The poker world is buzzing with news from the New World – lawmakers, congressmen, members of the Senate, and state officials are all trying to figure out the online gaming puzzle. Should they go state-by-state? Will Congress outrun Nevada, Iowa, New Jersey, and now Pennsylvania in the race of who's going to legalize online poker first? The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is preparing for the second hearing on internet gambling while the biggest online poker and gaming software provider Playtech is planning to occupy the global market by partnering with companies in the UK, Germany, and South Africa. In tournament news the Aussie Millions Main Event is down to the last 12 players with Yan Dion in the lead.
Playtech Occupies New Markets
The biggest online gaming software provider in the world, Playtech, has no intention of setting around enjoying their achievements. The company is constantly searching for future markets and new partners. Playtech recently announced signing partnership deals with gaming companies in Germany and South African and acquiring a sportsbook in UK.
“We have lots of potential customers that approached us or that we approached that would like to have us as their suppliers of online gaming products when the market opens up,” Playtech CEO Mor Weizer told Reuters news agency.
Playtech has recently partnered with the German gaming machine company Merkur and South African Casino and resort operator Peermont. The company has also purchased the UK sportsbook developer, Geneity, which will replace Playtech's existing sportsbook. Read it here: Playtech Acquires Partnerships in Anticipation of New Gambling Markets.
Pennsylvania to Outrun Atlantic City
The 2011 results show that Pennsylvania has become the fastest growing casino gaming hot spot in the States, generating $3 billion in yearly gambling revenue. The state's casino business saw a 22 percent increase since 2010 which helped Pennsylvania become the third largest gambling market in the country - just behind Atlantic City. Unlike the neighboring state, New Jersey cannot boast big numbers as their gambling revenues have been going down for the past five years, mostly in Pennsylvania's favor. Find out more about Pennsylvania's casino success in PokerNews' Inside Gaming.
Second Senate Committee Hearing on Online Gambling is Just Two Weeks Away
The recent US Department of Justice ruling that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting will be the main issue in the upcoming Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing. The meeting which is scheduled for February 9th will be the second one dedicated to the issue of online gambling. The first hearing took place back in November, 2011, and gave hope that the outcome may be the one all online poker players hope for.
“There are no boundaries. There’s no limit as to what they can do. I don’t think anyone is at a disadvantage. It’s an opportunity tribes should not miss. If commercial businesses do it, we’ll never be able to catch up to the pack,” said Mohegan Tribe Chairman and witness Bruce Bozsum during the first hearing. Now with more good news going online poker players' direction almost every day, the February hearing is expected to end on a positive note as well. Check out PocketFives for more on the matter.
Tax Commission Rejects Boyd's Refund Appeal
On Monday the Nevada Tax Commission declined Boyd Gaming Corp.’s appeal to refund $21 million in sales tax for comped meals for company's employees and customers. Boyd Gaming, a corporation running 12 casinos in Clark County, requested a refund for the taxes paid from 2000 to 2008, but the Tax Commission rejected the appeal by voting 6-1.
Boyd's attorney John Bartlett commented on the decision saying that he didn't expect a different outcome and that the commission's mind has been made up even before the two-hour meeting took place on Monday, January 23rd. However, Boyd is only the first of the many Nevada casino companies seeking sales tax refund on comped meals - an estimated total of $225 million.
Bartlett announced that Boyd is going to file a suit in District Court in Clark County. However, the court's decision will not come fast as, according to Bartlett it may take two or more years before the case is done. “They were just kicking the can up the road,” Bartlett commented on Nevada Tax Commission's ruling, implying it was their wish for the case to go to the court. Las Vegas Sun has the full story.
Will Online Gambling Boost Facebook Revenue to $100 Billion?
If online gambling is legalized in the United States, it could raise Facebook’s yearly revenue to $100 billion according to a Business Insider report. The prediction was made by an unnamed industry insider on Monday during a party in Munich. The idea is that being the biggest online gaming provider, Facebook would significantly boost its profit should real money games be introduced.
Currently Facebook charges 30 percent of all virtual goods obtained by using Facebook Credits. The biggest company running their gaming applications on Facebook is Zynga which generates $1 billion in revenue per year and gives Facebook approximately $400,000. Zynga already announced plans to switch to real money gaming. If everything goes according to the plan, Facebook revenues just might go sky-high in the near future.
Aussie Millions Main Event: 12 Left
At the moment the Aussie Millions is the biggest thing going on in the poker world and Day 4 of the Main Event is in the books with Yann Dion leading the field with over 2.6 million in chips. Bjorn Li is close on his heels with over 2.4 million. Phil Ivey is in last place with 699,000 but he has the ability to make his career first Aussie Millions final table.
With just 12 players left, those still at the tables are guaranteed a cash out of at least AUD $35,000. Still, they are all shooting for the main prize – AUD $1.6 million, the title, and the honor of becoming the 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event Champion.
Here are the standings after Day 4:
Follow the action at PokerNews Live Reporting.
Liv Boeree Talks about “We are Poker” and More
At the end of 2011 PokerStars, the world's largest poker site, launched a new ad campaign called “We are Poker.” The videos feature many Team PokerStars pros, including Liv Boeree, in an intriguing outfit swinging a 20 feet long whip around her neck. When asked about the shooting of the video Boeree replied: “It was such an epic shoot. They had to sew me into the dress; it was completely made to measure. I had to wear things in strategic places to cover up. The make-up and hair took hours. The actual whip was huge, like 20 feet long. And they asked me to get it going and the actual swinging around the headshot was easy. It was absolutely fantastic.”
PokerStars Women talked a bit more with Boeree about her poker year, the changes in some PokerStars tournament formats and her success in San Remo and Sunday Warm-up. Read the full interview on the PokerStars Blog.
Lock Poker Signs Melanie Weisner
Full Tilt Poker going under did not leave their former Red Pro Melanie Weisner patchless for too long – the redhead from Texas recently signed a sponsorship deal with another online poker site – Lock Poker. Wesiner joined the likes of Chris Moorman, Matt Stout, and Leo Margets on the LockPro ELITE team and will now be representing the site in live poker events as well as playing Lock Poker cash games and tournaments online.
“I am thrilled to join a team of world-class players and talented peers such as Chris Moorman, Matt Stout and Leo Margets,” Weisner said. “I feel very honored to be a part of this exciting and growing brand, and look forward to representing Lock around the world.”
Weisner was also caught at the Aussie Millions riding a unicycle for a $10,000 reward from Tony G. Did she succeed? Check out this video to find out: