France Could Consider the Sharing of Online Poker Liquidity Come April

The French gaming regulator Autorità de rÃgulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) announced that an amendment to the Digital Bill will be presented in the French Senate in April, which if passed would allow dot-fr poker rooms to share liquidity with other jurisdictions with similar gaming regulations.

Online gaming has been legal since 2010 when the French Gambling Act became the law of the land. However, the regime as it currently stands requires licensed online poker operators in the country to ring-fence its players from the rest of the world.

While the major dot-fr poker rooms legally accept players from countries outside of France, the countrys players are limited since these rooms do not link up with neighboring countries that also have ring-fenced gaming regimes including Italy and Spain. Additionally, regulated online poker sites are prohibited from sharing the larger international player pool available on dot-com and dot-eu poker rooms.

For years the countrys online poker players, gaming operators, and ARJEL, have complained about the restrictions, stating that they have stunted the growth and potential of the market. The theory is that increased liquidity would provide more games and thus be attractive to more players in France.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Enters Online Gaming With "Churchill Solitaire" App

At 83 years old, Donald Rumsfeld can’t believe the world in which he’s living. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is leading the Democrat primary race in Iowa and New Hampshire, and Donald Trump is the Republican favorite to become the next commander-in-chief.

If I told you 20 years ago that in 2016 Donald Trump was going to be the frontrunner in the Republican side of a presidential campaign, what would you have thought? Matt Lauer asked the former two-time Secretary of Defense on Monday.

It was out of the question, Rumsfeld responded. It’s just amazing, this election year is so different.

To exacerbate the inconceivable political present-day climate, Rumsfeld, one of the most notable defense secretaries in US history, who oversaw the response to 9/11, is now focusing his attention on mobile gaming through a new app called Churchill Solitaire.

One of the best ways to stay young is to keep learning, Rumsfeld said on his app’s Medium.com blog. That’s one of the reasons I’ve spent the better part of the past two years trying my hand at developing a mobile app.

Aptitude Required

Winston Churchill was one of the great 20th century leaders of the United Kingdom. Known for a penchant for many things, including a cigar and bottle of Scotch, Churchill passed what little free time he possessed by playing cards.

The Churchill version, like the man himself, is far more demanding and complex [than traditional solitaire], Rumsfeld declared. Churchill Solitaire uses two decks of cards instead of just one, and the traditional seven rows have been replaced with 10.

Rumsfeld estimates that only a dozen or so people around the world knew about Churchill’s version of the classic card game before this week’s release.

Churchill protÃgà Andrà de Staercke taught the game to Rumsfeld in 1973, and the retired military leader continued playing the esoteric game throughout the decades.  

Noble Cause

Churchill Solitaire is free to download, but like so many others apps, comes with in-app purchases. The game features various battles the player must beat by winning at solitaire as they try to work their way up to the title of Prime Minister.

The free version comes with three trial runs. After that, users will need to purchase 25 game packages for $0.99 or an unlimited bundle for $4.99.

Rumsfeld has been on a media tour promoting the app, and says all of the proceeds will be directed to wounded military veterans and their families.

This probably means a portion of the profits, not the gross revenues.  A portion of game proceeds is how the app puts it.

But Will Seniors Play?

Rumsfeld could be tapping into a rather unreached demographic with the unique solitaire game. Older Americans and senior citizens play traditional card games at much higher rates than younger ones, who were weaned on video games and more interactive entertainment.

Gin rummy, bridge, and solitaire are all games that help keep the mind sharp and remain popular. Combining the historical figure of Churchill with the notoriety of Rumsfeld could bring a new segment of Americans to the online gaming world.

Online gaming revenue is new revenue

In this interview with CalvinAyre.com’s Rebecca Liggero, Chris Capra of 888 talks about the current state of online gambling in the US market.

Is the online gambling market in the United States no longer worth anybody’s time? Chris Capra doesn’t think so.

Capra, head of marketing in the US for 888 casino and poker, described the market as “difficult,” which is warding a lot of operators off.

“It is not for the faint of heart, I would say,” Capra told CalvinAyre.com. “New Jersey is the only one that has a significant population size for it. So it’s not an easy go. You can’t just flip the switch on and have people, you know, come into your side and make money hand over fist.”

According to the 888 executive, operators need to accept that the US market is “a long term investment and a long term play.”

Online gambling is currently limited to three US markets, but Capra believes other states should already get with the times.

