BetRivers Sports Lounges To Debut During Flyers’ Home Debut

The rebrand to Rivers Philadelphia is underway at SugarHouse with the grand opening of two Rivers-branded sports lounges at Wells Fargo Center.

On Oct. 9, the Philadephia Flyers hosts their season home game opener at the Wells Fargo Center.

The hockey team is not the only thing making a big debut either. Two new sports lounges are also opening their doors Wednesday night when the Flyers host the New Jersey Devils. These brand-spanking new lounges are part of a multi-year partnership. They are aptly named the BetRivers.com Sports Lounge and the Rivers Casino Philadelphia Sports Lounge.

Excitement builds on the multi-year partnership

If you’re wondering about the Rivers branding, the lounges mark one of the first big transitions from SugarHouse Casino to Rivers Casino Philadelphia. Eventually, online casino PlaySugarHouse.com will also become BetRivers.com in Pennsylvania.

President of Business Operations for the Flyers and Wells Fargo Center Valerie Camillo stated in the press release:

We are thrilled to launch our partnership with SugarHouse, soon to be Rivers Casino and BetRivers.com, through these sport lounges which will undoubtedly elevate the game day experience at the Wells Fargo Center. Both spaces are stunning additions to what has already been the most transformative phase of our renovation project and we know our fans will be delighted with the design and experience.

Want a sneak peek? Check out these architect renderings provided by DMAC Architecture of both lounges.

Match made in heaven: online mobile betting and live action sports

Ultimately, the most important aspect of the lounge for Rivers Casino Philadelphia are the assigned ambassadors. These ambassadors help new players set up their new PA online sportsbook accounts to ensure the process is simple and easy for the customer.

Mattias Stetz, COO of Rush Street Interactive, the operator of the in-casino and online sportsbooks for SugarHouse (soon to be Rivers Casino Philadelphia) shared his vision and excitement.

We can’t wait for Philadelphia sports fans to experience these new sports lounges. We know how passionate this city is when it comes to sports and we took great care to make sure these lounges have everything guests need to watch and get in on the action as it’s happening.

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More details about the new sports lounges

As can be seen, the lounges are located on the Main Concourse and the New City Terrace.

Completely redesigned, the Rivers Casino Philadelphia Sports Lounge boasts an impressive 5,860 square-feet of space along with 10 giant 86″ screens. That’s not all. An odds boards and another 16, 65″ monitors decorate the bar area.

On New City Terrace, The BetRivers.com Sports Lounge faces the arena allowing fans to watch live sporting events. At almost 6,500 square-feet, the crown jewel of the lounge is a custom 22-feet long LED video wall. In case that is not enough, other large live-action screens are also available.

Lastly, be sure to partake in some of Philly’s local cuisine while online betting. We are just drooling over the thought of indulging in some Philly cheesesteaks while enjoying the games.

You Can Win When The 76ers Win At Parx Online Casino, Thanks To New Partnership

Parx online casino is now the Philadelphia 76er’s official winning partner, which means when the team wins, online casino players in Philly do as well.

Take it to the net.

The Philadelphia 76ers recently announced a partnership with Parx Casino. To emphasize, Parx now bears the title of the first “Official Winning Partner of the Philadelphia 76ers.”

For the purpose of commemorating this partnership, Parx’s online casino will offer a “Win For All” promotion.

About the ‘Win For All’ promotion

On July 15, Parx made history by being one of the first two casinos to launch online casinos in Pennsylvania. In addition, it also has its own Pennsylvania online sportsbook launched earlier this year.

The “Win For All” promotion activates anytime the 76ers win. In order to participate, you must be at least 21 years old, and within a 150-mile radius of the city. With this in mind, now look for a custom promo code from Parx either through social media or radio. Lastly, redeem the bonus free-play offer through the online casino with the promo code.

This bonus offer starts at $25 per 76ers win until the team reaches its 26th win. After that, each bonus offer matches the 76ers’ win streak. For example, a 30th victory results in a $30 bonus offer.

76ers president Chris Heck stated in a press release:

The “Win for All” promotion provides a creative avenue for fans to interact with our first-ever “Official Winning Partner” and plays upon the competitive spirit of Philadelphia fans.

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More bonus offers and fun

Look out for when the 76ers take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Christmas Day. Notably, it’s the first time since 1988 that a Christmas home game takes place in Philadelphia. Parx will be offering a special bonus code for this game, as well as other potential special games.

But, that’s not all. Parx plans to celebrate 76ers night at the Beer Garden every month with an impressive 24 rotating taps of craft beer and two 16-foot televisions. In addition, don’t forget the actual Parx Sportsbook (that opened earlier this year) for additional ways to participate in the 76ers season.

Parx sees the benefits of partnerships

Through this partnership, Parx presents the 76ers postgame show on 97.5 FM The Fanatic. More importantly, the casino will enjoy an appreciable amount of in-game signage at the Wells Fargo Center through courtside and 360 LED boards.

Additionally, Parx partnered up with the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer earlier this year. The casino is the presenting partner of the halftime show on local channels of Union games. Also, Parx street teams can engage with fans at the Talen Energy Stadium to promote the casino.

Until PA Online Poker Is A Reality, You Can Play PokerStars Virtual Reality

Pennsylvanians who love virtual reality and poker can earn they way onto PokerStar’s list of team pros now that the site is searching for ambassadors.

Does the idea of becoming a PokerStars Team Pro excite you?

Not only could you become a PokerStars Team Pro, but also you could become PokerStars’ first Virtual Reality (VR) Ambassador.

About PokerStars VR

PokerStars announced a search for their newest team member after recently launching its VR poker launch alongside the new Virtual Reality Poker Tour (VRPT).

Notably, the VRPT is a free-to-play tournament series that occurs entirely in a virtual reality world. In partnership with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, PokerStars brings an innovative way to combine the best of live and online poker.

Although the first VRPT series already occurred this weekend aboard the Galaxy Space Station, fear not. The next virtual stop in space is Macau, sometime in October. Lastly, the virtual series concludes at a location yet to-be-determined in November.

Imagine this: shuffling chips, handling cards, reading other players and using various interactive objects, all from the comfort of your own home. In this visually stunning and interactive environment, a player can choose to play against friends, Team PokerStars Pros and Twitch streamers.

In fact, just check out this exciting PokerStars VR Developer vlog:

Easy ways to qualify and become the first PokerStars VR Ambassador

By all means, it appears PokerStars is pulling out all the stops for players to qualify. Significantly, once a player qualifies through one of these means, the player is entered into the Final 10. Currently, there are no further details on what happens after the Final 10 players are chosen.

  • Every hand played is an opportunity for a ticket into the Final 10.
  • Community Hero – The most helpful community members (judged by Lucky VR Devs/PokerStars) across all digital channels gain entry to the Final 10.
  • Most chips won in cash games
  • Leaderboard rings/Spinning tops draw – Each Leaderboard Ring Won counts as 1 entry. Multiple tickets allowed.
  • VRPT Player of the Year – Become the Season 1 VRPT POY winner and a Final 10 seat is yours.
  • Spin to win – Any player who hits the PokerStars VR Ambassador Slot on the lobby spin wheel.
  • Make a royal flush – But, make sure it gets to showdown and gain a Royal Flush finalist ticket draw. From there, PokerStars draws from those finalists for one ticket to the Final 10.
  • Spin & Go – Any player who wins the top chips prize on any stake Spin & Go will also win a ticket to a draw where one winner will advance to the Final 10. Multiple tickets allowed.
  • Discord Ninja – Be the top 5 most helpful and engaging members on for Discord.
  • Popular vote – The in-game voting system will allow any player to cast their vote for who they think should be the PokerStars VR Ambassador using their watch UI.

Notably, the contest runs from Sept. 27 12 pm EST until Feb. 3rd 12 pm EST and is open to PA players, as this is a free-to-play product available across the US.

Online poker in PA still awaiting launch

To emphasize, there still is no real-money online poker in Pennsylvania. On July 15, PA online casinos set up shop with plenty of fanfare but, without online poker.

However, it is widely expected that PokerStars, in partnership with Mount Airy Casino, will be the first to begin testing. In the meantime, PA poker players will just have to keep waiting or hit the virtual reality felt.

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Morgan Stanley Is Wary Of Poker Bots, But Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be

Morgan Stanley downgraded the rating of a couple of online poker sites out of concerns over advancing poker AI from Carnegie Mellon.

