There’s a fair amount of research going on these days looking at that ever-fine line between gaming and gambling (Gainsbury, Russell, & Hing, 2014). This mini-documentary looks at the size and complexity of virtual gaming economies, and reveals how popular recreational online activities are vulnerable to cheaters and Chinese gold farmers (prisoners made to play video games for prison-guard profits) … which has some wanting regulatory oversight similar to gambling!
Who woulda guessed that online poker could provide a template for gamified digital consumer protections? (Really, it kinda-sorta is …)
I guess the real question is why not? If we are to move forward in modern technology than accepting the endless possibilities is eminent. Change isn’t always easy for many and sticking to the old fashion ways is to some safe. But sooner or later the rest of society comes around as it becomes more widely accepted and they are feeling a bit left out of the modern new age of advancement.
Bugsy Siegel Puts Las Vegas on the Casino Map
It’s envisioning what appears to be the impossible dream that turns ordinary men and women into legends, changing life as we know it forever. Bringing new ideas to the masses at first can be quite challenging as they are looked at like they have a third eye or two heads. But it takes perseverance to follow through and time to get the recognition that is finally deserved.
Imagine the ridicule Bugsy Siegel took with a brainstorm idea to build a luxurious Casino and hotel in the middle of the desert. Not only did the idea seem insane to build in the heat of the desert with no water supply available at that time, but a Casino? This was in the 1940’s folks and people at that time were not ready for any part of it, after all Casinos were not considered exactly a righteous upscale business.
Although contrary to belief Nevada did have legalized gambling at that time and there was actually already a few Casinos in Las Vegas, it was Bugsy Siegel that turned it into a glitzy and glamorous gambling town and transformed it to a gambling paradise affectionately called Sin City today. We can only thank the mobster figure for one fantastic legacy he left behind.
Travelers from around the world came to Sin City filled with ambience, glitz and excitement that could not be matched anywhere else. That was until legalized gambling became prevalent in other states and in other countries around the world. It didn’t happen overnight as government officials were adamantly opposed to land based Casinos and it was only a matter of time because once again it represented change.
The Surge of Online Casinos
Then the surge of online Casinos erupted in the 1990’s. Gamblers themselves were skeptical at first. Gambling with real money online? It was simply not going to work, admit it, we all thought it! Eventually curiosity got the best of gamblers and the temptation overtook our fears of a new way to gamble. Initially no one ever thought it could ever measure up to the land based Casinos and offer the thrills and perks they were accustomed to.
In 1994 the first Free Trade and Processing Act was passed in Antigua and Barbuda allowing operators to apply for online Casino licenses through their jurisdiction. By 1996 Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established and regulated online gaming, issuing licenses to online Poker and Casino sites. This was essential in providing fair and honest business operations.
Microgaming is the Godfather of online Casino software that paved the way for gambling. The company based in the Isle of Man offers premium products and state-of-the-art graphics. Following in their footsteps was CryptoLogic software providing a safe haven for transactions in a secured environment.
One of the earliest online gaming portals was Casino On Net established in 1997 that stills thrives today. Since their conception they have seen over 1,000,000 members place a bet. That type of statics is staggering.
Speaking of statistics by the late 1990’s online gambling caught on and went from a mere 15 websites in 1996 to 200 in one year’s time in 1997. In a published report gambling revenue sky rocketed with over $830 million in 1998 alone and was well on its way to popularity on an international level. In 2001 it is estimated that a staggering 8 million players participated in online gambling.
It wasn’t until 1999 that the very first online Poker room was introduced to players. This was also the first year multiplayer gambling was introduced allowing social chat and interaction with each other. More gambling variety began to open virtual doors including Bingo, Sports betting, Horse Racing and Lotteries.
The UIGEA Hits Online Gambling Hard
Now one of the most popular ways to gamble it takes a sudden hard hit in September 2006 when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed by the House of Representatives and Senate prohibiting banks and financial institutions to accept transactions from US players. As a result, although the law does not state its illegal for US customers to gamble online it has become hampered due to banking restrictions.
This forced many online operators from accepting any customers from the United States to play and all active accounts were suspended. Because the US market made up a good part of the revenue many operators were forced to close their doors.
Online Gambling Flourishes
Today online operators have rebounded embracing a global market of players and have continued to flourish regardless of the major setback. Predictions that the laws will eventually be reversed are promising as some States have already lifted the ban and is a matter of time that the US as a whole will have the freedom to once again gamble online.
For more interesting information on internet gambling including online and land based Casinos, Gambling related News, Banking, Exclusive Bonuses, Free Casino & Slot play go to LatestCasinoBonuses.com. It is your complete source for Casino, Bingo, Poker and Sports betting. Comprised of one of the largest gambling resources available anywhere, it provides everything you need and want to know about the gambling industry including the best rated Casinos to play at.
Change is inevitable and online gambling has become one of the most popular ways to play. It offers the convenience and comfort of playing at home avoiding over crowded Casinos, parking and your favorite Table Game, Video Poker or Slot machine from being occupied. Online gambling is ready when you are open 24 hours, 365 days a year offering competitive promotions, Bonuses and loyalty schemes that are rewarding and lucrative.
It continues to grow better all the time with Virtual Casinos in real time and Mobile Casinos for those on the go. What lays ahead in the future for the gambling community? It all it takes is one vision, one genius and modern technology to once again conceive the unthinkable.
Lest you weren’t sure about the relationship between lottery interests and slot machines in future regulated online gambling spaces, here’s a common ad getting served up to some of us on Facebook these days (for myVegas, an MGM joint). You do the math while I continue to get play-money slots game requests from Aunt Rita in Indiana.
