Category Archives: Games

Calling the Clock: MILLIONS Grand Final round-up; PokerStars in India and more


In this week’s Calling the Clock we round-up the partypoker MILLIONS Grand Final in Barcelona, cover PokerStars launch in India and much more. 

The sun is out. The woman who looks like a cross between Alison Moyet and Toyah Wilcox is bent over, cleaning the tables. Across the road, the builders stop work and lean on their spades to collectively stare at the young girl’s ass.

Calling The Clock: MILLIONS Grand Final round-up; PokerStars in India and more Grinning great big grins.

I order my Matcha Latte and swallow hard at the added 50p for oat milk while considering telling her about the builders. I don’t, because then she’ll think I’ve been staring.

I take my number #42 and sit down to write this.

I’m going to begin my weekly round-up with partypoker. The MILLIONS Grand Final is no longer a concept. It’s a bona fide live tournament classic.

The players came (as they always do in Barcelona), and won more than $30m. Nobody won more than Pascal Lefrancois. The stud from Montreal outlasted a field of 1,175 entrants in the €10,300, €10m GTD Main Event to take the €1.7m first prize. Brits Adam Owen and Stephen Chidwick picked up €1.3m and €1m for second and third. Chidwick’s cash saw him overtake Adrian Mateos as the Global Poker Index #1.

After the Main Event ended, Pedro Cairat beat 1,163 entrants to win the €195,000 first prize in the €1,100 Finale a year after beating 4,557 entrants to win €432,178 in the PokerStars National Championships at the same venue. And Fahredin Mustafov topped a field of 194 entrants to bank the first prize of €400,000 in the €10,000 High Roller.

And as the scent of fly spray sticks to my nostril hairs, I have two more significant pieces of partypoker news for you.

partypoker ambassador, Patrick Leonard, managed to convince his leaders that it would be a wise branding move to remove the rake applied to the bounty element of the Progressive Knockout tournaments. The six-month trial begins during the $40m GTD POWERFEST tournament and will become a permanent fixture if the players support the move by exchanging the time spent playing on their roller skates for more online poker.

I wrote about the play here – Gambling Marketing Musings: The Hidden Message Behind Party’s PKO Rake Reduction.

And finally, as predicted by yours truly, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, is the newest member of the partypoker ambassadorial team and will spearhead partypoker’s move into the shared liquidity market currently being pieced together in Europe.

PokerStars open up tables in India; sign Muskan Sethi and more 

PokerStars employees reliably tell me that they don’t spend too much time focusing on the shenanigans over at partpoker towers. Perhaps, it’s because they’re too busy?

This week, the largest online poker room this side of the ridiculously sized salt and pepper pots fucking up my table chi, opened up their cyber doors for business in India and hired Muskan Sethi to help them spread the word.

Sethi rose to prominence when she qualified for the PokerStars TV show, the Shark Cage, a few years back and was recently honoured by President Ram Nath Kovind for being an inspirational woman.

It’s 5,000 km from India to South Korea as a ballastic missile flies, and that’s where we head next with a brief round-up of the Asian-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Korea.

Two people, in particular, must have been touching the heads of deities made from cement.

Michael Soyza, Christopher Soyza, I don’t know what the hell is name is, but I do know he made money in four events; made three final tables, and won two trophies – the biggest of the two being the KRW 100,000 buy-in Main Event. Soyza defeated 449 entrants to win the $148,629 first prize before going on to also win a side event.

Yuki Ko made the final table of the Main Event, finishing eighth, and he also had a ridiculous run of form in Incheon. Beside his Main Event exploits, Ko won two events and banked over $100k in the process.

Moving sharply to Brazil, and PokerStars continues to receive more press coverage from Neymar Jr than when he worked for them. This time, the most expensive footballer in the world posted a photo on Instagram of him playing two PokerStars tables while watching football on TV.

There was only one problem.

The match on TV was Paris St Germain beating Monaco 7-1 to win the league, and Neymar was 8.8 km away in Brazil.

It seems the rumours that Neymar Jr may be on his bike in the summer may be true.

And on the eve of PokerStars second attempt to host a $10m GTD Sunday Million Anniversary special, I sat down with Severin Rasset to talk about that decision, and their newest game Split Hold’em. Check out the interview, right here. 

World Poker Tour 

The World Poker Tour (WPT) has also been as busy as a Los Angeles motorcycle cop this week.

Scott Margereson destroyed 1,306 entrants on his way to the most significant score of his career by winning the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Florida.

Margereson’s bank manager is going to have a surprise when $696,740 drops into the line of code. The payout is more than Margereson has earned in a live tournament career that spans more than six years.

