The Italians are flocking to legal, licensed online poker sites in their country. It is estimated by Gioco Digitale (Italian online poker operator) that over 500,000 Italians will be playing at the legal online poker site within the next year. A poll also showed that over 70% of the players in the new licensed poker sites were already playing with overseas online poker websites.
The U.S. is way behind when it comes to the regulation of online poker and gambling. Many U.S. players continue to participate at online poker sites like Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and others while the UIGEA is being sorted out. Within the last few days there was another bill in the House Financial Services Committee introduced by Barney Frank that would limit the UIGEA to online sports betting. The U.S. needs licensed and regulated online poker and gambling now. We are supposed to be the land of the free, but for now the Europeans are leading the way.
The PokerStars Latin America Poker Tour was halted by Mexican gaming officials in the middle of the tournament. There were 89 players remaining when authorities abruptly shutdown the tourney and everyone was forced to leave.
Poker Stars issued the following statement regarding the event:
The Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) confirms that it is canceling the poker tournament in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, due to an indefinite suspension served on one of its local partners.
The LAPT states it has cooperated fully and in good faith with the requirements outlined by the Mexican government. The LAPT respects and abides by local regulations in each market.
LAPT’s partner in Mexico obtained a formal ruling from the Mexican Ministry of the Interior (SEGOB) allowing the event to take place. As the LAPT compiled with every rule stipulated by the Code of the Mexican Federal Law of Games and Raffles, the reasons for suspension are being reviewed by lawyers of all parties.
Pokerstars announced they will allow the 89 remaining players to finish the tournament online, and then the final 9 will be sent to Chile to finish the tournament live. An additional $50,000 in prize money will be awarded to the final table.
Many online poker rooms are struggling to maintain their traffic because of increased competition and uncertain regulation in the U.S. and other countries. PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker have been very aggressive in marketing to U.S. players since the UIGEA, and as a result have become the dominant players. Others like Party Poker and the iPoker network have struggled to compete for the European market. Only a few short years ago Party Poker was the top online poker room, now it is number four.
The other smaller networks have had trouble gaining new players and licensees. Poker networks are all about liquidity, so it is very difficult for the small licensees to survive in the current environment. There is hope in the form of new regulation in the U.S. that could clear up the current post-UIGEA mess, and increase the number of U.S. citizens playing poker.
Online poker operators newest threat is now Kentucky. The state is trying to gain control of popular online poker and online casino domains including those of FullTilt Poker and PokerStars. If successful they would block access to all Kentuckians and perhaps all players from the United States.
So, just how big of a threat is online poker to the people living in Kentucky? The Governor of Kentucky had the following to say: “The owners and operators of these illegal sites prey on Kentucky citizens, including our youth, and deprive the Commonwealth of millions of dollars in revenue. It’s an underworld wrought with scams and schemes.” He described them as “leeches on our communities”.
Pretty harsh words for a state best known for horse racing and the gambling that goes along with it.
Two of the top online gambling and poker operators based in Austria, bwin and Casinos Austria, have been all over the local media for corporate espionage. Online poker operators are in cut-throat competition to grow and increase their liquidity in an industry were being small can mean death to a company. It is no surprise to see these companies doing whatever it takes to remain competitive. It is quite a story and you can read more about it on CasinoMoz.
The Republican party has been strongly against internet gambling for almost a decade, and it looked like that would continue this year when they introduced their party platform for the 2008 election year. But, in a surprising twist it appears that their opposition to internet gambling will not be included in this year’s party platform.
Could the party that supposedly stands for individual freedom be finally getting back to its roots?
The Poker Players Alliance executive director, John Pappas, said: “This is a small victory in our determined effort to educate both sides of the aisle that there is a true constituency in America that values its Internet freedoms.”
But, there is still the possibility that the ani-internet gambling language might make it back onto the Republican party platform before the Republican National Convention. If the Christian right raises a lot of stink about the Repblican party going soft on internet gambling then look for the language to be added back in. They have a lot more influence than the Poker Players Alliance, and the Republicans are already struggling to satisfy the Evangelicals who are not yet fully onboard with McCain who is seen as more liberal on social issues.
Let your voice be heard on internet poker and gambling by posting on gopplatform2008.com
Chan Poker, the online poker site of Johnny Chan, announced that they will be ceasing operations beginning August 21st, 2008. They urge any players with cash balances in their account to request a withdrawal immediately. More information on the site closure can be found on Chanpoker.com.
Poker Trillion and Boss Media continue to battle each other in the courts and the press. Poker Trillion issued a press release stating they had won a legal judgment requiring Boss Media to shut down its servers in September, and indicated that player funds might be at risk.
Boss Media responded with their own press release assuring players that their funds are secure and cannot be seized by any courts. Read the full response by Boss Media below:
Boss Media assures player funds and no disruption in services
In relation to the statements made by Poker Trillion August 18 (“Trillion Limited -v- Boss Media Malta Limited and Boss Media AB”), Boss Media has issued the following statement.
Poker Trillion’s recent comments are a reckless attempt to support a legal action that is without merit and initiated as retribution for their dismissal from the Boss Media network. To be clear, player funds are not affected by the current proceedings. All players’ funds are held separately under the control of the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority and cannot be seized by any court.
Poker Trillion is a former customer of Boss Media who was terminated because of rake back violations. They have since then repeatedly tried to disrupt the Boss Media business through the dissemination of groundless rumors. In April 2008 Poker Trillion alleged in a press release a claim that among other things, Boss Media player funds were frozen. The allegations were false but typical of the type of tactics employed by Poker Trillion.
While there has been no hearing on the merits of the Poker Trillion suit, there have been preliminary hearings on the matter. Boss Media has assured that adequate security is provided in Malta in the event of an award of damages against it which we believe to be unlikely.
Boss Media is currently exploring various legal options regarding our Maltese assets and can assure that Boss Media has the requisite assets in place to ensure that our business will continue to operate with the highest standards. In the extremely unlikely event that any Malta operations would be affected, Boss Media have high-performance back-up systems in place to ensure continued service to all our customers and their players.
On Tuesday night Yuvee04 won two consecutive Full Tilt Online Poker Series tournaments. This was the first time any player has accomplished the feat. He beat 655 entants in the $535 buy-in H.O.R.S.E tournament, and 2,472 players in the $216 turbo No-Limit Holdem tournament.
It appears the Russian are way ahead of the U.S. when it come to understanding poker. Poker has been officially declared a sport in Russia, and is booming in popularity. While the government in the U.S. attempts to drive poker underground, or at least to Las Vegas and gambling halls, the Russians have embraced poker and the game is offered at poker clubs throughout the country.
We may have beat them to the moon, but the Russians are way ahead of us on this issue. Maybe if poker becomes part of the Olympics someday the U.S. will finally wake up to the fact that poker is a sport and should be treated like one.