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Casino City’s Friday Five: Laws and legislation edition

22 February 2019

The U.S. Department of Justice is seeing constant scrutiny over its recently changed opinion on the Wire Act. One U.S. state has already filed a complaint, with others likely to follow. Also in the news this week was the approval of a sports betting bill, another U.S. state allowing mobile sports gambling, an online poker bounty tournament and a vote to settle a lawsuit. Let’s start with some poker: 5. $600 Guaranteed Bounty Run tournaments at Intertops Poker This weekend, Intertops Poker hosts the second event in its new series of monthly $600 GTD Bounty Run Tournaments. Players get rewarded for busting other players, with $2 for every elimination. Even if you don’t get a knockout and come in last place, you still get a prize: First and last place players get a free ticket to the Bounty Run Summer Special in June, where the prize pool bumps to $1,000 GTD and the bounty is doubled. The buy-in for tomorrow’s game is $11; however, eight players have already won their seats for the event via satellite. “Bounty hunters like the added satisfaction you get from collecting bounty when you win a hand,” said Intertops Poker’s manager. “So we do lots of bounty tournaments – we just thought it was time to make it more regular.” 4. New Hampshire challenges DOJ’s opinion on Wire Act The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office filed a complaint for the New Hampshire Lottery Commission last Friday regarding the Department of Justice opinion that the Wire Act of 1961 applies to lottery sales over the internet. "The opinion issued by DOJ puts millions of dollars of funding at risk, and we have a responsibility to stand up for our students," said Governor Chris Sununu. According to Charlie McIntyre, New Hampshire Lottery’s Executive Directory, the state’s lottery generated $87.5 million in net profits to support education in New Hampshire. “We expect to generate more than $90 million for education this year. This reversal by DOJ puts that support for education in question," said McIntyre. 3. Rhode Island votes to allow mobile sports wagering Last Friday, the Rhode Island Senate approved Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio’s legislation to allow mobile sports betting through Twin River Casino and Tiverton Casino Hotel. The legislation (2019-S 0037A) would enable the creation of an app consumers could use to access the sports gaming offerings at Twin River from anyplace within the parameters of the state of Rhode Island. Those who wish to participate in mobile sports wagering in Rhode Island must first set up an account in person at the casino, and they then will be able to place a bet anywhere in the state. If you are out of the state, then the app will not allow a bet to be made. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5241) has been introduced by Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston). 2. Massachusetts Gaming Commission votes to settle Wynn lawsuit On Wednesday, the MGC unanimously voted 5-0 to conclude its Wynn Resorts suitability review into if it should hold a casino license in the state and open the new Encore Boston Harbor in June of this year, as planned. After discussion, Commissioner Gayle Cameron revealed the motion: “I move to authorize the Commission’s legal counsel to work to finalize an agreement, the terms of which are consistent with the Commission’s discussion in the February 20th executive session, that will result in dismissal of the case captioned Stephen A. Wynn vs. Karen Wells, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and Wynn Resorts, et al. that is presently pending in the Clark County District Court in Nevada, and will enable the Commission to receive an investigative report and move forward with an adjudicatory proceeding regarding Wynn Resorts’ suitability as soon as possible.” The MGC decided to investigate if Wynn Resorts was suitable to hold a coveted Massachusetts casino license following sexual misconduct allegations that surrounded casino magnate Steve Wynn early last year. In February 2018, Wynn resigned as chairman and chief of the company, and in April the company announced that it would change the name of the new casino from Wynn Boston Harbor to Encore Boston Harbor. The $2.5 billion resort is being built just outside Boston in the city of Everett. 1. Washington, DC approves sports betting bill; two more states also make headway On Tuesday, the D.C. Council passed legislation on sports wagering. The bill will have the D.C. Lottery operator, Intralot, become the exclusive provider of a sports betting app and skip a bidding process. This means that not only will brick-and-mortar facilities be able to have sports betting in their establishments, but online sports wagering will also be legal. Not everyone was in favor of the bill — four members of the council voted against it due to concerns with Intralot. This vote came just two weeks after the bill originally passed on a 7-6 vote. David Grosso, a D.C. Councilmember, was among those against the bill. He referred to approving the legislation as “a rush to tax the poor” and pointed out that Intralot is “a company that was recently downgraded by Moody’s" and also that since 2014, Intralot’s DC affiliate DC09 and its leadership have contributed over $41,000 to DC campaigns and inaugural committees. The goal, unless a serious issue arises, is to have legal bets being placed on professional sports as early as this fall in time for the 2019 NFL season. Indiana and Illinois also were in headlines about sports wagering. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker put forward a budget proposal to the state legislature earlier this week. Included in the proposal was sports betting revenue for the state. Pritzker aims for a $217 million budget from sports gambling in 2020. On Thursday, the Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee voted 12-0 in favor of legislation that calls for legalizing sports betting in the state, including mobile wagering. These two states are seeking to follow in the footsteps of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and have legal bets on sporting events being placed in the near future.
Casino City’s Friday Five: Laws and legislation edition is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.
Dan Ippolito
As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.