Posted on 18th January 2019 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

UCOP tournament series is one of the largest events MPN has organized and they proudly announced plans to bring it back this year.

There will be a total of 112 events in it with total payouts guaranteed at €500,000 across two series.

The two series will be taking place between 13 February and 10 February. With a range of buy-ins from €0.55 to €320 across both series players at all levels can experience the action.

“The MPN have gone global with this newest iteration of UCOP. Building on the amazing success of our biggest ever tournament series last year, we’re giving players on our network the chance to experience the exhilarating thrills and luxury of our MPN Poker Tour festivals. For any live poker aficionado, this is a dream ticket, and we look forward to welcoming the lucky winners along” Alex Scott, Managing Director of Poker at Microgaming said.

MPN has proudly announced that UCOP Mini will run between 13 and 27 January while UCOP Passport will kick off on 27 January.

Qualification for both series is available at a portion of the cost with satellites currently running 24 hours a day on all MPN poker rooms that participate. 50 Seat Mega Feeder to the UCOP Passport Main Event at 14:30 GMT on 10 February, a weekly €0.11 satellite into the €50,000 UCOP Passport Main Event every Sunday at 15:45 GMT are just some of the satellites available for you to take part in.

The UCOP Mini will use the same format at UCOP Passport but with the buy-ins and the guaranteed prizes are at just 10% of Passport’s value.

The UCOP Passport leaderboard is awarding €10,000 worth of prizes across all UCOP Passport events and the top player will enjoy a trip of a lifetime, taking home three MPN Poker Tour packages. MPNPT packages are worth €4,500, plus a €550 Online Tournament tickets package.

Players can use it to travel to any of the remaining MPNPT live poker events throughout 2019 taking place in some of the most beautiful European cities. The winner gets access to the main event and to one of the side events, plus accommodations for himself and one guest, as well as cash to cover travel expenses.

Winners of all UCOP Passport event also qualify for the Tournament of Champions taking place on 17 February and win one MPNPT package worth €1,500. There will also be a dozen events called 50% Super Bounty, which will pay more than €40,000.

Posted on 16th January 2019 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

Lawmakers in West Virginia are trying for the third time to regulate online gambling in the Mountain State by introducing House Bill 2178 on 9 January.

West Virginia’s legislative session began and with it, the new bill came to light. This marks the third consecutive year that West Virginia lawmakers will consider online gambling regulation and the proponents believe it could be third time the luck since the state was the first that regulated sports betting in 2018 after the repeal of PASPA.

HB 2178 was sponsored by Delegates Shawn Fluharty and Joseph Canestraro and if passed, the bill will authorize both online poker and casino games and fall under the authority of the West Virginia Lottery Commission.

Licenses would cost $50,000 and Gross Gaming Revenues would be taxed at a reasonable rate of 14%. The bill would allow any of the state’s existing five land-based casinos to get into online gaming: the Casino Club at the Greenbrier, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort and Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack.

The licensed casinos would have to offer games under their own brands that are already familiar to West Virginia players. The application process would begin 90 days after the passage of legislation and although the previous bills never made it out of committee, this year may be different since sports betting is not a priority now.

The bill will allow licensees to offer online poker and other authorized games to players physically located in the state, over the age of 21. The use of bots is not permitted and there is no mention of slot games. They may come under the category of “video lottery” since they are games of luck, but we will have to wait and see how the things unravel in the next two months. The bill must now be referred to a committee who will consider the bill and report back to the members of the House and Senate.

The bill also allows West Virginia to join poker pools with other countries and increase liquidity. Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey are the United States countries that currently share poker pools under a multistate agreement.  Pennsylvania was the fourth country to legalize online gaming at the end of 2018 but is still pending launch.

Posted on 9th January 2019 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

After various failed attempts, we now see a little hope for online poker in New York as a bill was introduced in the state Senate once again.

Sen. Joseph Addabbo has introduced a Senate Bill 18 (SE 18) that would legalize online poker for New York residents in 2019. Addabbo is continuing where Sen. John Bonacic left when he retired in the last term of 2018.

Bonacic was chair of the gaming committee and sponsor of online poker legislation and lead the fight for online poker forward.

SE 18 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering whose member is Addabbo and we are hoping this year will be more successful than the previous ones starting from 2013 when online poker became a topic discussion in Albany.

Last year’s bill passed the state’s senate but failed to gather enough support in the assembly to get put in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Despite failing to gather necessary support for the legislation to pass, many believe that sports betting stole the showin 2018 and that’s why online poker went to sidelines.

