First Licensed Online Casino Launched in Hungary

Hungary is to have its first ever licensed online casino thanks to a contract drawn up between Finnish gaming platform provider Finnplay and land-based operator Las Vegas Casino Diamond.

The Finnish bookmaking operation has entered the Hungarian gambling industry by agreeing to provide an online casino platform for the established Las Vegas Casino Diamond company.

The Las Vegas Casino Diamond establishment is a top casino operator within Hungary. It has been operating in Budapest since 1992, providing land-based casino services for Hungarian recreational gamblers and they now plan to launch the first licensed online casino in in the country later this year.

In October 2015, Hungary introduced new legislation to allow land-based casino licence-holders within the country to offer online casino games to register customers. In doing so, the state restricted iGaming licences to be granted only to land-based casino licence holders, which has limited the country’s online casino market. A number of other provisions were also introduced, such as rules allowing for online poker liquidity to be pooled by a number of different poker room operators (and substantial fines for any breaches of the law).

Online casino entertainment is a huge industry in Europe and has millions of recreational players across the continent using these services every day. Players are attracted by exciting games and slots as well as attractive rewards and lucrative sign up Casino bonuses for new customers.

Finnplay has claimed that its new contract with the Las Vegas Casino Diamond company will definitely provide the best possible online casino playing experience for Hungary’s first online casino.

Finnplay chief executive Martin Prantner has stated that: “We are delighted to be the casino technology partner for the Las Vegas Casino in the regulated Hungarian market”

“They have an incredibly strong brand in the land-based market, and we look forward to supporting their business growth across the digital channels.”

Meanwhile, the executive director of the Las Vegas Casino Company, Samuel Falconello Jr, has commented that said: “Finnplay is a recognized, flexible provider of online gaming platforms and has experience in several licensed markets”

He went on to say that, “given their outstanding technical expertise, and their understanding of the Hungarian market, Finnplay is the perfect partner for us in this venture. After acquiring the required permits from the authorities, Las Vegas Casino plans to launch its online casino later this year.”

The Las Vegas Casino Diamond group has assured players that their key objective was to ensure the most satisfying online casino experience possible.

Online Slots Player Wins Record £4.5 million Prize

online slotsA record for the largest mobile slots jackpot won in the UK has been set by an unidentified librarian from Glasgow, who has recently scooped a prize of £4.5 playing the Jackpot Giant slot game on GalaBingo.

The winner claimed to have been casually playing the online slot game, spinning slot wheels on the app whilst watching television and was astounded to discover she’d stuck lucky. She told a local news source, “I picked up my mobile and started playing while I was watching TV. Minutes later I saw a huge string of numbers coming up and realised I’d hit the jackpot. I was simply blown away and couldn’t believe I’d won. It’s still sinking in and my family and I are still in a complete state of shock.” She had been a regular player of the online slot game for around three years but has never won any significant prize until now. Spending just £4 on the spin which allowed her win the huge prize, she has proven to be a lucky customer. Instead of spending her winnings immediately, she returned to work the following day.

The slot game was created by GalaBingo, a branch of the GalaCoralGroup which is owned by the online gambling technology provider Playtech, which owns several online poker and casino sites. The company claim that this latest prize is the largest sum of money ever won by a UK online slots player.

Playtech chief Shimon Akad warmly congratulated the new winner for setting a new UK mobile jackpot record while the brand director of Gala Coral Interactive, Alison Digges, hailed it as the biggest jackpot Gala Bingo had ever awarded on either mobile or desktop slot games.

Playtech made the announcement on its software that the GalaBingo jackpot had been won. As well as being the largest on a mobile slot game, it was the second largest prize handed out by the gambling provider on a Playtech progressive jackpot game.

US Casino Market Will Be Worth $93 Billion by 2020

US online gamblingA recent market research study has forecasted good news for the US casino industry by predicting it will experience a period of steady growth and be worth $93 billion by 2020.

Technavio – a leading global research company specialising in emerging market trends and opportunities – published its report this month, detailing a moderate growth rate for the casino industry, which has significantly recovered from the recession. They’ve said that the growth rate will be an average of 5% during the next four years.

The casino industry is fairly strong in the US at the the moment for a number of reasons. Many states have legalised casino gambling to increase tourism and attract visitors, which naturally is expected to have a positive effect on the industry. The main casinos in the US are located in popular destinations like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Pennsylvania has recently drafted legislation allowing for table games like poker at its land based casinos in a bid to encourage higher revenues. Casinos are popular spots for visitors and there are two major new casinos are due to open this year in the US. The National Harbour in Miami (which is worth $1.2 billion) is almost ready for business and the new addition to the Penn National Gaming casino group will be opening this summer in San Diego.

Some large scale casino companies are currently bidding to extend their chains by building venues in other states. Land based casinos are also implementing different methods to increase revenue, such as merging with luxury hotels chains to offer visitors entertainment options like live poker tournaments to expand their customer base.

The legalization of online gambling in these US states has undoubtedly contributed to the rising popularity of online casinos – which has been a key factor in the growth of the US casino industry. Since 2013, online casino gambling has been legalised in a number of US states, such as Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, and is expected to become regulated in more jurisdictions in the coming years.

The revenue of the online casino sector in the US rose by a massive 212% last year, indicating that online gambling is the future of the casino market in the US, according to Technavio. A spokesperson for the firm commented that, “Virtual online casinos provide more protection to user transactions than real casinos offer because they offer access after multiple verification procedures.” This encourages improved consumer confidence in online casinos, and will help build future revenue in the casino market. Industry experts have suggested that there is a possibility of enhanced growth in the sector, as more states in the US are expected to make progress in legalising online gambling in the next four years.

