Biblitz delivers advise

ASK Biblitz about Internet Gambling.

PartyGaming might be trying to position itself for a return to the U.S. market...


WELCOME!

What do you think of online gambling?


See also Gambling Kahnawake and Winning.

Update Oct. 25/10:
cardHand90
Do you think your bill to legalize marijuana will ever pass? Yes, in the next five years. Will that expand the tax base? As a nation, do you think we could smoke our way to solvency? I want to be clear; that's not my major motivation. My major motivation is personal freedom. When we outlaw marijuana or online gambling, all you do is create more criminals and deprive us of revenue. From Questions for BARNEY FRANK, regulation and when it makes sense to team up with a libertarian, by Deborah Solomon, The New York Times Magazine, Aug. 1/10, p. 14)

Update May 20/10:
cardHand90
PartyGaming is in negotiations with bricks-and-mortar casino operators in the U.S. about possible joint ventures, should the (American gambling prohibition) laws be relaxed at a federal level or by individual states, and 888.com, too, is "staying close" to the American casino chain Harrah's, with which it already has a tie-up in the UK. Other online sites, too, are ready to jump in with partnership deals or under their own brands, should the law change. (From US looks to lift prohibition on online gaming firms, In 2006 America banned internet gambling, but now the law may be relaxed. Big bucks are at stake, by Stephen Foley in The Independent May 20/10)

Update April 13/10:
cardHand90
Massachusetts has announced a proposal to go after not only online gambling operators but players, too, and Kentucky is suing Full Tilt Poker to recover what it considers to be illegal gambling revenue! Other states have expressed interest. ... Will Poker Stars be the next target? Could both initiatives be part of a larger U.S. effort to level the online gambling playing field before reversing the ban? Biblitz will keep you posted. Check back soon for updates!

Hey Biblitz,

Hey, I need peoples help. I'm doing a Media Studies Project on Online Gambling. What do you think about it? Any comments on Online Gambling. Negative or Positive. I thank anyone you answers.

Biblitz replies:

Take a virtual stroll through the Roll 'n Shuffle, the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Life, and you can see the many, many ways gambling and risk are already woven into our daily lives everywhere in the world. Internet gambling is but one more venue for such a long and widely favored enterprise. And when we say long, we mean long favored. Note that there were Prehistoric Gamblers! There are also a number of Prayers for Gamblers, Gambling on God, the Gambler's Guide to Climate Change and, seasonally, the Gambler's Guide to Christmas. You can even learn about the current state of U.S. gambling laws at the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to International Trade Law, which explains rather cleverly how it was that Antigua beat the mighty U.S. over online gambling and how such an unexpected victory upset the whole int'l trade applecart doing so!

Ulitmately, the thinking person's view on Internet gambling favors freedom of choice to take one's leisure as one sees fit. Additionally, in a post-financial meltdown, all business had better be considered good business - at least with respect to a permitted activity, such as gambling.

Regulating and taxing the online industry will also protect gamblers. And one more thing on that note: Unlike casinos, where it's often hard to tell after the fact exactly what occurred in a particular game or play, each hand, each card in an online game is recorded and retained by the operator for easy access in the event of dispute. (See online safety). Even in the absence of regulation, the industry has usually responded with lightning speed to any charges of cheating. If it didn't, players would have gone elsewhere.

The dark side of the U.S. prosecutions of remote gambling operators is, of course, the opacity of the decisions regarding which sites are targeted and in what order. Why, for example, has Poker Stars continued to accept U.S. bets post-UIGEA with impunity? Why are Mohawks outside of Montreal still hosting sites that take U.S. bets, an activity verboten to other Canadians. Unlike American aboriginals, Mohawks in Canada have not sought special tribal licensing legislation, and no one has ever argued in the Canadiana courts that there is a fundamental, Const'l right to allow such an enterprise - altho the Roll 'n Shuffle First Nations riff provides evidence to suggest the possibility exists.
TinyTeaman
Then, of course, there is ASK Biblitz about Gambling. Note the link to more legal info regarding the U.S. position on online gaming (the dreaded enforcement deadline for UIGEA regs barring banks from accepting online gambling transactions has just been extended six months!) when you click on Prohibition 2.0.

Wodehouse on the ultimate game of chance:

luckOfTheBiblitz

'A bit complex, all this, isn't it?' he said. 'Hardly the sort of stuff, I mean, to spring on personal friends who were up a trifle late last night.'

'It isn't really,' the Crumpet assured him. 'Not when you know the facts. The way old Freddie told me the story it was as limpid as dammit. And what he thinks - and what I think, too, - is that it just shows what toys we are in the hands of Fate, if you know what I mean. I mean to say, it's no good worrying and trying to look ahead and plan and scheme and weigh your every action, if you follow me, because you never can tell when doing such-and-such won't make so-and-so happen - while, on the other hand, if you do so-and-so it may just as easily lead to such and such.' (From Fate in Tales From the Drones Club, by P.G. Wodehouse, p. 8)

The European Dream

Hardcover

By Jeremy Rifkin

It's interesting to note that although people have been living the American Dream for two centuries, the term didn't become part of the popular lexicon until 1931. Historian James Truslow Adams published a book entitled The Epic of America, in which the term "American Dream" was used for the very first time. Adams originally wanted to use the term in the title of the book, but his editor, Ellery Sedgwick, refused, saying that "no red-blooded American would pay $3.50 for a dream." Adams's retort at the time was that "red-blooded Americans have always been willing to gamble their last peso on a dream." ...

