DOJ Files Motion to Dismiss Wire Act Case, Future Still Unclear

No clarity to be found after the DOJ's motion to dismiss the Wire Act suit brought by IGT; only more questions about the possible future of interstate online poker.

This past week marked a major milestone in the multi-year odyssey of the Wire Act, but there was very little extra clarity when the dust settled. Following its 30-day extension, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) faced its expiration deadline last week. On February 23, with the 30 days up, the DOJ filed a motion to dismiss the case brought by International Game Technology (IGT) that sought to clarify the scope of the Wire Act.

With possible implications across the online gambling landscape in the US, the November 2021 lawsuit filed by IGT is just the latest move in a long saga prompted by conflicting opinions from the DOJ under different administrations. It was hoped that the Biden administration might make a definitive move to finally clarify the scope of the Act — specifically, whether it was restricted to just online sports betting or all forms of online gambling, including online poker — but the motion to dismiss leaves more questions and a new set of mixed opinions.

While some industry legal experts called the motion “an unmistakable wink and nod” to the gaming industry, others weren’t so sure. Some suggested it was more of a spring-cleaning kind of move by the DOJ, trying to clear a case off its plate with limited effort, and that the motion had nothing to do with an interpretation of the Wire Act.

It’s been a long and complicated case already, but the DOJ’s latest move just seems to add to that confusion even further. Experts disagree on the implications of the motion, and IGT is left without any clarification on its future legal risk.

Read up on the full history and timeline of the Wire Act on pokerfuse. Read more on the DOJ’s motion to dismissand US gaming attorney’s thoughts on what this means for the online gambling industry at our sister site, US Gaming Review.

published 11 months, 1 week ago • by permalink

GGPoker Celebrates Two Years of GGMasters with Audacious Guarantee

With the name GGMasters Overlay Edition, GGPoker is pushing the added money hard, making sure players know there will be a lot of extra value in this game.

Mark March 20, 2022 on your poker calendar — GGPoker wants to give away some free money. In celebration of two years of running its flagship Sunday series, the operator is hosting a special anniversary edition of GGMasters with ten times the usual guarantee.

For just $150, players will be competing for a $5 million guaranteed prize pool. Under normal circumstances, that might be a reachable target, but this special game has one added clause — it’s a pure freezeout game.

There are three flights to get into the final day, which runs on March 21, but players can only enter the game once. The old-school “one and done” format makes a $5 million guarantee virtually impossible to hit, and GG seems aware of this fact as well and just went right ahead and named the game “the Overlay edition”.

GGMasters Overlay Edition: Key Numbers and Facts

  • Runs on March 20
  • Buy-in of $150
  • Freezeout — No re-entry. No re-buy.
  • $5 million guarantee
  • Would need over 36,000 players to cover
  • Three starting flights — for Asia, Europe, and the Americas — but players can only enter once
  • Day 2 runs on March 21
published 11 months, 1 week ago • by permalink

PokerStars Looks to Enter Ontario’s Emerging Legal Market

On April 4, ring-fenced legal online poker & iGaming is set to go live in Canada's biggest province. PokerStars eyes opening shop in the closed Ontario Market.

Poker in Canada’s biggest province is set to change radically at the beginning of April when new regulations go into effect and the province opens its new legal online gaming market. While the new regulations have implications across the Ontario online gaming landscape, poker players and operators alike will be affected by the new regime. Even with the closed market and new regulatory processes, it seems that iGaming operators as a whole are eager to get their licenses. Among them is PokerStars, who appears to be eyeing a launch in the new Ontario regulated market.

As of April 4, all legal, regulated poker clients in Ontario will need to be licensed by iGaming Ontario (iGO) and one of the requirements will be a ring-fenced player pool of Ontario residents only. While it seems likely that players will still be able to access many existing grey-market alternatives, operators who want a piece of the regulated pie in Ontario will need to play by the rules.

PokerStars has a huge presence in Canada already and it seems to be signaling its intentions to get into the game in Ontario. Details are still sparse, but pokerfuse reports that the global poker giant is working with Ontario regulators to find an “attractive offering” for players.

This indicates that PokerStars is willing to work within the forthcoming ring-fenced regulated market. The fact that the new market will be restricted to the provincial borders is actually not as bad as it might sound. With almost 16 million people, Ontario is actually larger than any of the three closed systems in which PokerStars currently operates in the US.

There are many changes coming for Ontarians who gamble online, and Ontario online poker players are no exception. While a ring-fenced solution may not be ideal from the players’ perspective, at least they can rest a little easier knowing that the regulators have their backs and that one of the most popular clients in Canada is working to find a way to keep PokerStars Ontario on its virtual felt.

published 11 months, 1 week ago • by permalink

Final Weekend of BetMGM Poker USA’s Bounty Blitz

After a week of bounty action on BetMGM USA, the final weekend of the series is playing out with more than $300k in guarantees still waiting.

There have already been 15 events in the BetMGM Poker USA Bounty Blitz series, but there’s a big weekend yet to come. There is still nearly $400,000 in guarantees on offer this weekend, including the $50,000 guaranteed Purple Chip Bounty with $1,000 buy-in and $500 bounties in all three states ($75,000 guaranteed in New Jersey).

There are eight other events remaining on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with prices of $35, $50, and $100. There are two turbos and one hyper-turbo in the mix, while the rest of the games are regular speed. Additionally, there are three satellites through the weekend on Saturday and Sunday to get into the big $1,000 Purple Chip Bounty game on Sunday.

It doesn’t matter if you play in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Michigan, if you like PKO games, BetMGM is the place to be this weekend. The Bounty Blitz is in full swing now, but there’s still a lot of bounties left to take, and prize money to be won.

published 11 months, 1 week ago • by permalink

Ian Simpson Leaves Unibet Poker

One of the most stable ambassador teams in the online poker game got a shakeup this weekend when Ian Simpson announced he was leaving Unibet Poker.

The beginning of a new year is always the time to look for movement among the ambassador teams, but it may have been something of a surprise when Ian Simpson announced he was leaving Unibet Poker after five years as an ambassador for the site.

Simpson made the announcement on Feb 26 through his social media channels, but he’s hardly the first big name to move on from the brand they represented. Other recent moves included Isaac Haxton and Jeff Gross leaving partypoker, and Sofia Lovgren exiting the 888poker stage. And after a year with ACR, Vanessa Kade also chose to move on earlier this year.

What makes this announcement more memorable, perhaps, is that the Unibet Poker team has been relatively stable. Simpson is just completing his fifth year with the brand, and his former compatriots Dara O’Kearney and David Lappin have been with Unibet been even longer.

While it’s not really a surprise to see poker ambassadors leave a brand at the beginning of a new year, Simpson’s departure from Unibet comes as a surprise from one of the longest-running established teams in the business.

published 11 months, 1 week ago • by permalink