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Speaking at a conference on Monday, the chief executive officer of Zynga said that the company has reversed its decision not to expand its real money poker offerings. He also told Zynga investors that the company will launch many pilot programs for real money poker gaming in different countries all over the world.
In 2013, the company launched ZyngaPlusPoker, a download poker game for UK players only on Party Poker, and early in 2014, the company introduced a real money poker game on Facebook.
ZyngaPlusPoker was not as effective as expected, and owing to its lack of popularity, the company decided to expand its real money poker offerings worldwide.
Zynga owes its growth and success to its Facebook gaming apps. An estimated 350 million Facebook users have played the company’s flagship poker game, Zynga Poker, which is believed to be the company’s top money maker. Unfortunately, mobile gaming became more popular and Zynga’s previous customers began playing mobile games. Zynga was too slow to adapt to the change and launch mobile poker titles.
During the last two years, the value of Zynga shares has reduced. But its new CEO Don Mattrick is optimistic and says that the company is going to fix that.
The company recently launched a feature-rich mobile poker title that focuses chiefly on recreational poker players and seeks to re-gain some of Zynga’s lost glory.
The gaming industry has reacted in different ways to Zynga’s real money gambling goals. While some feel that the latest gaming technology and its ability to attract an unlimited number of recreational gamblers is threatening, others have observed that there are huge differences between free play poker applications and regulated real money gambling. According to David Baazov, CEO for Amaya Gaming, social gaming and real money gaming cannot mix.
The value of Zynga shares has increased by nine percent.
The Equity Poker Network (EPN) has acquired Action Poker with the intention of restoring it to its former glory. Action Poker, an online poker site that has been around for several years, is now a skin on the US-facing EPN.
Action Poker, which was launched in 1999, used to operate on the Chico Poker Network, a US-facing online poker network, whose former name was Action Poker Network.
One of the major skins on the EPN network, which was launched as a real money poker gaming network four months back, is Full Flush Poker. Last month, the network suffered a setback when Poker Hiro withdrew from it. However, this did not turn out to be a huge loss as EPN online poker rooms such as Integer Poker, Gear Poker, and 5Dimes Poker have all collaborated to help the brand new network to get a good number of loyal poker players.
Now that Action Poker is part of EPN, its base of loyal players is going to expand. Action Poker, which will operate as Full Flush Poker’s sister site, will focus mainly on the European online poker market.
Speaking about the latest developments at a press release, a spokesperson for Full Flush Poker said that Action Poker was a highly reputed and competitive web poker brand once upon a time, but has lost its original standing in the online poker gaming community. The spokesperson revealed EPN’s plans to restore Action Poker “to its former glory,” adding that Full Flush Poker is “excited to be the instrument of Action Poker’s rebirth.”
Last month, EPN unearthed a collusion ring, but established trust in the poker gaming community by alerting players about it. The network immediately cancelled the accounts of those who were involved in the collusion and promised that it will refund the victims.
Channing, a professional poker player from the UK and one of the founders of Black Belt Poker, recently announced that his online poker room will be soon shut down. He recently posted in his forums, “It is with heavy heart that I have to announce that the Black Belt Poker skin will cease to [exist] from midnight this Friday, February 28.”
He has also assured players that their funds are safely held at Boyle Poker, the parent online poker site of Black Belt Poker, “in a ring-fenced bank account.” Players have been instructed to request payouts by Friday. If players are unable to do so, they have to get in touch with Boyle Poker and request payouts, but they may have to wait for a longer time to receive their funds as the procedure at Boyle will be manual.
Black Belt Poker, which belongs to the iPoker Network, is very popular among UK online poker players as it features forums and blogs. In addition to this, Neil Channing promotes the site continuously through his blog posts and his role as a sponsored player. He even used to wear the Black Belt Poker patch while participating in live poker events.
Channing has not revealed any information about loyalty points players have earned, but says that the online poker room is currently discussing the issue with another skin on the iPoker Network.
Channing posted in his forum that, although he has “worked tirelessly to try and develop the project and to build the Black Belt brand,” things did not turn out as expected.
Stating that Black Belt Poker has to be shut down, he expressed his gratitude to all investors, sponsors, and others associated with the online poker room. He also thanked the players who had played poker at the site and took part in discussions in the forums.