The Brit beat Faraz Jaka in heads-up action. Brian Hastings finished third, Joey Couden fourth, Matt Stout fifth, and Jeff Fielder sixth.

Had Jeff Fielder finished five places higher he would have become the first player to win both WPTDeepStacks and WPT Main Event titles. And over in Amsterdam, another player also came close to achieving the same feat.

Chino Rheem is not everyone’s cup of lemon and apple cider vinegar, but he knows how to spin it up. The three-time WPT Main Event Champion finished 4/250 in the WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam Main Event. First time live tournament casher Christos Economides took the title and €75,760.

Bits and Bobs 

Alex Dreyfus explained why he has been missing from the poker world for so long with a blog post on Medium this week. The French entrepreneur and owner of the Hendon Mob and GPI announced the creation of chiliZ, a fan-controlled esports experiment inspired by the Spanish socios movement. Dreyfus has managed to persuade investors to part with $27m and change, so it seems like a stickler.

The chiliZ project is one that embraces blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, and another horse in that race showed up in the news this week. CoinPoker, who last week announced plans to sponsor the Asian Poker Tour, this week added the 2018 Japan Poker Cup as a second partner.

Poker fans desperate for news of the emergence of RunItOnce (RIO) Poker received a Phil Galfond warble this week. Galfond announced plans to launch RIO Poker in two phases, the first – online cash games – will arrive in the summer. Galfond’s blog post shared the news that their rewards system would favour professional poker players; they wouldn’t cannibalise unused rewards and many other golden nuggets.

Check it out #1: An Update and a Plan right here.

888Poker announced plans to sponsor the Women in Poker Hall of Fame (WiPHOF) induction ceremony in Las Vegas this summer. One of the ladies on the shortlist is Lupo Soto, and this week Soto formed the Women’s Poker Association (WPA) in a bid to help the female of the species navigate the male-dominated poker industry.Calling The Clock: MILLIONS Grand Final round-up; PokerStars in India and more

Leon Tsoukernik was in the news again.

The owner of the Rozvadov Casino and the first person to commit to play the Big One for One Drop doesn’t want to pay the legal fees in his dispute with Matt Kirk over an unpaid $2m debt accrued after Tsoukernik had a few too many and lost the GDP of a tiny nation to the Australian during a heads-up cash game match at the ARIA. The latest court reports name Bobby Baldwin as Kirk’s primary backer, and fellow conspirator.

Despite Leon’s dubious reputation within the high stakes community, it hasn’t stopped the WSOP partnering with him. This week the iconic brand was in the news again, after deciding to alter the Player of the Year formula for the umpteenth time. The new way of doing things is similar to the way they do things at the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOPC), and so far the cry from the naysayers seems more like a whimper.

Last but certainly not least, my guest this week on Poker Routines was the Unibet Ambassador, Dara O’Kearney. Find out how a man without goals makes a living play poker right here.

Time ladies and gentlemen, please.

Someone has just called the clock.

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Muskan Sethi joins PokerStars.IN as a brand ambassador; APPT Seoul round-up


PokerStars’ launch in India got a boost this morning after the online gaming giants announced that Muskan Sethi would join Aditya Agarwal as a brand ambassador for the company. And we have a round-up from the Asian Pacific-Poker Tour in Korea.

I wonder if Muskan Sethi’s publicist has a spot under his or her wing?

What an incredible four years for a young woman whose personal mantra is to make a life, and not just a living. The story is a classic one, the highly intelligent and learned young woman struggling to find her place in the world. It’s an inspirational story we should consume greedily alongside our sugar-laden Starbucks trips and sneaky packets of crisps from the gas station.

Sethi was born in the midst of 1.3 billion people.Muskan Sethi joins PokerStars.IN as a brand ambassador; APPT Seoul round-up

That’s a challenge, alone.

And yet she somehow managed to create a personal brand that has attracted the most significant online poker room in the world.

The dogs bark.

The church bells ring.

And this magnificent madam keeps hitting home runs.

From the catwalk to the president to PokerStars

Sethi is the latest face of PokerStars.IN.

The 27-year-old joins Aditya Agarwal with the responsibility to promote the PokerStars brand in a region that struggles to believe that poker is nothing more than a flip of a coin and a potential problem for the Indian community.

When Sethi first began considering a career, she set her heart on commerce. Then the space between the beats slowed down, and only fashion quickened them. Sethi earned a diploma in fashion journalism and brand management from the London School of Fashion.

And then the tick-tock-ticking of her heart began to slow once again.

