Representatives of Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings wanted to assure the Nevada Gaming Commission that the company, which operates legal Internet gaming websites in Europe, would comply with the state’s regulatory structure.
After the company spent almost two hours earlier this month making its case to the Gaming Control Board, the commission needed less than an hour Thursday to unanimously approve 888 for an interactive gaming license.
“Much has been put on the record in regards to 888,” Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Pete Bernhard said. “All my concerns have been addressed.”
The company, which was found suitable in 2011 as a business partner with Caesars Entertainment Corp. to operate World Series of Poker-branded websites in Europe, will partner with Caesars on interactive gaming in Nevada.
#3. IL and PA. This week could pass with no movement in PA, where a few soft deadlines for the introduction of an online gambling bill have come and gone. But the pressure for legislative progress on the larger issue of casino expansion is significant in IL and should result in a quicker timetable for online poker – one way or the other.
The Gaming Control Board spent almost two hours Wednesday delving into the background of European online gaming operator 888 Holdings, which is seeking an interactive Nevada gaming license.
After recommending that Gibraltar-based 888 be approved the state’s 20th interactive license, the three control board members spent all of five minutes discussing Treasure Island’s request to hold the state’s 21st interactive license.
“I don’t have any questions, unless you want me to make some up,” Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett told Treasure Island attorney Frank Schreck.
It took board member Shawn Reid longer to read the license conditions into the public record than it did to approve Treasure Island.
Social gaming giant Zynga Inc. filed an application for a preliminary finding of suitability with Nevada gaming regulators [last] week as the San Francisco-based company looks to break into real money online gambling.
The company, which makes free-play social games such as Words with Friends, FarmVille and Mafia Wars, has been hinting at finding a way to jump into the potential U.S. regulated online gaming industry. The company operates the free-play Zynga Poker.
Zynga Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle said in a statement that his company is looking beyond Nevada. Zynga recently signed a partnership agreement with European online gaming giant Bwin.party to provide games that can be played for real money online by the company’s customers in the United Kingdom. The first games are expected to launch next year.
A World Series of Poker real money website based in Nevada took a step forward Wednesday.
The Gaming Control Board tentatively approved Caesars Interactive Entertainment to operate online poker in Nevada.
The company, the interactive arm of the Caesars Entertainment Corp., manages the promotion and advertising aspects of the annual World Series of Poker.
Caesars Entertainment general counsel Michael Cohen told the board during a meeting in Carson City that the Nevada website would be run as a World Series of Poker brand.
If approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission on Dec. 20, Caesars would become the 17th company granted an interactive gaming license to offer online poker to players who are physically within the state’s borders.
I can feel the damp chill of Autumn encroaching as the last rays of a surprisingly vibrant summer ebb away. At last the British skies can get back to what they do best: ineptly ferrying about sacks of floating water. Excuse my while I pull on this cardigan and open up the umbrella of news.
Dan Smith Does Not Win EPT
The world is in shock after two EPT events concluded without Dan Smith winning either of them. Frenchman Laurent Polito caused an upset in Barcelona by taking down the €10,000 High Roller, only for Mikalai Pobal to complete the anomaly by rudely winning the Main Event for just over €1 million. [Poker News Daily]
Play It Again Sam
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like Doyle Brunson, but don’t fancy ageing a thousand years and putting on a stetson, chances are you’ve taken the opportunity to “run it twice” a few times. Full Tilt added it as an online feature a few years ago and, probably non-coincidentally, PokerStars are set to unveil their own version in the next few days. [Poker Fuse]
888 Hitting the Jackpot
Since Black Friday, it’s been mostly doom and gloom so far as online poker revenue goes, so it’s nice to hear about a company doing well off the back of its digital offering. 888 is reporting a big increase in first-half earnings, with its online poker division contributing heartily to that figure. I’m not sure if those numbers include subsidiary Dragonfish, but their recent successes could be playing a part in this uptick. [Reuters]
German Licensing Confusion
The dissident German province of Schleswig Holstein is being welcomed back into mainstream Teutonic legislation, which puts the online poker companies they recently granted licenses to in a tricky spot. The German Treaty does not allow for such licenses to be issued, although given that a handful have already been given out it is not clear whether or not the local government will be legally obligated to honour them. [Gambling Kingz]
Ground Control to Major Kyllönen
I thought that Finland was already in space, so I’m pretty surprised to hear all the hubbub surrounding Jens Kyllönen spending €160,000 on a trip to the stars in 2014. Circus man Guy Laliberte also has a ticket as a part of a journey to his Martian homeworld. [4Flush]
Before I go, I’d encourage you all to take a look at Phil Galfond’s fraternal dissection of Viktor Blom. It’s not really news, but it’s rare to hear the very top pros talk about each other in detail and even rarer for that pro to be a clear and engaging writer. Click this now.