While MGM has to wait (except in New Jersey) for real-money casino (or lottery) play, you can guess they are happy to be running various free point promotions where the prize is ultimately a trip to one of their real brick-and-mortar casinos, where the slot machines may or may not pay out the same way the they did for play money online.
We’re certain that you’re no stranger to Europe’s longest established poker tournament, The Irish Open.
Terry Rogers had become hooked on No Limit Holdem during a trip to Vegas, and upon Returning to Ireland, Terry established the Irish Open which became the catalyst in spreading this variation of the game throughout Ireland, and then across Europe.
Paddy Power Poker, proud sponsors of the Irish Open for almost 10 years, have put together this brief history of the tournament, which we are pleased to be able to share with you today.
Read more about the History of the Irish Open on Paddy Power Poker.
Learning to play a new casino game can be very exciting. However, for some people it can also be a bit intimidating at first. Playing at a land based casino can make them feel somewhat self-conscious due to their lack of experience. For this reason, many learn first how to play new games at online casinos. With many variations, poker is one game often chosen by many to learn. For new players, there are certain tips that can be followed which can help improve one’s chances of winning.
Avoid playing too many poker hands is an easy tip that can help improve your overall result. When playing online at a site like http://www.luckynuggetcasino.com/, many are tempted to have several hands open at one time. When a player opts to play additional hands simultaneously, they often are not as attentive as they would be when focusing on one hand. This means they will probably play some poker hands that should have been folded. By playing hands that aren’t meant to be played, players are simply wasting money. This money they could be using more effectively elsewhere. A good rule of thumb is to try to maintain a ratio 1 to 1 ratio played hands to folded hands. Professional poker players insist if a player is playing a large majority of hands, they are reading the cards wrong.
Given the mental aspect of the game of poker, ensuring that you are in a state of mind to clearly make decisions is another important part of the game. Many times players may play when they are tired. By being tired, they can have some difficulty thinking clearly and making appropriate decisions. This could end up being rather costly. Fatigue can come with long playing sessions. Frequent breaks can help clear one’s mind and allow the body to stretch. By getting up out of one’s seat, blood flow returns to the brain, which can help improve one’s ability to think clearly.
This past week, two sources of information became available indicating how the Canadian government will increase its regulation and oversight of virtual currencies, including bitcoin. Through a combination of legislative and regulatory changes, Parliament and the Financial Reports Analysis Centre of Canada—Canada’s financial intelligence unit—will wrap “dealers” in virtual currencies into the current money services business regime. Conceptually, this is somewhat similar to the approach taken to exchange functions by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in the United States. The federal government has clarified things somewhat but, at the same time, left us with many unanswered questions. We will have to wait for further regulatory guidance to see how the whole regime in Canada plays out, but I think things are looking very positive for FIU regulation of cryptocurrencies in Canada.
The Current Structure & Canada’s Economic Action Plan
FinTRAC is an independent agency that acts as Canada’s FIU to enforce the Financial Action Task Force’s 40 Recommendations. It does this primarily through the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the PCMLTFA) and Regulations (the Regulations). I have previously written about FinTRAC, its FATF-mandated role, and the PCMLTFA and the Regulations. As explained in the earlier post, FinTRAC has thus far taken the view that bitcoins are not “funds” within the meaning of the PCMLTFA and the Regulations. That means that FinTRAC will not regulate many bitcoin exchange functions under the MSB rules in Canada.
Note that this does not mean that FinTRAC will never regulate bitcoin exchanges or other bitcoin business models under the current rules, depending on their business lines and functions, nor does it mean that persons transacting in bitcoin in Canada aren’t subject to regulation. For example, taxpayers earning income from source in Canada will pay tax on that income, subject to the normal inclusion and deduction rules. People transacting in bitcoin in Canada are also subject to the anti-money laundering provisions of the Criminal Code. And bitcoin-denominated products bundled as funds and other investment products will be subject to provincial securities rules. (If certainty on that last point was needed, which I don’t think it was, the Ontario Securities Commission recently made very clear that the Securities Act applies to funds denominated in bitcoin. One company, in particular, has been very public in marketing “bitcoin investments” in Canada. The OSC is now reviewing the company’s continuous disclosure record and delving into just about every area of modern Canadian securities law in that review, including marketing, accounting, disclosure requirements, and registration issues.) Still, FinTRAC had taken a relatively hands-off approach to many bitcoin exchange business lines because of its interpretation of the PCMLTFA and the Regulations. Certain participants in the bitcoin economy have responded by coming to Canada and setting up new businesses here.
Last month, the federal government introduced its 2014 budget plan to Parliament. I blogged on the budget as it affects bitcoin. Dubbed Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the budget calls virtual currencies “emerging risks” in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The budget proposed to introduce AML and CTF regulations for virtual currencies, including bitcoin. The budget plan seemed to indicate that only regulations would be changed, possibly without new legislation being passed by Parliament.
We now know that both new legislation and regulations are on the agenda. And we basically know how the federal government plans to strengthen its bitcoin oversight.
The first indication the government provided this past week was the budget implementation act. That entire document is a few hundred pages long and can be viewed here. The particularly relevant provisions affecting bitcoin are distilled into a shorter extract here. This is a government bill—styled the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1—that essentially sets out the legislative details of the government’s budget plan.
