Saturday, March 31, 2018 6:02 AM

Biggest EPT Sochi Winners

Casino News Daily
Biggest EPT Sochi Winners

The first European Poker Tour festival since PokerStars brought back its popular live poker brand was held at Sochi Casino & Resort in the Russian city of Sochi. The EPT Sochi proved to be a great success, particularly its Main Event, which drew a massive field of more than 860 entries.

Bearing the above-mentioned in mind, it can be said that PokerStars has clearly made the right decision to dust off and revive its EPT brand, which had previously built a solid base of fans across Europe and the rest of the world. In addition to this, it should be pointed out that Sochi has great potential to become a new popular live tournament poker destination with its casino.

The EPT Sochi attracted thousands of players, both professionals and recreational ones. And millions were distributed in prize money to the ones who made it deep enough into the festival’s events. Here are some of the biggest winners during the EPT Sochi, the first of what we all hope will be a series of successful EPT festivals.

EPT Sochi ₽192,000 Main Event

Arseniy Karmatskiy bested a field of 861 entries to win the tournament on Thursday. The player’s share of the ₽150-plus-million prize pool totaled ₽27.3 million (approximately $478,451). Karmatskiy dominated the event’s final table, winning key pots and busting fellow competitors to build his stack and pull ahead of the other players left. In the end, he busted fellow countryman Viktor Shegai in second place to claim his first-ever EPT Main Event title.

Karmatskiy had some previous triumphs on the live tournament circuit. Last August, the player won the €2,200 German Poker Championship as part of the partypoker German Poker Championships at King’s Casino Rozvadov for a first-place prize of €185,000. During last year’s PokerStars Championship Sochi, Karmatskiy topped the field of a ₽19,800 event.

As mentioned above, Viktor Shegai finished runner-up to Karmatskiy in the EPT Sochi Main Event. The player collected ₽16.56 million ($290,225) for his efforts. Ernest Shakarian, Vahe Martirosyan, and Mikhail Kovalyuk were the other three players to cash big from the tournament, collecting payouts of ₽11.688 million ($204,840), ₽8.766 million ($153,630), and ₽6.923 million ($121,335) for finishing third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.

EPT National ₽66,000 No-Limit Hold’em

The EPT National was the first event on the schedule of the EPT Sochi festival. The tournament featured a buy-in fee of ₽66,000 and was played over March 20-23 at the host venue. As many as 439 entries bought into the event, including 266 re-entries. They contributed to the creation of a ₽41.031 million ($710,727) prize pool. The money was distributed to the top 103 finishers.

Czech player Matous Houzvicek was crowned the event’s victor. The player collected the amount of ₽7.77 million ($134,590) for besting the whole field of the tournament. This was Houzvicek’s largest cash from a live tournament. Including his EPT National first-place prize, the Czech’s live tournament earnings now amount to $241,500. Houzvicek cashed in one more tournament during the EPT Sochi. He finished 18th in the ₽132,000 No-Limit Hold’em Single Re-Entry for ₽228,000 ($3,978).

Other Players

Other players who cashed big from the EPT Sochi, included Sergei Kerzhakov and Viktor Ustimov. Kerzhakov finished sixth in the Main Event to collect ₽5.19 million ($90,958) for his deep run into the major tournament. This was the player’s third ever cash from a live poker tournament.

As for Ustimov, he cashed in two tournaments within the EPT Sochi. He first finished runner-up to Houzvicek in the EPT National, good for ₽4.745 million ($82,191) in prize money. He then took 42nd place in the Main Event for a payout of ₽498,000 ($8,728). The player currently has more than $620,000 in live tournament earnings.

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Friday, March 30, 2018 6:18 AM

Gov. Cuomo Refuses Bailout to Cash-Strapped del Lago Resort & Casino

Casino News Daily
Gov. Cuomo Refuses Bailout to Cash-Strapped del Lago Resort & Casino

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he is not supportive of a state commercial casino’s bid for a bailout. The top lawmaker was among the proponents of the legalization of commercial casino gambling in the state a few years ago.

Gov. Cuomo’s comments from earlier this week came shortly after del Lago Resort & Casino officials revealed that they were seeking assistance from the state after the gambling venue missed its first-year revenue projections by $100 million. While they did not provide details on the nature of help they were seeking from lawmakers, it is believed that they might have asked for a tax break.

