Archive for April, 2010

Casino Affiliate Programs Community Certification Proving a Success

Friday, April 30th, 2010
CAP: Joining Hands to Make Sure Everybody Gets Paid!

CAP: Joining Hands to Make Sure Everybody Gets Paid!

Earlier this year, OCS reported on the newly launched CAP Community Certification, which for anyone needing a refresher, is a new system that allows affiliates to have a say on which online casino affiliate programs are given a green light to become a “CAP Listed Program”. In other words, instead of allowing just any new affiliate programs to purchase a listing with CAP, prospective affiliate programs must first go through the 10,000+ affiliates composing what amounts to the largest business generator for the vast majority of online casinos today.

A noble and innovative approach for approving affiliate programs (to say the least), OCS is happy to report CAP’s new community certification program is off and running and has thus far been a major success. But before explaining exactly how the program works, let me first take a paragraph or two or there or four to explain what an affiliate program is for anyone not in the know. Sorry all you industry folk out there who may consider this child’s play, but OCS is first and foremost dedicated to the player community.

That said, let me explain what a casino affiliate program is. If you haven’t noticed already, when you do a search on any of the major search engines to find a new online casino to play at, you have a better chance of coming across a portal site dedicated to reviewing and promoting certain online casinos than you will actual online casinos. This is great in the sense that many of these review portals serve as a one-stop shop for finding the best online casinos to play at, although there is a chance you will come across some bias while doing so.

The reason being is that all of these review sites are affiliates of the casinos they promote. What that means is that for every referred player, the affiliate gets paid. There are different types of revenue sharing deals, but for the sake of this article, let’s just say that it’s in the financial interests of the affiliates to refer players. Of course, this poses a conflict of interest when it comes time to being “objective” in an affiliate review of an online casino. However, there are so many online casinos vying for affiliate promotion (considering its the affiliate websites that generally dominate the search engine rankings), that it is within the interests of the online casinos to run a reputable and trustworthy business operation.

In other words, the leading affiliate portals in business today are dedicated to only promoting those online casinos which can be trusted to pay their player, which in effect, means the affiliates themselves stand to be paid for their referrals. Considering the competition that is out there, the affiliate business model lends itself for affiliates to promote online casinos which are going to generate positive customer ratings and testimonials. In effect, this means they will stand to gain more business in the future. With all of the player forums and watchdog affiliate sites (like OCS) out there, rogue online casinos simply do not have a chance to thrive. Rip off the first player, that’s the fault of the online casino. Rip off a second player, that’s the fault of the second player! Get my drift?

That said, when a casino affiliate program gets approved by CAP’s cmmunity (which requires at least an 80% approval rating), there is a VERY good chance the online casino being promoted by said affiliate program is going to be a solid place to wager real money at. It definitely ensures the online casino holds all of the necessary regulatory credentials to guarantee a safe and fair wager online. Before, when the approval process was based simply on being able to afford paid advertising, there was a greater chance of the affiliate program not turning out on the up-and-up.

In order to be eligible for a CAP community certification, an online casino affiliate program must hold a regular listing with CAP for a period of at least six months and must have a dedicated affiliate manager for handling affiliate relations. Voting lasts for a period of one month, followed by a tally of the approval rating. If, as mentioned, at least 80% of the tallied votes approve of the affiliate program, a CAP Community Certification Seal will be awarded to the affiliate program, which will also be listed in an exclusive section on the CAP website. To date, seven affiliate programs have been approved, including that which manages U.S. facing Doyle’s Casino. Five additional programs are currently up for voting.

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Online Entertainment Betting Offers Odds on American Idol and More

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
Got a hunch who the next American Idol will be?

Got a hunch who the next American Idol will be? Calling all bets!

Sick and tired of wagering at the same old online casino games? Okay, okay, so that’s impossible (wink, wink). But, for all the serious, regular bettors out there, it can’t be denied that sometimes you just simply need to mix things up, whether that’s a new casino game, and in some cases, a whole new form of wagering altogether. That said, how about mixing up television fun-fare with your online wagers next time?

Introducing pop culture online gambling. Okay, maybe that’s not necessarily the term for it, but as far as I know, there is no term. Hold on a sec – this just in – I am apparently referring to entertainment betting. There’s a term after all. And not that online entertainment betting isn’t popular, it’s just a little unconventional. In fact, most every reputable internet sportsbook offers one category or another of entertainment betting. And yet, there is one category (or show, if you will) that has more lines on it than any other entertainment wager online.

