Posts Tagged ‘Launches’

Malta Gaming Authority Launches New Online Licensing System

 Malta Gaming Authority Launches New Online Licensing System

Last week, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) announced that it is launching a new Licensee Relationship Management System in order to better facilitate communications between existing and prospective licensees and the regulatory body. The system, developed by Microsoft, is designed to simplify the licensing processes and keep them – as much as possible – online via a dedicated web portal.

At the outset, the MGA is launching three online services: applications for remote (read: internet) gaming licenses, dynamic seal URL requests, and submission of players liability and gaming tax reports. Part of the idea here is to allow operators to take control of their licensing and regulatory requirements, rather than have the MGA constantly push requests downstream and wait for a response. Now operators can do things like check on their licenses and keep track of what sorts of deliverables they need to submit (admittedly, I’m presuming this based on deduction and my past life in IT consulting – I haven’t seen the system in action).

“The Malta Gaming Authority is taking another step towards achieving efficiency and innovation in the way it conducts its function as a regulator by applying information technology in regulatory processes,” said the MGA’s Executive Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri, in a press conference. “This project further aids the Authority in providing a top end service to its licensees and practitioners alike. Our main objective remains; that of exceeding the expectations of all our stakeholders at large. This portal goes a long way in achieving that.”

Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri added:

Today, the MGA is launching a new system by which it will be facilitating the communication with clients applying for a gaming licence on our shores. This system will function via an online portal improving the efficiency of the Authority’s regulatory process. This project forms part of the government’s vision for the improvement of our gaming jurisdiction. With similar initiatives, the Authority is excelling in the service given to those wishing to invest in our country, whereby said service always exceeds the expectations of the vast majority of operators.

Frankly, it is a little surprising that a system like this was not put in place until now, but better late than never, as they say. I am also not exactly sure how the Malta Gaming Authority had been doing things, but I can imagine things like phone tag, faxes, and waits in line at a licensing office as possibilities. When I had an addition built on my house nine years ago, one of the subcontractors had to go to a county permitting office several times to take care of some busy work. It seemed like a huge waste of time and it would have been nice if he could have at least submitted plans and scheduled inspector appointments online. I wouldn’t be surprised if the MGA had been working in a similar way.

The next phase of the MGA’s new system is to expand it into land-based gambling operations.

The MGA licenses hundreds of operators. Most nobody has ever heard of, but some of the more recognizable names include Betsson, bwin.party, Evolution Gaming, GTECH, Microgaming, Relax Gaming, and Tain.

The post Malta Gaming Authority Launches New Online Licensing System appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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888poker Launches Flopomania

 888poker Launches Flopomania

888poker launched its new game, Flopomania, on Sunday, three weeks after accidentally activating the Flopomania tables early (and that was the second time 888poker jumped the gun). The game is official now, though, and it seems that so far, players have been eager to try it out.

A Flopomania game plays just like a regular poker game most of the time with one significant exception: there is no pre-flop betting. Instead, the hole cards and flop are dealt right away and betting starts with the flop. From there, everything proceeds as normal.

There are no blinds, either. Everyone antes up at the beginning of the hand. The player to the left of the dealer is first to act and is called, appropriately, the “First to Act Player,” since there is no small blind or big blind.

Flopomania is clearly designed to create action, which could both keep players engaged and generate more rake for 888poker. In a normal Hold’em game (Flopomania games are Texas Hold’em), most players fold pre-flop. When everyone sees the flop, though, several people could hit a piece of it and decide to continue to the turn, growing the pot. You can see where this is going.

There is also a version of Flopomania called “Push or Fold.” In this game, there is a set “push” amount that players are allowed to bet once and only once. I haven’t played the game, but I would assume this isn’t an actual “all-in” amount (unless a player has very few chips), but rather some figure that is high enough to make betting a real decision, but small enough so that this isn’t just an all-in fest. If a bet has been made, the player whose turn it is to act must either call that “push” amount or fold. If no bet has been made, the player who turn it is to act must bet that “push” amount or check. When a player has bet, that’s it – he or she can no longer act and must wait until showdown to see what happens.

