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PokerGuru Gaming Report: Winning Poker Network Exits Australian Market, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer Calls For Sports Betting Regulation & More

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  • PG News September 5, 2018
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The international betting and gaming industry has seen some important developments recently. After online gaming giant PokerStars pulled out of Australian market, another key player announced its exit. The Winning Poker Network (WPN) in its announcement on the site informed Australian players that it will no longer allow residents of Australia to sign up for new accounts. WPN hasn’t cleared the air yet, on whether existing players will be allowed to play.

The issues related to sports betting are reaching boiling point in the U.S. as Senator Chuck Schumer stressed the need to regulate the industry. Meanwhile, New Jersey seems to be flourishing in the mobile betting market with five franchises that have launched betting apps within the state.

In UK, popular online gambling operator, Sky Bet has announced ‘minimum bet to win’ guarantee’ to all race betting punters, under certain conditions.

Nevertheless, all good things must to an end and so we conclude this edition with a story regarding the departure of Ross Ferrar from his post as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Gaming Technologies Association (GTA).

Winning Poker Network (WPN) Exits Australian Market

The Winning Poker Network (WPN) last weekend announced that it is pulling out of the Australian market and will no longer allow residents of Australia to sign up for new accounts.

The exit comes in the wake of the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill that was passed by the Australian parliament on August 9, 2016. The legislation effectively bans all online gambling sites that are not locally licensed under Australian State or Territory law.

Winning Poker Network
Winning Poker Network

WPN has finally taken note of the legal trouble it may be getting into, if it extended its online gaming environment to Australian residents. In the past few months a number of gaming operators have ceased their Australia facing operations including PokerStars, Intertops and Chico Poker.

The WPN announcement that popped up on the site for Australian players who tried to open any of the skins, also mentions that WPN will not allow customers from Australia to play at Americas Cardroom, Ya Poker, True Poker and Black Chip Poker.

Currently there are no licensed online poker sites in Australia because of the absence of a licensing regime for card games, and only sportsbooks have a legal permit and presence to operate.

While WPN has made its intentions to bow out of the Australian market clear, players from Australia who are already registered have no clue whether they will be allowed to keep playing on the online poker rooms.

One customer posted on Twoplustwo that on trying to enter WPN, he received a reply that WPN was stopping services in Australia. However, another customer shared that his query to the support team of Americas Card Room got the reply that he could still play while the online operator was still to reach a final resolution on the issue.

As these issues keep Australian poker players registered on WPN sites in quandary, there are still several poker rooms offering real money gaming, like PokerMaster, PPPoker and PokerKing, where players continue to play.

Senator Chuck Schumer Calls For Sports Betting Regulation

There has been a lot of hue and cry regarding sport betting after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 in mid-May. While several states, including Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, have taken initiatives to legalize sport betting, most of the federal lawmakers are still struggling to formulate sports betting regulation that could be implemented.

On August 29, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer discussed specific suggestions for a federal framework for sports betting. His suggestions included the idea that all sportsbooks only use official league data to determine outcomes and that the sports leagues themselves be involved in determining what bets should be accepted.

Chuck Schumer
Chuck Schumer

He also suggested leagues would have to increase monitoring, but did not mention so-called “integrity fees”, which states that leagues should be paid a portion of bets on their sport as compensation for ratcheting up security associated with sports gambling out in the open.

According to Schumer’s plan, the leagues will be allowed to have a say in “what types of bets will be permitted.” Due to this notion, the sports leagues and the NCAA came out to publicly support the plan.

In a statement, Schumer said “As a New York sports fan — especially my Yankees and Giants — and a senator, my priority in the wake of the Murphy v. NCAA decision is making sure the integrity of the games we love is preserved, that young people and those suffering from gambling addiction are not taken advantage of, and that consumers that choose to engage in sports betting are appropriately protected. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, it’s incumbent on the federal government to take a leadership role and provide the necessary guidance to prevent uncertainty and confusion for the leagues, state governments, consumers and fans alike.”

The National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour came out with a response to Schumer’s plan, saying: “As legalized sports betting spreads across the states, there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love. We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it.”

