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Vittorio Faricelli Wins Opening Event at WSOP Circuit Foxwoods

The second stop on the 2018/2019 WSOP Circuit schedule is now in full swing, with Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut currently playing host to the popular series. And a first gold ring has already been awarded to its rightful winner as part of the ongoing poker festival.

Vittorio Faricelli, a real estate broker from Brooklyn, New York, won last night his first piece of WSOP Circuit paraphernalia after a near-miss in Atlantic City earlier this year. The player took down the opening $400 No-Limit Hold’em at Foxwoods after two days of poker action.

The tournament drew a field of 113 entries who created a prize pool of $37,290. The top 12 finishers were treated to a share of the prize pool, with min-cashes starting from $779. Each of the nine final tablists was guaranteed a minimum payout of $963. As for the winner, he collected $11,187 to accompany his gold ring.

This was Faricelli’s fifth cash from the WSOP Circuit and seventh from a WSOP-branded event. Earlier this summer, the player finished in the money in the $1,111 Little One for ONE DROP for $1,593 and The Closer $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em for $4,021.

As mentioned above, the latest WSOP Circuit gold ring winner nearly claimed the piece earlier this year. Faricelli reached heads-up against Joshua Clanton in a $365 No-Limit Hold’em event at Harrah’s Atlantic City, but eventually placed second.

Event Highlights

The opening $400 No-Limit Hold’em at Foxwoods turned out to be Faricelli’s lucky one. The tournament was played over two days. The second day of action saw just three players return to battle it out for the first-place prize and the gold ring.

The eventual champion was holding the chip lead with 774,000 at the time cards were thrown in the air for Day 2 action. Lowell Kim held the second largest stack with 641,000, and James Campbell was the short stack with just under 300,000.

The event’s second day was a relatively short one. Campbell busted in third place for $4,922 and left it to Faricelli and Kim to square off for the gold ring. Faricelli was leading at the beginning of heads-up, but Kim managed to double up early into the match. However, the eventual champion rapidly gained pace to extend his advantage significantly until the final hand was dealt.

The two players got it all in with Faricelli tabling [Ac][6c] to Kim’s [10d][9d]. Faricelli’s ace-high kept him comfortable all the way through the river when he scored a straight for extra advantage. Kim was thus eliminated in second place for a payout of $6,914.

Commenting on his triumph last night, Faricelli said that his general positive attitude has helped him a lot in difficult situations on and off the poker felt. The player said that lately he has been running great not just in poker but in life as a whole. Faricelli recently wed his partner Pamela and is having his best life as a newlywed.

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INTERPOL-Led Operation Busts Thousands of Illegal World Cup Gambling Dens across Asia

An INTERPOL-led operation during the 2018 World Cup invovled thousands of raids being carried out across the Asia-Pacific region and suspects being arrested on illegal gambling charges, the organization said in a Friday press release.

The seventh installment of operation SOGA (short for soccer gambling) was conducted in the period between June 22 and July 16, or over the course of the major football championship. Coordinated by INTERPOL’s Organized and Emerging Crime Directorate and involving local police departments, SOGA VII saw 14,900 raids at what appeared to be illegal gambling dens be carried out. The illegal gambling operations were estimated to have handled more than $1.6 billion worth of bets ahead of and during this year’s World Cup. Raids took place across China, including Macau and Hong Kong, as well as Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.

During the nearly month-long operation, police seized more than 1,000 computers, mobile phones, and other equipment allegedly used for the provision of illegal gambling services as well as more than $1.7 million in cash. INTERPOL said Friday that the equipment seized is being analyzed to help police authorities in future operations and assist current investigations.

Commenting on the international World Cup illegal gambling operation, Chief Superintendent Tat-Shing Man of the Hong Kong Organized Crime and Triad Bureau hailed operation SOGA VII as success and attributed that to the “power of global and regional police cooperation through INTERPOL”. INTERPOL said Friday that 242 arrests were made and $16.8 million worth of betting slips were seized in Hong Kong alone during the operation.

”Clear Shift” from Physical to Online Betting Services

Operation SOGA VII highlighted a clear and significant shift from physical sports betting to online betting. Paul Stanfield, Director of Organized and Emerging Crime at INTERPOL, explained that illegal online sports betting platforms have brought an “international dimension” to the illegal gambling issue.

