Archive for January, 2010
The Apple iPad was introduced to much fanfare on Wednesday, but the new story is how it might change the face of online gaming.
Some in the industry believe that the functionality of the iPad will contribute to making online gaming easier for most people. The iPad is said to do the same things that laptops and smart phones do, but better. It can be used for sharing pictures, getting and sending email, reading eBooks, and watching videos. It can also be used to browse the web and that’s the part that got the attention of the online gaming industry experts.
Right now, people who play at online casinos must do so from their laptop or their computer. Some might play from mobile phones as well. But full portability has never been truly viable. But now, some believe that the iPad will allow people to play from their portable pads as long as they have Wi-Fi or 3G coverage. This will be especially helpful when playing at online casinos that use normal web browsers and not software that is downloaded.
Since most experts believe that the iPad will be as revolutionary at the iPod, iTouch and iPhone, it stands to reason that the iPad might also become a revolutionary product that could inspire development of games specifically for the multi-touch screen technology, which is what the iPad is based upon.
PokerStars is offering U.S. players a chance to fly to Las Vegas, play in a major tournament and meet PokerStars pro Joe Cada.
The site recently announced the formation of the North American Poker Tour and the winner of the PokerStars contest will win the opportunity to play in that tournament in Las Vegas in February.
Joe Cada is a well-known PokerStars pro who also won the 2009 World Series of Poker and took more than $8 million in his main event win.
To win, players can play every day in the any of the daily freerolls at the site or the $1.10 daily satellites. From there, players can advance to one of the many weekly finals. Win one of those weekly finals, and players can advance to the grand final. The winner of the grand final will win a trip to Las Vegas.
The prize package includes airfare from any major U.S. airport, five nights accommodations in Las Vegas, a day with Joe Cada and $1,000 spending money.
The North American Poker Tour includes events in cities across the United States; action recently wrapped up at one of the Atlantis Casinos in the Bahamas after a week-long tournament. In February, the tour will hit Las Vegas and in March, it will be in Connecticut.
Perhaps due in part to the increasing popularity of online casinos and partly due to the lingering recession, New Jersey gaming revenues were down a substantial 13.2 percent in 2009.
According to figures released by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, the Atlantic City casinos brought in nearly $4 million in 2009, and while that figure looks good, officials say it shows a substantial drop in gaming revenues throughout the region.
“Casinos continued to suffer in 2009,” said Linda Kassekert, Casino Control Commission chairperson.
The commission reported that slot machine play dropped 13.1 percent in 2009 to $2.72 billion in revenues, while table games dropped 13.5 percent, to $1.22 billion in revenue.
Though revenues are down, Kassekert is optimistic about the potential Atlantic City has to draw in more revenue in the future.
“Atlantic City has a lot to offer visitors in addition to gambling,” she said. “When the economy improves and people have more money to spend on entertainment…”
In recent months, Atlantic City has hosted a number of events that have drawn a good deal of interest and, likely, money to the region. These included a stop by the World Series of Poker in December. The WSOP will return again in March.
Everyone, it seems, has been touched by the crisis in Haiti. It’s hard to watch the television coverage of the devastation and not feel a desire to do something, to give money, to give something. The people behind two of the major hitters in the online poker world felt the same way and have done much to help with the suffering.
Poker Stars (www.pokerstars.com) and Full Tilt (www.fulltiltpoker.com) both organized tournaments that allowed players to use their poker playing hobby to donate money to the relief efforts in Haiti. Players could do this in two ways – either by letting players play in tournaments and donate money through their personal poker room accounts at the poker sites, or by allowing them to transfer money directly from their personal accounts to “funds for Haiti”.
The use of the site’s poker “pros” has also helped relief efforts. Many of the site’s pros (and poker pros who are known for their play in worldwide – and not just online – tournaments) took to their Twitter accounts to encourage players to donate their money to various relief efforts. Within days, the poker community had responded. Some PokerStars players, in fact, donated more than $1,000 each.
Poker Stars plans to continue its efforts through the end of January, while Full Tilt is continuing its efforts through the week, at least.
Poker players and others can also donate easily from their cell phones, by texting “Haiti” to 90999. Ten dollars will be added to the user’s cell phone bill and sent to the Red Cross for relief efforts. Through Sunday, more than $6 million had been raised this way.
The main event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure wrapped up Monday with a 19-year-old from Florida taking home the $2.2 million top prize.
Harrison Gimbel felt like a star of a particular sort after he won the final hand. “I feel like a young rock star,” he told the event’s sponsor PokerStars (www.pokerstars.com).
Gimbel is the youngest player ever to win the main event at the PCA tournament, which runs for 10 days in at the Atlantis Resort Casino in the Bahamas.
Primarily an online player, Gimbel (or gibler321 online) is a former high school wrestler who credits his former coach with giving him the confidence to believe he would do as well as he did.
“One of the things my coach always used to say was to envision something and it will come true,” Gimbel said.
The final table of 8 players was filled with mostly young Americans (and one Norwegian). The other winners include:
Ty Reiman, Illinois (winnings: $1.75 million)
Barry Shulman, Las Vegas (winnings: $1.35 million)
Ben Zamani, Florida (winnings: $1 million)
Ryan D’Angelo, New York (winnings: $700,000)
Aage Ravn, Norway (winnings: $450,000)
Zach Goldberg, New York (winnings: $300,000)
Thomas Koral, Illinois (winnings: $201,300)
Players qualified to play in the PCA event through online tournaments, winning smaller tournaments held during the PCA run or purchasing a bid to the event.
Online gaming continues to increase in popularity and the state of New Jersey wants its cut too.
