Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bwin.Party Looks to Make U.S. Return

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment plc, owner of the world’s second largest online poker room, may be closer than ever to returning to the U.S. market after having left it just days following the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act’s passing in the fall of 2006.

The company, who’s stock trades on the London Stock Exchange, recently applied to the Nevada Gaming Control Board for a gaming license as part of a larger effort to better position itself for the legalization of online poker in the United States – something that most people today agree will happen one way or another in the near future.

With nobody able to predict for certain the means by which online poker will first be legalized, a play for a Nevada gaming license makes a great deal of sense for the Gibraltar-based company.  If for no other reason, this is because Nevada’s state legislator has already officially legalized online poker within the state, though no licenses have yet been awarded to any company – and while there is always the possibility of a federal bill that will regulate online poker, most people think state-by-state legalization is the more likely outcome.

Bwin.Party was created in the spring of 2011 when Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG merged with PartyGaming plc.  The resulting company became a dominant force in online gambling around the world.    Its online poker room, PartyPoke,r is today the second largest of its kind, and the company itself is the largest online gambling company to be traded publicly on any the world’s exchanges.

Before its merger with Bwin, in early 2009, PartyGaming took steps that helped make it possible for the company to seek licensing in the states today.  They basically avoided prosecution for providing online gambling to U.S. citizens by settling with the feds and agreeing to pay a fine that totaled over $100 million.

The settlement was forward thinking on behalf of PartyGaming because had they been prosecuted at that time, their chances of getting licensed in the states when online gambling is legalized would have been significantly hurt.  The move to settle and pay such a large fine indicates how important the company felt the U.S. market would be once legalization eventually became a reality.

Bwin.Party’s Chief Operating Officer Jim Ryan recently discussed with PokerNews the possible impact that U.S. legalization of online poker could have on his company.  He remarked on the potential for a “very meaningful liquidity pool”, but did suggest that it would be difficult to regain the massive market share PartyPoker had before the UIGEA drove the company out of the U.S. market in 2006.

One reason that Ryan and his partners at Bwin.Party are hesitant to make boisterous claims about dominating the U.S. market is probably due to just how competitive the battle for licenses is expected to be.  There are tribal interests, state lotteries, other online outfits and land-based operations all seeking what will certainly be a limited number of licenses awarded by the states.

In fact, some states may keep companies like Bwin.Party out of the process all together.  New Jersey is currently in the process of considering legislation that would permit Atlantic City casinos to offer online gambling to residents of the state.  This legislation clearly aims to protect the state’s land-based casino operations while also creating an opportunity for an increase in tax revenue.

Despite the approach that New Jersey is currently considering, everyone agrees that there will be plenty of opportunities for companies like Bwin.Party to benefit from the legalization of online poker.

At the moment, the Nevada Gaming Control Board holds the cards that will determine whether Bwin.Party will be able to offer real-money gaming to Nevada state residents.  But with so many other states considering online gambling programs of their own, one can expect to see Bwin.Party soon applying for additional licenses in other states too.

Singapore’s Success With Casinos Influencing Vietnam

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

With the recent birth of Singapore’s ultra successful casino industry, and so many neighboring countries looking to follow suit, Asia is quickly becoming the new hot spot in casino development.  As evidence of this, both Japan and the Philippines are currently looking into developing vital gambling industries of their own.  But it seems that Vietnam may be the first to actually take a step towards becoming the next big thing in Asian gambling.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Vietnam’s Finance Ministry has indicated recently that they will be legalizing sports betting – an understandable opening move in what some feel will be the country’s ultimate shift towards a completely new policy on gambling.

At the moment, betting on European soccer matches is an extremely popular past time in Vietnam.  Of course, it is currently illegal to do so, and as a result, all bets are taken by underground gambling operations.

A move towards legalization would allow the government to better control the social impact that sports betting actually has on the country’s population.  One can easily assume that strict regulations will be put in place, though it is unclear if the Vietnamese government actually plans on running the sports betting market once it is legalized.  Regardless, there will be a number of private companies, both local and foreign, eager to get in on the action.

Though legalizing sports betting is definitely a move in the right direction, it must be followed by further policy shifts if Vietnam wishes to benefit from gambling to the same extent that Singapore has.  Actually, Vietnam already has a few casinos, but they are not accessible to the Vietnamese people.  The government only permits individuals with foreign passports to enter them.  As a result, a common practice for Vietnamese citizens seeking to enjoy the casino experience is to cross into near-by Cambodia for gambling holidays.  But since the intention of the law that permits only foreigners to enter Vietnamese casinos is to protect the country’s people from what the communist government sees to be the evils of gambling, these trips to Cambodian casinos seem to defeat the purpose.