“The other lesson that states needs to learn is that online gaming revenue is new revenue. It is not taking away from brick and mortar casinos. It’s actually enhancing the player base and the revenue for the brick and mortars. And typically, that revenue is coming from people who are younger in age, something that brick and mortars are trying to attract,” he explained. “Overall, we’re sending a very positive message of the success that we’ve had in New Jersey, and I think more and more states are starting to get that message and see that there’s a lot of money on the table right nor for iGaming.”

In 2013, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie projected that online gambling in the state will balloon to a $1.2 billion goldmine in a year. Fast forward to two years later, and the numbers didn’t reach the governor’s projection, leaving a lot of people disappointed. However, Capra believes that the online gambling market in general is a success in the US, it’s just that Christie had unrealistic expectations.

“In New Jersey, we are a success. Not just 888, but the market in general. In less than two years’ time, we’ve generated more than $227 million in revenue and over $35 million in tax income for the state of New Jersey. We haven’t hit the billion-dollar mark that was set up by Christie, but that was an unrealistic mark to start with and that was really based on revenues from year five and six, not years one and two,” Capra explained.

“The initial numbers that we’re given by Gov. Christie were extremely inflated. A positive thing that we’re seeing in states now, especially Pennsylvania and New York, is that they have a much realistic expectations for the markets that are really on par with what they should see [in] year one, year two,” he added.

‘Taiwan #1’: Online Gaming Meets Cross-Strait Relations

It may have been his first time in Taiwan, but the American online gamer – username “Angrypug” – was greeted as a local hero as he arrived at this year’s Taipei Game Show. Young Taiwanese gamers flocked to the stand of online streaming brand Twitch, where the bearded pug lover obligingly posed for selfies.

Angrypug has risen to fame by playing the post-apocalyptic zombie game H1Z1 – and discovering that tapping into the feud between China and Taiwan over Taiwan’s identity and status can be lucrative business.

In the YouTube videos and his online streaming sessions through Twitch, Angrypug infiltrates teams of Chinese players that call themselves “Red Army” teams. He then infuriates the Chinese players by shouting “Taiwan #1”, to which the Chinese gamers respond with “China #1, Taiwan #2”, cursing the American gamer and his mother. In some videos, the Chinese players start playing the Chinese national anthem after killing Angrypug’s character. In another, Chinese players shout back “Taiwan is my country.”

The videos have become a sensation in the online gaming world, both in the United States as well as in Asia. A single video of Angrypugs “Taiwan #1” has around two million hits on YouTube, but this does not include the great number of people who watch his live streaming. They first appeared last summer, and became the most popular discussion thread on US online forum Reddit at the end of November.

But they’ve become even more popular in Taiwan, for the obvious reason that his declaration of superiority of Taiwan over China is playing into a younger game-playing generation who grew up feeling distinctly Taiwanese and are proud of their identity. One Taiwanese DJ has even mixed soundbites of Angrypug shouting “Taiwan #1” into a techno song.

Angrypug’s “Taiwan #1” trademark is good business for him. He has over 60,000 followers, and subscribers to his channel pay $4,99 a month – for which you get a “Taiwan #1” badge and emoticons. His “Taiwan #1” YouTube videos have between several hundred thousand and two million views, a perk that would allow him to share in revenue from advertisements.

Whilst Angrypug makes a buck out of Taiwan national symbolism and pride, similar sentiments got a Taiwanese pop star into an unfortunate predicament a few weeks ago. The day before Taiwan’s landmark elections, Chou Tzu-yu, member of a Korean pop band, was forced to read out a scripted apology after waving a Taiwanese flag, which had angered Chinese netizens. “There is only one China. The two shores are one. I feel proud being a Chinese,” Chou says in the video.

Angrypug, perhaps rather wisely, steered clear of political questions during his visit in Taiwan, instead only talking about trivialities such as Taiwan beer and the local delicacy stinky tofu (Angrypug was not available for comment for this article).

BitPay brings Bitcoin to online gaming company Wargaming

Bitcoin technology and payment processing company BitPay on Wednesday announced the addition of online gaming company Wargaming to its list of partners.

Wargaming is known as the creator of numerous titles in strategy-based massively-multiplayer online (MMO) gaming, such as World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes. Thanks to the partnership with BitPay, players in the United States can use bitcoin to get the virtual gold that serves as Wargamings currency for in-game power-ups in World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes.

As a native digital top-up method, bitcoin will provide Wargamings customers with an alternative to filling out credit card forms and a simpler, faster way to obtain the virtual gold they need.