Del Lago currently pays an annual tax of 37% on its slot machine revenue and a 10% one on table game revenue. The casino resort had its ribbon cut in February 2017. According to original forecasts, its casino floor was expected to generate revenue of $260 million during its first full year of operation. However, the gaming facility’s revenue eventually totaled $146 million at the end of that first year.

In a letter to Gov. Cuomo and New York State budget director Robert Mujica, Sen. Joe Griffo said that del Lago was seeking a tax break of around $14 million. The Senator further wrote that he did not support a bailout of this proportion, as the state had more pressing needs.

’Private Concerns’

Gov. Cuomo told local media earlier this week that the Upstate New York casinos were private concerns and that he did not want to “get into the business of bailing out private concerns.”

Del Lago officials have blamed the Seneca Nation for their casino’s failure to reach its gaming revenue goal. The tribe operates three casinos in the western part of the state. It used to share a portion of its gaming revenue with the state under a 2002 compact. However, it stopped making payments in 2016, arguing that the compact had expired.

Steve Greenberg, a spokesman for del Lago, said that the tribe has been using the portion of revenue it should have been sharing with the state to lure patrons with different offers and promotions. According to Mr. Greenberg, tribal casinos have thus been cannibalizing revenue from the state’s commercial casinos, hence del Lago’s call for assistance.

Casino officials have told lawmakers that the property generates enough revenue to pay the bills, but that it would likely face serious problems in the long-term if it is not treated to a bailout.

Rivers Casino, which opened doors in Upstate New York shortly after del Lago, is understood to have, too, turned to state lawmakers to seek a tax break. Rivers generated $151.8 million in gaming revenue during its first year of operation, falling well short of its target of between $180 million and $220 million.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018 6:18 PM

Juegos Miami registration up by over 40%

Juegos Miami registration up by over 40%

Juegos Miami, the bespoke event created to meet the business needs of the Pan Latin American and Caribbean gaming sectors, has captured the attention of the industry with registration of Director and C-Level delegates up by an impressive 42 percent, year-on-year. 

In The Race To Succeed, Will It Be Hard Rock Atlantic City Or Ocean Resort Casino?

In The Race To Succeed, Will It Be Hard Rock Atlantic City Or Ocean Resort Casino?
car race

The summer openings of Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino have brought a level of excitement back to the city, so which NJ casino will succeed may, in fact, be a trick question.

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Popular Social Casino Constitutes Illegal Online Gambling in Washington

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Popular Social Casino Constitutes Illegal Online Gambling in Washington

A US Court of Appeals judge ruled on Wednesday that Big Fish Casino constituted illegal online gambling under the Washington state gambling law. The recent court ruling could open Pandora’s box for the growing social casino sector, particularly in the US where online gambling is prohibited in most states.

Developed by Seattle-based casual gaming company Big Fish Games, Big Fish Casino offers free-to-play versions of popular casino games, including slots, roulette, and blackjack. Players can play these via virtual chips that have no actual monetary value. However, if users run out of chips, they can either wait until they are offered more free chips to play the games, or can purchase chips for real money.

Judge Milan D. Smith of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said on Wednesday that the virtual chips were a “thing of value” and their purchase actually represented illegal online gambling under state law.

The lawsuit was filed against Churchill Downs back in 2015 when the Kentucky-based casino operator was the owner of Big Fish Games. Churchill Downs bought the casual games studio a year earlier for $885 million. It announced last year that it would sell Big Fish Games to Australian gaming company Aristocrat Technologies for nearly $1 billion. The deal was closed earlier this year, as confirmed by the casino company.

The ruling could have a negative impact on the growing social casino market which was worth over $3 billion last year, as virtual currencies are widely popular in social casino games. The outcomes of previous lawsuits against representatives of the social casino sector had generally been favorable. However, Judge Smith’s ruling from Wednesday could complicate future lawsuits related to the nature of social casino games and whether these constitute online gambling.

Big Fish Casino’s Lawsuit in Greater Detail

In 2015, Cheryl Kater, a regular Big Fish Casino player, filed a lawsuit against the social casino’s parent company Churchill Downs, claiming that she had spent over $1,000 on virtual chips to be able to play. Her legal team also argued that virtual chips represented “a thing of value” under a provision in Washington’s gambling law.

[A]ny money or property, any token, object or article exchangeable for money or property, or any form of credit or promise, directly or indirectly, contemplating transfer of money or property or of any interest therein, or involving extension of a service, entertainment or a privilege of playing at a game or scheme without charge.

