Posts Tagged ‘Market’

PokerStars Expects to Compete in Pennsylvania Online Poker Market

 PokerStars Expects to Compete in Pennsylvania Online Poker Market

At the end of October, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill to legalize and regulate online gambling – including poker – in the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania is now the fourth state – behind Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey – to legalize online poker, so now the discussions in the poker community revolve around when, exactly, might Pennsylvania’s online gambling industry get up and running. We won’t get into that here (though if I were to speculate, it would be mid-2018 at the earliest), but it has been interesting to see that PokerStars already expects to get in on the action.

In a recent earnings call, Rafi Ashkenazi, the CEO of PokerStars parent company, The Stars Group, said, “We are poised to take advantage of the positive momentum in the growth of online gaming globally and the continued march towards regulation, including in the United States where we aim to be among the first operators to launch in Pennsylvania when that state opens its door to online poker and casino.”

Well, he certainly didn’t mince words there.

What remains to be seen is how PokerStars will become one of those operators. According to the new law, there will be twelve licenses available for online poker (as well as twelve more for online table games and twelve for online slots), corresponding to the number of brick-and-mortar casinos in the state. It looks like a thirteenth license will be added, as well, as the bill opened the door for the Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia to begin construction. Adding a thirteenth land-based casino will add a thirteenth licensing slot.

The current casinos in Pennsylvania get first dibs at the available licenses. They aren’t cheap, either. Each of the three license types – poker, table games, and slots – cost $ 4 million each just for the application. Should any of the casinos apply for all three within 90 days, they can apply for $ 10 million combined. If there are still available licenses after 120 days, outside “qualified” operators can apply, but they don’t get the discount.

Where PokerStars would probably enter would be as a partner with one of the casinos (applications in this case are less expensive). A casino would apply for the main license and PokerStars would apply for a secondary license to be the gambling platform provider for the casino. This is what PokerStars did in New Jersey, joining up with Resorts AC.

One can only speculate as to which casino PokerStars would team up with in Pennsylvania, but Mohegan Sun Pocono isn’t a bad guess. Mohegan Sun manages Resorts AC, so it already has experience working with PokerStars. If Mohegan Sun wants to get in on the online gambling business in Pennsylvania, it seems only natural that it would continue to work with PokerStars. Then again, who knows if the company wants to and who knows if PokerStars wants to, either?

One analyst did ask about how PokerStars is going to go about obtaining a Pennsylvania license. Chief Legal Office Marlon Goldstein had a fairly vague answer, responding, “We’re still evaluating our options in terms of who we may want to partner with and the landscape in Pennsylvania generally. But again, we are really excited to be competing in that market sequentially as soon as possible.”

The post PokerStars Expects to Compete in Pennsylvania Online Poker Market appeared first on Poker News Daily.

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PokerStars Withdraws from Israel Real Money Poker Market

 PokerStars Withdraws from Israel Real Money Poker Market

PokerStars has halted the offering of real money poker games in Israel, according to both an e-mail that was sent to customers and a pop-up message that was presented to Israeli players upon attempting to login. The ban took effect Monday, June 27th. In a somewhat ironic side note, the founder of PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg, is Israeli.

It appears that this decision was made because Israel is what is considered a “grey” market in the online poker world. That is, online poker is not explicitly illegal in the country, but it isn’t legal, either. Israel does, though, bar most other forms of gambling and has typically used those laws to cover internet gaming, as well.

PokerStars has been withdrawing from grey markets over the years. It is generally understood that the decision to do so is to make its parent company, Amaya, look as squeaky clean as possible as it applies for operating licenses in various jurisdictions, the United States, in particular. Amaya doesn’t want any potential blemishes on its record when trying to apply for access in the States. There are a lot of customers to be had if Pennsylvania and California open up to internet poker and Amaya doesn’t need to die on the grey market hill.

Below is PokerStars’ e-mail to its Israeli customers, as shared on Two Plus Two:

Our management team regularly review our operations market-by-market to assess commercial opportunities and business risks for our brands. Following a recent review, we regret to inform you that we have decided to stop offering real money games to players who are physically located in – or have a registered address in – Israel from June 27, 2016. We apologize for this inconvenience and hope you’ve enjoyed your experience – we invite you to continue playing with your existing account on our play money site here.

Player balances remain safe and secure, and players are able to withdraw their real money balances at their convenience.

You will be able to withdraw to your Visa card or WebMoney account providing you have used them to deposit within the last 12 months. If you have not, you will need to deposit with them before June 27 to be able to do so. The wire transfer option may also be available for withdrawals. Note that if you do deposit with WebMoney you will need to wait 48 hours from your last deposit before you are able to withdraw your funds.

A full question and answer page has been provided for affected players.

Any outstanding tournament tickets or T-money will be converted to cash. A $ 1 VIP Cash Rebate has been added to the VIP Store that can be purchased for 100 StarsCoin in order to facilitate players who would like to convert their StarsCoin to cash. Players who have made progress on their current VIP Step will receive the full prorated value of their current Step credited if the amount is 250 StarsCoin or more.

Please allow up to 72 hours from June 27 in order for these credits and conversions to be made, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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ICYMI: Beth Shak Off the Market, Neymar Sets His Sights on A Non-Soccer Championship

 ICYMI: Beth Shak Off the Market, Neymar Sets His Sights on A Non Soccer Championship

While much of the poker community is keeping an eye on the activities going on at the 2016 World Series of Poker, there is some other news making the rounds. In this edition of “ICYMI (In Case You Missed It),” for those of you who thought you had a shot with poker player Beth Shak…prepared to be disappointed.

Beth Shak Elopes with Fox News Correspondent

After meeting each other only four months ago, poker player/shoe fiend Beth Shak and Fox News correspondent Rick Leventhal eloped to…where else, Las Vegas…tying the knot in a ceremony on June 9 at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. When asked why there was a need to elope, Shak slyly stated that she wanted to have an anniversary date that “Rick would remember.” (Folks, you can do the breakdown on that!)

Shak, who was formerly married to high stakes poker professional/businessman Dan Shak, has been known more of late for her massive shoe collection than her prowess on the felt. Despite not cashing in a poker tournament since 2013, Shak has made several television appearances (most notably on The Millionaire Matchmaker) and has been the subject of several magazine articles regarding her shoe collection. Built during her marriage to Shak, it is valued at over $ 1 million.

Leventhal does the “grunt work” at Fox News, having reported from two dozen war zones in his career. This includes five forays into Iraq, four to Afghanistan and eight to Israel, among others. He has also covered U. S. news heavily, in particular the damage following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Andrew and Hugo. As with Shak, it is his second marriage as well.

Poker Central Crowns Winner of MVMT Million Dollar Final Table Challenge

It was going to be tough enough for someone to complete the feat, but that doesn’t mean thousands didn’t try. After no one was able to pick the final seven men – and their finishing order – in the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl, Poker Central wasn’t able to give away $ 1 million in their MVMT Million Dollar Final Table Challenge. They were able to award the $ 10,000 prize to the person who earned the best overall performance, however, with that prize going to Frank Vercillo of New York.

Vercillo was able to pick the correct top two finishers, eventual champion Rainer Kempe and runner up Fedor Holz, and correctly had them as 1-2 on his picks. That, along with the rest of his picks, was enough to give him the victory and the $ 10,000 first-place prize. According to’s Brian Pempus, Vercillo will use the money to fund a trip across the United States, eventually ending up in Las Vegas. It will be Vercillo’s first ever trip to Sin City and hopefully his luck will continue!

Brazil’s Neymar Sits Out Copa America, Wins WSOP Main Event Seat

After watching his football team fail to get out of the group phase of the 2016 Copa America, Brazil’s Neymar decided to put something else on his schedule this summer:  playing in the 2016 WSOP Championship Event.

Last week the Brazilian soccer superstar took part in a two table satellite at the Rio that would award the eventual winner a $ 10,000 seat into poker’s biggest event. Since he has been under the tutelage of some of the best players in the world as a PokerStars sponsored player, Neymar made short work of that 18-player gathering and walked off with the seat. That was the highlight of the week for Neymar, however.

After being held out of Copa America (Brazilian officials acquiesced to requests from Neymar’s club, FC Barcelona, to only play him in the Olympics), Neymar watched as his fellow countrymen couldn’t even get out of the group stage of the biggest soccer tournament in the Western Hemisphere. Granted, Brazil was eliminated by a “Hand of God” goal by Peru in the group stage, but it couldn’t have set well with the Brazilian soccer legend.

There won’t be any problem with scheduling for Neymar in the future. The 2016 Summer Olympics, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, don’t start until August 5. With the WSOP Championship Event starting on July 9, the only way that Neymar will have any scheduling issues is if he makes the “November Nine.” If Neymar makes that prestigious final table, then FC Barcelona would have to see if he could squeeze some football into his schedule!

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partypoker Going Back Into Gray Market Countries

 partypoker Going Back Into Gray Market Countries

GVC Holdings, the company that bought – and by extension the partypoker brand – for £1.116 billion (USD $ 1,697 billion) in September 2015, has announced that it plans to expand partypoker globally. The once-dominant online poker site pre-UIGEA has said that it will re-enter 21 “gray market” countries, or countries where online poker is not explicitly legal and regulated, but not explicitly illegal, either.

Speaking to eGaming Review,’s Tom Waters, Group Head of partypoker, said, “Along with other operators in the industry, we do accept gameplay from customers based in yet to be regulated territories where customers are not prevented from accessing online gaming products.”

“We have re-opened registration for a number of markets and could potentially look to do more if the commercials support it,” he added.

The company has not put out an official list of countries yet, but Haley Hintze at wrote that the assumption is that 18 of the 21 will be countries that partypoker withdrew from in 2013: Argentina, Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

All are currently or have recently been on the list of countries on party’s site that are deemed as off-limits. One would presume that they will all be removed from the list in the near future. Five were previously removed, so that leaves thirteen. Doing the math, that also means that there are eight other countries on the blacklist that partypoker will re-enter.

Hintze guesses that those eight will include Bulgaria and Turkey, some Pacific Rim countries, and possibly Lebanon.

It is widely assumed that withdrew from gray market jurisdictions in order to lay the groundwork for a potential re-entry into the United States. It and other companies wanted to try to keep a squeaky-clean image so that state regulators would not have any reason to deny them an operating license should they apply.

And speaking of U.S. licenses, GVC Holdings was granted an operational waiver by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), which allows to continue to serve online poker players in the Garden State.

GVC’s acquisition of was approved by the UK Scheme Court on February 1st, after which the new company began trading on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker “GVC.” But though is licensed in New Jersey and has been operating in the state, GVC, its new parent, does not have a New Jersey license. The operation waiver that was issued last week allows GVC’s subsidiaries to stay active in New Jersey while GVC’s own application is being reviewed by the DGE.

The caveat, though, is that’s employees in New Jersey cannot have any contact with GVC until GVC is licensed. It shouldn’t really matter, as they were operating without GVC before the acquisition, but it is an interesting requirement.

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