Posts Tagged ‘Expansion’
It was thought by this point that the Global Poker League, the burgeoning team poker organization created by the Global Poker Index and its head honcho Alex Dreyfus, would have already started its second season. However, Season 2 of the GPL has been held up while Dreyfus moves forward with other endeavors.
Chief among Dreyfus’ current interests are the start of the eight-team GPL China. For that league, Dreyfus has been able to sign a major deal with JuzhongJoy, a Beijing operation that will assist Dreyfus with operations, distribution, and sponsorships inside the Communist (but still quite capitalist when it comes to business) nation. “We want to…become the NBA of poker in China!” Dreyfus enthusiastically stated in an e-mail announcing the partnership.
This isn’t the end of regionalized GPL outlets either. “I am happy to tease that GPL will support other regional initiatives such as the GPL Heads Up Challenge in France,” Dreyfus mentioned in the e-mail. “Alongside GPL China, we are currently preparing the rollout of GPL India and GPL Latin America also. Our goal is to connect poker fans and help them be a part of the GPL adventure, regardless of where they are.”
The India market is one that has been particularly red-hot of late. In February two outlets, the Poker Sports League and the Online Poker League, opened for business in the second largest nation in the world. It must be thought that Dreyfus, whom it appeared that both organizations were mimicking with the introduction of their leagues, is wanting to take on these upstarts and become the definitive regional league when it comes to poker.
The fate of the original GPL is one that has come up on a few occasions. Since the Montreal Nationals defeated the Berlin Bears in December in a series that went the maximum 11-game distance before the Nationals took down the title 6-5, there has been absolutely nothing that has come up regarding the GPL. There are reasons for this, however.
In an exclusive discussion with Poker News Daily, Dreyfus has said that “there were issues” with the inaugural season of the GPL. “In no way did we envision the season going nine months long,” Dreyfus commented and he is accurate. Few sports leagues can function on such an elongated schedule because keeping the attention of the fans is paramount. Dreyfus has said that he wants a shorter season and is working towards that goal.
As a part of that shorter season, Dreyfus says that there are changes afoot for the entire way the GPL operates. “I don’t think anyone want to see the same exact format of last year, with hundreds of matches played, long delays and such,” Dreyfus commented. “We know what we want to do based on the feedback from the audience and the mistakes we made…we will make the GPL a better product.”
Part of that new approach probably will not include changes to the online format that the GPL used in 2016. The online matches were found by newcomers to the Twitch streams to be a bit of a disappointment as they were expecting to tune in to watch the players actually sitting around a table under live circumstances. The online format of those matches, however, allow for players from around the world to be a part of the action rather than requiring them to be in a set location. There might be some changes made to the “Summer Series” – which basically were the online matches but with the participants standing inside “The Cube” to play while the World Series of Poker was running in Las Vegas – but Dreyfus would not elaborate on what changes would be made except to say they would be announced “soon.”
Dreyfus isn’t letting the GPL sit idle, as shown by his actions in India, France, and China. But it would be good to see something on the international circuit – even if it were just a start date – so that those who have become fans of the GPL know when it will return.
In an e-mail sent to its affiliate marketers this week, Bodog announced that it will be expanding into 15 Latin American countries next week. That concise e-mail is as follows:
We are excited to announce that, as of February 15, our partnered brands Bovada and Bodog will be launching their product offerings in Latin America.
Bovada Sports and Casino will be available in Mexico only while Bodog Poker, Casino, and Sports will launch in the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia [sic], Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.
Those Central and South American countries are not ones that normally get all that much press when it comes to online poker; most of the attention goes to the United States and various European countries primarily because of their large player pools and online gambling legal wranglings. But this is interesting not only because of the size of several of those countries but also because right now, Bodog and its related sites are only open to players in the United States, Canada, China, and Vietnam.
Bovada is the U.S.-facing arm that re-branded from Bodog a number of years ago; it will now serve just the United States and Mexico.
Thus, if you do the arithmetic, that means that Bodog itself is only accessible in Canada, China, and Vietnam (the latter two countries are served by the Bodog88 brand). Adding 15 more countries to the mix should be quite the boon for Bodog’s poker traffic.
You may notice in the e-mail above that it is Bovada Sports and Casino that will be available in Mexico. That name does not include the word “poker.” In August 2016, Bovada sold its online poker business to Ignition Casino. Bovada was one of the few poker networks/sites that still accepted U.S. customers; it’s American player-base went to Ignition, as did its Mexican players.
There is some confusion in the industry as to who Ignition actually is, but it seems to be very closely related to Bodog. Ignition and Bodog share player pools at the tables, so the expansion into Latin America will also help Ignition greatly. Speculation in the poker community is that much of the new traffic will be seen at micro and low stakes tables, as many of the new countries have households of lower average income than in the U.S. and Canada.
