Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame Inducts MSPT President Bryan Mileski After Season

Over the weekend, the Mid-States Poker Tour (MSPT) wrapped up its record-breaking Season 8 at Canterbury Park. It was there that MSPT President Bryan Mileski was inducted into the Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame (MN PHoF).

Recent Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame inductee Bryan Mileski (far right) poses with MSPT team and supporters, including yours truly. L to R: Matt Alexander, Eric Anderson, Mike “Easy Coast Rossy” Ross, and Chad Holloway, aka me. (Picture: MSPT)

Only the Sixth

Launched in 2013, the Minnesota PHoF is governed by a board made up of poker business professionals, players, and poker websites. By meeting with a strict set of criteria while players, who must have a strong Minnesota relationship either can get in, there is also a caveat for business professionals that reads:

“The nominee must have significantly contributed to the overall growth and success of the sport of poker in Minnesota.”

Bryan Mileski, who hails from Lakeville, MN, complemented it and established the Minnesota State Poker Tour in 2009. A couple of years later, and after eight occasions in the North Star State, the tour spilled over state lines and morphed into the Mid-States Poker Tour. Since its inception, the tour has hosted 114 Main Events and awarded over $52.6 million in prize money.

“I’m extremely honored to be inducted into the MN PHoF, but I could not have done it without the support of a terrific team including Eric Anderson and Brandon Temple,” Mileski informed CardsChat. “Likewise, I would not be here without the support of many awesome people, including Matt Alexander, Blake Bohn and Matt Kirby.

“I also want to give a big thank you for Canterbury Park and Running Aces Casino for believing in a random dude like me,” Mileski added.

Since 2009, Mileski and business have hosted 35 major championships ($1,100 buy) in Minnesota, including 14 at Canterbury Park, 11 at Running Aces Harness Park, four at Northern Lights Casino, three at Grand Casino Mille Lacs, and one each at Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Grand Casino Hinckley, and Jackpot Junction.

Mileski is no slouch either. He’s amassed six figures playing online prior to 2011, as well as $ 101,629 in live tournament earnings.

The new inductee joins Tony Hartmann, “Minneapolis” Jim Meehan, Blake Bohn, Mike Schneider, and Lyle Berman as members of the Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame.

Breaking Records

This season, several Minnesota state records were set by the MSPT, beginning with the $ 1,100 Main Event at Canterbury Park of April. That championship, which was won by Mark Wadekamper for $110,220, drew 475 entries and became the largest major poker tournament ($1K+ buy) in state history. That record fell last weekend when 493 entries were drawn by the identical tournament.

At Canterbury Park, its 350 Regional Event was held by the MSPT in August and it set the record for largest poker tournament in Minnesota. The previous record was 1,114 set in eight flights at the 2015 $ 115 buy Ultimate $ 100K of Canterbury.

The tour will return to Minnesota five occasions in 2018, while the MSPT currently hosts stops across the country. Season 8 will feature five Canterbury Park events, including the return of four $ 1,100 chief Events, as well the $ 350 Regional Event, with December’s Season 9 finale featuring a guarantee.

Editor’s Note: MSPT and Cardschat discuss a cross-promotional alliance. Chad Holloway is Media Director for MSPT.

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Jason Somerville’s Twitch Stream Set for Millions Return

Popular poker pro Jason Somerville will be using his Twitch presence to bring the 2018 Aussie Millions to the masses according to a recent announcement by the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia.

Jason Somerville Twitch

Jason Somerville will return as part of a deal to stream the action live via Twitch. (Image: YouTube/Jason Somerville)

Following on the successful partnership formed in the end of 2015, Aussie and Somerville Millions sponsor the Crown will work together for the festival. The Twitch stream brought a number of views that were joint when both combined forces for the 2016 series. The success of this deal saw Somerville return and today 2018 awaits.

Getting Back in Action

As part of his responsibilities, Somerville will broadcast a combination of general color commentary, evaluation, and live action throughout the January series.

Through his station Run It Up, PokerStars’ Somerville has notched up more than 19 million views, making him among the players around the platform.