According to a blog post on 888poker’s website, Flopomania did very well on its opening day. 50 percent more players tried Flopomania on Sunday than did those who tried BLAST poker, one of 888’s more recent new games. There was also an 11 percent jump in the number of active players on Sunday compared to “the average in recent Sundays.”

“Flopomania also set the all-time record for the number of flops seen in cash games in a single day, not surprising given the nature of the game,” wrote 888poker’s Chad Holloway. “Furthermore, the average number of hands in an hour was 15% higher when compared to other 6-max tables.”

In another “best,” Sunday, April 20th, saw 888poker enjoy the most simultaneous cash game tables this year.

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PokerStars Launches Spin & Go Max Tournaments

 PokerStars Launches Spin & Go Max Tournaments

PokerStars has launched a new Spin & Go format called…wait for it…Spin & Go Max which adds a heaping spoonful of variables to a Spin & Go game. The idea of Spin & Go Max is essentially the same as a Spin & Go, but rather than the predictability of the three player, winner-take-all format every time, each game can vary from one to the next.

What we are all used to with Spin & Go’s is three-handed play with short stacks and hyper-turbo blind levels. The prize pool is unknown until all players are seated and most of the time, it is winner-take-all. Spin & Go Max games mix all of that up.

In the new version of the game (by the way, there are still regular Spin & Go tables), the number of players is unknown until just before the game begins. Spin & Go Max games can have anywhere from three to eight players; the tables size is based on a random draw based on fixed probabilities. Four players is the most common, happening 30 percent of the time. This is followed by five players (25 percent) and three players (20 percent).

Then, like in a regular Spin & Go’s, a prize spinner shows up, but here it shows not one, but three potential prizes for the winner. Perhaps perplexingly, the winner’s prize has nothing to do with the prizes for the other players, if there are any (with five players or fewer, it can still be winner-take-all). The other prizes are pre-determined and payout depth will be shown in the tourney lobby.

At the end of the game, the three first place prizes reappear, face down, and the winner picks one. If the top possible prize was one of the ones offered, the winner automatically gets it. Additionally, with some of the higher, less probable prizes, the winner will be given a “Cash Out” option, equal to the average of the three prizes minus some amount. The winner can take that figure or take a chance on selecting a larger prize.

One more twist: Spin & Go Max tournaments have a hand limit. If this limit is hit before the tournament ends, everyone is automatically put all-in pre-flop until a winner is determined.

Buy levels for Spin & Go Max tourneys are $ 1, $ 3, $ 7 and $ 15. There is no difference in the probability of table size among the different buy-in levels, but the prize pool frequency and number of players paid fluctuates based on the buy-in and number of total players.

I think that’s it. There’s a lot to digest. Basically, we have a new Spin & Go game that can have three to eight players, three possible first prizes that the winner gets to blindly pick, and sometimes an option to take a guaranteed payout or risk it for a bigger prize. I suppose that’s more fun that regular Spin & Go’s?

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MGM Launches Online Poker Site in New Jersey

 MGM Launches Online Poker Site in New Jersey

MGM Resorts International has beefed up its internet presence in New Jersey, launching a pair of online gambling sites last week: playMGMpoker.com and playMGMcasino.com. The two sites made their “soft launch” on August 1st, meaning they had limited uptime while the company and state regulators made sure everything was going fine. The sites are now running full-bore, giving players in the Garden State more options for both online poker and online casino games. MGM has partnered with GVC Holdings to use GVC’s partypoker software for the online poker room.

You might wonder why I said that MGM has beefed up its presence when the online poker sites/networks in New Jersey are PokerStars, 888/WSOP, and Party Borgata, but no MGM. That is because last year, MGM bought Boyd Gaming Corporation’s stake in the Borgata (they shared it 50/50 previously) to become the casino’s full owner. Thus, MGM is the company in control of the Party Borgata network.

Naturally, playMGMpoker.com will be a part of the Party Borgata network, along with BorgataPoker.com and nj.PartyPoker.com.

