If you have a Facebook account, you’ve probably seen people warning you about all sorts of evil things that are going to happen now that Facebook has gone public. Many of them are untrue and prove only that people love to panic where Facebook is concerned. But we’ve found out about one change that is true, though it may not make much difference to most Facebook users.
Since its beginning Facebook hasn’t allowed developers who offer their applications on Facebook to charge players for using the app. At least not directly. Popular apps, like Farmville, make money though advertisements. But many apps charge players for bonus content or even, in the case of Zynga Poker, extra coins to play with. Players have worked under these rules for years and have become rather used to them. When you start playing a game on Facebook, you know you need to check in regularly to keep amassing coins to play with and that there will be some special items that the game will want you to pay real money for. Sometimes pence, but still real money.
But now Facebook has decided that developers will be able to charge players directly for access to their apps. Now being able to charge doesn’t mean that they will charge. And many Facebook games serve more as an advertisement for a developer than anything else. So, we may not see much change in the way Facebook works for us. At least not right away. Or we may see even better apps available on the social media site now that developers can actually charge for them. There are some apps and some games that are just worth paying for and developers haven’t had a reason to add them to Facebook, until now.
Australia has long been a country that parallels the United States in its views on online gambling, but there are signs that the situation may be changing for gamblers Down Under. The Australian government has been studying the potential effects of legalising online gambling in some forms and has been advised that without legalized and regulated online gambling, players simply turn to overseas gambling sites. These overseas sites may not be regulated and of course, they pay no revenue to the government of Australia. But if they country was to offer online betting through regulated sites, then they could offer more protection to players, as well as benefiting from collecting revenue.
The news out of Australia is that right now the government is looking to legalise online sports betting and online poker. Currently, online casino games such as black jack, roulette and video poker don’t seem to be under consideration. Since Australians can already bet on sports games over their phones, allowing those bets to take place online would not be much of a change. And even in the US, there is a bit more of a feeling of approval for online poker than other casino games because poker is seen more as a sport than a game of chance. Added to that, Australia is a big poker playing country, so online poker rooms should be astoundingly popular.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the developments in the country, but the UK is still proving to be one of the best places to live if you’re an online poker player or online gambler.
America has long been an uncertain territory for online gambling. Last year at this time, they were seizing the accounts and domain names for some of what were then the top online poker rooms. After watching three of four seized domains fail, many online gambling companies stepped out of the American market.
But then the Americans went and changed the rules. And the rules are still in the changing process, just check out US news media like http://abcnews.go.com/ to follow the ongoing debates. Now the state of Nevada, where Las Vegas is located, is licensing online poker rooms. This has spurred a lot interest in Nevada gambling, but sometimes it’s an uphill battle. Just go ask William Hill.
Now, what could Nevada find wrong with William Hill? After all, they are a large and well established company. Here in the UK. But it seems in Nevada, they’re having trouble getting approval for their purchase of American Wagering, Cal-Neva and Brandywine Gaming. Maybe Nevada has something on William Hill we don’t know about? Well, they’re also moving slowly on the approval of Stadium Technology by Ladbrokes.
The delays in Nevada have taken so long that some are rumoring that the purchases by the UK companies may not look as good as they did when the deals were originally made. However, with the current calls for online gambling that are taking place in the US, it might be a good thing for UK casinos to establish a strong hold there. It’s likely that any US online gambling would have to originate on American soil, which would put Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos ahead of the game.
Are you familiar with PKR Poker? They’re a British online poker site that has been winning awards for their fantastic 3D software that really does put players in the middle of the action. I’ve been a fan of them every since they burst on the scene with fantastic playing environments and personalized player avatars that put most poker sites to shame. But many people don’t realize that PKR offers more than poker. Head over to pkrcasino and you’ll find a great selection of casino games, but done with that PKR difference – some are in 3D.
Now, I’ve been seeing a lot of 3D slots out on various online casino sites. Check on http://on-linecasino.net/online-casino-games.html for articles on some of them. So 3D action looks to be the next experience online casinos want to offer. But most have only made it to the stage of offering 3D slot games. PKR is bringing us 3D single player blackjack and 3D multiplayer blackjack, which is probably the closest they come to their 3D poker experience in the table games. They also have 3D Caribbean Stud poker and 3D Casino Hold’em for those who want a little casino poker action.