This year, they changed the strategy. In order for online poker to get a full attention and the consideration it deserves, the bill authorizes only online poker, not online casino or sports betting apps.

SE 18 requires the operators to pay a one-time $10 million licensing fee and implement a 15% tax rate on gross gaming revenue. Commercial and tribal gaming operators would be eligible for the licenses and prospective players on these sites must be both within New York borders and over 21 years old.

The bill allows the issuing of eleven licenses and regulations will be established for six months after the law goes into effect. The main difference between this year’s bill and the former ones is the inclusion of a “bad actor” clause that may be an obstacle for off-shore sites like PokerStars that took bets from US players after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, the chairman of Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee has been pretty open about his support for passing sports betting and even stated in December that he would give up online poker if it meant getting sports betting over the hump so it is a great thing online poker is on its own this time.

Sports betting legislation will be introduced later this year so online poker may just get the support it needs to become legal.

Posted on 3rd January 2019 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

Having secured an online gaming license in Sweden, GVC Holdings has launched two of its leading brands, Bwin and Partypoker on 1 January 2019 in this country’s re-regulated market.

Both major GVC brands now offer dedicated websites under the .se extension. Bwin.se will focus on Sports and Casino products while partypoker.se will focus on poker. The Android mobile app is already available and the iOS version will be launched in the following days.

The Group’s poker offer will be available at a localized adaptation of their poker brand. Swedish players now have access to partypoker tournament schedule that includes The Power Series, Daily Majors, Super Sunday and the much bellowed Sit & Go Jackpots that can bring prizes of over $1 million. Sit & Go Tournaments are player favourites because they don’t cost much and last less than an hour. The buy-ins are as low as $0.25 and with a multiplier of 12,000, you could win a staggering $1 million for the first place.

Players in Sweden have received access to more than 650 slots, jackpots and live casino games with many exclusive titles included.

“We are delighted to get the year off to a positive start with the launch of bwin.se and partypoker.se. We are confident that Swedish customers will enjoy what we believe is the best and most comprehensive online gaming experience in the market.” Shay Segev, GVC’s chief operating officer, commented.

“Launching two new labels in such a short space of time after receiving our license, demonstrates the flexibility of our unique proprietary technology platform.”

Swedish gambling regulator, Lotteriinspektionen has approved 16 operators which are allowed to service Sweden’s re-regulated online marketplace from 1 January and GVC was among them as well as LeoVegas, Betsson, Casumo and Bet 365. The total of 95 license applications was submitted, 70 of which include online games.

Posted on 24th December 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

A new marketing sponsorship was announced for UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 which takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on 29 December as the Stars Group’s online poker brand PokerStars joins forces with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s leading mixed martial arts organization (MMA).

Landing this agreement, PokerStars becomes UFC’s first-ever official poker partner and thus creates a brand new sponsorship category.

The signature red spade and white star logo will be adorning the UFC cage for fight fans to see. Advertising for the online poker giants will also be integrated into UFC telecast and through other digital and social media channels. This partnership should diminish the gap between MMA fandom and affinity for sports betting, poker and other forms of gambling as more and more states regulate sports betting.

MMA has the largest promotional company in the world and the worldwide distribution of the match will expose the PokerStars brand to approximately 1.1 billion households in more than 160 countries, on 40 languages.

“We’re excited that PokerStars has joined our roster of global partners and has helped us create a new sponsorship category for our final event of 2018,” said Paul Asencio, UFC senior vice president, global partnerships. “This agreement lays the foundation to work together with PokerStars in the future to grow our respective customer bases in key markets.”

A member of PokerStars Team and huge MMA fan, Jason Somerville has previously collaborated with UFC working with them through Ultimate Poker. He explained that huge MMA and poker bases are intertwined so this is a win-win situation.

“I’m very excited for the UFC-PS partnership,” Somerville said. “For now, we’re focused on kickstarting our relationship with UFC 232 next week; details beyond that coming soon. I see a vast opportunity here in content, promotions, crossovers, etc. There’s a huge UFC fan base in poker and a lot of poker fans in the UFC audience.”

The two brands have a lot in common, to bring thrill and entertainment to its viewers and customers so the partnership is a classic combo.

Although this is first sponsorship deal with UFC, other leagues made their deals in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling lifting PASPA. MGM Resorts International scooped partnerships with NBA, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.

Dallas Cowboys became NFL first team to partner with a casino, WinStar World Casino and Resort, and soon few other teams followed in same

Posted on 19th December 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

The online gaming operator 888 Holdings has acquired a majority stake in the All American Poker Network (AAPN) for a price of $28 million.