According to a staunch advocate of the online poker industry, Illinois could generate as much as $200 million in annual profits if it becomes the fourth state to legalize online poker.
Poker Players’ Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas said in a statement to the Senate committee that online poker legalization will not only make the state richer, but will also regulate a gambling activity that already enjoys a great deal of popularity. He said, “Prohibition will only play into the hands of the criminal element.”
Pappas testified a day after the states of Delaware and Nevada signed an interstate online gaming compact. New Jersey was the third US state to legalize several forms of online gambling, including online poker.
Senate President John Cullerton is interested in increasing state revenue. He has expressed hopes that the state could work out ways to expand the existing gambling industry before the end of the spring session. He has been advocating gambling expansion for the past two years. In 2012, he had urged Governor Pat Quinn and other lawmakers to introduce online poker into the end-of-session hearings that take place every year.
At the same time, Cullerton has admitted that online poker legalization could be difficult because of operators of horse racing tracks and casino operators. Now that the temporary income tax of the state will expire during the following financial year, Cullerton says that online poker can help generate the much-needed revenue. He said, “The other states that are just getting started are bringing in some money, so that might play a role in it when we try to pass a budget.”
Opponents, however, argue that the gambling market of Illinois is saturated. According to Anita Bedell, an officer of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems, Illinois has too many gambling opportunities already.
The Hive, a brand new online poker network that was launched a few months back, accepts players from Italy, Europe, and Turkey.
The new network has been assigned the 14th rank with regard to player traffic by PokerScout.com. Currently, the network gets a weekly average of 850 players to its cash game tables, and this number rises to 1,900 every day at a peak hour early in the morning.
Currently, the only skin on the online poker network is PlanetWin365, but according to recent reports, even Yachting Poker has left PokerPack Network for The Hive early in February. PokerScout.com has predicted that many more online poker skins will migrate to The Hive within the next two months.
At present, players can play at Hive Poker skins only through download. Although the network is compatible with Mac and Windows, it does not offer mobile poker services. But tablet and mobile poker is expected to arrive during the early days of this year.
The portfolio of online poker games at The Hive include popular poker variants such as Telesina, Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi Lo, Omaha, and Instapoker, The Hive’s own variant of high-speed online poker. Telesina is a variant of Five Card Stud Poker that enjoys a great deal of popularity in Italy. The Hive has announced that it will introduce new games such as Turkish Poker.
Other highlights of The Hive include a VIP Club to reward player loyalty, an SnG leader board, and weekly rake races. Players who newly register at PlanetWin365 can claim a cash match bonus of up to €365.
Skins on The Hive Network are available in Chinese, English, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian. Players, however, can request services in more languages. The network has its headquarters in Malta and says that it gives top priority to “security and pool ecology.”
Bulgarian State Gambling Commission (SGC) granted PokerStars, the world’s biggest online poker company, a license to offer real money online poker games in Bulgaria. Online poker players in Bulgaria, therefore, will soon be able to play online poker at PokerStars.
Eric Hollreiser, the head of corporation communications for PokerStars, said that Bulgaria offers a lot of promise as Bulgarians are very fond of the game. He also pointed out noteworthy Bulgarian poker players such as Dimitar Danchev, who became the champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) 2013 Main Event and took home a large prize of $1,859,000.
Bulgarian regulators decided to grant an online poker license to PokerStars as it is determined to legalize and regulate the game in its territory. A week back, the SGC declared eCOGRA to be Bulgaria’s official online gaming testing agency.
It may be recalled that, in July 2013, Bulgarian authorities included PokerStars in its blacklist. Today, PokerStars still remains in the blacklist although it has received a license to operate its online poker business in the country. Bulgarian officials, however, have stated that PokerStars’ online poker license will be activated and its name will be removed from the blacklist within just a few weeks.
Speaking on behalf of his company, Hollreiser said that they are delighted with the recent developments, adding that PokerStars is “looking forward to working with the Gambling Commission” so that it can launch its online poker services in Bulgaria at the earliest possible.
When the SGC activates PokerStars’ license to offer online poker games for real money in Bulgaria, PokerStars will become one of the most important online poker sites in Europe as it already has licenses to offer real money poker in European countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Malta, Estonia, and the Isle of Man.