The implementation act establishes that virtual currencies are to be regulated as part of the MSB regime. See pages 4-5 of the extract (pages 163-164 of the entire document). Part I of the PCMLTFA addresses record keeping, identity verification, suspicious transaction reporting, and registration requirements. Section 5 addresses those persons and entities to which Part I applies, and the proposed replacement to s. 5(h) of the PCMLTFA now includes “dealing in virtual currencies, as defined in the regulations.” Note that a “dealer” in virtual currencies is caught by section 5 whether it has a place of business in Canada (subsection (h)) or it doesn’t but provides the service to Canadian customers and the service is “directed at” Canadian customers (new subsection (h.1)). Also note that subsection 1(1) of the Regulations provides that “money services business” includes persons or entities referred to in subsection 5(h) of the PCMLTFA; that will doubtless be changed to include new subsection 5(h.1).
So virtual currencies will be included under the PCMLTFA and the Regulations, and we see they’ll be covered by the MSB rules and that those rules are aimed at “dealing in virtual currencies.” That already answers a number of questions that were outstanding from the budget announcement.
We also saw some interesting thoughts in the remarks of federal Department of Finance officials this past week before the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. That committee is engaged in a study of digital currency; it will be studying for more than a year and report out sometime in 2015. This past Wednesday, David Murchison, the Director of the Financial Sector Division made some brief but telling remarks about what the Finance Department is doing as part of the budget’s implementation agenda. Mr. Murchison referred to the legislative and regulatory changes targeting those “in the business of dealing in virtual currencies.” He then said: “We would aim, in these regulations, to cover virtual currency exchanges, but not individuals or businesses. We think that this approach will allow for financial innovation, which we see to be one of the interesting markers behind this. Again, there will be an opportunity for public consultation on both these initiatives.” Mr. Murchison also stated that Finance is undertaking a consultation on Canadian payment system oversight and that virtual currencies will be included in that consultation.
Two things are clear from the comments from Finance. First, the Department of Finance is targeting virtual currency (including bitcoin) exchanges and “not individuals or businesses,” limiting the scope of the MSB rules still further, which seems positive. Second, financial innovation appears to be important to the government—indeed, references to the positive attributes and innovation of bitcoin ran throughout the evidence from Finance and the senators’ questions—so Canada is not out to throttle this nascent industry.
One side note: The committee’s deliberations will be going on for some time, so there will be plenty of time to comment later, but generally I was very impressed at the way the senators are approaching this issue. It’s obviously a new area to many of them, and I think they’ve already asked many clear, helpful, and penetrating questions. I look forward to seeing more evidence get in front of this body.
Where Does This Leave Us?
The implementation bill and the committee testimony give rise to at least as many questions as they answer. For example, what are “virtual currencies?” The focus of the Senate hearings was clearly on bitcoin, so surely bitcoin will be included. A good bet is that it will include currencies that are both decentralized and convertible, but we will have to wait and see. Another example is the line between exchanges as “dealers” and other businesses. What will the definition be of those in the business of dealing in virtual currencies? Mr. Murchison said they’re targeting exchanges and not “individuals or businesses.” Clearly businesses can be exchanges, so that just punts the question over to the definition of “exchange.” Will a miner selling bitcoin post-mine be an exchange? Are arbitrageurs among bitcoin exchanges in the business of dealing in virtual currency? Are so-called bitcoin ATMs exchanges? Again, we will have to wait for the consultation process and further guidance from the Department of Finance for answers.
Generally, I think the past week has been good for bitcoin in Canada. We have a great deal more clarity in terms of what will be expected from certain cryptocurrency businesses in Canada, notably exchanges. We know that the government will cover exchanges under the MSB rules. That proposed regulation, thus far, seems appropriate. We will have to continue to watch to see how narrowly tailored it is. If we get to a set of reasonable definitions in the Regulations, we may well still have a very welcoming regime for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Canada.
On March 14th, lawyers for four plaintiffs filed suit in Toronto against Mt Gox, the bitcoin exchange embroiled in ongoing scandal. Defendants include several corporations in the Mt Gox Group of companies and Mark Karpeles, a majority shareholder in those companies and Mt Gox’s CEO.
The notice of action for the lawsuit is here.
Among other relief, the plaintiffs are seeking certification of the action as a class action under the Ontario Class Proceedings Act, 1992; their appointment as representative plaintiffs for the class; and, C$500M in damages. The proposed class in the proceeding includes all persons in Canada that paid a fee to Mt Gox to buy, sell, or trade bitcoins and all persons in Canada that had bitcoins or fiat money stored on Mt Gox on February 7th of this year. The plaintiffs thus far claim that they’re owed anywhere from a few thousand dollars to 100 bitcoins (close to C$70,000 at today’s exchange rate).
While counsel to the plaintiffs in this action don’t have a copy of the notice of action up on their website, they do have a presser up online. (It’s common for plaintiffs’ counsel to post communications like this both to communicate with and control the proposed class.) Canadian counsel appear to be working alongside the US firm that has brought a class proceeding against some of the same defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and that obtained a temporary restraining order against those defendants on March 11th.
The notice of action contains the usual laundry list of alleged misdeeds including contractual breach, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, conversion, and unjust enrichment.
The Mt Gox defendants can be counted on to try to use its ongoing — and perhaps future — bankruptcy filings and proceedings to stay this and other litigation.
Most of the defendants seem to be outside of Canada and the United States. Those defendants will have 60 days to respond to the notice of action after service. Stay tuned to see what happens in this latest litigation round.
With each passing year, more and more women are achieving notable success in the poker world. Many talented female players have broken through the glass ceiling of the once male-dominated game to win prestigious tournaments and become household names in the world of poker. This probably explains why the game of poker is becoming more and more popular among women both online, at rooms like Titan Poker, and in live poker venues.