Ms. Kater further pointed out in her legal complaint that the virtual chips could be cashed out by being sold for real money on secondary markets or being transferred to other users. However, that argument was rejected by the Court of Appeals as Big Fish Casino’s terms and conditions explicitly prohibited practices of this kind.

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Esports Lights Up On the Vegas Strip

Esports Lights Up On the Vegas Strip

All-Star Culinary Program by Chef José Andrés, Epic Tournaments, Interactive Entertainment Combine for Unique Gaming Experience at Luxor Hotel and Casino

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 5:55 PM

Hard Rock AC Putting Final Pieces In Place After Nearly A Decade Of Planning

Hard Rock AC Putting Final Pieces In Place After Nearly A Decade Of Planning

Hard Rock Atlantic City has been close to a decade in the making, and as its summer 2018 opening nears, the Hard Rock AC has everyone talking about all of its plans. Here's what we know, from start to current status.

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Esports Arena Las Vegas -- LUXOR HOTEL AND CASINO

Esports Arena Las Vegas -- LUXOR HOTEL AND CASINO

Esports Arena Las Vegas, the first permanent esports venue on The Strip, is now open at Luxor Hotel and Casino.

Is £1 Million Enough Punishment for SkyBet for Failing Self-Excluded Gamblers?

Casino News Daily
Is £1 Million Enough Punishment for SkyBet for Failing Self-Excluded Gamblers?

News exploded earlier today that Sky Betting and Gaming (SkyBet) has become the latest UK-facing operator to have been reprimanded by the Gambling Commission for social responsibility failures. One of UK’s largest gambling companies, formerly owned by broadcasting giant Sky, SkyBet was fined £1 million by the regulator for failing to prevent self-excluded customers from registering with its websites and other regulatory breaches.

SkyBet is being imposed a penalty from the UKGC at a time when the regulator is reviewing its existing license conditions and is gradually rolling out tougher ones for iGaming operators to follow and comply with.

Last summer, 888 Holdings was fined £7.8 million for similar responsible gambling breaches. And last month, William Hill received £6.2-million bill for what the Commission deemed poor anti-money laundering policies and player protection failures. While the scope of violations was different in each of the three cases, the fines imposed certainly raise the question whether the UKGC has gone too soft on SkyBet.

The Nature of SkyBet’s Failures

The UKGC found, after probing into the matter, that SkyBet breached the Commission’s codes and rules for the provision of gambling services in three different ways. In the first place, it became clear that 736 customers of SkyBet, who had self-excluded themselves, were able to open duplicate accounts with the operator and gamble via those in the period between November 2014 and November 2017.

In the second place, around 50,000 customers kept on receiving promotional materials by the operator even after self-exclusion. Self-excluded players and bettors were thus encouraged to gamble. And while they were presumably not able to reopen their accounts with SkyBet, people, some of whom may have been trying to fight problem gambling behavior, could have felt the urge to gamble somewhere else.

Last but not least, the UK Gambling Commission found that a total of 36,748 self-excluded customers did not have their account funds returned upon account closure.

SkyBet will thus have to pay £1,008,600, including £750,000 to responsible gambling charities. The remaining portion of its penalty would be split in the following way – £450,000 for allowing self-excluded customers to open duplicate accounts, £250,000 for sending self-excluded customers gambling-related promotional material, and £50,000 which the operator will have to return to players who had opted for self-exclusion.

Does the Penalty Match SkyBet’s Failures?

SkyBet’s breaches of its license terms eventually affected tens of thousands of self-excluded customers in one way or another and could have affected many more.

The reason why a person decides to self-exclude themselves from one gambling website or another is that they either feel to be close to developing some form of gambling addiction or have already become a gambling addict. What may seem to be a minor violation by an operator toward a self-excluded player could actually become a serious trigger for that same player to relapse into their risky gambling behavior. Operators need to be aware of that and to make sure that their customers are well-protected.

SkyBet was found to have generated gross gambling yield of £217,306 from the self-excluded players who were able to open new accounts with the operator. In comparison, 888 was fined £7.8 million partly for allowing players, who had self-excluded from its betting/casino/poker platform, to play on its bingo platform. Players were thus able to deposit over £3.5 million with the operator.

