Posts Tagged ‘Says’

Indiana Says Smoking Ban in Casinos Would Cost State Jobs, Money

 Indiana Says Smoking Ban in Casinos Would Cost State Jobs, Money

Since the 1990s, smoking has been banned in most of the poker rooms of casinos across the States of America. For the most part, however, smoking has been allowed in other areas of casinos outside of the sacred poker room area. Individual states are now having issues with the implementation of smoking bans in their locales (passed for the health of employees and the public), with Indiana the latest to sound off on the issue.

The Majestic Star Casino in Gary, IN, is complaining to state officials that the ban on smoking indoors is influencing its bottom line. The anti-smoking law, passed in 2012, banned smoking in most public places. Some exceptions were allowed, such as for private membership clubs and bars, tobacco retail outlets and hookah bars and horse racing facilities and casinos. Local leadership, however, could extend the law as they saw fit for their own locations.

Apparently, that is what the Gary Common Council is looking to do. On the table for the Council is an ordinance that would ban smoking in the Majestic Star period, not just the poker room. The smoking ban is backed by a group called “Smoke Free in the G” and is looking to pass the legislation to protect the employees of the casino. Naturally, the Majestic Star sees it another way and has made their opinion known to the members of the Council.

Majestic Star Chief Executive Officer Peter Liguori has said that the ban on smoking would have a tremendous impact on the success of the casino. He estimates that a ban on smoking would see the casino lose about $ 3 million in tax revenues for the state. Additionally, Liguori says that 400 jobs could be lost if the measure was passed. A look at other states who have passed anti-smoking legislation for their casinos demonstrates that Liguori isn’t blowing smoke.

In the state of Illinois (one of the competitors for Indiana’s action), a ban on smoking (called the “Smoke Free Illinois Act”) was put in place in 2008. Player numbers for the casino industry in the Land of Lincoln suffered following the smoking ban, with attendance in casinos falling by 22%. Estimates show that the total loss in revenues was around $ 200 million for the first year of the ban alone, with the estimated tax loss totaling over $ 12 million for that year.

2008 also saw the Atlantic City casino industry implement a smoking ban, much to the dismay of its bottom line. Facing increased competition from such states as Pennsylvania (which allowed smoking), the casinos in Atlantic City saw a 15% drop in customers, arguably because of the smoking ban but also possibly because of the “Great Recession” of 2018. New Jersey politicos, seeing the numbers fall, decided that the ban was wrong and, within a year, rescinded the ban.

In Florida, the Seminole Indians try to walk on both sides of the line. While their poker rooms remain smoke free, their casinos allow for smoking. This is because as a sovereign entity, they can set their own rules regarding smoking outside of those set by the Florida legislature and the “law of the land,” the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act. According to noted gaming journalist Nick Sortal, however, the Seminoles are trying to walk a fine line with the issue.

According to Sortal, the Seminoles are trying “to balance the desires of both smokers and nonsmokers.” To achieve this goal, the tribe is stepping up efforts in trying to keep smoking on the floor of their casinos and out of what is described as “general areas” such as restrooms, walkways, and elevator banks. To cater to those who don’t partake of tobacco or are disturbed by the scent, Sortal also states that they have installed improved air filtration and air conditioning systems on their South Florida properties.

Considering that there seems to be a predominance of smokers in the gaming community, the issue of smoking/non-smoking is an important one. It is estimated that only 10% of the country uses tobacco products, however, so the times may be changing on that stereotype.

The post Indiana Says Smoking Ban in Casinos Would Cost State Jobs, Money appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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U.S. Attorney General Nominee Says He Will Revisit DoJ’s Wire Act Clarification

 U.S. Attorney General Nominee Says He Will Revisit DoJ’s Wire Act Clarification

Remember when some in the poker community thought that a Donald J. Trump presidency could be good for online poker? After all, he used to own casinos and has said some mildly not-negative things about some forms of online gambling in the past. Well, hold onto your pants, because a Trump presidency isn’t going to just be bad for non-poker players, but it looks like it could very well be terrible for online poker fans, as well. On Tuesday, the Senate confirmation hearings got underway for Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and well…things don’t look particularly promising.

One of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who asked Sessions questions was Senator Lindsey Graham (R – S.C.). Graham is the champion of Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) in the Senate and for years now has been trying to do his part to shut down online poker in the U.S. During his less-than-challenging questioning of Sessions (heck, he prefaced his turn at the microphone by saying he would enthusiastically recommend Sessions for Attorney General), Graham, as expected, brought up the Wire Act.

The Wire Act makes sports betting over telecommunications lines illegal, but when internet gambling rose to prominence, the Department of Justice incorrectly interpreted the Wire Act to include all forms of gambling. At the end of 2011, the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) clarified the Wire Act, confirming that it only applied to sports betting, thus opening the door for states to legalize online poker. Graham, Adelson, and the rest of the anti-online poker crowd hated this and have been trying to overturn the OLC’s opinion ever since.

Graham posed the basic question to Sessions, asking, “About the Wire Act, what’s your view of the…Obama’s Administration’s interpretation of the Wire Act law to allow online video poker, or poker…gambling?”