Part of the allure of Twitch is its ability to provide accessible and interactive content in real-time. In addition to being available on all mobile and desktop devices, these flows are driven by the broadcasters themselves and audience engagement.

This dynamic creates a show that is less rigid and capable of being personalized to suit the action on display and the demographic watching.

Beyond the structural advantages of Twitch streams itself is monthly users that follow all forms of gaming. By sharing a stage with some of the video games in the world, poker has managed to attract some new fans and players.

Twitching for Poker

In November, we saw Somerville and Lex Veldhuis take on four gamers in a charity game that was $ 100,000. The event saw as Hearthstone expert Rumay Wang went on to win $ 49,000 for St Jude’s, more than 23,000 people watch live.

Since these innovations become more prevalent, Twitch in poker’s value continues to increase. This is something Somerville has maintained and the reason he will be bringing his own distinctive take.

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Ryan Tosoc Wins Was 2016 Runner-Up in Event

At the 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic that wrapped up this weekend at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Ryan Tosoc took the credo “If you ain’t to begin with, you’re last” to heart, winning $1,958,065, a year after completing runner-up in this same $10,400 buy-in championship.

Ryan Tosoc WPT Five Diamond Classic Bellagio 2017

Happy New Year: Ryan Tosoc (center) celebrates with WPT announcers Tony Dunst (left) and Vince Van Patten (right) after winning the 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in Las Vegas on Sunday. (Picture: wpt.com)

Embracing the famous phrase in  the film Talladega Nights uttered by Ricky Bobby (played by Will Ferrell) in the film, Tosoc pulled off a feat that few ever will with the back-to-back placements.

The takedown pushed Tosoc’s life tournament cashes to just under $3.5 million.  

Epic Meltdown

The Illinois native entered the table on Sunday evening second in chips, but well behind Sean Perry, a 21-year-old who hoped to become the youngest player to win this legendary event.

Perry used the dominance he displayed on Saturday during the first couple of hours at the table on Sunday. His chip lead was not threatened until he went with four players remaining within minutes.

When Perry attempted a river bluff against Tosoc that 14, his meltdown began. He called a massive value bet against Alex Foxen that took half of his remaining stack off. And moments later, he pushed all-in with A♣9♣ for his staying 3,395,000 chips.

Tosoc, holding A♦J♠, didn’t even pause for a moment to ponder his decision. He snap-called and the board ran out 9♥J♦3♦5♣5♠, sending Perry home with a disappointing 4th place finish.

Mike Del Vecchio, the only past WPT winner to finish in the top 18 of a tournament filled with former champions, was eliminated in the number three spot by Tosoc.

What Does the Foxen Say?

Del Vecchio’s elimination set up a heads-up conflict between last year’s runner-up a New York native, and Alex Foxen with $1 million in life live tournament winnings entering this function.

Both players began the match but Tosoc had roughly 62 percent of the chips in play. Irrespective of the outcome, both were guaranteed a money back, but the winner was set to receive an $800,000 pay jump, a bragging rights trophy, and membership at the exclusive WPT Champions Club.

Within seven palms, the lead after he tank-called a big river bet, just to find out his opponent evaporated and turned into a deficit of Tosoc held the nut flush.

Tosoc’s a fighter, so he stop and was not going to lay down. He recovered, and before long, won a couple of pots regrouped.

On the 49th hand of heads-up play, the Foxen, now facing a 10-to-1 drawback, said it is time to go all-in using A♥10♣ and got called by a much poorer Q♣10♥. However, the board ran out 9♥3♦K♦J♥J♣, giving Tosoc a winning straight.

The hand finished off the championship in vegas, the 2017 season’s final poker event.

WPT Five Diamond Final Table Results
1 Ryan Tosoc ($1,958,065)
2 Alex Foxen ($1,134,202)
3 Mike Del Vecchio ($752,196)
4 Sean Perry ($504,090)
5 Off Chabra ($350,500)
6 Richard Kirsch ($271,736)

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Singapore’s Alecz Chan Claims First APT Title in Macau

Singapore’s Alecz Chan has flipped his way to the Asia Poker Tour (APT) Championships Event Name along with a career-best prize in Macau.

