Poker Stars Eyes California Market; Perry Wants “Time Out” for Online Gambling; CNBC’s ‘Money Talks’ is Bogus; Feds Say College Athletes Can Unionize


poker stars





PokerStars in talks to offer online poker in California

by Staff & Wire Report

Recent accounts in the media indicate that PokerStars is in partnership negotiations with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and three large Southern California Card Clubs to offer online poker in California.

The news accounts come at a particularly opportunistic time, when the California State Legislature will be debating two measures that will authorize the play of online poker within California’s borders.

One of the most significant issues in the legislative discussions is who will be allowed to offer online poker in California. From the California Tribal Business Alliance’s (CTBA) perspective, only entities that adhere to the highest regulatory standards, such as those used in the regulation of Indian gaming, should be licensed to provide online play.

Following the enactment of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) making online gambling illegal, PokerStars refused to shutter its site. In 2011, the Department of Justice issued orders mandating the site close down, filed a civil action to seize the company’s assets acquired post-UIGEA, and threatened imprisonment alleging, among other things, Conspiracy, Money Laundering, Bank Fraud and violations of the Wire Act. In settlement, they paid a $731 million fine, but admitted no wrongdoing.

In light of the partnership negotiations among PokerStars, Morongo, and the three card clubs, the Member Tribes of CTBA will continue to work diligently to ensure any online poker authorization bill will impose strong controls, mandate disclosures, and promote the highest standards of integrity in the gaming industry. Therefore we will strongly oppose any legislation which allows PokerStars to participate.

Contact us at


rick perry

US Presidential Hopeful Rick Perry Wants ‘Time Out’ for Online Gambling

Texas Governor and 2016 US Presidential hopeful Rick Perry, a Republican, has called for a “time out” when it comes to legalizing Internet gambling.

Gilbert Horowitz

The National Journal calls this a “test of how big money can influence politics at the highest level”.

That’s because mega donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has already said he is willing to spend “whatever it takes” to stop legalized online gambling in the United States.  It would appear Perry is now on board.

Presidential hopefuls will be meeting with Adelson in Vegas over the coming weekend.  He’s reportedly going to spend a ridiculous amount of money on the candidate he feels has the best shot of making it to the White House.  But that candidate will need to support Adelson’s pet project: abolishing Web gambling.

Perry drafted a letter to Congressional leadership and leadership of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on Monday:

“Congress needs to step in now and call a ‘time-out’ by restoring the decades-long interpretation of the Wire Act,” Perry wrote in the letter.

“When gambling occurs in the virtual world, the ability of states to determine whether the activity should be available to its citizens and under what conditions … is left subject to the vaguaries of the technological marketplace,” he said.

He urged Congress to “carefully examine the short- and long-term social and economic consequences before Internet gambling spread.”

Perry has already received funding from Adelson for his 2008 US Presidential campaign.

The Texas Governor appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday morning, hinting strongly at another Presidential run.

– Gilbert Horowitz,


money talks


Ronn Torossian Founder, President and CEO, 5W Public Relations

CNBC’s Money Talks Encourages Boiler Room Salesmen

While reality TV is often scripted, and rarely reflects “reality,” CNBC’s new show Money Talks, which focuses on the world of sports handicapping, crosses over the line of acceptable entertainment. Sports gambling is big business, with billions won and lost annually. Perhaps this world — much like the stock market — represents something which shouldn’t be manipulated — or scripted — on national television.

While the show was green-lit last year, it hasn’t aired until this week and its host is widely being referred to as a fraud. From the fact that the star uses a fake name (as under his real name he is a convicted felon), to claiming an impossible winning percentage of 71.5 percent, CNBC, America’s most prominent business network is wrong to air this program. The result is an infomercial, with CNBC’s blessing for a sham. Unscrupulous viewers of Money Talks will have high odds of losing significant amounts of money as a result.

Watching the initial program, a viewer may think it is normal to lose their first two bets, then exceed their budget by $30,000, bet on a third game and walk away a winner. The reality is that the games won and lost were presented on TV as being held on different days — when in fact they were played at the same time (surely to save on production fees).

Some blogs have even claimed that the so-called gambler on TV was also a shill. Stevens claims on the program he is paid 50 percent commissions. If that was the case, how could anyone make money in this industry. (And how can handicappers who don’t take bets verify how much someone is gambling?) While a simple Google search will show that no one in the sports betting community seems to know who he is to the fact that no matter what industry one is in, multi-million dollar successful service companies aren’t located in dingy strip-malls. Nor do people making hundreds of thousands of dollars tend to live with roommates whom they work with. Naturally, they also don’t fish for clients by cold-calling, nor do sports handicappers randomly pick teams to win as Stevens seems to on the show.

Just as The Wolf of Wall Street portrayed the dredge of the stock trading world, so too does this show portray dishonest people in the world of sports gambling. Shouldn’t a business network take something as serious as gambling more seriously? While CNBC was late to reality TV, shows like Shark Tank and The Profit are so well done, this show goes overboard. People will watch this show, and undoubtedly call VIP Sports and lose money. And won’t people then say: “Wow but I saw it on TV?”

