Posts Tagged ‘poker business’

GamingCounsel’s Weekly Briefs

Dutch Liberalizers, Nova Scotia Opt-Out, Betfair Moving (?), Station Casinos Cybersquat Spat, Party-Venezuela

by , Oct 16, 2010 | 10:32 am

Time for some of the major legal developments in gaming over the past week, as selected by @GamingCounsel:

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  1. Netherlands I-Gaming Attitudes – Probably the most interesting international story of the past week is the ruminations from the Netherlands that the new government may be interested in liberalizing the country’s Internet gambling laws. It’s not clear how far this process would go and what games or betting would be included, but a lot could happen in what has been a very restricted online market in the EU thus far. [eGaming Review]
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  3. Nova Scotia Says No (That’s in Canada, Folks) – Another international piece is the recent pronouncement of the premier of Nova Scotia that that province will not pursue a government-sanctioned Internet gaming offering. Nova Scotia’s finance minister added that any estimate of the revenues associated with Internet gaming would be “a wild guess.”(That’s an interesting comment given that the province of Ontario has publicly estimated that it could turn a profit of at least C$100 million/year; many have questioned the basis for such a projection.) The CEO of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corp. (rightly) pointed out recently that Internet gambling will continue to grow whether the government is involved or not. [Globe and Mail]
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  5. Betfair Move – Hot on the heels of the Betfair IPO announcement, there is speculation that Betfair may move out of the UK to a jurisdiction with a lower tax rate. William Hill and Ladbrokes recently moved to Gibraltar because they perceived that UK taxes were too high. Some are saying Betfair may make a similar play. With competition increasing among Internet gaming jurisdictions, more and more operators are paying attention to applicable taxes. [CasinoGamblingWeb]
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  7. Station Casinos Trademark Infringement/Cybersquatting Suit – Station Casinos Inc. has sued two website operators in Federal Court in Nevada: SL Enterprises (www.vegasstationcasino.com) and Ryan Murphy (www.stationcasinos.org). If the Station marks have sufficient rights attached to them through use and/or registration, they should have a good case. This kind of thing happens in i-gaming all the time and it’s a big problem for operators; it’s tremendously time-consuming and potentially expensive to vigilantly prosecute misappropriation of property rights. [Las Vegas Sun]
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  9. PartyGaming in Venezuela – PartyGaming plc has set up an online poker offering in Venezuela. This continues two trends: Party’s continuing march around the world into new markets and the increased interest in South America as a lucrative and growing market for interactive gaming. [Gambling Zion]

Washington Pullout, Lame-duck 2267, Stars Int’l Licensing, Betfair IPO, Penn National Vegas

GamingCounsel’s Weekly Briefs

by , Oct 9, 2010 | 5:47 pm

Hello good people of Pokerati. Here’s what I hope to make a weekly digest of what I think are the most interesting and/or relevant stories (not necessarily the same thing) happening online and around the world:

  1. PokerStars turns off Washington players – This is the first US state to be turned off by PokerStars. Major Stars competitors have not responded in-kind. This was not prompted by any change in state law in Washington (the ostensible reason was the result in the Rousso v. Washington judgment handed down on September 23rd). This may signal that Stars is not going to be as aggressive as others in maintaining a presence in all jurisdictions in the US. [Casino City Times]
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  3. HR 2267 – People continue to try to read the tea leaves to determine what’s going to happen with the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act. Every utterance from Reps. Frank or McDermott or from Senator Reid sends the online forums and poker press into overdrive. The House is now adjourned until after the November elections. If HR 2267 is to pass, it must be done during the lame-duck session starting after the mid-terms and ending before the start of the 112th Congress in early January. I continue to believe that it’s more likely than not that the current version (as amended) will not pass before the start of the next session, but remember that a lot can happen in a few days. [GovTrack.us]
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  5. Betfair IPO – This is one of the biggest public offerings in gaming in some time, so it’s no surprise that it’s getting quite a lot of attention. Betfair is apparently not raising new money on the float; shareholders are selling off approximately 10% of their holdings before over-allotment. Initial media reports had suggested a valuation of as high as £1.5B, but this appears to have been discounted. [Wall Street Journal]
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  7. Penn National coming to Vegas – Penn National Gaming purchased the outstanding debt of the M Resort in Las Vegas for $230.5M. This is seen as Penn’s way of eventually owning the asset, giving it its first Las Vegas property. The M was built at a cost of $1B, so most appear to be congratulating Penn for effectively purchasing a nice asset at a fraction of cost. [LVRJ]
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  9. PokerStars Licensure – Stars continues to build up gaming licences in various jurisdictions; it now has operating licences in France, Italy, and Estonia, as well as its ‘main’ international licence from the Isle of Man. This may be a sign of the kind of regulatory fragmentation that owners will face in future (especially in Europe) as different countries open up their markets to licensure and operations. [Gaming Zion]

Gaming attorney and expert Stu Hoegner follows the poker and casino industries from a tax- and law-minded perspective @GamingCounsel.


Rumorati: Kevmath Fired by Pokerati?

Most reliable, trusted tweeter in poker headed to Bluff

by , Oct 7, 2010 | 11:32 pm

Kevmath 2.0

Kevmath

Kevin Mathers, the venerable 2+2 moderator and longtime blogger-editor at Pokerati, will not be posting here for the foreseeable future.

No joke … he has been relieved indefinitely from Pokerati blogging duties. Technically, we had to “let him go”. Sucks, but we just couldn’t afford the increasingly valuable services of the hottest independent info-tweeter in poker. Here is a copy of his termination papers:

Kevin, I saw your interview on TWIP. Good job. I also just read Can you send me relevant threads from 2+2?

Hey, so, you are fired. Sorry. Hard times.

I really wanted to believe you were a bot.

See you on Twitter or something?

Rumor is Kevmath is headed to the minor leagues Bluff, where he and Jess Welman would form quite the menacingly mighty poker-reportage duo. Of course without Kevmath, Pokerati will change … we’ve got Gahagan to work double time and some other changes in store, but we might have to cut back on some previously standard coverage elements, such as “facts”.

But @Kevmath did leave behnd a Pokerati farewell … after 30 months, 579 posts, and 1,642 comments, all of which helped make this a better place … seriously, how lucky were we to have him as long as we did? Glad the “for hire” media finally came around.

Check back to read what hopefully won’t be the last time we see @Kevmath around these parts.


WSOP-Circuit Headed to Florida Next?

Book it, says TD: Palm Beach Kennel Club, Feb 17-Mar 1

by , Sep 30, 2010 | 9:27 am

If this is true, it would mark the second WSOP-Circuit addition not at a Harrah’s property. That’s the unofficial word from a Harrah’s suit, with firm-sounding dates attached. According to venerable Circuit TD Jimmy Sommerfeld on 2+2

I think that … a Tournament at Palm Beach Kennel Club on February 17 – March 1 would be a great Idea. Maybe its not a rumor?!! I would gamble and book a room.

Ah yes, it all makes so much sense now, doesn’t it? (That is, of course, assuming Sommerfeld doesn’t get canned before WSOP-Choctaw, in January 2011, for running his yap ahead of any official press release.

Not only would a WSOP-Florida series further support America’s favorite citrus-bearing peninsula as the juiciest destination in poker since France, but also, it would confirm Harrah’s willingness to take unprecedented steps in an effort to keep up with the new-and-improved WPT/Party/Bwin.

The above dates, if true, would run it right up against the WPT-LAPC, btw.

More…


WPT Playing Dirty on Facebook?

by , Sep 17, 2010 | 3:50 pm

I think we all understand the nature of the WSOP’s push for their play-money online poker game on Facebook, which is being heavily advertised on commercials during ESPNs broadcast of the WSOP main event. People seeking more information, however, could be mistakenly led to the Facebook page promoting action with the WPT, arguably one of their biggest competitors for this market.

Check out the potentially confusing appropriation of the WSOP logo in an ad currently being served up to hundreds of thousands of fans of “poker” on Facebook:

Sure enough, it takes clickers to the official WPT Texas Hold’em Poker page.

Careless mistake by a WPT social media intern … or conscious effort on days the WSOP is airing on ESPN such that they get the “likes” before Big Casino corporate lawyers make someone say “oops, sorry” and change the ad to something that doesn’t use tactics usually reserved for fly-by-night operations looking to make a quick buck?

