Poll Tough For Term Limit, Gambling Props (San Francisco Chronicle)
Ballot measures to change the Legislature's term-limit rules and boost the number of slot machines in some Indian casinos face a tough, uphill slog if they are going to win on Feb. 5, a new Field Poll indicates. The news is grimmest for Proposition 93, which...
My Internet Radio Show Moves To Rounder's Radio
Tomorrow is moving day. Not for me personally, but for my internet radio show, Keep Flopping Aces. With uncertainty surrounding Hold'em Radioâ€™s continued viability, Keep Flopping Aces has moved to Rounder's Radio.The show will air in the same time slot, at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. Pacific Time) every Thursday night, and weâ€™ll be on tomorrow night, Thursday January 10 with special guest, poker journalist Jennifer Newell (pictured right) . To listen in, just point your browser to http://www.roundersradio.com/ and click on the "Listen Now" button. It's that easy.Jennifer just finished an in-depth, six part series for Poker Player Newspaper about the Absolute Poker Scandal and she is incredibly well versed on the subject. So weâ€™ll talk about the scandal, what might happen next, and both of us will probably rant a bit about what we think should happenâ€”even though it probably wonâ€™t.If you canâ€™t listen live, the show will also be available to hear in the stationâ€™s archives, or as a podcast through i-Tunes. For our European listeners, the show is rebroadcast the next day in prime time so you donâ€™t have to listen live in whatâ€™s the middle of the night your time.For anyone listening live, you can call in and fire your questions to me or Jennifer. Those call-in numbers are:USA 1.810.496.3428Canada: 1.519.913.2250London: 02 07 993 6143Please tune in and catch the first Keep Flopping Aces show on Rounderâ€™s Radio.
Disappointing WTO Decision In Antigua Vs. US Online Gaming Case
The World Trade Organization Issues a DecisionOn December 21 a World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitrary panel ruled that Antigua is entitled to $21 million a year from the United States, a far cry from the $3.4 billion that Antigua sought in its claim against the US regarding online gaming.The WTOâ€™s ruling took into account only money Antigua lost through online horse-racing wagers, instead of all online gaming. The panel chose not to account for all online wagering that takes place in the US. Instead, it only awarded Antigua compensation from online wagers that are taxed and regulated.While that's the underlying logic to the WTO's decision, it seems the WTO simply decided to throw Antigua a bone, and a small one at that, while allowing the US to pursue their course of unfair trade practices at a bargain price. Call it a tax on ufair trade practices, or the small cost of moralistic legislation that will cause the US to stay out of step with most of the rest of the world, while prohibiting citizens like you and me to play poker with our own money from the privacy of our own homes. There's a larger cost too, the loss of billions in tax revenue and job creation that would accrue to the US if they were to regulate and tax online gaming.Some Background on this CaseAntiguaâ€™s claim against the US is predicated on the US allowing certain forms of online wagering, such as horse race wagers, but prevents access to other forms of online gambling and therefore violates those sections of the General Agreement for Trades and Services (GATS) that cover online gambling.Whoâ€™s Still Chasing Down the US; Who Settled Their ClaimsThe European Union, Japan, Canada, India, Costa Rica, and Macao joined Antigua in seeking sanctions against the US. The US settled with the EU, Japan, and Canada, but negotiations with India, Costa Rica, and Macao continue. Letting the Fish Off the HookWhile online gaming companies urged their host countries to stand tough against the US in order to force them to reviser online gambling laws, the EU settled for smallish concessions. This let the US off the hook for much less than the amount that would be lost to the gaming industry itself as well as lost taxes to their host countries that are excluded from the US online gaming marketâ€”the largest in the world.This Decision Canâ€™t Be AppealedThe decision issued by the WTO arbitrary panel cannot be appealed, although the WTO must first approve the arbitrator's decision before Antigua can act, and that approval will not come until January.WORLDWIDE REACTION TO THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION'S DECISIONBecause there are so man y parties involved in this case, there are reactions from many quarters, and the issues involved in this case still comprise a very unsettled situation.The Remote Gambling AssociationOnline gaming in the US is anything but neatly tied up and put aside in a box. The Remote Gambling Association, a trade association representing European internet gambling companies, plans to file a complaint against the United States for violating WTO rules by targeting foreign gaming companies while not prosecuting US online gaming operators.The RGA said the WTO decision fails to address â€śâ€¦discriminatory and protectionist US practices against European and other foreign online operators in the form of selective prosecution related to trade in gambling services.