Then, in 2014, Sethi qualified for the PokerStars Shark Cage promotion while playing online and headed to Barcelona to appear alongside her idol Liv Boeree for the chance to win €1m – she finished second in her heat, but a star was born.

From there, Sethi was picked up by the Indian online poker room Adda52, and from out of nowhere, President Ram Nath Kovind honoured her amongst 100 pioneering females who had carved out careers in male-dominated environments.

Cue Indiana Jones style boulders.

Most recently, Sethi joined the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), in a bid to help promote poker and other forms of skill games in her country.

Sethi has earned a smidgen over $50k playing live tournaments, so she is still a pup. Her best score to date was a final table appearance in last year’s £1,000 buy-in Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT) Main Event in the Vic where she finished eighth for £10,400.

PokerStars.IN teamed up with Sachiko Gaming to officially launch in India on 17 April. The newly appointed CEO, Ankur Dewani, spoke to Glaws of the need for poker to be patient, stating that the lawmakers are not as familiar with the game as they are with the likes of rummy and chess.

“Sure there will be some challenges,” said Dewani, “But it is our job to educate and work with the government to provide information, case studies, research reports, to ensure states and the central government understand this beautiful mind sport.”

Or you could hire one of the President’s best buddies.

A Round Up From The Asian-Pacific Poker Tour in Seoul

Muskan Sethi joins PokerStars.IN as a brand ambassador; APPT Seoul round-upMoving from India to South Korea, and it’s safe to say that Christopher Soyza had a reasonably decent run at the Asian-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Korea festival.

Soyza, who came into the festival as a top Malaysian multi-table tournament (MTT) player with over a million in cashes, made money in four events, made the final table of three and won two including the coveted Main Event.

The Malaysian star finished 36/377 in the Kickoff event cashing for $575. He followed that up with a 3/55 finish in a No-Limit Hold’em Turbo event for $1,258, before beating 449 entrants to win the $148,629 first prize in the Main Event. Not content with topping a final table that included Randy Lew, Soyza hopped into a No-Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha mix and took it down for $9,815.

In addition to his buckets of cash, Soyza also earned a $30,000 Platinum Pass for the 2019 PokerStars Player’s No-Limit Hold’em Championship, the most significant $25,000 buy-in event in the world.

Here are the final table results of the APPT Korea Main Event.

1. Christopher Soyza – $148,629

2. Mitsuhiro Shiga – $93,156

3. Diwei Huang – $57,485

4. Tomita Ryo – $43,615

5. Randy Lew – $31,721

6. Toru Wakamatsu – $25,109

7. Kojiro Mizukami – $19,827

8. Yuki Ko – $16,521

Soyza wasn’t the only player who earned a Platinum Pass during APPT Korea. The Japanese pro, Yuki Ko, will also be flying to the Bahamas after beating 226 entrants to win the $31,647 first prize and Platinum Pass at the APPT National Event.

Like Soyza, Ko also had a magnificent APPT Korea, winning $62,236 after beating 62 entrants in the Single Day High Roller and making the final table of the Main Event, finishing in eighth.

Ko beat the New Zealander Tae Han in heads-up action. Incredibly, the pair also met in the heads-up phase of last year’s PokerStars Festival Main Event in Korea. Han won that one earning $73,954 in the process.

Here are the final table results from the National Main Event.

1. Yuki Ko – $31,647

2. Tae Han – $20,671

3. Simon Burns – $13,305

4. Pete Chen – $10,339

5. Sheng Li – $8,399

6. Ryu Jaebok – $6,781

7. Kunimaro Kojo – $5,490

8. Masakazu Okamoto – $4,200

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Live Gaming Awards makes its debut on April 26


Live Gaming has become a game changer in the gambling industry. Live gaming itself was a product of the operators desire to innovate and improve the way people play the games.

Live Gaming Awards makes its debut on April 26Recognizing the talent behind every live games, organizers of the second annual Live Gaming Summit will fete the best performing live gaming operators with the inaugural Live Gaming Awards on April 26, 2018, at the Casino Barcelona.

“Live Gaming has become a mainstream product. From the pioneer work 10 years ago–Live Roulette & Blackjack have become a key income generator for the Remote Gaming Industry,” Live Gaming Summit 2018 organizers said. “For the first time ever, the fast-growing live gaming industry will be able to celebrate its very own award show.”

The first Live Gaming Awards will feature three categories: Best Overall Live Dealer Overall Product; Best Branded Studio; and Best In-Casino Streaming Provider.