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak has introduced Senate Bill 490 which would bring online gaming to the state using the many Atlantic City casinos as a conduit.
If the legislation were to pass (unknown now because it currently does not have a legislative sponsor), it would allow only brick-and-mortar Atlantic City casinos to be licensed to run online casinos. Many of the most popular Atlantic City casinos are said to be interested in running their own casinos, and this legislation would legalize and regulate that.
SB490 is similar to the legislation currently under discussion in California, but the California legislation allows the Morongo Indian and other tribes to run the online casinos and branch out from their current brick-and-mortar casinos. New Jersey’s legislation would allow the casinos to create business competition in the state instead of allowing one group or organization to have a monopoly on the business.
Allowing the casinos would be the first move in also legalizing online poker in the state of New Jersey. If passed, the bill wouldn’t affect the rights that New Jersey residents now have to play at offshore casino and poker sites.
The bill ensures that elements of it could be pre-empted by current federal legislation.
What was rumored was confirmed as true Thursday when Playtech and SegaGaming confirmed an agreement to provide services together.
Though those within the gaming world were aware that the agreement was nearly firm, it wasn’t until this week that both companies confirmed the agreement. Playtech said it will provide an array of online gaming products within Sega’s SEGAPoker.com and SEGACasino.com gambling platforms.
SegaGaming also reached an agreement with CTXM Thursday to receive that company’s games to use on its SegaGaming sites.
The Playtech agreement includes a full suite of online casino and poker games. The games will be developed and designed by Sega’s research and development team and a team of designers from Playtech.
A spokesperson for SegaGames Ltd., said that the agreement will give gamers gaming experiences unique from those they might have had before.
“Playtech solutions along with our proprietary SEGAPass technology offers us the opportunity to provide an innovative, new online gaming experience to our players and deliver the SEGA experience to people in the same manner that they have enjoyed for decades,” the spokesperson said.
The agreement should help to make SegaPoker.com competitive with many of the large online poker rooms. The new software will create real-time poker rooms with tournament play and head-to-head action. As many as 35,000 players will be able to play at a time.
“With our integrated platform and enhanced games suite, we feel that we’ve given SegaGames the tools to expand their product offering, provide a secure and safe gaming experience, and ultimately bring greater value to the Sega community,” said Mor Weizer, CEO of Playtech.
As online gaming continues to gain in popularity, the government is taking a new hard look at how these operations work.
If some senators have their way, a new law will regulate online casinos and poker rooms; if passed, the law will allow the government to not only ensure that the online gambling continues in a legal, secure and upright manner, but that taxes can be captured on the profits.
HR2267, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is also called the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act. It would license and regulate poker websites, among other goals. Frank has a good deal of support — more than 60 legislators have signed on to co-sponsor the bill.
This winter, a committee headed by Frank will review a bill from 2006 that bans U.S. banks from transferring money to those online gaming sites. The bill effectively prevents American players from playing poker online (or gambling online at all) when using their credit cards.
During committee hearings last month, FBI officials told the committee that because the poker rooms aren’t regulated, it’s easy for people to discover how to manipulate the games, often winning cash without having honestly won a game.
Because the 2006 ban makes online gambling difficult in the United States, many online gaming companies have found ways to work around the ban, by operating the casinos and poker rooms in other countries, for example. Others let players use foreign credit cards or use money from offshore accounts.
According to CasinoCity.com News, the cancellation of the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight could cost Las Vegas a good deal of money.
These high-profile fights provide several benefits to Las Vegas – thousands stream into the city to see the fight, to bet on the fight, or to be somehow associated with it. People also bet from far distances on the fight and that brings money to the city as well.
But the cancellation of the March 13 fight (which was to be hosted by the MGM Grand), could hurt Las Vegas, which has recently seen an uptick in business.
Joel Simkins, a Macquarie Securities gaming analyst, told investors Thursday that the Strip would have benefitted greatly from the fight.
Simkins went on to explain how mega fights drive tons of activity to Las Vegas with sports betting and a spike in high end casino players. Along with the impact in Las Vegas it was also likely to be the highest grossing pay-per view event.
About 17,000 seats were expected to be filled for the fight, but there also would have been an overflow benefit to Las Vegas via remote channels, with people as far away as Asia becoming interested in the fight, thanks to the involvement of Pilipino Pacquiao.
“Clearly from our perspective,” Simkins said, “MGM Mirage would likely have been a big beneficiary and this would have certainly offered gamblers an opportunity to visit Aria and CityCenter as well.”
Though the holiday season has all but past, Christmas is a joyous memory and the New Year is upon us, one of the best online casinos is still experiencing a flourish of Christmas spirit. Online slots fans at Cherry Red Casino continue to make the seasonal, and somewhat twisted slot game of Santa Strikes Back one of the most popular fixtures on the menu of 120+ games.
Santa Strikes Back isn’t your typical holiday festival slot machine. You won’t find bow-tied candy canes or perfect little snow flakes, no tediously wrapped gifts or stockings hung just so. Santa Strikes Back is more about the revenge of Santa Clause, themed around disgruntled Santas.
Like any other slot machine, players are striving to match up as many like symbols as possible to unleash the highest payouts. Santa Strikes Back features 25 pay-lines, a number of humorous – and a few more traditional – Christmas oriented symbols, and a maximum wager of $5 per line.
Santa Strikes Back was developed by Real Time Gaming (RTG), one of the leading online casino software developers, and the driving force behind all of the games at Cherry Red Casino a trusted online casino. The RTG platform is known for its substantial collection of online slots and progressive jackpots. All games at Cherry Red Casino can be played for real money, or just for the fun of it, without or without a download.