Gambling Planet News Briefs 3 February 2011


Hacker Steals 400 Billion Zynga Poker Chips

A British computer hacker could face jail time for stealing 400 Billion play-money chips in the popular online poker game Zynga Poker. Ashley Mitchell acquired the chips by using an administrative account to access the game software. He later sold the chops to other players at the rate of $650 per billion. When he was apprehended, Mitchell had already made over $75,000 from the sales of his stolen chips.

The Zynga Poker game, played on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, has thousands of players and deals millions of hands a day. The chips cannot be redeemed for cash or prizes, but players can earn virtual items during gameplay as they win hands and progress through “experience levels”.

Nevada Authorities Consult Online Gaming Regulators

Officials with the Nevada Gaming Control Board have reached an agreement with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission for consulting on potentially legalizing online gaming within the state. The AGCC regulates and oversees many offshore online gaming sites, including the popular online poker site Full Tilt Poker. Nevada Board members will examine how the AGCC conducts its regulation and enforcement duties and could follow the agency's guidelines for their own use.

Late last year, Nevada allowed sports book customers to use mobile devices to place bets on various sporting events. Nevada may follow other states, including California, New Jersey & Florida, in allowing for legal online gambling within the state. Any state that allows legal internet wagers may face a regulatory battle with federal authorities over the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Cohen Wins EPT Deauville

Lucien Cohen, an amateur poker player from Paris, won the PokerStars European Poker Tour event in Deauville, France. Cohen took home the $1.2 million first prize, along with the first major poker title of his career. He defeated Swedish poker pro Marc Jacobson when his ace-king held up against Jacobson’s seven-six of hearts. Jacobson also finished second at the EPT event in Portugal back in September.

With nearly half of the 891 players hailing from France, the odds were in favor of a player winning the title in his homeland. Two other players at the final table, fourth-place finisher Julien Claudepierre and seventh-place finisher Anthony Hnatow, are also from France.

Blom Beats Cates in Online Poker Showdown

Viktor "Isildur1" Blom defeated Dan "w00ki3z" Cates in their heads-up match at the PokerStars SuperStar Showdown. The two online pros played 2,500 hands of $50/$100 heads-up no-limit Texas Holdem, with Blom finishing $51,000 ahead of Cates. The players clashed for four straight hours without a break, playing four virtual tables at the same time.

The lead swung back and forth between Blom, a top player from Sweden, and Cates, an American who topped the online poker money list in 2010. Blom took an early $20,000 lead, but Cates came back to lead by $20,000 less than an hour later. The two were practically even at the two-hour mark, but Blom took a huge lead on two hands where he had Cates dominated pre-flop.

Florida Could Legalize Online Poker

Poker players in the Sunshine State may be able to play legal online poker at the state's horse tracks and jai alai arenas by mid-summer. Florida legislators are considering a plan that would allow business that have pari-mutuel betting to host internet cafes for online poker. The move to legalize and tax online poker proceeds could come as soon as this July.

The plan includes allowing third-party software developers to create the poker software and apply for a state gaming license. The state would gain revenue from the license fees, as well as from a percentage of the rake (the house fees for running the game)

The popularity of poker in the state continues to grow. Three of last year''s World Series of Poker November Nine were from Florida, including second-place finisher John Racener.

William Hill Launches Android App

British online gaming giant William Hill announced the launch of the company's new online sports betting application for the Android mobile phone platform. The app will run on the Android 2.2 operating system and will be available to customers in the United Kingdom.  The app will work in a similar way to the company's online sports book, in that customers can place wagers before and during sporting contests.

The new application will also feature better graphics and more features that demonstrate the operating system's advanced abilities. William Hill launched an app for the iPhone platform late last year, which has already reached 200,000 downloads. Online gaming industry observers expect the Android app to be at least as successful.