Trump’s VP Selection Should Scare Poker Enthusiasts

We here at The Legal Blitz try to stay away from politics. However, when covering the intersection of sports, gambling, and the law, it is nearly impossible to do so. One particular issue that I have kept an eye on is internet poker.

My home state of Pennsylvania is reportedly en route to legalizing internet poker within the next few months. Although this is terrible news for my productivity, it is a smart way for the state to generate new revenue while acknowledging its residents’ desires to play poker wherever they please.

On a national level, I was encouraged to see that for the first time since 2000, the Republican Party’s Platform at the RNC did not call for a ban on internet gambling. Per Gambling Compliance this is historically significant because Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson, one of the Republican Party’s most important donors, has pledged to spend “whatever it takes” to outlaw online wagering. The DNC Platform is silent on issues involving internet gaming and poker.

However, Donald Trump’s pick for Vice President, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, should sour any hope of outright national poker legalization.

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Steve Silver Published in Journal of NCAA Compliance: NCAA Begins to Change Culture in Wake of Oliver Case

It took a lawsuit by former Oklahoma State pitcher Andy Oliver, as well as mounting public pressure, for the NCAA to loosen its grip on banning agents in college sports.

Legal Blitz Co-Founder, Steve Silver, is often agitating the NCAA, whether testifying at legislative hearings in support of student-athlete trust funds or educating others about college athletes’ due process rights. However, this time Silver joined forces with frequent Legal Blitz contributor and Coastal Carolina University sports management professor, Amanda Siegrist, to offer an overview of the NCAA change to the “No Agent Rule” as well as practical advice for future implementation.

Silver and Siegrist’s article, “NCAA Begins to Change Culture in Wake of Oliver Case” appeared in the most recent issue of the Journal of NCAA Compliance. It can be found here.

As a bit of background, in 2009, Andy Oliver, a pitcher for Oklahoma State University Men’s Baseball team, brought significant attention to the NCAA bylaw known as the “No Agent Rule” when he filed suit against the NCAA, becoming a catalyst for major change as the NCAA’s Power Five conference abolished the rule in January as applied to high school athletes. Their article explores the relevant bylaws, addresses the importance of the recent change implemented by the Power Five conferences in the wake of growing legal and public pressure, and provides practical advice for compliance by both the student-athlete and institutions.

You can find Silver on Twitter @thelegalblitz and Prof. Siegrist @SiegristA.

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The Challenges of Funding Elite College Athlete Disability Insurance

By Frank Darras, Esq. Mr. Darras is the founding partner of DarrasLaw, America’s top disability insurance litigation firm. His firm has recovered nearly $800 million in wrongfully denied insurance benefits for clients of all backgrounds and professions across the nation.

Injuries are a fact of life for most athletes. However, the right insurance policy can make a huge difference for today's stars.

Thanks to a few high-stake lawsuits and more focused news coverage, we are finally hearing more about elite athlete insurance policies. In turn, more Division I, draft-eligible college athletes are considering the purchase of loss of value and/or permanent total disability insurance.

When language and exclusions are negotiated zealously and the policies are applied for properly, this high-stake disability insurance can provide financial security to athletes who move on to the pros or forgo the draft and return to school. However, most athletes and their respective colleges or universities face one huge obstacle: how in the world do they fund the coverage?

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Drexel University Hosts Steve Silver For “College Athletes, the NCAA, & Due Process” Panel

We here at The Legal Blitz are excited to announce that Co-Founder Steve Silver is slated as a speaker at Drexel University’s Department of Sport Management’s upcoming College Athletes’ Rights & Empowerment Conference: Visioning A New Paradigm of College Sport.

On Saturday, March 26, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. in Drexel’s Gerri C. LeBow Hall, Silver will share his insights on representing amateur athletes against athletic governing bodies on a panel called, “College Athletes, the NCAA and Due Process.” Joining Silver is New York Times reporter Ben Strauss; Matt Haverstick (Plaintiff’s attorney in Corman v. NCAA); and Richard Johnson (Plaintiff’s attorney in Oliver v. NCAA).

The public is welcome to attend. Tickets are available here. You can also live stream the panel here. For more updates about Drexel’s Conference, follow it on Twitter @drexelcare.

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The Legal Hurdles Facing A Potential Las Vegas NFL Team

By Doug Fuglsang. Mr. Fuglsang is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin with a Sports Law Certificate from the National Sports Law Institute. He can be reached at doug.fuglsang@gmail.com.

The Raiders are staying in Oakland for the 2016 season after coming to terms on a one-year lease with the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. The lease additionally contains two one-year options that could potentially keep the team in Oakland until the end of the 2018 NFL season, though in all likelihood the Raiders days in Oakland are numbered. It’s common knowledge that the Coliseum is figuratively, and in some instances literally a dump. Mark Davis is saying all the right things publicly about wanting to keep the Raiders in Oakland but an uncooperative government in a State strapped for cash; a feud with A’s owner Lew Wolff over development rights to a new Coliseum; and the high probability of getting some public assistance elsewhere; lead me to conclude the Raiders will be playing elsewhere in the near future.

