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Emily D. Swoboda

Rio to Dot-Net Gaming Life Exhibitors: 'Never Mind'

27 April 2006

The Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas last week sent an e-mail putting companies scheduled to exhibit at the upcoming Second Annual Gaming Life Expo on notice that promoting real-money Internet gambling services will disqualify them from participating in the event. This week they took it back.

The Rio, which is hosting the show alongside the World Series of Poker, said in last week's e-mail that it received information from the U.S. Department of Justice articulating these standards and insisting that exhibiting vendors comply with federal law.

In a surprising twist, however, the venue on Wednesday sent another memo to exhibitors instructing them to disregard the first memo, claiming the organizers of the expo were unaware of such DOJ standards. The new memo states:

Rio is not aware of any standards issued by the United States Department of Justice related to free to play poker websites (i.e. "poker.nets") and the above referenced email and its attachment should be completely disregarded. We are sorry for any confusion this may have created.

Regardless of whether the Rio received a warning, or even misunderstood communication from the DOJ, dot-net advertising should not be an issue.

Last August, the World Poker Tour and the Travel Channel, which airs the program, began allowing tournament participants to wear shirts with sponsorship logos. Naturally, the new rule was subject to various restrictions. For instance, questionable logos like those for pornography or hard liquor were prohibited.

However, with the adoption of the new rule, players were permitted to wear one six square-inch logo on their breast pockets and among the logos permitted were those for poker dot-nets.

It should be noted that even in the absence of a "dot-net" policy at the Gaming Life Expo, many of the industry's leading operators are already, as standard practice, in compliance with the rules temporarily put forth by the Rio.

Click here to view a copy of the Rio's letter sent to exhibitors on April 26.

Rio to Dot-Net Gaming Life Exhibitors: 'Never Mind' is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda