Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Casino Screws Up, Points Finger

Last April, players at a mini-baccarat game noticed the same sequence of cards being dealt.  Being smart, they started upping their bets.  When the casino finally figured out what was going on, those players had won $1.5 million.  Wow.  The casino of course thought the players were cheating.  That wasn't the case.  What happened was that the casino was putting new decks of cards into the game without shuffling them first.   HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA  How stupid.  Casino Operations 101 - you SHUFFLE cards before you put them into the game.

The casino, the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, relied on the promise from the card manufacturer that the cards were pre-shuffled.  But when things started weird, wouldn't you think that it would take less than 41 winning hands before they would do something like shuffle cards?

To the casino's credit, they have paid out over $500,000 of the winnings, but to their discredit have not yet cashed about $1 million.  In addition, the casino has sued the gamblers stating the game wasn't "fair."  Really?  Oh, yes, the casino is also suing the card manufacturing company.

Let's say the casino is right to obtain relief from the card manufacturer.  But pay the players their winnings.  In fact, tout the big win, smile, tell the world that not all players may do this well but when players win, the casino is HAPPY FOR THEM.  That kind of good customer service and recognition is what gets customers to want to visit.  Treating customers badly and suing them for winning, due to your screwup, is bad customer service and what gets customers to not want to visit.

The full story can be found here.  What do you think?

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Assembly Committee Shelves Sports Betting Bill

Rather suddenly, the California sports betting bill sailing through the legislature was shelved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  A quick article reporting the event is here.  The easy explanation was that California did what it intended and helped goad the opponents of expanded legal sports betting, the sports leagues and NCAA, to file suit to stop the lead state, New Jersey.  According to the California bill's sponsor, they were in consultation with New Jersey to form a "bi-coastal" effort.  Once the sports leagues and NCAA filed the lawsuit against New Jersey, California could stop the bill without having to incur the expense of defending a lawsuit, letting New Jersey bear that burden.  Of course California can support New Jersey by way of amicus briefs, a less costly legal support option.

Although some legal experts feel the federal PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) law, only letting a few states have sports betting will stand, other legal experts feel the PASPA will be found unconstitutional.  Those experts use the analogy of the government stating that only four states could have theaters that show movies with sound, while all others could only have silent movies.  Another example would be that only one or two states could grow apples, and all other states would be prohibited, being forced to buy apples from those limited sources. 

The arguments the sports leagues and NCAA are trying to make is that legal sports betting impacts the integrity of their games.  They don't seem to be able to explain how legal sports betting in states like Nevada don't impact integrity of their games.  Also, they seem to have been unable to articulate how illegal sports betting (which is most definitely occurring) that would be curtailed and be brought into the open if legalized, is somehow superior in their minds to legal sports betting.  Finally, experts note how states have always had the authority to set the parameters regarding gambling within their states.  The Washington Times has an article that discusses New Jersey's approach. 

It will be several months before this issue is settled, but it is fair to assume that the losing party will keep the issue alive on appeal and escalate to as high a court as possible.  Would this case eventually make it to the Supreme Court?  Perhaps.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

California Sports Betting Bill Update

On August 8th, the Assembly Appropriations Committee moved the sports betting bill, SB 1390, into its suspense file, moving the bill to the next step.  Although the term "suspense file" seems like bad news, it isn't.

Bills that impact the budget go to the budget committee, while other bills with financial impact are reviewed by the appropriations committee.  This bill falls into the latter category.  Under the committee rules (both Senate and Assembly), bills that have a financial impact over a certain amount have to pass through the suspense file.  The bill has to be voted to be moved in to and out of the suspense file.  Moving this bill into the file is a necessary step.  The next step would be a future hearing where the bill will have to be voted out of the suspense file (and thereby out of the committee).  At that point, the bill is then back on the Assembly floor for final vote.

The bill has already completely passed the Senate and passed the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.  If this bill does pass the Assembly, the bill in its current form does need to go back to the Senate for revote so that the Senate can approve the changes made in the Assembly.  Since the Senate previously passed the bill by a 33-2 vote, this revote would be a formality, in my view.

At that point, the bill would go to the governor for signature, with the bill coming into force January 1st of next year.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Zynga Posts Tender for Real Money Poker Platform

Casino Affiliate Programs commented on eGaming Review's story regarding Zynga soliciting for a real money online poker platform.  Zynga's interest in this area is not new.  Read the previous post concerning Zynga.  This is a good move for them as they have been very much tied to social/fun gaming and of course almost completely tied to Facebook.  They need to diversify their revenue streams.

The issue is now ripe as the DOJ several months back, clarified their position regarding the Wire Act and online gambling OTHER than sports betting.  A post discussing that development can be found here.

Zynga's stock price has fallen a great deal since the IPO, and last month there was a management shakeup where the COO was stripped of game development oversight.  Even competitors are throwing public darts Zynga's way.  An executive from Electronic Arts is claiming that Zynga "dropped to their knees."  Ouch.  Here's the link to the article from Escapist Magazine.

Zynga needs revenue and new sources of that revenue.  Online poker is a step in that direction.  They've just released the tender.  However, they do have a current poker platform that allows players to compete for virtual chips.  That game has millions of users, so they are partially down the path.

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