UPDATE: On 9/21, the WPT issued an official statement on the matter:

“We would like to confirm that the Facebook ad mentioned in your September 17, 2010 post was indeed a mistake on the part of a 3rd party advertising agency used by our “WPT Texas Hold’em on Facebook” licensee. The ad was placed by the advertising agency without the knowledge of WPT or our Facebook game licensee.

Please be assured that we acted immediately to rectify the situation and that the advertising agency has pulled the unapproved ad. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.”


This Day in Historyish: September 2001

A New Era of Poker Is Born

by , Sep 11, 2010 | 1:57 pm

On this day nine years ago — September 11, 2001 — cards got in the air for a new online poker site called PokerStars.

The best multitable tournaments, player loyalty rewards, stats, and seeing your own picture at the table were the vision unleashed on the world on September 11th. Click to look back at the site as it was then.

It was just for play money at first, but the timing would prove fortuitous. People seemed to enjoy the software and were telling their friends … as online poker seemed to provide a much-needed escape from the ever-more-difficult to swallow news of the day.

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North Texas Championship Series Underway in Oklahoma!

Guarantees, NLH/PLO, politics and fusterclucks @ “The River”

by , Aug 25, 2010 | 7:19 pm

One of the biggest non-major tournament series of the year is underway in Thackerville, Oklahoma, promising $3 million in guarantees. “The River” — hosted by Greg Raymer and the historically storied WinStar tribe — is 9 events spread across two weeks, Aug 23-Sep 6. They’ve got some sort of overall points leader prize for a Porsche Cayenne overlay, too, worth $70k.

2009 twitpic: @EweE420 (now @EricMizrachi)

Today’s event, Event #3, happens to be $440 NLH/PLO with $40k Guaranteed. Wonder if they’re aware that Lev Serzhenko was recently crowned the World Champion of $230 NLH/PLO with a Single $200 Rebuy.

Since the main here will be more or less the regional championship in my old stomping grounds — in fact, thinking we might-should call it the North-North Texas Championship in future posts — I find myself wanting to follow these events uniquely as a fan. I’ve got tons of friends playing and would expect to see plenty of past opponents from the Dallas underground, presumably some Batfaces, lots of ole Lodge amateurs, and, I hope, a few Team Pokerati players. Also curious to see what type of pros show up.

But semi-live coverage of the River is hard to come by. Lots of future thoughts on why that is … but in the meantime, here’s where I’ll be checking for River buzz, for starters …

@WinStarWorld
@Fossilman
2+2 Tournament Circuit thread

And because Pokerati can’t be there this year (but kinda-sorta would like to be) here are some possible news stories I see shaking out, or at least stuff worth looking into for anyone who might wanna ask some questions or snap pics with their iPhone and send an email or an @reply on Twitter:

More…


Hard Rock Shuttering Poker Lounge after Detox Series

[Video] Sneak peak at new downsized poker digs

by , Aug 22, 2010 | 10:41 pm

Part of the buzz underlying this week’s Detox Poker activity has been the fate of the Hard Rock Poker Lounge. To be sure, the luxed-out $12 million 18+table poker room that opened in 2008 — nearly two years ago to the day and possibly two-and-a-half years too late — will be closing in about a week.

According to casino personnel, almost immediately upon the conclusion of Detox, Hard Rock cash games will be moving to a more efficient 6-8 table spot connected to the main casino area — something with a smaller electric bill, more in line with plans for expanded sports-book offerings, and in view of the round casino’s famously raucous “center bar”.

The decision to downsize was final before Detox even started — and gotta say … kudos to HR Poker Director Troy Evans for presumably putting his job on the line to keep Detox. New suits above him were supposedly less enthusiastic about keeping the Matt “Savage Rocks!” late-summer mini-series on the calendar. Don’t have any hard dates for transition, but all potentially affected say it will be quick. Here’s a glimpse of what the new space next to Wasted Space will look like:

(Wasted Space is also closing, to make room for the new-and-improved sportsbook.)

The new poker room — about a third the square footage and in an arguably better location — will replace the former “Hell’s Belles” blackjack pit (hot dealers, go-go dancers, $100 minimum bets), which prior to that had been the “Peacock Lounge” (a pimped-out tribute to Jimi Hendrix). It will supposedly still have its own bar (with video poker, of course), a semi-private nook for high-stakes or VIP games, and a separate poker-player’s bathroom. Management says they’ll be bringing over the same tables and chairs, but are unsure whether or not they will keep the name “poker lounge”.

