Archive for November, 2010

Global Gaming Expo to be Hosted at Sands Las Vegas Casino Resort in 2011

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

G2EI suppose it’s never too late to start planning for the next Global Gaming Expo. Lovingly referred to as G2E, the Global Gaming Expo is one of the largest and most attended conference events for professionals in the gaming industry (check out the video at the bottom of this post for a look at the exhibition floor). Having just wrapped up earlier this month at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is where the conference is normally held, G2E organizers have revealed that – for the first time – the premiere casino-entertainment event will be held at the Las Vegas Sands Casino.

The date to mark on your calendar is October 3-6, 2011. If you’re a casino operator and/or are looking to provide a product/service for the gaming industry (both land-based and online), now is the time to consider exhibition and sponsorship options. As mentioned, the G2E is always a large event and will very likely sell out. If you want to attend, online registration is available (not just yet for 2011) at a discounted price, while same-day tickets go for at least 25% more (depending on the attendance package).

A straight ticket to peruse all of the exhibitors on the main conference floor costs $99 online and $175 if purchased at the door. There are several packages to choose from – the most expensive and comprehensive being the 4-day All-Access Conference. Although the price tag is more hefty at $1,600, the benefits are numerous. Think of it as a crash-course, real-world gaming education with free continental breakfasts. Oh, and let’s not forget the keynote speaker luncheon.

Speaking of keynote speakers, this year’s was none other than Harrah’s Entertainment CEO, Gary Loveman, whose address was titled: “The Stockholm Syndrom: Why Addressing the Misinformation That Plagues Gaming is our top Priority”. Sounds good to me.

What also sounds good is the UNLV International Gaming Institute (IGI) Certificate of Completion, which is awarded to all attendees who complete at least five sessions. This is a great opportunity for anyone just starting out or seeking to make a career in the casino gaming industry. With a state-of-the-art casino laboratory for testing casino games and software, as well as a high-tech surveillance center for teaching casino floor security, let’s just say that UNLV’s IGI accreditation carries some serious weight to it.

But the G2E isn’t just for professionals in the brick ‘n mortar casino industry either. As we all know, the online and offline gaming worlds are merging. Harrah’s itself is has an interactive department and has already launched two Euro online casinos, WSOP Casino, not to mention WSOP Poker. And let’s not forget about Caesars Online Casino catering to the UK crowd. In fact, the hot topic at this last G2E was all about online gambling regulation and how Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, holds the cards for getting gaming regulated in the States.

Check out the G2E website at globalgamingexpo.com for updates on the next conference held at the Las Vegas Sands Casino Resort October 3-6, 2011.

Regulation Killing French Internet Gambling Business

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I have always been wary about the idea of having the government regulate online gambling. While I support the full legalization of online gambling in countries where there is no current fully legal market – such as in the United States – I don’t support government regulation of that market. That is because governments have shown time and again that when you allow them to regulate an industry, they end up over-regulating it, which chokes out the industry and destroys profits.

For only the most recent example of government regulation crippling an online gambling market, take a look at France. The French government was praised for recently expanding their online gambling market to allow overseas competition for the first time earlier this year. While allowing competition for the first time was a good thing, the government regulations imposed by ARJEL are hurting everyone who enters that market.

french-parliamentThere are many problems with the overbearing regulations, but the two biggest problems are taxation and the capped rate of return. The first problem is obvious. Companies that enter a new regulated market have to bear the extra cost of being taxed by that government. An international online casino is likely to be taxed by many different governments at the same time, which leaves little profit remaining. With a tax rate that is higher than the European average, France’s taxation is especially bad.

While big governments overtaxing industries is certainly nothing new or unexpected, the rate of return cap is egregious. By French law, any gambling website that operates in their jurisdiction has to abide by a cap of an 85% return rate to the players. As BetClic chairman Stephane Courbit stated, that means they “cannot distribute more than 85% of money. Everywhere in Europe, but also in France if you did not license, you redistribute 96%.”

The rate of return is the percentage of money that is paid out to players. Since there is a house edge, on average, players will lose money to the casino. However, casinos with a high rate of return allow the players to keep more money. Obviously, that is a better deal.

