Posts Tagged ‘Million’

DraftKings, FanDuel Settle with Massachusetts AG for $2.6 Million After Deceptive Practices Investigation

 DraftKings, FanDuel Settle with Massachusetts AG for $2.6 Million After Deceptive Practices Investigation

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) leaders DraftKings and FanDuel reached settlements with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office last week after AG Maura Healey completed an investigation into the companies’ alleged unfair and deceptive business practices. Each company will pay $ 1.3 million, with the money going to consumer protection and an AG’s Office program to “engage young people in technology.”

The investigation had to do with practices by the companies prior to DFS regulations taking effect on July 1st of last year. The Attorney General’s Office did not specify exactly what the specific business practices were that were in question, instead saying in a press release “that some participants in daily fantasy sports contests were not adequately protected and that comprehensive consumer-protective regulation was needed.”

The investigation likely had a lot to do with the way DraftKings and FanDuel advertised starting with their marketing explosion prior to the 2015 NFL season. Not only were sports fans (and even non-sports fans) inundated with commercial after commercial for the two rivals, but DraftKings and FanDuel were both criticized for making it look like it was easy for lots of people to win money playing daily fantasy sports. As we know, most players are net losers and it is the elite, high volume, deep pocketed professional fantasy players who rake in the lion’s share of the prize money.

The Attorney General may have also been investigating how the sites advertised their deposit bonuses. Those who play poker know how these types of bonuses generally work, but fantasy players who are unfamiliar likely saw things like “we’ll match your deposit up to $ 500!” as some sort of instant money doubler, when in reality, the bonus would be released in tiny increments.

“I am glad to have reached these settlements to address various consumer issues that existed at the early stages of this new industry,” said AG Healey in the press release. “We have since implemented a set of comprehensive regulations that provide consumers with broad-ranging protections and that have served as a model for many other states.”

The AG’s Office said that both DraftKings and FanDuel cooperated with investigators “and have made significant changes to their business models to protect consumers with respect to gameplay fairness, protections for minors, responsible gaming requirements, fairness in advertising, and data and funds security.”

FanDuel reacted to the settlement with the following public statement:

We have worked closely with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office in their review of fantasy sports, including their issuance of the first set of consumer protection regulations for our industry, which we were pleased to comply with since their inception in 2016. FanDuel has worked tirelessly to pass laws in 16 states that solidify the fantasy sports industry and implement many of these same important consumer protections. FanDuel’s efforts have ensured that sports fans are able to continue playing the games they love in a safe, regulated environment and as we head into this football season, we look forward to continuing these efforts.

DraftKings also issued a statement to the media through its general counsel, Tim Parilla, which essentially echoes that of FanDuel. It reads, in part, “As the Attorney General said, this agreement resolves prior issues that were addressed through new regulations and DraftKings’ implementation of the industry’s most comprehensive compliance and game integrity programs. We are proud of the responsible environment we have created for our consumers and grateful to the Attorney General for working with us throughout this process.”

Featured photo credit: Andrew Dupont via Flickr

The post DraftKings, FanDuel Settle with Massachusetts AG for $ 2.6 Million After Deceptive Practices Investigation appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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888 Ordered to Pay Over $10 Million Fine for Technical Failure

 888 Ordered to Pay Over $10 Million Fine for Technical Failure

One of the biggest things mentioned about a regulated online gaming industry is that, if a business goes awry of the regulations, there are methods of punishment that can be administered. A case in the United Kingdom against one of the biggest online gaming and poker companies in the industry is a clear demonstration of this fact.

According to the BBC, 888 Holdings, the operators of the popular 888Poker, a very reputable sports book and online casino (among other things), has been ordered by the British Gambling Commission to pay a £7.8 million (slightly more than $ 10 million U. S. dollars) for not adhering to protect at-risk customers. According to the Gambling Commission, there were “significant flaws” in a technical segment of the 888 software that failed to reject about 7000 players who had “self-banned” themselves from being able to bet on the site.

