Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Motto for the US 

I love me some Freakonomics.

Got vote for your favorite New U.S. Six-Word Motto.

Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit! 

I've finally decided to port this damn poker blog over to a domain. Tis gonna be a work in progress and likely won't even begin for another week or two as I clear some things off my plate and shake the February doldrums.

So I've two quick gambling related stories from the wire today. First revolves around betcha.com:


Court: Betcha.com Is Not 'Gambling'

An appellate court in Washington has ruled that the site Betcha.com did not violate state gambling laws because users were allowed to back out of bets without paying.

"Because Betcha.com customers agreed in advance that participants were not required to pay their losses, Betcha.com was not engaged in 'gambling,'" the court wrote.

The site offered a platform for users to bet with each other about matters like the outcome of political elections and sports games. The terms of service spelled out that Betcha.com worked on the "honor system" and that "bettors are not obliged to pay when they lose." But the site also allowed users to give each other "honor ratings" based on whether they made good on their bets.

The site was only online for a few weeks in 2007 when authorities from the Washington State Gambling Commission demanded that founder Nicholas Jenkins shut it down. Jenkins filed a complaint asking a state court to rule that the site was lawful. A trial judge ruled against him, but the appellate court cleared the site last week.

A spokesperson for the state gambling commission said it intends to appeal the decision to the Washington Supreme Court.

While this case was pending, Jenkins was extradited to Louisiana to face criminal computer gambling charges stemming from Betcha.com. That case was dismissed in October, according to Jenkins' lawyer, Lee Rousso. He added that Jenkins is considering whether to revive Betcha.com. "He's contemplating that as we speak," Rousso said Friday.

Betcha.com is not only online gambling site to come to a court's attention. Kentucky authorities recently attempted to seize domain names of 141 out-of-state sites. The appellate court in that state recently ruled in favor of the Web sites, holding that the state's anti-gambling laws only provided for the forfeiture of physical devices like slot machines and not domain names.


This next one is a pretty good read in the LA Times that I got from one of my buddies on Twitter.

Debt finally topples a Las Vegas high roller
Omar Siddiqui, a top executive at Fry's Electronics, was coveted and coddled by Las Vegas casinos. Now he faces fraud charges.

Monday, February 16, 2009

From today's LVRJ:

Casinos are warned about card-counting iPhone app (AP)

LAS VEGAS - Nevada gambling regulators have warned casinos in the state about a card-counting program that works on Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPod Touch that illegally helps players beat the house in blackjack.

Card counting itself is not illegal under Nevada gambling laws, but it is considered a felony to use devices to help count cards.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board sent a memo to casinos last week warning them of the program.

In blackjack, certain card counting techniques help players determine when they are likely to win a hand and adjust their bets accordingly.

Nevada learned of the program from gambling regulators in California, where officials at an Indian casino found customers using it and tipped state authorities.

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