Posts Tagged ‘Announces’

PokerStars Announces Withdrawal from Australia

 PokerStars Announces Withdrawal from Australia

PokerStars has sent an e-mail to its Australian players that it will withdraw from the Australia market in mid-September following the passage of a new online gambling bill in the country. The Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) passed parliament on August 9th and effectively bars all internet gaming sites that are not licensed in Australia. PokerStars does not have such a license.

Now, one’s initial reaction might be that PokerStars will just apply for a license, eventually be granted one, and Aussies can start playing again. And that would be a reasonable thought, but unfortunately, that won’t happen. The bill permits online gambling, but only of the sports betting variety. As sports betting operators are the only ones, therefore, who would be able to apply for a license, online poker operators like PokerStars have no way of complying with the law. Well, no way except to get out of Dodge.

PokerStars had already announced that there was a high likelihood it would leave Australia, so this comes as no surprise, even though it is disappointing. The exact withdrawal date depends on when the law goes into effect, but it is expected in roughly the middle part of next month.

Online bingo site Vera&John was the first online gambling site to exit Australia, doing so in December 2016. 888poker was the first poker site to do it, leaving the country in January of this year.

Below is the entire statement issued to Australian players by PokerStars:

The Australian parliament on August 9 passed the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill (2016) effectively banning all online gambling sites that are not locally licensed under Australian State or Territory law. We’ve been aware of this day coming and have done our best to keep you informed, but we can confirm that we’ll be closing our real money poker tables to players in Australia, most likely around mid-September. We will contact you as soon as a firm date is confirmed.

Your funds are, and will continue to be, safe and available for withdrawal. Remember to open any unopened Stars Rewards Chests you have, and you can continue to spend your StarsCoin in the Rewards Store. A $ 1 Cash Rebate has been added to facilitate converting your StarsCoin to cash. Any tournament tickets and tournament money will be converted to cash for withdrawal, effective from the market exit date. We have provided a FAQ page here.

We’re proud to have seen the Australian poker community grow so strong over the last decade. We do respect the Australian Government’s decision in taking steps to protect consumers and hope that in time we’ll be able to serve real money poker to you again. In the meantime, we will continue to offer play money poker and we hope to continue to welcome many Australian players to our tables.

We’d also like to thank the Australian Online Poker Alliance for their campaigning on behalf of the game and suggest that you consider lending them your voice if you’d like to see a regulated return of online poker to Australia.

Poker News Daily

World Poker Tour Announces Creation of WPT Japan

 World Poker Tour Announces Creation of WPT Japan

The World Poker Tour (WPT) announced Wednesday that for the first time, the Tour will be making a trip to Japan. Partnering with the Japan Poker Union Corporation, the World Poker Tour will launch the new WPT Japan in Tokyo November 23rd through November 26th.

“The Japan Poker Union Corporation is very pleased to partner with the World Poker Tour on this brand new event, WPT Japan,” Japan Poker Union Corporation’s representative, Yabuuchi Nobuhiro, said in a press release. “The World Poker Tour is the perfect brand to help launch a new chapter for poker in our country, and we look forward to hosting players from all over at WPT Japan and showcasing all that this great region has to offer.”

There will be just four events at WPT Japan, which makes sense, as the WPT likely wants to test the market before getting too ambitious. Qualifiers for the tournaments will be held at local poker clubs.

Interestingly, it looks like these events might actually be freerolls. Normally, when the WPT issues a press release about a new tour stop or even just one hyping the return to a location that has been on the schedule for years, some mention is made of what the buy-ins will be to the events, or at least to the stop’s championship event. In this press release, there is no such discussion of buy-ins. It is possible that they just haven’t been set yet, though one would expect the WPT to explain this in the announcement. Admittedly, I don’t know much of anything about Japanese gambling laws, but perhaps the reason for no buy-ins could lie there.

Further evidence of the tournaments being sans buy-in is that the WPT states, “Prizes for all WPT Japan events will consist of packages to future WPT events. The WPT Japan Main Event winner will receive a package to both the Season XVII WPT Main Tour event in Beijing, plus another WPT event of their choice in the Asia-Pacific region.”