In its announcement on the partnership, BitPay notes that its integration with Wargaming is also one of the first to make Payment Protocol wallets the default way to pay invoices. Customers using Payment Protocol wallets to add to their virtual gold holdings can send bitcoin to a Wargaming bitcoin invoice more securely and broadcast their transactions to the Bitcoin network in shorter time. Customers can still check out using any bitcoin wallet, but Wargamings integration collects a return address in advance in case any transaction issues emerge. This reduces the need for back and forth between customers and Wargamings support team.

The announcement about the partnership with Wargaming, comes shortly after BitPay teamed up with GASH Point, a gaming payment brand owned by Taiwanese digital media giant Gamania.

To view the announcement from BitPay on its collaboration with Wargaming, click here.

The Untapped Potential of Sports Fans

This is a big moment for sports. 2015 saw monumental breakthroughs in sports as a catalyst for social change. Historically, sports have been effective at raising awareness of underexposed issues, sparking important conversations, and shifting public perception. We saw this come to life in a whole new way in 2015 with professional and collegiate sports taking a stand on some of our countrys most pressing issues, those same issues that teams have shied away from in the past, despite being in a credible position to create change.

When racial tensions escalated on the campus of the University of Missouri and the administration failed to take action, student groups protested for President Tim Wolfe to resign. After two months of no results despite clear instances of racism on campus, athletes of color on the Missouri football team took a stand. They refused to play until their voices were heard. 36 hours later President Wolfe stepped down.

Professional sports teams and leagues also stepped up their activism game in 2015. On Christmas day, the NBA released a series of provocative ads in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety, a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence. While Everytown advocates for common sense gun laws, the issue of guns in the US is still a highly charged one, mucky waters in which most sports leagues would never dare tread, until now.

What happened at the University of Missouri and with the NBA harnessed the power that sports teams and leagues have long understood they possess: the ability to bring immediate and widespread awareness to an issue. They have effectively created high intensity, important moments around major issues. But whats next? How can sports ensure that these moments lead to real progress?

At Purpose, our experiences supporting people-powered social movements around big issues like international LGBT rights, the crisis in Syria, and climate change have helped us understand what enables movements to succeed. A critical component is the ability to organize a large community, reach them during moments inspiration, and build their long-term engagement. Fans bring exactly these elements to sports. They are the missing ingredient that could take moments of influence and attention created by sports and turn them into transformative movements for change.

A Love Thats Here To Stay

Fans make up some of the largest, most engaged communities on earth. What sports instills in fans even goes beyond engagement — its a passionate and unwavering love that often lasts a lifetime. This emotionally-charged attention is an invaluable asset that movement builders work tirelessly to cultivate. Sports has the ideal framework for building social movements: the deep engagement of a large group of people, sustained over a long period of time. This facet of fan engagement allows sports to be effective on issues where shifting a generational perspective and inspiring a longer-term commitment to action is essential to achieving change, such as LGBT rights or racial justice.

Nothing is Impossible

Being a sports fan can be a transcendent experience. Adidas captured this feeling with their Impossible is Nothing ads. Sports is the one place where people escape the frustrating, and too often disappointing, rules of everyday life. In sports, the underdog can win. Its a space where even well into adulthood our imaginations can still soar and we can see something we never dreamed we would. On many social issues such as climate change, all actors are underdogs with the odds stacked against them. Pursuing social change requires an individual to believe in progress when seemingly none has been made. Sports lifts fans into the exact frame of mind needed to believe in the impossible — that, along with their team, they can win more than just games. They can win on big issues, even those that seem like a guaranteed defeat.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Social change often involves people shifting perceptions, challenging or affirming beliefs, and caring about something that might feel distant to their lives. Social influence has shown to be a critical factor when it comes to getting people comfortable enough to take these often intimidating steps. The human brain is actually hard-wired to do this. We imitate others to navigate the many choices we must make on a daily basis, referred to by psychologists as social proof.

Sports creates unparalleled opportunities where so many people gather together and do the exact same thing at the same time. These explosive moments of solidarity and euphoria enable the laws of social influence to take hold in a way that is powerful and unique to sports. For example, fans are not just an average peer to one another. They have a deep bond underpinned by strong commonalities, shared interests (at least one), and an assumption of aligned values. This establishes trust among fans of a given team and thus a higher propensity to imitate, especially around something as intense as action on social issues.

No Ask Too Big

So what does this untapped potential of fans look like when brought to life in the name of social good? Sport Club Recife, one of Brazils biggest soccer clubs, launched an organ donation campaign to help increase access to transplant organs. An inspiring video played before every game in the clubs 35,000-seat stadium asking fans to apply online for a Sport Donor card. The Immortal Fans campaign reduced organ transplant waiting lists in the Brazilian city of Recife to virtually zero in the programs first year and has continued to lead to a significant increase in the number of life-changing transplants according to the BBC.