Such platforms are usually located in jurisdictions with fuzzy and underdeveloped betting regulations, the official went on to say, which presented additional challenges for police during the SOGA VII operation. According to Mr. Stanfield, a coordinated international response would be needed to tackle the problem, particularly given the fact that illegal gambling is rapidly moving from physical premises to the Internet.

Among other things, coordinated police efforts uncovered that regionally popular messaging apps have become a major channel for targeting bettors. During the World Cup, WeChat closed more than 50,000 accounts and 8,000 group chats related to illegal gambling.

INTERPOL said in its Friday statement, that all seven installments of the SOGA operations have resulted in more than 30,000 arrests, the closure of more than 3,700 illegal gambling dens, which were estimated to have handled more than $8 billion worth of bets on football matches, and the seizure of $57 million in cash.

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Mystery Prize Gaming Machines Now Deemed Illegal Gambling in Singapore

Mystery prize vending machines are now illegal in Singapore, according to an announcement made by local police cited by news outlet the Straits Times. A ban on the machines is being rolled out as their number has grown tremendously over the past year and at least four operators of such devices have been found to have set up business in shopping malls, retail stores, and arcades across the city-state.

Generally speaking, the machines in question dispense random non-monetary prizes upon receiving a cash payment by players. They usually charge between S$5 and S$10. The “mystery box” prizes they dispense are usually of low value, but operators of the machines often promote them as ones that offer customers the chance to win big prize such as gaming consoles and smartphones.

According to a Thursday statement by the local police, the devices represented a form of public lottery and were therefore breaching provisions of the Common Gaming Houses Act. The statement further read that operators of such vending machines were advised to cease their operations. Under Singapore’s gambling laws, violators of its provisions face prison time of up to five years and fines of between S$20,000 and S$200,000.

The machines originally gained popularity in Japan, Malaysia, and Taiwan, but have quickly taken off across Singapore over the past year, the Straits Times reports.

Claw Machines Not Gambling

Police clarified that unlike “mystery box” machines, those at arcades that allow customers to grab a prize with a claw in exchange for a certain fee, are not considered illegal gambling. The reason was that players can easily see the prizes they are paying and playing for.

When asked whether other forms of mystery boxes, including ones offered on e-commerce platforms, should be deemed gambling, authorities said that it is up to the public to seek legal advice on matters of this nature.

Commenting on whether mystery prize vending machines posed a threat to players, addiction specialist Thomas Lee told the Straits Times that he did not think the risks of addiction were that big. He went on to say that the only real danger is that children can get hooked up and spend money on them.

According to the expert, the idea behind gambling is that people wager on a random outcome, on something they do not have control over, and that it does not really matter whether there is something at the end or not, as it is still gambling.

The Straits Times further reports that mystery prize vending machines across a number of shopping malls, arcades, and stores have been removed overnight, following the Thursday statement from the police. However, there were still several facilities that featured the devices, with their owners claiming they did not know that those were now illegal.

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Who Won The Big 4 at the 2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open

Another Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open festival was completed at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, and that one was, too, utter success. And for another year, organizers included four special events in the festival’s schedule that comprised the Big 4 for some extra poker thrill.

This year, the four events drew a combined field of 2,099 tournament entries who generated a combined prize pool of $9,232,750. Who won what at the festival and who managed to score a back-to-back victory, Casino News Daily has prepared a quick overview of the four tournaments with important highlights from those.

$5,250 Championship Event

The $5,250 buy-in Championship was among the highlight tournaments within the festival and was probably the most broadly anticipated one. This year, it featured a guaranteed prize pool of $3 million, but that guarantee was smashed due to the high attendance. A prize pool of $4,432,900 was created eventually by the Championship’s 914-person field.

Brandon Eisen took down the major event to become the big champion. Aside from the accolades that a winner deserves, the player also collected a first-place prize of $771,444 for his efforts. Including his latest cash, which was actually his best career in-the-money finish, Eisen now boasts a live tournament bankroll of $1,514,312.

Last year’s edition of the tournament drew a field of 887 entries, who generated a prize pool of $4,301,950. Martin Kozlov was the last man standing at the end of the ordeal, collecting $754,083 for outlasting his fellow competitors.

$1,100 Big 4 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry

The two-day $1,100 Big 4 No-Limit Hold’em tournament took place over two days – August 13-14 – to lure 640 entries into the field. That resulted in the overall prize pool of $640,000 easily crushing the $500,000 guarantee.