Alright already, whatever am I referring to? I’ll give you a hint. Try bellowing out this sentence in your worst possible falsetto voice and tell yourself it’s the best singing you’ve heard in your life. Oh, and then turn to your best friend “Simon” and let him tear you down to the core of your being and completely shatter all of your dreams of fame and fortune.

Maybe that’s not completely fair to Simon of “American Idol”. For anyone who has watched the popular “reality” television contest/show, you have to admit that American Idol offers some great entertainment. Whether it’s great live performances or the worst “staged” auditions ever to be caught on tape, American Idol will definitely move you.

For most fans of American Idol, everyone has their favorite, and as such, is “betting” that person will win the competition. Even if it’s not necessarily shaking hands or putting money on a winner, the unspoken hope in each and every fan is essentially a wager. As long as their is hope, it is possible!

So, if you have an eye for talent, online entertainment betting, i.e., American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Academy Awards etc, may just be the perfect diversion if and when you ever get tired of watching that roulette ball spin round and round, sick of seeing the dealer hit Blackjack or simply just can’t take the sound of another slot machine. There are several online sportsbooks offering entertainment wagers, including next elimination rounds for American Idol.

But with just six contestants left in the competition for Season 9 of American Idol, odds on the winner will not pay off nearly as much as they would have early on in the competition. In case you are wondering, here are the lines found at a leading sportsbook offering online entertainment betting:

Crystal Bowersox: 4 to 7
Lee Dewyze: 3 to 1
Casey James: 7 to 1
Siobhan Magnus: 8 to 1
Michael Lynche: 18 to 1
Aaron Kelly: 30 to 1

World’s Best Casinos: Encore at Wynn Macau Opens to the Public

Monday, April 26th, 2010
The Encore Casino Hotel at Wynn Macau

Encore at Wynn Macau: The World's Loveliest Hotel

Steve Wynn knows gambling. Better yet, Steve Wynn knows casinos. And still better yet, Steve Wynn knows hospitality. Apparently, he also knows his works of art, but that’s beside the point. For the sake of this article, Steve Wynn knows pretty much all there is to know about running a successful casino resort. Case in point is the fact that Wynn has opened yet another casino in the gambling hungry city of Macau. That makes two casinos in Macau under Steve Wynn’s belt – basically, to offset his twin properties on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Opening Wednesday of last week, Encore at Wynn Macau is much like Wynn Las Vegas, except that instead of one casino to be shared by both resorts, Encore at Wynn Macau has its very own casino. Needless to say, the gambling industry is doing just fine in Macau, unlike in Las Vegas where monthly revenue has steadily declined over the last two years.

In addition to the 205,000 square foot casino, Encore at Wynn Macau offers a sprawling complex of over 400 stores and boutique shops, including Chanel and Cartier, as well as six restaurants to feed the hungry masses after a day of gambling and shopping.

For anybody who has never stayed at the Wynn Las Vegas, it is certainly a pleasure. In fact, I personally consider it the best place to stay on the Las Vegas Strip. Sure, it’s all relative, but I simply could not get over the comfortable, modern feel of the resort, coupled with the beautiful view of the Red Rock Mountains from my chic room. And if you’re like me and have never stayed at Encore at Wynn Macau, it might just be the perfect reason to plan that trip to visit China (or all of Asia for that matter) that you’ve never been planning to do. After all, Steve Wynn himself calls it, “the loveliest hotel in the world”.

The Future of Online Casino Gambling in the United States

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Gambling. Just the word alone brings with it a lot of baggage. A controversial activity – to say the least – what makes gambling different than most other heated issues (like abortion) is the fact that just about everybody gambles, whereas not every woman has or is going to get an abortion.

Just think about it. How many people do you know with a retirement plan or IRA? How many people do you know who own a house? How many people do you know who invest in real estate, the stock market, or even a new business opportunity? Just about everyone you know, including yourself, is – directly or indirectly – participating in one form of gambling or another. The only difference between “everyday” investing and casino gambling is that the latter at least provides a form of entertainment and diversion.

Granted, not every form of gambling has the same degree of volatility, just as every casino game has it’s own volatility level. However, some of the most common forms of investing in today’s financial market are as unpredictable as the most volatile casino games. We have always been told that when you buy property and/or a house, it’s value is pretty much guaranteed to go up. Could you have every predicted the crash in the housing market, which contrary to all “safe” investment practices, have actually lost value?