GreedIf you take a look at our featured online casinos here on Suite, all of them have a payout rate of more than 97%. Go Casino even has a 98.4% payout rate, meaning that on the average, the casino only takes 1.6% of a player’s money. Online casinos that operate elsewhere in Europe and those that illegally operate in France are able to offer high payout rates like that. Those casino websites that are legally licensed by France’s ARJEL, however, can only offer an 85% payout rate, meaning the casinos will take 15% of the player’s money. Considering those options, where would you rather play?

It is absurd regulations like those that have led Courbit to call French regulations the “worst online gambling laws in Europe.” Because of the government regulations, licensed casinos are losing business to unlicensed operators. Since the government states that they need to license casinos to ensure that they’re safe (which isn’t true), then those regulations are especially counterproductive.

ARJEL and other government regulatory agencies claim to protect people and businesses, but they do more harm to both than good. If France wants online casinos in their jurisdiction to succeed, they need to scale back the regulation and make it a freer market. Or they can do away with their own regulation entirely. After all, despite the myth of the unregulated online casino, any reputable online casino is regulated already.

UIGEA strikes again!

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

This is another attempt by the federal government to crack down on financial institutions and services who have been known to allow U.S. citizens to use their services to gamble online. The last online payment services company that felt the heat for processing transactions to and from online casinos was NETeller in 2007.

And here is the thing with the whole NETeller episode—UIGEA was not technically “live” in 2007. Yes, those Republicans had sneaked it in on the tail end of a border protection bill and it was signed into law. But UIGEA was not enacted until June of this year. But such little technicalities as a bill being enacted or not does not stop Republicans in their quest to tell us what is morally best for U.S. citizens.

So the NETeller saga began with the U.S. Department of Justice seizing $55 million in funds from the online payment services site, and U.S. users were not able to access their accounts to withdraw their own money and close their accounts. After a year of negotiations between the U.S. Department of Justice and NETeller was NETeller allowed to pay a fine to the federal government and then allowed to return access to U.S. users in order for U.S. users to retrieve their funds.

And now the same saga is unfolding for eWalletXpress—U.S. users unable to access their accounts, the U.S. Department of Justice gearing up to levy fines and seize funds, and the potential for a year or more until U.S. users can access their own money.

Obviously the federal government wants and needs funds. But rather than repealing UIGEA and regulating and taxing online gambling, they would rather put the burden of UIGEA on financial institutions and services so that the U.S. Department of Justice can ‘catch’ sites such as eWalletXpress and NETeller ‘helping’ U.S. citizens gamble online in order to seize funds and levy fines. It just seems like a sneaky and cumbersome way for the federal government to try to have its cake and eat it too: get money and continue saving U.S. citizens from themselves.

While the U.S. Department of Justice creates all kinds of a hassle for eWalletXpress in their quest to keep online gambling away from its citizens, the real people that are the victims here are the U.S. citizens with accounts at eWalletXpress. If what happens to NETeller happens to eWalletXpress, U.S. citizens will not be able to access their own money, which is highly unfair since there is no law that says U.S. citizens cannot use online payment service sites…yet.

For now all we can do is sit back and see how much money the U.S. Department of Justice seizes from eWalletXpress for aiding citizens in online gambling transactions and how long negotiations will take before U.S. citizens are allowed to have their own money back. Then UIGEA will continue on its quest to beat back online payment service sites until U.S. citizens truly are cut off from online gambling.

Italy Liberalizes Internet Betting Market

Monday, November 29th, 2010

italy-vacation-packagesThere is a lot of bad news in the online gambling industry right now regarding the closing of markets. With Cyprus looking to ban internet gambling, Kentucky pushing forward with their lawsuit, and Poland trying to go after players for gaming online, it’s nice to get some good news. Thank you, Italy, for doing that.

Since they legalized online gambling back in 2007, Italy has had one of the largest markets in Europe. However, that market has been very closed, with only the state-run monopolies – chiefly the National Horse Breeders Enhancement Society and the Italian Olympic Committee – legally offering bets to Italian citizens. The country did not allow players to gamble at foreign online casinos. Not only was playing at overseas online casinos banned, but the government blocked all foreign casino websites. That policy put them at odds with European Union rules, though, and the nation was then targeted by the European Commission.

After a series of lengthy cases and hearings, the Commission ruled that Italy’s restrictions were not in compliance with EU rules. Instead of continuing to fight, as some countries have opted to do, Italy then amended their gambling laws. The new regulations allow more competition. Overseas gambling websites are able to obtain gambling licenses from the Italian Gaming Authority and those who are licensed can legally operate in the country. Those who are not licensed will have their websites blocked. While I am against the government blocking websites they do not like, the fact that they are unblocking those who can obtain a license is a step in the right direction.

