Billionth Hand of Online Blackjack Dealt

This past Friday saw a truly historic moment in online blackjack. The one billionth hand of online blackjack was dealt at Bodog. While there are many online casinos out there, each of who have dealt thousands and millions of hand of blackjack, not one had reached the one billionth mark at any of their online blackjack tables. Bodog was the first online casino to deal that many hands.

Naturally there was a special prize for that lucky online blackjack player. He or she had the choice of either a billionaire vacation trip to Fiji’s exclusive Turtle Island, or an expenses paid trip to Monaco to watch the Grand Prix from their own private boat. Both are truly incredible options.

But awesome prize to the lucky player who dealt the one billionth hand of online blackjack aside, there is a more industry related high point to this milestone.

Considering that federal level lawmakers, well at least the conservative base is, against legalizing and regulating online gambling and are trying to stop Americans from gambling online, this should show them that online gambling is here to stay and that it would be wiser to regulate this form of entertainment and generate revenue rather than sticking their heads in the sand like a bunch of ostriches.

“If I can’t see it, it will go away!”

Think about it for a moment. Sure, online blackjack is popular. But online poker surpasses even online blackjack. It would be silly to think otherwise. And if an online casino has finally hit its one billionth hand of online blackjack, imagine how many more hands of online poker and how many other online casinos have hit that milestone for online poker. Simply silly for the conservative base to think that online blackjack, online poker or online gambling will fade away or disappear from the American horizon.

No Online Blackjack for New Jersey…Yet

Sorry to all you New Jersey online blackjack players. Seems your governor is not inclined to allow you to play blackjack online to benefit your own state. Because that is what online blackjack would have done—New Jersey residents would have had the opportunity to play at sites that would have been partnered with the brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City, who in turn would have been able to pay the state more in taxes, which would have in turn filled in some holes in the New Jersey budget, paying for programs.

But that is not going to be happening.

At least not for a little while yet. When Governor Chris Christie vetoed the intrastate bill that would have given residents the choice to play casino games online legally, he vetoed it as a conditional veto, meaning that legislators could do some work on the bill based on notes made by Christie.

Christie’s biggest note was that the bill, as it is now, would have hit the state sanctioned monopoly that Atlantic City has on gambling. The monopoly exists because such a large portion of New Jersey’s revenue comes from Atlantic City. If gambling, online or otherwise, were to be established outside of Atlantic City, it would draw revenue from the casinos and thusly from New Jersey. As the intrastate gambling bill is right now, it would take a state constitutional referendum to keep the monopoly in place concerning online gambling.

Christie’s words on the matter: “Nothing contained in the legislation would prohibit commercial establishments…from offering Internet gambling opportunities in order to attract patrons or customers.”

At this point in time, the bill to allow New Jersey residents to play online blackjack and other online casino games is going back to legislators to see what changes can be made in order to get Christie’s signature.

Online Poker Regulation and None for Blackjack?

I have to ask, what is this? I am pleased that Senator Harry Reid is finally coming over to our side—even if it is because this is his way of returning the back scratch the Nevada gaming industry gave him to keep him in office. But the man is only looking at regulation for online poker.

Online poker is not the only casino game out there in the online industry. Yes, it might have the most face presence, but it is does not offer the benefits that online blackjack offers.

For one thing, online blackjack offers better odds than online poker. Online blackjack can be played one on one with dealer rather than having your play bogged down with other players.

While I am pleased to see a push in the direction of online gambling regulation for the United States, why could there not be a push for overall online gambling? Or at least all the casino games except for the sports betting.

The Nevada and Atlantic City brick and mortar casinos that would be eligible to apply for an online gambling license in the US have other games on their casino floors other than poker. In fact, online slots are also right up there on the top end of the online gambling cash cows. So why would Reid exclude online slots and online blackjack—two of the biggest draws to online gambling aside from online poker?

The answer I think is simple—this really is Reid’s way of paying back the Nevada gaming industry for backing him to beat Sharron Angle in the mid-term elections, which he narrowly won. I do not think that Reid is really on board for any online gambling regulation—hence why he was opposed to it for so long.

Look at it—he is against online gambling, then he gets backing to keep his office and all of a sudden he whips out a bill of online poker regulation. I think the man is only giving the minimum in online gambling regulation, hoping that online gambling regulation will not go beyond poker.

Hopefully Reid’s bill will only serve to open the door a crack, and hopefully other online games like online blackjack will also be allowed for regulation.

Online Blackjack Players Not Happy with Government

We owe it all to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Ace (UIGEA). When we used to log on to our favorite online casinos there was never a problem. Now our cards are being declined and we are being deprived of a form of entertainment that we enjoy. All because the U.S. government knows what is best for online blackjack players.

