Archive for February, 2007

Katie’s charity room raises £3,338

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

“Since Casino Bingo UK News partner site Foxy Bingo launched Katie Price’s Charity Room, players have helped to raise £3,338.98.

The online bingo site created the room when Katie – also known as Jordan – became the face of the firm’s latest advertising campaign, with 50 per cent of each bingo card purchased split between Vision Charity and the Disability Foundation.

Both charities, which receive donations from the site between 8pm and 10pm every Monday, have provided support to Katie and her four-year-old son Harvey.

“I am a patron of the Vision Charity and its something I’m really proud of,” she remarked.

“They helped me so much with Harvey and it’s nice for me to give something back.”

The Disability Foundation also provides support for disabled people and their families and carers, she added.

Katie and her husband Peter Andre recently met the Queen at the official opening of the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Hospital in London, the Daily Express reports.

The model explained how her son had received the latest treatment and how his sight has improved as a result.

Related Bingo linksOnline Bingo in Britain / BingoLiner /

WSOP Europe Launches This Fall

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007


Poker Events will Take Place at Harrah’s London Club International Casinos

The World Series of Poker is about to cross the Atlantic.

Starting this fall, WSOP Europe events will be held at London Club International (LCI) casinos throughout the U.K. So far, three events during one poker series have been scheduled, but more are on the way.

WOSP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said as soon as he heard Harrah’s was able to buy LCI, the gears started rolling on how to bring the WSOP brand to Europe. LCI owns 11 casinos. Eight of them are located in the U.K.

“We’re very excited about this. We think it’s going to be good to grow the WSOP business. We’re going to do this with a style and a flair that will be unique,” Pollack says.

With the European Poker Tour, the Irish Open, and many other major events taking place nearly weekly in Europe, Pollack says: “We recognize that we’re very late to the game in Europe,” but he believes that his WSOP Europe team — and the fact that the WSOP bracelet is the most recognizable piece of poker hardware out there — will allow them to quickly catch up.

“We’re the only poker brand in the world that has the WSOP bracelet,” Pollack says.

Since the events are taking place in Europe, players located there will possibly be able to qualify to the events by playing online poker satellites. Pollack would only say “stay tuned” when asked if Harrah’s has any plans to either partner with an online site or build its own around the LCI brand that would provide satellites.

Although it’s estimated that about half the 8,773 players who entered the 2006 WSOP main event qualified for the tourney through online satellites, U.S. law stops Harrah’s from officially recognizing players as online qualifiers. The U.K. now has laws on its books that allow online sites to be owned and operated there, which gives Harrah’s the green light to welcome online players with recognition and open arms.

It’s the goal of the WSOP to make these tournaments uniquely European, and they will have certain European quirks that American’s may find either charming or annoying. For example, the WSOP is debating a dress code that would have all the male players in blazers, a standard practice in many European casinos.

The WSOP is also debating if it will make the first few events exclusive to European players before opening them up to the rest of the world in an effort to generate buzz in the crowded European poker market. No decision on this has been made.

Even if that does happen, Pollack feels that WSOP Europe events will turn into a global kind of party, with players coming from all over the world to participate. This global view is much different than how the WSOP sees its WSOP Circuit series, which takes place in casinos owned by Harrah’s all around America.

“I think the Circuits, as they evolve, will become more local and regional events,” Pollack says. “I see the Circuit as grass roots events.”

By launching WSOP Europe, Harrah’s is setting itself up to expand into budding poker markets with continent-specific tournaments. With billions of people, Asia is considered the next unconquered poker landscape. Pollack wouldn’t or couldn’t say if the plans are already in motion to enter Asia, but indicated it’s a good possibility.

“Don’t be surprised if there are other announcements in the next 12 to 16 months,” he says.

WOSP Europe starts Sept. 6 with a £2,500 (approximately $4,900) H.O.R.S.E. event. A two-day, £5,000 (approximately $9,800 U.S.) pot-limit Omaha tournament starts Sept. 8. Both events will be held at LCI’s Leicester Square casino, which opens in April.

The six-day main event starts Sept. 10. It’s a £10,000 (approximately $19,600), no-limit hold’em event that will start at Leicester Square, and then move to Fifty and the Sportman casinos, all of which are located in London. Satellite events for all the tournaments will be held at LCI’s card rooms all across the U.K.

TV rights for the show have not been sold, and more tournaments will be listed shortly.

As Pollack put it, stay tuned for more news on the WSOP’s attempted conquest of Europe, and possibly the rest of the world.

Related LinksWorld of Poker Tour / Online Poker UK /

United Kingdom to Encourage Online Gambling Industry Regulation

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007


The Telegraph reported this week that Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown plans to encourage online gambling companies to relocate to the UK, with full regulation and licensing.

In stark contrast to the recent US government moves to hinder online gambling through the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), Britain appears to be moving towards full regulation of the industry. The British government has been long keen to get a piece of the revenues generated through online gambling by companies such as PartyGaming – Party Casino and Party Poker – and 888 / casino-on-net however these companies would never relocate to the UK if they were subject to the same tax laws as land-based casinos in Britain. Land-based casinos are subject to taxes of up to 40% on gross wins.

But rumor has it Gordon Brown is planning to make the UK a viable option for these companies by introducing a “Remote Gaming Duty”, expected to be only 2 or 3 percent. From September 2007, online gambling companies will be allowed for the first time to apply for a UK casino license under the Gambling Act. Companies will be allowed to obtain a UK license and still base their headquarters overseas.

The exact tax rate has yet to be announced, and will be a massively important factor in any online gambling company’s decision to apply for a UK license. John O’Reilly (head of online gaming Ladbrokes) and Andrew McIver (chief executive SportingBet) have both stated they will apply for UK licenses if the Remote Gaming Tax is low enough.

The online gambling industry is vastly more competitive than the land-based industry and online casinos have grown up in zero or low tax jurisdictions such as Gibraltar. Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the Remote-Gambling Authority, an online gaming trade body, justified the low rate of tax by explaining that a higher rate of gambling duty would “wipe out half the industry overnight”.

Fron UK Online Gambling Guide!

Eyes down for Sharon’s cash effort

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Sharon Osbourne is becoming a bingo caller in aid of Comic Relief.

The TV star will appear at a Gala Bingo club somewhere in Britain on March 9.

Her voice will be beamed live across the UK in a linked bingo game.

Osbourne said: “It promises to be a very exciting night. I love bingo, and what’s more I’m a huge supporter of Comic Relief.

“I hope bingo lovers and people new to the game come along to one of the clubs on March 9 and help us raise as much money as possible.”

The X-Factor judge and wife of rocker Ozzy will fly in from the family’s home in LA for the occasion.

Celebrities are staging a string of events in aid of Comic Relief, culminating in Red Nose Day in March 16.

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Is poker a game of skill or chance?

Friday, February 23rd, 2007


The UK Gambling Commission (and its predecessor the UK Gaming Board) have long maintained that poker is a game of mixed skill and chance, and therefore needs to be licensed. Accordingly, it came as little surprise to lawyers in the gambling sector when, on 16 January 2007, a guilty verdict was returned in the trial of the owner of the unlicensed Gutshot poker club, Derek Kelly. Kelly denied two counts of contravening the Gaming Act by organising poker games at the Gutshot Club in Clerkenwell without a licence.

The Gaming Act 1968 – the peer to peer loophole

We understand that Kelly’s defence was based on the fact that poker is a game of skill, under the more relaxed rules for ‘peer to peer’ games contained in section 52(6) of the Gaming Act 1968.
Broadly speaking, while skill games in the UK may be subject to wider ‘chance’ issues that may affect the participation by the player (e.g. the run of a ball in online, electronic, snooker), components of the game itself cannot contain any of those elements. Section 52(6), however, states that this will not apply in cases where the game is played ‘against’ one or more other players (i.e. peer to peer) where superlative skill can be taken into account (e.g. in certain games of bridge), even if there is an element of chance inherent in those games. Put another way, an inherent element of chance is allowed in peer to peer games provided that this can be eliminated by superlative skill.
Despite Kelly’s reliance on 52(6), lawyers (along with the Gambling Commission, the prosecuting authorities and, ultimately, the jury in the Gutshot case) have maintained that this does not apply to poker where, despite elements of skill being deployed, for example, in bluffing other players into betting more or folding, the dealing of the cards preserves a significant chance factor inherent in the game, that cannot be eliminated by superlative skill.

A landmark case?

The Gutshot case was somewhat misreported in the English media. Rather than being a final (and ongoing) determination of whether poker was a game of chance or skill in the UK, the case would merely have determined whether or not a loophole in the Gaming Act 1968 could prevent the owner of an unlicensed poker club from facing criminal penalties. If the loophole had applied to poker, it would have been closed in any event in September 2007.
Whilst the British press hailed the fact that an innocent verdict would have been ‘landmark’, it would not have been. The Gambling Act 2005 will replace the Gaming Act 1968 in September, and therefore, from 1 September 2007, the Gutshot club would have been forced to adhere to the provisions of the Gambling Act. Needless to say, the loophole contained in s52(6) of the 1968 Act has been closed in the 2005 Act, which makes it very clear that games of skill and chance combined (whether peer to peer or not) are to be treated as games of chance.

Offering poker legally

If an entity wishes to make money out of the provision of premises for poker, it will need to obtain a casino licence to provide such facilities (unless it falls within one of the limited exemptions set out in the Gambling Act). Having done so, at present, it may only then charge an entry fee and not a rake on the proceeds. That said, we understand that the Gambling Commission is reviewing this position and may permit a rake to be charged in the future.

The upshot of the Gutshot case

Whilst the Gutshot verdict was not of particular significance, it perhaps emphasises the very fine line that exists in English law between gaming for money (which is subject to a stringent licensing procedure), and skill gaming (which is subject to no licensing whatsoever). While we can now say with absolute certainty that poker, in all its forms, is an activity that requires licensing, there are likely to be similar arguments in relation to the plethora of potential (and yet-to-be-devised) skill games that will hit the UK market as the skill gaming phenomenon grows. Backgammon is a classic example of a game that many consider to be pure skill, but, again, the Gambling Commission have already indicated that they consider it to be a game of chance.
Our advice would be if there is any doubt, seek legal advice and perhaps approval from the Gambling Commission before attempting to market a ‘skill’ game that is not very obviously exclusively skill-based.

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