Ireland’s Marc MacDonnell was the last man standing from that field, outlasting a number of seasoned poker pros and surviving a six-hour battle on the final day. The player scooped the lion’s share of the prize pool, which totaled $119,465. His was the tournament trophy, as well. MacDonnell added that latest monetary prize to his bankroll which now totals more than $1.9 million.

During last year’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, the $1,100 Big 4 event attracted 633 competitors who swelled the $500,000 guarantee to $633,000. It was Bryan Altman who emerged victorious for a first-place prize of $118,157.

$2,650 Big 4 No-Limit Hold’em (Single Re-Entry)

The $2,650 Big 4 turned out to be particularly exciting as the event’s 2017 champion was vying for a back-to-back title. The tournament drew 422 entries this year to bring the prize pool up to $1,023,350. It took place over August 12-14.

Alex Foxen, who won the event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood about this time last year, managed to take down its 2018 edition as well, but not without putting quite some effort into accomplishing that. The player took down the tournament after a strenuous final day of action that involved 12 hours of play, including a fierce heads-up battle. Foxen was eventually awarded $208,452 for his back-to-back win.

The event drew 395 entries last year who fought for a share of a $1-million guaranteed prize pool.

$25,500 Big 4 No-Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)

Last but not least, the $25,500 buy-in high roller tournament drew quite some interest and the field count eventually showed 123 entrants who smashed the $2-million guarantee generating an overall prize pool of $3,136,500.

It was popular poker pro Jake Schindler who remained the last man standing. The player outlasted a hefty and seasoned field that included the likes of Shaun Deeb, Tom Marchese, and Barry Hutter among those who made it to the final table. Schindler took home $800,758 for another major poker accomplishment.

The tournament lured 117 entries last year who created a prize pool of $2.925 million. John Andress claimed the title for a monetary prize of $801,450.

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Football Association of Ireland to Hold “Fair Debate” on Gambling Sponsorship

The Football Association of Ireland is ready to have a “fair debate” on whether it should continue partnering gambling companies, but its Chief Executive, John Delaney, has refused to confirm recent reports that the body was planning to cut ties with such companies.

The FAI’s sponsorship deal with British bookmaker Ladbrokes is set to end later this year. The association also has two years left on a sponsorship deal with streaming service Trackchamp. Under that ongoing partnership, overseas viewers are able to gamble on League of Ireland matches.

According to recent reports, the football association was considering the possibility to cut ties with gambling companies in the wake of growing pressure from politicians and anti-gambling organizations about the harms of sponsorship deals involving betting and gaming operators.

Responding to the recently emerged speculations about FAI’s reported course of action, Mr. Delaney told local media that a fair debate will be held on the matter later this year and that the debate will initially be carried out internally. The official further pointed out that more details should be anticipated after those internal discussions take place.

Sponsorship Funds Benefit League of Ireland Clubs

In his comments, Mr. Delaney also pointed to the fact that while funds are coming from gambling funds, they are directed towards League of Ireland clubs as well as to different positive causes. Dropping sponsorships would mean that an important revenue stream would be dropped, the FAI leader went on to say.

To mitigate any negative consequences for the association, the football clubs and the other beneficiaries of the gambling sponsorship deals, the FAI will look to make an informed choice, Mr. Delaney revealed. The executive promised media that they would provide more information about their decision once one is made.

Reports about FAI potentially severing ties with gambling sponsors emerged after the Gaelic Athletic Association voted earlier this year to ban all such sponsorship deals, arguing that Irish sport was besieged by gambling and that a ban on gambling sponsorship would protect the integrity of Gaelic games.

Ireland’s President, Michael D. Higgins, recently called for the implementation of a ban on gambling adverts in sport, but his comments faced a heavy backlash from the industry. The Chair of the Irish Bookmakers Association pointed out that any such move would hamper a “responsible industry” from providing its customers with adequate services and that through advertising operators can adequately help people for whom gambling has become an issue.

Advertising ban discussions emerged in Ireland as Italy is gearing up for the January 2019 implementation of a blanket ban on gambling advertising, following the successful passage of the so-called Dignity Decree. The piece of legislation was introduced and spearheaded by Italian Deputy Minister Luigi Di Maio as a measure against the proliferation of gambling in the country and the exposure of young and vulnerable people to gaming and betting services.

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