I could have never imagined that when my father-in-law had to take a new job and move from Florida to Delaware that his beautiful home would not be able to sell, and that his only option would be to settle for a buyout from his company, which was way below what he originally purchased the house for. In effect, it was an unlucky wager. He couldn’t hold out any longer, just like you can’t always hold out as long as you would like to at the Blackjack table. Sometimes you have to take your losses before it’s all gone.

So, where am I going with all this (besides the obvious fact that I’m trying to prove that casino gambling is no different than most other things we do with our money)? Well, in particular, I am trying to bring some attention toward the fight to ban online gambling in the United States. I mean, really, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) is one of the most hypocritical laws ever to be passed. Congressman Barney Frank said himself, “the UIGEA is the stupidest law ever passed”, which is actually more apt, considering all the benefits that would come from regulating online gabling and the harm that will come by making it illegal and attempting to enforce an impossibility.

I certainly understand the concern about underage gambling and wanting to protect minors, which truly isn’t the foremost concern of politicians who support an online gambling ban (Believe me, the politicians who have spearheaded the UIGEA, have great backing by the land-based gambling industry, which predominantly considers online gambling a threat to its own welfare. Just do a search on the foremost proponent of the UIGEA – Senator Jon Kyl – and you will find an assortment of kick-backs from the brick ‘n mortar gambling and tobacco/alcohol industries).

However, banning online gambling will not stop minors from gambling at online casinos. Online casinos, especially those being run by inscrutable crooks, will find a way – just as they do to this day – to skirt around financial roadblocks and not only take money from minors, but cheat them out of their money. Even in today’s unregulated online gambling landscape, adult U.S. citizens are frequent victims of fraud and unfair odds. Of course, there are some reputable US online casinos doing business and holding offshore regulatory credentials. However, there are also online casinos being run my the Israeli mafia and being promoted to U.S. citizens.

Now, if the U.S. government would follow suit to Great Britain, where all forms of internet betting, including online casino gambling, poker and sports betting, are being effectively regulated – meaning that at a minimum fair odds are being ensured, and that underage/problem gambling is being effectively prevented and treated – the criminals would essentially be put out of business. It’s exactly the same thing that happened with prohibition, and unless the U.S. government does not wake up and take address of its own hypocrisy, billions of dollars will be wasted, and all the while U.S. citizens – many of whom will be taken advantage of – will continue gambling online.

American Banking Association Openly Criticizes U.S. Online Gambling Ban

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

As the day looms closer in which the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), aka, the U.S. online gambling ban, is mandated for enforcement, U.S. financial institutions are expressing – once again – their displeasure with the highly flawed and otherwise unenforceable law.

Why all the groaning from private banks and not the Federal Treasury? You would think it’s because of a loss in revenue, would you not? However, while billions of dollars do indeed stand to be lost (for both private companies and the federal government), the resistance being expressed by the financial industry has more to do with the actual nature of the UIGEA itself.

Placing all of the enforcement responsibility, i.e., blocking online gambling transactions, on the financial industry, the UIGEA is essentially imposing an impossible task, while creating new costs that are only going to spill over onto tax payers. In other words, not only will the UIGEA be impossible to enforce – meaning online gambling will continue in the US – the federal government will lose badly needed tax revenue that would have come from regulation, while imposing more costs on tax payers and financial institutions, that will consequently roll over on U.S. consumers.

Sure, it sounds like a good argument, but where’s the proof? Well, according to none other than Steve Kenneally – the VP of the American Bankers Association – which represents over 90% of the financial institutions doing business in America, the UIGEA is simply the wrong answer.

Keneally opines that not only is it nigh impossible to identify which online gambling transactions are legal or illegal (the UIGEA is full of carve-outs for fantasy sports and horse racing), let alone that a transaction can be detected as an online wager period, there will indeed be a considerable amount of new costs that will inevitably carry over on consumers.

Online Gambling Entrepreneur, Daniel Tzvetkoff, Gets Bail; Awaits Trial in New York

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Contrary to the predictions of his own lawyer and against the wishes of U.S. prosecutors, Daniel Tzvetkoff, the 27-year old Australian entrepreneur who was arrested in Las Vegas on charges of bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal online gambling activities (all of which I pretty much thought was illegal in the U.S. anyhow), has posted bail on account of his father, Kim Tzvetkoff, who travelled from Brisbane, Australia to appear before a Judge and put his $1.17 million house up for bond.

Appearing before US Federal Court Judge Peggy Leen, Kim Tzvetkoff said he understood the implications of his son not showing up for his court appearance, i.e, losing his house. He also said he would carry out the Judge’s orders and drive his son from Las Vegas to New York, where Daniel Tzvetkoff will wear a GPS tracking bracelet and abide by a curfew as he waits for his trial (date yet to be determined).