Reuters went into further detail as to how the violations occurred. 888 operates two separate products, Reuters reports, one for casino gaming, poker and sports betting and another outlet for bingo. While players might have excluded themselves from going directly to the casino/poker/sports side of the operation, it was found that it could be circumvented by going through the bingo side of the 888 operations.

Once particular case highlighted by the British Gambling Commission demonstrates what they believe were the flaws in the 888 Holdings’ “social responsibility process,” as the BBC called it. A customer of 888 was able to wager £1.3 million over a 13-month period, including £55,000 that the customer had stolen from his employer. Online for three to four hours a day gambling, 888 allegedly failed to “(interact) with the customer, given the frequency, duration and sums of money involved in the gambling,” the British Gambling Commission reported. “(These actions) raised serious concerns about 888’s safeguarding of customers at risk of gambling harm.”

£3.5 million of the fine will be used to settle claims from the 7000 players who weren’t blocked from playing after they had requested to be put on the list. Another £4.25 million will be donated to gambling support organizations to “invest in measures to tackle gambling related harm.” Finally, £62,000 will go to the company who was the victim of the player who embezzled money from the company to gamble.

The fine by far exceeds the previous record for a fine from the Gambling Commission. Last year a bookmaker, Gala Coral, was ordered to pay a £880,000 fine after not inquiring into the activities of a customer of their service. In this instance, the gambler was stealing money (to the tune of £800,000) to fund his gambling endeavors. While they started a preliminary investigation, Gala Coral received uncorroborated evidence that the player was “independently wealthy” and halted the investigation.

2016 also saw another prominent player in the online gaming industry take a hit. Paddy Power was ordered to pay £280,000 after they were accused of “encouraging” a problem gambler to continue wagering (the Gambling Commission does not explain how they “encouraged” the gambler). That person allegedly lost five jobs, his home and visitation and access of his children over the situation.

The seriousness of the fine is but another assertion that the British Gambling Commission, under the auspices of Sarah Harrison, the Chief Executive of the organization, that violations of the regulations in the United Kingdom will be dealt with severely. Before the 888 case, the Commission had stated that “the gambling industry should be on notice that the issues identified in this statement are likely to form the basis for future commission compliance activities.”

The fine is a substantial one for 888 Holdings. It represents 17% of the pre-tax profits from 2016 for 888, but it didn’t seem to have an impact on its current business operations. On the London Stock Exchange, 888 Holdings finished the day at 264.25p, a.48% uptick from the previous day’s trading prior to the fine announcement.

The post 888 Ordered to Pay Over $ 10 Million Fine for Technical Failure appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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Phil Ivey Loses Case with the Borgata, Owes $10.1 Million

 Phil Ivey Loses Case with the Borgata, Owes $10.1 Million

After a drawn out civil trial that saw both sides reveal the dirty underbelly of the gambling world, poker professional Phil Ivey has lost his civil suit against the Borgata in Atlantic City, per the New Jersey Law Journal and writer Charles Toutant.

In a decision released on Thursday, Ivey and his playing partner Cheng Yin Sun were ordered by U. S. District Judge Noel Hillman to pay the Borgata damages totaling $ 10.1 million. The judge could have ordered more damages as the Borgata wanted (the casino issued their statement saying they would have won more from Ivey if he had been losing), but Hillman rejected that notion as “too speculative” for the case. After hearing all the evidence in the case, it came down to a simple fact, according to Hillman.

Noting that Ivey and Sun admitted to using “edge sorting” – picking out slight cutting errors in a deck of cards and having them “adjusted” so they would know it when seen again – Hillman said that their actions was a violation of a ban on marked cards. Ivey and Sun believed they were playing an “advantage” (the ability to use information to shift the odds in the player’s favor), but Hillman didn’t buy the story. In fact, he went so far as to give the Borgata more than what Ivey won ($ 9 million) in those four baccarat stops because some of the money won was used in other games.

The entirety of the case was a demonstration of what the casinos will do to bring in a “high roller” like Ivey and what he will do – the “edge sorting” – to garner an edge against the casinos.

