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CR88-p28&29-Comment:SJC-Casino Review 21/1/10 18:56 Page 1
“The International Gaming Expo 2010 once again finds as its
backdrop continuing significant challenges for the global
gaming industry, making this year’s event I believe the most
important yet. It is now that businesses and the people working
in them innovate, seek new ways of achieving success and
look to break the mould to lay the foundations for future
direction and growth.”
Julian Graves, managing director of
Clarion Gaming, bigs up Europe’s biggest
gaming show
Pointless tax
leaves poker a
house of cards
The profitability of the poker industry is in
danger of being blown away by a new tax
that most view as pointless. Having missed
out on the huge tax of the so called ‘super’
casino, Phil Martin believes the British
government is now picking on the small boys.
blowbyblow money out of a game which in
COMMENT PIECE comparison makes peanuts.
Historically, casinos have
always been able to differenti-
ate their poker offering from
the rest of the games on offer
with it being termed a ‘service’
rather than a ‘business.’ Anyone
partaking in the game would
be competing against another
player rather than the house.
The casino would only charge
Poker is at an interesting point a minimal hourly fee to host
in its development in the UK. the game. The government
Following a massive boom in recognised this and operators
the popularity of the game only paid VAT on its poker earn-
from around 2003 onwards ings whilst paying a full tax
Casino execs have to watch their step
there has since been a decline rate on roulette, blackjack etc.
in play and a legal threat to its However, the government
very survival. First the good slapped poker in the face with If you’ve ever had a problem with your ex-wife, your lawyer or a friend, it might be
news; 2009 lacked any real a revision in its spring 2009
nobody’s business but your own. Except if you own or operate a Nevada casino - in
consistency in live poker. budget bringing in a full rate
Whilst some events like tax on poker too with little
which case, all your dirty laundry, no matter how lightly smudged, is subject to scrutiny
GUKPT London and the regard for the consequences.
by the Gaming Control Board. Liz Benston, gaming reporter on the Las Vegas Sun,
WSOPE had record breaking Government coffers are now a
explains how the Board has expanded its power to discipline operators.
turnouts, others like the British high priority. The survival of
Masters struggled to attract a games like poker is not.
decent field. The move has already cost whiterthanwhite law last year was an amend- state of Nevada, or that
The Grosvenor Victoria the Vic an extra £1m, which in COMMENT ment to state law clarifying would reflect or tend to
Poker Club has bucked the the current climate is a notable that gaming license holders reflect discredit upon the
trend and last year opened its chunk of any balance sheet. When a federal judge in 2008 who fail to uphold the same state of Nevada or the
poker club 24 hours a day with The question then is this, if the sentenced prominent Los personal and professional gaming industry.” Moreover,
some of the smaller cash government has forced poker Angeles attorney Terry Chris- standards required to ini- associating with “persons of
games being played non-stop to be as costly to operate as tensen to three years in jail tially obtain their licences notorious or unsavory repu-
now. Known as The Vic to most, other casino games, without for conspiring to wiretap the may be disciplined. tation,” people with “exten-
the club is recognised as the generating anywhere near as ex-wife of his longtime client The Gaming Control sive police records” or
headquarters of British poker much money, why would and MGM Mirage board Board pressed for this law, involved with “subversive
and is home to the London EPT casinos keep offering it? member Kirk Kerkorian, which resembles rules in movements” or people who
final and GUKPT Grand final Spare a thought too for Not- Nevada gaming regulators existing gaming regulations, could damage the state’s or
so is never lacking high profile tingham’s Dusk Til Dawn, the took note that an industry to counter any legal argu- industry’s reputation
players. The Empire has also largest poker club in Europe. insider was close friends ment that the board might be because they are unethical
taken its poker room 24/7 and Although never set up as busi- with a man who had become
Al Pacino plays casino
owner Willy Bank in Ocean’s
overstepping its authority by or otherwise unprofessional
high profile poker to a new ness enterprise in the truest a felon.
disciplining a casino licence could be grounds for pun-
level hosting the European leg sense by poker loving Rob This news might be a non- holder for any infraction, ishment.
of the World Series of Poker. Yong, it predicts that its own issue for most business executive who recently however minor. In general, it’s much
It’s not just in the capital revenues will be hit by up to executives, but it can present resigned for other reasons, Regulators have broad dis- harder to lose a casino
that poker has boomed. In the 50 per cent. The reason? To a problem in the commercial to disassociate from Chris- cretion to issue warnings, licence than win it in the first
provinces, Grosvenor has built remove itself from any grey casino industry, where tensen - perhaps because impose conditional licences place, though employees
dedicated poker rooms in each areas it opted to acquire a fully holders of state gaming the attorney’s actions were with probationary periods and singled out for any form of
of its recently rebranded G fledged casino licence but not licences must submit to far removed from the casino even revoke licences - a rarely regulatory punishment are
Casinos and by taking in ten introduce any casino games. extensive background business and Nevada. invoked power that essen- commonly fired - a career-
casino locations, the With just poker in its mix the checks designed to keep out But they could have. In tially bans individuals from ruining outcome. There’s no
Grosvenor UK Poker Tour new tax rates are strangling the mob and other poten- fact, Nevada regulators the casino industry for life. hard-and-fast rules about
(GUKPT) is the largest in the any justification for its exis- tially criminal influences that recently strengthened their The standard for personal what will trigger regulators’
UK. tence. Even as a self pro- could taint or defraud authority to discipline casino and business behaviour is ire, though.
But all this is under threat claimed ‘recreational Nevada’s economic engine. bosses and their employees deliberately broad. It
from a government that having business,’ its cards have been Regulators haven’t for concerns that could have includes disciplinary action The full article can be read at
turned its back on the massive marked by a government that ordered Kerkorian, who little, if anything, to do with for activities “inimical to the
tax opportunities presented having lost its own golden owns the largest chunk of the workplace. public health, safety, morals, s/2010/jan/06/casino-
by a ‘super’ casino now wants ticket is now looking to take MGM Mirage stock, or Gary Among a slew of little- good order and general execs-have-watch-their-
to squeeze life-threatening the shine off everyone else’s’. Jacobs, an MGM Mirage watched bills that became welfare of the people of the step/
28 February 2010 • comment
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