The European Union's Advocate General has brought down a decision on the betting case involving Winner Wetten before the Court of Justice in the E.U. that will have far reaching effects on the online gaming industry there. The decision was that E.U. law holds primacy over national legislation, confirming that the primacy of E.U. law over national legislation was without exception and did not allow a transitional period for nations to comply with E.U. law. This implies that all member nations must immediate put a halt to national legislation that excludes E.U. compliance laws. The European Gaming and Betting Association, has applauded the decision, EGBA Secretary General Sigrid Ligne said the organization welcomes Advocate General Bot's decision. Winner Wetten, a German company accepted bets on behalf of an online betting service provider Tipico Co, based and licensed in Malta. The E.U. court considered North Rhine-Westphalia´s law on sports betting in force in 2006 to be inconsistent with the freedom to provide services as interpreted in the Gambelli legal precedent. The Advocate General said that inconsistent legislation was "inappropriate for the protection of consumers." The different German states are at odds on the issue of online gaming and this opinion by the Advocate General will clarify that there is support for the online gambling industry claim of inequality among European member states. Ligne also said opening another debate, "We agree with the conclusions of A.G. Bot. Essential is A.G. Bot's confirmation that it is detrimental to consumers to have national gambling legislation that doesn't offer consistent and systematic protection. Many Member States do not have consistent and systematic gambling legislation; this opinion clearly strengthens our argument." It still remains to be seen whether any dissenting member nations of the E.U. will comply with clear cut and needed fairness rules. Countries that do not follow the set program for online gaming are slow to respond and risk fines for their inconsistent behaviour. Fines may not be enough to make them do the right thing, at least not right away.

 

 

 

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The online gambling industry is generally a very competitive industry. It is a business that is very busy keeping everyone happy. It at times seems to lack a soul because it deals in cold hard facts numbers and money. The other side of the online gaming industry, it's compassionate side becomes fully apparent when there is a call for help. Right now we all are painfully aware of the help Haiti needs. With quick action a lot for suffering can be avoided in that country.

Founder of Bodog Calvin Ayre has been encouraging the online gaming industry to donate as much as they can by promising to match donations from a number of online gaming groups. Ayre hopes to raise $1 million for Oxfam's relief efforts and donate it after the affiliates’ convention in London on January 28th.

Party Poker has organized an upcoming charity tournament to raise money for the people of Haiti. Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars have lead the charge with their tournaments already. With Party Poker the entirety of the tournament fees matched by the registration fees are going to the Disasters Emergency Committee, a group of 13 humanitarian organizations in the UK. This organization has a track record for disaster relief with efforts such as 390 million BPS raised for the tsunami tragedy in South East Asia.

DoylesRoom has also donated all of the tournament fees from a January 20th event and also matched bounty money generated in the site’s popular $50,000 guaranteed tournament. These are but a few of the companies that are doing what they can to help the effort. Even the players are very involved. People are donating and pledging a portion or all of their winnings to the relief needs. As the death toll rises and the need for food, water and shelter increases, more money will be needed so please do your best and make a donation no matter how small. Several hundred thousand dollars have already been donated let's help make that number grow.

 

 

 

 

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Does Isildur1 have any alternative legal recourse to recover the money lost playing poker last year to Brian Hastings? This is a question that is probably on a few backers minds and it is speculated that jurisdictional issues could prevent Isildur1from bringing forth a claim.

After a lost of $4M to a competitor who later admitted that he cheated the interesting Swedish poker professional said that he would be making a formal complaint to Full Tilt Poker officials. Isildur1 has yet to reveal his true identity, and it is most unlikely to do so. Isildur1 a Sweden national, has chosen to remain anonymous in the hope of avoiding paying the large taxes imposed in Sweden on his online gambling winnings.

This great player did a lot of good for the game of poker by raising the bar just a little higher each time he played. In his prime Isildur1 took in over $5million in winnings within two months of playing at Full Tilt. Isildur1 would accept all challenges and was frequently seen challenging the world's top online professionals including Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey, in heads up action, together, all at once.