Any overseas gambling operator who obtains a license to operate in Italy will then be subject to Italian gaming authorities as well as local laws. The Italian government feels that directly overseeing the online casinos is the best way to protect their citizens from disreputable companies. Of course, unlike the myth of unregulated online casinos, most gambling websites are actually regulated already by the government in which they reside was well as by private regulators. Still, Italy feels more comfortable allowing online gambling if they have a tight control over it. Though that may not be ideal for the player or for the gambling operators, it will have to do for now.

Cyprus Looking to Ban Online Gaming Too

Monday, November 29th, 2010

When it comes to gambling online, countries seem to feel one of two ways: either they are fine with it or they are very strongly against it. We are already well aware that Republicans in the United States are part of the latter group. Their reason for putting what equates to a ban on online gambling is that, in short, they know what is morally best for us.

But that is not Cyprus’ reason for wanting to put a ban on online gambling in their country. The police are citing violence and crime. Yes, the police are giving the reason for the desired ban, not lawmakers. Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos has said, “The police have repeatedly – publicly in fact – that online gambling is the originating cause of many crimes – whether these involve loan sharking, or threats, or blackmail or even taking people hostage illegally. We have pointed out these dangers in various memos that have been submitted to the relevant authorities.”

What is seemingly frustrating Cyprus lawmakers – and their police force – is that Cyprus is a member of the European Union and has been since 2004. And since 2007, Cyprus has been following the EU’s online gambling regulations.

I think that Cyprus is looking to a couple of role models for their ban: the United States and Portugal. From the sound of their desired ban, they are only looking to keep their citizens from gambling online – like how the United States has the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in place in an attempt to try and stop online gambling by U.S. citizens. Considering that a few online casino groups are licensed and regulated out of Cyprus I doubt that Cyprus would want to give up the revenue from licensing fees and taxes they receive from those online casino groups.

In short it sounds like they are okay in making it possible for other countries to gamble online, but not their own citizens. But remember they are not trying to ban online gambling for the sake of their citizens’ moral souls like the U.S., Cyprus is trying to ban online gambling to reduce domestic crime.

And that is exactly the reason cited by Portugal when they successfully fought for their very own ban on online gambling in 2009 in the European Court of Justice. Obviously Portugal was successful, and Cyprus believes that if Portugal can do it, so can they.

“We need to convince the European Commission that the ban is in the public interest and that it adheres to the principle of proportionality. It is intended to combat criminality and to protect the consumer,” Said Attorney General for Cyprus Petros Clerides.

If the European Commission approves the ban by their December 15th deadline, Cyprus will then move forward with making the ban law. They are so adamant about banning online gambling that they are ready to sign the ban into law as soon as the approval comes, which means that online gambling for citizens of Cyprus will be a big no-no by the end of the year.

Not that I want UIGEA to be firm or for a U.S. ban to be placed on U.S. citizens rather than on financial institutions, but I do have to admit that Cyprus lawmakers do seem to have their ducks more in order than the Republicans on banning online gambling.

Kentucky Domain Seizure Case Scheduled for Courtroom Showdown Days Away

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Of all the State’s in the…errr, “United” States, it is the Commonwealth of Kentucky which stands out for most online gamblers. Even if you call yourself American but are not actually a resident of Kentucky, there’s still good reason to keep tabs on what is going down in the state made popular by a horse race. In other words, if it can happen in Kentucky, well then, it can happen anywhere in America.

The “it” I am referring to is Kentucky Governor Steven BeShear’s attempt to seize 141 online gambling domain names. And I’m not just referring to any old domains – these are domains of longstanding, reputable online gambling establishments the likes of PokerStars.com, SuperSlots.com, Doyle’s Room and Bodog Life. Granted, the vast majority of the domains are sports betting sites (as this is all about protecting Kentucky’s land-based horseracing industry), however, the principle of using strong-arm tactics to shut down the internet betting industry is just that – a principle.

While Kentucky enjoyed initial success in its case against alleged perpetrators taking bets from Kentucky residents, an Appeals Court threw out the injunction. However, this was later overturned by the Kentucky Supreme Court, and that’s where we are at today…well, almost.

December 6th is the day in which the real legal battle in the courtroom begins.