Nominees for the Best Live Dealer Overall Product are 1xBet, Asia Live Gaming, Authentic, BetConstruct, Evolution Gaming, Extreme Live Gaming, Ezugi, Media Live Casino, NetEnt, Playtech, and Vivo Gaming.

The Best Branded Studio category, on the other hand, is packed with the crème de la crème of the gambling industry. The nominees for this category are 888 (inc. Elite Lounge), Bet 365, Betsson, Bwin, Coral, Gala, Genting, Golden Nugget, Grosvenor, GVC Shared Tables, Ladbrokes, LeoVegas, Marathonbet, Mr. Green, Paddy Power Betfair, Pokerstars, Sky Casino, Unibet, and William Hill.

There are at least six operators vying for the Best In-Casino Streaming Provider Award. These operators are Authentic Gaming, Evolution Gaming, Extreme Live Gaming, Ezugi, Media Live Casino, and Portomaso Gaming.

The winners of the inaugural Live Gaming Awards will be determined by a public poll, according to the organizers. They added that all gaming and betting industry professionals are welcome to cast their votes.

Operators may be able to cast their vote in the official website, www.livegamingsummit.com/awards.

For those who are interested to attend the conference on April 26, you may as well register on the Live Gaming Summit website.

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Champions League review: Roma and Liverpool advance to semi-finals


The finishing acts of the first two quarter-final matches see Roma become only the third club in history to overturn a three-goal first leg loss into a win, and Liverpool is back in the semi-finals after a decade’s absence.

Roma 3 v 0 Barcelona

Champions League Review: Roma and Liverpool advance to semi-finalsI was reading Alice in Wonderland to my 18-month old daughter last night.

“Don’t like it.” She said.

The scene that upset her was when Alice ate the cake that said ‘Eat Me’ and ended up too big for the room. Tears streamed down the girl’s face and flooded the room.

“Tears aren’t a bad thing,” I told her.

“Don’t like it.” She said again, as the book went tumbling to the floor like Alice the nosey parker falling down the rabbit hole.

My lesson, lost.

I should have taken her to the pub to watch Roma play Barcelona.

On a night when Barcelona took a 4-1 lead to the Stadio Olimpico, and Liverpool took a 3-0 lead to the Etihad, all the pre-match talk was of the Premier League champions-elect making an incredible comeback.

Roma?

Not on your nelly.

Before the teams lined up, Roma was a 250/1 shot to win the Champions League. Barcelona was the 9/4 joint-favourite.

And with good reason.

Roma entered the second leg knowing only three teams had ever overcome a three-goal first leg deficit in Champions League history. In 2004, Deportivo La Coruna trailed the reigning champs AC Milan by 4-1, only to win the second leg 4-0 to go through 5-4 on aggregate, and last season, Barcelona trailed Paris St Germain 4-0 before winning the second leg 5-1 to go through 6-5 on aggregate.

There’s more.

Roma sits fourth in Serie A, 21-points behind the leaders Juventus, and on the weekend they lost to Fiorentina.

And let’s not forget, they would have to score at minimum three goals, and Barcelona had conceded that many Champions League goals in their last ten matches combined.

In contrast, Barcelona lead La Liga, 11-points clear of Atletico Madrid, and their 3-1 home win against Leganes on the weekend was the Catalan club’s record 38th unbeaten game on the bounce. They are also in the final of the Copa Del Rey.

No, my dear readers, this tie only had one outcome.

Unless, like my daughter, you believe in fairy tales.

The Romans needed an early goal, and it came in the sixth minute. Edin Dzeko proved too strong for the Barcelona defender as he latched onto a long ball before calmly slotting home. Patrick Schick missed a golden opportunity to send Roma into the half-time interval when he headed wide, but the 1-0 lead gave them renewed confidence.

The Roma faithful began dreaming in the 57th minute. Gerard Pique brought Dzeko down in the box, and after a chat between the officials, they gave a penalty, which Daniele De Rossi scored.

And then the place went mental.

82 minutes were on the clock when Cengiz Under whipped in a corner, and Kostas Manolas met the ball at the near post to flick the winning goal into the net surrounding the far post.

Tears rained down from the stands at the final whistle as the enormity of the comeback dawned on everyone. I am sure there were also a few tears on the pitch.

Roma moves into the Semi-Final of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since 1984, when, incidentally, they lost to Liverpool.

And guess what else happened last night?

Man City 1 v 2 Liverpool

The five-time European Champions could face Roma in the last four after beating Man City for the third time this season, coming from behind to win 2-1 at the Etihad.

City has a team more than capable of overturning the 3-0 deficit they faced after losing at Anfield, and when Gabriel Jesus dispatched Raheem Sterling’s pinpoint pass as early as the second minute, hope exploded like a man achieving orgasm.

