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The Nightly Turbo: Online Poker Bill Unconstitutional and DOJ's Remission Process

Nightly Turbo

What can poker players be thankful for during the holidays? How about some progress in the repayment of Full Tilt Poker's U.S. players? We're bringing you the latest on that story, plus a challenge to the Reid/Kyl online poker bill, in this edition of the Nightly Turbo.

The PokerNews staff will be off on Thursday and Friday, so check back in on Monday for the latest news, views and gossip in the world of poker. Happy Thanksgiving!

In Case You Missed It

Poker players are often known for their outlandish prop bets. Chad Holloway recently stumbled upon a wager between members of the TwoPlusTwo Forums that might be the most ridiculous we've ever seen.

The PokerStars.net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour Auckland Main Event kicked off on Wednesday. Take a look at the highlights in our daily ANZPT recap.

Daniel Negreanu was back with another YouTube rant this week. Negreanu addressed integrity in poker, a shot clock, and more.

Will federal online poker legislation pass in the U.S. during the lame-duck session? Matthew Kredell examines the odds and speaks with John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance.

Legal Expert Challenges Federal Poker Bill

A federal online poker bill drafted by Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl could be found unconstitutional if moved through Congress, according to a memorandum written by a legal expert this week.

Paul Clement, the former U.S. solicitor general under President George W. Bush, raised concerns about the bill after his legal opinion was sought after by the Poker Players Alliance. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Clement found flaws in the bill regarding the punishment of offshore sites which operated in the U.S. after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. The bill includes text saying that those particular websites will be prohibited from being licensed for the first five years after the enactment of the bill.

Clement claims that the measure raises "serious due process concerns."

Clement passed his findings along to Reid and Kyl late last month and wrote that this bill is more of a nonstarter than a similar online poker bill that died in Congress during the 2010 lame-duck session. Reid and Kyl are attempting to move their bill through the legislature during the same time period this year; the lame-duck period began last week and lawmakers are facing a long to-do list before the session ends next month.

"In my view, the 2012 act suffers from the exact same problems as the 2010 act, and in some instances, the 2012 act's constitutional infirmities are even more pronounced," Clement said in a memo sent to Kyl.

Neither Reid nor Kyl commented about the memo this week, but a spokesperson for Reid previously told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the bill is "still being written."

For more, check out the full story at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Decision at the DOJ

In case you missed the breaking news Tuesday night, the Department of Justice announced that it plans to hire a third-party claims administrator by January 2013 to oversee the repayment of Full Tilt Poker's U.S. customers.

"The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is evaluating applicants for the position of Claims Administrator to handle petitions for remission for U.S. victims of the alleged fraud that Full Tilt Poker committed relating to player funds," read Tuesday's statement on the Justice.gov website. "The United States Attorney’s Office expects that the Claims Administrator will be selected and begin work in January 2013."

The news comes a week after Poker Players Alliance executive director John Pappas released a statement saying that "no decisions have been made at the DOJ regarding the manner of repayment of player balances." Pappas and PPA counsel met with officials from the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering sector of the DOJ and determined that the refund of players taken on by the DOJ in July was still a "long way away."

PokerNews will continue to cover this story as more information becomes available. Read more here at PokerNews.com.

Dan Smith Leads GPI Player of the Year Race

The 2012 Global Poker Index Player of the Year race is winding down, and Dan Smith still maintains a sizable lead atop the leaderboard.

The latest standings were released Wednesday with Smith leading the way for the 13th consecutive week. Smith (1098.79 GPI POY points) hasn't cashed in a live tournament in well over a month, but his five wins will likely be enough to secure the inaugural GPI POY honor. Among the players chasing Smith are Marvin Rettenmaier (966.63 points), Kyle Julius (906.02), Joseph Cheong (848.90), and Phil Hellmuth (846.83).

There are only a handful of qualifying events left on the 2013 schedule, including tournaments on the World Series of Poker Circuit, ANZPT, World Poker Tour, European Poker Tour, and DeepStacks Poker Tour. The GPI partnered up with DeepStacks this week and will track all cashes from the upcoming $2,500 DSPT National Championship at Mohegan Sun. That will give players one extra chance to catch Smith for Player of the Year.

Here's a look at the top 10 of the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race:

PlacePlayerTotal ScoreChange in Rank
1Dan Smith1098.79--
2Marvin Rettenmaier966.63--
3Kyle Julius906.02--
4Joseph Cheong846.83+1
5Phil Hellmuth829.47-1
6Andrew Lichtenberger819.75--
7Justin Bonomo798.33--
8David Baker790.71--
9Daniel Negreanu768.40--
10Jason Mercier766.71

The Global Poker Index Player of the Year, presented by PokerNews, honors the player who has the strongest performance in live tournaments during the calendar year, according to the USA Today Global Poker Index point system.

For the full GPI Player of the Year standings, head on over to GlobalPokerIndex.com.

WSOP TV Ratings on the Rise

The television ratings for the 2012 World Series of Poker coverage on ESPN are officially in. PocketFives.com reported Wednesday that ESPN's WSOP ratings saw an increase of 17 percent over last year, with the two-hour primetime shows drawing a 0.7 household coverage rating (around 664,000 households tuned in).

The report also showed that the first day of the WSOP Main Event final table, aired on a 15-minute delay, generated a household coverage rating of 0.6 across 632,000 households. The broadcast featured the nine members of the final table playing down to three. The tournament was eventually won by poker pro Greg Merson.

The ratings boost is certainly a good sign for poker, but it could also be due in part to the axe of ESPN's near-live coverage of the days leading up to the final table. According to the Nielsen ratings, last year's near-live coverage across 10 telecasts averaged a coverage rating of 0.4, reaching 415,000 households per episode. However, the Tuesday night primetime shows suffered as a result, producing a 0.6 household coverage rating across 549,000 households.

PocketFives.com has more.

A Tour of Auckland

The ANZPT Auckland Main Event got underway on Wednesday. PokerNews' Lynn Gilmartin took a tour of the city before hitting the tournament floor.

Follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.

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