Of course, if the legalization of sports betting is deemed a success, one might expect a new policy on casinos will follow.  Due to Singapore’s ability to develop a thriving casino industry without seeing an increase in crime, as many feared would happen, proponents of such a move in Vietnam have a strong hand to play when arguing their point.

With a massive population of its own and tourism on the rise, Vietnam would make an ideal landing spot for any U.S. casino developer looking to expand in Asia.  If the government opened its doors to foreign operators and changed its gambling laws regarding the Vietnamese people, a multi-billion dollar industry would most likely follow.

As reported by James Hookway and Vu Trong Khanh of The Wall Street Journal, by the year 2015, Asia will account for just over 40% of the world’s casino market according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.  This would be an increase of over 10% from five years earlier and could be followed by even greater growth as the region becomes more welcoming to casino gambling on whole.

As Asia does become more of a dominant force in casino gambling, it will be interesting to follow what effect that has on the Las Vegas casino industry.  For so many years, sin city has been the beneficiary of Asian countries’ tight fisted approach towards gambling.  As more of them now develop casino industries of their own, Vegas casinos will have to find new ways to attract gamblers from that region of the world.

William Hill Looking to Expand in U.S.

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Europe’s leading gaming and sports betting business, William Hill Plc., discussed the topic of expansion while reporting earnings this past Friday.  The ever-growing UK bookmaker pointed to its interest in the United States for both land-based and online opportunities.

With a long-standing tradition in the gambling industry, William Hill employs over 15,000 people worldwide and has over 2,300 betting shops.  While it is involved in various aspects of the gambling industry, including the internet sector (courtesy of UK  Online Casino Club), the company is most known for its sports betting heritage – dating back over 75 years.

William Hill’s CEO Ralph Topping discussed the company’s strength and forward-looking goals involving expansion.  Following the earnings report on Friday, Topping told reporters, “We will look to expand outside the UK.  I think we are in good shape now as a business to look seriously at further expansion … Ideally, it would be a multi-channel operation, but online is also attractive to us.”

The company is currently awaiting approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission to purchase three US sports betting businesses.  Topping discussed his expectation that the NGC will grant the necessary licenses and went on to explain the additional benefits William Hill sees in purchasing these US businesses.  It seems that the widely held notion that state-by-state legalization is on its way factors highly in the company’s plans for US expansion.

In addition to the United States, William Hill has its eyes on European countries for possible landing spots for its expansive efforts.  Seeing as countries like France and Italy are all further along in offering legalized online gambling to their citizens, one can easily understand the company’s interest in its European neighbors.  Spain, also onboard with online gambling, recently announced that it would soon begin awarding licenses to online casinos.

With the company’s continued success, indicated by its full year earnings report, one can expect that there will be many opportunities for William Hill to grown its business outside of the UK.

Massachusetts Considers Online Gambling

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Massachusetts State Treasurer, Steven Grossman has brought together a collection of experts to study the effects of a possible move towards legalizing online gambling.  To date, no US state has initiated such a program – but with recent statements from the Department of Justice indicating a tolerance for state-by-state legalization, many states in addition to Mass. are considering online gambling programs of their own.

Grossman, who already runs the commonwealth’s lottery program, has placed an emphasis on video poker games as one of the potential offerings that his commission should consider.  “I think we’ve got an obligation to the people of the commonwealth to study the whole basket of Internet gaming options — including online poker,” Grossman told reporters.

While poker fans will certainly hope that the commission advocates a program that includes online poker, a more conservative first step could simply be taking the lottery online.  One could easily imagine the sate offering virtual scratch-off lottery tickets to get the ball rolling.  Of course, a more expansive program would include licensing online casinos to operate legally within the state.

Proponents of Grossman initiating an online gambling program point to the increase in tax revenue that would be generated.  In addition to tax income, regulation seems to pop up consistently in the pros column when online gambling programs are discussed.  Everyone agrees that US citizens are participating in online gambling already via foreign online casinos – with legalization the state could protect gamers by regulating all casinos that receive a license to operate.

If Grossman’s commission experts are serious about studying the potential benefits and drawbacks to Massachusetts legalizing online gambling, they will certainly look towards Europe for examples of such programs.  Countries like France and Italy already have their own online gambling programs, and Spain has recently announced that it will begin awarding online casino licenses in the coming months.

Zynga Discusses Online Gambling Future

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

zyngapoker-facebookSan Francisco based social network game developer Zynga – already dominating the virtual gaming scene with Zynga Poker – now has its eye on online gambling. What could a move like this mean for Zynga? Well, considering Zynga’s daily user base is in the millions, a successful move towards real money gambling could yield annual profits in the billions.

“It is very interesting”, Zynga Chief Operating Officer John Schappert said of online gambling while discussing the companies’ first quarterly report since the $1 billion stock offering they went public with in December.