The questions started coming when Hastings' revealed to the press that he beat Isildur1 by using a report prepared from a database of hand histories using hands played by himself and fellow poker players Brian Townsend and Cole South. It was noted that compiling a database of hand histories is considered cheating, and the collection of such information is a violation of Full Tilt Poker's End User License Agreement.

Isildur1 will not finish last, it may take a little time but it is a sure thing a poker player with the skill he has will be back. High stakes poker is the most exciting to watch. It's do or die with the edgy drama few have the nerve to stand. Isildur1 says he will return probably this time with his own table where he can invite players to a challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For most people the name SEGA brings to mind video games that are exciting to play and thrilling to watch. In a surprise move that most insiders in the online gambling industry didn't see coming Sega has announced it will launch an online poker room.

SEGAPoker.com. is the newest edition in the world of online poker which is arguably the most popular activity for online gamblers on the planet. SEGA's recent entry into the industry was hailed as a good thing taking into account the games and experience that SEGA brings to gaming. It is a novel approach that stretches the boundaries of the business but a good move intended to capitalize on the booming interest in poker globally. SEGA also has the intent of running a casino for those who are interested in the traditional games of chance such as roulette or slots. Competition is fierce out there and for the most part a company that can offer more than just the ordinary is going to find a customer base. SEGA has been on the leading edge of gaming development by being an innovative and creative company. There is sure to be some attention paid to developing new presentations in the poker room to attract the visually savvy new player. Graphics have been SEGA's forte with Sonic Hedgehog and House of the Dead being icons of the gaming industry. Most leaders find that once they find success competitors are sure to follow and it is speculated Nintendo may be one of them. So far SEGA has not taken advantage of it's popular brand presence and leaves patrons less than thrilled by the mediocre and old school offering. It is basically the status quo for the new poker room, standard at best. To make people come and stay seated at the virtual felt SEGA has to respond to the demand for something new. Loyal brand locations such as FullTilt and PokerStars will maintain their players as long as SEGA continues to be ordinary. Offering bonuses for new card players is one way of getting them to switch over but will those incentives keep the customer coming back, that remains to be seen.

 

 

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The Mohawk Territory in Quebec Canada hosts of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has announced it will launch an new compliance program involving third party inspection and ongoing monitoring. Fifty-five of KGC licensees are expected to be covered under the program. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established in 1996 an it has been one of the most reputed gaming jurisdictions since July, of 1999.

Dean Montour the chairman for the KGC has dubbed the program as the Continuous Compliance Program. Montour has enlisted the help of respected watch dog eCOGRA to oversee the program. Previous experience with e COGRA has given Montour the confidence that the organization will provide confidential and realistic information about the licence holders in the KGC jurisdiction.

The Continuous Compliance Program is to assess every year whether the licensees are complying with KGC regulations, with an annual assessment of compliance with key regulatory objectives in mind and finally an audit of live gaming data to ensure that the games are random and fair and that return to player ratios are honestly evaluated and reported. eCOGRA is ready willing and able to do the job with it's fully trained staff of experienced chartered accountants who have been specializing in the assessment of online gambling operations for a long time. The European Gaming and Betting Association a representative organization of the leading European gaming and betting operators commissioned eCOGRA in 2007 to look into it's organization. This program has been very successful. eCOGRA's assessment of the EGBA operators demonstrated that they follow standards that match or exceed those of European Union state gambling monopolies. Andrew Beveridge Chief Executive Officer for eCOGRA said, "We look forward to the considerable task ahead and have almost completed four initial test reviews that have generated enthusiastic feedback from the operators concerned. The most important aspect of this program is that players will be safer, and that can only be to the credit of the industry."

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Every once and awhile some unscrupulous people come along and try to scam the innocent player into believing they are getting a fair shake. It is not unusual for these people to get away with there illegal behaviour for a short time and as a result some consumers get burned. In today's virtual realm the world is watching and we are vigilant in sorting out the real from the fake. Rogue online gambling sites are relatively rare as those who do play keep a close watch on their assets.