Decisions were also still pending (as of last week) about whether or not the Detox Series would be back and held in a Hard Rock ballroom. The current poker space will apparently become a restaurant.


Hard Rock Ready to Be Detoxified

Kegs, vodka en route for Savage throw-down tourneys

by , Aug 7, 2010 | 4:09 pm

The Detox Poker Series is right around the corner, starting Friday Aug. 13 with a $100k Guarantee for a $350 buy-in with two day ones, re-entry allowed. The spankin’-new small-stakes/big-action festival comes at a whispery time around the home room to the Pokerati NLH/PLO game … with a new crew of top-level casino brass combing through the Hard Rock’s books while walking through various gaming areas with tape measures … raising uncomfortable questions about the fate of the $12 million, two-year-old poker lounge that has seen its ups and downs without yet fully realizing its potential.

Of course that’s kinda the point of bringing in an internationally renowned tourney director. Or at least it was initially. Kinda still works, but for different reasons …

Detox Poker Schedule – Aug 2010

First things first … Savage has guaranteed the guarantees — $350k worth. This is despite a misleading tweet just two weeks ago from @hardrockpoker saying there’d be $1 million in guaranteed prize pools. [/shaking head] It coulda just been a hyperbolic typo, but an amusingly ironic one then considering the Hard Rock’s image problems after a few overpromises that these tourneys were to help put to rest. But according to Matt himself on 2+2, he’s got the $350k locked up by contract no matter how few players show.

Beyond that … expect an extra-partytime atmosphere around typical Savage series stuff (deep structures, quality dealers, friendly intelligent floor, good internet coverage, etc.) to liven up the joint: He’s in charge of providing ultra-improved tournament action while the Hard Rock promises to provide good music and a guaranteed flow of nipple-friendly eye-candy stumbling past the poker room.

More…


Google Prepping for Legalized Internet Gambling

by , Aug 5, 2010 | 5:20 pm

google_chocolate_poker_chipsInternet super-behemoth Google seems to be wasting little time positioning themselves to profit from licensed internet gambling in the United States by investing in “social gaming”.  Both the New York Times and Techcrunch are reporting that Google has agreed to purchase “Slide”, a software development company specializing in Facebook apps involving the exchange of virtual money.

Sale price estimates range from $182 million to $228 million (in real money). Supposedly, Google will officially announce the acquisition tomorrow.

This follows last week’s quiet confirmation from Google CEO Eric Schmidt about their partnership with Zynga — clarifying speculative reports in July that Google had “secretly” invested $150 million or so in the enormous play-money poker site.

With a current user base of 28 million budding poker degens at the ready, Zynga is primed for real-money poker with their popular Facebook app Texas HoldEm Poker. You can read more about Zynga’s interest in HR 2267 from Business Insider: JACKPOT FOR ZYNGA: Congress Wants To Legalize Online Gambling.

Conveniently, Zynga uses PayPal for a method of payment (and happens to be PayPal’s biggest client).  This method of payment — turned off years ago for anything related to gambling — could be ideal for a would-be internet gambling licensee under HR 2267 with Barney Frank’s Manager’s Amendment, which prohibits credit card transactions for gambling should his bill become law.


Harrah’s Expands Online Presence in UK, Set-up for US

Free WSOP online poker play for Americans coming soon

by , | 12:51 pm

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.

Read more about it all here.


Rumorati: Harrah’s Sale of the Rio Complete

New home for 2011 WSOP almost 100 percent unofficially semi-confirmed

by , Aug 4, 2010 | 3:42 pm

UPDATE: Little of what’s below, if any, is accurate. [Link]

The end of an era is upon us … with Harrah’s finally selling the Rio — that horrendous dump of a property at 3700 W. Flamingo Rd. that reminds us how quickly Las Vegas luxe can deteriorate …

But also a place that the World Series of Poker and so many of us connected to it have long called home — at least for most of our 21st century summers.

More details TK.

Credit @LasVegasMichael for getting the pseudo-confirmation and other info as it emerges.

Our extra-reliable sources at Pokerati confirm as much. Everyone knew it was coming, but supposedly the actual sale went down yesterday. To “one of those name name and ampersand venture capital companies.”