This move is in line with 888’s strategy to target US expansion. The buyout of the remaining 53% of its investment partner Avenue Capital, will enable 888 to seek better opportunities for growth in the US and also create additional value for shareholders.

With this move, 888 gains total control over the US market and can now sign partnerships and deploy products and technology in new states as they regulate without partner’s approval. They will initially pay $10 million and the remaining $18 are to be paid before March 2019.

“The acquisition of the remaining stake in AAPN is an important strategic step towards 888 achieving its exciting long-term potential in the US,” said 888 CEO Itai Frieberger.

“Taking outright ownership of AAPN gives 888 additional operational, technological and commercial flexibility to develop innovative and exciting new partnerships and launch in new states – through both B2B and B2C channels – as and when future regulation allows.”

The joint venture between 888 Holdings and its partner Avenue OLG Entertainment was established back in 2013 when they launched operator’s B2C brands in the US regulated market.

888poker and 888casino started operating in Nevada and New Jersey back then and 888 has tried ever since to strengthen its position on the market. This September they launched 888sport and the company has forged the first sponsorship deal between iGaming operator and National Football League (NFL) through its deal with the New York Jets.

888poker is the only online poker site operating in all three available US markets Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey and is preparing for the Pennsylvania launch in early 2019.

It also supplies software for WSOP NJ and WSOP NV. The three states merged their player pools in May but revenues had increased only slightly so far. Pennsylvania is expected to provide the boost needed when it finally regulates online poker in early 2019. Other states are expected to legalize online poker in the future and 888 has secured its place in the first row and in a good spot to capitalize on the growing market.

AAPN cements 888’s long-term commitment to the US market despite things unraveling slowly in the US market.

Posted on 12th December 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

Months after unveiling a new poker software and just days after launching a new version of their Roulette, unveiled at SiGMA in Malta, Microgaming has raised the stake a bit higher.

Microgaming is now live with National Lottery AD to provide its award-winning poker platform in Bulgaria. One of the industry’s leading software providers has expanded its online poker network into Bulgarian regulated market by forging this supply deal with a local operator.

National Lottery AD has partnered with Microgaming’s Prima Networks to launch an online poker offering on its 7777.bg site. The site already offers a Kambi-powered sportsbook and live-dealer casino games from Evolution Gaming and Ezugi. This is a break-through partnership deal since it is the first time Microgaming has made its poker network available in the country.

Bulgarian punters will enjoy a wide range of tournaments and cash games via the brand, all supported by the company’s innovative promotional tools. National Lottery AD’s customers can play on Microgaming’s new and improved poker software that is not only feature-rich but also delivers the most entertaining promotions and events.

MilenGanev, the managing partner of National Lottery AD, added: “This strategic partnership enables us to continue to diversify our product offering and to deliver entertaining and award-winning poker games to our customers.”

Since National Lottery AD has never before offered a bespoke online poker to its players, it will definitely increase the revenue portion of the online sector in the county. Numbers reported by the Bulgarian Trade Association of Manufacturers and Operators in the Gaming Industry (BTAMOI) show that only 10% of Bulgaria’s total gaming revenue is from online gaming. In the first three quarters 2018, online sector paid $64.9 million, 17% up compared to the same period in 2017.

This partnership deal supports Microgaming’s strategy for expanding its presence in the key regulated markets.

Andrew Clucas, chief operating officer at Microgaming, said Thursday: “This marks a significant step in growing the poker network and reflects our commitment to continued growth and expansion into regulated markets. We are delighted to work with National Lottery AD as their exclusive supplier of poker in Bulgaria.”

Posted on 4th December 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

Premium poker provider PokerStars has officially been approved to enter the Pennsylvania gaming scene.

Owned by The Stars Group (TSG), poker giant PokerStars has been given all clear to provide online poker operations inside the Commonwealth which will enable the company to further expand its United States footprint.

New Jersey is currently the only US state to offer PokerStars services but this is likely to be changed as early as in 2019.

Even though the exact launch date has yet to be set, the Keystone State went official with license approval last week, granting both The Stars Group and Mohegan Sun Pocono entry into the state’s online landscape.

Pennsylvania laws allow only brick and mortar establishments within the state to start online operations but PokerStars has found its way around the regulations as it is partnering up with Mount Airy Casino, located in Mt. Pocono.

Furthermore, The Stars Group has recently announced a partnership with Eldorado Resorts from Nevada which could see them gain entry in more states going further.

