Five Most Baffling Moments in the Gambling Universe 2015: Part One
Posted on: December 28, 2015, 02:00h.
Last updated on: November 8, 2015, 09:54h.
Baffling moments in gambling, you say? What?
As top gambling journalists, it’s not our job to be baffled; it’s our job to cut through the issues with razor-sharp comments and observations.
Sometimes, though, you just have to throw your hands in the air and go WTF? With that in mind, here are the top five most baffling gambling moments of 2015.
The Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling CSIG) is a expert at churning out baffling statements, and in 2015, these may have hit their zenith. The coalition subscribes to the “it’s-true-because-it-rhymes” brand of rhetoric, and thus phrases such as “click your phone, lose your home” and the slightly zingier variation “click your mouse, lose your house,” went down gangbusters at anti-gambling cocktail parties this year.
Representative Jason Chaffetz’ (R- UT 3rd District) assertion that RAWA is a pro-states’ rights bill, despite all evidence to the contrary, was pretty “out there” in the bafflement stakes, we thought. And meanwhile, John Kindt, a professor at the University of Illinois Law School, was fond of quoting a study from 1999, the days of dial-up Internet, as proof that “Internet gambling cannot be regulated.”
Finger on the pulse there, Professor.
However, the award for the most baffling CSIG statement of the year goes to a “news” header on the organization’s website which screamed “Online Gambling Hurts Farmers.”
The logic of why this demographic is particularly at risk is lost on us, and we realize CSIG is not averse to resorting to the use of emotive language to make an intellectually dishonest point or two, but farmers? The only correlation we could make was that spades might be used by farmers to dig things, so there you go.
The Daily Fantasy Sports Scandal
The daily fantasy sports (DFS) scandal was pretty odd when you think about it. DFS continued its unstoppable rise throughout the first nine months of the year, with the top two sites, FanDuel and DraftKings, securing hundreds of millions of dollars in investments as the multibillion dollar industry began mulling international expansion and eventual world domination.
With all this at stake, you might have thought that someone at the two kingpin companies would have remembered to prohibit their players from participating in games at rival sites.
DFS became thoroughly unglued at the end of September, when it emerged that a DraftKings employee had accidentally released player data before the week’s NFL games had begun. In the same week, this employee won $350,000 playing at FanDuel.
Accusations of “insider trading” were perhaps overblown, and the employee was eventually cleared of wrongdoing, but the public’s faith in DFS was shaken, and suddenly the industry was facing attacks on all fronts, from player lawsuits to judicial investigations to denouncements from regulators and politicians.
Beware the Ides of March
That Caesars Entertainment’s debt stands at an unprecedented industry high of around $20 billion was a fact that baffled the Nevada Gaming Commission at a meeting to discuss its messy bankruptcy proceedings this year.
The Commission called the situation “embarrassing,” and suggested that the company refrain from “building any Ferris wheels for a while” to chuckles from assembled members of the press.
“Everyone throws the economy under the bus,” snapped commission chairman Tony Alamo testily.
In seeking Chapter 11 proceedings for its main operating unit, Caesars has been accused by its second lien creditors of restructuring its assets in a way that unfairly favors its controlling private equity backers, who were the guys that got Caesars in this mess in the first place.
Faced with lawsuits and accusations of fraudulent behavior, Caesars devised a new restructuring plan. Now the company is charged with the task of getting its lesser bondholders on board. The deadline for this is March 15 of next year, after which Caesars will lose control over its own bankruptcy proceedings.
Shakespeare scholars among you will recognize this date as the one known as “the Ides of March” in the Roman calendar and the fateful day of Julius Caesar’s assassination by his former supporter, Brutus.
Who’d have thought that a bankruptcy judge would have such a wicked sense of humor?
There were so many baffling moments this year, we had to make this piece a two-parter, so come back tomorrow for more bewildering gambling landmark moments from 2015.
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