Weekly Poker Roundup: June 18, 2017
Online Poker Legalization Passes New York Senate
The New York State Senate passed a bill which would legalize and regulate online poker by a vote of 54-8 this past week, sending the legislation to the state Assembly. In a press release the bill’s sponsor, State Senator John Bonacic said:
“This bill serves two main purposes in allowing New Yorkers access to regulated online poker while providing critical consumer protections and increasing revenues to the state for education and taxes via operator licenses. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Assembly to see that this bill passes both houses before the end of session.”
Most of the basics of the bill are standard, though it does include a “bad actor” clause, inserted late in the Senate’s legislative process, which would prevent operators like PokerStars, who offered online poker to Americans after December 31st, 2006, from being eligible for a license.
Online poker gross gaming revenue would be taxed at 15 percent under this version of the bill and the licensing fee would be $10 million, though that $10 million would be applied toward tax payments.
Usain Bolt Signs with PokerStars
PokerStars has made another interesting celebrity signing, inking Usain Bolt, the greatest sprinter of all-time, to a sponsorship deal. It is unknown if Bolt actually plays poker; the pairing is clearly meant to use Bolt’s popularity to gain the attention of casual players or even non-players and draw them to the site.
“PokerStars is a winner and I’m happy to join Kevin [Hart] in helping to bring poker and PokerStars to the masses,” said Bolt in social media chat event with comedian and actor Kevin Hart. “It’s a challenging game that’s fun, social and competitive, so I’m pleased to be able to introduce it to my fans and to people around the world.”
Eric Hollreiser, Vice President of Corporate Communications with PokerStars, said, “Usain is a fierce competitor who pushes his game to the limits,” Hollreiser said. “But he’s also one of the most-liked athletes in the world. His strong global following and winning personality will help us to introduce poker in a fun, social, and fast way.”
Usain Bolt recently retired from competitive racing. Among all of his accolades and championships, one of the most impressive was becoming the first athlete in history to win the 100m and 200m dashes in three consecutive Olympic games.
Ex-Absolute Poker CEO to Face Minor Legal Charges
Former Absolute Poker co-founder and CEO Scott Tom will be sentenced in September for his involvement with the company as it offered online poker games to U.S. players after the passage of the UIGEA in 2006. He pled guilty to just one misdemeanor count of accessory after the fact for transmitting gambling information from 2007 to 2009.
If you are asking yourself, “Wasn’t he involved in the super user scandal?” you would be correct. The problem is, that is not what he is in legal trouble for. He was the primary figure behind the “Potripper” account that could see other players’ hole cards as well as a number of other super user accounts. Flushdraw’s Haley Hintze worked tirelessly a number of years ago to uncover all of the details and connections.
But alas, it is only for the misdemeanor charge that Scott Tom will be punished. He will likely serve little to no jail time, but he might be hit with heavy fines.
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