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Archive for September 7th, 2018

Poker Masters Kicks Off at Aria Offering Quality High Roller Action

The time for one of the most exciting events on the live poker tournament calendar has almost arrived and excitement is certainly building up in Las Vegas where said event will take place over the next week.

Aria launched its Poker Masters high roller festival last September. The event enjoyed great success and drew some of the most accomplished high roller players in the world. In the end, it was Germany’s Steffen Sontheimer who became the winner of all winners, claiming the coveted Purple Jacket and collecting a total of $2,733,000 in prize money from the four tournaments he managed to cash in.

This year, the second-ever edition of the Poker Masters will officially run from September 7 all the way through September 15. Aria Resort & Casino, the creator of the series, will of course play host to the thrilling festival. The Poker Masters will feature seven tournaments, five of which will be No-Limit Hold’em ones. There will also be a Pot-Limit Omaha tournament and a Short Deck one, as well, which will add more thrill and will additionally heat up action at the host casino.

Buy-ins for the events will vary from $10,000 to $100,000 for the Main Event, which will take place on September 13-15. The Pot-Limit Omaha event will feature a $25,000 buy-in fee, while the Short Deck even, making it for the first time into the series, will feature a $10,000 buy-in fee.

Who Will Win the Purple Jacket?

Aside from the addition of different poker variants into the series and of more events, organizers introduced one other very significant change from the inaugural edition of the Poker Masters. Last year, the player who won the largest amount throughout the series was crowned the overall champion and was awarded the Purple Jacket.

This year, Poker Masters will use the High Roller of the Year scoring system to award the coveted non-monetary prize. Generally speaking, players will be given points depending on the position they finish in in any of the seven events. A first-place finish will thus award 100 points, a second-place finish will give 70 points, a third-place finish will award 50 points and so on and so forth.

In addition, in-the-money finishes in any of the six preliminary events will award 3.0 multipliers, which means that a first-place finisher will receive 300 points. The Main Event winner will be awarded a 3.5 multiplier, which means that they will receive 350 points for their victory. The player that collects the most points will be awarded the one and only Poker Masters Purple Jacket and will join Steffen Sontheimer in the very elite and still very tiny club of champions.

Each of the seven events will feature a 30-second shot clock. And each of the participants in any of the seven events will be have five chips for a 30-second time extension.

The post Poker Masters Kicks Off at Aria Offering Quality High Roller Action appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Is Ukraine Nurturing a Booming Illegal Gambling Market by Delaying Re-Regulation Process?

Ukrainian lawmakers recently listed poker in the country’s Register of Recognized Sports after the game was considered a form of gambling and was therefore illegal for nearly a decade. This latest move raises two important questions – is the Ukrainian government gearing up for the introduction of a new poker-focused regulatory framework and will lawmakers eventually introduce a sweeping gambling reform that will replace the current ban on practically all forms of gambling with a regime that better reflects the demands of the contemporary gambling customer?

Ukraine’s market liberalization effort originally kicked off in 2015 but saw little success. The country’s government introduced back then a draft legislation that would have legalized the construction of land-based casinos in the country, sports betting, online gambling and would have upgraded the existing national lottery.

According to estimates from that period of attempts for a change in the Ukrainian land-based and online gambling landscape to be implemented, a re-regulated and liberalized gambling market could have produced revenue of more than $1.5 billion per year, of which the government would have scooped more than $300 million in tax revenue.

However, the draft legislation was met with heavy protests from the industry due to the proposed license fees and tax rate, which gambling companies deemed too heavy.

Last year, the Ukrainian government penned a letter to the International Monetary Fund, promising that it would implement the necessary changes to the country’s economy in a manner that would make it eligible for a $17-billion financial assistance and that it would look to re-regulate its gambling market so as to secure additional revenue sources.

As per the letter, Ukrainian lawmakers were expected to introduce a new draft legislation by 2018. However, given the fact that the final quarter of the year is approaching and there has been no information on the government’s progress on a draft legislation, it really looks as if there will be more delays of the process.

Poker’s New Status

Last month, Ukraine quietly recognized poker as sport, adding the game to the Register of Recognized Sports. Poker had been considered a sport up until 2010, when it was taken off the afore-mentioned register by the then Justice Minister.

The game was thus defined as a form of gambling, together with slots and popular table games such as blackjack and roulette. Under Ukraine’s On Prohibition of Gambling Business Act from 2009 all such games were and still are considered illegal in the country.

Local poker clubs tried to combat the new status quo and took the matter to court. A three-year battle then followed and concluded with a 2013 ruling by the Ukrainian Supreme Court that stated that tournament poker could still be played. However, cash games were still deemed illegal.

Online poker operators, fearing legal action, quickly relocated their servers. The new legal status of poker in the country is hoped to trigger a change in the regulations regarding the provision of online poker services to Ukrainian players. In fact, many interpreted the quiet addition of the game to the Register of Recognized Sports as a signal that a positive change might be on the horizon.

Thriving Unregulated Market

Despite the existing ban on almost all forms of gambling in the country, it should be pointed out that Ukraine’s unregulated/black market is thriving and this has been the case for quite some time. Online gambling has been particularly popular in the country over the past several years as services of this kind can be easily accessed by customers and can be easily promoted to customers.

According to unofficial statistics, Ukraine’s online gambling market could be worth around €300 million in terms of revenue generated. It is believed that sports betting is the most popular type of online gambling service in the country and that the local online betting could be worth more than €200 million, leaving the rest to online casino games and similar other products.

According to data from the Internet Association of Ukraine, the websites of different betting operators are often among the most visited ones in the country. And data provided by different bookmakers suggests that small bettors, or ones who wager smaller amounts of money but do that regularly, comprise the greater portion of Ukraine’s market.

All of the above points to the fact that Ukraine nurtures a booming unregulated market and is losing millions due to the lack of a proper regulatory framework. It is yet to be seen whether the country will be able to keep its promise to the IMF and introduce a viable gambling legislation this year. However, chances are that any changes in the current status quo will be implemented as early as 2019.

The post Is Ukraine Nurturing a Booming Illegal Gambling Market by Delaying Re-Regulation Process? appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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