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Cleaning up or Cleaning out?

by , Jul 2, 2013 | 6:30 am

Weekly bulletin from for the week of July 1st …



#1. Bet Raise Fold – Sunday was the worldwide release of the much-anticipated online poker documentary that has – so far – garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from advance viewers. Buy your copy here. If you supported the KickStarter campaign, you should have already received your link to view the movie via email.

#2. Kentucky – After successfully extracting a cool $15mm from, Kentucky looks set to continue their litigious ways against other operators that took online bets from the state (and have some resources to target). I’ve been told to expect a significant legal filing related to Kentucky’s actions this week.

#3. PokerStars vs ACC – The ACC filed their response last week to Stars’ application for interlocutory appeal. While we don’t have a firm deadline for a ruling, I can’t imagine the courts are interested in letting this battle drag on much longer, especially given that it clouds the ability of the ACC to pursue an alternative sale. The holiday may result in a delay, but a decision could still be forthcoming in the next few days.




On this week’s Rabbit Hunt, Mark and I cover the One Drop action at the WSOP, debate the best way of responding to Adelson and try our best to read the tea leaves of PokerStars’s battle with the ACC.

QuadJacks ran an article of mine imploring people to Stop Writing Responses to Sheldon Adelson. Finally, I offered up some thoughts on the Online Poker Compact Conundrum in the regulated U.S. market.



#GoodRead – Brad Polizzano penned an informative and concise rundown of the 2013 NCLGS at QuadJacks.


Get in touch

Chris Grove / [email protected] / @OPReport / Google + / Skype: chrisgrove404

Nevada Approves Payment Processor

by , Apr 24, 2013 | 10:00 am

SecureTradingLogoSecureTrading Inc., a Las Vegas-based subsidiary of UC Group, has been licensed by Nevada gaming regulators to provide online gambling payment processing, identification verification and geo-location services, the company said Monday.

“We began developing our tailored payments, ID verification and geolocation solution for the U.S. market a few years back in anticipation if a regulated Internet gambling marketplace”, said Chris Thom, chairman of SecureTrading.

Thom said the firm was prepared to serve as a one-stop shop for licensed gambling operators.


Zynga Seeks Stamp of Approval from Nevada Gaming Regulators

by , Dec 17, 2012 | 10:00 am

ZyngaSocial 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 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.


Going Legit

by , Nov 17, 2012 | 1:53 pm

Black plus white generally equals grey, or at least gray.

The arrest questioning of Norbert Teufelberger in Belgium on Tuesday seems as good a time as any to post about something that may seem obvious to many but still gets asked often enough (and perhaps too often): how to build an Internet gaming business that’s onside the laws of the jurisdictions in which it operates.

The detention of Teufelberger, co-CEO of Bwin.Party, concerns the continued operations of a publicly traded online gaming company in Belgium and its presence on that country’s so-called “blacklist.” Bwin.Party is “whitelisted” in other jurisdictions, and contends Belgium’s laws restricting foreign-based operators run afoul of European Union law. But with that matter yet to be resolved, people are already wondering what Belgium’s legal interpretations mean for Bwin.Party’s licensing prospects in Nevada — and its partnership with US casino companies, MGM and Boyd Gaming. (On that subject, I defer to @BrianPempus‘s tweets, comments, and queries.)

But the Teufelberger-Belgium affair raises the question I still get asked all the time: What jurisdictions should I stay away from if I’m an Internet gaming operator?


MGM Resorts Gets Their Online Poker License

by , Nov 5, 2012 | 10:00 am

Three more companies, including a subsidiary of MGM Resorts International, are a step closer to joining 13 other gaming companies participating in the Nevada’s growing online poker industry.

The state’s Gaming Control Board on Thursday recommended licensure for MGM Online LLC, as well as boutique firms Z4Poker LLC of Las Vegas and Cams LLC of Los Angeles.

The Nevada Gaming Commission will consider the applications at its Nov. 15 meeting.

MGM Resorts told regulators it plans to establish a play-for-fun website by March. The company already operates myVegas, a social media gaming site with 350,000 monthly visitors.

More… CEO still waiting for online poker celebration

by , Oct 9, 2012 | 1:00 pm

Earlier this year, Digital Entertainment co-Chief Executive Officer Jim Ryan was asked to deliver a Global Gaming Expo keynote address.

He thought the event would be a victory lap.

At the time, chances seemed to favor Congress voting to legalize Internet poker.

Gibraltar-based had three partnership agreements in place to jump into the U.S. market.

However, it wasn’t meant to be.

“I thought it would be magical and we would be the toast of the town,” Ryan said Thursday following his G2E presentation at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

The hourlong discussion turned into a giant $4 billion Internet poker game displayed on large screens in The Venetian’s ballroom.


Boyd, Station Casinos Move Forward with Online Poker Plans

by , Oct 6, 2012 | 10:00 am

Boyd Gaming Corp. and Station Casinos, fierce competitors in the locals casino market, could soon take their rivalry to the Internet.