Just who are the high profile women poker players who’ve risen to prominence in the game? Let’s take a look at this list (in random order) of some of the world’s best female poker players.
It’s probably fair to say that American professional player Vanessa Selbst is the most successful female poker player ever. Vanessa has bagged over $9 million in tournament prize money – winning tournaments such as the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event, two NAPT Main Events and two World Series of Poker bracelets. She took the $25,000 PCA High Roller title together with a first prize of $1.4 million in 2013.
Vanessa’s made a good start to the New Year – she finished third in the PCA 2014 Super High Roller in January, collecting $760,640. Six days later she placed 3rd in the PCA High Roller event, pocketing $607,580. Vanessa is currently ranked 8th in the world by the Global Poker Index.
Jennifer Harman was the first female player to win two WSOP gold bracelets: the No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball event in 2000 and the $5,000 Limit Hold’em event in 2002. The No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball title is notable because Jennifer had never previously played that type of poker.
Jennifer is a regular player at Bobby’s room at the Bellagio in Vegas, where some of the highest stakes poker games in the world are played with limits at $3,000/$6,000. In a good year, she has cleared $1 million from playing four nights a week at the Bellagio.
In 2010, Jennifer was inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame. Having been the recipient of two kidney transplants, Jennifer does a lot of charity work for CODA (Creating Organ Donation Awareness).
Kathy Liebert has been on the poker scene since 1994, but she is still a regular at the major poker tournaments. She has amassed almost $6 million in prize money, with many of her wins taking place in the first decade of the millennium. Kathy’s largest win ever was in 2002, when she won the PartyPoker Million cruise and landed an amazing $1 million. She won the $1,500 Limit Texas Hold’em Shootout event at the 2004 World Series of Poker, one of three women to win an open event at that year’s WSOP.
Born in 1988, Norwegian Annette Obrestad had already made a name for herself in online poker before she became the youngest person to win a WSOP bracelet in the inaugural World Series of Poker Europe Main Event in 2007, where she pocketed £1,000,000 the day before her 19th birthday.
In online poker playing circles, she’s known as “Annette_15″, as she was only 15 when she first played the game. According to Annette, she never made a deposit into an online poker room, building her bankroll from nothing by playing the freerolls. Annette already has more than $2.5 million in online winnings and nearly $4 million from live events.
Xuan Liu was born in Tian Jin, China, and then moved to live in Toronto, Canada, at the age of five. Although she had enjoyed games of skill from a very early age, she only started playing real money poker at university. She quickly realised this was her passion and has focused on her poker playing career since graduating.
Her winnings at live poker tournaments total more than $1.4 million and her biggest cash was at the 2012 PCA Main Event, when she finished 4th for a prize of $600,000. She has won more than $300,000 online, including her play at Titan Poker. Xuan’s definitely one of the most respected young poker talents out there today, and is a member of EPT Players Council. She is also included on the WPT ‘Ones to Watch’ list.
Born in 1983 in Taipei, Maria’s poker celebrity began at the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event when she took home almost $238,000. She was the last woman standing at the event, finishing 38th out of a field of more than 6,300 players.
At the 2011 WSOP, Maria played heads-up for a bracelet in Event #4 $5,000 No Limit Hold’em, finishing 2nd for her highest cash ever, $540,020. She has over $1.5 million in lifetime tournament winnings at live events.
Liv Boeree studied Astrophysics before starting a poker career at the age of 21. She won the European Poker Tour Main Event in San Remo in 2010, pocketing €1,250,000 and thereby becoming the third woman ever to win an EPT title. Liv’s lifetime tournament winnings at live events now total more than $2 million.
Allyn had a successful career as an attorney before starting to play poker as a hobby. She balanced her career and being a mum while she learned to play poker at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
In 2012, Allyn, her husband Barry, and stepson Jeff, were the first family in history of poker to have three family members at a World Series of Poker final table during the same summer series. That summer, Allyn won the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em – Seniors Championship (Event #29) for a bracelet and a prize of $603,713, her biggest cash ever.
In 2013, Allyn claimed the top prize at the 2013 Card Player Poker Tour Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza III Main Event taking home $293,966. Her lifetime earnings in poker so far amount to more than $1.2 million.
As well as being a television quiz show host, writer, and wife of English comedian David Mitchell (who plays Mark Corrigan in the Channel 4 sitcom ‘Peep Show’), Victoria Coren is one of the best British female poker players. She has amassed nearly $1.75 million in poker prize cash, including her 1st place finish at the 2006 European Poker Championships in London, where she pocketed £500,000.
Vanessa Rousso has won more than $3.5 million in poker tournament prizes and she is listed as one of the top ten most successful Texas Hold’em female players. Playing online with the screen name of “Lady Maverick”, her biggest cash was at the 2007 World Championship of Online Poker, when she finished 2nd and won $700,782.50.
Vanessa’s biggest live win was €570,000 at the 2009 €25,000 EPT High Roller Championship. Vanessa has been active in efforts to legalize online poker in the United States.
These are just some of the most talented female poker players around today, and you probably have additional nominations to be included in such a prestigious list. With every success talented female poker players have, more women feel empowered to pull up a chair (real or virtual…) at the poker table.
Ed Miller’s latest book, Poker’s 1% reveals the secret of poker’s most elite players. The book exposes this secret in one word: frequency. Ed states that the biggest winners in no-limit hold ‘em know that winning play requires playing each hand with the proper frequency. He demonstrates how playing hands correctly and applying this knowledge makes your opponents effectively beat themselves.
