, and sports betting, and allow for the Connecticut Lottery to offer sports betting as well.

 

The legislation passed through the upper chamber of the legislature by an overwhelming 28-6 vote after a brief debate on the bill. It comes less than a week after the House passed the same bill by a 122-21 score.

 

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Ned Lamont, who has said he will sign the bill. It was Lamont who brought the two tribes, which own the two Las Vegas-style casinos in the state, to the negotiating table earlier in the year and agree to an online gambling deal in March.

 

The legislation updates the existing gaming compact between the state and the tribes. The tribes will be allowed to offer online gambling within the state while adding both an online and retail sportsbook to its offerings.

 

In exchange for the online expansion of their casino business, the lottery will also have the rights to offer both online and retail sports betting.

 

Since the legislation deals with an existing gambling compact between a tribal entity and a state government, it is subject to the approval of the Department of the Interior. Once approved, Connecticut will become the seventh state to legalize online poker. It joins Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

 

It becomes the third state in New England to legalize sports betting, joining Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Betting on in-state collegiate athletic events, however, will not be permitted.

 

Online gambling revenue will be taxed at a rate of 18% for the first five years and 20% in the years following. Sports betting will have a 13.75% tax on revenue. Early estimates from the Office of Fiscal Analysis have this legislation generating a combined $27.9 million in new tax revenue.


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Breathe at your RISK! Poker rooms in Las Vegas are getting rid of plexiglass 

Laxalt: The Lex Luthor of Nevada and poker online

Most poker rooms in Las Vegas have taken a huge step in going back to normal as the plexiglass dividers that were separating players have been taken down.

 

The trend begins as the Center for Disease Control announced Thursday that in their opinion, vaccinated individuals no longer needed to wear a mask or social distance. The declaration cracks the door for a complete return to normal and is a positive sign for the upcoming World Series of Poker this fall.

 

The Wynn’s poker room, which is located in its sister property, Encore, reopened without plexiglass dividers shortly after it got the go-ahead from regulators to operate the entire casino at full capacity. It was the first poker room to get rid of the structures.

 

When the room initially reopened last year during the pandemic, the property moved the poker room to a temporary location in the Wynn casino.

 

Less than two weeks later, Bellagio’s Director of Poker Operations Mike Williams tweeted that his poker room would be removing the dividers as well. All of the open MGM Resorts properties have made the same move as Aria and MGM Grand have also ditched the plexiglass.

 

Caesars properties quickly followed suit as all of its Las Vegas poker rooms are now divider-free. Caesars Palace, Bally’s, Planet Hollywood and Flamingo no longer use them.

 

The only major poker room on Las Vegas Boulevard still implementing them is the Venetian. Downtown Las Vegas’ most popular poker room, the Golden Nugget also still has them up, as does the off-strip poker room at the Orleans.

 

Red Rock Casino, a popular destination for Las Vegas locals, has also taken them down. Masks are still required by patrons of all Nevada casinos.

 

About a year ago, the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa poker room was one of the first to implement the dividers. Last month, its sister property in Hollywood just ran the largest World Poker Tour event in history while continuing to use them.

 

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UK Poker rooms set reopen next week 

Laxalt: The Lex Luthor of Nevada and poker online

The COVID-19 situation across the UK has seen significant improvements since last year, which is good news for the entire live poker industry. In 2020, when casinos initially reopened, they were only allowed to run cash games. Stringent restrictions made it impossible to host tournaments.

 

Now, as the UK is close to recording its lowest COVID-19 infections since September 2020, there’s high probability that live poker will return to normal in the coming months. In fact, the government is planning to lift the final wave of restrictions on June 21.

 

Casinos and poker rooms are set to reopen in next week, in line with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the UK.

 

Poker players may return to action at the live tables starting May 17, with cash games and tournaments being offered in some of the country’s popular poker venues, such as Grosvenor, London’s Hippodrome Casino and Aspers. In November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced another nationwide lockdown, ordering all casinos and non-essential businesses to shut their doors.

 

Casino operations have been generally suspended for around five months across the UK, and now the industry can finally breathe a sigh of relief as casinos and poker rooms in the UK can now resume accepting customers with minimal restrictions.

 

Grosvenor Casinos owns and operates dozens of poker clubs in the UK, and 31 of them will be back in business beginning Monday, May 17, initially offering cash games, with tournaments also running in eight poker rooms. To celebrate the reopening, Grosvenor will run a new promotion called “Big Reunion” which will award £300,000 in prizes to customers.

 

Everyone entering Grosvenor poker rooms will still be required to wear a facemask, and players will be separated from each other through plexiglass dividers on each table. The clubs will also operate at limited capacity, initially allowing seven-handed games. Customers are encouraged to pre-register, otherwise they need to arrive early so they can secure a seat.

 

The Hippodrome in London will also reopen its doors on May 17, so will Aspers casinos in several locations across England. Both companies will also implement mandatory wearing of facemasks, social distancing, as well as player and table caps, with plexiglass partitions also installed in every table.

 

After England, poker rooms in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland are also expected to resume operations.

 

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Illegal poker club linked with the Yakuza 

Laxalt: The Lex Luthor of Nevada and poker online

An underground poker club in Tokyo with ties to Japan’s largest organized crime syndicate, the Yakuza, was raided after authorities were given anonymous tips that the game was helping to fund to the group.

 

Several local media outlets are reporting that the game was raided on April 24 and that poker tables, chips, playing cards and undisclosed amounts of money were seized. The police said that they believe the club has generated six-figures worth of profit since last July with those funds supporting the organized crime syndicate.

 

The club was in the Sumida Ward area of the city and was being run out of an apartment building. It’s manager, as well as four poker players, were taken into custody after the raid.

 

Poker, and most other forms of gambling, is currently illegal in Japan under Chapter 23 of the Penal Code, according to Legal Gambling and the Law, which forces gamblers to enter the black market.

 

Online poker is also technically considered illegal, but the government isn’t actively punishing sites that serve Japanese citizens and hasn’t ever arrested a citizen for playing online.

 

In 2018, however, the government passed a law that allowed legal and regulated casinos to enter the country. Several of the world’s largest gaming companies began its plans to obtain one of the three licenses with MGM Resorts winning a bid in February 2020 for a casino in Osaka.

 

Las Vegas Sands Corp., Melco Resorts and Entertainment and Wynn Resorts all said they were trying to win bids for a property in either Yokohama or Tokyo, but after the pandemic hit, Las Vegas Sands Corp. decided to recall its bid.

 

Neither of the two remaining licenses have been awarded yet and MGM has not even broken ground in Osaka. Even after these resorts are built, underground casinos and poker games like the one recently raided would still be considered illegal.


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