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Archive for the ‘Gaming Law’ Category

12th July 2015

Gambling In Thailand

Posted by : admin

In recent weeks there has been talk of casino legalization in Thailand. Speculation began in earnest after the national police chief in Thailand came out in favor of casino legalization noting support for regional casinos in Thailand (many have also noted their belief that Pattaya would be an ideal location for a Casino should legalization ever become a reality). Meanwhile, other officials in Thailand noted their opposition to Casinos in Thailand citing the knock-on social problems that often arise in conjunction with legalized casino gambling. Notwithstanding the fact that members of the national reform council were in favor of casino legalization and the notion had gained support from other notables, including the Thai finance minister, the issue of Thai casino legalization appears to be a non-starter. This is especially the case in light of the fact that the current Prime Minister of Thailand has quashed the idea of casino legalization occuring during his term of office.

Even though casino legalization may not be coming to fruition under the current government, there are some forms of gaming which are legal in the Kingdom of Thailand. Currently, it is legal to gamble on horse racing at two of the main horse racing venues in Bangkok and there is sanctioned gaming associated with horse racing outside of Bangkok. Concurrently, Lumpinee Boxing Stadium allows gaming related to the boxing events which occur on the premises. Finally, the lottery is also a legal form of gaming in Thailand. In recent months issues have arisen with regard to the price of lottery tickets in Thailand as the Thai government has attempted to enforce laws regarding the prices for such tickets quoted to the consumer public.

As of the time of this writing, online gambling is illegal in Thailand and many online gaming websites are blocked by the Thai authorities. One of the main argumentss in favor of legalizing gambling in Thailand has been the notion that doing so would capture much of the money which is lost to casinos operating along Thailand’s borders with her neighbors. Whether this argument is sound remains anyone’s guess as casino legalization has yet to occur in Thailand. Meanwhile opponents of casino gaming in Thailand point to moral qualms they have with the practice and also to the fact that many in Thailand do not have the financial means to enjoy casino gambling and the overall lack of financial ability to support gambling habits could lead to serious social and economic problems for Thai society as a whole.

Only time will tell whether Thailand sees legal casinos and if such a transition to legalized gaming results in a net benefit for the Kingdom of Thailand.

 

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18th April 2011

The War On Poker?

Posted by : admin

On what could be described as a sad day for civil liberties in the United States it was recently noted that America is in something of a figurative de facto state of war upon the internet manifestation of the game of Poker. To quote directly from what would appear to be a Daily Mail article posted on the website ThisIsMoney.co.uk:

Three of the largest online poker sites were taken over by the FBI on Friday in the probe that could bring about the death of the internet gambling industry. Websites Full Title Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars were all shut down and replaced with warning messages. Their owners were charged with bank fraud and money laundering.

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above in order to read the full story in order to gain perspective on this interesting issue. Meanwhile, it would appear as though not all of the Poker rooms noted above are taking the situation “lying down” as was noted by B. Solomon in an interesting article on the website OnlinePoker.net:

Focusing on the situation at Full Tilt, CEO Raymond Bitar and employee Nelson Burtnick now face charges of bank fraud and money laundering but have yet to be arrested as they are based outside of the USA. Wisely, the company moved from Los Angeles to Dublin, Ireland in 2006 after the UIGEA was introduced to the US. In the meantime, Full Tilt Poker was quick to respond to some of the accusations levelled at it and a company statement read:

“Mr. Bitar and Full Tilt Poker believe online poker is legal, a position also taken by some of the best legal minds in the United States.” Raymond Bitar, 39, then added, “I am surprised and disappointed by the government’s decision to bring these charges. I look forward to Mr. Burtnick’s and my exoneration.”

The acronym UIGEA noted above is used to condense the name of the provisions of the so-called SAFE Port Act‘s section which was, at one time prior to enactment, referred to as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. There remains a great deal of controversy surrounding the UIGEA provisions of the SAFE Port Act especially as the addition of the UIGEA language occurred through what could be described as legislative chicanery. In order to better shed light upon this issue it may be best to quote directly from Wikipedia:

The Act was passed on the last day before Congress adjourned for the 2006 elections. Though a bill with the gambling wording was previously debated and passed by the House of Representatives,[6][7][8] the SAFE Port Act (H.R. 4954) as passed by the House on May 4th (by a vote of 421-2) and the United States Senate on September 14th (98-0),[9] bore no traces of the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act that was included in the SAFE Port Act signed into law by George W. Bush on October 13th, 2006.[10] The UIGEA was added in Conference Report 109-711 (submitted at 9:29pm on September 29, 2006), which was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 409-2 and by the Senate by unanimous consent on September 30, 2006. Due to H.RES.1064, the reading of this conference report was waived.

Clearly, the passage of the amended version of the SAFE Port Act was accomplished via a rather circuitous legislative route. Meanwhile, the enforcement of this Act’s provisions have been noted by some to have had a massive impact upon both the online gaming industry as well as other industries whose business models dovetail those of many online gaming endeavors.

How this whole situation will ultimately play out remains anyone’s guess, but there is little doubt that legal matters pertaining to online gaming are likely to be at the forefront of many judicial dockets in the upcoming months.

As a former licensed poker dealer himself, this blogger is somewhat saddened to hear this news as the game of Poker, both in its real-world and online forms, is a favorite pastime of many players both in the United States of America and around the world.

For related information please see: Online Gaming Lawyers.

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4th April 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Governor of the State of Utah has signed legislation which would recognize gold and silver as legal tender for intrastate transactions. To quote directly from the Constitutional Tender Blog, but initially found by this blogger on the website DGCMagazine.com:

On Friday, March 25th, Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB 317, the “Utah Legal Tender Act,” into law.

The law recognizes gold and silver coins issued by the federal government as legal currency in the state. The coins do not replace the current paper currency, but may be used and accepted voluntarily as an alternative.

The administration of this blog highly recommends that readers click on the hyperlinks above to read this article in its entirety as it can provide very valuable insight into this evolving issue.

This notion of something akin to an “alternative currency system” has been discussed in the context of State legal tender reform in many American States recently, but there are two notable jurisdictions that have taken proactive steps to enact legislation which would allow usage of gold and silver in an intrastate context. One of these states is Utah while the other is Virginia. It is this blogger’s understanding that as of the time of this writing the State of Virginia has yet to enact similar legislation although it remains to be seen whether such legislation will actually see passage.

One interesting aspect of this issue involves the ramifications for financial institutions in the State of Utah. The aforementioned article went on to point out:

The law exempts the sale of gold and silver coins from the state capital gains tax, since you would simply be exchanging one form of legal tender currency for another. It also calls for a committee to study alternative currencies for the State and a means for Utahans to pay their taxes with gold and silver coins.

Gold and silver coins issued by the federal government are already legal tender, of course, and can be used to purchase items and pay debts owed. However, they could only be used at the face value of the coins — which is ridiculously lower than the value of the precious metal content of the coins. If you were to use them at the actual value of the coins, you would face a capital gains tax on the “profit” you gained over the face value.

Clearly, the provisions of this act could have a significant impact upon the economies of the State of Utah, the United States Federal government, and Greater North America. Bearing this in mind the reader is encouraged to consider the possible reverberations of this legislation in a global context as the promulgation, passage, and enactment of this bill, and possible similar future legislation in other American States; could prove to be tremendous for jurisdictions such as Thailand, China, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The overall long term effect of this legislation remains to be seen, but this is definitely something that could have an impact upon the business environment in the United States and elsewhere.

Those interested in receiving an in-depth legal analysis of the issues associated with legal tender reform in Utah are highly encouraged to contact a licensed attorney in Utah. The administration of this blog reminds readers that it is always prudent to ascertain the credentials of anyone claiming to be a licensed lawyer in any jurisdiction.

For related information please see: Integrity Legal.

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23rd December 2010

Those who frequently read this web log may have noticed that this author occasionally comments upon the progress of American gaming legislation as recent legislative enactments have greatly altered the online gaming landscape. Although this issue would not seem similar to that of LGBT rights at first blush, there are some commonalities from a legal perspective which were recently noted in an article written by April Gardner for the website casinogamblingweb.com. To quote directly from this article:

US lawmakers took the first step on Saturday towards giving all Americans the same rights and freedoms when the Senate voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Online poker players are hoping this was the first step towards full freedom, and that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act repeal may be next.

The repeal of the policy referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” was a significant achievement for proponents of LGBT rights. That said, as noted in a previous posting on this blog, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) still continues to act as a barrier to equal immigration rights for same sex bi-national couples as well as LGBT bi-national couples. At one point, it was thought that the Defense of Marriage Act’s provisions might be circumvented in the context of US Immigration through enactment of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), but, alas, this legislation has yet to be enacted. Therefore, there are those who argue that there is still a long way to go in the fight for equal rights for the LGBT community. That said, the article went on to note:

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law is one that Democrats have been pushing hard to repeal for several years. Another of those ill-advised laws on the radar for Liberals is the UIGEA. In recent weeks, Senator Harry Reid has proposed an online poker bill, but that legislation alone would not have overturned the UIGEA.

Although at first glance the UIGEA (the Unlawful  Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) and the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would seem to be dissimilar in nature. In fact, these two issues touch upon a very significant issue which seems to be continuously debated in the United States. This issue transcends party ideology: personal freedom. The ability to freely, peaceably, and consensually associate with whomever one chooses is a fundamental right enshrined in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Many would argue that the law forbidding same sex bi-national couples, even those lawfully married in one of the 5 US States which currently solemnize same sex unions, from obtaining the same immigration rights as different sex couples is self-evidently a violation of the right to equal protection under American law. In this same vein, there are many who argue that Americans should have the ability to choose to participate in online gaming so long as they are above the lawful age to engage in such activity in their jurisdiction and the gaming operation is regulated so as to ensure that games are fair and the gaming operator is solvent. That said, the author of the aforementioned article seems pessimistic about the short term future of legislation designed to regulate and thereby legitimize online gaming:

It is unlikely that online gambling prohibition will be discussed in the closing days of the lame-duck session. For online poker players, however, they can take comfort in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal.

The repeal shows that everything is worth the wait, as millions of gay and lesbians exhibited Saturday through tears of joy. It may take a little longer, but those tears of joy will eventually come for the millions of online gamblers in this country as well.

Truly, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” was a monumental step forward for advocates of Equal Rights, but the issue of online gaming remains both controversial and complicated in the USA as many different jurisdictional issues arise especially in the context of the internet and World Wide Web. Therefore, it remains to be seen what the US Congress will ultimately decide to do with regard to online gaming, but hopefully the eventual outcome will result in positive benefits for players, operators, and the United States economy as this sector could prove to be an area of job growth for the USA in the coming years.

For related information please see: Online Gaming Law or Same Sex Marriage Visa.

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15th December 2010

Those who read this blog may have taken note of previous postings which discussed recent events occurring in the realm of American online gaming regulation. Recently, this administrator read a posting on casinogamblingweb.com by Terry Goodwin. To quote directly from the posting:

[Senator Harry] Reid shocked many in the gaming industry late last week when he revealed that he was supporting a bill that would regulate online poker in the US. Each state would be able to opt out of the legislation, but clearly the goal for Reid was to help Nevada gaming companies with existing casinos.

Senator Reid’s support could prove to be essential to passage of online gaming regulation legislation. However, not all seem enthusiastic about Mr. Ried’s proposed legislation:

As the details of the bill have emerged, online players have become more weary of Reid’s motives. One of the more interesting stipulations surrounds the possibility that all online poker operators seeking a license would have to halt their services to US customers for a period of fifteen consecutive months once the legislation is finalized and passed.

The issue of gaming in general can be controversial in the United States and around the globe, but the issues surrounding online gaming bring to light all sorts of legal and policy issues as Larry Rutherford noted in his article also on casinogamblingweb.com:

University of Illinois Business Professor and longtime opponent of online gambling regulations in the US John Kindt has again made statements about the issue of late…

Apparently this professor advocates strongly against online gaming. Many opponents to gaming legislation cite the problems which can arise as a result of the spread of gaming. That said, Rutherford’s posting pointed out that online gaming is becoming increasingly prevalent:

Senator Harry Reid and Representative Barney Frank are both pursuing online gambling legislation that would regulate the industry. The lawmakers take the opposite position of Kindt, understanding that Internet gambling is already a big part of society in the US….

One facet of the online gaming debate that many feel is often overlooked in the overall discussion of the various aspects of the issue is the economic argument in favor of online gaming. As Rutherford’s piece went on to note further:

Online gambling would only help the economy recover with the thousands of jobs regulations would create. Millions of dollars in tax revenue that is currently going out of the US would also stay within the borders. Instead of paying companies in other countries, the millions of online gamblers would be pumping money into US-based companies that pay taxes and spend money in the country.

In addition to the revenue and jobs, online gambling regulations would also place spending limits on Internet gamblers, something that currently does not exist in full regulation. Problem gambling is addressed in Representative Frank’s online gambling bill, and almost certainly would be included in any legislation proposal by Senator Reid passed as an amendment to the tax cuts bill.

Although no one can foresee what the overall impact of this legislation could be. There are many who feel that properly regulated online gaming in the United States would be a significant benefit to the American economy as jobs would be created to deal with what appears to be substantial demand for services both directly and indirectly related to gaming.

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21st September 2010

Online gaming is an interesting phenomenon, from a legal perspective, as it has only been in existence for a relatively short period of time. Therefore, a great deal of legislation that addressed gaming issues of the past have been rendered obsolete while new technology allows for transactions and platforms that were not even thought of only 5 years ago. That said, there are some jurisdictions which have made the decision to allow online gaming in most forms pursuant to rather stringent regulation and official oversight. The United Kingdom is a prime example of this approach to dealing with online gaming. The UK has created a statutory scheme for regulating and overseeing legitimate gaming enterprises operating on land or over the internet and/or world wide web. In a recent article posted on the website CasinoPeople.com, it was noted that online gaming has become more popular in recent years:

While it is quite clear that online gambling has increased in popularity recently, the figures that came out of a study by Nielsen, an independent media measurement company, are somewhat surprising.

The study by Nielsen shows that online gambling in the United Kingdom has gone up by 40 percent in the last year. The numbers show that there have been about 3.2 million more people in Britain who have logged onto Internet gambling sites in the past year, than there were the year before. In the same time period, the number of additional visitors who accessed various social media sites such as Facebook, and others who offer similar services, only totaled 2.2 million.

There were a number of other interesting statistics that Nielsen published as part of their study of the United Kingdom online gambling world, such as the division of how many men and how many women take part in online gambling, and information regarding the ages of online gamblers, as well as the incomes of the online gamblers.

This author finds it interesting that while internet gaming sites saw over three million new registrants in the past year, the highly popular Facebook  service only saw a little over two million registrations. It should be noted that Facebook is a single website while the gaming website statistics cover multiple sites. This tends to show that gaming websites are not as monolithic in their appeal to consumers compared to some social media sites, but overall demand for online entertainment in the form of gaming seems to be high and steadily increasing. What was really interesting to this author was the fact that women appear to be significant players on online gaming platforms, at least in the UK:

It seems that around half of the online gamblers in the UK earn over £30,000 each year. Of all those gambling online in the United Kingdom, women make up 46 percent of the players. Hopefully for the women out there, this will give online gambling site more incentive to offer sites that appeal to women. While there are some of these sites out there, with the high percentage of female online gamblers, the market may be able to sustain even more of them.

Female players may pose interesting new challenges to online gaming websites as marketing strategies to attract such players would likely be different compared to the strategies employed to bring in new male players. It was encouraging to note that many of the players online come from a comfortable income bracket. That said, legitimate gaming operations ought to strive to eradicate problem gambling regardless of the income or assets of the players concerned.

Whether demand for online gaming in the UK will increase in the future remains to be seen. However, there are strong reasons to believe that demand can only increase as the world wide web continues to expand and new sites are added daily. Furthermore, new gaming markets may open up in the future which could result in an overall increase in global demand for such services.

For related information please see: online gaming lawyer.

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13th September 2010

Those who read this blog regularly may note that we usually focus on matters which have an impact upon American Federal law. As the Congressional Session is about to begin anew, this author found an interesting piece regarding the regulation of online gaming in the United States of America. Those who are unfamiliar with current American gaming law should note that while gaming itself is not illegal under US Federal law, the methods of transferring funds to online gaming websites is restricted pursuant to provisions of the UIGEA (the Unlawful  Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006). The ramifications of the UIGEA have yet to be fully explored as the law was passed in a rather unusual manner compared to legislation of a similar nature. Furthermore, some of the provisions of the law remain vague and regulations have yet to be fully implemented. This has lead to a rather precarious situation from a legal perspective. United States Congressional Representative Barney Frank has authored legislation aimed at allowing online gaming in a regulated environment. To quote a recent posting by Mr. Larry Rutherford on the website: casinogamblingweb.com: 

[T]he Congressional session in the US begins again in both the House and the Senate. One of the pieces of legislation that may be discussed is Representative Barney Frank’s online gambling bill. Online poker players and gamblers are urged to call their senators and representatives to support the bill.

Rep. Frank introduced HR 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act earlier this year. Before the recess of the House, the House Financial Services Committee passed Frank’s legislation. The next step will be to take the issue to the entire House, and then possibly on to the Senate.

For the process to get done in a timely manner, it is recommended that all online poker players, or anyone interested in seeing online gambling prohibition stopped, call their representatives in their jurisdiction. The more pressure that is put on these representatives, the better chance that Frank moves his bill along in the coming session.

To pass the law in the coming months is essential to the millions of Americans who currently engage in online gambling. In November, the political structure may change and Republicans may seize control of the House. If that occurs, it is likely that Rep. Frank would lose his Chair status in the House Finance Committee. Frank’s likely successor would be Rep. Spencer Bachus, one of online gambling regulation’s biggest opponents.

Proponents of regulated online gaming point to the numerous economic benefits which could be accrued through effective regulation of online gaming in the United States. This argument is ringing especially true in the USA as unemployment and other economic issues weigh heavily on lawmakers and the public at large. There are those who argue that regulated online gaming would create jobs and tax revenues for a Federal government that could use both. To quote the aforementioned posting further:

With only one month left before the mid-term elections, many analysts believe it is unlikely that Frank would move forward with the controversial issue leading up to the elections. Republicans could force Democrats into taking a position on Internet gambling, and then use that to gain leverage in many upcoming House battles.

Frank, however, may understand that if the climate changes and he is ousted as the Chairman of the Finance Committee, then the likelihood of gaining Internet gambling regulations will become slim. That fact alone may sway Frank to push hard for the regulations in the coming weeks.

It is unknown what the future holds for Frank’s bill, but one thing is certain, the millions of people who enjoy playing poker online need to be heard. CGW is encouraging everyone who wishes to have the online gambling laws changed in the US, to contact their representatives and senators in the coming days and have your voice heard.

This author does find logic in the argument that regulated online gaming may create major economic benefits for Americans and the Federal Treasury. That said, there are those who feel that it is unlikely that this legislation will be passed in this session of Congress. This Bill could have a significant impact on the American economy at a critical time, but there may not be enough political will to pass this legislation at this time. Online businesses continue to bring incredible opportunities to the United States of America. The internet is still a significant platform for all types of trade and commerce. This author can understand any government’s desire to regulate and monitor the activities of online gaming enterprises. However, the current state of affairs in the USA would seem to be virtually untenable from a legal standpoint as the law itself is somewhat vague on certain issues and enforcement of these rules could prove nearly impossible. Furthermore, there are multiple Constitutional issues which could be raised by those challenging the provisions of the UIGEA. Therefore, due to all of the uncertainty surrounding the online gaming industry in the USA, it may be time to promulgate rules which clearly and effectively regulate the US online gaming industry.

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