And then came the most controversial moment of the two-legged affair.

With 42-minutes on the clock, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz disallowed a Leroy Sane goal for offside when video evidence clearly showed James Milner was the man who set up the German.

Pep Guardiola was so incensed by the decision that he ran onto the pitch to remonstrate with the man in the middle who promptly sent him to the stand to watch the second half as a spectator.

VAR?

I don’t think Pep will be complaining about it any longer.

The fact that it’s not in play in the most significant competition in the world is barmy.

City was never the same without their Commander-in-Chief at the helm. Ten minutes after the restart, a mazy run from Sadio Mane came to an end at the body of Loris Karius, but the ball fell to Mohamed Salah who chipped it into the net for his 39th goal of the season.

It was a pitchfork into the lungs of a City side who dominated the first half. Then, as City sped forward in search of a miracle, Nicolas Otamendi screwed up at the back to allow Roberto Firmino in to score his eighth Champions League goal of the season.

City loses for the third time in six days.

Liverpool will appear in the Semi-Finals of the Champions League for the first time in a decade.

The draw is on Friday at 12:00 (BST) in Nyon, Switzerland.

Here are the odds (courtesy of Bodog):

Real Madrid – 6/4

Bayern Munich – 2/1

Liverpool – 10/3

Roma – 10/1

Sevilla – 150/1

Juventus – 150/1

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The kids are alright: Poker Central and ESP Gaming build a new home


Poker Central and ESP Gaming are taking care of their children, building a 10,000 sq.ft multi-purpose studio at the ARIA to record and broadcast live poker and esports events.

The Kids Are Alright: Poker Central and ESP Gaming build a new homeThe world is changing, folks.

I sit in Starbucks 8:18 am on a Sunday morning tapping away at the keys that pay my rent, the sound of Ólafur Arnalds tickling my tinnitus. A couple of grandparents in their 50s sit opposite me. Both spectacled; hiding from the world like Clark Kent. Like most couples, they look the same. Only those bits we shall not speak of are different and the beard.

Two cups of coffee sit in front of them, steam rising into the ether. Neither of them speaks. There is no eye contact. Both have a mobile phone in hand.

Tap.

Tap.

Tap.

She is no doubt Googling ‘How to help someone wean a child off the breast’ so she can give tips to her daughter (she never breastfed), and he is likely trawling through Instagram gawking at the jiggly bits of faux-models.

Or.

Maybe he is a wife beater.

They hate each other’s guts.

Who knows?

But I know this.

The world is changing, folks.

A Boy is Hiding in His Nan’s Playing Video Games; Poker Central Create a New Studio

Yesterday, my sister babysat so I could watch Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella. One of her sons accompanied her. The other had been locked in a room at his grandparents since the Easter holidays began of his accord.

This kid, barely into his teens, doesn’t much care for the world. He finds people and the things that people do – boring. He lives inside a digital world, playing Overwatch, Players Unknown Battleground, and watching others do the same on Twitch and YouTube.

And we laugh at him.

At social gatherings, we talk about him as if he isn’t there.

And he isn’t.

He’s checked out, secretly hoping that there is poison in our Ruby Murray. He will cackle when he leaves, the cable from his Turtle Beach Recons tickling our corpses.

And this is why Poker Central’s decision to create a new studio in partnership with ESP Gaming is the right thing to do.

It’s what their audience wants them to do.

The New Studio; ARIA and The Word ‘Poker’ 

The engineers have constructed the new gaff at the ARIA Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The home of Poker Central. Word on the street has it that Poker Central was always going to have a custom-built studio for PokerGO exclusives, when someone said, “Hello, what happens when everyone realises that poker as a form of entertainment is as barbaric as reading Herge’s Adventures of Tintin in the public library?”

ESP Gaming, who we learned was a part of the Poker Central team at Christmas, got hold of the blueprints, and now the studio is multi-purpose. It’s a quaint venue (10,000 sq.ft) can house 300 people (120 fans). It will becomThe Kids Are Alright: Poker Central and ESP Gaming build a new homee the home for live esports events like the Vainglory Premier League (the mobile esports league created by Super Evil Megacorp). Esports tournament organisers can film esports events at the studio and beam them live. ESP Gaming Prez, Jeff Liboon, said the decision to create a smaller venue allows them to focus on a more VIP experience.

Maybe it’s time for poker companies with plans of grandeur to stop putting the word ‘poker’ into their branding?

The Global Poker League walked into a problem when its founder, Alex Dreyfus, realised that poker was a mere beauty spot on the decadent face of esports. Poker Central and PokerGO are figuring it out, also. Expect a change of name within the next few years.

