Posts Tagged ‘online poker rooms’

Atlantis Internet Group Signs With Cake to Power Tribal Online Poker

Monday, September 13th, 2010

AtlantisInternetGroup2In what could be a sign of things to come for online casino gambling in the United States, Las Vegas-based Atlantis Internet Group has signed an agreement with the popular Cake Poker Network (powering U.S. favorite, Doyle’s Room), to create a wide area online poker network for players residing in regulated tribal casino State’s.

While this may seem, at first, a bold and dangerous move in light of the UIGEA – albeit an ineffective online gambling ban – Atlantis Internet Group Chief Executive, Donald L. Bailey, says the agreement will give the Tribal Gaming Network (a patent pending intratribal/intrastate online casino network) an “immediate and legal solution” for tribes seeking to offer internet betting.

That’s because the UIGEA has exemptions for Indian Casinos, intertribal internet gaming, as well as State’s with intrastate online gambling laws. Personally, that’s news to me – I thought the only carveouts in the UIGEA were for horseracing, lotto and fantasy sports betting.

TribalGamingNetworkBut according to the National Indian Gaming Commission, which oversees tribal casino regulations in the State’s, the Tribal Gaming Network is 100% legit. It’s also 100% loaded. Synced with over ten tribal casinos and potentially allowing players in thirty State’s to play online casino games, the Tribal Gaming Network has the potential of offering one of the largest wide area progressive jackpot networks on the Web.

For now, Atlantis Internet Group has it’s sights on online poker, which currently holds the greatest potential of becoming regulated in State’s where tribal casino gambling is legal. California leads the way with an amended poker bill scheduled for legislative action before the year is out, while both New Jersey & Florida are considering similar options.

The Cake Network is certainly a great choice for launching an online poker network. With thousands of players online at any given moment and an open door to the U.S. online poker market, Cake will give the Tribal Gaming Network instant liquidity, not to mention credibility, while a giant surpluss of players will only serve to strenghten Cake in return.

888’s Second Quarter Earnings Report: Online Casino and Bingo up; Poker Down

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Man Alive! What’s to be done about the online poker slump? You mean you didn’t hear? Okay, well maybe the players aren’t in a slump, per say. However, the leading U.S. facing online poker rooms (at least the one’s who used to do business in the States) are beginning to see just how bad the online poker industry depends on Uncle Sam.

Granted, I’m not referring to the poker rooms still doing business with American citizens. For them, it’s business as usual. In other words, lots of money to be had. Poker Stars and Doyle’s Room, for instance, are experiencing gains in poker activity, while rooms like 888 Pokrt are being hit with all-time record losses.

Just how bad is the damage? Well, according to 888’s Chief Executive, Gigi Levy (don’t you love that name?), who announced company earnings last month, pre-tax profit is down 43%, which equates to a difference of $6.3 million from last year’s profit of $14.9 million. Let me put it another way – 888 earned more revenue from online bingo than poker.

Uh ya, so apparently 888 is going to be undertaking some cost cutting programs in order to prevent further losses ($6 million overhead reduction), although Levy didn’t say exactly how that will be obtained. Granted, much of 888’s loss in online poker revenue can be attributed to a slumping global economy and the World Cup, which is what William Hill’s CEO blamed for his company’s losses as well! 888 has been closed to the U.S. for some time now, which goes to show that market shifts do indeed take place as a result of factors other than government infringement.

However, one can only surmise just how much this loss would have been offset if 888 was still tapping into the lucrative U.S. online poker industry. Just how lucrative you ask? Well, let’s save that for another blog post. The latest issue of iGaming Bussiness magazine has some very interesting things to say about online poker in the State of California alone – and I definitely have some things I want to share regarding this in another post. In other words, stay tuned.

As far as talks about 888 going into a merger this year, Levy reiterated his earlier comments in the year that consolidation looked “highly likely”, and after being pressed for hints, did not rule out the option of merging with Ladbrokes. Following the merger between giant’s, Bwin and Party Gaming, 888 certainly needs to do something in order to stay in the games. Thus far, things are looking better – online poker revenue for August jumped 15%, in line with normal levels. As for online casino revenue, it was up for the second quarter.

Poker Stars Passes Increased Rake Fees onto Unhappy Players in France

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I don't know what this says in French, but something tells me it isn't about higher rake fees...

I don't know what this says in French, but something tells me it isn't about higher rake fees...