Alecz Chan APT win

Since the excursion signed a deal the first APT Championships trophy has been won by singaporean pro Alecz Chan. (Picture: theasianpokertour.com)

Chan was the man who came through to secure the title and $ 47,390 in prize money on December9, although the HK$ 20,000 + $ 2,000 / $ 250 championship saw 87 players ante-up. Chan got to work by eliminating Dong Guo shortly, after welcoming back 12 players on the afternoon.

Bubble Bursts and Chan Stands Strong

Despite 10 players the pace didn’t slow and in a few hands of the exit of Guo, Ryuichi Utsunomiya followed suit. With a choice of tough players standing in his way, including Malaysia’s Victor Chong and the bubble burst, Chan had his work cut out.

However, with the chip lead on his side, Chan managed to sit tight before he drifted back to take out Kai Paulsen at the number nine spot, as Sparrow Cheung fell in 10th. Chan maintained his place atop but eventually found himself at a disadvantage to Chong in play, as the eliminations continued.

For both players, the chip disparity was so slight that the best way to settle things was to split the prize money down the center. Chan and Chong were happy to carve it up and flip for the winner’s trophy although 50/50 splits are unusual.

With the terms agreed, the dealer proceeded to cope hands face-up until one player had all the chips. In the long run, it took five hands to scoop the remainder of Chong’s pile and take the global win of his career.

Glittering Start to Collaboration

Since the confetti rained down on the breakout performance of Chan, the book was closed on the first-ever collaboration between the Babylon Casino, Macau Billionaire Poker, and the APT. Following a three-year hiatus from Macau, the APT returned to the Chinese enclave in 2016, before agreeing to a five-year handle the casino and the MBP poker room.

That venture gave the APT the scope to sponsor tournaments in Macau and a residence. APT chief executive Jeff Mann reported that it was a natural move, designed to benefit the championship series as a whole in announcing the return in August 2017.

“Put bluntly, for our next phase of expansion and growth, APT now wants a permanent base in Macau,” Mann said in a press release announcing the deal.

The organizers can now anticipate the APT Kickoff Vietnam on January 19, with the book closing on the initial APT Finale Macau on December 9.

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Poker Players Alliance Urges Players to Push for Legal Online Poker in New York

Hoping to ride on momentum from Pennsylvania’s recent legalization of online poker, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is encouraging players in New York State to help push for the exact same from the Empire State.

Rich Muny Poker Players Alliance PPA

Rich Muny (left), Vice President of the Poker Players Alliance, with expert and online poker advocate Andrew “Lucky Chewy” Lichtenberger (right), wants New Yorkers to fight for their rights to play internet poker. (Image: PPA/Twitter)

Rich Muny, the vice president of the PPA, penned an op-ed in ppa.org requesting your help in convincing lawmakers to pass through an internet poker invoice in New York in the coming months.

Fight for Your Right

The attention turned to New York, which has been considering its own piece of legislation, although the Assembly has yet to vote on the measure when Pennsylvania became the fourth state to legalize gambling.

As Muny writes, a bill to legalize poker in New York and the state Senate passed in June by a 54-8 vote. However, the Assembly did not even bother to hold a vote on the subject during the 2017 calendar.

But that does not mean stop fighting for the cause and the PPA is going to give up.

“Please be sure to participate in the Poker Daily Action Plan to ensure these lawmakers hear from all people,” Muny wrote. “And, if you live in the Empire State, be sure your lawmakers hear from you on this important matter.”

The Poker Daily Action Plan is a strategy the PPA articles on media asking New York State residents to contact two state lawmakers to let them know they support poker.

“There remains much to do to convince the Assembly that authorizing poker websites will be helpful for customers,” Muny stated.

No Love for Poker

Muny believes New York will be “back in play” for online poker players following month when the 2018 legislative season kicks off. However, it’s unclear, at this time, if Assembly members will consider this an important issue to handle.

The Empire State did pass a bill to legalize fantasy sports. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman fought against DFS, but lost that battle.

Not lawmakers in New York have been convinced poker is a game of skill or that internet gambling is helpful to the third most-populous state in the nation. Many have argued poker and DFS are both games of skill, but convincing people who don’t play poker of that reality can be a challenge.