This month, Morgan Stanley released future price of stocks for several large online poker sites.

Specifically, three major online poker companies inclusive of GVC Holdings (otherwise known as partypoker), Playtech (provider of the iPoker network’s software) and The Stars Group (PokerStars) were downgraded.

But why? According to the global juggernaut investment bank, artificial intelligence (AI) or “bots” is such a concern that online poker could become potentially unbeatable in the near future.

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Pluribus beats them all

For the first time in history, an AI poker program consistently beat some of the top poker professionals in the world in a variety of different formats.

Recently, Facebook teamed up with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to create the AI botPluribus.

Pluribus is the pioneer AI poker bot to consistently beat professional opponents in a six-player format no-limit hold’em, according to the research article released in Science.

Astoundingly, Facebook and CMU took eight days, 512 GB of RAM, and $144 to create Pluribus.

According to Morgan Stanley analyst Ed Young, Pluribus is “stronger than human professionals” in the most popular form of poker. It “plays twice as fast as professional players and can be adapted for any poker variant.”

Therefore, the analysts reduced confidence in online poker. GVC and PlayTech faced reductions of 2% and 4%. Notably, The Stars Group only dropped to $17 from $18. However, Morgan Stanley did not mention 888 Holdings (888 Poker) by name. The downgrade also presumably affects them, too.

Well-founded fear for online poker

In 2017, Pluribus’ predecessor Libratus made waves in the poker community sparking fears of bots versus humans. Libratus beat out poker professionals in a no-limit hold’em format for more than 20 days. However, unlike Pluribus, Libratus required millions of dollars plus supercomputing power. As a result, fears that bots would run rampant in online poker diminished.

Then again, Pluribus’ economics of $144 and the short eight days of development comes with a serious pause to the integrity of online poker. With Pluribus, Morgan Stanley analysts noted that scientists refuse to release the code because of the “serious impact” on online poker.

Essentially, online poker consumers and investors may be spooked by the major online poker operators’ ability to kill bots.

The vigilance of poker operators

Online poker operators have long fought against bots and even third-party software tools. For example, Partypoker’s newsletter vigorously publishes poker bot kill rates in recent months.

Check out partypoker’s #FairPlay campaign:

In 2015, poker operators changed their rules and policies on third-party software. Software such as HUDs (heads-up displays), hotkey scripts that allows a user to act more quickly, and seat selection programs received the ax. Partypoker even took its rules a step further by disallowing a player to download hand histories.

In addition, poker sites have long used CAPTCHA during poker sessions in order to authenticate suspected bot accounts. Moreover, poker operators are quick to freeze cashouts or money transfer requests. It requires extensive additional documentation, even in video form, if operators suspect fraudulent activity of any kind.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, poker players themselves provide an important safeguard to the online poker economy. In 2015, a massive poker bot ring was uncovered by TwoPlusTwo user Schwein with the help of the poker community. The poker bots won an estimated $1.5 million. As a result of the investigation, PokerStars subsequently banned the accounts and issued refunds to customers.

It takes a village to keep play fair

On Aug. 15, 2018, PokerStars presented to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). Obviously, game integrity is of utmost importance with online poker to PGCB and PokerStars.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the presentation:

  • PokerStars identifies 89.9% of collusion from proactive alerts.
  • It detects 88.96% of all bots.
  • It has 240+ security employees worldwide.
  • There are 65 game integrity employees to identify and prevent cheating.

Considering how important game integrity is to the poker operators and players, we doubt that anyone needs to fear playing online poker. Honestly, it appears that Morgan Stanley was quick to jump the gun over the success of Pluribus.

Online poker in PA soon, but not yet

Meanwhile, all of Pennsylvania is still holding its collective breath for when online poker launches. Online gambling went live in PA on July 15. PokerStars is likely to be the first online operator to launch in PA after inking a deal with Mount Airy Casino. However, as of now, the Keystone State is still in a holding pattern.

PA Online Poker Will Definitely Be In On PokerStars PSPC Platinum Passes

With the return of the PokerStars Players Championship in 2020, you can bet some Platinum Passes will go to Pennsylvania online poker players.