The gaming industry at large has long been clamoring for the legalization of what is arguably one of America’s favorite online past times. And while online gambling has been a thriving business for some, many American companies like Zynga have stayed away due to fears of legal battles thus far deemed not worth fighting. But with recent statements from the Department of Justice indicating a potential for state-by-state legalization on the way, Zynga seems to think the time is now to make its move.

During the conference call, Schappert went on to say, “We are the leaders in online poker gaming, and we have the most social and popular poker game. So obviously we know the audience.”

Zynga is clearly well positioned with its huge user base to make a run at the online gambling market, but what is still unclear is when exactly state-by-state legalization will occur. This week’s setback regarding legalization in the District of Colombia indicates if nothing else that lawmakers do not all share the same views as far as legalization is concerned.

So it may be a while before you can play Zynga Poker for real money, but in the meantime, check out any of our top rated online casinos and we’ll point you in the right direction for all of your gaming needs.

Golden Nugget Casino to Launch U.S. Free Play Online Poker Room

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Chalk up another bet in favor of online poker. Following suit of Caesar’s Entertainment and other big player’s in the brick ‘n mortar casino gambling industry, the operator of famed Las Vegas downtown casino, The Golden Nugget (among others), just announced that a deal has been struck with European gaming platform developer, ChiliGaming.

As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Golden Nugget casino owner, Landry’s Restaurants of Houston (yes, the buffet at Golden Nugget is really good), will be launching a free-play poker website in the coming months, with the hope that one day online poker will be legalized and properly regulated either on a State level in Nevada or by the federal government (whichever comes first).

After having spent nine months analyzing the online poker industry, Golden Nugget Chairman, Tilman Fertitta, said he believes that regulating online poker in the United States is inevitable, and that launching a free play poker site ahead of the curve will help position itself as a formidable competitor in the U.S. sector.

The move is certainly a strategic one for Golden Nugget – and most analysts agree it’s a smart one at that. Although last month was the first overall increase in gambling revenue for the State of Nevada since 2007, downtown Las Vegas and Laughlin casinos (Landry’s bread and butter), are still experiencing a downturn. Needless to say, getting a foothold in the real money online gambling industry would do wonders for Golden Nugget.

ChiliGaming is certainly a good partner in making that a reality. Having opened an office in San Francisco, California late last year in conjunction with the launch of Chili’s free-play U.S. poker network (UIGEA compliant), the France-based company has been a big player in the European online casino market, namely through the success of it’s highly popular poker site, chilipoker.com and online casino, chilicasino.com.

Making good on it’s promise to begin winning over U.S. brick ‘n mortar casino brands, ChiliGaming’s U.S. free-play network is already gearing up to be a strong launching pad into a regulated online poker market. Optimized with social gaming features and compatible with a number of devices, including smart phones and iPads, this is going to be a solid poker network if regulations come down.

Jersey Gambling Commission Accepting Applications

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

With all the talk about the U.S. State of New Jersey considering the prospects of regulating online gambling, when I first heard that the Jersey Gambling Commission is beginning to accept remote online gaming license applications, I admittedly did a double take. Last time I heard, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie sent back the bill that would have brought online poker and possibly other forms of online gambling to the Garden State.

This thought was soon replaced with the realization that we’re talking about the Jersey Gambling Commission, not the New Jersey Gambling Commission. Officially called the Bailiwick of Jersey, Jersey is a British Crown Dependency channel island off the coast of France. Following suit of fellow channel islands – Guernsey and Alderney (the latter of which is part of Guernsey), not to mention the nearby Isle of Man – the Jersey Gambling Commission is a relatively new player in the online gambling scene, having come into force in late 2010.

And now that the Commission is up and running, currently licensing Ladbrokes and William Hill betting shops, remote hosting providers like Jersey Telecom and accredited testing laboratories the likes of Gaming Laboratories International, the stage is set for online casino operators and software developers, like Playtech, to call Jersey home.

In fact, Playtech has recently become the first operator to apply for a Jersey remote gambling license, following months of negotiations. According to Playtech CEO, Mor Weizer, considering that many Playtech licensees already have set up shop in nearby Alderney and Isle of Man, giving current and future licensees a third, competitive option makes good business sense. And being the world’s largest publicly traded online gaming software developer, Playtech certainly knows what makes for good business sense.

Online gamblers in European regulated gaming markets, should expect to see Playtech powered online casinos sporting the Jersey Gambling Commission Seal very soon in 2012.

Play Online Casino Slots at LuckyFreeSlots.com

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

If you’re looking for slot machines to play on the Web, there are many options available. Depending on whether you want to strictly play for fun, for prizes, real money or in tournament form, the internet has it all. Here at Online Casino Suite, we like to think we have it all too, however, every now and then, our editors come across a niche site that we think our reader’s would benefit from checking out. Such a site is Lucky Free Slots.