While £3.5 million is an enormous amount when compared to just over £200,000, it is important to note that in 888’s case self-excluded players were able to gamble within the period between October 2015 and September 2016. However, with SkyBet self-excluded customers opened and used accounts between November 2014 and November 2017 or for three years.

In 888’s case more than 7,000 customers were affected, while in SkyBet’s case there were just over 700 customers. Both operators failed self-excluded players in a very serious manner and fines were a must. However, the fact that it took SkyBet three years to solve an apparent issue with its self-exclusion system raises questions and doubts about the operator’s ability to prevent customers with problem gambling behavior from being able to gamble.

As already pointed out, SkyBet is one of largest UK-facing operators. And if an operator with extensive record in the online gambling field and with a large player base is unable to protect its customers, it certainly deserves more than a slap on the wrist, particularly when it takes so long to solve an issue that could put at risk thousands of people.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018 6:19 PM

Borgata Motion for Summary Judgment Denied in Latest Installment of Phil Ivey Edge-Sorting Saga

Casino News Daily
Borgata Motion for Summary Judgment Denied in Latest Installment of Phil Ivey Edge-Sorting Saga

A US district judge denied Monday a request for summary judgment filed by Atlantic City’s Borgata Casino as the gambling venue seeks to sue card manufacturer Gemaco for knowingly supplying it with defective cards, Law360 reports.

The playing cards were used by famed poker pro Phil Ivey back in 2012 when the player won more than $9.6 million by playing baccarat at the Borgata with its fellow player Cheung Yin Sun. The Borgata has also been suing Ivey seeking to collect the aforementioned amount plus damages from him and his companion player.

Last summer, the popular Atlantic City Boardwalk casino filed a motion for summary judgment in its case against Gemaco. The gambling venue claimed that Gemaco had provided it with defective cards and that it had thus enabled Ivey and Sun to exploit the defects and generate large profits from the casino.

On Monday, US District Judge Noel L. Hillman denied the Borgata’s motion and partly granted Gemaco’s cross-motion for summary judgment, ruling that Ivey and Sun were the ones to blame for exploring and exploiting differences on the backs of the cards while playing baccarat at the casino. Judge Hillman went on to say that Gemaco was thus not “liable for any tort claims” by the Borgata.

The judge granted Gemaco cross-motion for summary judgment for the casino’s common law breach of contract claim, of implied warrant claim, and of common law negligence. The card manufacturer filed a request for cross-motion summary judgment last October, claiming that the Borgata had no actual proof that the cards were defective as it destroyed them.

The Atlantic City seeks to recoup the $9.6 million it lost to Ivey and Sun from both the two players and Gemaco.

Where Does the Legal Dispute Stem from?

Ivey and Sun visited the Borgata back in 2012 to play baccarat. The two players requested a private pit, a Mandarin-speaking dealer, and decks of purple Gemaco cards, among other things. They amassed winnings of more than $9.6 million over four casino visits.

The Borgata paid out the money but it later on came to its knowledge that the two players had used the controversial edge-sorting technique to win at the baccarat table. Generally speaking, Sun and Ivey opted for the purple Gemaco cards because they knew that these had tiny discrepancies on their backs that could be exploited by players to gain edge over the casino. That was exactly what Ivey and Sun, who is notorious for her edge-sorting skills, did at the casino.

Judge Hillman ruled in October 2016 that the technique itself did not equal to criminal deception or fraud. However, the judge concluded that the two players violated the New Jersey Casino Control Act by deploying edge-sorting at the Borgata. Ivey and Sun are seeking a final judgment in the case, that was originally opened in 2014, in order to be able to appeal the October 2016 ruling to the US Court of Appeals.

Late last year, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled against Ivey in his lawsuit against Crockfords. The player sued the Mayfair casino for withholding the amount of £7.8 million he won in 2012 by playing punto banco. Once again accompanied by Sun, Ivey amassed the winnings by deploying edge-sorting. The casino eventually refused to pay out the money and found itself embroiled in a three-year legal fight that eventually concluded in December.

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If NJ Sports Betting Is Legalized, Which Teams Should You Be Betting On?

If NJ Sports Betting Is Legalized, Which Teams Should You Be Betting On?

SCOTUS has yet to decide the fate of the NJ sports betting case, but while the Garden State (and its casinos) wait, here is a list of the top teams and sports worth betting on in New Jersey in the future.