Since online gambling is widely considered the future of the casino market in the US, there are an increasing number of online casino sites for customers to chose from, offering a range of games and promotions for players. This has become a popular option for players to enjoy the experience of a casino from the comfort of their own home.

Online Gambling In Pennsylvania To Become Legal

Online Gambling In PennsylvaniaOnline poker has taken the first step to becoming legalised in Pennsylvania as the state’s Gaming Oversight Committee has recently passed the HB649 bill. This proposed legislation will effectively regulate iGaming in the state of Pennsylvania and many hope it will provide a model for other US states to follow.

The GO committee chairman John Payne sponsored the bill, which has so far seen a plethora of amendments added to it before the vote was taken, including provisions regarding memberships fees, extending liquor service in casinos and increased slot machine availability.

Many view the HB649 bill as being hugely beneficial in helping reduce the state’s vast financial deficit, as the revenue brought in by online gambling will be substantial. So far the budget discussions in Pennsylvania between the Republican-dominated legislature and new Democratic governor Wolf, have provoked considerable debate as both sides fail to agree on way to deal with the deficit.

What is the HB649 bill?

A version of the HB649 bill was initially proposed in Pennsylvania back in February 2015, but the bill that was passed by the Gaming Oversight committee on the 18th November was not technically the same due to the omnibus of amendments attached to it.

Essentially, the HB649 will fully legalize and regulate online casino and online poker games in Pennsylvania.

Now that the bill has been approved by the Gaming Oversight committee, there are two possible avenues for it to follow in its path to become law. Firstly, it could go the usual route of being endorsed by each of the two houses of legislature before the Governor signs it into law. It has been “laid on the table” of the state House this week. This option is usually a long haul, as every individual amendment added by the Senate must be approved by the House, forcing the bill to potentially yo-yo between the two legislatures for an extended period of time. If Senate chooses not to alter the bill, and approves it, HB 649 could move straight to the governor to sign into law.

Alternatively, there is the possibility that the bill could become part of Pennsylvania’s continuing budget negotiations as a compromise measure to bring in potential revenue for the state, which is currently over $2 billion in deficit. This is a fast-track option as the bill would grouped into the larger budget package, a huge time-saver in its bid to becoming law. In this scenario, it would be voted into law when the full legislature agrees on the state budget for 2016.

If the HB649 bill gets considered on its own, not as part of the state’s overall budget package, the timeframe could be pushed back much further in 2016.

John Pappas, the chair of the PPA (Poker Players Alliance) has spoken out in support of the HB649 bill: “this bill needs to become law. The safety of consumers and the fiscal health of Pennsylvania will be vastly improved when Internet gaming is appropriately licensed, regulated and taxed. It is our hope that the legislation will be enacted on its own or as part of the state’s 2016 budget by the end of this year.”

Pennsylvania currently has 12 existing land-based casinos across the state, whilst one or two are not likely to expand into online gaming when it becomes legalized, each of the 10 remaining casinos will be expected to bring $10 million to the state in 2016.

After 2016, the state will then collect 14% tax of gross gaming revenue from each online gambling operator from 2017 onwards.

With the increased licensing fees Pennsylvania stands to make over $100 million in 2016 from up-front licensing fees alone, a notable boost in revenue for the state.

Online poker in other US states

Online gambling in the USA has traditionally been mired in something of a grey area when it comes to legal status. While there is no overarching federal law prohibiting US players from making online poker accounts and playing online, state law tends to vary.

Nevada became the first US to officially legalise online poker in April 2013 and they were followed by Delaware in the same year. The two share an “Interstate Poker Compact”, which facilitates players in both state to play online poker with each other. New Jersey also legalised online poker sites in 2013. Some states, like California, are conflicted when it comes to definitive legislation regulating online gambling. CA online poker isn’t considered to be unlawful but so far there is not a state bill legalising the practice.

Only in the state of Washington is the act of playing online poker actually a felony.

The New Jersey online gaming legislation precess took around nine months to become law, a reasonable timeframe which many in Pennsylvania hope to emulate with the HB649 bill. Pennsylvanian officials have acknowledged that they’ll be looking to the the New Jersey model when implementing their own version.

 

Joe McKeehen Wins 2015 WSOP Main Event

 

The 46th annual World Series of Poker Main Event has been won by Joe McKeehen, in an exciting showdown which saw the professional poker player from Pennsylvania walk away with $7.7 million in prize money.

McKeehen, 24, dominated the entire competition in Las Vegas and sat down at the final table with over double the chips of his nearest rival. He did not relinquish this chip lead for the entire game. He fulfilled the expectations of spectators with a superior performance that propelled him to run away with the tournament title.

On the very first day of the WSOP 2015, poker’s new world champion succeeded in knocking out three other poker players, improved his starting stack considerably, as did beating Max Steinberg later in the tournament.

This victory awards McKeehen his very first World Series of Poker gold bracelet, and his first significant tournament win of his career. Previous notable wins include the 2013 WSOP Circuit event in Atlantic City, where he took away $174,147 in prize money. His combined poker career winnings thus far currently exceed $11 million.

Before the final game even started, it seemed as though McKeehen was going to triumph at poker’s most prestigious and most richly rewarded event, and any his competitors would be just playing for second place.

Blumenfield’s attempt at a bluff against McKeehen initially worked well, but the Pennsylvanian made a good call with a top pair of cards and knocked his rival to the bottom. Blumenfield couldn’t engineer a comeback and subsequently crashed out of the game in third place.

Overall, it took 184 hands of final-table play for McKeehen to seal the deal and walk away with the title.

Second place was awarded to Josh Beckley, with a prize of $4.4 million, and third went to Neil Blumenfield with a reward of almost $3.4 million.