A long list of online gambling websites can no longer be accessed in Greece. In a move that is outraging many Greek online gambling fans, Greece’s Commission for the Supervision and Control of Games (CSCG) has blacklisted 401 websites. Greek Internet service providers will now be expected to bar subscribers from accessing the popular gambling websites. The Bank of Greece has also requested that all financial institutions suspend payments to the blacklisted websites.
Strengthening the OPAP Monopoly
Included in the blacklist are a range of casino, sports betting and poker sites from various European and American online bookmakers. Strengthening its monopoly in the gaming industry, the Greek Organization of Football Prognostics (OPAP) will now be the sole provider of both land-based casinos and online gambling websites in Greece. Websites wishing to offer gambling in the future must receive a license from the Greek government and offer games that do not include a “random number generator”.
History of Corruption in the Gambling Industry
One year ago, the Greek government began to display its blatant corruption in the gaming industry when it struck a controversial deal with Cyprus. At the time, the Mediterranean island nation had banned most forms of gambling. Creating an instant monopoly, Greece and Cyprus reached an agreement that allowed OPAP to operate tax-free land-based casinos. OPAP was also permitted to continue its operation of online sports betting and lottery websites in Cyprus.
Opinion of the European Community
Although both the OPAP monopoly and the website blacklist have been ruled illegal by the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Greek government has continued forward with its restrictions. Owning 34.4 percent of OPAP, it’s not hard to understand why the Greek government is blacklisting the competition. After an earlier restriction on this type of blacklist by the European Commission was lifted, the stage was set for these ridiculous actions by the Greek government to take place.
Fiona Weldon, clinical director of the Rutland Center, claims that women make up 20 per cent of the addicts who come to the Centre seeking help for their gambling addiction. Based in Dublin, the Centre’s female clients made up only four per cent of the total seeking treatment four years ago.
Online Betting Makes Gambling More Accessible
Through the use of mobile apps, online betting has made gambling much more accessible to women. In previous years, those who wanted to gamble needed to go to the bookies and bet on a sport. These types of activities typically drew the attention of primarily male gamblers. Online gambling has allowed individuals to engage in online poker, mobile bingo, and online casinos within the comfort of their own home. Weldon claims that these are the types of gambling addictions that women who come to the Rutland Centre tend to have. However, Weldon also reports an increase in the types of clients who have multiple types of gambling problems.
Mobile Gambling Apps Lead to High Risk Situations
Those seeking help for their gambling addictions can amass debts far greater than they are able to pay. A man in his mid-twenties may not be able to afford to pay €500,000, but can easily fall into this type of debt through the convenience of mobile gambling applications. The recession has seen an increase in gamblers looking to online cures for their already poor financial situations. This type of cycle leads to a high suicide risk for gambling addicts.
Online Gambling a Poorly Understood Condition
Despite the fact that the availability of online wagers is making gambling a problem for both sexes, it is still a condition not understood by many. The condition is often easy to overlook until the debts are very high, and there is no simple cure. Often, gambling addicts must take extreme measures, such as disabling the internet connection on their phone, in order to have a successful recovery.
Spain is undoubtedly one of the companies that have been impacted the most in today’s economy. They are hanging on by a thread and they need the boost in the economy more than almost anyone else in the European Union. They are currently deemed as the site where EuroVegas will be built, though sources currently say this is in jeopardy.
There are anti-smoking laws in Spain. Throughout the country, it is illegal to smoke in a public establishment. This is fine for most establishments. However, casinos bring in a clientele where smoking is nothing out of the ordinary. Even in Las Vegas where smoking is illegal in most public establishments, it is legal in many of the casinos.
Currently, EuroVegas is thinking of choosing another country to establish itself in if Spain does not lift their smoking laws. They need the revenue but they do not want to change the ban on smoking in order to get it.
There are currently talks about reaching some sort of agreement. The country wouldn’t have to lift their entire ban on smoking indoors. The country would only have to permit smoking throughout the casinos of EuroVegas.
This is a point of contention right now. Neither Spain nor EuroVegas are willing to budge on what they want and this could cause EuroVegas to choose another country. Considering the amount of revenue that the project is projected to bring in and the number of jobs that it is likely going to create, any country would be glad to take on the project, even if it means allowing smoking to take place within the establishments.
Spain has not completely dismissed the idea. The project is currently being run by billionaire Adelson out of the United States. It is currently going to be built in Madrid and is a $22 billion project. Spain could turn their economy around with a project of this magnitude.
If an exemption is made, the project could be the saving grace that Spain needs to pull out of its recessions. It’s a matter of whether they want to give up their smoking ban in order to get it.
In Nevada, plenty of protesters are grumbling about Governor Brian Sandoval’s decision to sign into law Nevada’s online gambling bill which allows big hotel casinos to cash in on online computing while leaving the little guys and the people who ran illegal online games out in the cold. The law requires any online gaming platform to be owned by casino hotels that have hundreds of rooms, an all-night restaurant and a bar: Pretty unusual requirements to open a gaming website.
People are accusing the decision makers of being “exclusionary” and “counterintuitive” because the bill does not open the door to any entrepreneur who can throw together a poker platform, and in fact, it is rather Internet-hostile, requiring a participant to have a large property before they can open an online casino in Nevada. Critics point out that the whole point of the Internet is to allow people without big properties to participate.