Who actually takes part in this battle remains to be seen. Whereas the defendants in the case were being represented by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), Kentucky lawyers have recently been finagling things so that the actual domain name owners must physically show up in court for a chance at winning the case. The angle currently being taken is to take iMEGA (as well as the Interactive Gaming Council) out of the picture, thus pressuring the domain owners to step out from the shadows.

In an attempt to identify the owners, State lawyers have begun categorizing domains into groups. The initial groups being dealt with are said to be PlayersOnly.com, Sportsbook.com, SportsInteraction.com, MySportsbook.com and LinesMaker.com. Others will soon follow. Knowing all too well that the domain owners will be very hesitant stepping foot on U.S. soil, thus risking the chance of being detained for “illegal online casino gambling activities”, Kentucky legal rep’s are once again using fear tactics and entrapment to bring about a case.

If you ask me, the domain name owners would be wise to show up for court. While it seems absurd that Kentucky could actually succeed at seizing the domains for good, they already did it once. Not only that – the same judge who presided over the initial lawsuit and gave the initial ruling in favor of Kentucky, Judge Thomas Wingate, is to preside over the upcoming case on December 6th. If Kentucky does indeed get its way, the only thing stopping what would be a very dangerous precedent is a federal appeal.

Legalizing Internet Gambling on a Federal Level in the States; Now or Never

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

ussenateWith the brick ‘n mortar gambling industry’s largest B2B gathering – the Global Gaming Expo – coming to a close, it’s kind of ironic that the topic most attendees were and are continuing to talk about is online gambling. But then again, I suppose it’s to be expected. For years, one of the main roadblocks of getting online gambling legalized in the United States has been resistance from the brick ‘n mortar gambling industry. Whether from Las Vegas casinos, racing tracks in New York or whatever is left of Atlantic City, land-based interests – naturally – feel threatened by the prospects of losing business to the virtual world.

The only catch is that this “lost” business was never there to begin with. Offshore online casino operators have long been doing business with U.S. citizens – billions of dollars worth of business, in fact. And some still continue to do so even with the so-called US online gambling ban (UIGEA) passed into law in 2006 and enforced this year. Now that it’s evident there is no stopping U.S. citizens from exercising their free rights and gambling online, land-based interests – naturally – are now jumping on the bandwagon to get online gambling regulated and legalized. Well, kind of. Harrah’s Entertainment is certainly on board for federal regulation. It’s still unclear with other gaming interests.

And that’s where we’re at today. While there has never been a better time to overturn the UIGEA (or at least give individual State’s the right to regulate online poker), whether or not the current Congress is going to do so remains to be seen. In actuality, I suppose it would be more fitting to say whether or not Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid (Nevada) does so. I know what your thinking – How is it possible that one man can make online gambling legal in the US? Well, he can’t. But Reid certainly is the central figure who can give online gambling it’s greatest chance of being legalized in America to date.

As the Senate Majority Leader, Reid has the power to attach gambling legislation to an unrelated, must-pass bill, which is exactly what Bill Frist did with the UIGEA as an attachment to the must-pass Port Security bill in 2005. Although Reid – being from Nevada – is sympathetic with brick ‘n mortar casino operators, the challenge – as stated by Poker Players Alliance Executive Director, John Pappas – is finding a consensus with Nevada gaming interests and other stake holders on a bill that everyone can support.

Pappas went on to say that Reid certainly isn’t giving anything away. In other words, Reid could stand to do well playing online poker, ’cause his game-face isn’t revealing the slightest bit. What we do know about Senator Reid is that he has flip-flopped his views on regulation a number of times. The good news is that his last flopping was on the side of legalization. That said, if online gambling is going to be legalized on a federal level, it’s going to take place after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. If not then, well…let’s just say it will be another two years (when Congressional elections take place) before the issue comes up again on a federal level.

The hope is that with some major tax bills coming up for a vote before Congress (some would say must-pass bills), Congressman Barney Frank’s bill (HR 2267) to regulate online gambling could serve as a fitting attachment. There is no denying that regulation would generate billions in tax revenue. Depending on how these tax bills work out, legalization could be the key to helping find balance for a looming budget and struggling economy.