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1xbet chooses BGB to power Live Casino services

1xbet chooses BGB to power Live Casino services

BGB recently announced that it has signed an agreement with 1xbet for BGB to provide its Live Casino platform to the 1xbet who will add BGB’s full portfolio of live games to its online platform.

Monday, March 26, 2018 6:18 PM

Inside Asian Gaming And Reed Exhibitions Announce Ballroom At Mgm Cotai As Host Venue Of Inaugural Official G2E ASIA Awards As Official Website Is Launched

Inside Asian Gaming And Reed Exhibitions Announce Ballroom At Mgm Cotai As Host Venue Of Inaugural Official G2E ASIA Awards As Official Website Is Launched

Public nominations are currently open for all of the 12 awards categories.

Electronic Table Games Take The Spotlight At Resorts Casino In Atlantic City

Electronic Table Games Take The Spotlight At Resorts Casino In Atlantic City
resorts ac

Resorts became the first casino in Atlantic City to debut electronic table games from IGT, giving players a chance to play roulette, baccarat, or blackjack all at once and Resorts to take more bets in an hour.

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New Allegations Suggest Crown Fabricated Slot Machine Trial Story to Avoid Penalties

Casino News Daily
New Allegations Suggest Crown Fabricated Slot Machine Trial Story to Avoid Penalties

Pressure on Crown Resorts has grown as a new wave of evidence shows that the casino operator might have only stopped what it previously described as a “trial” of removing betting options on slot machines after complaints from patrons.

A whistle-blower has told local news outlet ABC News that the major company, which operates two casino resorts in Melbourne and Perth and is building a third one in Sydney, felt forced to restore the normal operations of slot machines at its Melbourne property after customers at the casino had spotted that their betting options had been reduced significantly and had filed complaints.

Last fall, the Australian casino operator found itself embroiled in a scandal that could cost it its license in the state of Victoria. Back in October, independent MP Andrew Wilkie tabled evidence from three whistle-blowers who claimed that Crown had tampered with 17 of all 2,628 slot machines (or pokies as they are known in Australia) at its Melbourne casino, significantly reducing patrons’ wagering options and chances to win.

The chief allegation against the operator was that it has instructed staff to remove certain buttons on 17 slot machines. The gaming devices had thus been modified in a manner that had maximized profits for the casino and had reduced players’ wagering options. Patrons had thus been forced to wager the highest bet line on the affected machines, whistle-blowers had explained.

Separate allegations by the unnamed individuals also suggested that Crown had knowingly allowed select casino customers to dodge anti-money laundering regulations.

Crown’s Response and the New Wave of Allegations

Crown rejected all allegations back in October, but eventually admitted to removing buttons on 17 gaming machines between March and April 2017. The operator said in a March 5 statement to the Australian Stock Exchange that the “blanking” of buttons was part of a trial it had conducted at its Melbourne casino.

However, a whistle-blower who is employed at the casino company told ABC that the trial claims were “farcical”. He further pointed out that Crown only came up with the trial story after regulatory pressure began bearing down on its profitability and general performance.

The unnamed Crown employee went on to say that no trial had been running on the casino floor and what the operator had basically tried to do had been to see how much it could “rip people off”.

Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation had opened investigation into the allegations even before those were tabled in the Parliament. Crown could have its license from the regulator revoked if the allegations prove true.

The Commission has been presented with the latest whistle-blower evidence. The regulatory body told ABC that it is aware of the new claims and that these are now part of the ongoing investigation.

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Sunday, March 25, 2018 5:36 AM

Top Philippine Architect Says Boracay Is the “Wrong Place” for Casino Resort

Casino News Daily
Top Philippine Architect Says Boracay Is the “Wrong Place” for Casino Resort

The proposed construction of a $500-million integrated resort on Boracay could damage the quality of the sand on the island, a top urban planner told local media.

According to Felino Palafox, a leading Philippine architect and urban planner, developers should not be allowed to build on the island’s beaches as this would have a negative environmental impact. Mr. Palafox spoke with local news channel ANC on Saturday.

Last week, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. awarded a provisional license to Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group and its Philippine partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp. to build and operate a $500-million casino resort on Boracay.

Construction on the complex is set to begin in 2019 and to be completed over the next three years. Leisure and Resorts has recently secured a 23-hectare site on Boracay where its property will be built.

While the resort is expected to bring wealthy high roller players from the Asia-Pacific region and to thus boost the island’s already booming tourism sector, the proposal was not received very well by a number of parties, including tourism stakeholders and environmental groups.