Now, the casino games don’t have the fully customizable avatars you’ll find in the poker room, but they do offer a variety of avatars, both male and female, for players to choose from when they play the games. So, now you can play with an avatar on the casino side, not just the poker side. (It would be nice if the poker players could bring their avatar with them.)
PKR is pushing boundaries again in the online gambling world by focusing not just on the games but the full player experience. Once again, they’re ahead of the curve with a new gaming experience you won’t find elsewhere.
Last year, the popular online poker room and online casino, Bodog was granted a license for the UK. The team at Bodog had worked hard to gain this license and knew that there was some concern over their services being available in the US, which had recently take action against other online poker rooms. As a result, Bodog announced that it would be pulling out of the US market. First they changed their URL from Bodog.com to Bodog.eu. And the Morris Mohawk Gambling Group, which is a Canadian firm, announced that they’d launch a new casino brand for the US when Bodog’s contract with them expired at the end of the year.
So, in December of 2011, Bodog officially left the US gambling market and Bovada.lv was launched to absorb US players. Everything seemed good to go. Especially since the US Department of Justice had taken another look at the Wire Act of 1961 and decided it only applied to sports betting. This meant that there was no solid federal legislation against online gambling in the US (except for sports betting). But this change only applied to federal laws, not local or state laws.
And that’s where Bodog ran into a little issue. The state of Maryland had been investigating the site since 2008, possibly earlier, and in February of 2012 finally concluded their investigation by seizing the Bodog.com domain name. Bodog is working to reassure players that no funds were seized and that in actuality the domain name seized hasn’t been their casino URL for a number of months. Bodog.com was only being used as a redirect for US players who were being sent to Bovada.lv. This has created a bit of confusion since investigators involved in the Bodog.com shutdown are claiming to have played on the site months after it stopped operating. They were probably redirected and didn’t realize it. But that still means that Maryland has seized a mostly defunct URL and play at Bodog and Bovada are going on as usual.
Want to stay updated on this and other gambling news? Just keep checking back to this blog but also check out www.on-linecasino.org.uk for another take on UK gambling news.
It seems that questionable Full Tilt poker deal is in question again. So a quick recap for those who haven’t been following the amusing farce of Full Tilt Poker. In early 2011 Full Tilt was forced out of the US market and accounts seized by the FBI. Most of the rest of the world kept right on playing since US online gambling rules didn’t apply to them. UK gambling laws are far easier to live with. Oh, sure people felt sorry for US players who were having trouble getting their money out of Full Tilt, but at least they weren’t having that problem. Oh, wait, they were. It seemed that while Full Tilt was perfectly happy to show a balance in your account and let you keep playing, they weren’t process requests to actually withdraw that money. Finally the Alderney Gambling Control Commission suspended their license and called for a review. Full Tilt responded with a request for a private review because a mysterious European investor was thinking of buying them and solving all their problems.
The mystery investor was eventually revealed the be Groupe Bernard Tapie or GBT, a French firm. And the review revealed that Full Tilt had been using money from player accounts to fund operating costs and well, eventually there was enough of a mess to make me wonder why GBT or anyone else would want to invest in the company. But the rumors persisted that GBT was going to buy Full Tilt.
They may be having second thoughts. Now GBT is saying that they’ve been examining the finances and that the former Full Tilt poker pros owe the company money. It seems Full Tilt was really popular with the pros because of its liberal lending policy. So now GBT says the deal may not go through unless the pros pay back $17 million that they owe. The pros, well, they don’t seem to be overly worried about paying the money back. Some claim that they don’t owe money and the records are wrong. And some of the Americans are saying they won’t pay back because no funds will be used to reimburse US players. I can’t help but wonder if Full Tilt’s reputation is so tarnished that rescuing it seems a foolish effort.
Mobile gaming in one of the fastest growing sectors of the gambling market. Well, I do have to admit that might be partly because mobile gaming is still new and therefore has more room for growth. Online gambling still has more growth than land based gambling but it’s reaching that stage where it’s becoming more established. But mobile gaming is still new and a challenge for gaming developers who need to stay on top of the platforms and programs used by the market. But so far, the iPad has been a stable seller in the tablet market and that’s where many are putting their efforts.