For the newbie who is seeking to play online slots for real money in both tournament and solo form, there are many internet casinos willing to cater. If you want both free slots to play and a good recommendation for an online casino, visit the preceding link. Sites like this provide a chance to test out the slots before opening an account at an online casino and depositing real money. Secondly, fly-by-night online casinos do exist, so it’s very important to gather research from reputable resources and choose your online casinos carefully.

For the beginner’s out there who are looking to try out online slot machines for the first time, it is highly recommended to initially do so in fun-money mode. While it may be tempting to drop a few penny spins, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the structure and rules of the game first so as to better understand your winning opportunities and overall risk associated with each game. Furthermore, software glitches have been known to happen – So be sure to learn the paying symbol combinations. FYI, if a glitch and consequent non-payout were to happen to you, grab a screen shot of the rested reels and report the malfunction to your casino manager.

Another route for newbies seeking out the best real money internet slots is to read up on the various gaming software providers. By verifying the credentials and reputation of the software platform itself (through which the source code and RNG are developed), you are one step closer to ensuring you will be getting a fair bet. For the record, Microgaming is an outstanding platform for the UK/Euro online gambler, while Real Time Gaming provides top-quality slots for the U.S. player.

Beyond this, the hallmark differences between slot machines of different software provicers often lies in the actual entertainment experience. The most entertaining internet slots are programmed with realistic interactive elements and accompanying story lines corresponding to one’s amount of play, often drawing out many hours, even weeks of new and original entertainment. Rival Gaming’s iSlots, for example, are apropos to leading PC video games.

Again, the best way to gauge a slot machines entertainment factor is to test it out in fun-money mode. As mentioned earlier, a great destination to play free casino slots and launching pad for real money online casinos is luckyfreeslots.com. It’s been around a long time, has a nice Facebook following and actually offers free play at cutting-edge slot, which is why this site often gets recommended by players.

If you catch the bug and become a slots fanatic (not an addict, mind you), there are several internet communities worth joining, namely, player forums and free prize tournament sites. In other words, where there are slots, there are players!

Steve Jobs and Online Gambling

Friday, October 7th, 2011

ipadThe late Steve Jobs was a visionary, a great businessman and one of the greatest American innovators. Some have even called him our era’s Thomas Edison. He was a resounding success story for entrepreneurial capitalism, as a man who had minor successes and major failures before finally making it big. Throughout it all, he was a man intent on bringing technology to the world that consumers wanted, meeting the demand of the age.

Jobs had a big impact on the online gambling industry. The iPhone, first launched in 2007, gave people more access to Web surfing. An activity that was once confined to the house can now be done anywhere if you have an iPhone. As a result, Web surfing increased, especially leisurely time spent on unimportant activities to pass the time. Not surprisingly, that came to include online gambling.

A short time after iPhone became a cultural phenomenon, online casinos learned that they had to get into the game. Many casinos launched mobile casino sites that can be played from any smartphone. Casinos also created apps to be played from the iPhone directly, rather than through an Internet browser.

Then in 2010 Steve Jobs released the iPad, which as far as I can tell is just a really big iPhone that doesn’t make phone calls. People love it, though. The iPad is a toy for people who want to spend time playing games, playing with different apps and surfing the Web, so it’s the perfect device for playing a few hands of blackjack or spinning some slots at a mobile casino. Many in the industry feel that mobile gambling is the future of online gambling and that the mobile apps will be more popular than the websites viewed on home computers. If that happens, we can all look to Steve Jobs as the reason.

Black Friday Defendants Seek Dismissal

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

gavelTwo individuals indicted on Black Friday are seeking a dismissal of the charges. Lawyers for John Campos and Chad Elie are asking for the charges to be dropped, partly on the grounds that poker does not constitute illegal gambling. The entire online gambling world will watch closely for an answer from the court.

Elie and Campos were charged for their role in processing the payments for online poker transactions between players and Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars. Both defendants pleaded not guilty to charges of violating UIGEA, operating an illegal gambling business, wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to launder money. The lawyers say that their clients shouldn’t be charged for violating UIGEA because the law exempts financial transaction providers. They also say that that the defendants were not involved in an online gambling business. As for the wire fraud, the counsel says that the statute doesn’t apply because the banks actually made money off of the transactions.

A second challenge to the indictment would have farther reaching consequences. The lawyers are also laying out a case that online poker rooms are not gambling companies at all. They say that the poker sites only collect fees to allow individuals to play poker against each other. The house does not participate in the game and players use their own skills to determine who wins. It is not the first challenge stating that because poker is a game of skill it is not gambling, but it may end up being the biggest.