Weekly Poker Roundup: January 28, 2019

Virginia Senate Committee Approves Casino Bill

A bill which would legalize casino gambling in the Commonwealth of Virginia made it through its first committee, passing the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology, 9-3. It was introduced by Senator Louise Lucas on December 28, 2018, succeeding in the committee vote less than a month later.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, SB 1126 authorizes casinos to be built in five cities: Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Richmond. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is interested in the latter two. Ten-year licenses will cost $50,000 and casinos would be taxed ten percent on gross gaming revenue.

Those pushing the bill would like to make the process a speedy one so that they can catch up to neighboring states that have casino gambling, but others don’t want to rush things.

As a compromise, an economic impact study will be produced by November 1st and the eligible cities will be able to hold referendums in the fall so that their residents can have a say in the matter.

Pennsylvania Gaming Regulator Instructs Casinos to Comply with New Wire Act Opinion

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has told the Commonwealth’s casinos’ general managers and counsel that they must make immediate preparations in order to comply with the Justice Department’s new interpretation of the Wire Act.

Recently, the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued an opinion, saying that the Wire Act bans all interstate online gambling, not just sports betting, as the 2011 OLC opinion did.

Two primary things are affected by the directive from the PGCB: the location of online gaming servers and payment processing. PGCB Executive Director Kevin O’Toole told the casinos that since the new Wire Act opinion says interstate gambling communications are illegal;

“….we no longer believe it is consistent with law as articulated in the Opinion to locate the interactive gaming devices and associated equipment in any jurisdiction other than in Pennsylvania.”

It is also highly likely that the casinos’ banking and payment processing crosses state lines at some point, even if the players are in-state. To that end, O’Toole wrote:

“….you should examine the effect of the Opinion on the topic of payment processing of wagers, as well as any anticipated issues or effects the Opinion may create for banking institutions with whom you interact.”

WSOP Announces Schedule for $10,000+ Buy-In Events

The World Series of Poker announced the schedule for all of this summer’s events with buy-ins of at least $10,000. All told, there are 20 of these tournaments, including, of course, the $10,000 Main Event, which will begin July 3rd with the first of three starting flights.

There are a couple new high dollar events that the WSOP has highlighted this year. On opening weekend, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the WSOP, there will be a $50,000 buy-in event in which players start with – get this – 300,000 chips. Levels will be one hour each and the tournament is scheduled for four days.

There will also be a 6+ Hold’em game, conveniently timed to coincide with the launch of 6+ Hold’em on PokerStars. It will be dubbed Short Deck No-Limit Hold’em, an event in which all cards valued at five or lower (Aces are still high) are removed from the deck.

Because of this, hand probabilities change, making a Flush worth more than a Full House and a Straight worth less than a Three-of-a-Kind.

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