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PADDY POWER WITHDRAWS OFFENSIVE TWITTER COMMENT
The Paddy Power online gambling group, famed for its controversial but eye-catching promotional work, may have gone too far this week with a tweet that was clearly intended to be amusing but ended up in wide condemnation and an embarrassing withdrawal of the offensive material.
Ahead of a Newcastle vs. Liverpool football match, the betting company referenced the currently raging controversy in the US around often videoed African-American police beatings in a tweet which read:
"Newcastle have suffered more Kop beatings over the last 20 years than an unarmed African-American male".
The backlash on social media was strong and almost immediate, resulting in the withdrawal of the tweet.
InfoPowa readers will recall that Paddy Power has the dubious distinction of generating the most complaints ever on a gambling promotion to the Advertising Standards Authority. Last year the company was criticised for an advert on the outcome of the legless Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius' murder trial in which the company offered "money back if he walks."
There were 5,525 complaints about the insensitivity of the advert, and the ASA directed that it be withdrawn.
Ed. Note: "Kop" is a UK colloquial term for steep terraces at a football stadium occupied by hardcore fans.
NOVA SCOTIA DITCHES RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING AID
The Canadian provincial government of Nova Scotia is abandoning a responsible gaming tracking system for video lottery terminal players after concluding it's not meeting objectives. The system will be taken down early in September.
The My-Play system was introduced in April 2012 and required players to insert cards into the VLTs that allowed them to set spending and time limits as well as to stop play immediately.
Andrew Younger, the minister responsible, says the system was a reasonable attempt to improve responsible gambling features on VLTs, but it didn't reduce play by problem gamblers after a two year trial at an initial capital cost of $13.1 million, and another $6.4 million in operating expenses.
The percentage of revenue the province received as a result of problem gaming increased since My-Play was introduced, said Younger. What happened was it got rid of the casual and tourist gamers. There was no decrease in problem gamers use of VLTs.
Younger said another $1 million capital upgrade would have been required of the system to keep it functioning properly.
John Kidos, CEO of the company behind My-Play said the poor results from the product were due to the preference of punters for the "light enrolment" option, which did not require them to record their names and ID details, along with the failure of the government to additionally introduce a rewards system to encourage punters to use the full system.
He said that My-Play statistics show 99.9 percent of players opted for the more user-friendly light enrolment option rather than fill out a form with their name and other personal information on it.
According to the Nova Scotia authorities, only 3.9 percent of play sessions in the past 24 months accessed or used the system features, and feedback from users indicated they didnt want to provide personal information in the full enrolment model.
They added that the technology wasnt meant to reward loyalty points when the purpose was to promote responsible gaming, and claimed that VLT revenue declined by $31.3 million since the My-Play system was introduced.
Younger said the government would honour its financial obligations to Kidos Techlink company through to November 2015.
AFFILIATES TARGETED IN MOVE TO HALT UNLICENSED ONLINE GAMBLING
The New Jersey regulator and a number of online gambling operators licensed in the state have for some time flagged the activities of unlicensed and illegal operators as one of the reasons for the slow take-up of internet gambling in the Garden State, and now the problem is being addressed.
In addition to sending cease-and-desist warnings to the operators themselves (see previous InfoPowa reports), the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has fired a shot across the bows of at least six affiliate marketing website owners, demanding that they remove online gambling advertising and promo links to illegal internet gambling sites accessing New Jersey players, or face civil or criminal consequences.
The intimidating letter is signed by George N. Rover, the Attorney General of New Jersey, and was reportedly sent to poker information sites like RaketheRake, PokerSource, CardsChat, Pokersites and RakeBrain.
Commenting on the warning, DGE spokeswomen Kerry Langan said the sites promote illegal gambling websites through advertising and links alongside Internet gaming sites that are authorised in New Jersey.
"We believe this may either taint legitimate sites by associating them with the illegal ones, and conversely may lend the appearance that these illegal sites are affiliated with authorized sites, Langan said.
"Among the sites that the Division asked to examine their practices and to cease and desist from promoting illegal gaming sites are: CardsChat.com, PokerSource.com, RakeBrain.com, Pokersites.com, and RaketheRake.com
"The Division feels very strongly about protecting NJ citizens from illegal Internet gaming websites. New Jersey has a strong regulatory framework in place to enable Internet gaming to be a safe reliable experience for those who wish to participate.
"Our licensing requirements ensure that only carefully vetted companies can provide Internet gaming services. These illegal sites do not offer the same protections to players and we do not want these unregulated sites being promoted with our legal, regulated sites.
"We have strict regulations in place to help prevent underage gambling as well as monitoring tools to detect possible fraud and money laundering.The Division hopes that by taking a strong stance against illegal websites and their promoters, the benefits of regulated online gaming will help drive illegal operators out of the market place and provide patrons far better protections.
"At the same time, we believe it is unfair to those companies that subjected themselves to our strict licensing and regulatory requirements to have to compete with these illegal sites and the entities which are being paid to promote them."
WORLD SERIES OF POKER FINAL TABLE KICKS OFF TODAY
16 weeks on from the 2013 World Series of Poker, the nine final table players who survived return to the felt in Las Vegas today to battle it out for the winner's millions and the prestige of taking home a WSOP main event winner's bracelet.
5 Americans, a Canadian, an Israeli, a Dutchman, and a Frenchman are all that remains of an original entry field of 6,352 players, all but one of them professional players with varying levels of experience. The odd man out is Jay Farber, a night club promoter.
Each of the finalists has already received $733,224 in prize money for making the table, and that's all the first man to fall will get...but the prize money escalates as each player is eliminated, and the top seven spots will receive over a million each, with the winner taking home $8,359,531.
"This may be the most skilled nine players at the final table," WSOP spokesman Seth Palansky said this week. "You expect that after the initial jitters, these guys will not be making amateur mistakes"
The final table composition, and individual chip counts at the start of the action, will look like this:
JC Tran (38,000,000)
Amir Lehavot (29,700,000)
Marc-Etienne McLaughlin (26,525,000)
Jay Farber (25,975,000)
Ryan Riess (25,875,000)
Sylvain Loosli (19,600,000)
Michiel Brummelhuis (11,275,000)
Mark Newhouse (7,350,000)
David Benefield (6,375,000)
Today's plan is for the finalists to play down to the last three and then break for the night, returning next day (Tuesday) to decide the winner.
FULL TILT POKER DEVELOPS NEWBIE TABLES
Full Tilt Poker has moved to provide a more attractive and perhaps safer playing option for new online poker players, introducing "New to the Game" virtual tables this week.
The strictly controlled tables are designed to ease newbies more gently into the game, giving them more time to make playing decisions and shielding them from sharks who might seek to take advantage of their inexperience.
The tables additionally provide "tool tips" to assist newbies in a variety of game situations and provide them with practical options. Current hand strength is displayed for the new player to assess as each hand progresses.
Participation on the newbie tables will be strictly controlled and is based on each player's experience in terms of number of tournaments and hands played in each poker variant eg Texas Hold'em, Omaha etc.
For cash games, the limit is 2,000 hands and for tournaments and sit-and-go's the limit is 75 events. When those levels have been achieved, the player no longer qualifies as a newbie.
The new system is at present restricted to low stakes cash and tournaments on No-Limit Holdem and PLO, with Fixed Limit Holdem introduced as a single featured game of the week.
Players may only participate in two New to the Game tables at one time.
FTP expects to offer "New to the Game" tournaments later