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Gambling in the USA

PokerStars VR Brings Poker Into Immersive Virtual Worlds With Oculus Rift and HTC Vive

Zoltan Tundik

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PokerStars VR Brings Poker Into Immersive Virtual Worlds With Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
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Virtual poker experiences arrive just in time for the holiday season

PokerStars’ latest innovation, PokerStars VR, is now available to download and play for free in all of PokerStars’ global markets. The eagerly anticipated official launch of the game follows on from a well-received closed beta test which saw more than 150 invitees play and test it using Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. PokerStars VR is available to download through the Oculus and Viveport stores, as well as through Steam.

Players worldwide can now experience what happens when the worlds of live and online poker collide from the comfort of their own home. PokerStars VR was developed in collaboration with virtual reality developer Lucky VR and provides the perfect mix of serious gameplay, fun interactivity and social engagement that adds a whole new poker realm for players and gamers to explore.

Players have the chance to become fully immersed in a variety of social poker scenes, choosing their own environment to play in such as Macau 2050, The Macau Suite, The Showdown Saloon, Monte-Carlo Yacht, and The Void. Using intuitive controls for easy gameplay, they can also handle chips and cards, and pick up on tells, talk and interact just as they would at a live table. The game also features a host of interactive props to have fun with, voice command, and integrated Twitch broadcasting and media streaming on Oculus Rift for those who wish to play and stream.

WORLD CLASS VR EXPERIENCE

“When we showcased the product it was amazing to see people really enjoy and become engrossed in the game,” said Severin Rasset, Director of Poker Innovation and Operations at PokerStars. “We wanted to venture into the world of virtual reality because we believe it is an exciting avenue of technology to explore and something that our players would appreciate. I highly recommend that everyone tries out the game as it can only truly be understood and enjoyed by experiencing it.”

The new game simulates the live poker experience as closely as possible, bringing the same subtleties and interactions to an online environment. A lot of work has gone into recreating the atmosphere of a live poker game, including features such as chip stacking, card-peeking and the ability to try to get a genuine read on opponents, giving bluffing a whole new dimension.

Players can explore how tells work in PokerStars VR, as well as other lessons and insights, at PokerStars School and PokerStars Blog.

About PokerStars

PokerStars operates the world’s most popular online poker sites, serving the global poker community. Since it launched in 2001, PokerStars has become the first choice of players all over the world, with more daily tournaments than anywhere else and with the best online security. More than 182 billion hands have been dealt on PokerStars, which is more than any other site.

The Stars Group owns or licenses gaming and related consumer businesses and brands, including PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, BetStars, Full Tilt, Sky Bet, Sky VegasSky Casino, Sky Bingo, Sky Poker and BetEasy as well as live poker tour and event brands, including the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship, European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour, Asia Pacific Poker Tour, PokerStars Festival and PokerStars MEGASTACK. The Stars Group is one of the world’s most licensed online gaming operators with its subsidiaries collectively holding licenses or approvals in 19 jurisdictions throughout the world, including in EuropeAustralia, and the Americas.

Play Responsibly!  For more information on responsible gaming please visit our website at http://www.pokerstars.com/about/responsible-gaming/.

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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Gambling in the USA

Slot Revenue Decreases in Connecticut Tribal Casinos

Niji Narayan

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Slots revenue Connecticut tribal casinos
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The slot revenue of two Connecticut tribal casinos has decreased by 12% in April 2019. Both Mohegan and Foxwoods have posted year-over-year decrease in slot machine revenue and April 2019 was the worst month for the Connecticut casinos.

Foxwoods Resort Casino totalled US$36.2 million in slots revenue after paying prizes, down from the US$41.2. On the other hand, Mohegan Sun reported US$45.2 million in slot revenue, down from US$51.4 million.

Revenues from Foxwoods and Mohegan have been affected by MGM Springfield, the casino located in neighbouring Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported that the faction totalled US$15.5 million in slots revenue last month and US$6.3 million in table-games revenue. However, slots revenue was also down in that facility 17% over the previous month.

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Canada

Sightline Joins Forces with Responsible Gaming Solution GameSecure

George Miller

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Sightline Joins Forces with Responsible Gaming Solution GameSecure
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The partnership aims to connect payment solutions and a centralized real-time self-exclusion database for increased player protection

 

Las Vegas-based Sightline Payments (“Sightline”) and Vancouver based Bencon Technologies Inc. (“Bencon”) have entered into a partnership to bridge the current technological gap between digital self-exclusion functions and payment services. The goal of the partnership is to ensure at-risk patrons are denied access to content or payment services in real-time.

The first quarter of 2019 has resulted in a number of violations of self-excluded patrons gaining access to content in the US market, meaning regulator fines have been issued to non-compliant operators, unfortunately, the damage to the patron is already done. GameSecure’s real-time database solution will ensure these patrons do not gain access to digital content once self-excluded and by partnering with  it creates another barrier to a patron’s payment activity.

“The Sightline team has been committed to responsible gaming for more than 20 years and we are very excited to announce this important partnership,” said Cameron Conn, Co-Founder of Bencon Technologies Inc.

“We strongly believe there is not a singular solution to completely address all aspects of player protection and responsible gaming, however, partnerships like these allow for better solutions that will give continued insights into at-risk behavior for improved responsible gaming programs.”

“Sightline is in a unique position because our Play+ ecosystem, in the US, connects to nearly 100% of all digital platforms and 90%+ of all casino management systems, allowing for a uniform capability for a network-wide self-exclusion program through our SPAN Network,” said Kirk Sanford, CEO and Founder of Sightline Payments.

A primary goal of the partnership will be to work with the responsible and problem gambling communities to ensure these new solutions will work to enhance future programs for player protection.

“The Responsible Gambling Council is pleased to hear about the partnership between GameSecure and Sightline.  We believe that safeguards are imperative to the success of any self-exclusion program,” stated Shelley White, CEO of Responsible Gambling Council in Canada.

Keith Whyte, the Executive Director of the US National Council on Problem Gaming adding: “Congratulations to Bencon and Sightline for this step to further integrate responsible gaming into payment methods for the industry.  Streamlining player protection is an important goal for the National Council on Problem Gambling, and we are pleased to support this innovative effort.”

“Self-exclusion programs have been in existence for years with the on-premise ATM providers, however, until now nothing has existed for the digital world which is where the industry is moving,” added Sanford.

Bencon is currently working with multiple jurisdictions in the United States (and internationally) to integrate GameSecure into their Responsible Gaming Programs.

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Fantasy Sports

Louisiana House Committee Passes Fantasy Sports Restriction Bill

Niji Narayan

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Louisiana House Committee Passes Fantasy Sports Restriction Bill
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Louisiana House Committee has passed the fantasy sports restriction bill. Voters of 47 parishes approved fantasy sports betting last fall. The bill leaves committee with an amendment that stipulates “you can only play if you’re at card checking over-21 only in establishments like video poker stops, bars, or casinos.”

“This is obviously not what people voted for, this is not how fantasy sports works, this is not how online entertainment works anywhere, for any medium,” Fairness for Fantasy Sports Louisiana spokesperson Ryan Berni said.

“Right now the proposed tax rate does not cover the cost for the state to collect it. The state actually loses money at the proposed tax rate that they are proposing on fantasy sports,” Video poker lobbyist Alton Ashy said.

“Obviously the intention is that it is places that have video poker. It really is an end around and a subversion of what people know and like about fantasy sports,” Berni added.

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