Recently a web site called

Jackpots Heaven tried to fake authenticity but was quickly exposed by watchdog agency Casinomeister as bogus. Online casino Jackpots Heaven and its software provider Salus Technologies found themselves occupying high Google search engine positions after coming to the attention of the Casinomeister regulars. The site was found to be using disguised graphics and game brands developed by major software providers like Microgaming and RealTime Gaming. Site information and posts by Jackpots Heaven's "manager" made claims to be licensed in Costa Rica which doesn't have an online gambling licensing regime and to be regulated by the "LGA", a body that does not exist in Costa Rica. The bogus site held servers in Panama and not as it claimed in Costa Rica. The server is registered to a U.K. address, which has the server address sent to a cloaked dns server, which appears to lead to Panama. This cyber shuffle is not very effective when it come to fooling the tech and industry savvy individual on the internet today. Making money using stolen identities and intellectual property is a real concern for anyone who works with the internet knowing that there are definite dangers in loosing your content to unscrupulous hackers and thieves. Jackpots Heaven has been shut down as a rogue outfit that lied it's way into the game, keep your eyes open out there people something that doesn't seem right probably isn't right. Usually something that looks to good to be true isn't true.

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Success is created by those who dare to change the game is the mantra and slogan of a very large and prosperous gaming company WMS Gaming Inc., a subsidiary of WMS Industries Inc. In addition to the United States, they have offices in Australia, Italy, Holland, South Africa, Spain, Argentina, Macau and the United Kingdom. The office in the U.K. houses an internationally focused game development studio and now includes sales and distribution functions. Recently the slot machine company announced it will launch a U.K. online gambling operation as early as next year as the market for online gambling opens up in parts of Europe. WMS Gaming, is licensed to sell gaming machines in more than 300 jurisdictions worldwide, and is part of Illinois USA, WMS Industries, together with it's gaming terminal business Orion Gaming.

In 2000 the company hired Chairman and CEO, Brian Gamache, who has a deep understanding of organizational development, brand management and sales and marketing. Mr. Gamache who was a hospitality industry veteran, invested heavily in technology to diversify the product offerings and elevate the gaming experience for players and the functionality and earnings power for operators, while developing innovative new products that provide a clear path for operators to keep their slot floors evolving. Gamache said in a statement to the press, “WMS will debut its capabilities and solutions that harness the scale of the Internet to pursue online wagering opportunities in the United Kingdom. This initiative is expected to launch in fiscal year 2011, subject to regulatory approval, we look forward to expanding our presence in the U.K. marketplace." It has been noted that the company success can be attributed to it's five core values, Passion, Innovation, Integrity, Quality, and Respect. Mr. Gamache added, "WMS' success in leveraging our 'Culture of Innovation' to drive the development of products that simultaneously deliver measurable value for casino operators and new, unparalleled gaming experiences for players.

 

 

 

 

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According to Manx Telecom, the reduction in bandwidth costs across the board is likely to make the Isle of Man an even more attractive location for eGaming companies. A bold but true statement when online gambling operators are looking for any quarter to reduce costs and increase profits. The favourable technical infrastructure, offered by the Isle of Man jurisdiction has garnered the online gambling operations on the island a business advantage that many large and successful groups have seen as profitable and safe. Now Manx Telecom has concluded that further improvements to this service will improve connectivity and scope. Manx Telecom is part of the Telefónica Group of companies has made a major strategic investment in the links between the Isle of Man and the rest of the world. It has also cut bandwidth costs on its off Island Ethernet and Internet Protocol networks. Quadrupling connections from the Island, via four fibre optic circuits, which connect through the UK and Ireland into the main international data hubs has given the island a much larger circuit capacity.

Manx Telecom has has provided major operators in the online gambling industry with sterling service. For example PokerStars recently hosted the world’s largest online poker tournament from Manx Telecom’s Isle of Man Data Centre, hosing 149,196 players simultaneously competing online for a top prize of $50,000. The tournament, which took place over six hours, set a new Guinness World Record, with PokerStars seeing a total of 444,037 simultaneous players online at one time.