A bottle of champagne will strike the temple of the new studio on May 16 when PokerGO broadcasts live coverage of Poker After Dark.

It’s the second esports arena in situ on the Las Vegas strip, and the other one also has poker running in its blood. The Esports Arena Las Vegas at The Luxor is the result of a partnership between MGM Resorts International and Allied Esports. The latter is a subsidiary of Ourgame International Holdings Ltd, the owners of the World Poker Tour (WPT).

Adam Pliska and the gang have plans to use the venue for WPT action later this year. And Pliska has mentioned that part of his 2018+ brief is to learn how to integrate esports and poker to provide more value for the kids who hide in grandparents homes, as the flagrantly hypocritical occupants sit in Starbucks ignoring each other in this ever-changing world of ours.

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Spanish online gambling and betting market poised to hit $1.22B by 2023


Online gambling and betting businesses in Spain are on track to becoming a billion-dollar industry, according to forecasts.

An AFP report quoted consultancy firm Ficom Leisure, which said that Spain is now “on the radar of the international market” as it predicts the market’s annual online gambling and betting revenue to hit €1 billion (US$1.22 billion) to €1.5 billion ($1.84 billion) in the next three to five years.

Spanish online gambling and betting market poised to hit $1.22B by 2023Ficom anchored its analysis on Spain’s 2017 online figures, with sports and casino gross gaming revenues jumping to €560 million ($687 million). Ficom senior partner Christian Tirabassi told the news outlet that, unlike other European markets, Spain still has plenty of room for growth.

Sports betting and gaming company Optima Chief Executive Jacob Lopez Curciel agreed with Tirabassi, saying that Spain remains unsaturated compared to other countries.

The only concern that Curciel had in Spain was the country’s penchant for new regulations. He pointed out that too much regulation will make the market more expensive for betting operators.

However, Spain’s Congress of Deputies, the lower house of its parliament, has just proposed cutting taxes on online fixed-odds sports betting, exchange betting and fixed-odds horseracing revenue from the current rate of 25% to 20%. The proposal, which is intended to make the market more attractive to operators who have yet to acquire a Spanish license, has a ways to go before it becomes law, but would offer a significant boost to operators’ bottom lines.

Optima’s Curciel suggested that Spain-based operators should include horse racing in their offerings, saying, “At the moment for Spanish players the sports they bet on are football, basketball and tennis but I think horse racing is growing, quite fast actually, and it is a product that has to be there.”

“There could be some consolidation such as multimedia products and between retail and online,” Curciel told AFP. “The operators and suppliers of technology for racing are producing streaming and will work very well for Spanish players.”

For Mikel Lopez de Torre, chairman of Spanish online gambling trade body Jdigital, the Spanish online gaming and betting market is ripe for consolidation as it matures in the coming years.

“It is hard to see how we can make room for 12 more brands without seeing any consolidation beginning with those at the bottom of the pyramid and that has to start in the next five years,” de Torre said.

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Live gaming offers new revenue stream to land-based casinos


Is your casino missing out?

On 26 April, the second annual Live Gaming Summit is bringing together providers, operators, experts, and other stakeholders to discuss the latest developments in the live gaming industry. Partnerships between live gaming providers and locally licensed casinos are becoming increasingly popular and profitable. Will it boost your profits too?

Register now to find out what live gaming can do for your land-based business.

Live gaming offers new revenue stream to land-based casinosNew revenue streams for local casino brands

Live roulette and blackjack are rapidly gaining popularity among online punters. While the largest providers tend to be based in Riga, local studios are also gaining ground.

Customers naturally prefer dealers who speak their language and are often strongly attracted to well-established, land-based casino brands.

Because of this – and also for regulatory reasons – smaller studios are generally set up in local casinos. This creates new revenue streams and marketing opportunities for land-based casinos.

In some countries, including the UK, Spain, Belgium, Italy, and Romania, guests of land-based casinos are already able, after the conclusion of their visit, to continue playing on the casino’s tables from home.

Monetizing live gaming opportunities

Several representatives of live gaming providers with extensive experience in monetizing the live gaming potential of land-based casinos, including Kfir Kugler, CEO of Ezugi; Jonas Delen, CEO of Authentic Gaming; and Robert Wheeler, Commercial Director at MediaLive Casino, will speak at this year’s Live Gaming Summit.

Already, a number of land-based casino reps have also confirmed their attendance.

A great location

The 2018 Live Gaming Summit will take place inside the elegant Casino Barcelona, right next to the ongoing live action of its roulette and blackjack tables.

