Nevada approves rules for Internet poker sites
Nevada gambling regulators on Thursday unanimously approved rules that allow companies in the state to apply for licenses to operate poker Web sites, a move that puts Nevada in a position to capitalize if Congress reverses its ban on Internet gambling.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the regulations would let casino companies operate Internet poker sites in the state, and some sites could begin operating by the end of 2012.
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"We estimate the U.S. online poker market at $5 billion in revenue, relative to the current $24 billion global Internet gaming market and (the) $33 billion commercial casino market in the U.S.," Union Gaming Group analyst Bill Lerner wrote in a research report. "In our opinion, the commercialization of online poker is a 2013 event."
Online poker in Nevada could be commercially marginal but would provide a model for other states, Lerner said. The guidelines were mandated by the state Legislature's approval of Assembly Bill 258 earlier this year, which dictated that Internet poker regulations be established by Jan. 31.
Licensed gaming companies seeking online poker licenses will have to prove that their technology will be able to limit play to state residents of a legal age. Online poker sites are also required to establish procedures to detect money laundering, fraud or other criminal activities, and to establish a cash reserve to complement money deposited by customers in their accounts. Casino industry representatives applauded the vote despite online poker being illegal in the United States.
The federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 prohibits companies from accepting payments related to online wagering but allows several exceptions, including intrastate wagering and fantasy sports.
Sports in the courts
Seventh person accuses Conlin
A seventh person has come forward with allegations she was sexually abused by former Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist Bill Conlin. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday that the woman says Conlin assaulted her at the beach in Margate, N.J., when she was 11 years old in the 1960s. Conlin retired from the Daily News on Tuesday, hours before The Inquirer posted a story about allegations that he had abused four people decades ago when they were children. Two other accusers have since come forward. The Inquirer reported that the unidentified woman who spoke out Friday says Conlin, a family friend, assaulted her twice while he was visiting the Jersey Shore. Conlin, 77, has promised through his lawyer, George Bochetto, to clear his name. Messages left for Bochetto were not immediately returned.
■ A Los Angeles coroner's office said Friday the cause of death for the 18-year-old son of former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer was a heroin overdose. Thousand Oaks High School backup quarterback Griffen Kramer was found dead in his Agoura Hills home on Oct. 30. The Ventura County Star reported that a toxicological report shows the teenager died of acute morphine heroin toxicity. Friends told investigators that Kramer began foaming at the mouth while consuming heroin with them. Five have been arrested in connection with Kramer's death. Erik Kramer's NFL career spanned from 1987 to 1999. He played with Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego and Detroit.
■ A former Seton Hall basketball player has been sentenced to five years probation for his role in an armed robbery at a house near the school's northern New Jersey campus. Robert Mitchell, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., had pleaded guilty last fall to criminal restraint and burglary charges as part of a plea deal with Essex County prosecutors. Mitchell admitted entering the private home in South Orange in March 2010 with another former Seton Hall player, Kelly Whitney. Prosecutors say the pair bound their eight victims with duct tape and pistol-whipped them. The two men also demanded drugs and cash. Mitchell later testified against Whitney, who pleaded guilty in August to burglary, conspiracy and criminal restraint charges. He's now serving a 3-year state prison term.
Sony Ericsson parting ways with WTA
Sony Ericsson is ending its sponsorship of the WTA tour at the end of the 2012 season. Sony Ericsson became the title sponsor of the women's tennis tour in 2005 under a six-year, $88 million deal. Although the contract was extended through the end of 2012, the mobile phone company's name was dropped from the tour's title in 2011. The WTA said in a statement Friday that "2012 will be the eighth and final year of the partnership. They have been a great partner, and we will miss them." LM Ericsson announced in October it would sell its 50 percent stake in Sony Ericsson to Sony for $1.46 billion.
LPGA founding member dies at 88
Bettye Danoff, one of the LPGA Tour's 13 founding members, has died. She was 88. The LPGA Tour said Mrs. Danoff's family confirmed she died Thursday in Texas. At 5-foot-2 and barely 100 pounds, Mrs. Danoff earned the nickname "Mighty Mite" and was the first grandmother to play the tour. Before the formation of the LPGA Tour, she beat Babe Zaharias 1-up as an amateur in the finals of the 1947 Texas Women's Open to end Zaharias' 17-tournament winning streak.
Memorial set for 'Mayor of the Backside'
A memorial service for Julian Logan "Buck" Wheat, the longtime director of Horsemen's Relations and the unofficial "Mayor of the Backside" at Churchill Downs, will be held at the track this Wednesday. Mr. Wheat, 78, died on Wednesday at University of Louisville Hospital of complications from injuries suffered in a fall at his home a day earlier. The memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Triple Crown Room in Churchill Downs' Jockey Club Suites. Visitation for Wheat is set for Tuesday from 12-8 p.m. at Highlands Funeral Home, 3331 Taylorsville Road. The son of Thoroughbred trainer Logan Wheat, Mr. Wheat had been associated with Churchill in several roles — including a stretch as a trainer — since he took his first job at the track as an usher at the age of 16. Mr. Wheat entered his Horsemen's Relations post in 1986 and held that position at the time of his death.
The last word
Former Knicks coach and current NBA analyst on ABC Jeff Van Gundy said the rush for the league to play on Christmas was "absurd" and "a total money grab."
"I'm thinking to myself, they should have just played all 82 games and just played day-night doubleheaders. Let's just make the fans stay there for 10 hours and watch two games!"