This is the prohibition of online gambling.

This is not just about what UIGEA has done to online blackjack players—it also effects online poker players, online slots players and anyone else who does some online gambling for entertainment.

UIGEA was squeaked in under the skirts of a port security bill rather than been discussed and voted on separately like it should have been. So that is the first strike against it. Then this poorly planned law to protect our morals from ourselves puts the burden of enforcement on financial institutions without any clear way of dealing with gambling transactions.

Not to mention overseas online casinos can probably find a way around it, making their transactions to and from players not obvious or linked to the online casinos. And European online casinos are very not happy resulting in the European Commission saying that UIGEA is working against our European Union trade agreements.

Players are frustrated at not being able to choose how they spend their time and money. They are also frustrated with Democrats who say they are working to overturn UIGEA, but cannot see those Democrats making any actual effort—other than Barney Frank, who is still sitting on his bill.

Players are also of the mind that some lawmakers are intentionally keeping UIGEA in place to protect their own interests in land-based casinos.

“If casino gambling was illegal in the U.S., then I would find it acceptable to make internet gambling illegal. But many of these lawmakers, especially Harry Reid, are just keeping prohibition in place to protect the interests of the land-based casinos in their states, and that’s where I have a problem,” player Ralph Butaro said.

Other than lawmakers who appear to be protecting interests, a good many people want UIGEA repealed—financial institutions, professional gamblers and even some of our own land-based casinos, not to mention the aforementioned European Commission.

Voters will make themselves heard in the upcoming mi-term elections, aiming their votes at lawmakers who will be aggressive in repealing UIGEA.

My thought, online blackjack players, is look to history. What happened when the government banned alcohol in the 1920s? History shows that the first Prohibition was not a success. I do not foresee this one being a rousing success either. Americans will find away like they did in the 1920s.

New Jersey Might Be First State to Regulate Online Gambling

New Jersey is one of the leading regulators of the brick and mortar casino industry. So it isn’t any surprise that those in the U.S. are eyeing them as the potential first to regulate online gambling for their state.

In fact, there are two bills in the state’s Senate and Assembly. And they both have bipartisan support too.

What these two bills are aiming to do is allow brick and mortar casinos the chance to apply for licenses to operate some online gambling services, which are to include online blackjack.

The way the bills are structured is that brick and mortar casinos that would like to add online gambling services to their casinos games would have to pay a $200,000 licensing fee for the first year. This would be followed by $100,000 renewal fee every year thereafter, as well as having the profits from online gambling games taxed 20%.

There are those that are opposed to these bills, saying that by legalizing and regulating online gambling within New Jersey the amount of people addicted to gambling will increase. However, to address these concerns, the two bills also have in them that $100,000 each year will be put into programs to prevent gambling addictions and to help those with gambling addictions.

You have to love a bill that wants to legalize online gambling and is still concerning itself with gambling addiction.

Recently California tried to put through a bill that would legalize online gambling in their state, but was met with opposition from tribes in the state. The bill never passed.

New Jersey has a more favorable chance of getting their bills passed because they don’t have any tribes within their state that are recognized by the federal government.

We’ll have to sit back and see how this one plays out. But here’s to hoping that New Jersey can get these bills passed and be the first state to legalize online gambling. Perhaps if the federal government sees states beginning to legalizing online gambling, they’ll work on it themselves.

Legalizing Online Gambling: Struggle of the Politicians

What needs to be done for the good of this country’s revenue seems to be taking a backseat to the clash of Democrats and Republicans. It’s no longer about do we legalize online gambling for revenue, but about who’s in power.

And it’s a back and forth thing.

First a review. Representative Barney Frank has introduced two bills to the House. One is written to do away with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The other bill is to pave the way and lay the foundation for the U.S. to have a regulated internet gambling industry. And that would mean revenue for this country, which is badly needed.

On top of Frank’s bills is one introduced by Representative Jim McDermott. McDermott’s bill is designed to set up taxation of a U.S. regulated online gambling industry.

Now comes the political power struggle.

UIGEA was supposed to go into effect in December, however, lobbying created a six month delay. Frank’s hearing for his bills was supposed to happen before the rules take effect.

So the Republicans get UIGEA created and the Democrats delay it so that their Frank could come in and try to get his bills passed, which would wipe out UIGEA and get the U.S. geared up to have its own regulation. (Republicans-1, Democrats-1)

Next, Frank’s hearing is delayed and the implementation of UIGEA is in less than three weeks. So it’s now unlikely that Frank’s bills will get passed before UIGEA goes into effect. (Republicans-2, Democrats-1).