Americans have always been risk-takers. That's part of what the American Dream is all about. We used to associate American risk-taking with the willingness to start over in a new land, tame a wilderness, invest in an idea, or start a new business. Today, for a growing number of Americans, risk-taking has been reduced to little more than gambling.

In 2002, seven out of ten Americans engaged in some form of legal gambling. Fifty-seven percent of Americans purchased a lottery ticket in the past year, and 31 percent of Americans gambled in casinos. he annual growth rate of American gambling has been a steamy 9 percent in the past decade, which means that gambling has been growing significantly faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. Americans are now spending more money on gambling than on movies, videos, DVDs, music, and books combined. In 2002, Americans spent $68 billion on legal gambling at racetracks, at casinos, and on lotteries, compared to $27 billion in 1991. When I was a child in the 1950s, only the state of Nevada allowed gambling. Today, forty-seven states have legalized gambling. The states raise more than $20 billion from lotteries and casinos, or more than 4 percent of their total revenue.

Gambling has fast become the national pastime and, for many Americans, a near obsession... (From Getting Something for Nothing, pgs. 26-28)

Even U.S. kiddies are encouraged to enter the world of gambling and risk!

Fables of Abundance

Paperback

By Jackson Lears

Treasure-seeking was one of several ways that early-19th century Americans used magical thinking to allay anxiety and sustain a dream of instantaneous change in their economic condition. Belief in luck survived Puritan denunciations of pagan superstition and sustained a flourishing subculture of gambling. To be sure, the gambler could display elements of calculation as well as vestiges of magical thinking. Yet in general, gambling represented a popular (sometimes playful!) alternative to the diligence supposedly required for economic success. Despite the efforts of ministers and moralists, many ordinary Americans - even those who never went near a crap game or a card table - hoped for a "lucky hit" in one of the myriad lotteries or "policy" games available in most cities. Policy was a 19th century equivalent of the numbers game. Players consulted dream books that claimed to reveal the numerological significance of dreams and coincidences; the player could learn what number to bet on when he dreamed of a policeman, or saw an old lady fall down in the street. This form of magical thinking was not confined to any one class or race. As late of 1879, the Virginia journalist James D. McCabe could observe in Lights and Shadows of New York Life that "even men accounted 'shrewd' on Wall Street" were among the purchasers of dream books. (The ironic linkage would not have gone unnoticed by the economist Henry George and other reformers; by 1879, the resemblance between stock market speculation and gambling had become a major theme in Protestant and republican critiques of capitalism.) (From the chapter, The Modernization of Magic, pgs. 44-45)

americaILikeYou

The great British humorist, P.G. Wodehouse, thought so highly of Americans that he spent much of his writing life among them in New York, weaving magnificent plots that usually involve a flutter or two. His high opinion of Americans is widely shared by the online gambling industry. The reason is that Americans have risk in the blood. The question to these friendly, determined optimists is never whether to bet but rather how much. And most often they win. Their success is no mystery. It comes from the fact that they work like the devil. At everything. U.S. poker players, in particular, are the stuff of legend. No Texas Hold 'Em table is complete without them! When America bellies up to the baise, one feels in the air that unmistakable crackle of commerce and general goodwill.

Then there is the Yank's infamous 'gift of the gab':

America, I Like You

Hardcover
By P.G. Wodehouse

More of Wodehouse on le mot juste.

I have always had only the most rudimentary gift of speech. I was reading a book the other day entitled How to Become a Charming Conversationalist, and it took all the heart out of me.

"Are you audible?" it asked me. "Are you clear? Pleasant? Flexible? Vigorous? Well modulated? Acceptable in pronunciation? Agreeable in laughter?" And the answer was No. I was husky, hoarse, muffled, thick, indistinct, glottal, monotonous, jumbled, unacceptable in pronunciation and disagreeable in laughter - in short, the very opposite of Thomas Lomonaco, the courteous and popular Brooklyn taxi driver who was driving his taxi one afternoon not long ago at Jamaica Avenue and Seventy-fifth Street when he was hailed by Elmer Hinitz.

"Gimme about fifty cents' worth," said Elmer Hinitz.

At Eightieth Street he produced a switch knife and, leaning forward, tapped Thomas Lomonaco on the shoulder.

"This is a stick-up," he announced.

"No. Really?" said Mr. Lomonaco, interested.

"Yah. Slip me your money or I will expunge you."

