The Borgata in Atlantic City has filed a federal lawsuit against poker star Phil Ivey, claiming that the professional gambler cheated the casino out of nearly $10 million during high-stakes baccarat play. Ivey visited the Borgata several times in 2012. According to the suit, his baccarat play started with a maximum bet of $50,000 per hand. Over the course of the year, Ivey won large sums of money ($4.79 million over 17 hours of play in July 2012 alone), and the casino raised his maximum bet to $100,000 per hand. The lawsuit alleges that Ivey insisted that the casino use purple Gemaco playing cards, and the Borgata now claims that Ivey exploited a defect in those playing cards to his advantage. To the untrained eye, these cards look the same. But to the poker pro, these differences can be used to influence the odds that you will win a hand. And that’s what Ivey allegedly did. According to the suit, Ivey managed to change the odds of the game from a 1.06% house advantage to a 6.765% advantage for himself. This isn’t the first time that Ivey has been accused of edge sorting. In 2013, Ivey sued Britain’s oldest casino after the establishment withheld some of his winnings, alleging that he used edge sorting to beat the house. Ivey has publicly admitted using the technique but insists that edge sorting isn’t cheating. The Borgata is also suing the playing card manufacturer. Ivey is largely considered to be the best poker player alive today. He has won nine World Series of Poker bracelets and one World Poker Tour title.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says he will soon propose a federal Internet gambling ban, a proposal that mirrors the agenda of his major backer, billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, and the Adelson-backed Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling. This move comes after Adelson and his wife hosted a Graham fundraiser last year. Graham has not previously made gaming a major policy priority, but did oppose a 2010 proposal to legalize Internet poker. Last month, he told industry news site GamblingCompliance that he will file a bill to ban to ban all online gambling, nationwide. Such an effort has been pushed by Adelson, who has called Internet poker âa threat to our society â a toxin which all good people ought to resist,â and dismissed online gambling as âfool’s gold.â Adelson dismissed charges that the competition is bad for his businesses, arguing that âthe impact on my company’s business would be limited.â Though Adelson has vigorously opposed online gaming, a coalition of other casinos oppose his proposed ban. While Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have literally poured millions of dollars into electing political candidates, prior to 2013 the only significant contribution Graham received from them was a $2,300 donation in 2008 from Sheldon Adelson’s corporate PAC. But last year, the Adelsons anted up big for Graham, who is up for re-election this November and faces multiple primary challengers. As Politico noted Wednesday, Sheldon and Miriam each gave $7,800 contributions to Graham’s campaign committee in May 2013 (both were refunded $2,600 of that, as the total exceeded federal limits). The newspaper noted that a Graham spokesman ânoted that the Adelsons’ contributions paled in comparison to the senator’s $8 million in fundraising this cycle.â But weeks earlier, the Adelsons had given even more help to the senior Senator from South Carolina. Las Vegas Sands PAC sent an additional $5,000 contribution to Team Graham â the legal maximum. And on April 30, 2013, the Adelsons hosted a high-dollar fundraiser for Graham at their Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. According to the event invitation, the Adelsons hosted Graham and âspecial guestâ Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) at their exclusive âPaiza Clubâ for an evening reception and policy discussion. The event, which cost $1,000 to attend, exclusively benefited Graham’s re-election campaign. Sheldon Adelson, whose Sands casino reportedly paid $47.4 million in fines to settle a federal money laundering investigation, is apparently still facing separate inquiries into alleged foreign corrupt practices. While his direct donations to Graham and other candidates are public record, he vowed in 2012 to keep the bulk of his future political giving secret, by sending it to tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups that do not have to disclose donors. At the time, he told Las Vegas Sun political reporter Jon Ralston that he believed the media’s use of the phrase âcasino mogulâ in describing his donations to candidates âis not helpful to the personâ he is helping to bankroll.