“We are thrilled to be entering the online gaming landscape in New Jersey with the expansion of our playMGM.com platform to include both casino and poker games,” said Chief Operating Officer of MGM Resorts International Corey Sanders in a press release last Wednesday. “The ability to effectively bring Las Vegas to New Jersey via an online experience is an exciting undertaking, especially as we continue to develop our presence on the East Coast with the recent acquisition of Borgata, the opening of MGM National Harbor and the pending 2018 opening of MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.”

It is actually an interesting play here by MGM. It obviously already has the Party Borgata network, so adding another online poker room seems like a curious move. There is a real chance it could backfire and just cannibalize the other two sites on the network. Even if it is player-neutral, the added expenses in running playMGMpoker.com would make it a net negative.

At the same time, though, the idea here could be to use MGM’s brand name to grab some players from PokerStars and WSOP/888 as well as possibly grow the entire market by getting people who may have been interested in playing but never did to jump into the fray with MGM.

Additionally, playMGMpoker.com and playMGMcasino.com will be cross-promoting with MGM’s other properties, particularly the multitude of casinos in Las Vegas.

To kick it off, playMGMpoker.com is running a pretty solid promo for new players, offering $ 25 free with a real money deposit and virtually no playthrough requirement (there is one, but it’s minimal). $ 10 of the free money is just cash, while $ 15 is tournament money.

There is also a 100 percent deposit match up to $ 2,000. Now, while the percent is great, it is not as great. There is a fairly sizable playthrough requirement, the bonus is released in 10 percent increments, and players only have seven days to earn it. Those last couple parts make it tricky: deposit too much and the increments could end up so large that it is hard to unlock even one or two of them within a week.

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PartyPoker Gives Grinders Something to Do, Launches Newest Gladiator Promo

 PartyPoker Gives Grinders Something to Do, Launches Newest Gladiator Promo

As we have discussed numerous times on this site, online poker rooms and networks have been moving to recreational player-friendly models for a few years now. Poker pros and serious amateurs are finding their opportunities to grind for rewards more limited now than in the past, while casual players are being protected and seeing more chances to earn a little something for their play. Partypoker was one of the first to start leaning towards the “rec” players, but it has not gone away from the pros completely. Case in point: the latest Gladiator promo, which rewards players for playing as much as possible.

Gladiator – which has been recurring promo since 2010 – began April 17th and will run through May 6th. Unlike a lot of online poker promotions, this one is pretty straightforward. The more people play, the greater rewards they can earn.

It comes down to VIP points and for how many days certain points thresholds are attained. At the very lowest end of the spectrum, anyone who earns one VIP point on five separate days during the Gladiator promotion will win a ticket into a $ 250 freeroll. Bump that up to ten days and it is a $ 500 freeroll. The first three points levels – one, five, and ten points – all award freeroll tickets for the different day milestones (five, ten, fifteen, and twenty days). The lone exception there is ten points on each of twenty days. In that case, the reward is $ 8 cash.

Starting at the 20 points mark, all prizes are cash. The top prize is $ 2,500 for those who are able to earn 1,200 VIP points on each of twenty days (in other words, the entire Gladiator promo).

But who on Earth can generate that many points for three straight weeks? Professional grinders, that’s who. There is certainly something for casual players here (not much, though), but who this will really help are the players who put in the time and play for more than just micro stakes.

At PartyPoker, players earn two VIP points for every $ 1 in tournament fees and/or cash game rake. So, if we do the math, 1,200 points – the highest target number – would require $ 600 in rake. Across 20 days, that is $ 12,000 in total rake. Someone who does that will receive $ 2,500, approximately 21 percent rakeback for the promo period. That’s quite good, especially when added to the rewards that player would normally get.

Most people who earn cash rewards will still receive the equivalent of double-digit rakeback, so that’s not bad! For example, if someone pulls in 20 VIP points for just five days, that’s 10 percent rakeback. The dollar amount ($ 5) isn’t worth celebrating, but when you think about how relatively easy that goal is, it’s 10 percent effective rakeback is a nice little bonus. And it’s not like most people will have to alter their play style to get at least a little something, since all real-money games count.

As with most promos at PartyPoker, players must “opt-in” via the promotions area of the software.

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