Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Steroids scandal rocks Japanese horseracing industry

World Casino News
Steroids scandal rocks Japanese horseracing industry

The horseracing authority for the northern Japanese province of Iwate was reportedly forced to suspend all contests for one day last week after several of the competing animals tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid. Horses tested positive for boldenone: According to a report from Asia Gaming Brief, the Iwate Prefectural Horse Racing Association first […]

Biggest WSOP Europe Main Event Winners

Casino News Daily
Biggest WSOP Europe Main Event Winners

The WSOP Europe festival is two weeks away and every self-respecting fan of live tournament poker has already braced for quality poker action and immense thrill. The 2018 edition of the major series is set to take place at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, one of Europe’s best and most popular poker destinations.

The WSOP Europe has 10 gold bracelets up for grabs and it is to be seen who the lucky ten players to capture the pieces of jewelry will be. Of course, the €10,350 Main Event is the most highly anticipated tournament. The event is slated to kick off on October 27 and to run through November 2. Aside from the Main Event gold bracelet for the winner it will also feature a guaranteed prize pool of €5 million. Hopes are that the guarantee will be crushed and that the tournament will see great interest among players from all around Europe and all other corners of the world.

Elio Fox – €1.4 Million

In 2011, US poker player Elio Fox emerged as the winner of the largest ever WSOP Europe Main Event. He topped a field of 593 entries to be awarded the amount of €1.4 million. The tournament took place in Cannes. England’s Chris Moorman was Fox’s heads-up opponent. The moment of victory came for the latter after his [Ad][10s] bested his final opponent’s [Ah][7s].

It is also important to note that Fox has remained quite consistent in his pursuit of poker prestige in the years after his WSOPE Main Event victory. Most recently, the poker professional finished runner-up in this year’s WSOP $100,000 High Roller event for a cash prize of $1,798,658 and took down the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $50,000 buy-in Super High Roller for $500,000.

Marti Roca De Torres – €1,115,207

Spain’s Torres came as the winner of the 2017 WSOP Europe Main Event. That was the first edition of the tournament after a two-year hiatus of the European series. The player was the last man standing from a field of 529 entrants. He collected the amount of €1,115,207. Torres faced heads-up one of Italy’s most promising poker players – Gianluca Speranza. On what turned out to be the final hand in the Main Event, Torres beat his opponent with [Qh][5d].

Torres has cashed in several tournaments since last fall when he became the WSOP Europe Main Event, but has not taken down any major event since then.

The 2017 edition of the WSOP Europe took place at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, the venue that has now turned into a permanent home of the major tournament series.

Annette Obrestad – £1,000,000 (approximately €1.1 million)

The Norwegian poker pro became the winner of the first-ever WSOP Europe Main Event and has so far been the only female player to take it down. She outwitted a 362-strong field to collect £1 million in prize money. It is also important to note that at the age of 18, she was the youngest player to ever win a gold bracelet from the WSOP.

John Tabatabai from Wales was Obrestad’s final opponent on her road to victory. The two players’ final clash saw the Norwegian player’s pocket sevens hold up against Tabatabai’s [5s][6d].

The inaugural WSOP Europe Main Event took place in London. In fact, the first four editions of the series were all hosted by the capital of the United Kingdom.

Phil Hellmuth – €1,058,403

Hellmuth has long held the record for the most WSOP gold bracelets ever won. He captured his 13th ever piece of WSOP jewelry in 2012 when he topped the 420-person field of the WSOP Europe Main Event. His share of the prize pool totaled €1,058,403.

The tournament took place in Cannes where Hellmuth remained one of the two players to participate in the heads-up match. Ukraine’s Sergii Baranov was the other one. However, it was not meant to be for the Ukrainian as his [As][4c] sent him to the rail in second place after clashing against Hellmuth’s [Ah][10d]. The US player thus further cemented his reputation of a tournament poker legend. It should also be noted that Hellmuth is one of the few players to have won the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas and the WSOP Europe Main Event.

Adrian Mateos – €1,000,000

Mateos is one of the most popular poker pros of the younger generation of players. At the age of 24, the Spaniard boasts three WSOP gold bracelets and an EPT Grand Final title. Mateos won one of his pieces of WSOP gold for taking down the WSOP Europe Main Event.

He became a WSOPE Main Event champion in 2013, when the tournament was held in France. The player beat a field of 375. Local player Fabrice Soulier was his heads-up opponent. The final hand of the tournament saw Mateos collect all his opponent’s chips with [Ad][Kc] to Soulier’s [9d][8d].

The post Biggest WSOP Europe Main Event Winners appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Philippine President Wages War on Gambling with Fiery Rhetoric

Casino News Daily
Philippine President Wages War on Gambling with Fiery Rhetoric

Rodrigo Duterte is more than two years into his presidential tenure and it has been an eventful two years. Among other things, President Duterte’s past two years will be remembered for the top Philippine official’s continued war on gambling, which has most recently manifested itself in a moratorium on the construction of new casino resorts in the country.

President Duterte’s latest wave of rage against gambling was unleashed in the beginning of 2018 with the above-mentioned moratorium. The official ordered PAGCOR, the country’s gambling regulator, to stop issuing gaming licenses to interested parties in a bid to prevent the proliferation of gambling in the Philippines.

The moratorium was imposed in mid-January. In comments to local media, PAGCOR Chief Andrea Domingo said that the regulator had stopped accepting applications for the issuance of gaming licenses and that only applications submitted before January 13 would be considered. Several interested developers had managed to submit their applications before the above date. And two particular casino resort projects received provisional approval from the country’s regulator.

However, their approval turned into a widely publicized manifestation of President Duterte’s rage against gambling and vows that he would make sure to prevent the materialization of the two casino plans as well as of any other gambling project that might emerge in future.

Why did the two integrated resort schemes gained so much public attention and why did they spur President Duterte’s anger in the first place? Here is a little bit more about the most recent and most publicized events in the Philippines gambling industry.

The Two Failed Casino Resort Projects

News emerged last year that Macau gaming and hospitality company Galaxy Entertainment Group has partnered its Philippine counterpart Leisure & Resorts World Corporation to develop a $500-plus-million integrated resort on the Boracay Island. With its white-sand beaches and its tropical climate, the island is a popular hub for tourists from the Asia-Pacific region.

However, business and development activity on the island drew quite some ire from President Duterte in February. Following the publication of an environmental review of the popular tourism draw, the fiery leader announced that it would be shuttered for a cleanup as it had been turned into a “cesspool” by local businesses. Generally speaking, the environmental review found out that a number of businesses operating on Boracay had been discharging waste water directly into the sea for years. In addition, it turned out that a number of buildings on the island had been constructed without obtaining all the necessary permissions.

President Duterte vowed to make sure that all illegal operations would suffer extreme consequences and that plans for the new gambling operation would fail. The official has repeatedly pointed out over the course of the past several months that casino gambling beyond the existing businesses is something he would not support and that he would do whatever is necessary to prevent Boracay from becoming home to the Galaxy integrated resort.

Despite President Duterte’s comments, Galaxy and its local partner announced that they had managed to acquire a 23-hectare portion of land on Boracay before the island’s closure where the resort would be constructed. Representatives of the developers have pointed out that they believe the hotel and casino complex would be completed by 2021, despite the closure of the popular tourism hub and the Philippine President’s vows to block the scheme.

One more casino resort project has drawn the ire of the country’s top official in recent months. Hong Kong-based developer Landing International Development announced earlier this year a plan to build a $1.5-billion casino resort in the capital Manila.

The company broke ground on the mega-complex on August 7. However, President Duterte announced only a few hours later that the project would be nixed, once again reiterating his hatred for everything gambling. It is also important to note that the official sacked the whole board of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation on the day Landing broke ground on its resort.