While the book touches on which hands to bet, raise, and fold in different scenarios, this isn’t a typical poker strategy book. It’s a book about poker thinking and poker learning. You will gain a fair amount of knowledge just from reading it, but the book is really designed to teach you how to go about determining for yourself what these frequencies should be. Don’t expect to read this book and magically win every chip on the table each time you play. To get the most out of Poker’s 1% you must be prepared to do a lot of work away from the table.
The first five sessions of $1-$3 no limit that I played immediately after reading the book were some of the most profitable and enjoyable sessions I have ever had. If you have the desire to improve your game and the willingness to do the work that is required, this book is for you. Ed presents the necessary steps in an easy to understand manner and it’s a great resource for anyone wanting to improve their game. Learn more about it at Ed’s website notedpokerauthority.com or on Amazon.
The Canadian finance minister, Jim Flaherty, presented the federal government’s 2014 budget plan to Parliament on February 11th. Cryptocurrencies played a small part in the budget, though still an important one for Canadian businesses in the sector.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are addressed under the heading “Strengthening Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regime.” The relevant budget extracts are here. (The entire budget can be downloaded here.) The federal government has indicated that “virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin,” are “emerging risks” in the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing world. Specifically, the government is proposing to introduce anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations for virtual currencies, including bitcoin.
The budget itself is not an authorization to spend money, nor is it a draft bill that becomes law on passage. While the budget vote is a matter of confidence in the government—if the budget were to be defeated, traditionally the government would fall and there would be a General Election—it is really only a roadmap of the government’s spending, legislative, and regulatory priorities over the coming year. Further legislation, regulations, and appropriations bills will implement the budget’s priorities in the coming months.
No-one can say for certain what this means for bitcoin in Canada in the next year as far as its regulation by FinTRAC and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and Regulations are concerned. Currently, FinTRAC takes the view that bitcoins are not “funds” within the meaning of the applicable regulations. However, the government has signaled that no new laws will be promulgated, as such, and that regulations (not requiring a legislative vote) will be sufficient to address any AML-CTF risks that it perceives, but we do not know how those will be specifically addressed.
One guess—and it is only a guess—at this stage is that further regulations will roll cryptocurrencies into the current money services businesses regulations under the PCMLTFA. If that is the approach taken, then that would generally require registration, a compliance regime, and reporting to FinTRAC, among other things, for designated businesses transacting in the bitcoin space. It’s unclear whether this would include miners, exchanges, both of them, or others. I think the main target here is exchanges, and not miners, but anything is possible within the scope of the regulations.
One potentially negative sign is that the budget does not acknowledge—as has US law enforcement before Congress and in at least two criminal complaints emerging from the Southern District of New York—that bitcoin has known legitimate uses and that the government does not want to stamp out its use. This may be deliberate or it may be a function of the budget document turning itself to other, more pressing matters.
Canada still remains friendly to bitcoin (though it is not the case, as some have opined, that there is “no regulation” of bitcoin in Canada). There is no indication at this stage that any province outside of Quebec is actively regulating MSB’s or plans to actively regulate cryptocurrencies through an MSB or similar regime. To the extent that the federal Department of Finance offers some clarity in a sector that wants it, a more active role for FinTRAC may even turn out to be a good thing.
On February 11th, David George-Cosh broke the story of the release of an undated internal document produced by FinTRAC addressing the challenges of cryptocurrencies, primarily bitcoin. FinTRAC is Canada’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing watchdog. The document is a slide deck that was produced further to an Access to Information Act request. The WSJ blog post on the release is here.
A copy of the deck that was released to the public under Access to Information is here.
It’s important to remember that most of what is in this deck does not represent a normative policy position being taken by FinTRAC on cryptocurrencies. (Though note that pages 24-25 of the .pdf document fairly characterizes how FinTRAC views bitcoin vis-a-vis money services businesses under the current Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and Regulations.) I think the bulk of it represents an earnest and honest attempt to canvass available resources and learn about bitcoin. Many bitcoin aficionados might take issue with how some points are set out and the substance of others. However, I think it’s a decent overview and a good start at fairly covering a lot of ground. Over the coming months, we may see how FinTRAC uses this knowledge as they work with the Department of Finance to introduce anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations for cryptocurrencies, as promised in the recent federal budget.
Call it lo-tech, but I bought an actual paper magazine on the way home from Christmas, Popular Science, which lured me with its cover story, “Predictions for 2014″.
Semi-fascinating stuff regarding 3-D printing, a looming crackdown on opiate painkillers, and a right-around-the-corner future filled with bots — the good kind, apparently, not ones that threaten security of the human race and sanctity of Full Tilt Poker. Anyhow, one item that was nifty-neato featured some rhetoric that sounded kinda familiar. Supposedly, according to one of the PS predictions, the drone industry is ready to boom right about now. All they need, say drone
profiteers pioneers, is to attach hole-card cams CyberChris Moneymaker a little government oversight to make sure you don’t go attaching laser death beams to go through your neighbor’s underwear drawer.
“We’re one of very few industries that is actually begging for government regulations,” says Ben Gielow, government relations manager at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. FAA rules could potentially lead to a drone registry to help punish reckless piloting.
Exciting stuff … sounds kinda like a drone-age Pocket 5s, no? Let’s just hope (for the sake of the drone pros) that they have more success with that line than the PPA and AGA have had. Meanwhile, the government seems to be making sure this boom doesn’t get out of hand too early … starting by targeting media operations who may or may not be currently benefiting from unregulated drone piloting.
Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced the unsealing of a federal criminal complaint against Robert Faiella and Charlie Shrem. It’s alleged that Faiella ran an underground bitcoin exchange on Silk Road. Shrem is well-known in the bitcoin community as the CEO of BitInstant and the Vice Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation.
