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In this edition of our PokerGuru Gaming Report, we bring you several important developments from the gaming industry in India and abroad. Our first update is about the domestic gaming operator Delta Corp that has posted a net revenue growth of 36.8% boosted by a hike in income revenue coming in from its live and online gaming operations.
We then move over to report on Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) that has released its new software client, ‘Prima’.
Our next report details how the Superior Court of Canadian province Quebec has turned down and termed as “unconstitutional” the provincial government’s move to block ISP addresses to prevent its residents from accessing online gaming sites.
Meanwhile, the Lone Star State of Texas is in the process of opening another rake-free casino, the Texas Poker Club, which will have it’s opening on August 3. We also report that the Four Winds Casino is constructing a poker room on public demand.
Wrapping up this report is the decision of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to reconsider the request of the Mass Gaming & Entertainment regarding its proposal of a casino in Brockton.
Propelled by a revenue boost from its Casino operations, Indian gaming operating operator Delta Corp has recorded a healthy net revenue and growth of 36.8% in the first quarter of the current financial year to ₹109.9 Crores.
While the income in the company’s gaming operations recorded an increase of 48.7%, casino revenues rose by 53% in the quarter ending June 30.
According to MD, Union Gaming Advisors LLC Grant Govertsen, the improvement was largely due to, “a notable amount of player displacement from the nearby small-scale hotel-based casinos that have either closed or downsized due to the recent license fee hike,” in Goa where Delta Corp operates three offshore casinos and a hotel-casino.
Apart from these, Delta Corp also runs Casino Deltin Denzong in Sikkim and The Delton integrated resort in Daman.
According to Govertsen, for Delta, the biggest impediment to growth in the years will be a lack of physical space to accommodate customers given that riverboat casinos have a finite amount of space that is currently at 50-60% capacity.“It is this reason that the move to onshore is so important for the company and for the shares.”
The online gaming segment of Delta Corp also recorded a 16% growth and revenues in the same reached ₹39 Crores following the company’s acquisition of online poker site, Adda52 in 2017.
“We continue to expect the online segment to experience high rates of growth as the company’s Adda52 platform continues to gain traction,” Govertsen said.“We are forecasting 120% growth in this segment in FY19, followed by 30% and 20% in the subsequent years.”
Bringing in a fresh software sweep, online poker network Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) has rolled out ‘Prima’, a new platform that will be available both as a browser-based client and a downloadable client for desktop and mobile.
Prima was released on July 26 and comes packed with dozens of new features including a player history tool, improved hand history replayer, loyalty, bonus and achievements features and ultra-HD mode tables.
MPN has also done away with the traditional spreadsheet style list of tables, settings and options to offer a simplified and clutter-free lobby.
Explaining the need for complete software overhaul, head of Product (Network Games) at Microgaming, Alex Scott said, “The network’s going through a difficult time at the moment. We need to bring back a competitive edge. We need a client that’s easier to sell to new customers. We needed to get something out much more quickly.”
He acknowledged that the company hadn’t brought in a genuinely innovative upgrade or feature in a long time and he wanted that to change.“The only way we’re really going to do that is if we’re developing as efficiently as we can. This new client lets us do that. Instead of building things twice, programming in two different languages and frameworks, we can do it once.”
While the first release of Prima will not include every new feature, subsequently all the planned changes will be implemented.
Most of the MPN skins including RedKings, RedStar, Guts and a trio of Betsson skins-Betsafe, Nordicbet, and Betsson will adopt Prima while players on the existing software will receive in-client notification to try Prima out.
The Superior Court of Canadian province Quebec has rejected the provincial government’s attempt to block ISP addresses and prevent its citizen’s from accessing online gaming sites.
Terming the province’s move, claimed as a bid to deter unlicensed online gambling as “unconstitutional” Justice Pierre Nollet of the Superior Court ruled that the proposed provisions would enforce the exclusive right of the province to exploit online gambling. These powers fell under federal jurisdiction and so, any such move will infringe on the federal government’s jurisdiction over telecommunications and the Criminal Code, he added.
In 2016, in order to shore up the declining revenues for Loto-Quebeconline poker site, Espacejeux, Quebec’s provincial leaders had declared their intention to do this in their Annual Budget Act.