Landing planned to build the resort on a portion of land that had previously been occupied by the Nayong Pilipino Cultural Park. The Nayong Pilipino Foundation agreed to lease the site to the Hong Kong-based company. President Duterte and his administration said that the lease contract, penned in March, was flawed and put the government at a significant disadvantage as the agreed rental payment was “unconscionable”. Earlier this month, the Philippine Department of Justice supported the top official’s claims and recommended the cancellation of the project.

The future of both the Galaxy and the Landing casino resort plans is quite uncertain at this point. President Duterte has vowed to prevent both projects as well as any other proposals of this kind and it seems that his stance on the matter is not likely to soften.

President Duterte Bans Casino Workers from Gambling

In a new rollout of casino-related regulations, it became known earlier this month that casino staff would be banned from gambling in the country’s casinos. In a notice dated September 6, the local gambling regulator, the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), said that all employees at gambling establishments will be included in the country’s National Database of Restricted Persons. The computerized database contains the names of all individuals who are restricted from gambling at all local casinos licensed by PAGCOR.

The Philippines is apparently looking to avoid Macau’s mistakes where casino employees have long represented the largest portion of the local register of problem gamblers.

The country’s top official is clearly getting tough on land-based casinos and the scope of his crackdown is growing. It is yet to be seen what his next actions toward restricting the construction of new casino properties will be, but judging by his consistency, we will certainly see more of President Duterte and his anti-gambling rhetoric.

The post Philippine President Wages War on Gambling with Fiery Rhetoric appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Poker Tournaments Starting September 24-30

Casino News Daily
Poker Tournaments Starting September 24-30

Fall is officially upon us and a new batch of extremely exciting poker events is set to arrive in its wake. This week’s live tournament poker overview includes events across Europe, Asia, and North America. All four promise unparalleled thrill and massive monetary prizes and all four are great for challenging one’s level of poker mastery.

Here are four of the major tournaments set to begin over the next few days and information about what one might expect from them.

PokerStars Megastack Namur

The city of Namur in Belgium will be host to the next PokerStars-branded poker festival. The PokerStars Megastack is set to kick off today at Casino de Namur and to run through the end of the month. The tournament will feature multiple exciting opportunities for players to test their skills and challenge opponents who have mastered the game at different levels.

The festival will include four tournaments and several satellites to the Main Event. And action at the host casino will kick off namely with the PokerStars Megastack Main Event. The tournament will run from today all the way through September 30 and will feature six starting flights and two more days of action. It will be a €170 buy-in event and will start off with a guaranteed prize pool of €100,000.

Another thrilling tournament on the Megastack festival’s schedule will be the €550 High Roller. That one will run on September 29-30.

WPT DeepStacks Vietnam

The WPT DeepStacks is next heading to Vietnam for another exciting festival that will bring together some of Asia’s best grinders as well as guests from around the world. The festival will take place from September 26 to October 4 at Pro Poker Club in Ho Chi Minh and will feature a plethora of events, with those varying in buy-in fees.

One of Asia’s most thrilling destinations will welcome the WPT DeepStacks series with a 2-day Welcome WPT Vietnam VND7,700,000 tournament. As for the highlight tournament, the VND22,000,000 Main Event with a guaranteed prize pool of VND8 billion it is scheduled to take place on September 28 through October 2.

The VND44,000,000 High Roller is another event worth being mentioned in our overview. The tournament will take place over three days – October 1-3 – and will feature two starting flights and one more day of play. It will allow a maximum of 2 re-entries per starting flight and will certainly offer tons of quality poker action.

Wynn Fall Classic

For those looking for thrill and excitement on the Las Vegas Strip, Wynn Las Vegas is the right place. This year’s edition of the highly popular Wynn Fall Classic is kicking off September 26 and will take place all the way through October 15.

Its schedule includes 16 different tournaments, 15 of which will be No-Limit Hold’em ones. There will also be one Pot-Limit Omaha tournament within this classy festival for fans of that poker game.

The Wynn Fall Classic will start with the $550 No-Limit Hold’em Seniors tournament. The event will be a single-day one and will feature a guaranteed prize pool of $50,000. It is important to note that most of the events within the festival will be single-day ones. There will also be one two-day event, two three-day ones, and two four-day ones.