New Jersey Ventures Into Mobile Betting

New Jersey was one of the earliest states to legalize sports betting after the PASPA was denounced by the U.S Supreme Court. The state is now entering the mobile betting market as well.

With the onset of the National Football League (NFL) season fast approaching, the mobile betting apps within the state are increasing in number as well. Over the weekend, the FanDuel Group and William Hill, each launched mobile betting products, taking the numbers of such apps within the state to five.

FanDuel Sportsbook is available via Android and iOS apps, as well as the standard desktop option, while Hill’s app is Android-only, at least for now. Both these products are in a five-day testing phase, during which they are restricted to only a few users, up until the Division of Gaming Enforcement gives the products its seal of approval.


While DraftKings, MGM Resorts’ PlayMGM NJ Sports and Rush Street Interactive’s SugarHouse Sportsbook were already in the fray, new entrants are making the mobile betting market in New Jersey more and more competitive by the day.

Sky Bet Offers Minimum Bet Limit For UK Racing Bettors

UK-based online gambling operator Sky Betting & Gambling (SB&G) aka Sky Bet is the latest online site to offer a ‘minimum bet to win’ guarantee’ to all race betting punters, albeit under certain conditions.

SB&G on Monday confirmed that it would now lay any horse to lose at least £500, provided the wager is made after 10 am on the morning of the race. The guarantee is also applicable over Class One or Two races, and only covers the win portion of each-way bets. It doesn’t apply to multiple bets, as well.

“We already offer a very competitive racing package with extra places and price boosts and the guaranteed minimum bet will hopefully prove popular with existing and potential customers,” SB&G’s racing PR manager Michael Shinners said.

First time SB&G customers will be able to utilize this offer at this week’s Goodwood event where three class 2 races are scheduled to be hosted.

Notably, UK-based bettors’ rights groups first advocated an industry-wide Minimum Bet Limit (MBL) in 2015 after Australia imposed a scheme to the effect. Gambling operators BetVictor, Betfair, Ladbrokes Coral and William Hill are already offering the minimum bet to win guarantee.

In January 2018, SB&G CEO, Richard Flint while addressing the All Party Parliamentary Betting & Gaming Group Seminar had revealed that the company was giving serious thought to moving the minimum liability from £100 to £500. Betting associations welcomed this and the Horseracing Bettors Forum tweeted that while it was “not as comprehensive a provision as some, it is a further step in the right direction.”

Later in April, SB&G was taken over by The Stars Group (TSG). While the merger is currently under the investigative spanner of UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the minimum bet limit set by Sky Bet is a move widely welcomed in UK’s race betting industry.

CEO of GTA Ross Ferrar Relinquishes His Post

On August 31, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Gaming Technologies Association (GTA) Ross Ferrar announced his departure from his long-held post. After 17 years of service Ferrar has decided to relinquish his command as the CEO to Chris Muir, who has been with the GTA since this June.

Ross Ferrar

The founder and organizer of the Australasian Gaming Expo, GTA is an Australian trade organization that represents gaming machine technology suppliers. The chairman Adrian Halpenny, in a prepared statement, said “I would like to thank Ross for his service to the GTA for the past 17 years. He has been a keen and steadfast advocate for the Association and its members and has had a distinguished career in the industry. The GTA will continue to participate as a voice of reason in the public discourse about poker machines and their role as a legitimate entertainment choice enjoyed by millions of Australians.”

“Under Ross’ leadership, the GTA has developed a strong record of advocating for its members in support of a robust and sound regulatory environment and has made an important contribution to the public discussion around our industry.”He further stated.

Ferrar’s replacement, Muir has held senior-level roles in New South Wales (NSW) and federal governments. Talking about his newest role, Muir said, “I am excited to continue to work with the GTA members and our industry stakeholders to best represent them on issues pertaining to technical and regulatory matters and advocate strongly for them.”

Halpenny also talked about Muir stating, “Chris has worked closely with Ross over the past three months, particularly in our regulatory engagements and in the planning for the recent industry showcase the Australasian Gaming Expo. The board looks forward to working with Chris to continue to represent the interests of members with all of our industry stakeholders.”

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