Start packing your bags and get your passports ready!

PokerStars announced a new tournament on the calendar, the 2020 PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC).  Specifically, 2020’s PSPC will take place in Barcelona during the European Poker Tour (EPT) festival from Aug. 20-24, 2020.

PokerStars unveiled the exciting news at this year’s EPT Barcelona.

The massive PSPC prize pool

Before you think that the PSPC is just any old poker tournament, at the inaugural 2018 PSPC event in the Bahamas, Spain’s Ramon Colillas won $5.1 million.

What’s more? Amazingly, Colillas qualified to the PSPC in an online qualifier.

To date, the PSPC is the largest $25,000 buy-in high roller event.

Platinum Pass giveaway

Most importantly, PokerStars will give away free Platinum Passes for entry into the tournament. Each Platinum Pass includes free entry to the €22,500 buy-in (approx. $25,000) tournament as well as a six-night hotel stay, flights, transfer, and certain other expenses for the winner and a guest.

“The inaugural PSPC was an amazing success, and featured hundreds of Platinum Pass winners who dared to dream of playing in an exclusive high-roller event,” said Severin Rasset, PokerStars’ Managing Director & Commercial Officer, Poker. “The PSPC demonstrates our commitment to cultivating and growing the game, not only by creating opportunities for poker fans of all levels to win life-changing sums of money but also by showcasing poker and the entertainment it provides.”

Qualifying for Platinum Pass in PA

So far, there is little information on the details surrounding the giveaways at the moment.

However, online poker is ready to launch shortly in the Keystone State. In particular, PokerStars readies to launch after inking a deal with Mount Airy Casino. Unfortunately, despite a rumor that PokerStars would launch last week, this was not the case. However, it remains the poker site most likely to launch first.

Although we don’t have the details yet, PokerStars previously ran Platinum Pass promotions in New Jersey. It is safe to assume similar promotions will run in PA after launch.

Platinum Pass tournaments should run throughout 2019 and up until the PSPC. Previously, there were four main ways to earn the coveted pass.

  • Online series – Main Event winners of major online series typically garner Platinum Passes as part of the prize pools. Playing in major online series may also earn entry to special freerolls that award passes.
  • Sunday major tournaments – Players who money in large weekly tournaments typically win entry to freerolls with Platinum Passes as prizes
  • Other special offers and challenges – Players who take part in special offers or challenges may earn Platinum Passes. Keep your eyes peeled for those Platinum Pass icons!
  • PokerStars rewards – Historically, Platinum Passes are available through the Stars Rewards program

It is exciting to think that anyone can win the PSPC trophy. With the impending launch of PA online poker, it could be that a Pennsylvania poker player could be crowned 2020 PSPC champion.

Don’t Expect Any Online Poker On July 15: Here’s Why

There are multiple online casinos launching in PA on July 15, but setbacks mean no online poker sites will be going live at that time.

Get set, get excited and play!

On July 15, at least two PA online casinos are ready for launch.

A new era of PA online gambling is officially dawning on Monday, July 15. At 11 a.m., Hollywood Online Casino opens its virtual doors. Then, at 5 p.m., Parx Online Casino will join it on the market. This includes desktop browser play and online casino apps for Android.

There will be plenty of new games for PA players to try. One thing will notably be absent though:

Online poker.

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No online poker yet

A multitude of games will be available, such as:

  • Slots
  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Video poker
  • Craps
  • Baccarat
  • Live dealer games

However sadly, online poker will not be offered yet. There are a couple of possible reasons for online poker’s delay.

New Jersey’s lackluster online poker revenue

Perhaps, online poker just is not a priority for PA operators. Certainly, casinos have examined other states such as New Jersey’s online poker revenue. It proves to be completely lackluster and sluggish when compared to sports betting and online casinos.

Accordingly, there is no reason why online poker revenue in PA would be any different.

Ongoing litigation of the Wire Act

While the issue of Wire Act violation is not coming up again any time soon, the issues surrounding the Wire Act did temper PA online casinos’ plans for launch.

Essentially, the DOJ stated in a revised opinion that all forms of online gambling violate the Wire Act. The New Hampshire Lottery Commission quickly filed suit. Then, US District Court Judge Barbadoro sided with the Lottery Commission.

After the ruling, the DOJ issued a memorandum delaying enforcement of the Wire Act until 2020 or final litigation of the NH Lottery case. An appeal by the DOJ against Barbadoro’s ruling is very likely coming soon.

In January, the PGCB requested that each casino that offers online gaming put together a plan for ensuring that these activities remain in Pennsylvania. In other words, the PGCB looked to ensure Wire Act compliance.

With online poker interstate compacting the biggest potential target of the new opinion, PA casinos probably backburnered poker plans, knowing without compacting, there was not much money to make with the venture.

Multiple casinos looking to launch poker

That is not to say sites are not working to launch online poker in the near future. Mount Airy, which is partnered with PokerStars, is rumored to be very close to launching. WSOP.com is likely rushing to get going in the Keystone STate as well.

In addition to Parx and Hollywood casinos, here is a list of other casinos with licenses to offer online poker:

With so many operators contending to offer online poker in PA, it seems unsustainable for the limited PA market. New Jersey has seven different online poker skins operating, but many, like 888 and WSOP.com share player pools.

Online poker’s potential popularity

Eventually, if PA were to share liquidity with other states that offer online poker such as New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, this could potentially drive a resurgence. The player pools of all the states would merge. This explains why many casinos filed for online poker licenses.

Also, the popularity of live poker surged upwards this year. This is evidenced by the World Series of Poker’s second-largest entries and prize pool in its history.

PA Fantasy Sports Keep On Chugging, But At A Slower Pace Than Sportsbooks

We knew FanDuel and DraftKings would lead the fantasy field in May, but the numbers do give us new insight into year-over-year performances.

FanDuel and DraftKings are living large and clearly in charge of Pennsylvania’s fantasy sports revenue.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released fantasy sports revenue for May 2019. These numbers show a net revenue of $1,803,056, which is an increase of 35% from May 2018.

Of note, in May, PGCB released the first full fiscal year of collected tax revenues for fantasy sports. May’s report marks the first opportunity to compare fantasy sports revenue from year-to-year.

FanDuel and DraftKings on top as usual

Again, no surprises here.

FanDuel and DraftKings are still the kings of PA fantasy sports. Combined, they account for $1,773,501 or 98% of the total revenue, taking the lion’s share of the market.

In third place, DRAFT netted $18,001, a downright paltry sum compared to the eye-popping numbers that FanDuel and DraftKings generate.

Of note, Yahoo Fantasy Sports’ revenue soared when comparing the year-on-year increase by 91% or $8,463 from $4,430.

FanDuel trending onward and upward

Quite possibly, FanDuel will continue to outearn DraftKings in fantasy sports revenues.

In April, PGCB reported for the first time that FanDuel surged ahead of DraftKings in entry fees for a single month. Tracked revenue showed gains of $961,867 versus $845,533. 

This month, the trend continues with FanDuel leading the way with $960,155 compared to DraftKings’ $813,346.

At any rate, it is possible that players are more comfortable with FanDuel’s brand name recognition. FanDuel’s partnership with the Valley Forge Casino Resort makes it the only daily fantasy sports operator in PA to partner with a casino.

In addition, FanDuel is the only operator ready to launch an online sportsbook in PA sometime this summer.

PA sports betting reigns supreme

In comparison, sports betting yields much more in tax revenue than daily fantasy sports.

For example, in May, the Keystone State collected $2.8 million in tax revenue alone from sports betting. Daily fantasy sports only yielded $270,458.

At least partially, the difference in revenue is attributed to the tax rate. Sports betting is taxed at 36% while daily fantasy sports are taxed at 15%.

However, sports betting revenues will only continue to rise with the impending launching of online sports betting apps.

Recently, PlaySugarHouse.com launched in Pennsylvania as the first online sports betting app. In just four days and with a limited release due to not being available in the Apple Store, it still generated $573,163.

Below, compare the year-to-year Pennsylvania fantasy contests revenue which is up 35% in May.

Fantasy Contest OperatorMay 2019May 2018% Change
Statewide Total$1,803,056$1,331,70635.39%
FanDuel$960,155$673,01442.66%
DraftKings$813,346$632,00928.69%
Yahoo Fantasy Sports$8,463$4,43091.01%
Draft$18,001$16,9925.94%
Fantasy Draft$1,176$2,500-52.95%
Sportshub Technologies$1,012$1,591-36.37%
Boom Fantasy$903$8516.04%
FastPick.com*$0$319--

*FastPick.com stopped providing fantasy contest in Pennsylvania in July 2018

Plenty Of Ways To Play Responsibly At Parx Online Sportsbook

Part of Parx Casino’s new online sportsbook is a robust list of responsible gambling limits and options for PA sports bettors.

On Monday, Parx Casino launched its much anticipated online sportsbook.

With the launch, Parx Casino continues to demonstrate its commitment to responsible gaming by unveiling a vast array of options for customers. These options allow customers to balance limiting online betting while still being able to fully enjoy the benefits of the app.

The self-exclusion option is available as well. However, if you still want to bet, but do so with limits, you have plenty of options.

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Setting your own self-imposed limits

With the purpose of responsible gaming in mind, you can set your own deposit, spending, and time limits.

Remember, these limits are effective immediately once set.

Increases to limits will not become effective until after time period of the previous limit has expired or 24 hours passed since the request (whatever is longer).

Deposit limits

For now, a player chooses to set their own daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limits. Once you submit the request, the deposit limit is immediately applied to the account as long as it is valid.

On the other hand, any decrease in limits will also be applied immediately.

For increases or limit removals, this occurs after the time period of the previous limit expires or 24 hours after the request (whatever is longer). In addition, you need to return to the limits page to confirm the increase request.

Wager limits

Again, a player chooses the limit: daily, weekly, or monthly. These limits prevent you from wagering more than the specified amount in the set time period.

In order to do so, enter the maximum amount, the time limit, and submit the request. The wager limit is effective immediately if valid.

This process is the same as setting deposit limits. Decreases are also immediately effective. For increases or limit removals, this occurs after the time period of the previous limit expires or 24 hours after the request (whatever is longer). In addition, you need to return to the limits page to confirm the increase request.

Maximum bet limits

Similarly, a player sets their maximum bet limits. This prevention stops you from wagering more than the specified amount in an individual wager during a game. In order to do so, enter the maximum amount for an individual wager during a game and submit the request.

The wager limit is instantly applicable as long as it is valid. Likewise, any decrease in limits is also applied immediately.

For increases or limit removals, this occurs after the time period of the previous limit expires or 24 hours after the request (whatever is longer). In addition, you need to return to the limits page to confirm the increase request.

Time limits

Also, you can set your own limit on the number of hours per day that you play on the site. In order to do so, enter the maximum number of hours per day that you want to play and submit the request.

The time limit is immediately effective as long as it is valid.

Likewise, any decrease in limits is also applied immediately.

For increases or limit removals, this occurs after the time period of the previous limit expires or 24 hours after the request (whatever is longer). In addition, you need to return to the limits page to confirm the increase request.

Self-exclusion

Self-exclusion ensures that your account closes for a minimum of 12 months. Therefore, the account cannot be reopened or reactivated for any reason during the self-exclusion period. Perhaps, consider first a less restrictive alternative like the standard account closure or timeout below.

Timeout

Need a cooling off period? Choose the self-suspension option of a minimum of 72 hours. Please note that once the self-suspension is effective, you cannot login. After the timeout, the account automatically reopens.

Want your funds returned during the timeout? Contact customer service.

Closing your account

Contact customer service for closing your account.

Additional help and support

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

For additional help and support, check out these organizations:

Congress Proposes Amendment to Defund DOJ Wire Act Enforcement

Several lawmakers from across the aisle want to Congressionally block funding for Wire Act prosecution and enforcement, but are already hitting road blocks.

Members of Congress proposed an amendment to block funding for the Department of Justice to enforce its new interpretation of the Wire Act.

Online Poker Report first reported that Congress considered amending an appropriations bill to block funding needed to enforce the DOJ’s new Wire Act opinion. It appears that the amendment will not make it into the final language of the bill though.

Congress aims to protect states with legal online gambling

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) is the primary sponsor of the amendment. In addition, Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) of the Rules Committee are co-sponsors.