A main contention of Ivey’s case was that he never touched any card to “mark” them in any way. Ivey asked the casino to provide him a private playing area, a dealer that spoke Mandarin Chinese, a specific type of cards and an automatic shuffler (the automatic shuffler wouldn’t change the positioning of the cards). During play, Sun would indicate to the dealer that an advantageous card would be turned 180 degrees, allegedly as a “superstition” of Ivey’s but in reality so that they could identify the card when it came up during another deal. This, in Ivey and Sun’s eyes, meant they weren’t “manipulating” the cards and that the casino was acquiescing yet again to another of their demands for play.

During those four periods of play in 2012, Ivey racked up winnings of $ 9.6 million and walked away with the money. Then the Borgata staff learned of Ivey’s lawsuit with a London casino, Crockfords, where he allegedly took the same actions and beat them for $ 12.4 million. In the Crockfords case, they denied payment of the winnings almost immediately and instead fought it out in court, thus Ivey never received the money. That case is currently under appeal after the British courts ruled against Ivey.

The future of the New Jersey case is unknown at this time. Ivey does have the option of appealing to a higher court, but it is rare that a civil judgment such as this would be overruled on appeal. Ivey and the Borgata could also negotiate a settlement in the case but, with the decision in their pocket, it is unlikely that the Borgata will settle for less than what the judge has stipulated.

Poker News Daily will continue to monitor this decision and report as necessary.

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Playtech Co-Founder Sells £329 Million of Company Stock

 Playtech Co Founder Sells £329 Million of Company Stock

Playtech PLC’s co-founder Teddy Sagi, the company’s largest shareholder, has sold off a sizable chunk of his stock in the company. The sale was made through his trust, Brickington Trading Limited.

It was known that Sagi was going to sell some of his stock, but he decided to increase the amount from 10 percent to 12 percent of his holdings. He still remains Playtech’s largest shareholder, owning 21.6 percent of the online gaming firm. The fun figures: 38.7 million ordinary shares for 850p each, a total of £329 million.

As part of the sale, Sagi and Brickington (which sounds like a LEGO city) agreed to not sell any more shares for 180 days.

The sale put a hurting on other shareholders, as naturally Playtech’s stock price plummeted to the level at which Brickington sold. On November 29th, the day before the sale, Playtech (LON: PTEC) closed at 921p per share. Brickington clearly sold at a discount, but when selling that many shares, that is not unusual, as Brickington needed to match up with buyers. So while it hurts other shareholders in the near term, this sort of thing is commonplace.

Sometimes, when major shareholder sells a significant piece of their holdings, it can be a sign that said shareholder is not confident in the future of the company. That is not the case with Sagi. Sagi simply wanted to diversify Brickington’s portfolio, not keeping it weighted quite so heavily in Playtech (though it still is). The trust also holds shares in tech ventures and UK property. Playtech has said that Sagi is still very much onboard with where the company is going.

In March of 2014, Sagi made a similar transaction, selling 15 percent of his stake in Playtech at the time for £326 million. He had not originally intended to sell that much, but according to Reuters, Playtech said that there was such high demand for the stock that Sagi decided to up his sale from 29.3 million shares to 45 million. After that sale, Sagi owned 33.6 percent of Playtech and promised to not sell any more shares for a year. Playtech Chief Executive Mor Weizer and Chief Financial Officer Ron Hoffman both bought thousands of Sagi’s shares in the offloading.

Playtech is the world’s largest online gaming software developer, providing licenses for a number of customers, including Betfair, William Hill, and Paddy Power. It operates the iPoker Network, currently ranked sixth in terms of cash game traffic by PokerScout.com. With a seven-day average of 950 cash game players, it is just behind the Winning Poker Network (1,000 cash game players) and Winamax.fr (1,100). The top three poker rooms are PokerStars (13,000), 888poker (1,900), and Ignition, which took over Bovada’s poker room (1,200). Ignition and Winning Poker Network have an advantage over iPoker, as they still accept customers from the U.S.