The decision to award The Stars Group with an operating license within the state of Pennsylvania actually marks the company’s return to the US gambling scene.

It was in 2006 that lawmakers passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which deemed it illegal for US banks to process financial transactions for unregulated online gaming operators and The Stars Group were caught in the crossfire.

The company biggest brand PokerStars was left flouting the new law until 2011 when the Department of Justice (DOJ) seized web domains and charged owners and founders – Isai Scheinberg, PokerStars CEO included.

PokerStars eventually reached a multi-million settlement with the DOJ and is at the moment cleared to enter Pennsylvania as a company which ‘poses no threat to players’ and which ‘upholds the highest compliance standards’.

With the total of 19 active operating licenses worldwide it’s hard to argue with PokerStars reputation these days.

 

Posted on 28th November 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

The Stars Group has announced that they entered into a 20-year agreement with Eldorado Resorts that grants them the option to operate online betting and gaming in the states where Eldorado owns and operates casinos.

Eldorado will provide the Stars Group with option to their second skins for online sports wagering and third skins to operate real money online gaming and poker operations in the United States.

Gary Carano, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Eldorado commented, “The Stars Group is one of the world’s largest, most licensed and most geographically and product diverse publicly listed online gaming companies. We are excited to work with The Stars Group to capitalize on their proven ability to leverage their products to gain share in the growing market for online gaming.”

The Stars Group has scooped a perfect deal to significantly expand its presence in the US betting and gaming market.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Stars Group can own, operate and brand real-money online sports betting, poker and casino offerings in each of the applicable states subject to license availability, state law and regulatory approvals. The agreement currently covers 11 states which, when combined with The Stars Group’s existing market access deals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, gives The Stars Group access to up to 13 states.

Three of the states covered by the agreement, Mississippi, Nevada and West Virginia, have already launched sports betting. The other eight, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri and Ohio, are all expected to regulate the vertical, and potentially other forms of gambling, in the coming years.

“We are excited to announce this agreement with Eldorado, one of the fastest growing regional gaming companies in the United States,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive Officer of The Stars Group. “This agreement establishes the foundation for our U.S. strategy as we tactically pursue access to other key states and opportunities with potential media partners.”

The market access will see Eldorado receive a percentage of revenue generated from the Stars Group in each state. Eldorado will also gain $25 million in the company’s common stock and additional $5 million once the Stars Group launches its first offering through the agreement.

Nevada-based company already has a similar agreement with William Hill. The two companies have 25-year partnership in which William Hill serves as Eldorado’s exclusive land-based partner. William Hill “has consented with the Stars Group deal.”

Posted on 21st November 2018 by Maya Michaels in Poker News

Asian Poker Tour (APT) will continue its expansion into new markets and has just added another stop to its tour next year. Back in October, they announced the tournament series would travel to Japan but now they expanded their lineup with a stop in Taiwan.

APT announced that they will host another event in Taipei, Taiwan taking place from 20 February to 3 March, following the events in Japan from 1 to 11 February. With this change of course, 2019 will mark the first year that APT has been held both in Japan and Taiwan.

The APT Taiwan will be hosted at Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Association (CTR) room in Taipei that can accommodate 25 tournament tables. CTR has six poker rooms all over the city and is Taipei’s largest poker venue. The CTR room is also among a few Asian rooms that can offer RFID live-streaming tables and while the club has hosted other events, this may be the one that puts it under the spotlight for a wider international audience.

Lloyd Fontillas, Executive Director and General Manager of the APT, said, “As the market leader in bringing world-class poker tournament events to new destinations in and around Asia, the Asian Poker Tour in partnership with the Chinese Texas [Hold’Em] Poker Association, are proud to bring the first APT event to Taipei.”

The further details are yet to be announced for the two-week tournament but for now, we know there will be a TWD 33,000 ($1,066) Main Event and also TWD 49,000 ($1,599) Championship Event. A number of side events and satellites will be added to the site as they become available. Since real money poker isn’t allowed, the tour can only offer tournament entries as prizes. The winners of APT will win packages for APT Philippines from 24 April to 5 May 2019.

“We are happy and excited to be hosting the very first APT event here in Taiwan,” CTP President David Tai said in a statement on the ATP website. “Players for sure will have a great time being in the vibrant city of Taipei which has so much to offer.”

The APT sees Japan and Taiwan as a potentially lucrative market since not many tournaments have been seen there in the past. Their expansion there will expand poker awareness on a global level and promote poker as a game of skill not a game of chance.

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