Posts Tagged ‘online gambling’

Sheldon Adelson fighting a Losing War against Online Poker

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

By now, many poker players have heard of the war that Sheldon Adelson is waging against online poker. The crusty old man has been trying to spread his message through both the TV and press that online gambling is a terrible thing. His key arguments so far? Internet gaming is more addictive than crack and must be stopped before the entire United States population is craving it.

Right away, many people can see the hypocrisy here. A guy who’s one of the richest casino owners in the world claiming that internet gaming will lead to addiction and drain people’s pockets.

As if this isn’t hypocritical enough, then consider this: one of Adelson’s casinos, The Venetian Las Vegas, advertises mobile gaming on its website. With this nifty little service, you can gamble anywhere on The Venetian’s property as long as you’ve got a smartphone. Maybe I’m missing something here, but isn’t this form of wireless play a little like online poker?

Most correctly speculate that Adelson’s hatred of online gaming stems from his fear that it’ll hurt land-based casino business. So this alone is costing the billionaire a fair share of supporters. But even if Adelson wasn’t just trying to protect his own interests, it’s unlikely that he could win this war.

With each passing month, interest in online gambling grows throughout the United States. Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey already have their operations off the ground. And other states don’t want to be left out of of the equation, so they’re also looking at legalizing internet gaming.

It no longer appears that moral high ground is the issue when it comes to online gambling. Instead, states and their voters think about online poker in terms of tax dollars and improvements to schools and cities.

And as for Adelson’s assertion that cyber gaming costs jobs at brick and mortar casinos, well, European countries such as the UK are reporting a rise in land-based casino revenue ever since online gaming was instituted. What this all adds up to is the likely scenario that Adelson is wasting millions of dollars in a losing effort.

“Operation Zombie” busts Hacker who stole $600k from Online Gamblers

Monday, September 16th, 2013

For over a year now, a number of online gamblers have been terrorized by a hacker who was stealing up to $50,000 a month. But Argentinian police may have finally brought an end to this nightmare after busting a 19-year-old hacker whose dad is an IT engineer.

The hacker’s operation began when he sent out a malware virus that hit people when they were downloading online poker and casino software. The teenager would then use denial of service attacks (DDoS) to lock people out of their accounts while he stole their money. The DDoS attacks were supported by thousands of “zombie” computers that flooded payment platforms.

Online poker and casino players weren’t the only ones targeted because a businessman who owned a web hosting service also reported being victimized. He went to police after hackers kept intercepting money transfers that were intended for his web hosting site.

Police then launched “Operation Zombie” and began working to uncover the hacker. As Buenos Aries Chief Prosecutor Graciela Gils Carbo explained, Argentinian police concluded that the same person who hacked the businessman was also behind the online gambling cyber thefts. Authorities also discovered that six other people were involved in the criminal network.

But the unidentified 19-year-old is the headliner here since he allegedly did most of the damage. The only details on the young man is that his father is an information systems engineer. In all, police believe that the hacker and his cohorts stole around $600,000 from victims.

What’s disturbing about this incident is that it comes just a short while after poker players at EPT Barcelona reported their laptops being compromised. Jens Kyllonen broke the news by saying that somebody kept breaking into his room and taking his laptop, possibly to install a Trojan virus. Hotel security was of little help, so Barcelona police are looking into the matter right now.

New Jersey legalizes Online Gambling

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Online gambling took another big step in the United States after New Jersey legalized online poker and casino games. Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into effect today, making New Jersey just the third state behind Delaware and Nevada to legalize internet gambling.

After vetoing previous gaming bills in 2011 and early 2013, Christie finally approved the legislation this time around. The big reason why was that this bill made certain amendments to Christie’s liking such as raising funds for gambling addiction programs from $150,000 to $250,000, and increasing taxes on online gaming revenues from 10% to 15%.

Another major reason why Christie eventually passed this online gaming bill was because of New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak. After being rejected last month, Lesniak reworked the bill and got it back on Governor Christie’s desk. He stated:

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s been an unnecessarily long road, but we finally got there. It’s a relief. I didn’t want to have to go through this a third time, but I’ll tell you I was prepared to. The governor knew I wasn’t going away, and unfortunately neither were the problems of Atlantic City.

From the get go, the governor has been on the wrong side of what is necessary to save jobs in Atlantic City and grow the gaming industry there and in the state. It was a real struggle to get him to change his viewpoint, but thankfully he did. Better late than never.

Helping revive Atlantic City was a big selling point in getting this bill passed. Atlantic City has seen its casino revenue decline from a peak of $5 billion in 2006 to $3 billion in 2012. Now the city’s casinos will be able to offer online poker and casino games to both state residents and visitors.

This certainly works out in PokerStars’ favor, which purchased the Atlantic Club Casino just weeks ago in anticipation of legalized New Jersey online gambling. Now it’s looking more and more likely that Stars will be able to gain a foothold in the US online poker scene again.

Segregated Online Poker Markets

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

One issue that’s starting to catch fire within the poker world is the possible segregation of the UK online poker market. The UK has always been one of the more lucrative markets because they have money, and their government seems tolerant to online gambling. But the way it seems now, the UK is looking to make its online poker market exclusive from the rest of the world.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because both France and Italy already have this model in place. And while you wouldn’t think that countries with 65 million and 60 million residents would make much of a dent on the worldwide poker market, their segregation has created a surprisingly successful environment.

Looking at PokerStars, they’ve done surprisingly well with both (4th in online poker room traffic) and (7th in traffic). The iPoker network is another entity that’s taken well to Italy since their site is ranked 10th in online poker traffic. In short, exclusive poker markets in Italy and France have performed better than imagined.

This being said, you have to think that an exclusive UK player pool would do pretty well since their country is about the same size as Italy and France, plus they have a lot of online poker fanatics.

Looking at things from a broader perspective, there are pluses and minuses to regulating online poker markets. The biggest positive is that more fish are going to be encouraged to play in a system where deposits/cashouts are easily made, and where the government actually encourages play because they get tax revenue. On the downside, the world is being split from some of the best poker markets in the world, and the high stakes games will suffer as a result. After all, people with multi-million bankrolls aren’t a dime a dozen in every country.

In short, you have to take the good with the bad in these regulated online poker markets.