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Industry News

by Roy Brindley |  Published: May 01, 2007

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Scots Have the Luck
Aberdeen has been revealed as the luckiest city in the UK, according to a new survey.

A poll for gaming site Jackpotty.com showed 47 percent of the Scottish city's residents have won £10 on the lottery at least 10 times, and one in 10 has won £2,000 or more.

A quarter claim to have won more than £300 in card games, and 16 percent regularly win cash by playing online poker, roulette, and blackjack.

In the poll, it also emerged that Birmingham is the unluckiest city in the British Isles.

Logo A Go-Go for Million
This year, the rules on player sponsorship for the Ladbrokes Poker Million have been amended by the tournament's organiser, Matchroom Sports.

The six-seater format stays, but the amendment means that players can now wear their sponsor's logo when competing in the televised stages of the event.

In recognition of this change, the promoters said: "Twenty-eight seats have been reserved by Matchroom Sports to recruit the cream of the world's sponsored professionals to compete against the cream of Ladbrokes Poker players in Europe's most prestigious tournament."

The last two Ladbrokes Poker Millions were won by Tony Jones and Raj Modha. The former qualified in a freeroll, the latter in a supersatellite for $9. Other previous winners include snooker star Jimmy White and European Poker Tour creator John Duthie.

The $60,000 Bluff
In a hand that lasted only 29 seconds, Rosiepod took down one of the largest-ever pots on Betfair Poker.

Having flopped a king-high flush, Rosiepod called several aggressive bluffs from sincero, which ended with each player contributing more than $100,000 to the pot. Sincero's final bluff cost more than $60,000, and the final pot totalled $207,003.

A company spokesman said: "Pots in excess of $150,000 are becoming a regular occurrence on Betfair Poker. With a maximum rake per pot of only $1 on the $250-$500 no-limit heads-up tables, there is certainly value for the big pros."

Some of the big players include Bennyboi, Doooom, Duhfin, Erik1234, Hijay, kunkku, LoisLane, lolmenot, sincero, -secret-, and The Slayer.

Meanwhile, Betfair is continuing its successful relationship with Cork's Macau Casino, where it again will sponsor the Irish Poker Classic this year, a three-day event demanding a €1,500 entry.

Interactive Poker Show for PokerZone TV
Two Way TV has produced a unique and cleverly animated two-hour play-along TV poker show for PokerZone Television. The show, called Texas Hold'em Challenge, will be broadcast daily for four hours on Sky Digital's PokerZone TV Channel.

Texas Hold'em Challenge is played live, with a poker expert commentating on the action as it unfolds. Viewers play along on their mobile phones against a table of 3-D virtual players controlled by sophisticated artificial intelligence.

World Champion Sports Star Challenge Winner
Irish world snooker number-one player Ken Doherty, a regular in Dublin's vibrant cardrooms, proved that he had mastered a different kind of table at the recent PartyPoker.com Sports Stars Challenge. The 37-year-old was on cue to sink his fellow sportsmen and chalk up a cool £20,000 for his efforts.

After battling through a tough snooker heat that included Steve Davis, who was boosted by success at the 2006 World Series of Poker, Doherty found himself lining up his shots on a final table that included ex-England football international Ray Parlour, England cricket star Robert Key, current Australian rugby league international Brad Drew, as well as the greatest darts player of all time, Phil "The Power" Taylor.

The thrilling no-limit hold'em final was played to a high standard, and all of the sportsmen bantered and tried their hand at bluffing. Eventually, Doherty was heads up with cricketer Key. A tense matchup saw neither player really giving much away until the final hand, which saw Key get snookered and Doherty pocket the title with a pair of jacks.

The PartyPoker.com Sports Stars Challenge will be broadcast on UK television later in the year.

Twelve Get Overlay for Channel 4 Event
Ten-time World Series of Poker braceletwinner Phil Hellmuth led a field that included Eddy Scharf, Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott, Tony G, Andy Black, Kiril Gerasimov, Liz Lieu, Ian Fraser, Roland De Wolfe, Vicky Coren, Juha Helppi, and Kenna James in Matchroom Sports' PartyPoker.com Premier League, which has been filmed for Channel 4.

The 12 invited players staked $20,000 apiece, with sponsor PartyPoker adding another $260,000, making the event worth $500,000.

Rank Not on Hill's Agenda
William Hill, which generates just under 20 percent of its revenues from online gaming and recently conceded that its poker and casino websites had been affected by competition since the withdrawal of many operators from the U.S., has denied that the company is interested in buying the bingo and casino operator Rank.

America's PPA Appoints Lobbyist
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), a grass-roots organization of more than 160,000 poker enthusiasts, has announced that former United States Sen. Alfonse D'Amato has joined the PPA to serve as chairman of the board and help lead efforts in Washington, DC, to protect the game of poker.

"I have had a passion for poker since my childhood, and for politics almost as long. This new position will allow me to fuse these passions and help establish sensible policy that allows Americans to enjoy the great game of poker in the venue of their choosing," said D'Amato.

"We are thrilled to have Senator D'Amato take up our cause to promote and protect the game played by millions of Americans," said Michael Bolcerek, president of the PPA. "His enthusiasm, tenacity, and political astuteness will bolster the influence of the PPA and help earn poker a much deserved exemption from the recent online gaming law."

It is estimated that more than 23 million Americans enjoyed playing poker on the Internet in 2006. Yet, the recent government crackdown on Internet gaming has swept poker into its net of prohibition and made it increasingly difficult for poker players to enjoy online poker.