It is an uphill struggle to convince politicians to vote in favor of a poker invoice. However, Rich Muny won’t back down.

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Poker Central Launches Original Documentary-Style Series ‘Stories from the Felt’

PokerGo has expanded its original programming, now with Stories from the Felt. The six-episode documentary-style series gives viewers a look behind some of the untold stories of the game through interview with poker legends like Jennifer Harman and Todd Brunson.

“Stories from the Felt” is the most recent addition to PokerGo’s unique programming lineup and features episodes on Bobby’s Room and The Mayfair Club. (Image: PokerGo)

Unearthed Stories

The show, which was produced by Poker Central in partnership with Greencard Pictures, premiered with the first of six episodes on Monday.

The first full Stories from the Felt episode, which is available now to PokerGo subscribers, is “The Legend of Bobby’s Room.” The episode tells the history of the legendary Las Vegas poker room with tales from Eli Elezra, Jennifer Harman, Nick Schulman and Todd Brunson.

Features different stories from poker past and present. Here’s a look at the forthcoming five episodes.

The Big Reveal: The advent of the hole camera, and how it transformed televised poker
The Bike Bet: The against-all-odds bicycle prop bet between Brian Rast and Dan Bilzerian
The Wake-Up Call: Greg Merson’s struggle to overcome drug addiction to win the WSOP Main Event
The Mayfair Club: A deep dive into the Mayfair Club, the real life inspiration behind Rounders

Latest in Long Lineup

Stories from the Felt is the original programming from PokerGo, which this summer had stream to reside the 2017 World Series of Poker.

Last month, the network announced they will broadcast the inaugural US Poker Open, an eight-tournament high-stakes series, live from Feb. 1-11.   That’s in addition to Chasing Hearts, a blind date show that analyzes body language to identify informs, Chris Parnell’s Poker Nights comedy series, and the prop bet reality show Major Wager, including Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, and Brian Rast.

Additionally, PokerGo has brought back the popular late-night series Poker After Dark, and livestreams World Poker Tour final tables, Aria Super High Roller tournaments.

Stories from the Felt is reminiscent of one Pokerography, of PokerGo shows. Instead of focusing on individuals such as this show does, its attention turns to places and events.

“My goal with Stories from the Felt was to find fresh angles on old stories, unearth lesser-known stories that deserve to be told, and feature the characters as far as the events themselves,” said Skiles.

Here’s a look at the teaser trailer for Stories from the Felt.

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Partypoker Owners GVC Holdings Back in Talks with Ladbrokes Coral Over Potential $5.2 Billion Merger

GVC Holdings entered talks to takeover British bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral last December, but they quickly broke down. Fast forward a year, and those discussions have started. If a takeover is in the cards, the deal could be worth #3.9 billion ($5.24 billion).

Just last year Ladbrokes Coral merged, and they could soon be taken over by GVC Holdings in a deal that could shake up the UK gambling market. (Image: news.sky.com)

Dollars and Pence

If GVC Holdings, which is based in the Isle of Man, were to absorb Ladbrokes Coral, two companies who recently merged themselves, they would maintain 53.5 percent of the new group. Moreover, current CEO of GVC Holdings, Kenny Alexander, would become chief executive of the combined group.

“We’ve come along in a fairly short period of time,” Alexander said. “We are very proud of what we’ve achieved.”

According to current discussions, GVC Holdings would pay 160.9de/~$2.00 per Ladbrokes Coral share, which values the company at #3.1 billion/$4.1 billion.

That bid is dependent upon a government triennial review of gambling machines (i.e. fixed-odds gambling terminals), which can be set to have capped stakes set by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Right now, such machines provide a max bet of #100 ($132) but could be cut somewhere between #2-#50 ($3-$67).

A deal could undergo with stipulations, albeit before the review completion. If the gaming terminal review does not impose betting-limit restrictions, a “contingent value right” has been put in 42.8p per share, meaning that would be added per share. Taking that into consideration, a potential deal is valued at #3.9 billion ($5,235,360,000).

“This triennial review has run and run and run and with the political climate in the UK who knows how much longer it might well run for?” Alexander continued. “You can only sit and wait for so long.”