“Senator Graham, I was shocked at the memorandum – I guess – the enforcement memorandum that the Department of Justice issued with regard to the Wire Act and criticized it,” Sessions responded. “Apparently, there is some justification or argument that can be made to support the Department of Justice’s position, but I did oppose it when it happened and it seemed to me to be an unusual….”

“Would you revisit it?” Graham interrupted.

“I would revisit it and I would make a decision about it based on careful study and I haven’t gone that far to give you an opinion today,” Sessions answered.

And that was it.

Now, Sessions’ brief take isn’t as horrible as if he had straight-up said he hated online poker and would scrub the OLC’s opinion from the record, but it wasn’t good. That he said he was “shocked” at the memorandum reveals his displeasure with online poker and should be a pretty good indicator of which said of the RAWA argument he stands.

If Sessions had no intention to do anything about the Wire Act, he also would not have said he will revisit the OLC’s opinion on the matter. It certainly looks like he intends to review it and very probably through RAWA-tinted glasses. If Sessions wasn’t against online poker, he likely would not have said he will revisit the memorandum, but rather couched his response with more non-committal language.

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Vanessa Rousso’s Partner says It’s “Absolutely Not True” CBS is Fixing “Big Brother”

 Vanessa Rousso’s Partner says It’s “Absolutely Not True” CBS is Fixing “Big Brother”

As they are pulling into the final week of what has been a summer-long run, the CBS reality television show Big Brother is down to its final five competitors. Of the five houseguests remaining, one is poker professional Vanessa Rousso. Rousso has shown a dominant mental game throughout the run of this summer’s program, but she still has to make it down to the final two and, after that, through the Jury that will decide who wins the $ 500,000 grand prize.

But what would be tougher, being on the inside and playing the game or sitting on the outside and worrying about the game? You might have noticed that, when she knows she is on camera, Rousso will kiss her ring finger. That is an “I love you” to her partner, Melissa Ouellet, whom Vanessa has been away from now for almost 90 days and who has been sweating the proceedings heavily. She has also had to deal with the accusations from the Big Brother faithful that the producers are “fixing” the show for Vanessa and other more hurtful statements about Rousso in general.

Poker News Daily was able to speak with Ouellet as Rousso reaches the end of the Big Brother battle and found that it may be tougher for someone outside the game than the person actually in it.

Poker News Daily:  How difficult has it been for you during Vanessa’s time in the house?

Melissa Ouellet:  Before Vanessa left to the Big Brother house, we spent 24/7 together and we were inseparable. Being away from her for four months has been a very lonely summer.

I do believe this time away will only make our relationship stronger. Vanessa being in the house brings a lot of mixed emotions…I don’t think she will ever understand the stress and pain I’ve had to go through, not being able to tell her who is on your side and who’s not, not being able to hug her while she is being emotional…these situations are extremely hard on you, but at the end of the day it is all worth it. Don’t get me wrong…I’ve LOVED watching Vanessa on Big Brother. It has been a great experience on her end and mine.

PND:  To the best of your knowledge, does Vanessa have any roles on television pending once she exits the Big Brother house?

MO:  There is apparently a rumor that the show Big Brother is being rigged for Vanessa to win to promote this new show called Poker Face. I would love to make this nice and clear that this is absolutely NOT true. Vanessa has worked extremely hard to get herself to where she is at in the game and if she wins Big Brother it’s because she deserves it and has played an incredible game.

PND:  Do you pay any attention to the fan blogs and what they say? And how do you handle those who are critics of Vanessa?

MO:  I am on social media quite a bit and I am aware of all that is being said out there. At first I was devastated by what I was reading – it literally broke my heart – but as the summer went by I started to realize that the critics and the things being said about Vanessa are just out of control and there’s a lot of jealousy out there. Normally I would say people are jealous of successful people. Vanessa is a GENIUS and not everyone understands her brain and her intelligence, but she is always 10 steps ahead from everyone. It also seems as if Vanessa has this magical power to get away with anything and everything, she knows how to handle situations and always knows what to say…clearly people aren’t liking that. With this said, I must also say Vanessa has some REALLY incredible loyal fans out there who love her and supported her game play from Day 1.

PND:  Why do you think there is so much vitriol from fans of the show towards Vanessa?

MO:  I never understood and never will understand the animosity towards Vanessa. My best guess for that would have to be because Vanessa is REALLY good at this game, and a lot of fans out there have their favorite houseguest. It also could be because Vanessa had a hand in almost every eviction and they blame her. I think Vanessa has played a fascinating game, not just because she is my girlfriend but I would have to say she has played the best game this season.

PND:  So what is your prediction for what the final days are going to be like for Vanessa? And what will they be like for you?

MO:  For the live eviction show tonight, Austin will go home. Whoever wins the next HOH will most probably put Vanessa up, but 100% she will win one of the most important Veto competition and save herself and most probably will end up in final 2 with either John or Steve. Of course, she will win overall! I do hope and pray the jury isn’t bitter and understands that Vanessa has played the best game.

While Rousso will get through tonight’s episode (airing at 8PM Eastern/7PM Central) and make the final four, the true test will come over the next 24 hours. Another player will be eliminated on Wednesday’s episode (same broadcast time as Tuesday) and the final three will be determined. Will Rousso make it to that pinnacle? And does she have enough gas to make it to the $ 500,000 finish line? We’ll have to watch and find out, but you can believe Melissa Ouellet will be watching much more intensely!

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