During his recent interview, Mr. Palafox said that Galaxy’s project might be involving the “wrong land use at the wrong place at the wrong time”.

The locally established Boracay Foundation has also joined the casino resort debate recently, arguing that the island is well-known among tourists for its white sand beaches, water attraction, and bright nightlife scene, and these are enough to support and grow its tourism industry. The environmental group has added that the island does not need to promote itself as a gambling destination and that a casino would only harm its social environment.

News about the approval of the casino resort plan emerged as Boracay became the subject of heavy criticism from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Imminent Closure of the Island

President Duterte has been firing at the way the major tourism hub’s environmental issues have been handled since last month. The Philippines’ top official called the island a “cesspool” due to its lack of a properly functioning sewerage system and threatened to blow up every structure built on the island without the necessary permission.

After probing the island’s environmental situation, a specially assembled unit has recently recommended its closure for a period of between six months and a year, during which an environmental cleanup would be carried out.

It was confirmed earlier this week that the island would be closed for tourism for six months. In a letter to President Duterte, three government agencies recommended that the island be shuttered starting April 26. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Tourism wrote in their joint letter that the proposed date would prevent Labor Day parties on the island on May 1. However, the island would still be able to welcome tourists that have long planned and made the necessary arrangements to spend the Holy Week break there.

The final decision is in the hands of President Duterte and it is yet to be seen whether he would approve the proposal of the three departments or would pick another date for the island’s imminent closure.

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Three Starting Flights Bring 359 Survivors into EPT Sochi Main Event Day 2

Casino News Daily
Three Starting Flights Bring 359 Survivors into EPT Sochi Main Event Day 2

The first EPT Main Event after the tournament series’ year-long hiatus is currently taking place at Sochi Casino and Resort in Sochi, Russia. Days 1B and 1C of the ₽192,000 buy-in event were played at the host casino on Saturday.

Day 1B kicked off at noon local time and featured ten 60-minute levels. As many as 395 entries registered for the tournament during that second starting flight, but only 189 of them survived to the end of the day. They bagged and tagged for the night and will return at the host venue later today, when the survivors from the Main Event’s three starting flights will all gather under the same roof for the first time.

Ezequiel Waigel from Argentina ended Day 1B as the chip leader. The player had accumulated a stack of 266,400 by the end of the day. Here it is important to note that the player, whose current poker bankroll currently amounts to $216,085, will actually enter Day 2 as the overall chip leader from all three starting flights.

Others to have made it close to the top of the Day 1B chip counts chart included Artemii Chudnov with 219,000, Valentin Zolotilov with 204,600, Segey Menshov with 195,800, and Alexey Tyulenev with 194,300.

Day 1C of the Main Event was too played on Saturday. It kicked off at 8 pm local time and featured a turbo structure. A total of 124 entries entered the tournament through that final starting flight. Of those, only 60 survived all ten 30-minute levels to bag and tag for the night and return for Day 2 action. Vanush Mnatsakanyan finished the day as the chip leader with a total of 199,000 in chips. However, the player ranks fifth in the general chip counts ranking as several players from previous flights had bigger stacks.

How Many Will Return for Day 2?

Day 2 is set to begin at noon local time. As mentioned above, it will see the survivors from all three starting flights, plus some more players as registration for the event will remain open until the start of Day 2.

As many as 254 entries bought into the tournament on Day 1A and only 110 of them survived. Day 1B had 395 entries and 189 survivors. And finally, Day 1C drew 124 entries and saw 60 players make it to the end of play. This means that the tournament attracted a total of 773 entries during the three starting flights, and that 359 of them made it to Day 2. With registration still open, the field could grow event further.

The Main Event features a guaranteed prize pool of ₽150,000,000. It is yet to be seen whether the guarantee will be cracked. The final prize pool and the places paid are to be confirmed later today and once registration for the tournament closes. The Main Event is set to run through March 29 at Sochi Casino.

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Saturday, March 24, 2018 12:09 PM

Government Officials From The Taxation And Gaming Deparments Of Castilla La Mancha (Spain) Visit ZITRO

Government Officials From The Taxation And Gaming Deparments Of Castilla La Mancha (Spain) Visit ZITRO

Zitro received an extraordinary visit from the Director of Taxation and Gaming of Castilla La Mancha (Spain), Ms. Susana Pastor, as well as the Head of Game Services of Castilla La Mancha (Spain) Mr. Javier Gómez.

