While Lamar Smith is trying hard to outrun Francesco Schettino in the race for the most hated man on earth (or at least on the Internet), the US Department of Justice and the FBI have already started the campaign to shut down all the major file sharing websites. To those of you who don't watch the news, Smith is the congressman behind SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and Schettino is the notorious Costa Concordia captain who left the sinking ship with thousands of passengers and ran away in a lifeboat. What does it have to do with poker? Mr. Schettino just played the role of an example to compare Mr. Smith to since the Act he introduced in Congress can only be perceived as a despicable attempt to begin censorship the Internet; PartyGaming is involved in the MegaUpload case as a major advertiser and sponsor of the file sharing site.
PartyGaming Involved in MegaUpload Case
United States federal authorities shutting down one of the biggest Internet file sharing websites, MegaUpload.com and its sister site MegaVideo.com, and the arrest of their owner Kim Dotcom (previously known as Kim Schmitz), is currently the biggest story on the Internet. Along with the recent hearings on SOPA and PIPA (Protect IP Act) in the Congress and Senate, the worldwide Internet community is rising against the attempts of the federal government to take over control of the web.
The day after the global Internet Blackout the FBI shutdown MegaUpload.com and MegaVideo.com which, according to the U.S. authorities brought $500 million worth of damages to various copyright owners. The federal indictment mentions PartyGaming, the PartyPoker parent company in the list of advertisers that supported MegaUpload by purchasing ad space on the site. CalvinAyre.com reports that PartyGaming paid MegaUpload over $3 million for online ads. The indictment (http://www.scribd.com/doc/78786408/Mega-Indictment) also mentions Google AdSense and adBrite as companies having contacts with MegaUpload.
Tony G Named the Lithuanian Business Beacon
Although through most of his poker and business career Antanas Guoga aka Tony G was known as an Australian, in the past few years he has become more closely associated with his home country, Lithuania. Tony's endeavors in making a positive impact in the state's business life did not go unnoticed. Last week Guoga received the prestigious Lithuanian Business Lighthouse Award given out by the online economics magazine ekonomika.lt.
“I have been involved in a lot of different projects in Lithuania to help create jobs, including TonyResort.lt and TonyBet.com,” Tony told PokerNews. “I am humbled and honored to have won the Lithuanian Business Lighthouse Award and I am hoping to be even more involved in my home country in the coming years.”
Read an interview with Tony G on ekonomika.lt
Zynga Poker Moves Towards Real Money Poker
The world's largest, online poker play money site, Zynga Poker, announced their interest in the real money poker market. Despite the company's reputation of being just a social media gaming provider, Zynga is now looking to change their course. With the U.S. legislation going towards online poker legalization, Zynga joins the long list of entities ready to enter the Internet gambling market once it opens.
Read the story here: Zynga IS interested in Real Money Gambling
PokerStars Pros Talk Team PokerStars
Ever wondered what it's like to represent the world's leading online poker site and be part of Team PokerStars? Of course you did! And now you can take a peek at what it's like – PokerStars' Blog interviewed some of their biggest stars and asked them about their experience representing the team. Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Vanessa Rousso and Chris Moneymaker shared their thoughts on what it's like to be part of the team and how joining PokerStars affected their poker career.
You can read the full interview by paying a visit to the PokerStars Blog.
Hachem Joins Asian Poker Tour
In other news – a former Team PokerStars member Joe Hachem held a press conference on Sunday, January 22, to announce his new business relationship with the AsianLogic Group. Hachem said he was excited to join the company running one of the biggest poker circuits in the Asia-Pacific region – the Asian Poker Tour – and to serve as “a new ambassador for the Asian Poker Tour to further the growth of poker and to assist them with several strategic opportunities in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.”
According to Hachem his decision to leave PokerStars and open a new page in his career as the ambassador for the Asian Poker Tour was based on the fact that the new venture would keep him closer to home and allow him to spend more time with his friends and family.
Read the full story: Joe Hachem Announces New Working Relationship with AsianLogic.
PokerStars TCOOP is Underway
Last Thursday PokerStars launched the initial Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) featuring a guaranteed prize pool of $10 million. The cash is to be given away in 50 Turbo and Hyper Turbo tournaments. With 19 tournaments down and 31 to go, the championship has already reached its midpoint which means you can still take your share of the cash.
The TCOOP tournaments run in all the most popular poker variations including Texas Holdem, Omaha, Stud, H.O.R.S.E., and 8-Game Mix. Plus, there are a bunch of satellites running around the clock that give away seats to TCOOP events. You can find tournament details and requirements by following this link: $10 Million Guaranteed in PokerStars TCOOP.
Harry Reid Supports Online Poker Legislation
Last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave one of the few interviews regarding his position on the online poker legislation. Despite supporting the idea of legal online gambling, Reid does not stand out in the debate, leaving all the talking to Joe Barton and Barney Frank. However, GamblingCompliance managed to take a few words out of Reid on the online poker issue as well as the DoJ's ruling on the Wire Act.
“It'll give us an incentive to get something done,” Reid said. “We cannot have a series of laws around the country related to [Internet] gaming. I know a lot about gaming. I'm a former chairman of the Nevada [Gaming] Commission, and I think it's very important that we have a national law.”
Nevada to Test the Online Poker Security System
While other states and the federal government are just considering ways of legalizing online poker, the home state of the gambling capital of the world, Nevada, is already on its way to launch the online poker licensees’’ system. According to CalvinAyre.com “the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) issued a notice on January 5th announcing that it was “accepting applications for registration of independent testing laboratories prior to the adoption of the state’s AB 279 online poker regulations, the basic framework of which was approved just before Christmas.”
So far seven companies including Cantor Entertainment Technology (CET) aka Cantor Gaming have applied to test the new security system. A regulatory public workshop should take place in Las Vegas on February 22nd, while the final draft of the applicants should be done by May 1st.
Randy Couture Hosts Charity Poker Tournament
Mixed martial arts fighters gathered at the Golden Nugget last Saturday to play the fourth annual Operation All In charity poker tournament hosted by the MMA legend Randy Couture. The event raised money for the Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation supporting injured troops.
See the video from the charity tournament featuring some of the biggest stars in MMA fighting: