Deadwood, South Dakota Invites US Attorneys General to Internet Gambling Summit, Legalization Pulse Taken
Deadwood, South Dakota, best-known as the scene of the infamous Dead Man’s Hand of Wild Bill Hickok fame nearly 150 years ago, hosted the Presidential Initiative Summit with the National Association of Attorneys General on Monday. Internet gambling was a topic of discussion, and the majority of former US state AGs in attendance seemed opposed to its legalization.
Gambling industry representatives and former state attorneys general participated in an Internet gambling discussion on Monday in Deadwood, South Dakota, to review the merits and drawbacks of online casinos.
Oddly, only former AGs were given the floor. Current ones attended the summit, but were given no official voice.
Moderated by former Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen, a panel consisting of representatives from the gaming industry, as well as the aforementioned former attorneys general, gathered with current AGs to present their views regarding online casinos.
Also having a voice were federal and local law enforcement and both public and private companies, and the dialogue primarily focused on why certain gambling enterprises opposed online wagering.
The most outspoken adversary, to absolutely no one’s surprise, was the Las Vegas Sands Senior VP of Government Relations, Andy Abboud. LVS is Sheldon Adelson’s gaming operation, and pretty much everyone knows by now, he sees Internet gaming as tantamount to the antichrist.
‘Why would the largest gaming company in the world be opposed to Internet gambling?’ Abboud asked. ‘We don’t think it’s about competition. We just think it’s bad public policy.’
While Abboud called iGaming a job killer by stating that traditional brick-and-mortar gamblers typically also spend money at a restaurant and stay overnight at resorts, the American Gaming Association’s Whit Askew and Deadwood Gaming Association Executive Director Mike Rodman countered with its potential benefits.
Askew emphasized that the land-based casino market generates roughly $240 billion annually in the United States, whereas online gambling could potentially be an industry with anywhere between $150 and $500 billion in generated revenue, if all 50 states opted to legalize.
Obviously, that’s a very, very big ‘if’ at this point in time, with only three states on board right now, and protracted battles in the states with the biggest potential, like California, ongoing.
‘It has a big impact if [Internet gambling were to be] regulated and taxed,’ Rodman said. ‘It could create more jobs, more tax revenue, and the public would be protected.’
Deadwood has 15 land-based venues offering table games and slots, but most are relatively small establishments. The town approved craps and roulette last July.
Gambling Alive in Deadwood
Today, Deadwood is reportedly one of the most gambling-addicted jurisdictions in America, at least according to a recent study by WalletHub.com. The finance website found that South Dakota leads the country in ‘gambling friendliness’ and has the highest number of casinos per capita.
Deadwood was founded illegally back in the 1870s during the Black Hills Gold Rush. The settlement flourished as miners rushed to the Dakotas in hopes of finding gold.
Saloons soon followed, as did Wild Bill Hickok, famous in the gambling community as the man who held a pair of aces and eights when he was shot in the back of the head and killed.
Though cards were commonplace in the 19th Century, Deadwood didn’t officially legalize gambling until 1989.
The first small town in the United States to end gambling prohibition, Deadwood’s campaign to bring back card games and slots, this time with legal permission, was an effort to revitalize the struggling city.
And it worked, maybe too well, in fact.
Allowing small hotels and establishments to open casinos along historic Main Street quickly brought an influx of tourism and revenue to the area. The decision led to the refurbishing of historic properties into new hotel resorts, but also threatened certain landmarks as larger hospitality companies moved in.
If Askew’s projections are correct, online casinos could create a second gambling boom for local and state governments. But for now, it appears most state attorneys general are on Abboud’s side.
DraftKings and FanDuel Pull Out of Idaho Following AG Ruling
DraftKings and FanDuel have pulled out of Idaho, following a ruling by State Attorney General Lawrence Wasden that the contests they provide constitute illegal gambling under state law.
Idaho AG Lawrence Wasden said this week that DFS falls within Idaho’s definition of gambling. Both DraftKings and FanDuel agreed to cease offering real-money contests following the attorney general’s decision. (Image: ktvb.com)
The move by the two leading DFS companies comes after three months of negotiations, said Wasden in a statement. The agreement was signed willingly by both companies and does not constitute an admission of liability nor evidence of wrongdoing.
The Idaho agreement follows a withdrawal by the two market leaders from Alabama under similar circumstances.
DraftKings and FanDuel are beginning to operate on a policy of compliance in states like Idaho, taking the long view, as they work with lawmakers in the hope that legislation can be passed to regulate DFS where it has recently been declared illegal.
Three states have introduced regulation so far this year, while a further 35 are at least considering the possibility.
Negotiations in Good Faith
The case isn’t always quite so black and white, of course. While FanDuel pulled out of Texas following a ruling by the AG there in January, DraftKings refused to go quietly and is litigating to remain in business in the state. Attorney general opinions are nonbinding interpretations of the law and may be challenged, although this seldom ends well for the challenger.
Wasden, meanwhile, noted in his statement that the fact that DFS is illegal under current state law does not preclude the legislature from passing laws that would license and regulate the games going forward.
‘The concern I have is that the paid daily sports offerings provided by these companies constitute gambling under Idaho law,’ he said in the statement. ‘I have a duty to enforce and uphold that law. I commend the companies for negotiating in good faith and agreeing not to make these contests available in Idaho.
