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Archive for August 10th, 2018

Apple Wipes Out Individual Developers’ Gambling Apps from App Store

A large number of gambling-related mobile applications have been removed from the App Store and hundreds more would likely follow after Apple implemented a new App Review policy today. In an attempt to fight illegal online gambling activity, the tech giant wiped out individual developers’ gambling apps from the popular platform. However, many apps unrelated to gambling at all were also removed without any reasonable explanation.

The changed App Review policy comes only a week after Apple was forced to purge 38 gambling apps from the Norwegian version of the App Store. Back in May, the Norwegian Gaming Authority requested that Apple should block Norwegians from accessing these applications on the grounds that they did not have the necessary licensing in the country. Currently, there are only two licensed gambling operators in Norway, namely Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto, both state-owned companies.

The Norwegian case has probably urged Apple to take a more active stance against illegal gambling and fraudulent activities on the Internet. The latest measures show that the company has apparently taken a very strict approach towards offering gambling apps on its App Store. According to the updated App Review policy, the tech giant will no longer allow gambling apps from individual developers. Moreover, this includes not only applications where users can bet or play casino games for real money but also apps that simulate a gambling experience.

Apple says that only “verified accounts from incorporated business entities” would be allowed to upload and distribute gambling apps. It becomes clear, on the other hand, that many genuine and legal developers have individual accounts on the App Store. The changes in the company policy have not been able to reflect that at least according to many reports and complaints posted in the past few hours on social media. What caused a real backlash, however, was the removal of numerous apps that were not linked with gambling in any way.

Banning Non-Gambling Apps Due to Unrestricted Web Access

The reason behind the mass removal of apps today from the App Store is reducing the fraudulent activity on the platform, an explanation from the company reveals. Apple says it also wanted to comply with the many requests from governments for fighting illegal gambling. While the new policy certainly aims at achieving such purposes, it also bans a wide range of apps that have nothing to do with gambling or any fraudulent activities.

It appears the ban applies to applications that allow users unrestricted web access. Such apps have a “17+” rating and could go around parental controls and give children access to unvetted content, which is probably one of the reasons why Apple has decided to remove these apps from the App Store. The problem is that there are many apps with such a rating and most of them are not related to gambling. Even fewer have been submitted by illegal gambling operators and other fraudulent businesses.

It is not clear whether this removal of mobile applications from the App Store was accidental, but multiple developers said on social media that their apps had been taken down even though they were not linked with any gambling activities.

The post Apple Wipes Out Individual Developers’ Gambling Apps from App Store appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Jeremy Meacham Leads the Final Table at 2018 WSOP Global Casino Championship

Bagging over one million in chips Wednesday evening, poker pro Jeremy Meacham led the six finalists for Day 3 of the 2018 WSOP Global Casino Championship. The prestigious tournament returns to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort for the fourth year in a row and the winner will take home more than 280,000 and a WSOP gold bracelet.

The 14th season the World Series of Poker concludes this week with the Global Casino Championship, which runs from August 7 through August 9. On Tuesday, a total of 127 players from the United States and the world gathered for prestigious bracelet event and paid the $10,000 buy-in, accumulating a total prize pool of $1,050,000. The attractive prizes for those who managed to make it to the 20 cash places were perfectly in line with the venue, the luxurious Harrah’s Cherokee set near the beautiful Great Smokey Mountains.

Only 53 players out of the 127 entries continued to Day 2 of the championship and were led by the experienced player from the Czech Republic Martin Kabrehl. Despite his great collection of titles, however, King’s Casino Rozvadov Casino Champion Kabrhel finished on the money bubble when he was eliminated by Arkadiy Tsinis. Those who reached the final 20 spots were guaranteed $12,889 and among the famous names to walk out early were three-time Circuit ring winner Joseph Cheong (20th), six-time Circuit ring winner Joshua Turner (19th), and three-time gold bracelet winner David “The Dragon” Pham (14th).

Renowned Canadian player and nine-time Circuit ring winner Ari Engel finished 12th, while Kurt Jewell from the US left in the 8th place. Following him, Blake Whittington was eliminated by Tsinis and received $37,627 for his 7th place finish. The final six competitors will return to the poker table Thursday at noon, led by Jeremy Meacham who comes with the biggest stack of 1,460,000 chips.

Only 6 Players Return at the Final Table

Meachan, a player from Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, bagged more than 1 million chips on Wednesday but the fight for the top place and the gold bracelet will not be easy for him. He is followed closely by Loni Harwood from Staten Island (1,427,000) and Kevin Stamen from Cincinnati and his 1,393,000. Miami’s Arkadiy Tsinis has 1,220,000 in chips and fifth in the chip ranking is Warren Sheaves from Chapel Hill, NC, who has a significantly small stack of 494,000. Armin Stocker from Switzerland is on the bottom with 409,000.

The final Day 3 of the 2018 WSOP Global Casino Championship starts at noon on August 9 and by the evening, the event would already crown its winner. The player who manages to survive until the end will pocket a cash prize of $282,113, while the prize for the runner-up is $174,360. Everyone else will take home a minimum of $48,926, quite a nice guarantee for being at the final table of the prestigious 2018 WSOP GCC event.

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Belarus Legalizes Online Casinos with Presidential Decree

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree under which online gambling is now legal in the country, Belarusian state-run media outlet BelTA reported on Wednesday. Citing Lukashenko’s press service, the website says that the document is part of a new legislation aiming at improving the regulation of the gambling industry in Belarus.