Granted, if Frank’s bill does not make it through, legalization could still come on a Statewide level. In fact, it most likely will. New Jersey is well on its way to do so – the New Jersey Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow New Jersey residents and people outside of the US to gamble at Atlantic City online casinos. The only problem is that this could make things very complicated, very fast. Harrah’s Entertainment, which operates a casino in Atlantic City, is highly in favor of federal regulation. And so is everybody else in the industry! Obtaining a new gaming license on a state-by-state basis would be nothing short of mind-boggling for an online casino operator, no matter if it’s Harrah’s or the “little” guy the likes of Go Casino.

Keep your fingers crossed my friends. Better yet, send an email to Senator Harry Ried.

The “Unregulated Casinos” Myth

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

As I’m sure you know, we wholeheartedly support legalizing online gambling in jurisdictions where it is not currently legal. We also support definitively legalizing it in jurisdictions where there is disagreement about whether or not it is legal (such as in the United States). We do not support dishonesty, though, even when it is done for “the greater good.” Therefore, it’s time for everyone to stop talking about the myth of the “unregulated online casinos.”

Both sides of the argument – the pro-gambling side and the anti-gambling side – propagate this myth that there are thousands of unregulated online casinos out there that are unsafe places to play. People who oppose legalizing online casinos say that they are unsafe because the websites are unregulated, so those casinos can simply rip off the players with no repercussions. There’s no way to determine if they’re safe! Those who support the government legalizing and regulating online gambling say it is necessary to provide a regulated industry to protect players from those unregulated online casinos.

Government-DespairThere are two problems with the unregulated online casinos myth. The first problem is that the myth implies that only government regulation can protect people from unscrupulous businesses. To people who think that is true, remember that in the United States, the two most heavily regulated industries are the financial industry and the oil industry. In the last two years, both have endured catastrophes that government oversight could not foresee or prevent. Also, both catastrophes were caused, in part, by mistakes made by the government intruding in the free market.

People already have a number of things protecting them from unscrupulous websites. One protection is the legal system. If a player is cheated out of money, they can sue or press criminal charges. Depending on the website’s jurisdiction, that is sometimes easier than others. Another protection is word of mouth. This is the number one thing in the free market that causes some businesses to succeed while others fail. If people have a negative experience dealing with your business, they are going to tell people about it. If enough people do that, the business develops a bad reputation. A smart player avoids any online casino with a bad reputation (or no reputation at all). As a result of enough people doing that, the casino goes out of business.

Conversely, if someone has a positive experience dealing with a company, they will share that as well. If enough people do that, the business develops a good reputation. A smart player only plays at an online casino that has a good reputation. With the online gambling industry, the reputation of casinos is spread through word of mouth, gambling forums, websites like this one and more. To help you, Suite has a casino blacklist of websites to avoid. There is a wealth of player-generated information on websites out there. A wise player takes advantage of that information.

ecogra-sealThe other problem with the unregulated online casinos myth is that any reputable online casino is actually regulated. There are some gambling websites on the internet that are not licensed or regulated by anybody. Do not play there. However, most online casinos – and any that have a solid reputation – are actually licensed and regulated. For example, take the United States, where Barney Frank says the government needs to regulate online gambling to protect Americans. It’s true that there are no online casinos regulated by the U.S. government, but there are plenty of online casinos available to Americans that are regulated by the governments of the UK, Gibraltar, Costa Rica, the Netherlands Antilles, Antigua and more. Even more importantly, most reputable online casinos are also licensed and regulated by private regulatory groups, such as the eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation Assurance (eCOGRA) and Technical Systems Testing (TST).

It’s time for both sides to stop propagating the “unregulated online casinos” myth. Online casinos are not organized crime syndicates that aim to steal all of your money and most are not unregulated. Those who push for the legalization of online gambling should do so to maximize freedom and respect people’s right to spend their money as they choose, not to protect the people from a myth.

New Blackjack Side Bet that is as Bad as its Name Suggests—Players Beware!

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

I get that casinos and casino games manufacturers want to make money. I especially get that casinos will do what they can to squeeze every last chip out of players. That is what side bets are for after all. But I found a new blackjack side bet that is just the worst thing I have seen for blackjack players.

DEQ Systems Inc. is proud of their new electronic progressive side bet called Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive. This product of theirs allows for an electronic side bet device to be equipped to blackjack tables and then be linked to other tables with the same side beat feature to drive up the progressive payout.

The way this side beat works is like this: plays make their regular wager and then they make their side bet. If the player winds up with a hand total of 20 and the dealer beats him with a multi-card hand of 21the player then gets paid on the side bet while still losing their original round wager. The more cards the dealer’s 21 is made up of, the higher the side bet payout is.