‘Idaho defines gambling, in part, as risking money or other thing of value for gain that is contingent in whole or part upon chance or the outcome of an event, including a sporting event,’ he continued. ‘My concern is that the daily fantasy sports offerings my office reviewed require participants to risk money for a cash prize contingent upon individual athletes’ collective performances in various future sporting events. As I see it, this falls within Idaho’s definition of gambling.’
Make Your Voices Heard, Urges FanDuel
In an email sent by FanDuel to customers on Monday morning, the company said that it was working hard to clarify the law in Idaho, and hoped that its efforts could help bring regulation. It urged state residents to make their feelings known to lawmakers via the website fantasysportsforall.com.
‘We believe FanDuel has always operated within the law in Idaho, however, as we continue to evaluate the legal framework, we have decided to suspend our paid operations in the state,’ it said. ‘As has always been the case, users in Idaho can withdraw their funds at any time.’
Both sites remain able to operate free-to-play games in the state until such time as, and if, legislation is passed to regulate real-money contests.
Donald Trump is Presumptive GOP Presidential Nominee After Knockout Win in Indiana
Donald Trump will represent the Republican Party for the next seven months leading up to the 2016 presidential election. It’s a statement few political analysts, if any, could have possibly predicted or even theorized last June, when Trump first announced his candidacy from Trump Tower in New York City amidst a furor of mostly media derision.
All over but the shouting: Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2016 general election, and the billionaire is now focusing his attention on Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. (Image: Seth Perlman/Associated Press)
Ten and a half months and 16 challengers later, the real estate and former casino tycoon is the last candidate standing. No longer an apprentice, Trump is the real deal.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz bowed out last night and effectively crowned Donald the GOP champ. Ohio Governor John Kasich followed suit this morning.
‘All my life I have been in competitions, different competitions, whether it is sports, or business, or now politics,’ Trump told his supporters on Tuesday night in his Indiana victory speech. ‘I have met some of the most incredible competitors . . . Ted Cruz, I don’t know if he likes me or does not, [but] he is one hell of a competitor.’
Trump now has 1,047 delegates, with 520 still remaining in the final nine states. With no challenger, the businessman will likely easily achieve the 1,237 required delegates to win the nomination. The much-touted contested convention for Cleveland in July quickly has gone from probable to nearly impossible.
Cruz’s Unexpected Concession
The Republican Party remains divided on Trump, with the conservative right largely favoring Cruz, while a disgruntled workforce and an electorate fed up with traditional politicians are mostly on board the Trump train.
Cruz had pledged to take his campaign to Cleveland in July, but surprised many of his faithful flock by folding after suffering his seventh straight primary loss.
Cruz suspending his efforts ends what was beginning to feel like a showdown between Trump as Mike Matusow and Cruz as Phil Hellmuth. Two big league heavyweights, free of any filters and each with their own style of scathing verbiage, dueling for the winner-take-all pot.
Because just like in the game of poker, in politics, only one candidate can come out on top.
Trump Readies for Clinton Battle
Trump will now focus his attention to the presumptive Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. Though she lost Indiana last night to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton received only six fewer delegates, with his 43 to her 37, since the state is distributed proportionally.
The former first lady and secretary of state remains 321 delegates ahead of the Vermont politician, and has the all-important 481 superdelegates as well. Superdelegates are unbound to the voters they serve, and make pledges based on their own personal preferences.
It’s quite ironic that out of the more than 20 candidates that tossed their hats in the ring this primary season, the two that will represent the Republican and Democratic parties are the two that also have the highest unfavorability ratings, according to come polls, at least.
Trump presented a calmer demeanor last night during his victory speech, and most political pundits expect the GOP nominee to soften his rhetorical attacks in an effort to unify the party and appear more ‘presidential.’
Clinton will undoubtedly do her all to test Trump’s nerves.
‘I’m going to stand up for the people of this country, women and men, but as he goes after women, as he goes after literally every group, I’m going to be their voice,’ Clinton recently told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
Will Trump be able to retain a more civil attitude now that it’s essentially him versus her?
Don’t bet on it.
Losses Are Not PR
The received wisdom doing the rounds is that the hit the bookmakers are from Leicester’s win will be handsomely offset by the thousands of bets lost by customers on favorites like Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, et al. But don’t be so sure.
‘Quite often in these situations, it’s the job of an industry PR man to exaggerate how much bookmakers have lost to make people think, ‘Why don’t I have some bets on the football,’, ‘ top UK poker player Neil Channing told us. Channing was once a bookmaker himself and is now a scourge of the aforementioned as a tipster for BettingEmporium.com.
‘They don’t need to do any of that today,’ he continued. ‘This is 100 percent genuine. Bookmakers are screaming. And they have profit warnings and whatever, and this has hurt them.’
One source at a well-known high street brand told us that Leicester had cost the company £2.5 million. This is before savings from customers cashing out early had been calculated, as well as from multipliers that had been killed by the unlikely new champions. These refer to bettors who had attempted to predict the winners of several leagues across Europe at once, all of which would have been sabotaged by Jamie Vardy and his plucky crew.