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Saturday, March 31, 2018

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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.

The post Biggest EPT Sochi Winners appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Ionut Rusu

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.

The post Gov. Cuomo Refuses Bailout to Cash-Strapped del Lago Resort & Casino appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ionut Rusu

Juegos Miami registration up by over 40%

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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. 

Ionut Rusu

Popular Social Casino Constitutes Illegal Online Gambling in Washington

Casino News Daily
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.

The post Popular Social Casino Constitutes Illegal Online Gambling in Washington appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Ionut Rusu

The RANK Group Celebrate Raising A Record £1.8m For Carers Trust Thanks To Support Of Staff And Customers

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The RANK Group Celebrate Raising A Record £1.8m For Carers Trust Thanks To Support Of Staff And Customers

The valuable support of Rank Group staff and customers has been recognised at a special event in Coventry on 14th March

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Ionut Rusu

Esports Lights Up On the Vegas Strip

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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

Ionut Rusu

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.

The post Is £1 Million Enough Punishment for SkyBet for Failing Self-Excluded Gamblers? appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Ionut Rusu

Poker pro Indicted in $6.2M Super Bowl & World Cup Ticket Scam

BankrollMob News - Poker / Casino / Betting
Poker pro Indicted in $6.2M Super Bowl & World Cup Ticket Scam
Federal prosecutors stated that a poker player from California faces charges that he duped investors out of more than $6 million in a Super Bowl and World Cup ticket-flipping scam. On March 15, Thursday, Seyed Reza Ali Fazeli, age 49, a poker player resident of Orange County, California, had been indicted at the U.S. Attorney's Office on two felony counts of wire fraud, which can potentially send him to jail for up to 40 years. From May 2016-May 2017, Fazeli managed to raise a total of $6.2 [...]

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Ionut Rusu

Jaime Staples and Younger Bro Win $150K Weight Loss Prop Bet from Bill Perkins

BankrollMob News - Poker / Casino / Betting
Jaime Staples and Younger Bro Win $150K Weight Loss Prop Bet from Bill Perkins
It has finally been a year since poker player and hedge fund manager Bill Perkins challenged Jaime Staples and his brother Matt to a lucrative prop bet - that both brothers need to get within 1 pound bodyweight of each other in one year in order to win $150,000. If they lose, they only have to shell out $3,000. Their initial weigh in was made 6 days after the bet, in which Jaime's weight was at 310 lbs (140 kg) whereas Matt was only 135 lbs (60 kg). Fast forward to February 2018, Jaime was abl[...]
Ionut Rusu

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.

The post Borgata Motion for Summary Judgment Denied in Latest Installment of Phil Ivey Edge-Sorting Saga appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Monday, March 26, 2018

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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

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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.

Ionut Rusu

AmSoGood Makes a Quick $117k from Viktor �Isildur1' Blom at PokerStars online PLO tables

BankrollMob News - Poker / Casino / Betting
AmSoGood Makes a Quick $117k from Viktor �Isildur1' Blom at PokerStars online PLO tables
On March 21, 2018 Wednesday, player AmSoGood made a quick but sweet $117,000 off of Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom after defeating him at a heads-up PLO match in the wee hours that day. The two sat down just after midnight struck at a $200/$400 PLO table, and they then had a second go at it a quarter of an hour after that. Their total session lasted for only 37 minutes, had 80 hands total on the first table and 41 on the second. AmSoGood won on both tables - $62,265 and then $55,387 - thus makin[...]