But what about the progressive part of this side bet? Oh yes, this side bet tops all side bets by being a progressive as well. If a player’s 20 is beat with a dealer’s 21 that is made up of seven cards, the player then receives the progressive jackpot.

And you all thought that blackjack variations like Perfect Pairs were bad for your bankroll. Ha!

The side bet in Perfect Pairs for those among us that do not know has the player making a side wager that his first two cards will be a pair. If those first two cards are a pair, then they receive the side bet payout. If the first two cards are not a pair the player loses the side bet wager, but is still in the running to win the round.

True, the side bet in Perfect Pairs is made every single round and, like all side bets, does not have great odds in paying out. But at least Perfect Pairs still gives players a shot at winning something; it is possible to lose the side bet and still win the round. But in Bad Beat Blackjack the player loses all the way around: the dealer beats your 20 with his 21 and you lose your original wager and the side bet.

And also shame on DEQ for creating a side bet that preys on that ‘oh so close but not quite’ feeling of losing that players get when they do have a strong hand that they lose. It puts casinos in the position to capitalize on that ‘oh so close’ feeling, which puts a stronger lure on the Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive side bet.

And there are a couple of other issues with this side bet that further show just how bad it is for players. For one thing it only covers a player with a hand total of 20; no other hands are eligible for the side bet payout. And if the dealer beats you with a natural blackjack—whose total is also 21—the player’s side bet is still lost since it is only paid on multi-card hands of 21. The payout scale of more cards equaling a larger payout also puts the player at a disadvantage as a multi-card 21 made up of five, six or seven cards is less likely than a three or four card 21.

This Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive is just an all around bad bet for players. Between the high chances of losing the side bet wager over and over again, the progressive nature and the strict rules under which the side bet payout is made this is just an addition to blackjack tables to be avoided. I wish there was a blacklist for bets in casinos games. If you find yourself at a blackjack table that offers this little electronic blackjack bad beat decline to make the side bet.

World Poker Tour Announces Two New European Tournaments

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

world_poker_tourIf you’re one of those people who likes to watch poker tournaments on television, then I have good news for you. The World Poker Tour has announced two new European poker tournaments, both of which will be televised.

Poker is really popular on TV right now, so those tournaments are sure to draw some good ratings internationally. To be honest, though, I don’t get it. I like playing poker, both in person and online, but I don’t like to sit and watch other people play. Maybe it’s because being a good poker player means showing zero emotion. In that way it’s kind of like watching Kristen Stewart onscreen. Just like Stewart’s bad acting, I don’t feel a desire to watch people strategize (in their head) while thinking about what move to make at the poker table. If you enjoy that, more power to you, but it’s not something I enjoy. Similarly, I like playing the occasional video game, but wouldn’t watch a TV show of people playing Madden. Still, there was once a show doing exactly that.

If you like watching poker on TV, February has a treat for you. The World Poker Tour announced WPT Venice and WPT Vienna as well as the first ever WPT National Series event. The Venice leg of the tour takes place from February 3 through February 8. The buy-in is €3,000 and will take place in Casino de Venezia. There is also a high-roller tournament at the same casino running from February 7 through February 9. The buy-in for that tournament is €10,000.

Both of those events will be televised in Italy and other European markets and presented by PartyPoker. For those in the United States or other areas where the tournament isn’t being televised, the tournament can be viewed online.

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In March, the World Poker Tour will visit Vienna, Austria for the first time. The normal WPT Vienne tournament will take place from March 25 through March 29. The buy-in for that tournament is €3,200 and it is being played at a casino called Montesino. For big spenders, the high-roller tournament takes place from March 28 through March 30. It costs €15,000 to sit at that table.

Like the Venice tournament, the Vienna leg of the tour will be televised in local markets. If you’re not a part of the local market, it can be viewed online.

In addition to the two new European tours, the World Poker Tour announced their first National Series event. Like the Regional Series, which began this month in Florida and Indiana, the WTP National Series events will hold the WPT name but will not count for championship points. Also, the winner will not be recognized as having won a WPT title. The Regional and National tournaments were created to give people the ability to play in WPT tournaments with a more accessible buy-in.

The first World Poker Tour National Series event takes place in Paris from February 9 through February 15. The buy-in is €5000. The tournament will be held at the Aviation Club de France. The World Poker Tour plans to announce more Regional and National events next year.