After quite rightly ruffling a few feathers earlier this week, I’m retreating into my castle of news. Drawbridge raised, I shall load the catapult with facts and pelt all onlookers with interesting tit-bits from the wider world of poker. Prepare the boiling oil!
If there’s one thing that inspires people to get into poker, it’s all the hot babes that you immediately attract, right? That’s what the UK Advertising Standards Agency seem to think anyway, having recently banned a commercial for 888’s new Webcam Poker because the ad suggests a link between gambling and seduction. To be fair to the ASA they are just enforcing the rules, but even the supposedly sexual aspects of this commercial are questionable. Check it out for yourself and see if you think the bikini clad lady qualifies as ‘seductive’. [Card Player]
It’s Chili In Vegas
One-armed bandit creators, Bally Technologies, have announced the acquisition of Chiligaming. Yet another established American gaming company shacking up with a proven off-shore site. Bally claim they are not looking to launch their own client, but will funnel bricks-and-mortar customers onto Chilli once online gambling goes live in Nevada. [Casino City Times]
Around the same time, Chiligaming announced that they were merging their online poker platform with Poker770. [iGaming Business]
It makes me a little teary-eyed to think of a WSOP event taking place in Africa. It may well be a hangover from the 2010 World Cup, during which it seemed like the entire continent was immeasurably joyous at the idea of hosting the biggest sporting tournament in the world. For poker fans, the WSOP is equally important and it’s great to see them spreading the love to a part of the world that, it’s fair to say, hasn’t always been sunshine and roses. [WPT Mag]
Ryan Positive On U.S. Poker
Listening to Jim Ryan, CEO of Euro-giants bwin.party, is enough to make a man upbeat. When asked by PokerNews for his thoughts on legal online poker in the States, he said that, “we think it’s a question of when.” This far reaching interview covers a lot of ground, but it’s no surprise to see the piece lead with Ryan’s thoughts on his deal with MGM and Boyd Gaming. So far as bwin.party and U.S. online poker goes, Ryan thinks that launching in 2013 is a “realistic perspective.” [Poker News]
Police in the balmy island of Cyprus take overage gambling very seriously. In 2009, cops busted a dangerous ring of grannies playing small-ball cash games in a lair that also contained “sandwiches” and “pastries”. The gang of illicit ladies, including a 98-year-old, have been requested to appear before a court to hear the charges against them. Here’s hoping the Cypriot legal system can put away these dangerous criminals before they fail to cause any more damage. [AP]
Tune in next week for my new editorial on ‘why all of poker is bad and should never be written about’. Either that or I’ll just do another one of these columns. Haven’t decided yet. Toodle pip!
I live under the thumb of a tyrannical regime. My actions are dictated by the whims of shadowy figures, who move throughout the country, placing their targets under de facto house arrest while they wait for many tortuous hours. Then, just when you we think the danger has past, a doorbell announces their arrival. In other words, I’m having a new oven delivered today and therefore cannot leave my flat. At least the 4 hour delivery estimate I was kindly furnished with gives me plenty of time to scrounge up some exciting news from the Wider World of Poker.