A copy of the criminal complaint against both men is here.
The complaint alleges that both Shrem and Faiella operated an unlicensed money transmitting and that Shrem specifically facilitated that business through BitInstant. Further to those allegations, Shrem is also charged with violations of the Bank Secrecy Act because of his purported wilfull failure to file reports with the Treasury Department. Finally, both men are charged with money laundering conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. 1956.
I’ve reviewed the complaint, and there are already some interesting initial tidbits. One is the standardized use of undercover federal agents to conduct business on the Internet with the investigatory results being used in sworn statements (see starting at para 23). Another is the boilerplate disclaimer in para 14(e) that “[b]itcoins are not inherently illegal and have known legitimate uses,” which is very similar to the complaint language in the earlier Silk Road complaint. (See my earlier post on that complaint here. In fact, many of the same points about Silk Road and bitcoin in the Shrem complaint are made in similar fashion in the Silk Road complaint.) Third, whether bitcoins are considered to be “funds” under US law or not, the fiat US dollars that were allegedly received in the sale of these bitcoins certainly are funds, so there may not be much legal ground to till on that particular point.
This complaint adds nothing new to our understanding of bitcoin usage under US law. Even if we assume that each and every allegation is true (which, I should add, I am not assuming at this stage), all that really tells us is: 1. that one shouldn’t use bitcoins to transact illegal or illicit activities, online or in a bricks and mortar environment (the same could be said of cash); and, 2. that exchange services in the US have to follow the money transmitter rules, both in terms of registration and ongoing compliance. We knew both of those things already: from the current wording of federal law, from the Congressional hearings last year (wherein both the DOJ and FinCEN seemed clear that they have the tools to attack nefarious uses of bitcoin), and from Silk Road complaint, as just three examples. If true, these allegations triggering federal prosecution don’t appear all that novel.
As much as anything, this complaint is further proof of what people have been saying since the Silk Road complaint news broke last October: that there would be fallout from last year’s allegations and that more and more people involved with Silk Road would be caught up in the ongoing probe by federal prosecutors and law enforcement.
Perhaps in response, the price of bitcoin dropped briefly to below $825 (from $888 earlier today) before recovering somewhat to $835.
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has made poker history, providing some of the most memorable moments to ever unfold on the green velvet. The sport has become truly captivating for audiences and participants alike, with the tournament witnessing such euphoric highs and crashing lows all at a single table.
Here are some of the best moments in the history of the WSOP event.
Annette Obrestad Becomes WSOP Youngest Winner
At the tender age of 18, Norwegian poker player Annette Obrestad became the youngest-ever person to win a WSOP bracelet. Her victory came at the inaugural WSOPE £10,000 Main Event in 2007 at the Empire Casino in London.
Obrestad defeated Welshman John Tabatabai for a first place prize of £1 million and a place in the history books, just one day before her nineteenth birthday. She went on to impress in the online world as well, when she won against 180 people in an online tournament in July 2007, having only looked at her hole cards once the entire time.
Daniel Negreanu is Named WSOP Player of the Year Twice
Last year’s race to be named WSOP Player of the Year saw Canadian pro Daniel Negreanu come up against Matt Ashton, who held the lead after cashing in the first event of the series.
Negreanu wasn’t about to give up his title to the young Brit, and he overcame a huge player pool of 80 players to scoop the €25,600 High Roller event in the 2013 WSOPE in Paris. This victory won him his second bracelet of the season and cemented him as the first player to win WSOP Player of the Year twice.
Jamie Gold Wins Largest WSOP Main Event
Jamie Gold was able to impressively manipulate his opponents during the 2006 WSOP Main Event, telling them exactly what he had in his hand and still coming out on top. Not only did his skills see him fend off the largest WSOP player pool of 8,773 participants, but he also landed the largest ever WSOP Main Event prize of $12 million.
Despite his victory, it all went south for Gold. He was sued for half his profits by a former business partner, whom he had signed an agreement with before the tournament. He was then rumoured to have hit rock bottom, with his WSOP bracelet being auctioned off.
Phil Hellmuth Bags Two WSOP Main Events on Two Continents
With the WSOP it’s not just about what you win, but where you win as well. No one knows that better than Phil Hellmuth. As the most decorated WSOP in the world, it comes as no surprise that he has also been crowned the first ever player to win WSOP Main Events on two different continents.
At the 2012 event in Cannes, 23 years after his first victory, Hellmuth overcame Ukranian Sergii Baranov to not only leave his stamp on the tournament’s history, but to add to the 13 WSOP gold bracelets and almost $18 million in live tournament earnings he had amassed during that time.
Chris Moneymaker’s Game Changing Win
Chris Moneymaker’s WSOP win in 2003 was so impressive that it’s credited as giving rise to the online poker boom of the early 2000’s, where normal people flocked to sites such as au.royalvegascasino.com to emulate his success.
Totally unknown to the media, Moneymaker won a seat in the $10,000 WSOP event via an online satellite for just $39. There, in front of millions of people watching the ESPN event coverage, Moneymaker defeated the top pros at their own game, earning a $2.5 million prize befitting of his name and inspiring crowds of players to pursue their own road to stardom.