â€ťThe RGAâ€™s Clive Hawkswood said: â€śHow would US investors and businessmen feel if they invested in a business in the UK based on international law commitments, and then suddenly the UK not only passed new laws forcing them to shut down their business, but then tried to throw them in jail for past activities while still allowing their domestic competitors to continue on doing the same thing? Thatâ€™s what is happening to our industry in the US.â€ťSafe and Secure internet Gambling InitiativeJeffrey Sandman, spokesperson for The Safe and Secure internet Gambling Initiative, said the RGAâ€™s action should encourage lawmakers to regulate internet gambling through Representative Barney Frankâ€™s proposed internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act.According to Sandman, â€śIt is time for the US to end its hypocritical practices that discriminate against foreign online gambling operators, while allowing US gambling operators to accept bets for certain forms of gambling. Regulation of internet gambling should be supported as a means to resolve this trade dispute.â€ťTrade Law Expert, Professor Joseph WeilerJoseph Weiler, a professor of law at New York University, commented, â€śWhat is particularly troubling is that these prosecutions for past activity are still continuing. To compound it by selecting only non-US targets is even more troubling. To clarify the situation for the future for all is one thing, but that does not seem to be the case here.â€ťAnti-Gambling Advocate, Representative Bob Goodlatte"Considering that Antigua and Barbuda were asking for over $3 billion in compensation, and they were only awarded a token $21 million, this decision is a partial victory for the U.S.," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, (R-VA), a staunch opponent of all online gamingâ€”except, of course, for online horse race wagering. The inconsistency there stems from the fact that the horse race industry is a major contributor to Goodlatteâ€™s campaigns. For the full story on how Rep Goodlatteâ€™s philosophical inconsistencies, see my blog entry dated December 3, 2007.Financial Services RoundtableThe Financial Services Round Table warned that regulations being drafted to enforce the Unlawful internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) will present major compliance obstacles unless the Bush administration clarifies its conflicting views on online betting.Bank of AmericaThe Bank of America said that the Government should provide a list of specific entities that banks are forbidden to take payments from. â€śWithout a definition of what is legal,â€ť the Bank of America stated that â€śfinancial institutions will be forced to block legitimate transactions in order to avoid the possibility of permitting an illegal transaction.â€ťAntiguaâ€™s ReactionAntigua's finance minister Errol Cort described the WTO's decision as a setback for the small Caribbean nation. Antigua had sought to apply $3.4 billion in trade sanctions against the US to compensate the nation for lost revenue due to unfair trade practices, but were instead awarded $21 million by the WTO.Still, Cort is hopeful, saying â€śWe think that this decision, as terribly flawed as it may be, should still have the desired result of getting the US to sit down with us and seek an amicable resolution. We look forward to meeting with the U.S. delegation in the very near future.â€ťRead the Full WTO DecisionThe full text of the WTO decision can be accessed here:PDF version of WTO decision: http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/285arb_e.pdf
"Poker" Is Top Search Engine Topic-Again!
Weâ€™re Number Oneâ€”again! For the second year running, Lycos announced that â€śpokerâ€ť was the top search engine topic during the year. Despite a year of headline grabbing activity by such tabloid-cover headline grabbers as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Anna Nicole Smith, Barry Bonds, Lindsay Lohan, and even Pamela Anderson, poker still generates more search activity than any other term.Iâ€™ve read that pokerâ€™s popularity is diminishing. Itâ€™s not. While funding an online poker account is admittedly tougher with UIGEA in effect, and thereâ€™s way too much poker programming on TV thatâ€™s repetitive, uninteresting, and has weak production values, our collective interest in poker is not slowing down. The engine is running full speed ahead, and the interest in the game of poker has not abatedâ€”and doesnâ€™t look like it will anytime soon.So go ahead. Punch â€śpokerâ€ť into your search engine of choice. Just to get a sense of how popular poker is, I typed â€śpokerâ€ť into Google as I was writing this post, and 14,700,000 hits on all thatâ€™s available about poker will never be able to do it; the information overload is just too great. But if that information overload is indicative of interest in our game, it means you should always be able to find a poker game regardless of where you are located.So stick a finger up in the air. And tell anyone whoâ€™ll listen, â€śWeâ€™re number One!â€ť