Poker Loses Again
With Thor Hansen’s cancer diagnosis still ringing in our ears, the poker fraternity has been dealt another crushing blow with the news of Nikolay Evdakov’s untimely demise. The Russian pro is most famous for his endeavours at the 2008 World Series, where he set the record for most cashes in a single WSOP by notching up 10 money finishes. It’s a record that stands as a testimony to his legacy. He is survived by his wife and children. [Gipsy Team]
888 Hit the Jackpot
Time to draw ourselves out of this funk and poker players only know of one way to salve an aching heart: Cash! Online gambling providers 888 have plenty to go around, having announced a 28% uptick in revenue for Q4 2011. The future looks rosy for 888, thanks to their deal with Caesar’s Entertainment. Through subsidiary Dragonfish, they furnish Caesar’s with the official WSOP online poker site. When Nevada finally gives the go ahead to intrastate online poker, chances are 888’s star will continue to rise. [Guardian]
Missives From a Ringer
Get on a plane to Macau, find the poker table with the most money on it, squint a bit, and you can pretend that it’s 2006 all over again. Poker’s most famous grinders have been gorging themselves on the action in China’s special administrative region for the past few months. Familiar names like Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, and Patrik Antonius have all been playing, but have otherwise kept schtum about the game’s details. Not so Gus Hansen, who has been providing daily blog updates on the highs and lows of his multi-million dollar sessions. Yesterday’s entry indicates that – shock! – Hansen has been playing a few too many loose hands, so you might want to get reading before The Great Dane goes busto. [Gus Hansen]
Popstar Becomes a Poker Star
Hey Americans. Are you aware of laddish popstar Robbie Williams? Back in 2000-ty something he set off for the colonies, hoping to make his fortune, but after becoming addicted to various naughty substances, arrived back on the mainland to rejoin with former cohorts Take That. Now, for the glorious next stage of his career, Robbie has decided to open an online poker site. I expect it to quickly fade into insignificance, but given that it annoyed someone in our nation’s flagship bigotry newspaper, the venture has definitely proven its worth. [Bluff Europe]
I must now return to my eternal vigil. I’ll be back next week, summoning up more poker news than you can possibly handle. Bring a friend.
Too Soon? PokerStars is proud to announce that this has never happened on any PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
PokerStars may be without a CEO for the time being, as Gabi Campos, who assumed the chief executive position in 2010, reportedly is no longer big boss of the largest real-money online poker site in the world. While it’s not quite clear who told whom to eff off (and Stars has yet to put out a press release insisting all is hunky-dory) … if confirmed, Campos’ ouster/skeedaddling marks the fourth major executive departure at PokerStars since Black Friday.
First to be disappeared (amid some controversy) was veteran EPT Tournament Director Thomas Kremser in May; then last month, EPT founder John Duthie left. And now supposedly Jeffrey Haas, top dog at Global Poker Tours Limited (parent company for PokerStars live events) has been, er … moved on. (Haas’s LinkedIn page lists GPTL as “Past” … and “Director of New Platforms, Mobile & Social Gaming for Pokerstars.com” as current — sounds like “big-money suit demoted to glorified blogger” to me, but hey!)
UPDATE: Interestingly, Campos’ LinkedIn-from-Israel doesn’t list PokerStars as a past or present employer … says he his now working for 888-subsidiary Dragonfish, which we know, of course, in 2010 became an online partner to the WSOP.
Despite Black Friday, PokerStars has maintained its position as the world’s biggest, arguably most important, and possibly most highly regulated and therefore internationally legitimate online poker site. (And they set a Guinness World Record to boot!)
The US Department of Justice, meanwhile, maintains that PokerStars’ success was built on the ill-gotten gains of an illegal enterprise with ties to organized crime … and their founder is still, according to the DOJ, the #1 most wanted online poker criminal.
This autumnal winds of Dorset attempted to blow me out to sea, but I stayed rooted to the shore like defiant bollard. I knew that without their weekly dose of un-American gambling news, Pokerati readers might immediately expire. I couldn’t live with that on my conscience, so I’m back from my holiday with a suitcase full of facts.