Such a deal would see GVC Holdings input the British gambling market by acquiring roughly 3,500 betting shops, which would put it into direct competition with William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair.

Will a Deal Happen?

GVC Holdings currently has until Jan. 4 to either make a formal offer or withdraw. Experts predict an offer is in the cards.

“GVC got lucky in the next attempt and Ladbrokes Coral shareholders can count their winnings,” said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital.

“Whilst this bargain was always likely, most had thought GVC would wait until the government’s triennial review of fixed odds betting terminals was completed before it would happen.”

According to Stockbroker Davy, Ireland’s biggest stockbroker, the deal makes sense strategically as “it creates an online and retail gaming firm of enormous scale and should result in substance synergies.”

It didn’t stop shares from jumping though a deal has not been finalized. While 23-26 percent jumped GVC Holdings experienced a reported percent increase.

Ladbrokes Coral currently owns brands including Gala Bingo Gala Casino, Eurobet, Betdaq, and Sportium. Meanwhile, GVC’s gaming brands include Bwin, Partypoker, and Partycasino.

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India’s Viswanathan Anand to Skill in Poker and Promote Poker Sports League

Indian chess grandmaster Viswanathan Anand has been drafted by the Poker Sports League (PSL) in an effort to promote the skill side of the game in India.

Viswanathan Anand poker

One of greatest chess players of all time has partnered to promote skill. (Image: newindianexpress.com/AFP)

PSL declared details of venture while Anand is in the London Chess Classic competing away from home. As much of a political move for a business decision, the alliance will see the chess champion use his profile to change the consensus among some that poker is a game of chance .

Connecting the Dots

Commenting on the deal, Anand can see the parallels and explained that he’s played with chess at the maximum level. He noted that he a fan of playing poker himself.

“I’ve played chess all my life and when I was introduced to poker, I could immediately draw the parallels, which made me connect better with the game,” Anand said in a November 7th press release.

For PSL, the partnership will have direct and indirect benefits. In the first instance, Anand is regarded as one of the best chess players of all time and his reputation will bring some welcome publicity.

As a whole, the affiliation with someone will help poker in India on a general level. On December 4, Justice Rajesh H. Shukla of the Gujarat High Court dominated against a plea to have poker removed from the nation’s gambling act.

Under the terms of the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act (1987), poker is outlawed for real money contests and that’s led to police raids on clubs across the state. In an effort to carve out an exemption for poker, the Indian Poker Association (IPA) led a case that argued poker was a game of skill.

Fragmented Poker Regulations

After numerous hearings, one of which included expert testimony from two professional poker players, the motion was eventually ruled against by Justice Shukla. Along with Gujarat’s push back against the rise of poker in India, an amendment bill that currently makes it illegal bet on games, such as poker, online was passed by the state of Telangana.

In contrast to Telangana and Gujarat, the Indian state of Nagaland is in favor of poker that is controlled. In April 2016, Governor PB Acharya signed a bill that legalized the game within the state. The move has led to host of poker websites going live, such as Ada52, which was set by the same pair behind the PSL.

By enlisting the assistance of Anand, Anuj Gupta and PSL founders Amit Burman are currently hoping to improve their business by countering rulings against poker. The Indian poker inhabitants as a whole, although it will not only benefit PSL if Anand can successfully convince lawmakers, politicians and the general public that poker is a game of skill.

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Bellagio WPT Five Diamond Bubble About to Burst, Blake Bohn Chip Leader Following Day Three

Brandon Meyers increased his stack at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic. However, for the first time in this event, he didn’t leave the Bellagio with the chip lead. Blake Bohn took his spot on top of the standings and will enter Day Four with 871,000 chips, just like the bubble is about to burst.

Blake Bohn Bellagio WPT Poker Classic chip leader

Blake Bohn (centre) is the chip leader heading into Day Four in the 2017 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. (Image: wpt.com)

90 players remained when play concluded on Thursday night. They’ll return to the Bellagio on Friday at noon PT with the blinds at 3,000/6,000/1,000.

The first moments of Day Four will be tense, as the stacks that are tiny fight to stay alive at least until the 82nd place finisher is removed and everybody knows they are in the money. There is A cash great for an, worth $ 19,691 in this $ tournament.

