July 20, 2012
More and more states in the US are pivoting toward online gambling as budgetary pressures – and the threat of other states getting to the market first – continue to weigh heavily on those in positions of power.
The latest state to execute such a move: Georgia, which announced yesterday that residents will soon be able to purchase some lottery tickets online.
The decision adds the Georgia Lottery to the relatively short list (for now) of states that offer online lottery sales. Georgia now sits along with Illinois Lottery (the first to offer online sales) as the two states directly offering lottery sales over the Internet. That’s certainly a paltry set of options when compared with any list of casino websites serving US players, but most expect several states – including Iowa, Delaware, Rhode Island and as many as a dozen others – to bend to the trend and bring their lotteries online within the next year or so.
Before you first up the computer to purchase some lottery tickets, a dose of reality: Sales in Georgia won’t begin until the fall, will be limited to residents of Georgia and will consist (at least at the outset) of only three games: Powerball, Mega Millions and Fantasy 5.
Does this move suggest a willingness by the government of Georgia to expand online gambling into other segments such as poker and casino games? Never say never, but it seems highly unlikely; the state has powerful restrictions against gambling expansion aside from the state lottery and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has been a vocal opponent of other gambling proposals. The state lottery, it seems, exists in a political sweet spot that essentially renders it a special form of gambling – a sweet spot that doesn’t appear to have any room for online casinos or online poker. In short, allowing online lottery sales may move Georgia closer to offering online poker, but the state remains so far away as to make that movement essentially irrelevant.
What the move does do for online poker, however, is further the overall momentum for action on both the state and federal level. On the state level, expect other governments to see Georgia’s decision as something of a green light for their own online gambling plans. For states that were already planning a similar move, this will accelerate their timetable; for states that were on the fence, this may push plans from the hypothetical to the actual. On the federal level, Georgia represents a concrete example of the very thing advocates of federal-based regulation seek to prevent: Each state crafting their own unique online gambling regulations, creating a nasty patchwork of laws that will ultimately undermine the potential of the US market as a while.
It seems as if, after years and years of false starts, plans for regulated online gambling in the United States are finally starting to manifest in concrete action. Expect Georgia to be only one of several states in the US with a major online gambling announcement in 2012.
July 15, 2012
The 2012 WSOP is turning out to be an unlucky one for famous Phils. Four famous players sharing the same first name – Phil Ivey, Phil Laak, Phil Helmuth, and Phil Galfond have all been knocked out of the tournament. The July 13 WSOP main event wrapup on Carbon Poker’s blog noted the exit of Phil Galfond; here we’ll examine the exits of all four famous Phils who won’t be making it to the final table this year.
Phil Ivey was knocked out on day 2B, and as Bluff Magazine observed, the television cameras had been lingering over his table engaged in what they dubbed the “death watch.” Indeed, Ivey met his WSOP death after coming to the table severely short stacked. ESPN’s blog reported that Ivey was near the bottom of the over 2300 player field chips-wise and was knocked out of the tournament within an hour.
Perhaps Ivey was distracted by his personal woes, with his ongoing messy divorce again in the news this week. The Washington Post reported that Ivey’s case will be going before the Nevada Supreme Court. At issue is whether Clark County family court judge William Gonzalez was influenced by a $5000 campaign donation contributed by Phil Ivey. In Nevada, judges are elected and therefore it is necessary for them to raise campaign funds. Individuals are permitted to donate up to $10,000 to a judicial campaign, a rule that has long brought speculation about favorable treatment by judges. Though the Iveys’ divorce was finalized in 2009, Luciaetta Ivey returned to court in 2011 seeking payment of spousal support, bringing to light the campaign contributions given to Gonzalez.
Phil Helmuth busted out on Day 1A of the main event this year, and tweeted his displeasure at such a quick exit:
I’m out of Main Event!Feeling tortured: Feeling sick…Maniac winning every pot w K-9 + Q-8, KNEW he would implode, BUT he busts me 1st
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) July 8, 2012
His despair was short-lived, however, as he tweeted three days later about a pretty nice win after leaving the main event:
After I was eliminated from Main, I played all night and won 20K.Then I played 30 hrs at Aria and won 16K, and I just won 29K in 2 hrs.
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) July 11, 2012
Extremely happy with the way I played, met lots of cool people, and enjoyed playing the entire time. Honestly, not upset in the slightest.
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) July 13, 2012
The most intriguing Phil story is that of Phil Laak. It’s a bit of a mystery just what happened to Phil Laak this year. He doesn’t appear on the chip counts for day five, yet news of his exit from the tournament can’t be found. He did give an interview when he showed up for the tournament, which is posted below.
Be sure to keep up with the 2012 WSOP main event at http://www.carbonpoker.ag/.