Estimates varied on the size of the dissent because many perceive the bill to be in line with the interests of greater Nevada. To many observers, it protects some of Nevada’s biggest businesses from competition. In fact, consumer groups have already called the law a pathetic example of protectionism.
The signing attracted many from both sides of the argument. On the side of Sandoval was the Nevada Resort Association, a lobbying interest for the big hotel casinos in Las Vegas, and some Nevada legislators who did some nefarious maneuvers to get the bill through the legislature and onto the governor’s desk. They believe the big hotel casinos know how to play by the rules, and the bill took exception to online operations that operated illegally as an example of what Nevada wants to wash its hands of.
Opposed to the bill were many disgruntled legislators who believed the passage of the bill in the legislative body was the result of crooked behavior. Consumer advocates are also unhappy with a bill that benefits big business. Companies and individuals interested in opening online gaming operations found the development particularly egregious. It is uncertain whether the political will exists to do anything about the passage of the bill.
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Each year, London’s Poker Festival lures thousands of poker players out to play the game. In 2012, almost 2,000 people showed up and there were over £8 million in prizes paid out. This year, the UK & Ireland Poker Tour will host a £1100 Main Event that will begin on October 2nd. There will also be a 6-day £5250 European Poker Tour Main Event.
The European Poker Tour announced on September 6th the schedule for the 38 events on the schedule including the Season 10 London Poker Festival. There will be a first time event featured – a £50,000 Super High Roller event.
The London stop on the tour will take place from October 2 through October 12. The stop will be held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, located in central London. This is a brand new venue for the tour.
This is considered Europe’s richest poker tour and it will join forces with the IK & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) in London to create 10 days of poker. This poker festival was introduced in Season 9 by the EPT as a way to provide even more games to players. Now it’s possible for anyone to come in and take advantage of a wide array of game types and buy-ins. There’s something for everyone at the festival.
The Super High Roller event will span over three days and is the first of its kind. The tour is anticipating around 60 players to take part in the event with the cream of the crop from the international poker tours. It’s anticipated that Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand Grospelier, and Eugene Katchalov will be in attendance. Negreanu commented that he thinks London is the ideal venue for a high buy-in and anticipates a number of heavy hitters.
News about the Super High Roller event is on every major poker site around the globe, so those who miss out won’t be able to say they didn’t know about it. With such an event, it’s sure to make history – and potentially attract even more people for 2014 if the event is as much of a success as it is thought to be.
The Hungarian government is working on making changes to the online gambling laws that are currently in the country. The changes that are coming are to make online gambling defined as a “non-liberalized activity”. In layman’s terms, this means that the Hungarian government will have greater controls over the activity. Stronger Companies, Greater Controls
The companies that the Hungarian government wants to allow to offer online gambling are ones that are stronger and bigger than some of the ones that are offering the services at the moment. The government sees this as a way of keeping its customers safer. When the companies are larger and with greater revenues, they are less likely to default on paying their players. This kind of thing is something that worries the government.
The government states that it will offer an unlimited number of licenses to those who meet their requirements for a five year period. They say that this is one way that they are doing something that will make the market less restrictive. They do not want to be seen as trying to limit the online gambling market to the players that they personally select.
No Taxes On The Income
Those who are able to make a living off of certain types of gambling are able to enjoy the fact that the government does not seek to tax their incomes from gambling. Those who are successful online poker players can rejoice that they are not going to be taxed at all for their income. They just get to enjoy their winnings without any fear at all of the tax man. Hungary is one of the more liberal countries in terms of laws on taxation of this kind of activity. Making a living as a poker player is great in the country of Hungary at the moment.
The alternative currency known as Bitcoin has just won its first major gamble. This victory took place in an actual online gambling site called SatoshiDice, which was just sold for $11.5 million USD. This instantly validates the value of Bitcoin as a site run purely on Bitcoin money just translated into a more recognized and known value: the USD.
Bit by Bit—An Empire Grows
Of course, the value in USD is estimated because the transaction was made—of course—by Bitcoins. So, just how many Bitcoins make up $11.5 million? 126,315 Bitcoins to be exact. The buyer remains anonymous, but this is big news in both the monetary world and the online gambling community.
Bitcoins are the sole unit of transaction for SatoshiDice and its success and ultimate sale are a testament to just how many people put their faith in the value of Bitcoins. The site launched in April of 2012 and brags that it’s the most popular Bitcoin gambling site in the world. As of January 2013, the site’s monthly income was reported at being over $50,000 by Techweek Europe.
The Ghost of Satoshi
The site itself is a simple concept that is obviously very addictive and successful. It works by having the user send Bitcoins to the site. This allows them to pick a number and the computer—AKA The Ghost of Satoshi—randomly rolls a “lucky number.” For any user that bet and picked a number that is lower than the one showing on the die, they win.
Just how popular is this site? Through the time of this article’s writing, over 5.3 million bets have been placed. What keeps people coming back? Well, there have been 3.9 million wins paid out. The wins are all paid within thirty seconds and a tiny transaction fee is taken on each bet.
Does Bitcoin Have a Future in the Cards?
This sale of SatoshiDice signifies the arrival of Bitcoin in the gambling market. Of course, this was rather expected and could even have been predicted by the close attention the United States government has been paying to Bitcoin. They’ve launched investigations into Mt. Dox, the largest exchange for Bitcoin anywhere. Mt. Dox had to shut down temporarily, but one thing is for sure—if Bitcoin can manage to continue successes like SatoshiDice, no amount of government interference can question—or shut down—their legitimacy. The people have spoken.