As a sign of this Betfair has just redone and relaunched their iPad app. If you own an iPad, you can find the Betfair app in the Apple App Store and install it on your device. The company also has apps for Android and Blackberry tablets and smart phones, so no one is left out of the market.
The Befair app will let UK players make bets from their iPads or iPhones and the company says that it will be exploring more possibilities for mobile apps in the future. These mobile apps may be shaping gambling for 2012 and beyond as folks find that they can do more on the go and aren’t tied to the casino, the bookie or even their home computers. And the UK is fortunate in that the gambling laws are more flexible, making this country rather than the US the market where companies want to test and market new applications. This can mean not only more freedom to gamble but more jobs in the technology market. A good sign for orgs like direct.gov.uk
Everyone knows that the Olympics are coming to London. With them will come athletes, fans and gamblers. Now, while we don’t want to exclude the gamblers, we do want to exclude gambling corruption. We’ve seen enough of it in cricket over the last couple of years and a recent outbreak in horse racing. So now Betfair is working to, well, keep betting fair.
The IOC (International Olympic Committee) and Betfair have signed an information sharing agreement which will help them find suspicious betting habits. They won’t stop people from betting on sporting events, but they want to keep the sports themselves clean from corruption because sports betting can lead to match fixing. Not every athlete is above the temptation of exchanging potential Olympic gold for real gold. Keep in mind that there is no direct money involved in an Olympic win. In the US, athletes are looking for sponsorship deals which help pay training and living expenses. In other countries, players may be awarded a prize by the country itself, but not by the Olympics. While the Olympics should always be purely about the celebration of the sports themselves, the lack of funds does open the door to cheating.
But sharing information, Betfair and the IOC will be able to detect any suspicious betting patterns and take steps to ensure that the games remain fair. In addition, the Metropolitan police will be on the lookout for any suspicious activity with a unit devoted to the games themselves.
Let’s have a safe and fair Olympic Celebration in London. We deserve it and the world deserves it.
It seems that the online poker room PokerStars is going through some turmoil. The Chief Executive Officer, Gabi Campos, is not only out, the man is pretending he never worked for the poker room. At least it’s vanished from his Linkedin profile, causing players the world over to say “someone uses Linkedin?” Actually, that the man is on Linkedin is about the only thing surprising in this entire debacle. Campos is the forth top ranking exec to leave PokerStars since it was kicked out of the USA by the FBI. Another departure is just another departure.
But added to that — the French are protesting the site. This isn’t the first time the French have boycotted a poker room and it probably won’t be the last. As usual this boycott is related to rake changes, though VIP changes may be more to blame. On January 1, 2012, Poker Stars changed both its VIP program and the rake structure. Some players are in favor of the changes, but this being France, other staged a sit out. The VIP program at the online poker room now awards higher points to those who place higher bets. PokerStars claims the change was to make their system more appealing to lower level players. But high level players are saying the changes really benefit PokerStars more than the players. And some high level VIP players have even closed their accounts after losing VIP points in the change over.
PokerStars is trying to quell the protests and though the reports were only of 120 players in the actual protest, the French PokerStars site was the one online poker room that lost money the week of the protest. So, perhaps it has had an effect.
The British Horseracing Authority has just completed a probe into cheating the fine sport of horse racing. What this will mean for those who have placed bets on races only to find out now that the results of those races were corrupt has not been determined. Should a bettor get his bet back if the race was fixed? Should a winner be forced to pay back funds received if he could have no way been involved in the fixing of the race? These are the problems I wonder about as I read the latest news on the horse racing scandal and the men who have shaken the horse racing world.
Though I admit, I am confounded by some of the sentences. Two jockeys have been banned for racing from 12 years, though the news admits that both of these jockeys had already given up horse racing. Another two jockeys have only been banned for six months to two years. Although the lesser ban is for passing on information for a reward rather than for “not riding a horse to its merits” which the first two were banned for. Though perhaps the most fitting of punishments goes to the two owners of race horses who may not bet on their horses to lose for 14 years. Now, I’d go further and force them to actually place a winning bet on any horse they enter in a race. After all, they’ve cost some gambler money , let them put their own money at risk.
In all, 11 people have received various rulings barring them from horse racing as a result of the probe and 2 have been cleared of wrong doing. Many are contesting the rulings but no one is asking what happens to those in UK gambling who placed bets in good faith.