Partypoker To Sponsor PGA EuroPro Tour In 2019

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Online poker behemoth PartyPoker has recently announced a new sponsorship agreement with the PGA EuroPro Tour in 2019. The deal which was announced on November 1 will see the renowned online poker company feature at stops on EuroPro Tour which acts as a feeder for the European Tour and the Challenge Tour. In addition to branding during the 2019 season, there will be more “promotional opportunities” with some of the golfers as well as visibility across the organization’s social media channels.

While this sponsorship deal will give Partypoker additional opportunities to promotes its brand, the company has been part of some pretty lucrative partnerships in the past. In 2008, for instance, the online poker company became the headline sponsor for the PGA EuroPro Tour Qualifying School. In the past two years, the company has done quite well for itself by reviving its online poker room, launching more live online poker offering and fostering stronger connections with its growing player database.

“We are excited to come on board with the Euro ProTour for the forthcoming season and further strengthen our relationship with Matchroom Sport,” Partypoker managing director, Tom Waters said. “The tour hosts some of the most exciting events across Europe, and we look forward to supporting Matchroom in their quest to unearth the next generation of golfing stars.”

With the PGA EuroPro Tour sponsorship, PartyPoker hopes to leverage the great reputation that has been created – the tour is essentially a proving ground for upcoming golfers. Billed as the “leading development tour” in Europe, the PGA EuroPro is known for graduating its most successful players onto the Challenge Tour which is just one step shy of being the continents biggest and most lucrative golf tour. The top stop is occupied by the European Tour.

“Our developmental golf tour has become one of the leading circuits for young professionals looking to become tomorrow’s superstars of the sport. I am really looking forward to building on an already strong relationship with PartyPoker and can’t wait to see the benefits it will bring to all involved in the PGA EuroPro Tour,” Barry Hearn, the Tour Chairman commented.

More to It Than Meets the Eye

Partypoker plans to set itself apart from other operators by expanding its presence across all the corners of the globe and putting out massive guarantees. However, in Europe, one of the biggest challenges for poker operators is the advertising restrictions that are imposed on gambling-related activities. By partnering with the PGA EuroPro Tour, PartyPoker will have a golden opportunity to advertise itself to millions of fans.

US Legalizes Esports Betting, Approves Unikrn’s License

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Last Tuesday, Unikrn, a gaming operator known for its blockchain-infused esports betting projects, had its esports betting license approved by the Isle of Man, a move that has officially laid the groundwork for legal and regulated sports betting in the United States. Esports fans both within the United States and some other international markets will soon be able to bet on various esports events including tournaments and championship matches.

Unikrn, which is the world’s first betting platform to be built entirely on blockchain technology has had plans to merge real-money betting on competitive video gaming with crypto and blockchain technologies. The approval of its licenses by the Isle of Man is a huge step forward for the company and which has already moved fast to deploy its crypto esports gambling services in 20 different regions – the company began rolling out its online gaming products to the 20 countries as soon as the Isle of Man approved its license.

It plans to follow through by offering esports betting to European countries, South Korean and other Asian nations as well as parts of Latin America. In the US, the company will be offering several types of esports gambling services save for spectator betting which is yet to be legalized.

With the new products, the platform’s users in the countries where sports betting is legal will have the opportunity to bet on major esports competitions like the forthcoming League of Legends World Championship. Unlike traditional sportsbooks, Unikrn will be taking a unique approach that will be based on skill-based bets – this will allow the gamers to bet on their game performance for in games such as Player Unknown: Battlegrounds and Fortnite.

High Hopes Esports Betting Market

The approval of Unikrn esports betting license is certainly going to pave way for more companies to venture into the space – in fact, a number of esports betting platforms already exist but they have yet to be officially recognized by the Isle of Man. Still, the market is expected to significantly grow further from here on out. According to Rahul Sood, Unikrn’s CEO, the esports betting market could be worth $9 billion by 2020 if it’s nurtured properly.

“There is finally a legitimate, regulated operator in the space that has a pretty comprehensive offering,” Sood commented on his company’s approved esports betting license. “It’s huge.”

For the esports betting venture, Unikrn will also be featuring technology from Bittrex, a US-based asset trading platform. Bittrex’s technology will assist Unikrn in establishing a system for seamless crypto accessibility for the users of the gaming platform. The company’s in-house cryptocurrency, UnikoinGold (UKG) will be the primary token for esports spectator wagering in the 20 regions where Unikrn his set to begin operations.

Midterm Elections Could Affect Online Poker Legislation

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The midterm elections in various states in the US are usually not considered to be very important (even though they are) but this year, you might need to pay some extra attention especially if you are an online casino gamer or poker player. During the forthcoming midterm elections, there are a couple of states that will be holding elections and referendums which are anticipated to have some profound impacts on online poker, sports wagering and online gaming in general. While the elections could mean a step forward for online poker legislation in certain states, there is a huge possibility that it could also mean a step in the opposite direction for some other states.

Nevada

Legal and regulated online poker went live in Nevada in 2013 under the state’s current governor, Brian Sandoval, who also happens to be a proponent of online gambling. Now, for this year’s midterm elections, the problem is that the term limits prevent the governor from running for re-election and in his place will the current Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt who won the Republican party primary in June. Unlike Governor Sandoval, Adam Laxalt has not been shy to express his rather bold stance against online gambling – he has even gone as far as publicly criticizing the state’s online poker legislation.

Furthermore, in addition to adding his name to the list of state attorney generals who are supporting the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, Laxalt has also recently signed a letter addressed to the Trump Administration asking the Department of Justice to reverse the legal opinion from 2011 that states that the Wire Act is only applicable to sports betting.

Obviously, if Adam Laxalty wins the midterm elections next month, legal and regulated online poker in the state of Nevada might meet its untimely end.

California

Hopefully, during the November midterm elections, the long-awaited online poker legislation will be taken off the shelf. Lawmakers in the state have come quite close to legalizing and regulating online poker but everything fell apart after a disagreement about the “suitable poker operator” came up. Since then, they have spent close to two years debating whether various gaming entities including the casinos, horse racing facilities, or gaming sites should be given the opportunity to offer online poker.

Florida

In Florida’s case, one of the biggest issues is Amendment 3, which also happens to be one of the biggest ballot issues in any state this time around. Otherwise known as “The Voter Control of Gambling in Florida”, Amendment 3, if passed, would require that before any new form of casino gaming is set up in the state, it would have to pass a vote with at least a 60 percent approval rate.

NHS Asks Premier League Teams to Tackle Problem Gambling

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According to Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS (National Health Service), Premier League football clubs and the foreign bookmakers that sponsor them are failing at their duty to help protect problem gamblers. Speaking at a conference in Manchester, Mr. Stevens called out the overseas betting companies for their failure to make the required donations to an industry charity that was formed to help in tackling gambling addiction.

“There is an increasing link between problem gambling and stress, depression and other mental health problems. Doctors report that two-thirds of problem gamblers get worse without help, and the NHS does offer specialist treatment,” Simon Stevens said. “But reports that foreign gambling companies are failing to play their part in co-funding help for addicts are deeply concerning. Taxpayers and the NHS should not be left to pick up the pieces. The health of the nation is everyone’s responsibility.”

He further described compulsive gambling as one of the “new threat” that the NHS has to deal with waring that the implications could be very serious especially since the already overstretched NHS has had to “pick up the pieces” from gambling-related mental health issues.

“One of the things, if we’re serious about prevention, that we need to do – we need to be getting on to the Premier League and asking them to ensure that those foreign gambling firms are playing their part,” he added.

Worrying Numbers

According to the UK Gambling Commission, the UK has about 430,000 problem gamblers, a number that is likely to grow even further if nothing is done. In fact, the NHS has already moved to open its first mental clinic aimed specifically at problem gamblers but this is a just a drop in the ocean when compared to what really needs to be done.

“This is at the same time as the voluntary contribution from the gambling industry has not been responded to by eight overseas firms who sponsor Premier League clubs, so we need to get onto the Premier League to make sure they contribute.”

The dire need for interventions has been recognized and echoed by a number of organizations including GambleAware which has openly welcomed the NHS chief’s component.

“With nearly half the clubs in the Premier League and over two-thirds of the Championship league sponsored by gambling companies, we are seriously concerned the relationship between sport and gambling has reached a tipping point. There is a real risk gambling advertising and sponsorships are normalizing gambling for children. We welcome the call from NHS England for gambling companies, wherever they are based, to contribute more to treating problem gambling,” a spokesperson from GambleAware said. “We would like to see all clubs, leagues, and broadcasters who profit from gambling work with us to help fund treatment for this hidden addiction.”

California Tribe’s Online Gaming Bid Nixed by Federal Court

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The California-based Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, a native tribe in the United States has been championing its online poker and bingo offerings for a while now but it seems they were not quite ready for the battle that would ensue.

The tribe’s Desert Rose online bingo site has been the bone of contention that has pitted the federal regulators of the tribe for years. However, unfortunately for the tribe, a federal court has made a ruling that sides with federal regulators – the site will have to go.

The U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit, following the recent U.S. Supreme Court landmark ruling that lifted the federal ban on sports betting, upheld a previous decision by a lower district court. The decision had sided with the state of California is its efforts to try and force the tribe at the picture as far as online gambling is concerned.

Even though the tribe’s chances of winning this fight were somewhat limited, the case still represents a key milestone in the quest for adding clarity to gambling laws in the country.

The case which stems back to November 2014 stated that the tribal operator had violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) – at the time when the tribe launched the Desert Rose Bing Site, the state of California did not have any regulatory framework in place. The tribe, in its defense, argued that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) had given it sovereign right to offer Class II games like poker and bingo. However, the court maintained that the UIGEA law is superior to the IGRA.

“The panel held that Iipay Nation’s operation of Desert Rose Casino violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”). The panel held that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act protected gaming activity conducted on Indian lands, but the patrons’ act of placing a bet or wager on a game of Desert Rose Casino while located in California, violated the UIGEA and was not protected by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The panel further held that even if all of the “gaming activity” associated with Desert Rose Casino occurred on Indian lands, the patrons’ act of placing bets or wagers over the internet while located in a jurisdiction where those bets or wagers were illegal made Iipay Nation’s decision to accept financial payments associated with those bets or wagers a violation of the UIGEA,” reads an extract from the three-judge panel’s summary.

“Because Iipay’s operation of DRB violates the UIGEA, the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s order granting summary judgment to the Government.”

The tribe has not made any comments as to what it plans to do next – one of the options would be to take the case to the United States Supreme Court but there are very slim chances that the court would even consider hearing the case.

NBA Strikes Gambling Partnership with MGM Resorts

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The NBA on Tuesday, July 30, announced that it had struck a deal with MGM Resorts International to be its official gambling partner. This partnership, which is the first ever for a sports league and gambling operator marks a crucial step forward for sports betting in the United States especially considering that before the Supreme lifted the ban on sports betting, the leagues had for decades shunned any association with gambling activities.

“This is an industry and an area that we’ve been discussing a lot over the last several years, and of course, with the Supreme Court’s repeal of PASPA, it’s all come to a head,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.

Even though the Supreme Court ruling that repealed PASPA is not likely to culminate in a federal gambling bill, the ongoing state-by-state approach for the legalization of sports betting will help the NBA and other leagues to tap into the new revenue stream that acknowledges the sports betting interests in the country. According to the sources close to the partnership, the deal is approximated to be $25 million over three years which may seem small, but the real value for the league may come through the creation of a market for their direct data feed.

MGM Resorts International will also enjoy a number of perks from the partnership. These included the rights to NBA league and team logo, highlights, access to official league data as well as recognition for being an “official gaming partner” of the NBA and WNBA. Using the aforementioned official NBA league data on its betting platforms, MGM will also be able to work with the league to detect and prevent fraud and game-fixing which have plagued both industries for a very long time.

The NHL Also Wants a Piece of the Gambling Action

The leagues have since abandoned the controversial quest for an “integrity fee” but this is not stopping some of them, including the NHL, from candidly and directly pursuing their interests in the gambling scene. According to recent reports, Gary Bettman, the NHL Commissioner, the league hopes to be paid from gambling interests for the sports intellectual properties associated with the league.

“We’ve historically been opposed to extending sports betting on our game, and, emotionally, I don’t think that’s changed. However, it is a fact of life in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, and it’ll be up to states to decide whether or not they’re going to enact sports betting,” Bettman stated.

“From our standpoint, we believe that whether it’s our intellectual property or data, whether it’s a video of our game, we have important assets. And if somebody is going to avail themselves or want to avail themselves of those assets in order to conduct their business, then we’re going to need to have a negotiation.”

Online Gaming in New Jersey Gets a Lot Easier

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While New Jersey’s online gambling industry is considered to be one of the best, online gamblers in the state have until recently had to cope with one very frustrating and annoying problem. Participating in online gambling in the state has been a nightmare for residents due to the difficulty of paying with credit cards. The situation was quite unfair especially considering the fact that we live in a world where credit cards are considered to be a standard of payment for a vast range of goods and services.