Bolcerek said, "The Poker Players Alliance will be working with Congress to provide a skill game exemption for poker and pave the way for eventual regulation and taxation of the industry in the United States."

Cork's Super League
Cork's Macau Casino's "Macau Super League," which began in September, will be played off on May 19. The top 135 players in the league will qualify, with the freeroll prize pool amounting to €80,000.

Meanwhile, the forward-thinking will soon be taking delivery of an electronic Poker Pro table.

Party Over in France
England's Guardian newspaper recently reported that PartyGaming, the online gambling group incorporating the PartyPoker brand, quietly closed its website to French customers without telling investors, and just three days later, one of the firm's largest shareholders sold 123 million shares.

Although kept quiet, the French pullout was not a huge surprise, as authorities in Paris have requested interviews with executives from an estimated 20 online gaming companies - over the legality of their marketing activities in France - in recent months.

Ladbrokes Reports Record
Bookmaking giant Ladbrokes has reported gross profits for 2006 that broke through the £1 billion barrier for the first time. They rose 10 percent to £1.009 billion.

Amongst the figures is a net profit increase of 13.5 percent (up to £47 million) for the eGaming sector of the business, which includes online poker and casino games.

World Series of Poker Comes to London
Harrah's Entertainment has announced that it is bringing the World Series of Poker to Europe, launching an inaugural 10-day, three-event tournament in early September at the company's soon-to-open London Clubs casino in Leicester Square.

The tournaments will take place following the 38th World Series of Poker, which is scheduled for June and July at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The European leg will include its own version of the world championship main event, costing £10,000 to enter.

The series will begin with a £2,500 H.O.R.S.E. event and a two-day £5,000 pot-limit Omaha tournament.

Harrah's has indicated that details on a media partner, broadcast network, and sponsors will follow.

92 Percent of Brits Didn't Gamble Last Month
Millions of people in the UK gambled online last year, figures indicate.

The Gambling Commission said surveys throughout 2006 showed that 8 percent of adults had taken part in at least one form of remote gambling during the previous month, with just over 5 percent of men and women using the Internet to bet.

In all, about 3.75 million UK adults are remote gamblers, having placed a bet online, over a mobile phone or via interactive TV in the month before being asked.

Taking a punt on the National Lottery was the most popular form of remote gambling, followed by online poker, according to the survey.

Research found that 5.2 percent of adults surveyed admitted to gambling via a computer, laptop, or hand-held device over the previous month, with 2.2 percent saying they had done so using a mobile phone and 1.7 percent using interactive or digital TV.

New UK Advertising Laws Leave Marketers Drawing Thin
Strict new rules on UK gambling advertising will be applied when the Gambling Act comes into force on Sept. 1.

They are reportedly "aimed at promoting social responsibility, with particular regard for the need to protect children and vulnerable members of society, when gambling operators are allowed to advertise more widely than ever before."

Whilst gambling operators, who have been precluded from advertising through the medium of broadcasting, will soon be allowed to do so, strong measures on content will be applied.

The rules specifically state that advertisements for gambling must not:
• Portray, condone, or encourage gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social, or emotional harm.
• Exploit the susceptibilities, aspirations, credulity, inexperience, or lack of knowledge of children, young persons, or other vulnerable persons.
• Suggest that gambling can provide an escape from personal, professional, or educational problems, such as loneliness or depression.
• Suggest that gambling can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment, or a way to achieve financial security.
• Portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life, for example, over family, friends, or professional or educational commitments.
• Suggest that gambling can enhance personal qualities, for example, that it can improve self-image or self-esteem, or is a way to gain control, superiority, recognition, or admiration.
• Suggest peer pressure to gamble or disparage abstention.
• Link gambling to seduction, sexual success, or enhanced attractiveness.
• Portray gambling in a context of toughness, or link it to resilience or recklessness.
• Suggest that gambling is a rite of passage.
• Suggest that solitary gambling is preferable to social gambling.
• Exploit cultural beliefs or traditions about gambling or luck.
• Condone or encourage criminal or anti-social behaviour.
• Condone or feature gambling in a working environment.

Scottish Pub Poker League
Scottish poker player Tony Chessa is behind an innovative poker league to be launched during the month that will link thousands of pubs across Scotland, with their patrons playing on a point-scoring basis and chasing the first prize of a European Poker Tour entry.

UK Phone Operator to Offer Poker
T-Mobile, one of the UK's giant mobile telephone providers, is set to launch poker on mobiles. Real-money poker will be on offer to T-Mobile customers via multiplayer games on their handsets.

Turkey Does Its Bit for EU Membership and Free Trade
Turkish legislators have passed a law forbidding online gambling to be offered by any unauthorised domestic or foreign company to citizens in Turkey.

As a result, Austria-based Bwin, a major player in the region, suspended its business activities in Turkey, which incorporated its PokerRoom.com brand. Other sites with a big Turkish customer base, such as Betssonpoker.com, are likely to follow suit.

The Sleeping Giant Has Arrived: Cardozagames.com Goes Live
Recently launched, cardozagames.com offers one of the strongest poker packages for players ever. Along with a generous sign-up bonus, lots of great tournament entries, and a free trip to Las Vegas, Cardoza will also introduce the first-ever poker tutor tool that can be used in real-money play by new players and experienced pros. Cardozagames is joining Europe's largest network, Playtech, to offer a fun, safe, and secure platform for all poker players. spade