Casino Watch - July

20 June 2007

Russian Casino Ban Progresses

Following a decree signed last week by Governor Valentina Matviyenko, casinos and gambling halls in St. Petersburg will be abolished after January 1, 2008, marking the first step in a Russian regulation of gambling that will relocate all of the nation’s gaming to four distinct areas by July 1, 2009.

Spokespeople for Matviyenko have stated that the governor is excited about the restriction, despite the expected loss of 2.5 billion rubles ($96.3 million) in local revenue. Matviyenko suggested that the revenue would be made up in alternative ways, and that the space currently occupied by casinos and gambling halls should be refitted, and their employees retrained, in order to help accomplish this task.

The first stage of the gambling restriction takes effect on July 1, 2007, at which point all gaming operators that do not meet specific revenue requirements must close their doors.

CelebPoker Expands to Sweden has established a Swedish-language version of its Web site following its acquisition of a European Gaming License, giving Swedish players the opportunity to bet online. The expansion will not only give players the opportunity to play from home, but also offer them the chance to represent at tournaments throughout Europe.

BCA Files High-Court Bid to Block Super-Casino

According to BBC News, the British Casino Association (BCA) has launched a bid in the High Court in London to block the government’s plans for a new super-casino. The suit, filed by the BCA due to the “inequality and incoherence” that the proposed venues would bring to the British gaming industry, follows a decision by the House of Lords to reject plans for a similar casino in Manchester. The issue will be addressed in a three-day hearing determining whether BCA casinos are being discriminated against.

Relocated and Re-listed

CryptoLogic has obtained approval for a new listing on the London Stock Exchange, a move that coincides with the company’s relocation to Dublin in order to better take advantage of their European customer-base. Despite the re-listing, shareholders of previous CryptoLogic incarnations will retain one-for-one voting rights in the corporation, regardless of where they are located.

Full Contact Joins Pokerstars

Full Contact Poker (FCP) has shut down its casino and poker operations and transferred all remaining accounts to rival poker operator PokerStars. This transfer comes on the heels of PokerStars' entrance into a contract with former FCP pro Daniel Negreanu, gaining his representation in addition to hosting rights for any events Negreanu sponsored at FCP. Despite this transfer, Negreanu’s blog will remain on FCP along with existing forums and a new poker school.

Purple Lounge Opens New Casino

Online Poker room Purple Lounge has opened a new casino site on Microgaming software. The site will expand on Purple Lounge’s current poker-only format by offering a large number of games and jackpots.

Pax, Apuestas Join Microgaming Network

Online poker operators Pax and Apuestas have launched on the Microgaming network.

Hellmuth Earns Final WSOP Jewel

With a sixth-place finish in the $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em tournament, Phil Hellmuth reached his 39th final table at the World Series of Poker, tying TJ Cloutier’s record for the most final-table appearances of all time. With his finish, Hellmuth earned a share of the final jewel of WSOP’s Triple Crown (most bracelets, most final tables and most in-the-money finishes). Hellmuth earned the first jewel last year with his 50th cash finish and received the second at the beginning of this year’s tournament by winning his 11th WSOP bracelet.