New Lobbying for Online Gambling in the U.S.

August 15th, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

The current structures lobbying for a regulated online gambling environment in the United States have not yet been successful. Therefore it comes as no surprise that a new initiative has been released. This initiative is a combination of many existing ideas for the activity. However, only time will reveal whether or not the proposal is successful.

Advisory Board

Aptly named, “FairPlayUSA”, the new initiative is described as an advisory board based out of Washington, D.C. The objective of the group is to educate policymakers on the need to change the current federal gambling laws. There are three primary areas that will be targeted by FairPlayUSA; strong law enforcement and strict regulation, rights of adults to engage in online gambling and consumer and child protection. This will focus solely on online poker.

The Board

The board of the advocacy group includes some of the best-known personalities. For instance, American lawyer, Parry Aftab, is well-known for his knowledge with regards to Internet privacy and security law. Also, former Secretary of Homeland Security and Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ride is on the board. Professional poker player Greg Raymer will represent the poker community. Finally, the Executive Director of the board is Marisa McNee.

Educating the Risks of Illegal Gambling

To achieve its primary objectives, FairPlayUSA is planning to incorporate poker players, law enforcement officials, Internet consumer protection advocates and many others involved with the risks of illegal online gambling that occurs around the country. The funding for the group was provided by Caesars and MGM. Caesars has been a major voice for advocating a federal online gambling environment compared with intrastate legislation.

First Step

The initial step taken by the group has been through a petition from its website which calls Congress to focus on the many problems associated with offshore online gambling. Also, the petition calls for giving law enforcement officials the tools to eradicate the activity on illegal sites and then establish a regulatory infrastructure to ensure the highest integrity and safety are followed.

Laying the Foundation

There are currently several bills working toward establishing an online gambling environment. However, FairPlayUSA does not support any specific legislation but aims to lay the foundation from which future legislation should be based. This will include the formal definition of what is illegal, who can prohibit the activity and how the player’s deposits will be maintained. Although there is much work to be done, it looks as if the U.S. is headed in the right direction.

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Online Gambling Moving Forward in Washington, D.C.

June 30th, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

Over the past several weeks, many concerns have risen with regards to the initiative of the Washington, D.C. council to introduce regulated online gambling. One of the greatest concerns was regarding the conflict of interest from an independent councilor who was employed by a legal firm with their hand in online gambling. The other major issue was the silence that Congress has maintained on the passing of a gambling bill.

Implementing an Online Gambling System

Regardless of these two concerns, the D.C. Lottery has decided to proceed with plans for implementing an online system for those living in the District. In a report released by the Washington Times, six online casino games will initially be offered which include, blackjack, Texas Hold’em and bingo. At first, the games will be available in demonstration mode to allow players get acquainted with the system.

Initial Point System for Wagering

The games will feature a point system in lieu of monetary wagering. This will also give developers the chance to tweak the software. The real money games will then be available four to six weeks following the implementation of demonstration mode. The games will initially only be available at public terminals known as platinum sponsors. To be eligible, players must be at least 19 and log in from within the city limits.

Streamlining the Process

Furthermore, the typical online gambling industry prohibitions of creating more than a single account and giving others access to that account will apply. Supporters of the gaming have stated that it is extremely critical to get the technology right the first time. This includes preventing players from logging in from outside of Washington, D.C.

Adding Revenue to the City Budget

The legalization and implementation of the system will bring millions of dollars in revenue to the city. For many cities, this revenue could make a significant difference. Future additions include additional online poker games, random number games, electronic instant tickets and Victory at Sea, a Battleship-type online wagering game.

On June 29th, 2011, the Chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue will be involved in a hearing on future plans. This meeting is vital because the online gambling measure was added to the budget without public vetting. Therefore, the District’s CFO, Attorney General and other important parties will be briefed on how the system will work and why Washington is the first city to undertake the task.

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Online Gambling Growth Affected by Black Friday and Blue Monday

June 24th, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

It is inevitable that Black Friday and Blue Monday affect the growth of online gambling. However, stake holders are always left wondering by how much. Therefore, the reputed consulting organization, H2 Gambling Capital based out of the Manchester, U.K. recently released an assessment which revealed that online gambling growth will slow to 4.4 percent in 2011. This marks the slowest annual growth of the industry since data tracking began in 1998.

Low Global Growth

In early 2011, H2 Gambling Capital predicted gross win forecasts of 25 billion Euros. This represented a growth of 10.2 percent compared with 2010. However, H2 has since downgraded its estimate to 23.76 billion Euros as a result of Black Friday and preliminary results to date. This equates to the aforementioned 4.4 percent growth.

