Weekly Poker Roundup: November 6, 2016
Pennsylvania Senate Won’t Pass Online Gambling Bill This Month
Last week, we reported that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill that would legalize online gambling. Perhaps that wasn’t cause for excitement. According to The Morning Call, the state Senate will likely let the bill die when it reconvenes on November 15th.
The bill addresses several aspects of gambling in the state and as it turns out, the part the Senate has a problem with is the online gambling portion. The biggest reason the House quickly passed the bill was to take care of the land-based casino “host fees” that were deemed unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court at the end of September. The nine non-Philadelphia casinos were required to pay two percent of their slot revenue or $10 million per year, whichever was greater, with the proceeds distributed to local municipalities. Because none of the casinos brought in enough slot revenue, they all always paid the $10 million. Mount Airy Casino sued, saying this amounted to an unfair, unequal tax, and the Supreme Court agreed.
Because the host fees are so important to the local city and county budgets, the Supreme Court gave the legislature 120 days to figure things out. The Senate felt it came up with a solution, but when it sent its version of the gambling bill to the House, the House added online gambling. Online gambling does not have as much support in the Senate, so the Senators will probably let the bill die, rather than spend time debating it in the one day they are back in session this month.
William Hill Hit by DDoS Attack
William Hill was the target of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack this past week. The attack was extremely effective, putting most of the company’s gambling sites and services offline. It began on Tuesday, with its effects lasting for at least a couple days.
On Wednesday, the company released a statement to the media and posted the following on Twitter:
Since the activity started on Tuesday, our online services have not been available to 100% of their usual capacity and many customers have been struggling to log on, place bets and make other transactions. Our technical teams are working round-the-clock to bring us back up to full strength and you the service you’d expect from William Hill.
It seems that the attack was more difficult to stop than expected, as, if you can read into the tone of Will Hill’s tweets, company representatives sounded exasperated. ““It’s been a long night. We’ve got some services back but we’re still not at 100%. Thanks for patiently letting us get back on our feet,” one post read.
“We’re calling it a day but we know it’s not been our best. Techies will be working through the night & Live Chat will answer your queries,” read another.
Phil Ivey Loses Another “Edge Sorting” Ruling
Less than two weeks after seeing a split decision go against him in his case against the Borgata, Phil Ivey has lost his appeal of a 2014 judgment of a ruling that went against him in a similar “edge sorting” controversy in punto banco games at London’s Crockfords Casino. Ivey had won £7.7 million at the casino in 2012, working with friend and co-defendant Cheung Yin Sun to read the backs of miscut cards to determine what cards were coming. The casino considered this cheating, even though Ivey never touched the cards.
A three-judge Court of Appeal of England and Wales panel agreed with the previous court ruling that determined the casino did not have to pay Ivey his winnings. In a statement, Ivey said, “This decision makes no sense to me. The trial judge said that I was not dishonest and the three appeal judges agreed but somehow the decision has gone against me. Can someone tell me how you can have honest cheating?”
The lengthy ruling, written by Lady Justice Mary Arden, explained how it is possible to have honest cheating, saying in part:
The question whether a reasonable person would say this is cheating turns on whether there was a dramatic effect on the odds in the game. Punto Banco, as I have already said, is a game of pure chance, and not a game of mixed skill or chance. The casino is highly regulated. It does not try to win every game but the house edge means that it should win over time. Edge-sorting materially altered the odds in the game of Punto Banco offered by Crockfords.
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