Archive for January, 2011

Iowa considers increasing gambling tax

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

With most U.S. states in debt, the country is looking for ways to close budget gaps. Whenever that happens, the issue of gambling is likely to come up. After all, gambling and casinos are major sources of revenue. A lot of money changes hands and a lot of money is to be made. Iowa is now looking at gambling as a way to increase revenue, but not in a way that’s beneficial to residents.

Some states, such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, have looked to gambling expansion as a way to generate more revenue. They have decided to allow more casinos to be built, with the new casinos having to pay all kinds of fees in addition to being taxed once they are in operation. Other states, such as New Jersey and California, are looking to online gambling. For Iowa, the perceived fix isn’t nearly as generous. They want to raise taxes.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad wants to increase the tax rate on the state’s casinos from 22% to 36%. According to Governor Branstad, the massive tax hike will result in an additional $200 million for the state. While that money is needed, there is no question that a tax increase of that magnitude would adversely impact the casinos. Bob Thursby, General Manager of Terrible’s Casino, said that the tax hike “would have a devastating effect on us.”

Some people may not care about the casinos’ bottom line, but that affects more than just the bank account of the casino executives. For one thing, reduced profits by the casinos could result in fewer deals for the guests. Players could lose some of their comp benefits, some of the good promotions and more.

Another problem is the casino grants. The gaming associations of Iowa routinely give out grants to local businesses and municipalities. For example, when the Denver Fire Department needed new equipment, instead of asking for taxes to be raised on Iowa residents to pay for it, they asked for and received a grant from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association.

Governor Branstad doesn’t believe that taking money from the casinos will reduce the charitable donations, though. Those contributions are required to have a gambling license in Iowa, so Branstad said that “if they stop their charitable contributions, they lose their gambling license.”

The gaming associations have agreements with certain groups to donate a pre-determined percentage of revenue. A double-digit increase of their taxes would either take all of the gaming associations’ money or cause them to prorate their contributing amount, according to Don Hoth, president of the Black Hawk County Gaming Association. “We wouldn’t be able to honor those commitments to the extent that they were made,” Hoth said.

Tags: gambling charity, gambling expansion, Iowa gambling

Categories: Casino, Gambling News

PPA Reacts to Reid Bill

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

John Pappas, the Executive Director of the advocacy group the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), released a statement regarding Sen. Harry Reid’s proposed bill to license and regulate online poker.

“Lawmakers are acknowledging what PPA has been saying all along – that Americans want to play the great game of poker in any venue they choose and they deserve to be afforded the basic consumer protections that regulation can provide,” said Pappas.

“While no bill will give players 100 percent of what we want and deserve, I do believe the legislation will be a victory for the poker playing community over the long-term.

“With the support of millions of Americans, and a growing bipartisan contingent of lawmakers, we are optimistic that Congress can get this done before the end of the year. We urge lawmakers to take action now and not let this important opportunity be missed.”

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Categories: Online Poker

Italy ‘s SNAI bought by investment firm duo

January 30, 2011 Leave a comment

SNAI SpA, Italy’s biggest sports-betting manager and racetrack, has been bought out by Italian investment company Palladio Finanziaria and European private equity firm Investindustrial.

Palladio Finanziaria and Investindustrial acquired 50.68% of SNAI’s shares at a cost of €2.3646 each through Global Games. Global Games is the investment vehicle owned in equal measure by Global Entertainment and Venice European Investment Capital , which in turn are part respectively of Investindustrial and Palladio Finanziaria.

The purchase is subject to the opinions of AAMS and AGCM (the competition authority) and the ability to refinance SNAI SpA’s debt.

Maurizio Ughi, Chairman and Member of Executive Committee, SNAI SpA said : “Had we been able to find a different way to re-size the debt with the banks, we would have done. In particular, we pay for the investment made in 2006 to implement the network of agencies that has burdened our financial year. But the company is healthy, it is present in many market segments, and has a great future. I’m sure the new company will be able to refinance the debt with the banks and to borrow additional funds to make a SNAI even bigger and more competitive.”

Categories: Casino, Gambling News

Poker News in Brief: Jan. 24-30

January 29, 2011 Leave a comment

The poker world finished January with a bang as another huge Aussie Millions came to a close.

Australian David Gorr surprised many by outlasting Patrik Antonius and Chris Moorman at the final table to win $2 million.

The Aussie Millions wasn’t the only place where poker news broke this week, however, and we’re counting down some of the lesser-known stories below.

This week we’ll take a look at a milestone for Kevin MacPhee, James Keys joining RedKings Poker, talk of legal poker in South Carolina and more.

MacPhee Cracks EPT All-Time Leaderboard

Thanks to a cash in last month’s EPT Prague, Kevin MacPhee now finds himself in the EPT’s top 10 all-time tournament points earners.

MacPhee, who won EPT Berlin last year, sits in eighth place right behind Arnaud Mattern and just above Jason Mercier.

“It’s amazing to be in the company of such legends and good friends like Jason Mercier, ElkY and Mike McDonald,” said MacPhee. “I started playing EPTs in Barcelona and worked really hard trying to qualify for each one on PokerStars and am happy that I did.”

MacPhee now has six cashes on the EPT and over $1.8 million in lifetime live tournament earnings.

Poker770 Starts Facebook Promo

Become a fan of the Poker770 Facebook page and you could have a shot at over €16,000 in prizes.

As part of an ongoing Facebook promotion, Poker770 will award €1,000 to one lucky fan when it hits 10,000 fans, €5,000 to another player when it reaches 50,000 fans and finally €10,000 to a fan if the Facebook page gets 100,000 fans.

In addition Poker770 will be running a $100 freeroll every month for Facebook fans. You can find it under the name “Become a Rich FB” in the online poker site’s lobby.

South Carolina Considers Legal Home Games

Legislators in South Carolina are once again talking about legalizing home games, according to a story with

The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering an update to the state’s 1802 anti-gambling law, which, if read literally, bans any game with cards or dice.

Home games have been a hot topic in South Carolina since 2006 when a Mount Pleasant home was raided and 22 players were arrested including a 79-year-old woman. There has been considerable backlash from the public since the incident.

RedKings Signs Brit James Keys

RedKings Poker has signed up-and-coming English player James Keys.

Keys, who finished second in the Aussie Millions for $1 million just last night, is a respected live pro that has cashed in numerous major tournaments including the WSOP Main Event and the WSOPE Main Event.

“I’m very excited to be signing with RedKings, the site has always been a favorite of mine and hopefully I can be a good representative of RedKings, I’m also very grateful to Poker Icons for getting me this opportunity,” said Keys.

Keys joins a team that already includes Ramzi Jelassi and Toni Ojala and with plans to play the GSOP live events, WSOP and EPT tournaments, he should be very active on the poker circuit this year.

SkyCity Auckland Closes Poker Tables

The poker room at SkyCity Auckland will be shutting down Feb. 7.

SkyCity Auckland, which is going through major renovations, made the announcement earlier this week. It’s supposed to be a temporary situation but SkyCity management gave no date for when the room might return.

One of the flagship poker rooms in Australia, SkyCity Auckland has hosted APPT and ANZPT events in the past.

Last year Brother D won APPT Auckland at SkyCity for $170,000.

Categories: Online Poker

No Online Casinos, But Online Poker Could Be Coming To Florida

January 28, 2011 Leave a comment

The state of Florida appears poised to become the next state to regulate online poker. With New Jersey lawmakers already legalizing full online casino gambling, Florida legislators are discussing taking the first step towards that goal.

This week, legislators amped up efforts to regulate online poker. The law being proposed would allow pari-mutuel facilities in the state to offer online poker to its customers through a third-party hub. If that occurs, the pari-mutuels would be on better financial footing to compete with Indian casinos in the state.

Pari-mutuel owners have been lobbying lawmakers to even the playing field between themselves and tribal casinos. The Seminole Tribe runs the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood and another major facility on Tampa. In order to compete with the Seminoles, the pari-mutuels have already been given some perks this past year.

Legislators agreed to lower the tax rate on pari-mutuel gambling, and also gave the facilities the right to operate their poker room for longer hours. Those changes were aimed at helping the pari-mutuels at a time when the Seminoles were winning the right to offer blackjack at their casinos.

If lawmakers and Governor Rick Scott approve the online poker legislation being crafted, the Seminoles would, in essence, win the right to offer Internet poker as well. The Seminoles are allowed to offer any type of casino gambling that is legal in the state.

Internet gambling has become a hot topic all across the US, even at the federal level. Shortly before the new year, Senator Harry Reid attempted to pass online poker legislation, but his effort was denied by Conservative lawmakers.

That denial may have been the last straw for states who are searching for ways to increase tax revenue for unbalanced budgets. California and Florida are both close to joining New Jersey as states with Internet gaming regulations.

Categories: Casino, Gambling News

McMurphys Star in New Rival Slot Game

January 28, 2011 Leave a comment

January 31 – Online software provider, Rival Gaming, rolled out a brand new casino slot game entitled The McMurphys.

The game is now available at Rival partner sites and can be played along with other top quality slot games and casino games.

The game portrays the lives and loves of a typical family – mom, dad, two kids and a dog, together with extended family members such as Grandpa George and Uncle Bob.

More details about the McMurphys:

  • Top jackpot of 1,000 coins.
  • 20 pay lines.
  • McMurphys consist of Karen and Jerry, their kids Bart and Julie and the dog Muffles.
  • Animations include Bart playing football and Muffles turning cartwheels on certain wins.
  • Bart is the wild symbol in the game that completes winning combinations to increase prizes.
  • Free spins bonus round is triggered when three or more McMurphy logos appear on an active pay line.
  • Free spins are played on a different set of wheels depicting the dreams of each family member.? Each person is set against a famous world landmark, including the Tower of Pisa, the Pyramids in Egypt and the Statue of Liberty.
  • Wager 5 coins per pay line.
  • Coin denominations range from 1c to $5.

Categories: Casino

Online Bettors In Limbo After Charlie Sheen Hospitalized

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Online sports books learned several years ago that if they offered odds, gamblers would bet on almost anything. When it comes to celebrities, the public knows more today than they ever have in the past about their favorite celebs.

The prop bets can range from who will be the next boyfriend of Jennifer Aniston, to how many children a certain celebrity will have in the next five years. In the case of Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, the prop bets focus more on which will end up arrested or in rehab first.

Today, those who bet on Charlie Sheen going to rehab almost won their bets. It has been reported that Sheen has been hospitalized, and initial reports suggested it was after another drub bender. Sheen was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Thursday morning, but not for a drug overdose.

Sheen apparently had abdominal pain and will be spending the night in the hospital. If it turns out that the pain was related to drug use, Sheen could end up in rehab and make winners out of some bettors. If not, however, the gamblers will have to wait a bit longer until Sheen or Lohan falls off the wagon again.

Sheen has had several instances in the past few months to suggest that his partying has again reached out of control status. Sheen and his reps have come up with convenient stories to justify his actions, but clearly CBS is becoming impatient with the star actor’s antics off the set.

Online sports books will have their hands full over the next week and a half not with celebrity betting, but with the Super Bowl. While celebrities bring in a certain amount of bets, the Super Bowl is the big draw every year. Hundreds of proposition bets are unveiled for the big game, and gamblers wager millions of dollars each year on the prop bets.

Categories: Casino, Gambling News