The Main Event will be one of the four-day tournaments. It will start on October 12 and will be completed on October 15. Interested players will be able to take part in it by paying a buy-in fee of $1,600. The tournament will feature a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000 that will hopefully be crushed.

partypoker MILLIONS Dusk Till Dawn, Nottingham

partypoker’s MILLIONS live tournament brand is next landing in Nottingham for more than a week of unequaled poker action. The Dusk Till Dawn festival will begin on September 29 and will end on October 7. As one can tell by the name, the Dusk Till Dawn casino, a popular poker meeting hub, in Nottingham will play host to this major event.

The festival is set to feature more than £7 million in guaranteed prize money. This speaks volumes about the quality of poker that players and spectators will be able to witness at the host venue.

The £1,100 No-Limit Hold’em MILLIONS UK Open will put the beginning of action within the festival. The event will feature a guaranteed prize pool of £1 million. There will be five starting flights and three more days of play.

The £5,300 Main Event will be the next big tournament to kick off. It will take place on September 30-October 6. There will be at least £5 million up for grabs for those who run deep enough into this prestigious tournament.

The £550 MILLIONS UK Finale with five starting flights and the £10,300 High Roller are two other exciting events that should be mentioned. The former will take place October 4-7 and will feature a guaranteed prize pool of £500,000, while the latter will run from October 5 through October 7 and will feature a guaranteed prize pool of £1 million.

The post Poker Tournaments Starting September 24-30 appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Macau posts improved August visitor numbers

World Casino News
Macau posts improved August visitor numbers

Macau reportedly chalked up an 18.7% increase year-on-year in visitor numbers last month as some 3.4 million people travelled to enjoy the former Portuguese enclave’s extensive selection of shops, hotels and casinos. Year’s biggest rise: According to a report from GGRAsia citing official information from the city’s Statistics and Census Service, the August tally represented […]

Macau casinos are back on track after typhoon

Casino News – Focus Gaming News
Macau casinos are back on track after typhoon
Macau casinos are back on track after typhoon

After being forced to shut down their operations for almost three days, casino demand has “recovered quickly”, brokerage Nomura says.

The post Macau casinos are back on track after typhoon appeared first on Focus Gaming News.

What’s Next for Gambling Tech Giant Playtech?

Casino News Daily
What’s Next for Gambling Tech Giant Playtech?

It has been an eventful year for Playtech and a particularly turbulent one at the same time. The gambling technology company, founded by Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi in 1999, saw its share price fall nearly 50% over the past 12 months and recorded a 34% drop in adjusted profit in the first half of the year. In addition, news emerged that a brand-new Playtech investor is pushing for a corporate governance overhaul and is not very happy about Mr. Sagi’s involvement in the company.

Earlier this year, the tech giant, which has for years been supplying major operators with a variety of products, completed the purchase of Italian gambling company Snaitech for €846 million. In its half-year results, Playtech CEO Mor Weizer attributed the company’s regulated revenue growth namely to that acquisition deal.

However, the debate over the introduction of massive restrictions on the distribution of gaming machines around Italy is becoming more and more intense with each day passing and this could cast heavy clouds over what Playtech hoped would be a purchase that would strengthen its footprint across the regulated gambling space. Snaitech derives nearly half of its overall revenue from the gaming devices.

Most recently, Playtech offloaded its entire stake in CFD trading platform Plus500 for £176 million, stating that it would use proceeds from the deal to reduce its debt and for general corporate purposes.

What is next for the gambling tech giant? The company is facing regulatory pressure and competition in key markets and will clearly have to direct its focus to where it can reap the greatest benefits. In addition, changes are clearly coming for Playtech, but it is yet to be seen how these will affect its operations, profitability and its lure to investors.

Shaky Profitability and Share Price Drop

Playtech has long been targeting a FTSE 100 status. However, it was forced to abandon these ambitions after issuing two profit warnings over the past year and reporting a 34% slump in adjusted profit for the first half of the year. The profit warnings and the eventual significant drop resulted in the company’s share price falling by half over the past 12 months.

