While US poker players pinning their hopes on favorable federal legislation anxiously await the debut of Rep. Joe Barton’s online poker bill, Rhode Island is the latest state to publicly muse about going intrastate. The state of just over 1m residents is proposing to add online gambling to a public referendum scheduled for November 2012. Legislators are currently considering a gambling bill that would allow its two slots parlors to expand their offering to include table games, but the parlor proprietors want to get ‘ahead of the curve’ by securing voter approval for online gambling, you know, just in case.
Far more concrete steps are being taken in the District of Columbia, where DC Lottery officials are preparing to roll out a play money version of the nation’s first legally sanctioned online gambling regime. Within the next 4-6 weeks, the Intralot-powered DC Lottery plans to roll out six ‘demonstration games’ including blackjack, bingo and “random number generated games” in addition to Texas Hold’em poker. How long these games, which will be available daily between 10am and 4am, remain online before the feds call in a Predator drone strike is anybody’s guess, but council member Michael A. Brown hopes the test run proves that “the technology is correct” and “that people can’t hack in from outside DC.” A hearing on the rollout will be held June 29, at which Brown is expected to be quizzed on (to quote the Washington Times) “why no one else in the country” has tried something similar. They’ll get their answer when the Predators appear overhead.
Utah businessman/philanthropist/alleged fraudster Jeremy Johnson’s request for a partial release of his frozen assets has been denied by a Las Vegas judge. Johnson, who faces charges in connection to a $289m scam related to his online payment processing companies, has significant ties to Black Friday indictees Chad Elie and John Campos, in addition to having done business with PokerStars and Full Tilt, but has yet to be charged with anything to do with online poker. Johnson had asked the judge to allow him to access $27k/month from his frozen assets to cover his living expenses. Noting that Johnson’s list of ‘expenses’ included $2,600/month in yard work at one of his residences, US District Judge Roger L. Hunt observed that Johnson “is not entitled to monies that would continue funding a fiscally irresponsible lifestyle.” Guess Johnson was right not to ask for a million or so that he could lose on Full Tilt… again.