Casino Barcelona is located close to the beach and right underneath the Hotel Arts (Ritz Carlton), the no. 1 hotel in Barcelona.

After-conference networking drinks and dinner will be served at the exclusive Club Catwalk. 

See you in Barcelona?

Don’t miss it: register now and we will see you on 26 April in sunny Barcelona.

In order to facilitate international travelers, the conference program will kick off at noon.

Additional information & sponsors

Our conference sponsors include Authentic Gaming, Betconstruct, Ezugi, LeaseWeb, MediaLive Casino, and TCSJOHNHUXLEY.

Check out our website for more details, or contact Willem van Oort at willem@vanoort.com.

Conference tickets are available for € 750.

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NetEnt games live with Caliente in Mexico


NetEnt games live with Caliente in MexicoFollowing a successful integration, a selection of NetEnt’s award-winning games are now live and available in Caliente’s online casino network in Mexico.

NetEnt recently signed a license agreement with Caliente to deliver online casino games for the regulated market in Mexico. Caliente is the largest online gaming operator in Mexico.

For more information about the agreement with Caliente in Mexico, please see the press release from October 2017: click here.

For additional information please contact:

Björn Krantz, Chief Commercial Officer, NetEnt
Phone: +350 560 040 64
bjorn.krantz@netent.com

Roland Glasfors, Investor Relations, NetEnt
Phone: +46 760 024 863
roland.glasfors@netent.com

Guido A. Murguia, CFO, Caliente Interactive
Phone: +1 (619) 316-2573
guido@caliente.mx
This press release contains information that NetEnt AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, at 08:30 CET on March 29, 2018.

About NetEnt

NetEnt is a leading digital entertainment company, providing premium gaming solutions to the world’s most successful online casino operators. Since its inception in 1996, NetEnt has been a true pioneer in driving the market with thrilling games powered by a cutting-edge platform. NetEnt is committed to helping customers stay ahead of the competition, is listed on NASDAQ Stockholm (NET–B) and employs 1,000 people in Malta, Stockholm, Kiev, Krakow, Gothenburg, Gibraltar and New Jersey. www.netent.com

About Caliente Interactive

Caliente Interactive, a division of Grupo Caliente, is the leading online operator in Mexico. With a history spanning over 100 years and an expansive retail footprint, Caliente has consistently been the standard in Mexican gaming. Caliente is regulated by the Direccion General de Juegos y Sorteos of the Secretaria de Gobernacion in Mexico. www.caliente.mx

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PokerStars introduce shot clock, BB ante and re-entry at EPT Monte Carlo


A few words on the importance of ‘location’ within a brand story as PokerStars prepare to roll out the changes at the upcoming European Poker Tour pit stop in Monte Carlo.

Bill Perkins. Now, there’s a man who has his shit together. Tall, handsome, immaculate bone structure, a mass of finely tuned muscles, ideas flying out of his ears sprinkling feelgood juice on anyone within spitting range. Evidence that money can buy you an excellent looking birthday suit.

I’m in his apartment, asking him questions, one of which surrounds his hobby of making movies. I can’t remember the context, but I remePokerStars introduce shot clock, BB ante and re-entry at EPT Monte Carlo mber his response. For Perkins, making movies isn’t about making money, it’s about the love of the artform.

The more I think about it, PokerStars Live has the same feel.

PokerStars became the largest online poker room this side of my blue belly button fluff because they created the perfect online experience. The acquisition of John Duthie’s European Poker Tour (EPT) was a side gig. Yes, it fits nicely with what they are doing online, but it’s more fancy wine and cheese than bread and butter.

Take EPT Monte Carlo for example.

I’ve just finished The Fortune Cookie Principle by brand specialist Bernadette Jiwa. One of her chapters focuses on the importance of location.

“Location, though isn’t just about where you choose to do business; it’s about figuring out where your customers are.” 

I don’t think they’re in Monte Carlo.

I’ve worked at EPT Monte Carlo once. I walked for miles to a little Spar so I could stock up on food and water, and stole what I could from my free breakfast bar. And it isn’t only the writers who find it difficult to survive in the land of silk scarves and stockings – the players are also a tad sensitive to spending €30 on a cheeseburger.

And yet, the EPT brand screams Monte Carlo.

At the end of Jiwa’s chapter on ‘location’ she suggests that every business should attempt to answer four questions.

Let’s give it a go.

The Four Questions 

Does the location of your business fit with the rest of your brand story? 