Here’s a message for all you lawmakers out there contemplating drawing up laws to regulate online gambling. Write a law to actually regulate online betting activity, not hinder it. Sure, taxation and regulation tend to go hand-in-hand. But when the taxation policy does not make it worthwhile for operators to do business, then it kind of defeats the purpose does it not?

In the UK, where strict regulatory laws have driven out several top-shelf online betting operators in the last few years, in France, some operators are choosing to pass increases in taxation onto the players themselves. More specifically, the popular online poker room, Poker Stars has dumped a 2% increase in rake charges on French players, as a result of new regulatory laws – which for all intensive purposes – are supposed to liberalize online gambling in France.

Beginning earlier this month, the French government gave an open invitation to offshore betting operators seeking to do business with French citizens – and Poker Stars was one of them. The only catch was that the operators would be required to pay more in taxes than what they were generally accustomed to in other regulatory jurisdictions.

Instead of sucking up the loss, Poker Stars has decided to make the players pay. Mind you, these are the same players who helped make Poker Stars become one of the most popular online poker rooms in the world. Needless to say, players from France are up in arms about the decision to raise the rake charge up to 7.7% (the percentage amount of the pot that is deducted and paid to Poker Stars every hand), and have formed a coup d’etat of sorts.

Taking advantage of the rule called a “sit out”, French players have successfully managed to impose a boycott on Poker Stars. Permitting seated players to “sit out” a hand at a table, the rule is now being exploited to the point where some entire tables are being “sat out” by players. Taking note of the uprising, Poker Stars defended its decision, stating they have been losing money themselves as a result of raised taxes. However, you and me and all the players at Poker Stars know that’s absolute BS.

I guess then it comes down to how greedy does Poker Stars want to be? Whether the staged sit-outs will be enough to get the world’s most popular online poker room to rethink increased rake fees for French poker players remains to be seen.

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How High is the Hype for Regulating Online Poker in California?

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Introducing the chest...err...face of California's poker scene: Jennifer Tilly

Introducing the chest...err...face of California's poker scene: Jennifer Tilly

With all the talk about the impending enforcement date of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) this upcoming Tuesday, it seems that motions to consider regulating online gambling both on a federal and State level are springing up left and right. Well, if there ever was a time when online gambling in the States stood a good chance of being regulated, now is it.

The only thing I’m wondering is this: Since when were individual State’s permitted to offer online casino games under their own jurisdiction? Apparently, since forever. Making all the internet poker headlines right now is a bill being penned at this very moment that would essentially legalize online poker in the State of California.

Following last week’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing to consider the prospects of taxing internet betting (which apparently went over pretty well), the word on the streets is that although the UIGEA bans “illegal online gambling” on a federal level, State’s still have the right to regulate on their own accord. Okay, so maybe I’m the only one that has been in the dark about this, but I thought that State’s couldn’t do anything to regulate online gambling so long as the UIGEA was in effect.

But than again, perhaps it all amounts to hesitancy on the part of State government officials faced with trying to pass a highly controversial issue which the federal government and no other StateĀ  has even attempted doing. Whatever it comes down to, just as is this is the best time to get regulation going in the States, no other State is better suited to pass online gambling legislation than the State of California.

Stepping up to the plate on behalf of California, is Senator Rod Wright, who leads the committee that overseas gambling in California. Senator Wright’s aforementioned bill, specifically calls for the regulation of online poker, which would no doubt make a huge dent in the State’s $19.1 billion budget gap through June 2011.

Differing from a tribal initiative that would create an intrastate poker network, Wright’s bill would give the State Department of Justice the means to award 5-year contracts to three California-based online poker room operators, who would obviously have to meet financial and technical requirements. No doubt, there are online poker rooms monitoring the situation very closely and ready to set up shop in California. They certainly aren’t knocking on the Dept. of Justice door just yet, as getting an online poker network up-and-running could take two to three years, especially if there are challenges to the legislation.

Possible resistance could come from tribal leaders, some of whom fear that legalized online poker would steal revenue from their land-based casinos. Furthermore, there is speculation that Wright’s bill violates past agreements that limit competition from casinos. As for getting California poker players to buy-in, that’s another matter altogether. The bill would make gambling at non-State licensed online poker rooms a crime. Needless to say, if the State-licensed rooms aren’t giving players enough incentive, they will likely be inclined to play somewhere else online, regardless of being illegal or not.

