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Gambling Planet News Briefs 20 January 2011

Bodog Will Deal Billionth Online Blackjack Hand

The online casino site Bodog.net will soon deal its 1,000,000,000th blackjack hand.  At current rates, the site will deal the milestone hand before the end of next month.  The winner of that hand will receive a “billionaire’s experience” prize: the choice of a trip to either the South Pacific island of Fiji or to the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix auto race.  Also, every player in each millionth hand between now and the billionth hand will receive US$1,000 and an entry into a drawing for a second “billionaire’s experience”.

The site is one of the longest-running active online gaming sites in the industry, founded in 1994 by Canadian businessman Calvin Ayre.  Ayre and his partners started Bodog for only US$10,000.  Ayre retired from the company in 2008, but his net worth is estimated at well over US$1 billion.

PokerStars Offers “Home Games”

PokerStars, the leading online poker site, has developed a system to allow players to create “home games” for their online friends.  Players can start their own online “poker clubs” and invite friends from their hometown or from around the world.  The club managers will create home game tables and special private online tournaments.

Players can choose to play private cash games in any of the major varieties of poker (Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud, or mixed games).  Club managers can establish tournaments, including date, time, buy-in and number of players.  The game software will track each player’s progress during the “season”, with the winner receiving cash and prizes based on how they finish the tournament slate.

California May Legalize Online Poker

Officials in California recently commissioned a study on the benefits of legalizing online poker.  The study showed that the state could reap up to US$1 billion in tax revenues over ten years. Online poker sites would also create more than a thousand jobs in a state with an unemployment rate well above the national average.

California is currently running a budge deficit of over US$25 billion.  State legislators are considering a bill to legalize online poker to cover the revenue shortfalls.  The bill would contain provisions that only California residents could play on the sites.  Any measure to legalize online poker would also require site operators to register with the state, purchase a gaming license and pay a share of their revenues in taxes.

Online Poker Player Faces US$149 Million Tax Bill

Earlier this month, Swedish online poker player Viktor Blom revealed that he is the face behind the mystery player “isildur1”.  Now that he has established his identity as the high-stakes online cash game player, the Swedish Tax Agency is pursuing a bill for unpaid taxes against the 20-year-old online phenomenon.

According to reports, the Swedish government stated that Blom may owe as much as US$149 million in unpaid taxes on his poker winnings.  Although a Swedish official said that they are not currently pursuing a case against Blom, the government is investigating how the major online poker sites, including PokerStars and Blom’s former online home at Full Tilt Poker, are working with their Swedish customers.

Korean Online Gaming Host Charged With DDoS Attacks

The hosting company for an illegal online gaming site in South Korea has been charged with carrying out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against rival sites.  The attackers reportedly used more than 50,000 computers in mainland China to disrupt service to other online casino sites that did not choose to host their sites with the perpetrator’s company.

The attacks shut down many Korean online gaming sites for up to two hours a day.  The attacks started on 21 November and ended around 15 December.  Korean authorities have indicted four men from an organized crime group believed to be the bankrollers behind the attacks. 

MasterCard Lobbies for Changes to US Online Gaming Laws

Credit card issuer MasterCard reportedly spent US$840,000 on lobbying to change US online gaming laws during the third quarter of 2010.  The increased lobbying came at the same time as US Senator Harry Reid was trying to pass new legislation that would allow for online poker to be exempted from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

When the UIGEA passed in 2006, credit card companies were no longer allowed to process transactions between US-based customers and overseas-based online gaming sites.  As a result, MasterCard, Visa, PayPayl and other payment processors lost out on millions of dollars in revenues.

20-Jan-2011, 11:59

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