PokerScout currently ranks Ignition as the sixth-largest poker room or network on the internet with a seven-day average of 1,150 cash game players (note that this does not take into account tournament traffic), the same size as partypoker. Bodog has blocked PokerScout’s ability to see its traffic numbers for several years now, so its exact poker population is unknown.
NOTE: According to professionalrakeback.com, Costa Rica will not be one of the countries included in the Bodog expansion.
Residents of New Jersey voted overwhelmingly against a ballot measure Tuesday that would allow for the construction of two casinos outside of Atlantic City. With over 2.8 million votes cast, the “No’s” destroyed the “Yes’s” 2,201,768 to 633,034.
Casino gambling was legalized in New Jersey in 1976, but restricted them to being located only in Atlantic City. This worked great for some time, as Atlantic City became the gambling hub of the east coast. But with the rise of competition in neighboring states such as Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, Atlantic City’s gaming economy has suffered. As such, lawmakers became interested in expanding gambling to northern New Jersey, bringing casinos closer to residents in that part of the state and hopefully enticing them to stay within state when looking for gaming entertainment.
The text of the New Jersey Allowance for Casinos in Two Additional Counties Amendment, listed as Public Question 1 on this week’s ballot, was as follows:
Do you approve amending the Constitution to permit casino gambling in two additional counties in this State? At present, casino gambling is allowed only in Atlantic City in Atlantic County. Only one casino in each of the two counties would be permitted. Each casino is to be located in a town that is at least 72 miles from Atlantic City. The amendment would allow certain persons to apply first for a casino license.
Going into further detail, the amendment would have required the new casinos to be built no closer than 72 miles from Atlantic City. Current casino operators in the state would have gotten first dibs on licensing; they would have had six months to submit casino proposals. If no proposals were received, the application process would have been opened to operators outside of the state.
A good chunk of the new casinos’ revenue would have actually gone back to Atlantic City to help that area in its economic recovery. For the first seventeen years, Atlantic City would have received as much as $ 200 million per year. That figure would have then begun to decline.
There were three primary groups fighting over this amendment. On the support side, there was Our Turn NJ, which raised nearly $ 9.5 million in its campaign to see casino gambling expanded north. On the opposition side, two groups were formed: Trenton’s Bad Bet and the No North Jersey Casinos Coalition. Together, they raised almost $ 13.7 million. Most of that money – $ 8.21 million – came from Genting New York LLC, which owns the Resorts World Casino near the JFK airport.
WA Residential Urban Renewal Co. and New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC – companies that both wanted to build casinos in northern New Jersey – were the top donors in support of the measure, the former contributing about $ 5 million and latter about $ 4.5 million. The stopped contributing in late September, as polling showed overwhelming opposition to the amendment. With 71 percent of respondents saying they would vote “no,” it only made sense to stop throwing away money.
More money was spent for and against this referendum than any other referendum in the state’s history.
New Jersey casinos outside of Atlantic City are unthinkable, aren’t they? Maybe not. According to an Associated Press article, state lawmakers are currently trying to put together a plan to make exactly this happen.
State Senator Ray Lesniak, perhaps the biggest supporter of online poker in the entire state, and State Senator Joseph Kyrillos urged their fellow elected officials last week to settle on one plan to present to voters. There are currently two competing measures, one in the Senate and one in the Assembly, and the main holdup seems to be which one to move forward.
They are essentially the same plan, authorizing two casinos outside of Atlantic City: one at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford and one in Jersey City, both in northern New Jersey. The two casinos are required to be at least 75 miles away from Atlantic City; both of these locations are well outside that radius.
The difference comes from who would be permitted to own the casinos. The Senate’s plan would mandate that the two casinos be owned by companies who already own current Atlantic City casinos, while the Assembly’s bill only requires one to be owned by a current Atlantic City operator.
Should one plan eventually be agreed upon, it would be put to the voters in a referendum in November 2916. The state constitution only allows for casinos in Atlantic City; in order to change that, state residents would have to weigh in at the ballot boxes.
Atlantic City has been struggling greatly in recent years. Last year, the city saw four of its casinos close, reducing the total number to eight. Competition from neighboring states has drawn customers away, even those from New Jersey who can more easily drive to a casino in another state than to one in Atlantic City. The idea behind putting casinos in northern New Jersey is to give area residents a reason to stay within the state as well as tempt people from across the border to venture out.
But right now, politicians can’t agree on the plan. “Casino expansion will create jobs and generate economic growth for the entire state,” said Lesniak. “This is an opportunity we have to capitalize on. Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature should work together on a plan that can go to the voters for approval on the next ballot in November of 2016.”
Kyrillos added, “The entire Assembly, including Republicans and Monmouth County’s two new Assembly Democrats, need to wake up and join the Senate’s initiative to help save this effort.”
Of course, Assembly leaders think their bill is better, as it serves as a compromise between keeping Atlantic City operators content and serving the needs of the northern part of the state.
“Anyone who walks away from the Assembly bill at this moment is walking away from a strong compromise bill that would bring jobs and economic development to our state and new ideas and competition to our casino industry,” said Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.