PokerStars, the biggest most legitimate online poker site in the world, which got that way by thumbing its nose at the US government for their stupid laws, has gotten the big X in Nevada, and in New Jersey … so where to next? According to my personal Linked In recommended jobs feed, the less pokery-sounding Stars/Tilt parent Rational Group seem to be setting up shop in California, with a new open position(s?) to beef up their “social” gaming presence. Seems to make sense, with Cali kinda a holy grail as the only state, along with Texas, that could supply a profitably massive player pool. Or it could just be a play to recruit some Bay area tech talent …
Meanwhile, to catch up those of us who may have checked out for a semester, gaming law expert I. Nelson Rose explains rather succinctly the other day, in an appearance on Fox Business, where things currently stand with
Obamapoker the slow rollout of American online gambling. And, he explains, why California online poker doesn’t really stand a chance this year (even though politicians are still happy to take your donations for giving it the good-ole college try) — go 2014!
Stuff’s goin’ on …
Gone are the days when going to casino resorts with the family meant endless days spent at buffets and boring nights spent cooped up in cold hotel rooms with cranky kids and a dissatisfied spouse. These days, besides playing hosts to venerable World Series of Poker players, casinos are pretty family-centric now and gambling enthusiasts can easily planned an enjoyable vacation at their favorite gaming spots. And guess what, the wife and kids would actually be excited to go!
Check out these exciting activities you and your family to consider next year:
Winter in Venice – Las Vegas
If you’re bored of the same old Christmas spent at your mother-in-law’s place, you could have revisited Las Vegas and saw how it transformed into a totally different realm. The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas hosted a celebration called Winter in Venice from November through January 5, 2014.
Accommodation and packages
Because it’s peak season, you won’t be at fault for balking at rates that are seemingly higher than normal, but if you stayed at least one night at The Venetian or The Palazzo, you and your family members could have received a Passaporto di Winter in Venice, which gave you access to discounted offers worth over $1,000. This passport of sorts allowed you to wine and dine, be pampered at spas, enjoy exciting retail therapy sessions and be entertained like never before – all within your ideal budget.
A truly Winter Christmas on the outdoor skating rink
If you’ve always wanted to know what’s it like to ice-skate, wonder no more. You could have taken a leisurely stroll to the outdoor skating rink located outside The Venice and be greeted with a most enchanting sight. Giant snowflakes and fairy lights embellished the area, dominated by a 65-feet awe-inspiring Christmas tree. What was even more impressive is that the skating rink was not made out of ice, but was created out of a specially-crafted, environmentally friendly materially called dubbed “ven-ICE”. Unlike ice, this material did not require electricity or refrigeration, and could be likened to a type of recyclable polymer that worked just as great as actual ice!
After doing several figure eights and enjoying the joyful atmosphere at the skating rink, you and your loved ones can stroll around the 65-feet Christmas tree that was decked out with the most colorful and bright LED lights. Entertainers and carollers were just a few steps away, so you could have enjoyed the music and fun that permeated the air.
A Winter in Venice Green Fantasy
Nature lovers could have revelled in the “A Winter in Venice Fantasy” showcase situated at the Waterfall Gardens, specially brought to you by the highly talented horticulture team at The Palazzo. Here, guests and visitors alike were enchanted by 20-foot frosted trees, majestic waterfalls, fresh flowering plants, hand-crafted ornaments and white-and-pearl peacock structures that culminated in a truly stunning winter wonderland.
Holiday enchantment parade and “Light of Venice” 3D light projection show
Think Mardi Gras parades are amazing? Then it was a shame that you did not manage to check out the holiday parade (led by the majestic Queen Aldabella) held nightly at the resort and marvel at the colorful characters and beautiful costumes they donned just for the celebration. After that, you could have stayed on and witnessed the “Light in Venice” 3S light projection show where the climax featured the complete and elaborated illumination of the resort plaza and its 65-foot Christmas tree.
Winter at Cotai Strip, Macau
Presented by Sands China, the “Winter at Cotai Strip” event officially started at the Cotai Strip Resorts Macau. If you want a change from the usual winter holiday scene, then you could have headed towards what was touted as Asia’s largest winter festival.
The entire outdoors spanning the resort’s property had been transformed into a wondrous winter wonderland complete with towering Christmas tree, sparkling ornaments and an ice-skating rink. There were also winter markets full of vendors who peddled their delightful Christmas-themed wares that made great last-minute presents and stocking-stuffers for loved ones.
The Dreamworks Experience
Kids were not forgotten during this event. Your young ones would have been delighted with a visit to the Dreamworks Experience at Cotai Strip Resorts Macau where you could have met, greeted and taken photos with your favorite Dreamworks characters from “Shrek”, “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda” at the Paradise Gardens. There were also daily Dreamworks All Star Parade that entertained your entire family as you revelled in performances by puppeteers, dancers and stilt-walkers.
Author bio: Jeremy Henderson is an avid gamer, who also loves writing. He has for years played in poker tournaments around the world and made a living off it. He has also ghost written a number of articles that have been featured in reputed journals.
Teddy Sheringham is one of the most successful soccer players of the last half a century. His professional career lasted twenty-four years, making him one of the game’s survivors. His quality as a player earned him an MBE, presented to him by Prince Charles for services to soccer on the 20th of November 2007.
He is also father to Charlie Sheringham, who has had a successful league and non-league career, and now plays for AFC Wimbledon as a striker. Teddy too played mainly as a second striker, first for Millwall between 1983 and 1991, before moving on to Tottenham Hotspur and then Manchester United – it was whilst playing for MU that he was named PFA Player of the Year in 20001.
He retired in 2007/08, at the age of 4, spending his time improving his poker game. He is now a frequent on the world poker scene, and has racked up over $300,000 in live tournament winnings, including two World Series of Poker (WSOP) cashes. He also has a final table finish at a leg of the European Poker Tour under his belt, which netted him a cool €93,000.