Having started as an attempt to regulate and prevent online gambling fraud in the state grew to become one of the most significant drawbacks to online gambling in the state as the banks were not allowing players to use their credits to deposits funds into their online casino accounts. As such, many gamblers had to jump through several hoops whenever they wanted to participate in the legal and regulated activity to ensure that their payments were not declined.

“At some point (the federal government) wanted to shut down illegal gambling in the U.S.,” explains Mattias Stetz, COO at Rush Street Interactive/playsugarhouse.com. “Banks became very subjective to what transactions they would or wouldn’t approve. However, since the legal and regulated New Jersey online casinos launched, some banks still haven’t changed their controls to reflect the new legal status.”

Even though these precautions proved to be quite helpful in preventing fraud and illegal gambling activities, it also served a pretty significant stumbling block for legitimate online gambling.

The Solution

New Jersey’s online gaming community has been anticipating a fix for this problem for quite some time now. Well, luckily for them, they now have an easier way to deposit money into their online casino accounts using their credit cards.

This is facilitated by a collaboration between Sugarhouse Online Casino (playsugarhouse.com), an online establishment, and Wyrz, an experienced payment provider. The two have created a system that allows customers to deposit money into their individual online gaming accounts with nearly all the available credit cards.

“Many may not be aware that one of the biggest challenges with online gaming in New Jersey has to do with depositing money to play,” Stetz explained. “When a player tries to fund their account with a conventional debit or credit card payment, the transaction would often fail. Now thanks to the partnership between playsugarhouse.com and Wyrz, that is no longer an issue for those looking to wager and win on the exciting casino games offered on the site.”

This will hopefully give online gamblers the ability to play stress-free since they no longer have to worry about their payments being declined by the bank.

“This should help the New Jersey tax income from gaming as well because all players will be able to play,” Stetz added.

SBTech Partners with Golden Nugget for Sportsbooks Venture

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Leading sports betting solutions provider, SBTech continues to snap up new business and partnerships in the United States. One of its latest deals involves a partnership with Golden Nugget Casino to launch an omnichannel sports betting solution for Golden Nugget’s casino in Mississippi in New Jersey. Under the new partnership, SBTech will be integrating its sportsbook with Golden Nugget’s existing online gaming platform in the two states, providing a full platform and a sportsbook solution that will include integration into their existing casino management systems.

In addition to this, the sport betting solutions provider will also be responsible for developing a custom and highly flexible front-end for Golden Nugget in a bid to ensure maximum differentiation. In a similar note, SBTech will apply a bespoke trading strategy and non-pooled risk management that is powered by unrivaled levels of automation which will give Golden Nugget Casinos the opportunity to shake up the United States market with its unique pricing for all sports.

“Since sports betting is a critical component of our successful expansion for online betting and gaming in the US, SBTech persisted through our arduous review process. In the end, we knew SBTech was the right partner for us because of its industry-leading retail and online technology, their significant and diverse regulatory experience, as well as its innovative product-driven approach,” Golden Nugget Casino’s senior vice president, Thomas Winter commented.

The partnership is also set to significantly contribute to SBTech’s endeavor to meet the licensing requirements set by both Mississippi and New Jersey. Both companies will benefit from SBTech’s live offering which will reinforce the long-term success of Golden Nugget’s sportsbooks. Customers can expect to enjoy some of the industry’s widest range of events and markets and groundbreaking new mobile-focused features like Action Betting and Pulse Bet, both of which will boost in-play turnover from key gaming demographics.

“I’m very pleased to confirm our latest strategic partnership with a major US operator. Golden Nugget fully shares our vision of leveraging the power of innovation to achieve sports betting success, and as the US market matures, I’m confident of the potential for further collaboration in multiple jurisdictions,” Richard Carter, the SBTech CEO said.

SBTech’s Partnership with Rocket X

Rocket X, which operates a number of gambling sites in the United Kingdome has also recently struck a partnership deal with SBTech. This one also involves supplying the former’s sportsbook to a number of UK-facing sites. The partnership was contracted directly in conjunction with LeoVegas, a leading Swedish mobile gaming operator that created the Rocket X brands earlier in March in a move to consolidate its UK assets.

“The strength of SBTech’s in-play coverage, its technological and regulatory expertise, proven track record of powering high-growth operators in the UK and wide range of responsible gambling controls were at the heart of our decision to sign this agreement. With the power of one of the industry’s top sportsbooks behind us, I’m confident of achieving a significant share in the uniquely competitive UK market,” Rocket X CEO, Mark Good said.

