Posts Tagged ‘uigea’

Ben Mezrich defends Angle he took in New Book “Straight Flush”

Friday, June 14th, 2013

One of the biggest stories in the poker world over the past few weeks has been Ben Mezrich’s new book Straight Flush. Mezrich, who’s famous for writing The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, took an in-depth look at the rise and fall of Absolute Poker in his latest work. But many poker players don’t believe that Straight Flush does an adequate job of explaining the corruption involved with Absolute.

The famed author largely disagrees with this notion and defended the angle he took with his poker book in an interview with CalvinAyre.com. When asked about TwoPlusTwo forum members bashing how he allegedly skipped over a major cheating incident at Absolute Poker, Mezrich explained the situation with the following:

There’s a group of people who feel that Scott (Tom) is very evil and that the founders of AP are horrible and cheats. And I think the book is a works-in-all tale, although they would disagree. But I think the cheating scandal’s in there, there’s no cover-up, there’s no defense. It tells the story in their words. It’s certainly from their point of view. But I think the rise and fall of AP is told well in this story, and certainly what happened with the UIGEA and what happened with the industry, which I think is what’s important in this story.

Ben Mezrich went on to show some sympathy for those who’d lost money due to the scandal and said that he gets why the book is controversial. However, writing a book completely about the cheating scandal isn’t what he wanted to do. Instead, Mezrich wanted to focus on the rise and fall of Absolute Poker along with how unjust the UIGEA was.

The author’s recent interview with CalvinAyre is still unlikely to win Mezrich any points with hardcore poker enthusiasts, some of whom lost money when Absolute went offline following Black Friday. However, he does do a good job of defending his position, which has always been writing entertaining, glamorized stories about young college students who build financial empires, only to experience struggles and controversy along the way.

This formula has helped Mezrich’s books be spun into two huge movies in The Social Network (Accidental Billionaires) and 21 (Bringing Down the House). And as he contends in the CalvinAyre interview, it won’t be long before Straight Flush is turned into a major film.

Ben Mezrich on Absolute Poker – “They were Days away from being like Mark Zuckerberg”

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Ben Mezrich continues to receive mainstream coverage on his book Straight Flush. The Accidental Billionaires author’s newest work dives into the story of how six University of Montana frat brothers founded Absolute Poker. As many know, Absolute would become one of the world’s largest online poker sites, pulling in $1 million in profit a day at one point.

Mezrich’s depiction of the Absolute Poker story is generating quite a bit of press. He recently appeared on CNBC to discuss Straight Flush (interview in link) and had some very interesting things to say about it.

One of the more intriguing subjects that Mezrich discussed was how Absolute Poker owners were just days away from launching an initial public offering. However, the multi-billion dollar company’s 2006 IPO was derailed when US President George W. Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) into effect in 2006.

“These guys were the first people and these guys are paying the price for being too early,” Mezrich stated. “They were days away from being like Mark Zuckerberg.” But as fate would have it, Absolute’s owners, Scott Tom and Brent Beckley, essentially lost their poker site after Black Friday (April 15th, 2011), when the US Department of Justice busted AP.

During the interview, Mezrich also went into detail on the UIGEA and legalized gambling today. “The (US) government, in my opinion, passed some hypocritical bill that went after online poker for reasons unexplained,” he said. “And now it’s starting to come back – now online poker is starting to be legalized. But these guys (AP founders) were kind of the first people, and now they’re kind of paying the price for being too early.”

Mezrich also mentions how he hopes Straight Flush will eventually become a movie. Kevin Spacey was brought up during the interview since he starred in 21 – the film adaptation of Mezrich’s¬†Bringing Down the House. Assuming Straight Flush does get turned into a movie, watch for Spacey to grace the screen in a prominent role.

Online Poker removed from Wire Act – Legal Now?

Monday, December 26th, 2011

In a surprise bit of news the other day, the US Department of Justice clarified the Wire Act of 1961, and stated that online poker is no longer considered in violation of this law.

This is a pretty big victory for online poker in the United States because the Wire Act outlaws gambling when it crosses from state to state. Seeing as how internet poker no longer falls under the Wire Act any longer, it’s not technically illegal.