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Troy Quenneville Goes One Further, Wins partypoker $2 Million Guaranteed Event in Punta Cana

 Troy Quenneville Goes One Further, Wins partypoker $2 Million Guaranteed Event in Punta Cana

Rare is it when the World Poker Tour holds a tournament and there is another event on that calendar that actually bests it not only as far as entries but also tops it with the prize pool. That happened at the end of the week as partypoker, the sponsor for the WPT Caribbean event held in Punta Cana last week (and won by Niall Farrell over Troy Quenneville) concluded that schedule with their partypoker Millions $ 2 Million Guaranteed event.

Over two Day Ones that were conducted while the WPT event was in its Day Two and Three action, the partypoker Millions drew in 526 entries, more than what came out for play in the WPT Caribbean itself. Although such players as Farrell, Tony Dunst and Martin Jacobsen came out for the tournament, only Jacobsen was around by the last day of the event. Leading the way was Quenneville, who had used his second-place finish money from the WPT Caribbean to jump into this event as a late entry.

Quenneville had more than a 2:1 lead over the second-place competitor, Andrei-Lucian Boghean, as the other 19 players behind them jostled for position. Among those players were Erik Cajelais, Ari Engel, Matt Salsberg and Jacobsen, with both Jacobsen and Salsberg on short stacks to start the action.

Engel got healthier from the start in knocking out Sviataslau Desimon in 20th place and growing his stack over the one million chip mark. Cajelais also made some moves towards the top of the leaderboard, knocking off Dominic Smith in 12th place as Cajelais popped into third place behind Quenneville and David Yan. Once Moritz Dietrich was eliminated in ninth place by Quenneville, it was looking increasingly likely it was Quenneville’s tournament to take.

How big was Quenneville’s lead, you ask? Look for yourselves:

1. Troy Quenneville, 8.1 million
2. David Yan, 3.5 million
3. Erik Cajelais, 2.8 million
4. Ari Engel, 2.6 million
5. Andrei-Lucian Boghean, 2.3 million
6. Fabion Jergen, 2.2 million
(tie) Edward Van Klooster, 2.2 million
8. Martin Kozlov, 300,000

After the players came back from dinner, they made quick work of the final table. Kozlov went on the very first hand back, thinking his pocket Aces would stand against Quenneville’s suited J-10 only to see the board run 10-8-5-J-4 to give Quenneville Jacks up and the hand. That wasn’t enough for Quenneville as he continued his rampage over the final table, eliminating Yan when Quenneville’s Big Slick rivered a King against Yan’s pocket sevens.

Eager to get into the fight, Cajelais came to life. After seeing Engel raise the betting to 160K, Cajelais three bet to 450K but had to stop after Engel moved all in on him. The moments to ponder saw Cajelais eventually fall on the side of a call, but it was initially the wrong move. Engel was sitting on A-K, which completely dominated Cajelais’ A-10, and the 5-7-A-5 flop and turn kept Engel in the lead. The 10♠ on the river, however, flipped the script completely, giving the hand to Cajelais and eliminating Engel in sixth place.

While Cajelais stepped up, the night still belonged to Quenneville. He eliminated Jergen in fifth and, after Van Klooster took out Boghean in fourth, Quenneville had a sizeable lead over both Van Klooster and Cajelais. Once Quenneville had taken down Van Klooster in third place, he entered heads up play against Cajelais with a monstrous 8:1 lead. It would take a few hands (two of which Cajelais would double his meager holdings) but, on the final hand, Quenneville’s A-10 stood over Cajelais’ A-8 on a 9-10-9-K-2 board to give Quenneville the championship.

1. Troy Quenneville, $ 400,000
2. Erik Cajelais, $ 250,000
3. Edward Van Klooster, $ 150,000
4. Andre-Lucian Boghean, $ 90,000
5. Fabian Jergen, $ 70,275
6. Ari Engel, $ 58,000
7. David Yan, $ 46,000
8. Martin Kozlov, $ 36,000

Along with his winnings from the WPT Caribbean tournament, Quenneville in the span of two days earned $ 620,000, a nice run for sunning yourself in Punta Cana! Congratulations to Troy and all those who came back from their trip with something in their pockets.

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