GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 24 - April 2013

Christie signs New Jersey online gambling bill By Aaron Todd N ew Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed into a law a bill that makes the Garden State the third state in the U.S. to license and regulate online gambling. Christie’s stamp of approval came just 19 days after he conditionally vetoed similar legislation. “This was a critical decision, and one that I did not make lightly,” Christie said in a statement. “But with the proper regulatory framework and safeguards that I insisted on including in the bill, I amconfident that we are offering a responsible yet exciting option that will make Atlantic City more competitive while also bringing financial benefits to New Jersey as a whole.” Like Delaware, New Jersey’s online casino operators will be able to offer any games that are available at brick- and-mortar casinos. There was little doubt as to whether the revised legislation would pass. In his conditional veto, Christie requested changes to the tax rate (increasing it from 10 to 15 percent of gross gaming revenue), additional money for problem gambling groups and a 10-year sunset period. Sen. Ray Lesniak, one of the bill’s most ardent supporters, indicated in earlier media reports that those changes would pass easily, and he was right. The bill passed 68-5 in the Assembly and 34-1 in the Senate. Less than an hour later, Christie signed the bill into law. “New Jersey has gone ‘all in,’” said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance. “Residents now will have access to a safe and regulated online gaming market, and the state will have a new source for revenue and job creation – something the federal government has failed to do thus far.” DOJ appoints administrator to return Full Tilt funds to U.S. players P reet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that the United States has retained the Garden City Group to serve as Claims Administrator to oversee the process of compensating eligible Full Tilt Poker players who are owed balances in the wake of the civil money laundering and forfeiture action taken by the United States in April 2011. In July 2012, the United States entered into settlement agree- ments with Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars – two of the three online poker companies named as defendants in a civil forfeiture action brought by the United States alleging bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and il- legal gambling offenses. Under the terms of the settlement with Full Tilt Poker, the company agreed to forfeit virtually all of its assets to the United States in order to fully resolve the action. The amended complaint filed in that action alleged that Full Tilt Poker defrauded its players by misrepresenting to the public that player funds held by Full Tilt Poker were safe, secure and available for withdrawal at any time. In reality, the company did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all of its players and in- stead utilized player funds to finance more than $400 million in dividend payments to Full Tilt’s owners. Under the terms of the settle- ment with PokerStars, the company agreed, among other things, to forfeit $547 million to the United States and to assume Full Tilt Poker’s liability for the approximately $184 million owed by Full Tilt to foreign play- ers. The PokerStars settlement also provides that PokerStars will acquire the forfeited Full Tilt assets from the government and also precludes PokerStars from offering online poker for real money in the United States un- less and until it becomes permis- sible to do so under relevant law. Utilizing funds forfeited from PokerStars in this action, the Department of Justice will establish a process by which eligible U.S. fraud victims will be able to seek compensation for their losses. The Garden City Group has been selected as Claims Administrator by the United States to process Petition for Remission claims submitted by the U.S. Full Tilt fraud victims. GCG is a class action settlement and bankruptcy administra- tion company that has provided comprehensive legal adminis- tration services for nearly three decades. GCG has worked on numerous complex administra- tions, including the Gulf Coast Claims Facility; the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damage Settlement; the Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation; the WorldCom Securities Litigation; and the IPO Securities Litigation. 7 Webmaster News