While granting bail to a U.S. citizen in the same circumstance would be a no-brainer according to Judge Leen, she cautioned that Tvetkoff’s release into his father’s custody could be delayed for several days as an immigration detention order is still being imposed and would have to be fought by Tzvetkoff’s lawyers. In the meantime, Tzvetkoff remains in custody at the Las Vegas Detention Center, which to Tzvetkoff’s good fortune, is where white collar criminals are held – separate from State criminals being held on charges of robbery, drugs, rape and the like.

Although prosecutors argued in the bail hearing that Tzvetkoff could serve at least 24 years in prison for his crimes and would likely flee to anywhere in the world and set up online businesses once again, Tzvetkoff’s defense attorney, Robert Goldstein, argued that his client had no criminal record, was just a kid who started his first internet business inside the basement of his parent’s home, and furthermore, that Tzvetkoff had legitimate concerns for the health of his seven-month pregnant wife, who will evidently be staying with Tzvetkoff in New York as he awaits his trial.

Judge Leen was obviously won over by the latter, granting Daniel Tzvetkoff a little more freedom before it is likely taken away at the outset of his trial. However, contrary to some earlier reports that Tzvetkoff could face up to seventy-five years in prison, considering the fact that illegal gambling is considered a misdemeanor in the State of New York, Daniel Tzvetkoff is more likely to face 10-16 months in prison – still a long way off from the days of unbridled luxury living, sports cars, yachts and fancy mansions.

Cryptologic Begins Arbitration Against Marvel Entertainment for Superhero Casino Games

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Marvel Sluts, Marvel Slots

Anyone care for some Marvel Sluts, err, I mean Marvel SLOTS...my bad!

Leading online casino software developer, Cryptologic, has long been associated with comic book themed slot machines – in particular, the enormously successful Marvel superhero slots series. Their diverse portfolio of nearly twenty titles, consists of player favorites like Spider Man, The X Men, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk and many others.

However, for anybody relatively new to the world of online casino gambling, there’s a chance these very same slot titles have become associated with Cryptologic’s rival casino software developer, Playtech. The reason being – obviously enough – is that Playtech thought it necessary to essentially copy Cryptologic and engage a competitive assault, if you will.

While all this is “fair play” in the corporate industry, the only catch is that Cryptologic’s subsidiary, WagerLogic, claims (in a recently modified arbitration proceeding) that Marvel Enterprises Inc. breached it’s deal with WagerLogic, which apparently stipulated that Cryptologic would be the “sole developer of Marvel-branded online casino slot games”.

Said contract was made back in October of 2005, and was later extended in June of last year. It was in March of 2008 that Playtech apparently approached Marvel with a licensing proposal of their own, and was also awarded an “exclusive” licensing contract to turn Marvel’s most popular superheroes into casino, poker and bingo games as part of Playtech’s internet, television and mobile phone gaming platforms.

Anyone looking in from the outside would have to agree that Marvel was clearly in the wrong to award two “exclusive” licensing deals to two competitive companies at the same time. However, WagerLogic may try to claim that Playtech’s deal was made with Marvel Entertainment’s Netherlands-based subsidiary, Marvel Characters BV.

Arbitration proceedings (which Cryptologic says it attempted to avoid by engaging an internal resolution) will now be handled by the New York based JAMS – the largest private provider of corporate mediation and arbitration services in the States.

AusCasino Partnering With InterCasino and Catering to the Land Down Under

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Not to presume that Online Casino Suite is drawing a large Australian demographic or anything, I still want to tell everyone about a new Australian online casino. Oh wait…take that back – it’s not new after all. In fact, it’s Australia’s oldest online casino period. Oh wait, or is that Lasseters. Oh hell, I don’t know. It’s old. How’s that?

Anyhow, the online casino I am referring to is none other than AusCasino.com. A fitting name to say the least, AusCasino has plenty of things going for it right now – the least of which is a partnership with Inter Casino. Don’t ask me what that partnership entails, because neither site has had much to say about it, other than a message on the homepage of AusCasino to this effect.

The other reason why AusCasino should be in high spirits right now is that legislation is on the table (albeit stalled as of yesterday) to liberalize and regulate online gambling. There is no denying that online gambling is a huge industry in Australia. As reported in a recent study, Australians spent an estimated $790 million in overseas online gambling wagers during 2008. Increasing since 2002, annual wages are certain to rise in 2010.