If there were buy-ins, there would almost certainly be cash prizes and if there were no cash prizes, there would be an explanation as to why.

Participants in the WPT Japan tournaments will also earn points toward the WPT Asia-Pacific Player of the Year leader board. The winner of the POY race will get a $ 15,000 prize package for any WPT event in the Asia-Pacific region, including complimentary accommodation.

“The World Poker Tour is honored to partner with the Japan Poker Union Corporation for this momentous occasion, not only the history of the World Poker Tour, but for our industry,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska. “Japan is a truly spectacular place, and the Japanese poker market is a flourishing one that deserves to be showcased on a global stage such as the World Poker Tour. Having spent a considerable amount of time in Japan, I strongly encourage poker players of all levels from around the world to come to Japan and experience first hand everything this beautiful region has to offer.”

Poker News Daily

World Poker Tour Announces WPT European Championship

 World Poker Tour Announces WPT European Championship

Perhaps looking to partially fill the void left by the termination of the European Poker Tour, the World Poker Tour (WPT) announced today the addition of the Season XVI WPT European Championship to the schedule, a poker festival culminating with the WPT European Championship €3,300 Main Event. The entire tour stop will run January 5th through January 15th next year at Spielbank Casino in Berlin, Germany, with the Main Event going January 10th through close.

“It is with great pleasure that the World Poker Tour announces the WPT European Championship and the return of a televised event to Europe,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. “Much has changed since the WPT’s last televised European event in Season XII, but one thing that has remained certain is Europe’s incredible enthusiasm for poker. The continent is home to some of the world’s most talented poker players, including several WPT Champions Club members. We look forward to hosting the entire poker world in Berlin for the televised WPT European Championship.”

The World Poker Tour is also mixing its tours in a sense with the WPT European Championship, starting off the stop with a €1,500 WPTDeepStacks Event (by the way, why are there no spaces in WPTDeepStacks?).

“As poker’s premier mid-major tournament circuit, WPTDeepStacks is excited to be the opening event of the WPT European Championship festival,” said Executive Director of WPTDeepStacks Chris Torina. “Offering our €1,500 buy-in WPTDeepStacks Berlin event in combination with the WPT European Championship €3,300 Main Event, plus all of the other great events we have filled the schedule with, will create one of the best festivals not only in Europe, but around the world.”

Interestingly, with as long as the World Poker Tour has been around, this will be the first time it has made a stop in Berlin. Marcel Langner, Director of Operations for Spielbank Casino, expressed his excitement in the WPT statement:

Spielbank Casino is honored to partner with the World Poker Tour to welcome the WPT to Germany for the first time in its rich history. Poker’s popularity in Europe is no secret. We are proud to welcome players not only from across all of Europe, but the entire world, and to showcase all that this amazing region has to offer on the global stage of the World Poker Tour.

As of right now, the WPT European Championship will slot in as the caboose of the WPT schedule, coming a month after the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

There have been just two WPT stops so far this season, WPT Beijing and WPT Amsterdam. The remaining seven – not counting the WPT European Championship – are all in North America, starting with WPT Choctaw in August. There will surely be more stops added, though, as mainstays such as WPT Bay 101 younger, popular stops such as WPT Rolling Thunder have yet to appear on the list.

Poker News Daily

UKGC Announces New Customer Account Access Regulations

 UKGC Announces New Customer Account Access Regulations

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) recently unveiled new regulations with the goal of making sure consumers are given better options by online gaming operators for ways to review their own gambling activity.

The requirements that online operators will need to have in place by April 1st, 2018 are:

•    ensure consumers are able to directly access 3 months’ worth of account and gambling information, with a minimum period of 12 months available on request
•    ensure account and gambling history provides easy to understand totals for a defined period (for example, the ability to be able to view transaction history for the previous two months)
•    give consumers access to information about their net deposits (ie the running total of all deposits minus the sum of all withdrawals)
•    allow consumers to set financial limits across their entire gambling account as well as individual games.

UKGC program director Sharon McNair said in a press release:

The findings of our recent consultation indicate that there are differences in approach amongst licensees in relation to the level of information available to their consumers and the ease by which that information is accessible. The new requirements seek to address this and ensure greater consistency in the information available to consumers regardless of who they choose to gamble with.