Pennsylvania’s Comprehensive Gambling Expansion Surges On

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The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has confirmed that the state’s plans for the establishment of mini-casinos, online gambling and a number of other developments are well underway. The members of the board believe that it is going to be a fairly smooth sail from here on out now that a lawsuit that has been challenging the gaming expansion has been dropped.

Even so, everything pertaining to the Keystone State’s comprehensive gambling expansion was already in the right regardless of the setbacks that included the said lawsuit.

“These are very busy times for the Gaming Control Board,” said Doug Harbach, the PGCB spokesperson. “We have six expansion initiatives that we are part of…There’s never been a jurisdiction in the United States that had to get that many types of gaming up and running in a very brief period of time.”

Filed by Penn National, the operator of Pennsylvania’s Hollywood Casino, the lawsuit which was filed earlier this year cited the company’s concerns that the legalization of mini-casinos would jeopardize and cannibalize their casino operation in the state. The lawsuit was, therefore, seeking to have the federal courts pass a ruling that would block the new Category 4 casino provisions since they treated the state’s existing operators unfairly and contained “unconstitutional” language.

According to Harbach, the Penn National lawsuit was one of the most significant setbacks to the Keystone State’s comprehensive gaming expansion. Even though some other issues may arise in the near future, Penn National’s decision to drop to the lawsuit will definitely lighten the load.

“We made a business decision to withdraw our lawsuits against the Category 4 law,” said Penn National spokesperson, Eric Schippers. “While we continue to believe in the merits of our arguments, we have chosen to focus entirely on our development efforts for our two new casinos, rather than pursue what is likely to be a lengthy and costly legal battle.”

“As previously stated, our goal in pursuing our Category 4 licenses is both defensive, in terms of protecting our existing investment at Hollywood Casino from new competition, and offensive in terms of penetrating more deeply into more populous market areas to our south and east, in order to drive incremental value for our shareholders.”

Internet Gambling

While the state is still handling and reviewing mini-casino proposals, the iGaming license process is also in progress. Already, nine of the state’s 13 casinos have paid the discounted $10 million licensing fee for slot machines, poker, and table games.

“Once we get the iGaming up, of course then we’ll start to look at the airport gaming,” Harbach added. “We’ve got the video gaming terminals at the truck stops…Course we began to do some regulation on fantasy sports and have collected taxes on that for a couple months. So, all those things.”

Sweden Welcomes International Online Poker Operators

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Sweden’s love affair with poker has existed for a very long time. However, its growth has to some extent always been impeded by the fact that the market has since the beginning of time been monopolized by the state. Things, fortunately, took a turn for the better in June 2018, when the newly introduced gambling laws did away with the state’s monopoly over online poker. This is exciting news, especially for the Swedish poker players who will soon be able to play online poker on international platforms other than the state-run Svenska Spel, and also play against players from other parts of the globe.

Keeping Up with Reality

Sweden was, in 2013, found to have been in violation of several of the European Union’s law especially with regards to a law that required all the member states to allow international operators to obtain internet gaming licenses. Despite this, as witnessed, it took five years for the country’s authorities to finally open up the market to international poker sites. Still, the state-owned Svenska Spel will continue to operate as it has always done until the ban on international poker and gambling platforms is lifted on January 1, 2019.

One factor that seems to have contributed to this huge decision is the Swedish authorities’ realization that it is almost impossible to enforce such a strict monopoly on the Swedish residents or any other person for that matter. This is simply due to the fact that the internet has always offered and will likely continue offering workarounds that render such laws as Sweden’s internet gambling monopoly useless. In fact, a number of online gambling operators such as PartyPoker, PokerStars, and 888Poker have been active in Sweden all this while without holding licenses from the Swedish authorities.

Sweden also hopes to tackle the issue of criminal activity with this move – it is common knowledge that unregulated gambling activities will more often than not facilitate or foster criminal activities. They hope that creating a more liberal online gambling industry, they will finally be able to curb or at least significantly minimize this particular problem.

More Details

Interested international online poker operators will be able to start applying for the necessary licenses on August 1 and the ones that will be lucky enough to be approved will be subject to an 18 percent tax. Svenska Pel will, however, not be subject to this tax. It will keep operating and supporting the country as usual with the stakeholders hoping that it will remain popular among Swedish online gamblers.

The new laws have now given the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) more power and it now has the authority to close down any of the online gaming operators that are offering their services without a license.