Playtech attributed its shaky profitability to its operations in Southeast Asia. The gambling tech giant has maintained its footprint in that particular region for nearly a decade. However, growing competition in China combined with heavy pressure in Malaysia, where the local government has ramped up efforts to crack down on unregulated gambling, have had quite a negative impact on Playtech’s performance over the past year. In Malaysia, in particular, the company saw a significantly lower activity this year compared to two years ago.

On a more positive note, regulated markets offset the losses suffered in Asia. Excluding Asian revenue, the company recorded a double-digit growth during the first half of the year. Playtech further pointed out that it would look to focus on regulated markets which are traditionally more stable and that it expects to generate around 80% of its overall revenue for 2018 from such regulated markets. Around 69% of Playtech’s half-year revenue came from regulated markets, as reported by the gambling software developer.

New Shareholders with New Demands

News emerged last month that SpringOwl Asset Management had invested more than $100 million into Playtech over the span of several weeks, thus acquiring a 5% stake in the company. The New York-based hedge fund is led by US investor Jason Ader, who among other things is known for playing a key role in bwin.party Digital Entertainment’s sale to GVC Holdings. Mr. Ader used his holding in bwin.party to press for the gambling operator’s sale following a prolonged proxy fight with the company’s board which involved him criticizing board members for failing to properly execute the 2010 merger of bwin and Party Gaming, which resulted in a 60% decline in share price.

According to media reports, Mr. Ader is expected to use his newly acquired stake in Playtech to demand disposal of assets or even sale of the gambling tech company. However, Playtech’s corporate governance is understood to be SpringOwl and its leader’s main focus for the time being. Mr. Ader has reportedly expressed concerns over the fact that Alan Jackson has been serving as the company’s Chairman for too long. In addition, the US investor has pointed out that Mr. Sagi’s continuing association with the gambling tech giant he had found is “a negative” for Playtech. The company’s founder currently holds a 6.3% stake in it after selling down his controlling stake bit by bit over the past several years. Mr. Ader has recently told Reuters that he does not have “a sense that the future of this company includes Teddy Sagi”.

In a separate round of news, it became known that London-based privately owned hedge fund Odey Asset Management has quietly bought a 5% stake in Playtech. Reports also emerged that the hedge fund’s co-founder, British businessman Crispin Odey has been in touch with Mr. Ader. Together the two investors own 10% in Playtech, which is more than enough to secure them with the influence required to press for important changes, including a corporate governance overhaul.

According to the latest reports on the topic, a change in the company’s leadership could indeed be asked for by Mr. Ader.

Plus500 Stake Sale

As mentioned above, Playtech sold recently its entire stake in CFD trading platform Plus500 for the amount of £176 million. The company said in a statement that it would use the money it has raked in from the sale to reduce its debt and for other corporate purposes.

The move came days after five of the trading platform’s founders disposed of 9.4 million of their shares for the approximate amount of £145 million, citing personal reasons and “desire to diversify their investments” as the main reasons for their decision. Playtech previously made a £459-million offer to purchase Plus500. However, concerns raised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority combined with pressure from the trading platform’s investors, with Odey being one of them, resulted in the deal’s failure.

Playtech’s recent disposal of its stake in Plus500 has actually been applauded by Mr. Ader. The US investor has pointed out that the gambling tech firm should continue disposing of its financial businesses and focus solely on the gambling portion of its operations as its financial services holdings have proved to be a major distraction.

Conclusion

Bearing in mind the recent developments, it seems that Playtech’s eventful streak is far from over. With brand-new and very demanding investors, the company could be headed toward a sale, a disposal of some of its assets, and/or a corporate governance overhaul. In addition, it would be looking to improve its profitability by directing its focus mainly on regulated markets and gradually reducing the influence unregulated markets have on its business. Last but not least, there clearly will be pressure for Mr. Sagi to exit the company completely and it is rather curious to see whether and how this would happen.

The post What’s Next for Gambling Tech Giant Playtech? appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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