NBA Commissioner praises esports tourney winners

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters that eSports players are a “different kind of athlete.”

Commissioner Silver’s comments came during NBA’s All-Star weekend.  The league recently announced an eSports league to coincide with the NBA.

NBA players made a guest appearance at the 2K17 All-Star Tournament in New Orleans to face off against a five-man team named “Still Trill” that had just won the video game’s tournament championship.

Still Trill won a $250,000 prize for the championship as well as getting to meet the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

H/t: Sports Techie

Online Poker Bill moves on in New York

Earlier this week, a New York Senate committee unanimously passed an online poker bill in another effort to legalize it in the state.

The Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee voted unanimously to move the bill along to the Assembly.

The bill authorizes the New York State Gaming Commission to issue 11 online poker licenses to casinos and tribal casinos.

Madden NFL 17 champ docked $3K of prize money for inappropriate social media posts

EA, makers of Madden NFL 17, have docked the prize winnings of Chris “Dubby” McFarland after he failed to comply with their requests to refrain from derogatory comments made on his social media account.

According to an EA release, his posts were “referenced inappropriate content.”  It violated EA’s Code of Conduct.  EA met with McFarland and was warned of the inappropriate posts.  Yet, he continued and was subsequently docked $3,000 from his grand prize winnings of $75,000.

Notably, the release does not mention the withholding as a fine.  Yet, it was due to a violation of a Code of Conduct.

The $3,000 fine is small and less than 10% of the $75,000 prize.  Should EA have gone farther or was the small deduction a warning for future players?

MLB re-thinking stance on gambling regulation

Yahoo Finance reports that Major League Baseball is re-examining its stance on gambling according to commissioner Rob Manfred.

Manfred indicated at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit that MLB was “monitoring the issue and re-thinking pro baseball’s long-held stance on the issue.”

The call for possible federal regulation falls in line with the NBA’s Adam Silver opining a sentiment on behalf of the league he oversees.

Baseball’s commissioner noted that it can be a way of “fan engagement” and “fuel the popularity of the sport.”

He recognized that sports gambling, including baseball, will happen whether or not there is regulation and it’s something that the league will consider moving forward.

The obvious questions loom about regulation which would help retain integrity of the sport while also providing a stream of revenue for the league.  But the question of the vice of gambling as well as the perception of the sanctity of the game will be considered as opposing viewpoints.

Esports comes to the NBA as it announces 2K league

ESPN reports that the NBA and Take Two Interactive have joined forced to create an eSports League based on the NBA 2K series.

Its anticipated that each of the NBA teams will eventually have a team in this newly developed league.  The teams will consist of 5 individuals playing out a 5-month season.  The league is scheduled to begin in 2018.  The teams will play head-to-head and have playoffs leading up to a championship.

via Wikimedia Commons


The NBA will hold an initial draft of esports players, and each NBA franchise will pick five to play as its eLeague team. They will draw salaries, train and essentially treat the NBA 2K eLeague as full-time jobs during the season.

It’s clear that this is the next step for esports to become more mainstream.  The NBA investment in this league is likely substantial with the prospects of it becoming a lucrative stream of revenue for the league.  The report indicates that they will hold events to promote the league, sign sponsorships, sell tickets and produce merchandise.

Perhaps the only drawback for those into the realism of the video games, is that real-life players will not be represented in the games.  Players will come up with their own avatars.  Perhaps the inability to use NBA players likenesses is an issue that has yet to be discussed between the league and the players union.

Kobe Bryant protects “The Black Mamba” Trademark

Via my post on Seattle Copyright and Trademark:

Attorneys on behalf of Kobe Bryant have filed a Notice of Opposition against a Los Angeles company over the application to use The Black Mamba.

The company, 47/72, Inc., has until March 12th to file an answer.

The Notice of Opposition filed on January 31st claims that the intent to use the retired Lakers’ longtime nickname would cause a likelihood of confusion, false suggestion of a connection and the name consists of the name of a living individual without his consent.

The applicant filed an “intent to use” application (had not used the mark but intended to do so in the future) less than a week after Bryant’s last game in the NBA.  The intent was to apparently sell clothing online.  According to the Notice of Opposition the company has attempted to trademark famous phrases for its own benefit.  Examples include “To Infinity and Beyond,” “Let it Go,” and “Nanu Nanu.”

Bryant’s attorneys had filed a Letter of Protest in May 2016 which was forwarded to the Examining Attorney.  The applicant mark was opposed after it was published for opposition.  Bryant’s attorneys requested and received an extension to file its opposition.

The case reflects the vigilance it takes to protect an existing trademark.  It will also be an interesting case to see how the USPTO looks at this issue if the applicants decide to pursue the mark.

British court comes down on pair that allowed minors to bet on EA video game

A British court has ordered two men to pay fines and costs for breaking gambling laws as their web site allowed minors to gamble on Premier League Football matches using a virtual currency.

The Guardian reports that FutGalaxy was a “social gaming” website which had no age restrictions and let minors use a credit card to place bets in a virtual currency earned on Electronic Art’s FIFA soccer video game.

The site made the equivalent $120,000 US dollars from July 2015 to February 2016.

His You Tube video enticed gamers to go to the site advertising that there were “no age restrictions.”

FutGalaxy took bets on matches played in the UK, France, Germany and Italy.

Oregon bill would define DFS as “contest of chance”

House Bill 2761 was introduced in the State of Oregon which defines daily fantasy sports as a “contest of chance” for purposes of gambling and gaming laws.

The bill would effectively ban daily fantasy sports in the state.

The regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports varies from state to state with many looking to define it as a “game of skill” which would preclude it from certain gambling laws.

The bill was first introduced on Monday, February 6, 2017 so the road for this piece of legislation has a way to go.

New York introduces bill to legalize online poker

Last week, New York legislators introduced a bill that would make online poker a game of skill.

Specifically, the bill reads:

Allows certain interactive poker games be considered games of skill rather than games of luck; includes definitions, authorization, required safeguards and minimum standards, the scope of licensing review and state tax implications; makes corresponding penal law amendments

The bill was introduced by Republican Senator John Conacic.

The bill goes into detail discussing the differences between a contest of chance and one of skill and evaluate poker as one of skill.

We will see if this will gain any traction.  States such as Washington which has contemplated a bill are likely looking at New York’s legislation and hoping it’s something that pro-poker proponents hope happens.