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Macau’s casinos have experienced 17 months of consistent decline in revenue as the anti-gambling campaign launched by Beijing has driven away VIP gamblers to neighboring countries like the Philippines, Vietnam and South Korea. The biggest gambling hub in the world was once a haven for VIP gamblers as Macau’s casinos offered them a variety of adult entertainment.
Macau’s government has followed Beijing’s leading and has tightened a number of regulations that has had a negative impact on the casino industry. Some of these policies include change in visa regulations that cut down on the number of days that Mainland Chinese could remain in Macau and also rolling out a strong smoking policy.
Macau initially introduced a smoking policy that would only allow gamblers to smoke in special VIP lounges. This new policy cramped the freedom of Macau’s gamblers who were used to smoking at the gambling tables. The government had decided earlier this year to consider the possibility of rolling out a blanket smoking ban and is currently getting feedback from the public and casino employees on implementing this ban.
Leading research firm KPMG has conducted a survey and in-depth analysis on the feedback and shared the results with Macau’s legislative assembly. The KPMG survey took feedback from over 34,000 casino employees and 542 gamblers in Macau to get their feedback on how a blanket smoking ban would affect gamblers and casinos.
The report states there would be a drop of around 16 percent in Macau’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) and the VIP segment would be the worst hit. KPMG also released a statement which said “The employee and customer surveys are both statistically robust, representing a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 0.5 percent and 4.2 percent respectively.”
The 2015 eGaming Review ceremony took place on the 24th of November in London and more than 700 eGaming companies from the poker, sports betting, bingo and mobile casino industry attended these prestigious awards which were sponsored by the eGaming Review Magazine.
The eGaming Review Magazine is read across the world by gambling enthusiasts as the magazine focuses on a number of interesting topics such as roundtable discussions, player profiles, special interviews and current news in the gambling industry. The award ceremony was attended by some of the top executives in the industry and a number of prestigious awards were given away.
The magazine has built a special reputation for publishing the top 50 power list of gambling enterprises from around the world on an annual basis and has a wide subscriber base in a number of countries. Amaya Inc, the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker received a number of nominations in different categories as the Canadian based company dominates over seventy percent of the global poker market with its flagship brands.
PokerStars was awarded the 2015 ‘Poker Operator of the Year’ making it the second consecutive year that PokerStars has won this award. Some of the other nominations included PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker for Mobile Poker Product; Amaya Inc for Operator of the Year and Amaya Inc for Socially Responsible Operator.
In a statement, Eric Hollreiser, vice president of corporate communications for Amaya Gaming said “Winning the ‘Poker Operator of the Year’ award is a strong endorsement of our poker offering and a testament to the engaged and passionate PokerStars employees, who dedicate themselves to delivering a high-quality, safe and secure online poker experience. We’re working hard to grow and build poker to ensure that we earn this award every year.”
One of the easiest ways to gain the attention of the Indian viewer is to get Bollywood celebrities to endorse your product. The multi-billion dollar Bollywood film industry located in Mumbai turns out hundreds of movies that keep the 1.2 billion Indian population entertained all throughout the year.
This is why Adda52.com, the biggest online gambling website in India decided to tie up with the Bollywood industry and get some of its biggest stars to promote its brand and its current online poker tournament which has brought in over 800 registrations so far. The online poker industry has a very small following in India as most Indians prefer to bet on the illegal sports betting industry or prefer to play free for all online games.
Adda52.com is looking to popularize and spread awareness of online poker in India and also build its brand. The company has tied up with Eros Entertainment’s Bajirao Mastani, a movie that will be released on the 18th of December. The deal will allow the top five online poker players from Adda52.com a chance to meet the superstars of the Bajirao Mastani movie. The three top stars in the movie include hero Ranveer Singh, bollywood beauty Priyanka Chopra and bollywood diva Deepika Padukone.
Adda52.com had run a bollywood campaign in 2014 which gave the top 5 players a chance to meet with the stars of two popular hindi movies Mary Kom and Action Jackson. The 2014 promotion worked out well for the website and hence the executive team decided to roll out something similar in 2015.
Anuj Gupta, Founder & CEO of Adda52.com said “After the overwhelming response we received from our poker patrons for Mary Kom and Action Jackson, we knew that we needed another association with a Bollywood movie. We were looking for the right fit and with Ranveer Singh and Bajirao Mastani, we knew we found it”.