Those hoping for a payday is going to need to grind for at least two more days, once the tournament is sliced down to its nine players. On Sunday, the final table of six will play down to a winner.

Bohn Crusher

Bohn is the only player above 800,000 chips, but he has tough pros, including Chino Rheem and Daniel Strelitz. The Minnesota native is seeking final table appearance and his eighth career WSOP cash. In live tournaments, he has won just over $2.6 million.

Meyers completed the first two days with the chip lead and increased his stack to 638,000 at the start of Day Three, but he now trails behind five others. Still, he to make an run.

Strelitz, the Season 15 LA Poker Classic champion, will enter in the number two spot with 791,000 chips. Not far behind is Chino Rheem, a three-time WPT champion, with a heap that is healthy.

WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic Notable Chip Counts of Day Four at Start

Chance Kornuth (586,000)
Anthony Gregg (403,500)
Dan Colman (310,000)
Darren Elias (249,500)
David Pham (136,500)
Cate Hall (136,000)
Benjamin Zamani (132,000)

Falling Stars

Some meteoric falls by pros, including Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, who both hit the railings.

The Poker Brat ran up a large stack to over when his house busted another opponent who rivered a straight. But he was removed in 130th  place. After his pocket queens ran into pocket kings, Negreanu didn’t fare far better, and was removed somewhere around the area.

Other noteworthy busts included Kathy Liebert, Matt Berkey, Matt Glantz, Brandon Cantu, Erik Seidel, Brian Rast, Ryan Riess, Gus Hansen, Rainer Kempe, and Olivier Busquet.

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NJ Racetracks Might Get Online Casinos After All; Meeting Passes Internet Cafe Bill

Monmouth Park online casino

New Jersey’s legislature is moving fast to legalize internet cafes in the nation’s horse racing tracks that would allow for online gambling.

New Jersey voters resoundingly rejected a referendum that would have allowed casinos to be built outside of Atlantic City last November. The defeat sent supporters of gambling, particularly to the drawing board, back at racetracks.

The end result was a bill that would enable NJ racetracks to home internet cafes.

The measure passed a vote in the state Assembly on Thursday.

The gist of the gambling bill

The bill, A 4255, was released last December, but could move through the legislature very quickly considering companion legislation, S 2946, was introduced in the Senate in January.

The proposed legislation would authorize “online” gaming at New Jersey racetracks, given they partner with an Atlantic City casino or an online gaming platform affiliated with an Atlantic City casino.

The bill that is per:

“This bill would allow a running or harness horse racetrack in this State to enter into an arrangement with a casino located in Atlantic City, or such a casino’s Internet gaming affiliate, that allows the racetrack’s premises to be accessible as a place where the holder of an Internet gaming accounts may place wagers at casinos using the Internet.”

The Senate version remains in that chamber’s committee, and is unclear.

What does the NJ bill authorize?

Considering online gaming is legal across the state of New Jersey, the bill seems unnecessary. The bill is about online gambling. It’s about authorizing the nation’s racetracks to run cafes.

Having been denied table games and actual slot machines, racetracks such as Monmouth Park are currently looking at the thing. That would be computer terminals that specifically offer gambling known as internet cafes.

Internet cafes are illegal in New Jersey. But because both ends — the café operator and the supplier — would be licensed by the state via the bill, the cafes at racetracks would be lawful.

By running it as an and calling it online gaming, racetracks would skip the voter referendum that is required to expand gaming.

Arguments for and against internet cafes

Supporters of the bill see it as a win-win for casinos and tracks.

“The casinos should realize that absolutely nothing will happen unless they agree to allow it through an arrangement with a track,” Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of the Monmouth Park racetrack told ESPN. “Nobody is forcing anything on them. This is a truly win-win for the racing industry and the casino industry.”

But some lawmakers are skeptical, and see the step as going against the huge majority of New Jersey voters’ wishes.

After a hearing on the Assembly bill last December, Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo told Politico:

“This intent wasn’t what we thought when we came here. And now that you heard the testimony and read into the bill, there’s something up here. Something doesn’t smell right.”