PokerStars' Head of Network and Data Centre Operations, Gary Hill, said, “To maintain our competitive advantage, and to run record breaking events of this nature, requires real commitment and a strong partnership with your connectivity and data centre solutions provider. I’m very glad to say it continues to be our strategy to work with Manx Telecom to ensure that the Isle of Man is best serviced with a diverse range of multi-gigabit connectivity solutions and purpose built world class data centres. Players increasingly only want to deal with reputable established companies in well regulated jurisdictions, and being based in the Isle of Man, regulated by Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission and supported by Manx Telecom, PokerStars is ideally placed to continue its exponential growth and keep breaking records for the foreseeable future”.

 


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The Right2bet online campaign wants to generate one million signatures for its online petition to persuade the EU Commission that state betting monopolies are illegal, unfair, and curtail consumer freedom of choice. Betting companies within the EU are currently banned from offering their products in other European countries including Germany, France, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands because of regulations that force their citizens to use just one or two betting providers based within the country, contradicting the principle of free trade among E.U. Member States. Videos created by the consumer choice advocates Right2bet.net to illustrate the unfair nature of current European betting restrictions are being blocked from being advertised on websites across Europe. In the videos a character called ‘Renegade Ref’ is let loose on the streets, imposing random rules on innocent members of the public. The character brandishes red and yellow cards at any unsuspecting victim who mock his made up rule book instructions.

Right2bet is calling for Member States of the European Union to end state gambling monopolies and commercial protectionism and allow their citizens the same freedom to bet with any licensed European betting company that citizens in the U.K. enjoy. The campaign urges consumers of internet gambling products to sign a petition at their web site. The Right2bet spokesperson, Michael Robb, commented, “The ridiculousness of European betting laws has never been better demonstrated. The 'Renegade Ref' videos are encouraging people to join our consumer campaign and make a stand for freedom of choice. But because the campaign is linked to betting as opposed to any other leisure industry, we’re told that many websites are worried they may not be allowed to show the material. It’s farcical they’re free to put them up if we don’t pay them, but not if they’re commercially advertised. It proves our point that these outdated laws are impinging on people’s freedom, not just to bet, but also to express opinion. This is fundamentally against what the EU should stand for.”

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Putting an end to speculation that two very large online gambling firms are in consolidation negotiations a report appearing in Format an Austrian financial magazine confirms that PartyGaming and Bwin are talking merger. The deal reportedly worth over four billion dollars shot PartyGaming stocks up on the speculation that this will go through. Format quoted Bwin chairman, and largest shareholder, Hannes Androsch as saying, "it's true that talks are going on, but we don't know yet whether they will succeed".

"The Board of PartyGaming confirmed in a short statement to the London Stock Exchange. "As all such discussions remain at a preliminary stage, there can be no certainty as to whether or not such discussions will result in any form of transaction with any party."

PartyGaming has been making moves on the consolidation front recently with actions like the acquisition of Cashcade, owner of Foxy Bingo and the purchase of the assets of World Poker Tour Enterprises. Merging with Bwin would give PartGaming an advantage position in sports betting. Bwin is not the only potential partner and it is speculated that the U.K.'s 888 Holdings, Sportingbet and Sweden's Unibet, are also in the running for potential mergers.

Bwin shares also climbed higher on the suggestion that it would find a merger deal with PartyGaming.

PartyGaming has been positioning itself for a return to the US market after making a payoff deal with the prosecutors after a two year investigation by the US attorney's office for the southern district of New York. PartyGaming agreed to a $105m settlement to be paid in eight half-yearly instalments until September 2012.

European countries are doing their level best to attract and keep online gambling operators with a vested interest in generating revenues for their countries. Consolidation is the route the gaming companies are taking to take full advantage of the new regulatory regimes offered by the relaxed rules. Mergers and acquisitions will be watched closely by the stock holders of these companies and will drive share prices up as potential grows.

 

 

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