The reels are always spinning in the gambling industry, and “The Double Down” is here every Friday to catch you up on all of the week’s biggest news. Sports Handle’s “Get a Grip” rounds up everything on the sports betting side, and US Bets provides the best of the rest: brick-and-mortar happenings, online casino developments, poker headlines, and more. So pull up a chair, crunch the numbers, and slide forward another stack of chips.
Postle’s back, and poker Twitter has thoughts
Remember Mike Postle? Admittedly, it’s a challenge to recall just about anything that occurred in pre-pandemic times, but back in 2019, Postle was the talk of the poker world because of strong suspicions that he was cheating in livestreamed cash games at Stones Gambling Hall in Sacramento, California.
Legal maneuvering ensued, and Postle was convicted in the court of poker public opinion. Eventually, other scandals and suspicions stole the spotlight from him.
This week, Postle recaptured the attention of the poker world. He made a deep run in the $1,200 buy-in Million Dollar Heater series main event at Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, ultimately finishing in seventh place for $32,703.
There were plenty of strong opinions among the poker Twitter community about Postle being allowed to play in the tournament, including from the most high-profile alleged victim of his at Stones, Veronica Brill:
[email protected] why are you allowing a known poker cheater to play in your poker room? The floor confirmed that Mike Lawrence Postle made a final table pic.twitter.com/natcFSCdE7
— Veronica Brill 🦩 (@Angry_Polak) January 16, 2023
From there, rumors flew about the casino holding onto Postle’s winnings so they could be put toward the court-ordered debt he owes Brill for legal fees. It was eventually confirmed that Postle got paid — followed by Brill filing a temporary restraining order Friday morning.
A certain outspoken contrarian in the poker community had his own stance on Postle’s rights in this situation:
I am really against this even if you think postle cheated or not! Bottom line this against the law and he was never convicted of cheating! Other big name players who have been caught cheating for 100x more then postle continue to play and get accolades so spare me! https://t.co/BWXgq5G6xZ
— Mike Matusow (@themouthmatusow) January 19, 2023
The hand on which Postle busted from the tournament drew attention, as his opponent took his sweet time deciding to make an all-in call with top set, leading someone off camera to say of the “slow roll” — which is typically a major poker etiquette violation — “That’s for all the cheating you’ve done.”
For those who didn’t get to see Postle Bust out of the event…
Bye Mike… you should have used your super powers to know you were up against top set…. Must only work at Stones Live. https://t.co/csJPYU5hnF pic.twitter.com/GJZ9lKGD48
— LEGION | b33njammin80 (@NFTbag80) January 17, 2023
As for that violation of etiquette, it didn’t quite satisfy everyone’s bloodlust:
Man that slowroll was like 5 minutes too short
— Terrence Chan (@tchanpoker) January 17, 2023
This week on Gamble On …
Every Thursday, US Bets drops a new episode of the Gamble On podcast, and this week’s welcomed ESPN gambling industry reporter David Payne Purdum to offer insights into the UFC betting scandal he’s been covering since November. Purdum took a particularly strong stance on athletes and league employees being allowed to bet on sports and what the penalties should look like if they violate the rules:
Should athletes and league employees be allowed to bet on themselves? On other contests in their own sport? On other sports? In the wake of the ever-expanding UFC/James Krause scandal, @DavidPurdum has #taeks, and he shared them on the latest episode of Gamble On: https://t.co/QYZVVf7B5g pic.twitter.com/0OBslGmmlq
— US Bets (@US_Bets) January 20, 2023
Online casino is worth big bucks …
Record December Pushes PA Gaming Revenue To High Of $5.2 Billion In 2022
New Jersey Internet Casino Revenue Hits Record $151.5M In December
… and New York seems to realize it
New York Online Poker Bill Introduced, Online Casino Bill Coming Next Week
Meanwhile on the New York brick-and-mortar front …
Saks Fifth Avenue Proposes Casino Atop Its Manhattan Store
No more ashtrays after Tax Day
Atlantic City Anti-Smoking Group Aims For Casino Bill By April 15
Smart use of gambling funds
Michigan Steered $365 Million In Gambling Taxes To Schools In Fiscal Year 2022
Chicago-area track stays in the race
Hawthorne Race Course Near Chicago Remains On Track To Become Racino
Casino activity in Virginia up in December
The Virginia Lottery released its report on December casino figures last Friday, and the slight dip seen in November did not repeat itself. Slots adjusted gross revenue (AGR) rose from $10.4 million to $12.1 million, table games AGR went from $2.2 million to $2.7 million, and the state collected $2.7 million in taxes, up about $400K over the previous month.
All this revenue is coming from one source, Hard Rock Bristol, the only active casino in Virginia. But by January’s report, that won’t be the case. Rivers Casino Portsmouth will have its public grand opening Monday, offering 1,448 slot machines, 57 gaming tables, a 24-table poker room, and a sportsbook.
A closer look at the New York online poker bill
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the first three states (New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware) launching legal online poker, and in that intervening decade, only two states — Pennsylvania and Michigan — have joined the party and seen regulated poker sites launch. (The activity is legal, but not up and running, in West Virginia and Massachusetts.)
New York made a major move toward anteing up on Tuesday evening, when Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow introduced a bill to legalize and regulate iPoker. Bill A1380 was introduced as an amendment to the racing, parimutuel wagering, and breeding law in New York. The bill makes a point to define poker as at least partially a game of skill, although it’s questionable how much that will matter in a state that is also about to try to legalize online casino games of pure chance.
The bill names both Texas hold’em and Omaha as variants it would aim to legalize, while also covering “any other poker game that the commission determines is the material equivalent of either of those.” If the bill passes, it will take effect 180 days later.
More from around the gaming biz
MORE GAMBLING THAN EVER: U.S. set gambling record in 2022 with more than $54.9 billion in revenue [Forbes]
GOLD ABOUNDS IN SILVER STATE: Nevada casinos set record in FY2022 with sharp gains in room, food, beverage [CDC Gaming Reports]
CUTBACKS COME TO BALLY’S: Bally’s to cut 15% of North American interactive workforce [iGB North America]
BROCK BOTTOM: Former jockey Danny Brock found guilty of conspiracy [BloodHorse]
TULSA QUEEN: Q&A: First female CEO of Osage Casinos rooted in tribe [Tulsa World]
IS DANNY OCEAN BEHIND THIS? Despite long odds for success, string of casino robberies continues to plague Las Vegas [Las Vegas Sun]
AD NAUSEUM: How much is too much? Nearly half of Canadians think gambling ads have gotten out of hand [Ipsos]
STEVE WINS THIS ROUND: Appeals court upholds dismissal of RICO case against Steve Wynn [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Image: Blundell Design