Hearing a legal challenge brought forth by the country’s Wireless Telecommunications Association (WTA) against the same, the Court stated, “Loto – Québec has reduced the scope of some of the responsible gambling measures (the introduction of personal time limits and expenditures) that it claimed to have put in place. These facts undermine the QMP’s argument that Loto – Québec sites are safer, especially for vulnerable players.”
The government regulators had argued that gambling via unlicensed sites pose a consumer health risk that could be avoided if players are diverted to the official Espacejeux. The ruling would have implications both for provinces in Canada and online operators.
Dismissing this, the Superior Court said, “Loto – Québec’s responsible gambling control measures do not stand out, as to their nature and number, from those available on several sites considered to be illegal.”
The Court’s ruling will certainly benefit online gaming giant PokerStars that has recently shifted base from Montreal to Toronto and other online operators including 888poker and partypoker that are operational in Quebec.
The Lone Star State of Texas is buzzing with the news of a new poker club that is about to be a part of the expanding social poker scene. The Texas Poker Club is slated to open on August 3. Interestingly, gambling is illegal in Texas, but the owners of the club have found an innovative loophole in the law.
Club co-owner Nino Natal explained, “The clubs aren’t profiting off the game itself. they just provide the tables and chairs.” In other words, the clubs are rake-free. While casinos and unlawful backroom games take a rake, which they pull in money from every pot, these clubs instead charge a membership and hourly fee to play. Since the club is private they’re able to control membership and keep the club safe.
“In some illegal games the ‘house’ takes between $10 and $20 per hand. Not only is our club safer, but it’s much cheaper for players to enjoy the game of poker,”said Natale. Here, membership fee ranges from a $10 daily membership to a $1,500 lifetime membership. The club will even have open enrolment for the first month.
Co-owner Lane Helveson stated, “The amount of pride and love I have for this city is second to none, and as someone who loves poker, opening this business in my hometown is a dream come true.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his team declined to comment on the ongoing issue stating that the matter is still under litigation. So, while the lawmakers figure out the legal aspects, you can take a look at the upcoming Texas Poker Club in the following video.
Adding to the tally of casinos in the state of Indiana was the opening of the Four Winds Casino South Bend in January 16. Operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the first tribal casino of the Hoosier state came equipped with 1,800 gambling machines spread over 175,000 square feet. But the casino had no poker room.
However, bowing to popular demand, the casino is now constructing a poker room. The operator of the casino stated in a press release that the “Four Winds Casino South Bend will have a 10-table poker room sometime this fall, possibly in time for the Labor Day weekend.”
The casino will include $1-$2 and $2-$5 no-limit hold’em, $3-$6 limit hold’em and $1-$3 pot-limit Omaha games which are standard for regional poker rooms.
Chief Operating Officer of Four Winds Casinos, Frank Freedman said, “Guests have absolutely been asking for poker since we first announced our opening. Now that we’re established, we are eager to begin construction on what will be a really exciting, well-rounded poker room. For fans of the game, it will offer something for everyone.”
With the eventual completion of the poker room, Indiana will boast of 14 casinos and eight poker rooms, with the largest room belonging to the Chicago-area Horseshoe Hammond casino that has 34 poker tables.
On July 26, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission decided to delay addressing a request from Mass Gaming & Entertainment in order to reconsider its previous rejection of a proposed $700 million casino in Brockton.
A maximum of three casinos are permitted as per the Massachusetts gaming law, including one in the southeastern region of the state. Casinos have already been approved in the state’s other two designated regions, MGM Springfield in Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor in Boston. The new casino proposal from Mass Gaming & Entertainment projects a change in the state’s landscape with regard to gaming in the state since the earlier proposal for a Brockton casino was rejected by the commission in April 2016.
General Counsel for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Catherine Blue said, “factors to be considered when regulators look at the request in September will include a review of the gambling market in the state’s other regions as well as a review of the expected demand for gaming in the state going forward. The commission will also consider jobs created by adding a third casino in Brockton.”
The Mass Gaming & Entertainment will also benefit hugely from the addition of a casino in Brockton, with the company noting in its letter to the Gaming Commission how the property “would mean over $100 million… in the Commonwealth’s coffers and thousands of jobs for Massachusetts residents during the next 2-3 years as opposed to zero jobs for at least the next 2-3 years or more if any other potential bidder is considered.”