While you Americans were outdoors being adventurous, we Brits carried on our time honoured tradition of ‘staying indoors and being poor’. At least that’s what 888 Holdings Plc credit for the massive boost in revenue they’ve been enjoying recently. The company banked $86 million in the third quarter and grew their userbase to over 10 million. [Reuters]
Spain have opened their doors to fully regulated online gambling, but before you can get your hands on a shiny Spanish license, you need to have your software thoroughly examined by an accredited agency. eCOGRA – whose seals are sported by the likes of Party Poker – have been given the blessing of the local government to carry out these inspections. eCOGRA’s CEO made happy noises at the news, but also took the chance to moan about EU nations being allowed to develop contrasting systems. [eCOGRA]
Veteran British grinder Barny Boatman kept his upper lip fully stiffened this week after enduring a verbal barrage from American pro Kevin ‘ImaLuckSac’ MacPhee. The fracas took place on Twitter, in the aftermath of the latter’s exit from the EPT San Remo. MacPhee, who is not a qualified physician, branded Boatman a “f*cking r*tard” for eliminating him from the event. In reaction, Boatman took the Hendon Mob forums to present an eloquent defence of his play. [Poker News Report]
It’s not been the most thrilling week in worldwide poker. America has clutched all the big news to its bosom like a greedy news-clutching monster. Even going so far as to steal away reliable Euro headline makers bwin.party. Nevertheless, I shall continue to sift through the bins of the internet, searching out the choicest morsels for your delectation. Until next week…
None of this should come as a shock … after all, we saw this summer that Team WSOP employees were all wearing name tags that clearly identified them as worker-bees for HIE, Harrah’s Interactive Entertainment, the year-old parent company formed around online poker capo Mitch Garber. Also, we noticed that the wristbands identifying live tournament players clearly were pushing WSOP.COM … it wasn’t just because that’s where they wanted players to go for chip counts!
Anyhow, latest development on that progression … with their 888 partners Dragonfish, Harrah’s is set to launch a new suite of products that includes more real-money offerings for their (fully legal) UK customers and expanded play money options for (someday soon to be legal) Americans and others worldwide.
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It included a link to 888.
That was enough to rile Rev. Tim Costello (one of the most politically powerful holy rollers in Australia) to publicly chastise the superstar because many of his nearly 50,000 twitter followers are kids.
It makes ya think …
a) damn, just imagine how much money retired athletes could make as poker affiliates.
b) only 50k twitter followers? I thought they said he was a huge international superstar … like the Michael Jordan of cricket!
888 — a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange — is currently under investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which is responding to a complaint charging the company of being in breach of the Integrated Gambling Act.
It was no secret that Harrah’s Entertainment planned to enter the online gaming business, especially after hiring former PartyGaming bigwig Mitch Garber as the CEO of its new Interactive Entertainment division in May of this year. But the next big step was announced today.
Gaming Intelligence reported that Harrah’s signed a deal with Dragonfish, a subsidiary of online giant 888, to support Harrah’s entry into the online market with the World Series of Poker and Caesars Casino.
“This is a ground breaking deal for 888 and demonstrates our ability to provide real value to globally renowned, land-based casinos and their leading brands,” said Gigi Levy, Chief Executive Officer of 888.
“We have the structure in place to realise our B2B division’s full potential over the next 18 months and beyond and today’s announcement of our partnership with an industry giant is further vindication of this strategy.”
Mitch Garber, CEO of Harrahâ€™s Interactive Entertainment, added: “As we develop and roll out our interactive strategy, we have chosen to work with 888, primarily for their world-class technology, scalability, and a strong commitment to compliance, and responsible gaming,” said Mitch Garber, Chief Executive Officer of HIE.
No specific time frame was given for the official launch.
Reading this story makes a couple things “obvious” to me:
1. The US.gov is serious about the illegality of sports wagering online, as it really is the only thing clear in previous legislation.
2. Online poker sites that accept US players are having a hard time getting new players, because the American market is tapped out, and if you were a newly addicted European, why would you choose any site that runs into potential trouble from US.gov when you can play on super-legit home-continenters such as PartyPoker, Ladbrokes, 888, etc.? The exception to this, of course, are PokerStars (because they’re so damn big and have all the champions) and Full Tilt (because they have all the pros).
3. Pete Sessions’ HR 6663 really is a sensible piece of legislation in that it makes everything clear (even though it may not cow-tow to a few special-special interests): it spells out more clearly than anything else — sports betting on the internet is bad, online poker is fine, and other games need to be decided.