While boiler rooms exist, CNBC reality shows should not celebrate them — especially in the gambling industry.

Follow Ronn Torossian on Twitter:


unions 1

College athletes can unionize, federal agency rules

Fox Sports/NDN  



CHICAGO — In a stunning ruling that could revolutionize college sports, a federal agency said Wednesday that football players at Northwestern University can create the nation’s first union of college athletes.   The decision by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board answered the question at the very heart of the debate of the unionization bid: The football players who receive full scholarships to the Big Ten school, the agency found, do qualify as employees under federal law and therefore can legally unionize.

“Based on the entire record in this case, I find that the Employer’s football players who receive scholarships fall squarely within (the) broad definition of ‘employee,” Peter Sung Ohr, the NLRB regional director, said in his 24-page decision.   An employee is regarded by law as someone who, among other things, receives compensation for a service and is under the strict, direct control of managers. In the case of the Northwestern players, coaches are the managers and scholarships are a form of compensation, Ohr concluded.

The Evanston, Ill.-based university argued that college athletes, as students, don’t fit in the same category as factory workers, truck drivers and other unionized workers. Immediately after the ruling, the school announced it plans to appeal to labor authorities in Washington, D.C.   Those advocating for letting the players unionize argued the university ultimately treats football as more important than academics for its scholarship players. Despite Northwestern’s denials, Ohr sided with the players on that issue.

“The record makes clear that the employer’s scholarship players are identified and recruited in the first instance because of their football prowess and not because of their academic achievement in high school,” Ohr wrote. He also noted that among the evidence presented by Northwestern, “no examples were provided of scholarship players being permitted to miss entire practices and/or games to attend their studies.”

The ruling also described how the life of a football player at Northwestern is far more regimented than that of a typical student, down to requirements about what they can and can’t eat to whether they can live off campus or purchase a car. At times during the year, players put in 50 or 60 hours a week into football, he added.   Alan Cubbage, Northwestern’s vice president for university relations, said in a statement that while the school respects “the NLRB process and the regional director’s opinion, we disagree with it.”

The next step in the process of unionization would be for scholarship players to hold a vote on whether or not to formally authorize the College Athletes Players Association, or CAPA, to represent it “for collective bargaining purposes,” according to the NLRB decision.   The specific goals of CAPA include guaranteeing coverage of sports-related medical expenses for current and former players, ensuring better procedures to reduce head injuries and potentially letting players pursue commercial sponsorships.   But critics have argued that giving college athletes employee status and allowing them to unionize could hurt college sports in numerous ways, including by raising the prospects of strikes by disgruntled players or lockouts by athletic departments.

For now, the push is to unionize athletes at private schools, such as Northwestern, because the federal labor agency does not have jurisdiction over public universities.   Outgoing Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter took a leading role in establishing CAPA. The United Steelworkers union has been footing the legal bills.   Colter, whose eligibility has been exhausted and who has entered the NFL draft, said nearly all of the 85 scholarship players on the Wildcats roster backed the union bid, though only he expressed his support publicly.

“It is important that players have a seat at the table when it comes to issues that affect their well-being,” Colter said in a statement issued by CAPA after the ruling.   The NCAA has been under increasing scrutiny over its amateurism rules and is fighting a class-action federal lawsuit by former players seeking a cut of the billions of dollars earned from live broadcasts, memorabilia sales and video games. Other lawsuits allege the NCAA failed to protect players from debilitating head injuries.

NCAA President Mark Emmert has pushed for a $2,000-per-player stipend to help athletes defray some of expenses. Critics say that isn’t nearly enough, considering players help bring in millions of dollars to their schools and conferences.   In a written statement, the NCAA said it was disappointed with the NLRB decision.   “We strongly disagree with the notion that student-athletes are employees,” the NCAA said. “We frequently hear from student-athletes, across all sports, that they participate to enhance their overall college experience and for the love of their sport, not to be paid.”

The developments are coming to a head at a time when major college programs are awash in cash generated by new television deals that include separate networks for the big conferences. The NCAA tournament generates an average of $771 million a year in television rights itself, much of which is distributed back to member schools by the NCAA.   Attorneys for the CAPA, argued that college football is, for all practical purposes, a commercial enterprise that relies on players’ labor to generate billions of dollars in profits. The NLRB ruling noted that from 2003 to 2013 the Northwestern program generated $235 million in revenue — profits the university says went to subsidize other sports.

During the NLRB’s five days of hearings in February, Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald took the stand for union opponents, and his testimony sometimes was at odds with Colter’s.   Colter told the hearing that players’ performance on the field was more important to Northwestern than their in-class performance, saying, “You fulfill the football requirement and, if you can, you fit in academics.”

Asked why Northwestern gave him a scholarship of $75,000 a year, he responded: “To play football. To perform an athletic service.”   But Fitzgerald said he tells players academics come first, saying, “We want them to be the best they can be … to be a champion in life.”   An attorney representing the university, Alex Barbour, noted Northwestern has one of the highest graduation rates for college football players in the nation, around 97 percent.


Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.