Reasons for Slow Growth

The firm listed several reasons for the slowing of growth in the online gambling industry. The greatest impact was that of Black Friday on the United States poker market. The H2 press release stated, “Black Friday occurring in the US that have decimated the scale of the Internet poker industry in that market. At this stage we have calculated that the impact will equate to as much as 765 million Euros of lost market value this year and further 100 million Euro loss next year.

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

The next most considerable reason was the effect the Japanese earthquake and tsunami had on the Japanese Racing Association, the largest interactive operator in the entire world. H2 indicated that the business decreased by around 13 percent in 2011. Other reasons include the economic backdrop and slow regulation of various online gambling markets.

The Silver Lining

The report further stated that the online gambling expected win excluding the United States and Japan was scheduled to grow by 12 percent in 2011. The primary contributor to this figure was the anticipated launch of online poker cash games and casino gambling in Italy toward the middle of 2011. H2 is expecting sizable growth in the market due to the move toward regulation in other European countries like Greece, Spain and Belgium.

Other than in the United States and Japan, it appears as if online gambling has a bright future. Once the cleanup and rebuilding is complete in Japan and the legalization of online gambling is implemented in the United States, the number will continue to rise.

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Online Gambling in the Czech Republic

May 24th, 2011  |  Published in Casino Tips

With recent seizure of domain names in the United States comes a response from five legally licensed Czech gambling operators which include, Sazaka, Synot Tip, Fortuna, Chance and Tipsort. Each of these online casinos are only permitted to offer fixed-odds games. As a result, these online entities are at an immediate disadvantage in comparison to the many offshore online gaming sites.

A Statement from the CEO of Chance

The CEO of Chance noted that the government should expand the online gambling market to include casino games and poker through regulatory measures. Several local online operators are ready to go live with these products as soon as it is legalized. Spokespeople for the other operators agree and observed that the government is not taking any action toward expanding the system.

Comments from the Public Relations Manager of Tipsport

The Public Relations Manager of Tipsport commented that the situation was completely unfair and that these operators have had to fight for a license while offshore owners are allowed to simply Waltz in to the country and sign new players. Tipsport is not ready to roll out additional online gaming products like Chance and Fortuna. The PR Manager further stated that they are unsure as to whether these products will be legalized in the next several years so they do not want to invest.

Synot’s Plan

On the other hand Synot has other gambling products prepared with some of the largest names in the industry such as, Lottomatica, G-Tech G2 and Boss Meida. Each of these companies continues to venture into regions of the world where online gambling is legalized or will soon be legalized. However, the software developers would not provide products to operators that are not yet in a legalized jurisdiction. These companies believe the Czech Republic will legalize new products soon.

No Cooperation from Overseas

The government has stated that foreign police are unwilling to take any action against websites that are located in other countries and target Czech citizens. This is due to the lack of legal clarity and the many powerful lobbyists that are in favor of freedom across the Internet.

It appears as if the Czech Republic is on the cusp on implementing a new online gambling system. The five operators are a small stepping stone toward a large, efficient system of regulations. In the next few months, the world will see the emergence of online gambling in the Czech Republic.

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A New Type of Poker: Tequila Poker

October 6th, 2010  |  Published in Gambling Games

To stay competitive in the highly aggressive online gambling industry, casinos must develop new and appealing games. This attracts new players to the site and retains the regulars that may become bored of the standard gaming options. One of these exciting new games created by Playtech is Tequila Poker.

The Excitement of Tequila Poker

The excitement in this game derives from the decision given to the player as to whether or they should match their hand to a poker ranking payout table or against a hand total of the five cards. This choice must be made after seeing only four cards dealt to them.

The Rules

An ante bet is first placed by the player followed by four cards being dealt face up. At this point the player has the option to fold and lose the ante or play Tequila Poker or High Tequila. If they decide to play one of the two games, another ante is placed into the pot and two more cards are dealt.

Tequila Poker

If the player has decided to play Tequila Poker then the best five card hand out of the total six cards is played against the house. A pair of aces is the lowest possible playing hand and thus the lowest paying. If the hand ranking is lower than this, the player automatically loses both ante bets. A pair of aces pays out at even money. Better hands payout at different levels according to the Tequila Poker payout table.

High Tequila

If High Tequila is selected each card has a specific value, similar to blackjack, with ace being worth 11 points. The hand value is equal to the five highest cards with a minimum total of 46 being required to win. In the case of a win, the ante is paid out at even money and the main bet pays out according to the High Tequila payout table.

Tequila Poker is an exciting and innovative game developed as an alternative to the standard casino games. Since it offers the choice of two games in one, it is a cutting edge addition to any casino. One advantage of playing at an online casino compared to land-based is the flexibility of games. Tequila Poker is one of many new games featured at online casinos to attract new, younger players to the site as well as retain regular players.

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