"I see your point," said Mr. Lomonaco, "and I can fully appreciate your desire to add to your savings, with times as hard a s they are in this disturbed postwar era. But your whole plan of campaign is rendered null and void by the fact that I have no money. Would it soften your disappointment if I offered you one of my cigarettes? They are mild. They satisfy."

Mr. Hinitz accepted a cigarette and the conversation proceeded along pleasant lines as far as 118th Street and Jamaica Avenue, when Mr. Lomonaco said, "Say, look. Do you know the police station.?"

Mr. Hinitz said he did not.

"Most picturesque," said Mr. Lomonaco. "You'll like it. Let's drive there."

And his talk was so convincing that Mr. Hinitz immediately agreed. A good idea, he said, and he is now in custody, held in $1,000 bail.

... Obviously a man who must have spent months, if not years, standing in front of a mirror, stretching his muscles, raising himself on tiptoe, rolling the head from side to side and repeating a hundred times the words "Give me a box of mixed biscuits, a mixed biscuit box, and sell me some short silk socks and shimmering satin sashes."

For this - in addition to lying on your back with a heavy wieght on your stomach and shouting "Li-yah! Li-yah!" - is apparently what you have to do to become a convincing talker ... (From Thanks for the Memory, Such As It Is, pgs. 5-6

Fortune

A lousy hand for poker's top promoter

WPT Enterprises failed to heed the old dictum of knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

Aug. 26/09

Poker's one-time leader has just folded its hand. WPT Enterprises, the parent company of the renowned World Poker Tour, raised the game's stakes a few years ago, helping create the huge surge in popularity of no-limit Texas Hold 'Em. A televised tour, giving viewers a peek at players' hole cards, was the ace up its sleeve.

During the winning streak, there was talk that WPT could be worth substantially more than its $500 million market value, and that poker legend Doyle Brunson was plotting a bid. But WPT's owners didn't walk away from the table at the right moment. They are selling now for chump change - a measly $12.3 million and a tiny cut of future revenue.

WPT counted on gamblers' luck. But new players started chipping away at its stack. The company responded by going on tilt - betting too much on expansion, including costly failed ventures online and in China.

PartyGaming, WPT's mooted buyer, has had problems of its own. It suffered a bad beat in 2006 when the US decided not to allow internet gambling, costing the company $105 million in a settlement with the Department of Justice earlier this year. But PartyGaming is still a shrewd enough player to know that even a middling pair beats one of a kind.

The poker craze may have died down but it hasn't died. The World Poker Tour is a recognized brand with its tournaments still broadcast in 150 countries, and a new deal for an eighth season on Fox Sports in the US.

The big wager for PartyGaming, however, appears to be a fresh one on the U.S. legalizing online gambling. Barney Frank, the representative from Massachusetts, has renewed efforts to roll back the ban. Proponents think they might get a friendlier hearing this time around, what with Las Vegas down and out, a Democrat Congress and a president who knows that a flush beats a straight. ...

The New York Times

A New Chance for Online Gambling in the U.S.

By Eric Pfanner

April 26/09

More of the story.

Pulling out of the United States cost PartyGaming about three-quarters of its business. Its position as the biggest online poker provider has been taken over by PokerStars, a privately held operator based on the Isle of Man. This month, PartyGaming agreed to a $105 million settlement with the U.S. attorney's office in New York, involving the period before 2006, when it acknowledged that its activities had been "contrary to certain U.S. laws." In turn, the U.S. authorities agreed not to prosecute the company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, or its executives.

The agreement fueled speculation that PartyGaming might be trying to position itself for a return to the U.S. market, if online gambling were legalized. Analysts say one possibility for European companies like PartyGaming, should the ban be lifted, would be to form partnerships with American casino operators. That would allow the European companies to share their online expertise. Operating alone, they might struggle to obtain licenses, given their history of run-ins with U.S. law enforcement, analysts said.

"It's my feeling that even if the market were opened up, the U.S. government, in a palatable way, would probably find a way to give local companies a favorable position," Mr. Batram said. So far, Las Vegas executives have maintained a cautious stance about legalization of online gambling. Steve Wynn, chief executive of Wynn Resorts, said in an e-mail message that he thought it would be "impossible to regulate. Even though it would be a benefit to our company, we are strongly opposed," he said. But speculation that Las Vegas casino operators were looking into the possibilities was fueled by recent reports that Harrah's Entertainment, which owns Caesars Palace and other casinos, recently hired Mitch Garber, former chief executive of PartyGaming, for an unspecified role. Harrah's did not return calls. Mr. Ryan said that PartyGaming planned to focus on acquisition opportunities to increase its market share in Europe and elsewhere, something that was difficult as long as investors were worried about the U.S. litigation. "We think Mr. Frank's efforts are quite meaningful to the sector," he said.

Several other online gambling companies whose shares are traded in London, including 888 Holdings and Sportingbet, are still in talks with the U.S. Justice Department. Analysts expect them, along with companies like Bwin International, whose stock is traded in Vienna, to be involved in a round of consolidation in the industry - along with a possible eventual move back into the United States.