Enhanced Rules for Gambling Ads on British TV to Come Into Force in Mid-2018

Casino News Daily
Enhanced Rules for Gambling Ads on British TV to Come Into Force in Mid-2018

Gambling ads shown on UK television should feature responsible gambling messages throughout their duration from the end of June 2018. The new requirement was introduced on Friday by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) as the latest enhancement to its Code for Socially Responsible Gambling Advertising (Industry Code).

UK-facing gambling companies will thus be required to add a responsible gambling message or a reference to to every gambling-related commercial on UK television and to make sure that the message is legible and runs throughout the length of the clip.

Established in 2014, IGRG is currently comprised of the Association of British Bookmakers, BACTA, the National Casino Forum, the Bingo Association, and the Remote Gambling Association. All of the aforementioned are trade bodies that represent the UK gambling industry and its various sectors.

IGRG itself through its Industry Code aims to promote and encourage the provision of different gambling services in a socially responsible manner.

The introduction of the new TV advertising requirement came after a broader review of the UK Government into gambling companies advertising activity found that the reference and other responsible gambling messages featured as part of adverts did not appear on screen long enough to be easily spotted by viewers.

The new advertising guidelines are included in the fourth edition of the Industry Code. The Code was first introduced in 2007 when the Gambling Act 2005 came into force. It was reviewed in 2016 and 2017. IGRG said in a Friday statement that it is now committed to reviewing the Code on an annual basis so that emerging issues are resolved in a timely manner.

Gambling Ads on UK Television

Television has long been among the most popular mediums among gambling operators to advertize their services on. According to a 2016 report by measurement firm Nielsen, UK-facing gambling companies spent £456 million to advertize on British television in the period between 2012 and 2015.

While a well-established watershed policy prevents gambling adverts from being shown before 9 pm, there are certain exceptions to the general rule. Under UK advertising regulations, gambling-related advertising content can be shown during live broadcasts of sports events throughout the day.

Anti-gambling campaigners have long been calling for an overall pre-watershed ban on gambling TV ads, citing concerns that these trivialize gambling to children and overexpose vulnerable people to the risks gambling activities may create.

A recent report by the UK Gambling Commission indicated that while people, and children in particular, may not be watching television as they used to, gambling ads on TV are still reaching young and vulnerable members of the population. According to the report’s findings, 80% of all children aged 11 to 16 had seen gambling adverts on television and about 39% had seen these at least once a week.

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Friday, March 23, 2018 12:12 PM

Belgium’s Constitutional Court Restores VAT Exemption on Online Gambling Services

Casino News Daily
Belgium’s Constitutional Court Restores VAT Exemption on Online Gambling Services

The Constitutional Court of Belgium annulled on Thursday a 2016 constitutional amendment under which online gambling operators were required to pay a 21% value-added tax on their Belgian operations.

Belgium regulated its online gambling market in early 2010 when amendments to the Gaming and Betting Act of 1999 were published in the Belgian Official Gazette. The amendments took effect on January 1, 2011 to allow international gambling operators to apply for licenses from the Belgian Gaming Commission and operate in a regulated environment.

In 2016, the Belgian Finance Ministry successfully advanced a bill that proposed for online gambling services to become taxable under the country’s VAT laws. The new taxation regime came into force on August 1, 2016.

Gaming and betting transactions are exempt from VAT in the most general case. The Belgian government justified its decision to change the status quo in 2016 with the need for new revenue sources and for a major boost to the country’s tax income. It was estimated that the termination of gambling and betting companies’ VAT exemption could generate the additional amount of €39 million for Belgium’s coffers.

Malta-headquartered gambling operator Kindred Group (previously Unibet Group) was among the first to comment on the latest tax developments in Belgium and the Constitutional Court decision. The company has previously challenged the introduction of VAT on online gambling operations, slamming it as “unfair” and arguing that it undermined “policy objectives” and lowered channelization by affecting consumer protection.

In a statement from earlier today, Kindred went on to say:

The ruling also points out the inherent incompatibility between consumer protection and tax revenue objectives, especially when products (lotteries vs other products) and channels (retail vs online) are treated differently.

Gambling Ads Crackdown

The Thursday ruling was certainly a big victory for Belgium-facing online gaming and betting operators. However, the country’s gambling industry suffered a heavy blow last fall, when it became known that the Belgian Chamber of Representatives has approved a proposal for the introduction of a stricter gambling advertising code.