Gambling operators must see beyond the bottom line, and ensure both new and existing gambling products are effectively managing the risks to the licensing objectives, keeping gambling safe and fair for all.

Being able to check account information with great detail is fantastic, but players still need to be able to get to their funds. A week prior to the announcement of the new regulations, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) opened an investigation into alleged practices by some online gambling operators that could serve to prevent players from withdrawing funds from their accounts.

The practices have to do with “know your customer” (KYC) rules, in which operators are required to verify player identities to prevent things like fraud and money laundering. The problem, though, is that some operators are allegedly being way too restrictive with the implementation of these checks, resulting in in customers being unable to cash out.

UKGC chief executive Sarah Harrison said:

Identity checks are an important duty on the industry to prevent money laundering and to ensure responsible gambling. Where operators haven’t met those obligations, we have taken clear action.

However, those checks cannot be used as an excuse to unduly restrict legitimate customers from withdrawing their funds. If the CMA finds specific consumer protection failings in this area, it will add further cause for the Commission to review how fairly operators are treating consumers.

It can be a fine line between asking for too much identity verification and too little. On June 21st, the Gambling Commission warned operators that it could take disciplinary action for “not effectively managing money laundering and social responsibility risks, or acting in a fair and open manner.”

The Commission noted that it has found that some operators only ask for identification from customers when it is time to cash out, which not only means that they aren’t taking necessary KYC steps early and at the same time could be frustrating customers with unforeseen inconvenience when all they want is their money.

Poker News Daily

PokerStars Announces 2017 SCOOP Schedule

 PokerStars Announces 2017 SCOOP Schedule

PokerStars has released the schedule for the 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), one that promises to be the poker room’s most ambitious yet. Last year’s SCOOP broke all sorts of PokerStars records, but this one will be a week longer, and have $ 55 million in guaranteed prize pools, $ 15 million more than the 2016 version. It will have the usual SCOOP schedule format, with events running in triplicate with three separate buy-ins for each. All told, there are 57 events on the schedule, which means there are 171 total tournaments.

The extra week is at the beginning of the SCOOP scheduled, reserved for “phased” tournaments. The way these week is there are multiple starting flights spread across several days (a week, in this case). Each flight lasts the same amount of time. Later in the poker festival, the survivors from all those flights return to continue the tournament. It’s a way to give people a chance to play in a huge tourney was big prize pools, but not have to commit to playing for a day or two straight.

One interesting game type making its SCOOP debut is “Win the Button,” which first showed up in last year’s WCOOP. There will be both No-Limit Hold’em and No-Limit Omaha versions of the event. In Win the Button, the player who wins the hand gets the button on the next hand, thus the name makes perfect sense. These tourneys tend to feature more aggressive play, as the reward for winning a hand is much greater than normal.

There are also a number of Progressive Knockout tournaments on the schedule. In these, half the buy-in is put into the prize pool, while half is used as a bounty on each player’s head. Instead of winning a player’s entire bounty when knocking them out, though, you only get half of it, while the other half is added to your own bounty.

And then there is the one event that is the Progressive 100% Knockout. In this one, ALL of the buy-in is used as bounty. The only way to win money is to eliminate other players.

As mentioned, the 2016 SCOOP destroyed records. With nearly $ 91 million prize pools (168 total tourneys), it set the mark for the largest combined prize pool for an online tournament series in poker history.

The three Main Events all set records themselves, as well:

•    2016 SCOOP $ 10,000 High Main Event: 824 players, $ 8,000,001.76 prize pool (previous record 694 players, $ 6,940,000 prize pool in 2015 SCOOP)
•    2016 SCOOP $ 1,000 Mid Main Event: 5,026 players, $ 4,786,661.88 prize pool (previous record 4,238 players, $ 4,238,000 prize pool in 2015 SCOOP)
•    2016 SCOOP $ 100 Low Main Event: 24,591 players, $ 2,255,978.34 prize pool (previous record 23,045 players, $ 2,304,500 prize pool in 2013 SCOOP)

Poker News Daily

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