PokerStars VR to Launch on Meta’s New Quest Pro Headset
PokerStars VR, part of Flutter Entertainment, has announced that it will be a launch title for Meta’s ground-breaking Quest Pro mixed reality headset, set to launch October 25.
PokerStars VR will be one of a select number of game titles chosen to launch alongside Meta’s flagship device, which offers players enhanced performance as well as full colour passthrough for a full mixed-reality experience, face and eye tracking, and other cutting-edge technologies.
The PokerStars VR developers, Lucky VR have been busy behind the scenes dreaming up new ways to take full advantage of these next-generation capabilities and integrate them into the free-to-play social casino videogame.
Players using Quest Pro will be able to adapt their surroundings to suit their playing habits. Options will include a fully immersive virtual reality experience, partial immersion that brings objects or spaces from their physical world into the game through editable “passthrough windows”, and full mixed reality that enables players to bring core virtual game elements into their own world.
Sophisticated face and eye-tracking will also bring a brand-new social dimension to PokerStars VR. The hallmark upgrade enables players to make and see realistic facial expressions in their customised avatars. Players can sit down together and smile, frown, and glance at their cards, just like a live environment.
Advanced haptics will meanwhile add to richer, more engaging gameplay with players getting the full experience of the hundreds of toys, props and items available.
“Our goal with PokerStars VR is to push the potential of new technologies as far as we can to create a fun and authentic social casino game that really is limitless. We’re extremely proud to be part of the launch of Meta’s Quest Pro, which is a transformation in virtual and mixed reality. Our developers have been having great fun exploring what this technology means for our players and we can’t wait to show them what we have in store,” James O’Reilly, Director of VR and Innovation at PokerStars, said.
PokerStars VR is a world-class, authentic, free-to-play social casino game that allows players to take on others from around the world in visually stunning environments. Games include roulette, blackjack, slots, and poker, including cash games, multi-table and Sit & Go tournaments and Spin and Go’s. Last week, PokerStars VR also announced the highly anticipated launch of Craps, bringing a brand-new community game to its Casino One environment.
PokerStars VR uses Tox Mod, an AI live chat monitoring tool, to assist its dedicated moderation team. Players also have access to a range of in-game safety tools including the option to take time out from games, set spending limits, issue player reports, and customise the extent of their interaction with others in-game.
WhichBingo Awards 2023: Voting Now Open for the 10th Annual Event
WhichBingo, the UK’s leading bingo review website, has announced that voting is officially open for the WhichBingo Awards 2023, which recognise the nation’s favourite bingo and slots brands as voted by real players and the best operators across a number of special judged categories.
Bingo fans are encouraged to show their support for their favourite bingo brands to see them take home a coveted award, with voting running from now until the 14th April, 2023.
The player-voted awards up for grabs include the Best Bingo Site, Best Slots Site, Best New Bingo Site and Best New Slots Site, as well as accolades for the Best Chat Team, and best site under specific bingo software providers –Playtech, Dragonfish and Pragmatic Play.
As well as the user-voted awards, bingo operators can also win one of five special judged awards, which are: Most Socially Responsible Operator, Best Customer Service, Best Mobile Bingo Site, Best Bingo Software and Best Slots Developer.
This year, the esteemed judges are Anita Heffernan, Editor of WhichBingo, Leigh Nissim, Founder and CEO of Future Anthem, Victoria Reed, Founder of Better Change and Christina Thakor-Rankin, Principal Consultant at 1710 Gaming Ltd.
And there’s all to play for, with previous winners of the awards including Mecca Bingo, Sun Bingo, Buzz Bingo, Ladbrokes Bingo and Heart Bingo.
To vote, players must visit the WhichBingo Awards 2023 voting page and cast a vote for their favourite bingo brand or operator across each of the 11 categories.
The WhichBingo awards are marking a highlight year by hosting the 10th annual instalment on the luxurious and very Instagrammable Sunborn Yacht Hotel, in Gibraltar. The date for your diaries is the 17th of May 2023.
Anita Heffernan, Editor of WhichBingo, said: “We are delighted to be able to continue the tradition of the WhichBingo Awards, a highlight of the bingo industry. It’s a chance for brands big and small to have their happy customers have their say and to nominate themselves in special categories and let everyone know where they shine. The event itself on the Sunborn in Gibraltar is sure to be a memorable occasion and we look forward to welcoming many of our industry colleagues as we reveal the awards winners on 17th May.”
Arena Racing Company Purchases Arabian Racing Organisation
Arena Racing Company (ARC) confirmed the purchase of the Arabian Racing Organisation Ltd (ARO). ARO is the sole Arabian Racing Authority in Britain, operating with the support and permission of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), managing all elements of the integrity, fixture list and promotion of the sport.
The ARO team of Genny Haynes, Willie McFarland and Debbie Burt will continue to deliver the recently published 2023 fixture list, which will cover a programme of Arabian races across British racecourses.
As Britain’s largest racing group, ARC are long term supporters of ARO, hosting events at their numerous racecourses across the summer Arabian Racing season.
Genny Haynes, Chief Executive Officer of ARO, said: “We are delighted to confirm this deal with ARC, who have been fantastic supporters of ARO for a number of years, with the majority of our races run on ARC racecourses.
“ARO is now in a position to develop new commercial revenue streams, with the aim of developing the sport’s profile within the UK. The future of our Arabian Group races is now secure, and our aim will be that these races host some of the World’s best Arabians, as well as provide a springboard for our domestic horses to progress. Equally, we look forward to working on the continued development of grassroots Arabian racing, which is an integral part of our domestic programme.
“Our thanks must go to our sponsors HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival, Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, UAE President Cup, Emirates Breeders Series, Arabian Horse Organization, The Arabian Racehorse magazine, Equine MediRecord, Racing Welfare and partner racecourses for their ongoing support, as well as our former ARO Directors Charles Gregson, Bill Smith and Richard Weston for their invaluable work and vision in establishing the sport in the UK.”
Mark Spincer, Managing Director of ARC’s Racing Division, said: “As long term partners of ARO, we are delighted to take this step to help secure the future of the sport in Britain. Arabian races have sat alongside a number of our summer fixtures, and we look forward to working with Genny, Willie and Debbie to continue this and look for opportunities to grow the sport over the coming years.”
Portuguese Online Gambling Revenue Hits Record High in Q4
The Portuguese gambling regulator SRIJ has reported that online gambling revenue hit a record €195.3m in the fourth quarter of 2022. Revenue was up 39.7% year-on-year and hit all-time highs in both online casino and sports betting.
The figures continue the upward trend in Portuguese gambling, following on from the record Q3 revenue of €139.8m. Online casino accounted for €109.8m, up 48.3%, from spending of €2.98bn. Slot machines made up 79.8% of online casino bets, well ahead of roulette (8.5%) and blackjack (5.5%).
Sports betting revenue rose by 30% from Q4 2021, reaching €85.5m from a handle of €458.7m. Football accounted for 74.2% of bets, basketball 12.5% and tennis 7.6%. The FIFA World Cup generated a quarter of all bets.
The SRIJ also reported that 340,000 new players registered with operators, 60% of them aged between 25 and 44. Self-exclusions were up by 41,500 year-on-year at 150,900 by the end of the quarter.
The regulator said it sent 54 notices of closure and 74 blocking orders against operators who were targeting the market without a licence.
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