Monte Carlo is a flash joint pure and simple. It’s where people like Patrik Antonius call home, and the residents are so fucking cool they can’t be arsed to build a Formula 1 racetrack (they host the race on the main road).

PokerStars is also flash.

For as long as I can remember they have been the home of the cool gang. And until recently, all the big money flowed through their chamber pots.

Where are your customers? 

Like I alluded to earlier, they aren’t in Monte Carlo.

PokerStars hosts events there for two reasons. It fits with the main story arc of the company, and it gives online satellite dreamers the opportunity to have a wet one.

How does the location of your business make customers feel? 

Special.

Rich.

For many, a once in a lifetime trip.

For the grinders, a pain in the arse. Too many ticks in the expense column. And yet there is ego at play here. Monte Carlo – fuck yeah!

How does your location support the rest of your business strategy? 

I believe the business strategy of PokerStars is to provide experiences of a lifetime.  That’s what the Players’ No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) is all about. Come rain or shine, anyone qualifying for EPT Monte Carlo will have a tale to tell no matter how deep they limp.

A New EPT Monte Carlo 

PokerStars resurrected the EPT because their customers voted with their feet when they decided to put a shotgun to the head of the PokerStars Championship and pull the trigger. Live events aren’t PokerStars core business, the online realm is, but this is an integral part of the experience as it extends to that online demographic.

You send the peasants via online satellites and hope they return as kings.

Then they tell their friends about it.

“Where you choose to interact with and sell to your customers – and, more important, where they want to connect with you – must form part of your story strategy.” – Bernadette Jiwa. 

PokerStars brand story has changed over time. For many years, it was to give hope to the person who wanted to be a professional poker player. Today, it’s all about providing memorable experiences, and so the EPT brand falls into that category even if it isn’t a core part of the business.

This year, things change.

There will be 39 events in all, and 27 of them will incorporate the Big Blind Ante, including the Main Event. Also, the Main Event will allow one re-entry per person (based on the cost of travelling to such a locale), and the shot clock comes into play on Day 2, the first time in EPT Main Event history.

There will be six Platinum Passes up for grabs:

EPT Monte Carlo winner
EPT Monte Carlo Day 2 Random Draw
EPT National winner
EPT National Day 2 Random Draw
Event #28 PSPC Live Satellite
A PokerStars, TV viewer.

And PokerStars is even doing something about those expensive cheeseburgers by providing players with food vouchers guaranteeing 10% off casino grub, meaning you don’t have to steal eggs and croissants from the breakfast bar which wouldn’t gelwith the classy brand story I’ve been banging on about now would it.

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Japanese regulators lower casino chip exchange reporting requirements


Governments around the globe have taken a serious interest in trying to curtail the amount of money laundering that is supposedly plaguing the gaming industry. Canada and British Columbia have been busily enacting legislation to prevent repeats of the negative publicity surrounding questionable activity at the River Rock Casino, and the U.S., the UK and Australia have also been exploring changes in policies to help clean up the system. Japan is now joining the fight, and recently ordered changes in reporting guidelines at casinos in the country.

Japanese regulators lower casino chip exchange reporting requirementsOperators of future casinos in Japan will be obligated to report customers who exchange chips worth $9,500 (¥1 million) or more. Regulators are responding to concerns that the casinos will be havens for the exchange of “dirty money” that is used for money laundering or financing terrorism. The new casinos are slated to be opened in integrated resorts in an effort to bring in more international tourism to the island nation.

Anyone who buys or cashes chips worth $9,500 or more will have to provide their name, address and birth date to casino operators. This information will then be turned over to a casino management committee, which will be created at a later date by the government. That entity will catalog the data and investigate any instances that raise flags, such as repeated high-dollar exchanges.

Japan isn’t the first country to introduce these money-laundering countermeasures. In the U.S., Nevada regulators require that casinos follow the same guidelines, and in Singapore the amount is less, at roughly $7,600. Macau has also placed restrictions on exchanges, with Large-Amount Transaction Reports being required for exchanges by junkets of more than around $62,000. Suspicious Transaction Reports are more vague, and are required for any transaction that is thought to be associated with money laundering.

Money laundering is big business. In 2012, a report by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that money-laundering activities amounted to as much as $3.6 trillion per year. That report brought about changes to multiple industries, including gambling, corporate reporting and banking.

Japan is set to re-enter the gambling market with the new casinos. Almost all forms of gambling, except pachinko and horseracing, have been prohibited. However, a change of heart by the Japanese parliament has opened the doors for casinos to enter the country. If everything goes according to plan, Japan anticipates an increase in tourism that jumps by 16 million visitors by the year 2020, up from the 24 million recorded in 2016.

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