The decree, signed by president Lukashenko on August 7, allows gambling operations to be conducted on the Internet by licensed establishments. For the first time in the history of the small Eastern European country, online casinos will be able to legally offer their services to Belorussian citizens. The document includes various licensing specifics and new taxation laws that would require gambling operators, whether online casinos or land-based gaming parlors, to meet strict criteria.

The first change set by the legislation includes increasing the minimum gambling age from 18 to 21. This applies to both virtual and brick-and-mortar casinos and aims at minimizing the negative effects and potential threats of gambling. Parlors are required to install video surveillance systems, while visitors in these establishments will no longer be allowed to lend money to other people who want to gamble. Along with the new rules land-based casinos need to comply with, the decree also includes many conditions that online gambling operators need to meet before they can be granted a license.

Organizers of online gambling operations will have to make a guarantee deposit of no exact amount that would cover payouts of customer winnings, taxes, and other payments in case of insolvency. All users who register accounts and play for real money at Internet-based casinos will undergo identity checks. Interestingly, tax authorities will have to receive a remote access to online casinos, although it is not clear what exactly this access would include. In addition, all casinos will have to join a special payments network where all money flows will be monitored by the authorities.

Online Gambling to Help Diversify the Belorussian Economy

According to BelTA, the Belorussian Telegraph Agency, the new decree would cut down the outflow of money to offshore gambling websites. Local players’ access to foreign gaming and betting platforms is expected to become much more limited due to the new requirements. As a result, Belorussian operators should see increased revenues, boosted by the proposed reduction in tax rates. According to the provisions, planned by the government, operators who use gambling equipment of any kind only temporarily (less than 15 days in the tax period) will need to pay a tax that is roughly 50 percent of the current rate.

This move should stimulate businesses to conduct short-term gambling operations such as poker tournaments, games during weekends, etc. More importantly, the new regulations and the introduction of online gambling in the country are expected to help diversify the Belorussian economy, which has been dominated by manufacturing for years. With the latest changes, the government is trying to avoid overregulation and encourage the opening of new gambling operations in land-based facilities and on the Internet.

By stimulating this sector, it is hoped that the country would boost the tourism significantly. Currently, it accounts for approximately 1 percent of the entire economy of Belarus and some experts believe that this percentage could easily be pushed to 5% in the next few years.

The post Belarus Legalizes Online Casinos with Presidential Decree appeared first on Casino News Daily.

University Approves Plans to Purchase Former Atlantic Club Casino

Four years after New Jersey’s Atlantic Club Casino Hotel shut down, Stockton University has decided to acquire the now abandoned property. On Wednesday, the university’s board of trustees approved plans to purchase the closed casino resort, which is located near a new residential campus that opens in less than a month.

Atlantic Club was one of four Atlantic City’s Boardwalk casinos to close down in 2014, the others being Trump Plaza, Revel, and Showboat. The empty former resort is expected to go through renovation if Stockton University closes the purchase deal for the property with Clearwater, Florida-based TJM Properties. During a meeting on Wednesday, the university’s board of trustees voted unanimously to move forward with the acquisition, which follows the public university’s plans for expansion.

According to Stockton officials, the exact terms of the agreement, as well as the purchase price will be disclosed after closing the deal, which is yet to be scheduled. Under the proposal, the current owner of the casino should handle the demolition of the 23-story hotel tower, while the university would keep the 9-level parking garage. The school also says it would acquire the land, which includes around 9 acres in upland lots and 11 acres of beachfront land.

Atlantic Club Casino Hotel opened its doors for the first time in 1980 as The Golden Nugget and within three years, it became the city’s top-earning casino. After Steve Wynn sold it for $440 million to Bally Manufacturing, its name changed to Bally’s Grand and later was rebranded to Atlantic City Hilton. In 2012, the casino was once again rebranded and in an attempt to refresh it, its owners focused on a brand new concept – the new name of the resort was the Atlantic Club and it was now known as a locals’ casino.

The move proved to be ineffective in keeping the casino afloat and in 2014, it closed doors, selling its buildings to Caesars Entertainment and its slot machines, gaming tables and players database to Tropicana. The Florida-based development firm TJM Properties then bought the property for a reported price of only $13.5 million with the initial idea to reopen it as a hotel. Several sale deals and redevelopment plans, including two concepts that would transform the hotel into a water park, fell through until Stockton University announced that it is interested in buying it.

Investment in the Future of Atlantic City

Stockton President Harvey Kesselman said that the school had discussed the purchase of the former casino resort for several years. With the increasing demand for Atlantic City campus housing, the prospects of a future acquisition became more appealing, he explained, adding that the housing is almost at full capacity. The site of the former Atlantic Club casino is only two blocks away from the university’s new campus which will be welcoming students in late August.

The plans for the new property are still not clear and will be fully disclosed after the deal is finally closed. For now, the expansion includes creating more residential and academic facilities for the growing university, which is based in Galloway, Atlantic County. Back in 2015, Stockton bought Showboat Atlantic City casino for $18 million, which caused a huge backlash, especially when the college was unable to open the property. It sold it for $23 million the following year. Last week, Stockton University sold yet another property, which allowed it to move forward with the Atlantic Club acquisition. Under the deal, the Seaview Resort was purchased by a Florida-based company for the total amount of $21.07 million.

Commenting on the potential agreement with TJM, Kesselman said the proposal is an investment in the future of Stockton and Atlantic City. He believes that the redevelopment of the vacant casino resort would be instrumental in the long-term renaissance of Atlantic City. This is the most significant city in New Jersey, he added, and the university is now part of the solution.

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