Now here’s where it gets a bit clever. Frank is going to wait to have his hearing on his bills and McDermott’s. Why wait though? Why not fight right up until June 1st?

Think about it, if UIGEA goes into effect there will be millions of Americans who won’t be able to play their blackjack, poker and slots. They will be quite unhappy to have a preferred form of entertainment taken away “for their own good.” And in November is an election…

You see where this is going.

The Democrats are hoping that if enough online gamblers are angry enough at what the Republicans have done that it will give the Democrats the edge. With a majority, the Democrats can push through Frank’s and McDermott’s bills, opening up a source of revenue for the U.S. And giving us back our access to our blackjack, poker and slots. (Potentially, Republicans-2, Democrats-3)

Cheeseburgers and Legalizing Online Gambling

John Stossel is a business anchor for Fox News, and when it comes to the concept of legalizing gambling, he’s a savvy and straight forward guy.

In a recent interview with Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor, Stossel brings up several good points as to why the government should legalize gambling and leave “consenting adults alone.”

The government’s main problem with legalizing online gambling is that it’s a public safety hazard. Mainly one person could go out, be irresponsible and lose all his money and wipe out his family. Ergo, the government says that gambling is a danger to others.

But then Stossel points out that adults can go out, get drunk and crash their car. That would wipe out a family too, in addition to potentially wiping out the lives of others. Yet, as long as you are 21, you’re legal to drink alcohol.

To counter that, it was pointed out to Stossel that the government understood that and enacted prohibition. Stossel then asks us to consider how prohibition turned out. Americans still wanted to drink and they found ways of doing so. Just like how right now Americans want to gamble in online casinos from the comfort of their homes, and they are finding ways to do so.

The problem with this is that the money being made off of Americans gambling isn’t going back into America. It’s going to other companies overseas. We are, in essence, funding other countries.

O’Reilly then brings up the point that if it’s bad for you then it should be banned. Stossel counters that by saying that everything would be banned for public safety because some many things that we like could have a bad impact on us. Like cheeseburgers. Overindulge in those and you could give yourself a heart attack, die and hurt your family. Because you died from a long-term cheeseburger overdose.

Stossel sums himself up by implying that the government can’t mother us all, and to “leave consenting adults alone.’

I like this guy’s point of view. There are a good many things that we do that are harmful to us that are legal, such as cigarettes and liquor. Granted those have age limits on them, but if you’re at least 18 and 21 respectively then you’re legal to use them.

Stossel has another good point about legalizing online gambling. The tax revenue is going overseas rather than funding our own country. And if Americans are going to find a way to play games like blackjack, slots, roulette and poker then go ahead and legalize it and bring the revenue into our own country.

Besides Americans will find a way to gamble online if they really want to.

Tribal Governments Not as Against Online Gambling as We Think

Because many of the highest grossing casinos in the United States are owned and operated by one of the Indian tribes it would seem natural that they would be against the US legalizing online gambling. And for the most part the tribes were. But with attitudes towards legalizing gambling softening and individual states legalizing some online gambling, the tribes are having to re-evaluate their stance on online gambling.

It’s no wonder that the tribes were against legalizing online gambling. Their casinos bring in money to fund education, health care and other government services to Native Americans. You can understand how they would feel threatened by online gambling. It’s not so much taking their business away and they’re selfish, but they are fearful of a loss of income that funds the government programs that helps their people.

But their view is changing. Let’s take a look at a possible reason or two why.

First off the majority of online gambling is done in card game s like poker and blackjack and in sports betting. In 2008 the revenue from those games in the tribal casinos was only $7.3 billion of the $26.8 billion that was made that year. So poker, blackjack and sports betting in a casino are only a small part of the tribal casinos’ total revenue. It stands to reason that they might not be as fearful of legalized online gambling as before.

Another possible reason—if online gambling is legalized in the US the tribes could set themselves up as an online operator of internet gambling they could have a whole new outlet for generating income.

But the tribes have sited that they believe that the US has the technology to regulate online gambling should it be legalized. And they have faith in that regulation, that it could help preserve the exclusive attributes of their casinos. Barney Frank, D-Mass. is the author of such legislation and he has taken the tribes needs into consideration:

“I intend that this legislation should have no impact on (tribal) compacts with states; that is, the bill should not in any way impair existing rights regarding compacts either currently in force or to be signed in the future.”

However, tribal organizations are not endorsing any of the bills being proposed right now. But the tribes being favorable on the subject of legalized online gambling is a good start.