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POKERSTARS EXEC REASSURES PLAYERS IN THE WAKE OF THE AMAYA DEAL
The Pokerstars brand has been putting time in on the player communications front following the buzz around the deal between its parent the Rational Group and Amaya Gaming, with director of poker room operations, Steve Day, doing sterling work on major forums like twoplustwo.
The central message is that there will be little change for players, Day posted, writing:
The short version is that there will be no significant impact on the player experience. We still plan to serve all current markets, including Canada, and to work to grow the game of poker globally.
We are also excited about the potential to be licensed in New Jersey and then begin serving players there quickly thereafter. I do not have a timeline to share, but can say that we believe that this purchase has a significant positive impact, the Pokerstars exec wrote.
Day also addressed fears that the change in ownership, and the departure of founders Mark and Isai Scheinberg, would impact Pokerstars' renowned customer service capability.
"We will certainly miss Mark and Isai," Day observed. "As some of you have surmised, our founders established the culture and values that permeate every decision and every customer interaction. Though Mark and Isai are leaving, the culture and values remain, along with the nearly 2,000 staff who continue to turn our culture and values into action on a daily basis. Our entire leadership team is still in place, and I can assure you that we embrace these values whole heartedly."
Day also promised continued innovation in pursuit of improving the player experience:
"We have several projects already in progress and others that we are already in the process of completing, such as PokerStars 7. The people and values behind these two projects will also be behind our next improvements. A big part of our success over the years has been constant improvement of our product, and we plan to continue this tradition."
Comments in the Amaya statement announcing the acquisition agreement also generated questions, especially on Amaya's intentions to grow its online sportsbook, casino and social gaming range, were also addressed by Day:
"I do see some references here to casino and sportsbook. I can see why certain slides in the Amaya presentation linked earlier in the thread raise questions about our future plans relating to these products. Full Tilt has recently rolled out a wide variety of casino games, so it is not surprising to see such products referenced as areas of potential growth compared to the 2013 financial results," he said.
74-YEAR-OLD POKER FAN JAILED FOR FRAUD
A 74-year-old former Irish school nfl football betting NFL Lines teacher with a persistent penchant for online poker found himself in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this week charged with defrauding his restaurateur employer of Euro 135,000.
The Irish Times reports that John Carlos was employed as a part-time accountant by the restaurant, and pleaded guilty to forging signatures on cheques, altering amounts on cheques and stealing money from his employer, Eddie Rockets franchise owner Peter Fortune, between 2005 and 2008.
The court heard that Carlos had been a highly-respected retired teacher and accountant in Bray, Co Wicklow, until he became a hopeless and deeply addicted gambler, ruining his family life and reputation.
Restaurateur Fortune hired Carlos, whom he had known for over 30 years, as an accountant in 1999.
In September 2008, Fortune got a letter from Revenue seeking a tax audit. He realised something was wrong and asked Carlos if he was a qualified auditor. He replied that he was not and he was let go from his position.
Fortune brought in hired external auditors who discovered that a large amount of suspicious cheques had been signed between 2005 and 2008. Fortune said some of the signatures purporting to be his were not genuine, while other signatures were his, but the amount on the cheque had been altered.
Carloss bank account showed numerous amounts going to the Paddy Power online poker website, the court heard.
In April 2011, Carlos called in voluntarily to a Garda (police) station and admitted defrauding his employer via dozens of cheques, totalling Euro 135,000. He told garda that he had lost about Euro 150,000 gambling and had run into considerable debt. He said what he had done was appalling but that he could not afford to repay the money.
The court heard that Carlos has a pension of about Euro 220 a week, Euro 150 of which he gives to his wife. He lives on the remaining Euro 70. He is now separated from his wife.
Presiding Judge Mary Ellen Ring expressed concern that Carlos had only done limited work to address his addiction, even though she said he was unlikely to reoffend because of his practical circumstances. She ordered a probation report and remanded him on bail for sentencing on June 5th.
ABSOLUTE POKER AND U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE SIGN AGREEMENT (Update)
In a sequel to 2011's Black Friday online poker company shut downs (see previous InfoPowa reports) it appears from newly filed court documentation that the United States Attorney's Office, represented by Preet Bharara and The Absolute Poker Group represented by legal counsel Jerry D. Bernstein have come to an agreement that will come into force with immediate effect.
The terms are tough:
"The Absolute Poker Group agrees that all assets, including property of all kinds, real and personal, tangible and intangible, goodwill, right or non-physical resource that is presumed to represent an advantage in the marketplace, and anything having commercial or exchange value, of the following Absolute Poker-affiliated and controlled companies (collectively, the the Absolute Poker Group"), or any other transferee of assets f/b/o the Absolute Poker Group, its owners or designees shall be forfeited to the United States, for disposition according to law, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 981:
"As set forth herein. Blanca Games hereby withdraws its claim in this action for the assets of Blue Water Services Ltd., Trust Services Ltd., SGS Systems Inc. and Fiducia Exchange Ltd.
"The civil money laundering claims against the Named Absolute Poker Companies are hereby dismissed with prejudice, with the exception of the civil money laundering claims against Blue Water Services Ltd., Trust Services Ltd., SGS Systems Inc. and Fiducia Exchange Ltd., which remain pending.
"Each party shall bear its own costs and attorneys' fees."
The agreement was approved and ordered into law by Judge Kimba M. Wood on July 15 2013.
PIONEER ONLINE SPORTSBOOK CLOSES
The World Sports Exchange, a pioneering online sports betting operation in the Caribbean which has been making headlines - often for all the wrong reasons - since the 'nineties, has finally closed.
The site has frequently been the focus of attention from enforcement agencies, but the management claims the "halt" in operations is the result of "inadequate capital resources" and that its financial affairs are currently under review.
Any remaining players will hardly be reassured by the lack of detail on how their account balances are to be handled; the notification merely informs them that they will be kept informed on the company's plans to repay or transfer player account balances.
Founded by Jay Cohen, one of the first online betting execs to be prosecuted and imprisoned, in more recent times the company has become notorious for slow payments and has frequently been accused of bad player communications.
The current US enforcement drive against online sports betting companies (see previous InfoPowa reports) is hardly an encouraging development in the sector.