France’s number one poker player Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier made headlines in the eSports industry when he took on poker legend Daniel Negreanu at the 2015 BlizzCon even and played the popular online collectible cardgame Hearthstone. Grospellier ended up on the losing side but appears to have done enough to win himself a new contract with eSports company ‘Team Liquid’.
Grospellier who has signed on as a PokerStars brand ambassador had been very outspoken about his passion for Hearthstone and Team Liquid appears to have been paying attention. The company decided to sign on the French poker pro to be its brand ambassador and play Heartstone at competitive events.
Grospellier has the distinction of winning the Trip Crown in poker as he is one of the few players to have won a World Poker Tour, a World Series of Poker bracelet and a European Poker Tour title. The French pro has established himself on the poker circuit and has won over $10 million in career prize money. He will continue to play poker but has also decided to pursue a second passion of his which is eGaming.
In a statement, Lee Jones, director of poker communications for PokerStars said “There are many similarities between poker and gaming, and ElkY’s unrivalled success in both fields is a testament to his unwavering thirst for skill and strategy games. As the boundary between poker players and strategy gamers continues to blur, it is trailblazers such as ElkY who are narrowing the gap between people who consider themselves gamers, and those who consider themselves poker players. We look forward to the new era of strategy gaming that ElkY’s appointment represents.”
There are some members in the poker community who feel that Hearthstone might be a threat to the game of poker. Negreanu who has also admitted to being addicted to Hearthstone like a number of other poker players, does not share this view. He states that Hearthstone does not pose any threat to the poker community as it is not a real money game and hence poker players will not switch over as they still have to make a living playing poker.
Philadelphia’s Joe McKeehen and New Jersey’s Josh Beckley both play poker for a living and inevitably end up playing a number of the same tournaments on the east coast. These two poker pros entered the 2015 WSOP Main Event in May 2015 after shelling out $10,000 as part of the buy-in fee and dreamt of making it to the final table of the WSOP main event along with the 6,420 other players who registered.
The two poker players outlasted thousands of other players and made it to the November Nine final and shocked the poker community as the nine players who made the final were not very well known in the poker industry. McKeehen and Beckley not only made it to the final nine but also made it to the end and battled it out for the chance to be crowned the 2015 WSOP Main Event champion.
McKeehen had deployed an excellent strategy over the last three days which enabled him to accumulate a lot more chips and eventually win the Main Event. He ended up winning $7.68 million while Beckley won $4,470,896. The third place went to Neil Blumenfield who received a sum of $3,398,298. Both McKeehen and Beckley celebrated their victory by parting in a Las Vegas suite with family and friends.
Speaking about his fabulous run at the 2015 WSOP, McKeehen said “I always had confidence in my ability to make money and make a living playing poker. Winning the WSOP is the greatest achievement in the sport, and I’m very happy to have done it. I’m very happy the final table went as smooth as it did. The way the cards came out, it didn’t seem like I had too many tough decisions and when I did, I generally made the right ones. It was definitely easier than facing adversity and battling. It was just my day for three days in a row.”
Most of the poker shows on television focus on major poker tournaments like the World Series of Poker or the World Poker Tour. While the amount of poker programming has increased in recent years, the content generally covers poker strategy, tips and tricks, exotic locations where tournaments are held and in-depth interviews of the top poker players in the industry.
VAMN-TV is looking to break the stereotype of poker programming by producing a new poker reality TV show called ‘Girl Got Game’ that will cover the lives of eight female poker pros as they travel and play in places like Macau and Las Vegas. The female poker pros chosen to be a part of this new documentary include Sabina Hiatullah, Danielle Andersen, Lilou Agostini, Sofia Lövgren, Kitty Kuo,Oanh Bui, Xuan Liu and Joanna Kwak.
These female poker pros will be given a bankroll of $10,000 and will be tasked with numerous physical and mental tasks that they will have to overcome. The winners of each task will be given more money and the poker pro with the most cash at the end of the show will gain entry into the 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. The reality show will also feature cameo roles by some of the leading poker pros in the industry and will be telecast during April 2016.
The show is being produced by Katrina Lim who is also confident of producing Season 2. Speaking about her new show, Lim said “I created Girl Got Game to show that poker is a skill game and my friends work just as hard as anyone else in other professions to create a good living for themselves and their families. They deserve respect in their line of work because it not only takes talent, but a ton of resilience, intelligence, passion, and motivation: female empowerment at its best. I’m also excited to show my friends collaborating together, proving teamwork while still having fun, will always be paramount.”