Affiliates of the two companies were tentatively approved Wednesday to operate online poker websites within Nevada’s boundaries by the Gaming Control Board. The Nevada Gaming Commission will take up the matter Oct. 18.

The companies may launch their poker operations at different times. The sites can be accessed only from computers and mobile devices within Nevada’s borders.

Boyd Gaming officials said they will wait until the company’s online partner, gaming, is licensed by state gaming regulators. Ultimate Gaming, a subsidiary of Fertitta Interactive, which is controlled by the founders of Station Casinos, plans to launch a Nevada gaming site as soon a technology achieves the various levels of approval.


Wider World of Poker

by , May 20, 2012 | 1:10 pm

Today I would like to debut a new profession: Zournalism. If you’ve ever tried journalism before, then you will recognize a few similarities. For example, all of its constituent parts, practices, and disciplines are the same. Anyone who reads or undertakes journalism should be able to transition to Zournalism without noticing any difference, other than the added frisson of doing something that begins with a ‘Z’.

Zoom Poker Exits Beta

In unrelated news, PokerStars have officially launched Zoom Poker. When you fold a hand during a Zoom game you are instantly transported to another table and dealt a new hand. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure there used to be a company called Full Tilled, or something like that, who had this ‘Rush Poker’ idea that was strikingly similar. They didn’t have an Android app though so I’m sure this is totally different. [WPT Mag]

Blaze Poker Enters Beta

In even more unrelated news, Ladbrokes have launched Blaze Poker, an exciting new format in which players are dealt a new hand every time they fold. They are the first company on the Microgaming network to unveil this new software. Other Microgaming sites are expected to add Blaze Poker to their roster, in a wave of brazen plagiarism. [Card Player]

Overpriced Bulgaria Slashes Fees

Bulgaria may have overestimated their attractiveness to the online poker industry. After following the increasingly common European model of ordering local ISPs to block all external gambling sites, they set about imposing their system of regulations and taxes. Unfortunately, their ambitious attempts to impose a 15% levy on all gambling outfits have been foiled by the major EU nations charging what amounts to half that much. The Bulgarian tax rate is set to drop to either six or eight percent. [Casino Choice]

Belgium Welcomes Online Gambling

Belgium, on the other hand, are having no such problems. Their ‘ban all outsiders and offer our own licenses’ plan is working out very well, with both PokerStars and Partouche setting up camp in the centre of the world’s waffle industry. The particulars of the Belgian system require a company to be partnered with a local bricks-and-mortar casino, but – in a move that sets them apart from the continental trend – does allow players to join networks that include players from around the world. []

Bwin.Party’s Mixed Results

It’s all business over at bwin.Party, with Q1 financial results revealing a 1% rise in overall revenue, masking a 3% fall in poker figures. They will doubtless be hoping that their upcoming ‘social gaming platform’ adds a little extra boost to their poker numbers. A man in a press release said they would be “leveraging core assets,” so it’s bound to be good. [Tight Poker]

I’ve scrapped my plans for Zournalism, it wasn’t working out. Tune in for next week’s Wider World of Poker where I plan to unveil Bournalism, a new style with hundreds of brand new, never before seen, tried and tested, well worn features. I can feel your excitement bubbling at the mere thought. Try your best not to rip me off in the intervening days.

Wider World of Poker

by , Mar 2, 2012 | 2:01 pm

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!

Sexy 888

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 VegasChili Man

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]

African Jewellery 

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, 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 and U.S. online poker goes, Ryan thinks that launching in 2013 is a “realistic perspective.” [Poker News]

Nonagenarian Grinders

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!

Casino Corporations Hooking Up at Epic Pace

by , Feb 20, 2012 | 4:30 am

There’s a corporate rush like something that hasn’t been seen for a while in the casino industry — to secure and develop poker-related assets. After the Department of Justice’s quiet reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act, and subsequent political buzz it created , corporate gaming partners jumped into bed together faster than you can change a relationship status on Facebook.

• Kentucky-based horse racing and casino company Churchill Downs acquires the assets of Bluff Media.

• Caesars Entertainment extends its partnership with 888 Holdings.

• MGM, Boyd Gaming, and BwinParty looking for a wild poker three-way.

• Vegas-based ShuffleMaster dangling diamonds in front of OnGame Network.

• Pinnacle Entertainment in acquisition talks with newly formed Epic Poker League.

• Golden Nugget partners up with ChiliGaming for online poker.

What’s next? Will Pokerati be getting a bid from Palms Casino Resort?


Wider World of Poker

by , Jan 26, 2012 | 4:30 am

Oh, hello. Fancy meeting you here. Have you been sitting patiently, waiting for this wandering reporter to return from his new year sabbatical? What’s that? You’ve been reading all the other posts on Pokerati. This site has other writers!? Well, while I’m recovering from that bombshell, why not take a good long look at this selection of worldwide poker news and see what you can make of it.

Millions of Aussies

Stereotyping Alert! I’m sorry about this. As an Englishman, I am legally required to bring up barbies, funny accents, and convicts any time anything Australian comes with 4 feet of me. It’s a bother, but what can you do. Those British pros down at the Aussie Millions must be having a torrid time, the place is crawling with them. Even the Canadian Daniel Negreanu is obsessed with their the eccentricities.

Thankfully the Aussie Millions Main Event is currently providing an excellent distraction. For example, despite the fact than an antipodean gentleman currently sits atop the Day 2 standings, the world’s loudest nation has been characteristically hogging the limelight. First up, American Dan Smith won the 22-man $100k High Roller event for $1,000,000. Then Phil Ivey, who can make headlines by just turning up, went and put himself second in the chip count at the end of Day 2. [Poker News Report]

Bwin Bust-Up in Porto

Enough of that Southern Hemisphere nonsense, time to head back to Europe. More specifically to Portugal, the land of cocks. Their government has bowed to pressure from local casino operators and decreed that Bwin’s sponsorship of Portuguese football is illegal. The ruling stems from the fact that, as an external operator, are subject to no regulations and pay no taxes in Portugal.

Bwin claim that the ruling contravenes EU free-trade laws, but have agreed to acquiesce to the command for now. As lucrative as Portuguese sports sponsorship is, panic may break out if the same idea occurs across the border in Spain. Bwin are the shirt-sponsors of Real Madrid, arguably the most popular soccer team in the world. [Card Player]

Bet Fairly at London 2012

If I leave my flat, wander out on to the street, and look to the North East, I can see the Olympic Stadium glowering above the rooftops. I’ve spent the last two years watching it progress through various stages of construction and with the big event just a few months away, other spheres of Olympic influence are making their final preparations. In the online gambling world, Betfair have teamed up with the International Olympic Committee to monitor suspicious betting activity which might indicate a rigged event. [USA Today]

South Korean Supercasino

The unfurling success story that is Macau is bound to inspire many imitators. First in line are South Korea, who plan to build a $3 billion dollar casino resort right next to their busiest airport. The Incheon International Airport Corp. hopes to shamelessly pray upon frazzled businessmen staggering out of long haul flights, by ushering them into land of flashing lights, comfy beds, and empty wallets. Hey, if it worked for China, it can work for you! [Yahoo]

Team Poker at the Pleasure Beach

And finally, a British city most famous for its tower is hosting a cool team poker event. With backing from lovely poker gent Neil Channing, the Team Poker Tour UK allows Brits to compete in small teams, with the top 3 aggregate squads taking the biggest chunk of the prize pool. It’s worth noting that Dan emailed me to specifically to flag this up and I really can’t figure out why he’s so interested. [Team Poker Tour UK]

I’m going to do my best to stay put from now on, so look forward to your regular dose of Wider World next week. Until then, do whatever the nurse tells you to and everything will be just fine.

Wider World of Poker

by , Nov 10, 2011 | 6:18 am

While the media lay down a carpet of solid adulation for Pius Heinz, the world’s wheels keep on turning. Join me, as we find out what’s been swept under the global news carpet while the world’s latest millionaire was parading about in his jangly new wrist ornament.

PokerStars Outplayed on Landmark Hand #

PokerStars are still top dogs in the world of online poker and, just to rub it in, they decided to celebrate their 70 billionth hand by giving whoever won it lots and lots of cash. Two enterprising players decided to game the system by continuously folding to each other across multiple heads up tables. Their sneaky plan worked to perfection and they joyously scooped up the prize money. Whether you think they were geniuses or cheats depends on your outlook. Youtube polemicist EVhero definitely falls on the angry side of the argument. [Youtube]

Playtech and William Hill Lock Horns #

I reported a few weeks ago on the mass walkouts at William Hill Online’s Israeli offices. At the time it appeared to be a simple labour dispute, but the Financial Times suggests deeper concerns. The online gambling company is co-owned by Playtech and British bookmakers William Hill. Relations between the two firms are frosty at best, with concerns about split loyalties among staff in worldwide offices. [Financial Times] Profit From Italian Renaissance #

Meanwhile, Bwin and PartyGaming are still enjoying a blissful honeymoon period. Recently released financial reports indicate an increase in revenue of 3% to 201.1 million euros. The company credits increasingly relaxed Italian gaming laws for the rise in profit. Not to mention picking up their fair share of poker refugees in the wake of Full Tilt’s Black Friday debacle. [Reuters]

British Poker Pros Enjoy the Spotlight #

Finally, a quick word from the BBC. Earlier this week, the unimpeachable British bastion dedicated a quiet corner of its news website to UK poker players. Written just before the start of the November Nine, the reporter’s hopes for Sam Holden were sadly premature, but it still represents a rare chance to see poker pros in the media without any appended bleating on the dangers of online gambling. Plus, you can watch Sam and Liv Boeree play heads up for a delicious Wispa bar. [BBC]

I’m off to search London for a Wispa Gold, the confectionery equivalent of a WSOP bracelet. I’ll keep my beady eye peeled for any stray bits of news that are blowing across the pavement, while you keep your gaze fixed firmly on Pokerati. I’ll know if you move.