The proposal first emerged last summer when it was tabled by Koen Geens, a Christian Democrat MP from Belgium’s Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams party. Mr. Geens criticized heavily the increased exposure of gambling services to vulnerable people, including children, through advertising and presented what he believed would be a good solution to the issue.

Mr. Geens’ plan included an outright ban on gambling-related ads during sports events broadcasts and the introduction of an 8 pm watershed. The politician and his party also called for the number of ads by each individual operator to be limited and for new measures tackling problem gambling and wider awareness of gambling-related risks to be introduced. The move was supported by the Belgian Gaming Commission.

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Galaxy to Buy Wynn Stake

Galaxy to Buy Wynn Stake

Galaxy Entertainment Group. Ltd. agreed to buy a stake in Wynn Resorts Ltd., in a surprise move linking two of the biggest operators in Macau and Las Vegas that could reshape the gaming landscape in the Chinese territory.

Thursday, March 22, 2018 11:48 PM

Can New Jersey Online Casinos Catch Up To Golden Nugget? Maybe, Maybe Not

Can New Jersey Online Casinos Catch Up To Golden Nugget? Maybe, Maybe Not
dogs running

After posting another banner month in revenue for February 2018, Golden Nugget NJ seems poised to keep its position at the top for good. Whether other NJ online casinos can close the gap is up for debate.

The post Can New Jersey Online Casinos Catch Up To Golden Nugget? Maybe, Maybe Not appeared first on .

Two Casinos Reach Out to Macau’s Health Bureau Applying for 12 Smoking Lounges

Casino News Daily
Two Casinos Reach Out to Macau’s Health Bureau Applying for 12 Smoking Lounges

Today, the Health Bureau (SS) of Macau revealed that it has been reached out by two casinos applying to build a total of 12 smoking lounges in their properties as of March 21st. The casino operators that have filed applications seeking the local authorities’ approval, are the recently-opened MGM Cotai and Ponte 16 casino hotel. No additional information about the number of smoking lounges sought to be established by each of the companies was revealed.

According to information provided by the Health Bureau, other casinos in the gambling hub also have intentions to apply, seeking permission to set up smoking lounges in their gambling facilities.

Gaming companies that currently operate in the city have until September 28th to apply for opening new smoking lounges in order for them to have a chance of getting the authorities’ approval before the new smoking ban in casinos comes into effect on January 1st, 2019. Today, the Health Bureau of Macau announced that September 28th would be the last day for local gambling operators to file their applications for setting special smoking lounges with enhanced technical standards in their casino venues.

As far as existing smoking lounges constructed on casino mass floors after the ban are concerned, casino operators would be required to have them upgraded in order for the facilities to meet the new standards imposed by Macau’s Health Bureau.

Macau Casino Smoking Ban

The new regulatory regime on smoking was imposed by the Macau Government in October 2014. At that time, the Government suspended smoking on casino mass floors, with an exception being made for the so-called enclosed smoking lounges.

The latter are special facilities located on some casino mass-market floors, where there are no gaming tables or slot machines, but smoking is allowed. On July 14th 2017, the Legislative Assembly of Macau gave the green light to a revised bill on smoking under which smoking in VIP rooms was suspended. Despite the fact that the amendment was set to be officially enforced on January 1st 2018, visitors of Macau casino VIP rooms are to be given the opportunity for tableside tobacco use until January 1st 2019, because the city’s casinos were provided with a grace period of one year to apply for and set up VIP smoking lounges under the new piece of legislation.

In accordance with the legislation amendment, smoking would be fully banned in casinos as of January 1st 2019, with the only exception being made for the above-mentioned smoking lounges.

The owners of already existing casino smoking lounges would have to submit separate requests to upgrade the facilities and would have to be provided with new licenses from the Macau authorities in order to be given the chance to operate such lounges. In case that any casinos run existing smoking lounges without the necessary technical upgrades and under a newly-issued operating license after the smoking ban comes into effect on January 1st 2019, they could be forced to pay monetary fine of up to MOP 200,000.

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Japan Gaming Congress organisers announce four new agenda themes, diving into the complexity of IRs

Japan Gaming Congress organisers announce four new agenda themes, diving into the complexity of IRs

Japan Gaming Congress, May 10-11, Conrad, Tokyo

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