Short and sweet, the proposal could not have been more direct. The full text follows:

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to enforce the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel memorandum entitled ‘Reconsidering Whether the Wire Act Applies to Non-Sports Gambling’ (issued on Nov. 2, 2018).

Specifically, the amendment is part of an appropriations bill on HR 3055.  And most importantly, HR 3055 apportions the DOJ’s salary.

For this reason, the DOJ would be like a dog without its bite should the amendment pass.  Therefore, states, like Pennsylvania, with regulated online gambling can breathe a sigh of relief as the DOJ would be unable to pursue Wire Act prosecution.

A bit of confusion

As noted regarding HR 3055, two similar amendments were filed. The sponsors earlier withdrew Item #122. Item #152 is added with the addition of Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) as a sponsor.

The Rules Committee met Tuesday at 5 p.m. to consider the bill. Then, they heard HR 3055 on Wednesday. Afterward, the bill passed to the Committee of the Whole.

However, the Committee did not call the amendment for a vote. As of now, there is a little confusion if the amendment will be heard.

DOJ’s looming appeal

After the DOJ issued its new Wire Act interpretation in 2018, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission quickly responded by filing suit.

Essentially, the DOJ took the new position that all forms of online gambling violate the Wire Act. Early this month, Judge Paul Barbadoro sided with the NH Lottery Commission.

More recently, the DOJ issued a memorandum delaying enforcement of the Wire Act until early 2020 or final resolution of the NH Lottery case. In doing so, we speculate that the DOJ is preparing to appeal Barbardoro’s ruling to the First Circuit Court.

Also pending is New Jersey’s Freedom of Information Act case. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal seeks to the release information pertaining to Sheldon Adelson on the DOJ’s new Wire Act opinion.

Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO, Sheldon Adelson, is a big opponent against online gambling. Previously, multiple sources uncovered Adelson’s links as the driving force behind the new opinion.

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DOJ Delaying Enforcement Of New Wire Act Opinion Until 2020

The Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone for Wire Act violations until the pending court case challenging the new opinion is resolved or 2020.

The US Department of Justice is biding time until early 2020 to enforce its new opinion on the Wire Act.

On Wednesday, Online Poker Report obtained and published a memorandum written by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. Specifically, the scope of the memo advises DOJ staff members and the Director of the FBI to delay enforcement. The delay is in place until the start of 2020 or 60 days after the final resolution of the New Hampshire Wire Act case.

A brief overview of the Wire Act

Recently, US District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro issued a 60-plus page opinion. His opinion negated the DOJ’s new interpretation of the Wire Act.

Recall that the New Hampshire Lottery sued the DOJ after a new DOJ 2018 opinion stated that all forms of online gambling violate the Wire Act.

Previously, a 2011 opinion from the DOJ limited the scope of the Wire Act. The limitation applied only to sports betting occurring across states. The previous opinion paved the way for states such as Pennsylvania to legalize online gambling.

The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post exposed Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO Sheldon Adelson as the driving force behind the DOJ’s 2018 opinion. As a result, New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal filed suit against the DOJ to expose Adelson’s links.

Although Barbadoro’s opinion is considered a win for online gambling, the DOJ is not out of options. An appeal can be filed to the 1st Circuit Court.

DOJ’s power play: No safe harbor for violations of the Wire Act

Although the DOJ conceded to pushing back potential Wire Act enforcement, the memo pointedly states there is no “safe harbor” from violations. In doing so, the DOJ retains the power to prosecute those who violate the Wire Act in the past or present.

The memo makes this point crystal clear:

Providing this extension of the forbearance period is an internal exercise of prosecutorial discretion and does not create a safe harbor for violations of the Wire Act. All other provisions of the January 15, February 28, and April 8, 2019, memoranda remain in effect.

With that, the DOJ doubles down on its new Wire Act interpretation against all forms of online gambling.

Although the DOJ stated in the memo, “the Department is evaluating its options,” we can practically smell the appeal coming to Barbadoro’s opinion.

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What about PA online gambling?

Previously, PGCB announced a July 15 start date Pennsylvania’s online casinos. With the Wire Act concern out of the way, that date has one less concern to worry about. Nonetheless, do not be surprised if many casinos are not ready to go by then.

Additionally, we don’t expect any further expansion of online gambling because PGCB took a cautious approach regarding the Wire Act.