So, if you are from Australia and are looking to spend a buck online gambling in your homeland, then look no further than AusCasino. They currently offer over 200 online casino games, including Cryptologics popular Marvel superhero comics series of games like Wolverine and Iron Man, as well as the recently launched DC Comics slots series, which include Superman and Batman.

The homepage of their website may look a little unprofessional (that’s just my opinion, of course), but don’t let that fool you. AusCasino.com is properly regulated and stands to offer an excellent return on your wager – both in terms of odds and entertainment.

Live Dealer Online Casinos Growing in Popularity as Operator Transparency Lags

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

If you’ve been around the block a couple of times, there is a good chance you’ve heard of – possibly even tried out – live dealer online casinos. One of the next big modes of iGaming, live dealer online casino gambling could very well supersede mobile cell phone wagering in popularity over the next ten years. Of course there will always be those who prefer the autonomy and flexibility of online casinos. However, in a time when there are no international standards of operator transparency, going with live dealers seems to be the proper fix.

Even with online gambling regulation being embraced throughout Europe (and more on the way), some Euro online casinos offer players more assurance in terms of odds and fairness than others. While much of this can be traced back to the software developer responsible for imposing licensing conditions on operators, the real crutch lies with the regulatory bodies. In Europe alone, there are over ten jurisdictions – all with slightly different regulatory provisions. This doesn’t necessarily mean that players are at a greater chance of being cheated; However, it does mean that player trust will likely lag as a result.

For some players – and rightfully so – there are simply too many unanswered questions when it comes down to guaranteeing fair odds. For example, just because an online casino links to a published payout percentage report (as required by it’s regulatory license), if said payout report is several months old, what’s to say the current payout is anything but what was last published? In other words, while an outdated payout percentage report doesn’t  necessarily equate to being cheated in the here and now, it necessarily doesn’t mean you are getting fair odds either!

This is precisely why more players are turning to live dealer online casinos, and why the live dealer sector is expected to grow over the years. What you see is what you get. Live dealer gaming is pretty much the same experience you will find in a brick ‘n mortar casino, save larger cards and a slightly slower play time – which is something you won’t find me complaining about. Live video feeds are synced up between the virtual online casino and a player’s personal computer, revealing everything from an initial card count and verification to uninterrupted play being monitored by a floor manager.

Although there are no live dealer online casinos currently open to U.S. residents, rest assured that when it happens there will be a floodgate of traffic for the live dealer sectors. No other online wagering jurisdiction is more prone to scams and could fare better with heightened transparency and player trust – the aftereffects of attempting to ban online gambling.

Online Gambling Entrepreneur Arrested and Charged With up to 75 Years in Prison

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

I don’t know about everyone else, but does it seem strange that an online gambling entrepreneur should be treated differently than a business or corporation “guilty” of the same charges? Or better yet, does it seem very strange that an online gambling entrepreneur could potentially serve more years in prison than a convicted murderer?

Introducing Daniel Tzvetkoff – an online entrepreneur and owner of the online payment processor, Intabet. Tzvetkoff, who was practically unknown until a couple of years ago (quite frankly, I didn’t even know who he was until today), has apparently experienced a Greek-like rise and fall, and now faces up to seventy-five years in prison for allegedly assisting online casinos and internet betting companies in laundering over $540 million into offshore accounts registered to “shelf” companies in the British Virgin Islands.

Okay, well, let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? Anyone working in the online gambling industry knows that the allegations are very likely true. The fact that the US online gambling industry continues to thrive despite actions by the U.S. government, i.e., the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, is testament there is a very, very good chance someone is skirting around the law – even if it means finding a legal loophole. According to the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office, Tzvetkoff was breaking the law all along, and now faces charges of money laundering, money laundering conspiracy and bank fraud conspiracy.

Based on emails obtained by the FBI, Tzvetkoff willingly took part in a conspiracy that involved the purchase of shelf companies that would be renamed to something “processing related”, as well as telling employees – which at one point number 120 in a Milton office – to lie to banks so that online gambling transactions would go undetected. In other words, Tzvetkoff was helping online casinos process transactions from U.S. residents.

Okay, so what else is new? It still goes on and will continue to go on -so why make Tzvetkoff pay big-time for essentially the same thing the eWallet corporation Neteller did, whom got off with a big fine? I suppose that answer lies in the fact that Tzvetkoff is now broke and only recently declared bankruptcy after being sued by business partners and basically losing everything, including his yacht and $28 million mansion.

Certainly the makings of a Greek tragedy, the next chapter of the story of Daniel Tzvetkoff will soon be played out in a U.S. court of law.