Quickie news dump. Three poker and gambling-related stories of note…
1. RAWA Busto?
Greedheads posing as fear-mongering moralists exposed!
The Restoration of the Wire Act (RAWA) is a bill, introduced by OGR Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz, which sought to ban different forms of online gambling in America on the federal level. RAWA finally got a congressional hearing named “A Casino in Every smartphone: Law Enforcement Implications.” Even the panelists on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were wondering WTF they were doing there, while Chaffetz and other opponents of online gambling (sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson) got caught with their pants down.
The RAWA Hearing fell flat on its face. Excellent analysis by Dustin Gouker with his article Did We Just Witness The Death Of RAWA In A Congressional Hearing?
Yes, one of the many preposterous arguments against the evils of online gambling include online sites help terrorists fund their Jihads against America. Joseph Campbell, Assistant Director FBI Criminal Investigative Division, provided testimony on any potential criminal activity that could blossom from online gambling. Despite the outrageous claims of terror financing and online gaming, the FBI never found any link.
Watch the complete RAWA hearing (the action starts at the 37-minute mark)...
2. PokerStars VIP Battle: $4 Million in Free Money
PokerStars went from a family-run company to an international corporate entity after Amaya acquired PokerStars. Philosophical fiduciary differences are the crux of this ongoing battle between high-ranking suits and high-stakes grinders.
Pros quickly rallied together and formed a three-day boycott at the start of December. Dani “Ansky” Stern appeared on the 2+2 Pokercast podcast to discuss the boycott he initiated. Ansky and other Super Nova Elites are now on the verge of extinction.
The first-wave of op-eds are popping up in the poker ether. “Did the boycott work?” wondered Dan Katz in his column.
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu shared his thoughts on the matter in a recent blog post.
PokerStars responded to the recent controversy by announcing a series of four different $1 million freerolls (open to all players) and a tad bit of shade…
The recent three-day boycott by some players that disagree with our announced VIP changes did not have a significant impact on PokerStars, as traffic actually spiked through the period as a result of the start of our long-planned holiday promotion. Of course, that doesn't mean it went unnoticed by us. We care very deeply about what players say and what they expect of us. And we strive to live up to their expectations.
3. Portugal Solo
Portugal is going solo with its online gambling following in the footsteps of France and Italy. Portugal is a rather small market, so the news was certainly surprising.
Last week, Portuguese officials stunned the gaming world when they announced intentions to segregate Portugal's online poker players away from the global player pool.
Portugal is awaiting the EU's approval of their licensing, which is expected to happen any day now. Once Portugal gets the greenlight from the EU, they can roll out their first Portugal-only sites as early as February.
The partitioned online casinos might thrive for Portugal and generate them more revenue, but online poker rooms are going to struggle. Expect a mass exodus of any serious Portuguese online grinders.