Where they will be playing is a mystery after the Raiders were left standing without a chair when the music stopped in Los Angeles, but they still have several intriguing relocation options. Division rival San Diego Chargers have until January 15, 2017 to negotiate a deal to join the Rams in Los Angeles, which will likely have a major impact on where the Raiders end up. If Dean Spanos passes on Los Angeles or reaches an impasse with crotchety Stan Kroenke, there is a possibility the Raiders could end up in L.A. or even possibly join the Chargers in San Diego in a new their stadium. In November the voters of San Diego will get to decide if they want to fork over the public funds to keep the Chargers in San Diego, recent polls demonstrate an uphill battle, but Dean Spanos sounds like he would rather stay in San Diego. If they do stay, a potential venture with the Raiders on a joint stadium could reduce cost significantly. There is also a small possibility the Raiders stay in the “Bay Area” as the second tenant of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, current home of the San Francisco 49ers. The NFL contributed $200 million to the construction of Levi’s Stadium on the condition that it was capable of supporting two franchises. However, it is highly unlikely this happens, USA Today published a good run down of the finances and obstacles to this scenario; even though it makes the most sense egos will likely prevent it. Finally, I’ve heard San Antonio mentioned, I, for one, don’t think perennial hawk Jerry Jones will EVER let this happen, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

There is, however, a potential wildcard in all this — Las Vegas.

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Recent Pennsylvania Superior Court Ruling On Waiver Forms Exposes Athletic Event Organizers To Increased Wrongful Death Liability

The following post by Steve Silver, Esq. originally appeared on the renowned Wake Forest Law School’s Journal of Business & Intellectual Property Law blog on February 29, 2016.

Between mud runs, charity 5Ks, obstacles course races, and marathons, there is no shortage of events today testing a weekend warrior’s fitness or, often, their pain tolerance.

These amateur athletic competitions are not just fun and games, though. They are also major revenue generators. For example, according to the Sports Business Daily, the obstacle course racing industry saw its revenues spike from about $16 million in 2009 to nearly $400 million by 2015. In addition, more than 18 million Americans competed in marathons in 2014.

However, even the most profitable athletic events such as CrossFit GamesTough Mudder competitions, or marathons represent substantial liability hazards for their organizers and insurers. This is why anyone who has ever participated in an event involving physical activity has likely encountered a general liability waiver form. Typically, a participant receives a piece of paper with a lot of fine print that they blindly sign minutes before the competition begins waiving all future legal claims for any injuries that may arise while crawling through a freezing mud pit with exposed electrical wires.

When injuries, or even fatalities occur, the waiver form is often the strongest defense for the event organizers.

Now, however, thanks to a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Superior Court, insuring an event in the Northeast just became a lot more costly.

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The Daily Fantasy Sports 1099 Tax Season Stampede

The following is posted with the permission of Legal Blitz friend Patrick Guinan, CPA. Mr Guinan is one of the nation’s leading experts on DFS tax implications and proper filing for DFS players. You can find him here.

As some of you may know, FanDuel and DraftKings are delayed in sending out their 1099-MISC Forms to participants in order to file their winnings to the IRS and other taxing authorities. This is delaying the proper filing of tax returns of folks who know this and could cause MAJOR headaches for those who have filed and may not know this. I’m not going to comment or speculate as to why it is happening, but I have a few tips for anyone impacted by the 1099 delays.

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U.S. Soccer’s New Player Safety Campaign Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

By Doug Fuglsang. Mr. Fuglsang is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin with a Sports Law Certificate from the National Sports Law Institute. He can be reached at doug.fuglsang@gmail.com.

Is the U.S. Soccer Federation doing enough to protect players from concussions and shield itself from legal liability? (Photo by Kansas City Legal Examiner)

Starting January 1, 2016 U.S. Soccer Federation’s new rules banning headers for players 10 and under, while also limiting the amount of exposure to headers in practice for players between the ages of 11 and 13, went into effect — at least I think they did.

There was much acclaim for the new rules. A few thought U.S. Soccer overreacted to the threat of litigation over youth concussions; but upon closer examination, I’m not really sure much was changed, other than limiting the liability for U.S. Soccer.

Youth soccer is facing a similar crisis to that of youth football; parents are beginning to question whether the benefits of permitting their children to play sports that carry a higher risk of head injury, like football and soccer, outweigh the risks of future health complications due to concussions and repetitive sub-concussive hits. Youth football has already seen a decline in participation and it’s not outlandish to think a similar trend could hit youth soccer as more information becomes available to parents.

So why does the U.S. Soccer Federation now care so much about concussions? Look to the lawyers.

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Missouri Football Strike Proves Athletes Are Our Universities’ Most Valuable Commodities

The following post originally appeared on Above the Law Redline on November 8, 2015. However, since it is one of the most important sports stories of 2015, we are reprinting it. Enjoy!

Late Saturday night, while most Americans were fully embedded in their couch’s butt groove after a day of some of the year’s best college football games, a group of athletes decided to embark on the most important goal line stand of their lives. At 9:14 p.m., the University of Missouri’s Legion of Black Collegians announced that the school’s black football players would no longer suit up until school president, Tim Wolfe, stepped down. Their statement read:

The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere.’ We will no longer participate in any football related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experiences. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!

As many news outlets have now reported, racial tension has been brewing for months at Missouri after the administration failed to respond to several racist incidents involving verbal abuse directed at black students. The situation boiled over when someone recently smeared a swastika in feces on a dorm’s bathroom. Now, a black graduate student is on a hunger strike and the universities’ most-prized athletes are on a football strike.

According to my former colleague David Morrison, 42 of the 64 players on Missouri’s depth chart are black and at this point they have the full support of the coaching staff and athletic department.

This, of course, should not come as a surprise, because without Missouri’s black football players, there is no football team. And without a football team there is no money.

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What’s the Future of Daily Fantasy Sports in 2016?

Sponsored Content From Supporters Of The Legal Blitz

Daily fantasy sports have caught fire in the UK and around the world. An import from the US, they have ridden off the back of successful sports like the NFL and the Premier League. It’s a chance to compete against your friends and show off your sporting knowledge.

The future of daily fantasy sports in 2016 isn’t all too clear, however, and we’re going to go into why.

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