Immortal Fans showed us how quickly concern for a tough issue and commitment to action can spread amongst sports fans. With the recent splash made by Super Bowl 50, an activists imagination runs wild with possibilities. Its been touted as the most technologically-advanced, philanthropic, and sustainable Super Bowl in history with a halftime show full of political undertones. Imagine what progress we could have sparked if this energy, connectivity, and the 100-plus million television and record digital live streaming viewers plus the over 70,000 fans in stadium were united as an unstoppable force for good?

Rick Telander talks 1985 Bears on Wednesday’s Sports Feed

It was a unique friendship that was describe at length with Jarett during the Chicago Sun Times columnist in his first visit to Sports Feed on Wednesday. The nearly half-hour conversation touched on a number of aspects of Payton and that 1985 team.

To watch Ricks segments with Jarrett on the show, click on the videos above and below.

Facebook, Google fight blocking India’s poor from world wide web

In April of last year, Sir Tim Berners-Lees World Wide Web Foundation filed comments with Indias telecom regulator arguing that Facebooks zero-rating plan was a short-term gain that wasnt worth the long-term cost to the country. The Foundation explained that zero-rating is counter to its vision for all of the people to have access to all of the internet, all of the time.

Like Sir Berners-Lee, other US Net neutrality activists have also directed their moral outrage, public relations expertise and funding to attack Facebooks zero-rating initiatives both in India and the US.

With all of the high moral dudgeonbeing batted around, it is worthwhile to step back and look at whatis fueling this worldwide uprising. Simply put, zero-rating is one side of a global race among US-based internet companies to get five billion eyeballs not yet online using their services as fast as possible. In other words, it is about business.

In this regard, the US Net neutrality priesthood is largely correct that Facebooks Free Basics isnt entirely altruistic by not counting access to Facebook against a Free Basics users data allowance, Facebook gets first dibs on those eyeballs in a way, that say, Google cant.

But the effort to kill zero-rating is not entirely altruistic either. Theres something else at play as well: Whats good for Facebook is bad for another SiliconValley company (cough, cough Google). Remember, if Facebook grabs those eyeballs first, Google is shut out from being the first entry point or gateway for billions of new internet users. In fact, Free Basics doesnt even offer Google as one of its zero-rated websites. Google, for its part, is executing its own strategy, experimenting with delivering access through giant balloons and tiny satellites while littering the globe with sub-$30 smartphones running its Android software and pre-loaded with Google products and services.

An interesting analysis finds that the most vocal anti zero-rating internet elites in the US academics, venture capitalists and technology leaders claim common cause with the global poor, and dismiss zero-rating plans like Free Basics as malignant, walled gardens, a violation of free speech,or even a geniusly evil world domination scheme.

These individuals also largely residein the top median income zip codes in the US, communities in which the median income is on average 60 times that of the typical incomein a country like India. Walled gardens indeed.

But a deeper analysis finds somethingeven more interesting. Six of the twelve leading anti zero-rating activists have received funding from a Facebook competitorhellip;Google! either directly to them or through the organisations they represent.

This same cast of characters who argued that strong Net neutrality rules are necessary to keep the US internet free and open so more Americans can get online are the ones now insisting that Net neutralitys free and open doesnt really mean free or open for Indias disconnected. Instead, they argue that its better for the internet if Indias impoverished and disconnected simply do without than transgress their Silicon Valley paymasters global ambitions.

Those caterwauling the loudest that offering anything less than full access to the Internet is poor Internet for poor people are being highly disingenuous. After all, ideological purity is easy when it costs you nothing. Its akin to a debate among the well fed about whether the starving should be given soup that isnt organically sourced.

So, the next time you hear the Net neutrality priesthood decry zero-rating, it might be helpful to think to yourself, to paraphrase Marie Antoinette, let them eatcode.

Jerri Ann Henry is public advocate for Protect Internet Freedom, a grassroots, nonprofit organisation of 1.6 million supporters dedicated to defending a truly free and open internet

95 Applications To The Malta Gaming Authority For Online Gaming In 2015

There were a total of 95
applications to the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) for online
gaming in 2015.

This information was given in response to a parliamentary
question put by government MP Silvio Schembri. Economy Minister
Chris Cardona also said that in addition to that number, there were
two applications for casinos to operate on cruise ships and a
further application for a land-based casino.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.