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Poker Stars Holding Online Qualifiers for The Big Game to Air on Fox

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Get in on the Big Game at Poker Stars and Win a $100K Buy-in

Get in on the Big Game at Poker Stars and Win a $100K Buy-in

Leading U.S. facing online poker room, Poker Stars, has revealed plans to launch a new high stakes cash poker game – Big Game – to be filmed and aired by the Fox Television network the Summer of 2010. In other words, whether you like Fox or not, if you’re a fan of poker, this is one television series you’re not going to want to miss.

Better yet, if you’re a fan of online poker, this is one game you will not want to pass up getting in on. The way Big Game works is that the top cash game players at Poker Stars will get to compete in head’s up, high stakes action against the biggest names in the professional poker world. So yes, that means you will need to be at the top of your game if you want to make it to the Big Game.

Through June 15 (just in time before the UIGEA potentially goes into effect), players from both Canada and the US will be eligible to compete in online qualifier tournaments, which in turn, will lead to the Big Game Final Round qualifiers. Anyone who finishes in the Top 200 will then be eligible to submit an audition video to be used for casting purposes. Since this is television we are talking about here, personality weighs in with playing skills!

Every episode of Big Game will feature a new Final Round online qualifier, who from this point on will be referred to as the Loose Cannon. He or she will be the lone non-professional sitting at a table playing with blinds set at $200/$400 and competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars with the best of the best professional players in the poker world. Poker Stars will give each Loose Cannon $100,000 to cover the buy-in, and any money made over the $100K amount will be theirs to keep.

To make things more fair, or should I say interesting, the Loose Cannon will be permitted to play with their own cash on top of the $100K buy-in. Considering the bankrolls of the competition, this will likely prove to a be a helpful bonus. Of course, anyone who makes it this far playing online satellite tournaments at Poker Stars should have some spending cash under their belt – or at least be able to find an investor.

For more information on Poker Stars, including welcome bonus information, read the OCS Poker Stars Review.

Top Online Betting Site Domains Leave Cake Poker for Merge Gaming

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Unless we’re talking about Poker Stars or Party Poker, the future of online poker is really all about the poker network. Not just a stand-alone poker room, poker networks are conglomerates of sorts, made up of several poker rooms networked into the same platform, resulting in larger player pools, more tournaments and more guaranteed winnings. But (as I said), that is, of course, unless we’re talking about giants like Poker Stars, who bring thousands of players together through a single roof.

Giants like this, however, are much fewer than the online poker networks currently in business. One of these poker networks is the Cake Poker network, which has become one of the fastest growing, US facing online poker networks since first being launched in 2004. In fact, the Cake Network, boasting such big name clients as Doyle’s Room, has been steadily growing year after year….that is, until now. And no, it has nothing to do with the quasi US online gambling ban.

Cake Poker is now shy three recognizable online betting destinations – PlayersOnly.com, SuperBook.com and Sportsbook.com – each owned by Antigua-based Jazette Enterprises, which announced it will be joining the Merge Gaming poker network. A small but substantial network now made even more substantial with the addition of Jazette, the Kahnawake licensed Merge Gaming said in a press release, “this is an industry-changing deal”.

At the time this post was going to press, Cake Poker had twice as much players online than Merge Gaming (just under 6,000). As you can imagine, these figures will likely shift. As for the guaranteed pool money at Cake Poker ($6 Million in monthly tournaments, including $250,000 Sunday’s), this may also see a change depending on just how many players decide to move over to Merge Gaming.

The good news is that Cake says they intend to honor all Gold Card and Gold Chips, which make up the backbone of Cake’s Rewards and Loyalty program, after the three sites leave the network. Cake is also urging players who would be affected by the transition and who would still like to play online in the Cake network, to contact customer support after the transfer is complete. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an exclusive bonus offer if you ask me.

Are Full Tilt’s Online Poker Days Numbered in the United States?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Is Big Brother Uncle Sam Watching Full Tilt Poker Room?

Is Big Brother Uncle Sam Watching Full Tilt Poker Room?

Yet another reason why I personally would not play online poker at Full Tilt are rumors surfacing that the U.S. facing online poker room is being investigated by the FBI. Now, Online Casino Suite cannot confirm if this is indeed true, but considering the details now surfacing, the word on the street is that there is some merit to the rumors.

The investigation is apparently going down in the State of Washington, which is one of few U.S. State’s where online poker is specifically deemed illegal. According to anonymous poker players residing in Washington, FBI agents have been doing the rounds and making literal house calls without warning to interview and gather information about these player’s real money transactions with Full Tilt.

I don’t know about you, but when the FBI starts asking questions, you can bet that something big is about to happen. And we all know that Full Tilt is indeed taking money from U.S. players. In other words, there’s no denying that Full Tilt is taking money from U.S. players. The bigger question, at least in terms of a making federal indictment, is whether or not the FBI can prove Full Tilt is allowing Washington State residents to make real money deposits.

Speculation is that the FBI is mounting a case to prove Full Tilt is breaking the law in the State of Washington, for it is essentially, an easy target with clear-cut laws that would enable authorities to conjure testimony from players that could be used in a court of law. Unlike other cases in which settlements were agreed upon, a federal indictment against Full Tilt would be a major blow to the U.S. online poker movement.

Now, as much as I have to recognize Full Tilt for their recent attempts to boost credibility via an eCOGRA certification, the fact of the matter is that Full Tilt was at the epicenter for some of the largest cheating scandals in the history of online poker. I’m sorry, but when “60 Minutes” does a critical piece on your poker room, the phrase “no publicity is bad publicity” does not hold up. This is probably what brought Full Tilt to the attention of authorities in the first place.

And as I bring attention to Full Tilt with my little blog post, I would hope that any U.S. poker players reading this – even those residing outside of Washington State, will consider the possibility that Full Tilt’s days are numbered. While that does not necessarily mean U.S. online poker players will get in trouble (in fact, it’s very improbable), it does not mean that any deposited funds risk being frozen and taken by good’ol Uncle Sam. Think carefully before you go depositing at Full Tilt.

And so as to keep this from being a totally “doomsday” post for U.S. online poker players, you might want to consider opening an account at Poker Stars or Doyle’s Room via Doyle’s online casino.

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Party Gaming Reports Impressive Revenue Growth for 2009

Monday, February 8th, 2010
Impressive Revenue at Party Gaming

Impressive Revenue at Party Gaming

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Party Gaming’s 2009 End of Year report shows a massive 32% increase in sales revenue. Being one of the more popular names and brands in the online gambling industry, not to mention the fact that online gambling hasn’t really taken that much of a loss in spite of the 2009 recession, or rather, economic crisis, I personally would not have been surprised if Party Gaming reported even higher earnings. Such is the life of big online gambling giants, no matter if they’re in the U.S. market or not.

Party Gaming’s third quarter’s revenue topped in at $100.4 Million, while the last quarter alone saw a 32% increase, topping $132 Million. Much of the increase in revenue is being attributed to a new online bingo and online casino operator in the Party Gaming network, while the vast majority of the revenue itself has been generated by Party Gaming affiliates (no surprise there).

With the addition Cashcade Limited and implementation of what Party Gaming likes to call “effective promotions” (meaning larger bonuses) and better loyalty rewards (all thanks in lieu to increased competition), Party Gaming was able to recapture the #1 spot in the world for poker liquidity (non U.S. facing) and increased player retention levels. This was a risky move, to say the least, but ended up paying off huge, resulting in 7% more active player days from Q3 and 24% more activity than the previous year.

2010 is already looking promising for Party Gaming with the integration of Cashcade and the World Poker Tour right on schedule. Party Gaming execs also remain hopeful that the introduction of online casino games, poker and bingo in the Italian market during the first half of 2010, online gambling liberalization in France (slated for the second half of 2010) and Denmark (2011) will bring another surge in revenue to Party Gaming throughout the next couple of years.

On another note, Party Gaming has appointed former Chief Executive Officer and Director of Mangas Gaming Malta Limited, Per Widerstrom, as Chief Operating Officer. With a wealth of experience in the online sports betting sector, perhaps that is a direction that Party Gaming is hoping to ramp up even more in 2010?

Microgaming to Change Rake Calculation for Online Poker Rooms

Sunday, December 27th, 2009
Poker_Chips

Microgaming Likes to Feed Fish to the Sharks!

I don’t know about you, but it kind of rubs me the wrong way when I hear that an online gambling company is actively looking for ways to make more money off of players. Now, I’m no spring chicken and I’m certainly not naive to the fact that online casinos are in the business of making money. Heck, that’s the law of the land for any business. For that matter, I understand there are lots of operating costs for online casino operators, and that finding ways to maximize return is essential to staying in business.

However, when a casino is already making good money, but still finds it necessary to bring in even more revenue, even if it means stealing from the poor, so to speak, that doesn’t sit well with me. In fact, it prompts me to take my business elsewhere, no matter how “large” of a free cash bonus is being offered. Perhaps this is a little extreme and high-minded. Believe me, I know I can be a snob. So, let me share with you where I’m coming and going with all this, so you can judge for yourself about the workings of doing business in the online gambling sector.