Of course, it was never “illegal” for people to play online poker – except in the state of Washington – but it’s still good news that federal lawmakers no longer consider internet poker breaking the law.¬†Instead, the only online wagering activity that the US government views as illegal now is online sports betting.

So does this mean that lawmakers are turning a blind eye towards online poker and chasing after sports betting operations instead? Absolutely not, and you can still expect the UIGEA to continue hampering US online poker until regulation and legalization is set in motion.

After all, the UIGEA prevents banks from dealing with gambling-related transactions, and this is the big reason why some poker sites have committed bank and wire fraud in order to service players. They need ways around the current laws, and unfortunately, these methods have turned out to be illegal in certain situations.

So while online poker may not fall under the Wire Act anymore, we still have a ways to go before those in the US are playing poker free and clear. With talk of regulation some time in 2012 or 2013, it may not be an eternity before the United States sees a better structure in place for online poker players. But we’ll have to wait until that day actually comes.

UIGEA Goes Into Effect For Banking Institutions

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Most real-money online poker players in the United States are familiar with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which puts limitations on online gambling within the United States. However, not many were aware that the act did not officially go into effect until this month. June 1 marks the date in which banks and other financial institutions are officially responsible for complying with the act.

How will this act affect real money poker players on the web? Fortunately, not much. According to Steve Kenneally, VP of the American Banking Association, most banks and financial institutions have already been complying with the terms of the UIGEA since it went into effect in January of last year.

John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance debunks rumors that this month marks doomsday for online poker in the United States. He says, “Many people believe that any ill effect of the UIGEA has already been felt over the last four years. While I can’t make any guarantees, I do have a sense that this will be more of a blip on the radar screen than a catastrophic event, as some may have predicted.”

Only time will tell if the official enforcement of the UIGEA will affect the real money online poker scene and force all US players to revert to playing free poker. However, the outlook doesn’t look too gloomy. Poker activists continue to try to get the UIGEA overturned.

Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act Back on the Scene

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

For those of you who are following the introduction of various online poker and Internet gambling legslation in Congress, Representative Jim McDermott’s Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act was reintroduced last week.

This act serves as a companion to Barney Frank’s bill to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. The UIGEA has not outlawed online poker or gambling. However, it puts strict regulations on banks, credit card companies and online payment services, which has caused a lot of problems for online poker players in the United States.

Barney Frank’s bill has set guidelines for licensing and regulation of the online gambling industry, suggesting that online gambling operators will be required to collect certain fees and pay certain taxes. The Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act states what those fees and taxes will be. The new version, which was introduced last week, establishes not only a federal license fee but a state license fee as well. Additionally, it states that 25% of federal revenue gleaned from online gambling will go towards foster care programs, which is an issue that McDermott strongly supports.

McDermott hopes to gain more support for this bill after Frank’s bill is marked up in the coming months by the House Financial Services Committee. If these bills are passed, it should make things much easier for online poker players in the United States.

Are More Senators Jumping on the Online Poker Bandwagon?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

It’s no surprise that House Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts supports online poker, with his very public work to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) over the past couple of years. By the same token, other congressmen such as New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez have also publicly supporting online gambling. However, in recent months more and more political figures are coming out of the woodwork to support the licensing and regulation of online poker.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid, a democrat, first hinted at his possible support of regulating online gambling sites when he sent a letter asking for the delay of the UIGEA in 2006. Poker Players Alliance (PPA) executive director, John Pappas, says that while he isn’t one hundred percent sure that Reid has come around on the issue, he believes that “[Reid] recognizes that there’s some serious failures in the UIGEA.” The PPA finds the fact that Reid sent this letter very encouraging.

In fact, the PPA has been so encouraged by Senator Reid that they are supporting him in his campaign for reelection. However, Senator Reid has not yet come out and said that he would support licensing of online casinos in the United States, in part because he needs to watch out for the live casino industry, which thrives in Nevada, the home of Las Vegas.

Though Reid is not yet a sure thing, he is expected to become a supporter and other congressmen are expected to follow suit.