I’ve long held that Caesar’s would be the most likely new home of the brick-and-mortar equivalent of CaesarsCasino and CaesarsBingo dot coms. But early word without having talked directly to all those people we know extremely well and would be the ones who actually do know … Planet Hollywood … that will be the new home.

Again, all of this technically unconfirmed, but place your bets on the wherabouts of the 2011 WSOP-Ho here.


WSOP- and Poker-Related

Instapoker

by , Jul 12, 2010 | 9:26 pm

A few quicklinks, as I clean off my desktop while getting ready for the pseudo-final stage of the 2010 WSOP, which got started pretty much earlier today …

USA Today declares: WSOP is recession-proof.

Also from USA Today: Emmit Smith has an increasing love for poker, sparked by charity efforts backed by Full Tilt.

Timtern’s got a new Top Tweets column in Bluff. The follow-up editorial is what makes it better than most.

@Pokerati got props in Vegas Seven’s own top-tweets column, called Tweets of the Week.

Lacey Jones profiled in Vegas Seven magazine.

Lon McEachern wearing Tom’s Loudmouth jacket, via the WithLeather sports blog.

Do we have to fear the WSOP-Media event becoming the next ladies event? Technically it’s discriminatory and demeaning to media. But for some reason far fewer protested when Michael Craig’s assistant Shauna took his seat to play her first ever poker event.

Meanwhile, while there are plenty of signs of (Lost) Vegas refinding its economic way, the once luxurious Riviera has filed for bankruptcy.


Finding Value Outside the Rio

Alt-WSOP tourneys may be better bet for low-stakes players

by , Jun 30, 2010 | 1:43 pm

Jon Katkin


The Poker Economy


OP-ED

Brand names serve an important purpose in our society. For consumers, they offer a simple shorthand that let’s you know about a product’s quality – or lack thereof – while at the same time providing a quick way to flaunt your status or hipness to the unwashed masses in our burgeoning consumer culture.

For businesses, brand names are just as important. Let your quality slip or make your product too ubiquitous and your value – both real and perceived – begins to slip. Make your product trendy or limit its availability and you’ll have customers clamoring at your door to get their hands on it.

With 57 events on the calendar, the WSOP is hardly as elitist as it was in the past, but that’s OK with the folks at Harrah’s because when it comes to poker, there is no substitute for a gold bracelet. Win an event and you join a still exclusive club that includes some of the greatest players in the world. Play your cards right, and the WSOP is a golden ticket to the top of the poker food chain. Bust out before the final table and you’ll still leave town with a great story for your friends.

For $1,500 you can play one WSOP tournament and take your chances against a single field of 3,000, or for the same money you can play five Venetian Deep Stack events against a combined field of about 2,400.

And that’s what makes the WSOP the brand when it comes to tournament poker. Win or lose, playing a WSOP event carries with it an inherent coolness that other poker players innately understand and respect. But if you’re a serious low-stakes player looking for a big summertime score in Vegas, there are actually much better options to consider outside the Rio.

More…


David Williams Signs with Poker Stars

Joins Joe Cada and Vanessa Selbst as current champions

by , Jun 29, 2010 | 11:49 am

Is this news only to me?
UPDATE: Question mark removed. Williams and Selbst signage confirmed by Williams’ agent and PokerStars marketing exec.

David Williams, 2010 WPT World Champion, apparently will be donning the Spade-and-Star of PokerStars during the WSOP main event. I’m pretty sure you can bet on it …

Maybe I just missed the announcement, or any telltale patchwork in the Amazon room … but I hadn’t yet heard whom he’d be allying with, and this morning got an email invite for a little media meet-and-greet with:

Joe Cada: 2009 Winner – World Series of Poker
Vanessa Selbst: 2010 Winner – North American Poker Tour at Mohegan Sun
David Williams: As of 2010, his total live tournament winnings exceed $7,893,000

A formal invite is below, please let me know if you would like to RSVP for this event!

Figured it had to be them or Full Tilt … maybe Victory, but probably not, as Williams, upon becoming a free agent this spring just after winning the $25k WPT Championship, seemed to be one of the very few pros with the right combination of image and cred to make him extra-marketable.

All makes perfect sense really. As powerful a duo Williams could make with Antonio Esfandiari, it seems much cooler to match him up with two other current and defending big-event champs.