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.

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.

Online gaming ban in Portugal leads poker players to emigrate

A report from Portuguese newspaper Diário de Noticias (DN) states that in the last six months, and as part of the enforcement of a new law, Portuguese authorities have closed 86 websites dedicated to online casino games, namely Poker.
The same report states that this “crack-down” on online gaming has already led to at least 50 players moving to other countries where online gaming is allowed.
Czech Republic, Brazil, Hungary, Malta and the UK are the top five destinations chosen by these “special migrants” to be able to continue playing online professionally.
Some of them had to leave
their families behind; others stopped their studies in order to continue to perform this activity, which grants them sufficient income to live abroad. In one case cited by the DN, one of the players stated that he would only return to Portugal when the “profession” is legally permitted.
The ban in Portugal is due to a legal breach that precipitated a new regulation stating that online gaming is only allowed when run by approved websites. That is not possible yet, since the ruling entity is yet to issue any licenses. but there are at least 11 companies that have submitted applications, the processes for which are, according to DN, still ongoing without a precise date to be concluded.
The lack of licensing has led the poker players to become frustrated. This frustration, however, extends beyond poker players, as the regulation also applies for other activities like sports betting.
João Nunes, head of the largest poker website in Portugal, said that “the bureaucracy is huge and the process takes a long time, and it is a very complicated situation for the players.” He recalls that this community has about 60,000 registered users and that many are professionals or semi-professionals who are using this income to provide for all, or at least part, of their income.
In Macau, at the present time, there are no licenses for online gaming operations.
In June last year, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) issued a warning to local residents about online gambling sites, stating that it “has never issued any online interactive gaming license to any company. Hence, all online interactive gambling websites in Macau are considered illegal operations.”
Although illegal, online gaming has been promoted, leading the authorities to employ endless efforts to tackle this activity.
Industry conventions and fairs, such as the Global Gaming Expo (G2E Asia), have also tried to address this topic more than once.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman  and  CEO   Sheldon
Adelson has tried to push legislation that would ban online gambling in the United States. RM

PSN Down: New online gaming issues reported on PS4’s PlayStation Network

SONY

PS4 users are currently struggling to access online gaming features via the PSN

UPDATE FIVE: Sony customers started reporting problems playing multiplayer titles at around 6am, UK time, its currently unknown what is causing the fresh outage.

It appears that the PSN may have been hit worldwide, with PS4 users from North America also having trouble being kicked multiple time from online sessions.

The PlayStation support team have yet to confirm the issues, while the official PlayStation Service Status reports all core services as functional.

This week has seen multiple periods when the PSN has been unaccessible, withPlayStation Networksubscribers being kicked off for several hours on Monday afternoon.

One user wrote: Only people who are playing games online are getting signed out. I have buddys on Netflix who havent been signed out one time.

SONY

PS4 owners are reporting new problems using the PSN today

UPDATE FOUR: A new outage connected with signing in and using core PlayStation Network services is being reported by PS4 users in the UK.

It is unclear if the new problems are directly connected to current issues affecting BT internet customers, although the same connection reports are not popping up on Xbox Live.

The PSN was hit by hours of downtime yesterday, resulting in many Sony console owners being unable to use their PS4s properly for several hours.

The European PlayStation support team confirmed yesterday that the issues plaguing the service had been solved, it is currently unclear what caused the outage.

PlayStation Network has been restored. You should be able to access online features without any problems now. Sorry for the inconvenience, the PlayStation support message revealed.

One fan commented on the current problems, writing: I can sign in but cannot see friends list or access online games in England, Doncaster.

Another replied: Same, I cant log on for some reason, was playing and it booted me off.

SONY

PlayStation Europe has confirmed that PSN issues have been resolved in the region

UPDATE THREE: The official PlayStation Twitter account for Europe has confirmed that PSN trouble in the region have been solved.

The Sony account posted the message earlier today, tweeting: PlayStation Network has been restored.

You should be able to access online features without any problems now. Sorry for the inconvenience.

There has been no such confirmation of the return of core PlayStation Network services from the account covering North America.

It is still unclear what has caused the mass outage, which appeared to affect PS4, PS3 and PS Vita users from worldwide.

There are still mixed reports of gamers being able to access the PSN and other who have been less unfortunate.

The Express can confirm that we have access to online multiplayer and the PlayStation Store both in the UK and United States.

SONY

Sony is currently investigating the PSN outage

UPDATE TWO: There are multiple reports from PS4 users that their PlayStation Network connection has been restored in the UK and North America.

Issues have hit PSN subscribers since around 4:30pm, UK time.

Sony have now confirmed the problems and say they are looking into the cause.

Were aware that some PSN users are experiencing connectivity issues., a PlayStation support team message reads.

Thank you for your patience as we investigate.

The PlayStation support page has yet to be updated with what core services have been affected, although a banner has appeared, reading: PSN is under maintenance.

An earlier outage in January saw many PS4, PS3 and PS Vita users lose connection with the PSN for up to ten hours.

Sony confirmed that those affected were being given extended PlayStation Plus access to cover lost time through a recent code supplied via email.

GETTY

PlayStation Network has been hit by connectivity issues

UPDATE ONE:

17:53 Sonys PlayStation support website has just posted a message saying NOTICE: PSN is under maintenance.

It looks like another bad day for PlayStation gamers as the PSN Network has once again gone offline.

PS4 gamers have started to report issues accessing core features, such as playing games online and buying items from the PlayStation Store.

There is currently no known issue posted on the official PlayStation Network Service Status page, with all services currently getting the greenlight.

Although Sony has not confirmed the issues, games giant Bungie has tweeted We are aware of issues preventing some PlayStation 4 users from playing Destiny. Thank you for your patience as we investigate.

PSN users are also confirming problems with many saying they are receiving an error message.

PH

No issues are being reported on the PSN status page

Online Gaming Co. Amaya’s CEO Plans $2B Go-Private Offer

By Matthew Perlman

Law360, New York (February 1, 2016, 12:30 PM ET) — Amaya Inc. said Monday that its CEO David Baazov is planning to make a CA$2.77 billion ($1.98 billion) all-cash offer that would take the Canadian gaming company private, as the online gambling industry continues to evolve.

The exact structure of the bid has not yet been determined, but Baazov estimates it to be worth about CA$21 per share, according to a statement announcing the executives intentions. That price would represent a 40 percent premium to Amayas closing price Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the statement…