Microgaming, which initially started off as a developer of online casino software (consequently helping found the online gambling industry), has since developed a thriving poker network fittingly called the Microsoft Poker Network. But it’s apparently not thriving enough. Microgaming recently announced it will be changing the method of rake calculation (effective January 6, 2010) from that of splitting pots between the total number of players to what is called the weighted method, which calculates rake per room proportionally to the amount of wagers players contribute to every pot.

What this means is that more loose, casual players will help generate more return for poker rooms in Microgaming’s network. Microgaming’s decision to change their rake calculation essentially incentives poker rooms to encourage casual players to participate more in poker games. Although that could mean more winnings for casual players, the reality is that casual players who tend to be forthcoming with their bankroll, tend to lose more overall.

And that, my friends, is great news for card sharks, in addition to the poker networks who are following suit to adopt this new method of rake calculation. These now include the Boss Media network and Bodog, both of which impose fines on poker rooms whose payouts exceed stakes by more than 99.8%. Although Microgaming isn’t going to that far of an extreme, it is hardly probable Microgaming would be making these rake calculation changes if Boss and Bodog were not leading the way.

Like I said, business is business, and overall, the players themselves should not be adversely affected. It’s just kind of disappointing that Microgaming would sink to the depths of Bodog and make revenue growth the bottom line.

Poker Stars in the News: Upcoming Tournament Could be Largest to Date; 9/11 Cop Wins Million Dollar Challenge

Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Visit Poker Stars to Join the World Record Poker Tournament for $1

Visit Poker Stars to Join the World Record Poker Tournament for $1

The leading U.S. facing online poker room, and the most popular poker room at that, Poker Stars, has been in the news of late, shooting the final episode for the first season of the “Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge”, and getting geared up for what could possibly be the largest online poker tournament to date – that is the Guinness World Record for largest poker tournament.

The news that technically shouldn’t be news to begin with, has to do with the results of the final table at the Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge, which is scheduled to be aired on FOX December 27, 2009. However, due to a leak provided to the New York Post, the final results have already been published for the whole world to see. What makes the outcome of this event especially newsworthy is that the winner is a retired NYC detective who was one of the first officers on the scene at Ground Zero on 9/11.

Officer Mike Kosowski, who was originally an alternate to compete in the tournament after placing fourth in a Poker Stars online qualifier satellite tournament, ended up getting to compete in the final event after all show four players were knocked out in the first round. After winning a consolation sit ‘n go, Kosowski went on to face three other show winners at the final table, beating them out to compete in head’s up play against noted poker professional, Daniel Negreanu.

Besides the fact that an underdog won the Poker Stars Million Dollar Challenge, what’s so great about this particular tournament is that it was won by a national hero. Not only was Kosowski one of the first emergency personnel on the scene at Ground Zero, while helping evacuate civilians, Kosowski was thrown ten feet in the air after the South World Trade tower collapsed, consequently receiving burns on his head and neck.

Retiring shortly after the trauma of 9/11, Kosowski turned to online poker to help him occupy his time (encouraged to do so by his wife, who was cheering him on all the while at the final table). As it turns out, the decision to join Poker Stars has been another “life changer” for Kosowski, who says he is still on an emotional high and wondering if he is living a dream. As mentioned, the taped action at the final table with Kosowski will air on FOX Sunday, December 27th, beginning at 5 pm.

Now, onto other Poker StarsĀ  news and events, which for all the online poker players out there, is what it’s all bout, right? Also taking place December 27th (beginning at 2:45 EST) will be the start of a $300,000 guaranteed prize pool poker tournament, which could end up being the largest online poker tournament to date if enough players sign up. In fact, the whole point of the tournament is beat Poker Stars current world record of 65,000 players. Currently, there are nearly 50,000 registered players.

Not only are there three days still to go for 15,000 more players to sign up, satellite tournaments are taking place round the clock. Furthermore, the buy-in is just $1, which is as cheap as a non-freeroll poker tournament can get. With the top prize valued at $50,000, and the top 30,000 finishers guaranteed cash winnings, that is one investment worth the risk. If you’ve never participated in an online poker tournament before, this is a great, cost-effective opportunity to get a taste of what an online poker tournament is like. Visit Poker Stars to open a free account now. Read the OCS Poker Stars Review for more information.

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