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Poker News | World Poker News

Nevada Gaming Commission Bans .com Usage

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An hour before the World Series of Poker Main Event started Friday; representatives from the Nevada Gaming Commission informed Harrah's officials that no online gambling logos could be present within the WSOP tournament area. If you've seen any television advertising, all references to online poker sites like PartyPoker refer to their .net domain name. Technically, these websites have no online cash playing privileges, they are educational websites designed for players to learn how to play poker. The felt, found at the poker tables, inside the Amazon room are adorned with PartyPoker.net logos, for example.

The significant problem came with the clothing the players were wearing as they streamed into the Rio. Many sites gave players free apparel for qualifying for the Main Event, with certain qualifiers on free rolls requiring players to wear logoed apparel. Most of the sites had .com logos, with PokerStars having the biggest problem as they had the most players represented. The quick fixes varied, from taping over the .com part of logos on caps to turning their jerseys inside out. Apparently, there is nothing illegal about wearing a moc.rekoptlitlluf logo (for those who aren't dyslexic, that's fulltiltpoker.com backwards).

In an article earlier this week in the Las Vegas Sun, Business Editor Jeff Simpson torched the NGC for what he considers lax attention to online gambling sites.

"Nevada gaming regulators need to get tough, in a hurry. Playing poker online for money is illegal in Nevada, according to state law. What I find astonishing is that the Gaming Control Board allows the properties hosting major poker events to ally themselves so closely with poker Web sites that invite players to break the law. Harrah's can get away with the close partnerships because the online operators use their Web sites' "dot net" suffix, meaning that they call themselves by the names of their "educational" sister sites that offer free play instead of poker for money. Ultimatebet.com, where you can bet, with a wink becomes Ultimatebet.net, where you can't. So Harrah's isn't technically partnering with illegal operators, and regulators aren't technically allowing a rule-breaking partnership. Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander says the distinction between the dot-coms and the dot-nets matters and that regulators don't see a problem with the dot-net marketing at the WSOP. He's wrong. The dot-net distinction shouldn't make a difference. Nevada casino operators shouldn't be partnering with illegal online casino operators - or their shadow sites."

For marketing executives from the PartyPoker, PokerStars, and others, there are jersey and cap logistical challenges to solve. For the board of directors and executives of Harrah's and online poker companies, it's a bit more complicated than that.

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