Two final table appearances in the Palm Beach Big Game and a final table finish at The Ritz Club mean that he is no rookie – he has been playing seriously for the last six years, but has been playing poker throughout his adult life.
He learned to play poker in dens, hotels and on coaches, and says that he really learned to play poker by losing money. He has a tendency, like a lot of new players, to go for big hands and pairs, to be flash and cool. Now he says “it’s more about trying to figure out what other people have got, using real skill, and whether they’re bluffing. You have to think ahead.”
Luckily, since bwin started up, you don’t need to lose money to learn to play poker well. For beginners, Texas hold’em is usually considered the best starting point, you can find all the details here: poker.bwin.be/nl/texas-holdem.
You can practice hands and enter freeroll tournaments with bwin without spending anything at all – and according to most pros out there, the new guys who learn online are the best players out there. Start with free tournaments, learn the ropes, and then build up to cash games with the free bwin poker school.
All good things must come to an end, right? And if you remember Vegas Grinders, you know we were big fans of the MegaBeat Jackpot, a progressive multi-property payout. Though none of us cashed in, the promotion was enough to draw each of us (and many of you) to various Caesars property poker rooms on repeat occasion. Anyhow, promotions naturally change, and it’s been about a year that the MB was in play, but there does seem to be some decentralization going on at Caesars- and WSOP-branded poker rooms in Las Vegas — or maybe it’s more of a recentralization? — which may or may not have anything to do with different rooms getting autonomy while others prepare for the axe. Wild speculation, but we do know that email addresses have changed recently, with a promo list like the one below coming from @caesarspalace.com instead of @caesars.com … and these sorts of changes seldom happen for no good or apparent reason.
Caesars Palace January poker room promo info below:
We are having a few changes to both our tournaments and promotions starting January 11 at 12:01 am.
- We are ending our Mega Beat promotion…. Effective 1/10/14 @ 11:59pm.
- Our last 20 for 20 free roll will be this Sunday 1/5/14 @ 10am.
- We are bringing back High Hand Promotion
- Four of a Kind pays $100
- Straight Flush pays $200
- Royal Flush pays $500
- Aces and Faces Cracked (Limit games only)
- Get Aces or Kings Cracked get a $100
- Get Queens or Jacks Cracked get $50
- Starting after our Winter Poker Classic is over (January 20th, 2014) Tournament Guarantees are back!!!
- Monday – Friday Noon $110 buy-in will have a $2,000 guarantee (No guarantee on Sat. and Sun. Noon tournaments.)
- Saturday and Sunday 2pm $235 buy-in will have a $5,000 guarantee.
Event to be held opening night of the Winter furniture market
Co-Hosts hope to exceed last year’s total of $35,226!
LAS VEGAS – The Ante4Autism Co-Hosts will continue their mission to raise awareness of the disability and raise money to help fund research into the cause and cure for Autism. The 6th Annual Ante4Autism poker tournament will be held at the Golden Nugget in the “Grand” event center on Sunday, January 26th at 7 PM.
The buy-in for the Texas Hold’em poker event is only $125, with $40 re-buys available! All players will receive an Autism Speaks pin for playing! All final table players will receive great merchandise prizes for being top finishers. The winner will also receive the Grand Champion winner’s plaque! The complete details of the event are available at www.Ante4autism.com.
(L) Ante4Autism 2013 Co-Champions Poker Pro Chip Jett and James Baker look forward to defending their crown.
(R) Co-Host Allen Parvizian, with poker pros Karina and Chip Jett, welcome all to play in or sponsor the 6th Annual Ante4Autism poker tournament.
Co-Host Mike McQuiston mentioned: “The prevalence of Autism continues to rise and we must figure out why.”
“All the proceeds of the event go to Autism Speaks to fund research into the cause of Autism”, McQuiston said. “Sponsorships are available online at www.Ante4autism.com or sponsors can contact Co-Host Doug Krinsky directly at 614-554-0802 or e-mail him at ante4autism @aol.com”, he commented. Co-Host Randy Coconis, reiterated that, “There will be a silent auction at the event with outstanding entertainment and sports memorabilia items available.” Players can now register to play and donations are now being accepted online at www.Ante4autism.com.
Co-Hosts for the 6th Annual event include:
Gary Blackney, Simmons: Allen Parvizian, APJL Consulting: Myra Stone, Independent Representative: Randy Coconis, Coconis Furniture; Richie Gallaher, Tempur-Pedic; Stuart Carlitz, Eclipse International; Phil Miner, Symbol Mattress; Mike McQuiston, Symbol Mattress; Scott Graham, Trucomfortmattress.com; Jerry Williams, PMD Furniture Direct; Anthony Mehran, Huffman Koos Furniture; Joseph Amato, Mattress Matters; Mark Quinn, Leggett and Platt and Doug Krinsky, Restonic.
Co-Host Myra Stone and the entire Host committee would like to thank all of our past sponsors and companies for their donations and look forward to an even bigger and better event this year. We also want to thank the Golden Nugget for their outstanding support of our event and we look forward to them hosting us again next year.
Co-Host Scott Graham reminds us all: “Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed now in 1 in 88 children in the United States, and 1 in 54 boys.” He commented further: “It is very important we continue to help all the families impacted by Autism in any way we can.” We hope to see everyone at the 6th Annual Ante4autism poker tournament, Sunday, January, 26th at the Golden Nugget at 7 PM!
All three of these companies’ ads are in heavy rotation on the Trenton, NJ, transit station video displays like they belong. (Take that Bill Frist!)
Georges St. Pierre pimpin’ for 888.
Betfair Casino in New Jersey offering more than just poker.
Ahh, dear old PartyPoker, welcome home.