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Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
New Zealand Bans Online Poker But Set To Offer Online Lotto Sales
New Zealanders cannot legally play poker on the Internet, but they will soon be able to buy lottery tickets online, exhibiting the NZ government's protectionist policy towards online gambling, following the path of other countries like the United States who is facing World Trade Organization legal action costing them billions of dollars in compensation to other WTO members for violating trade treaties, and Sweden, France and Germany who are facing legal action from the European Commission for violating EU free trade law within the 27-member states.
New Zealand's Internal Affairs Minister Rick Barker has yet to approve the necessary changes to Lotto's game rules, but suggests that may be a formality given "Parliament has previously determined that NZ Lotteries can offer its products over the Internet".
He is referring to how, in 2003, the TAB and NZ Lotteries were excluded from an online gambling ban passed. The purpose of the exemption was to keep people from spending their money with offshore gaming companies, and instead to financially benefit New Zealand.
Lotteries Commission corporate communications manager Karen Jones said that customers would soon be able to purchase Saturday Lotto, Big Wednesday and Daily Keno tickets online, according to the New Zealand Herald, but she was unable to confirm a firm launch date.
COMING AS SOON AS APRIL
However, franchisees believe lotteries may begin selling Lotto tickets online as early as next month, quotes the Dominion Post. Many franchisees fear that online lottery sales will reduce the number of clients coming to their establishments to buy tickets.
Lotto outlets, which now number more than 1000, earned $51.5 million last year from a 7 per cent commission on ticket sales.
The owner of one franchise in central Wellington is certain that fewer people will come into his shop when ticket sales go online. He says 60 per cent of his sales are for Lotto, grossing about $20,000 each week.
"Am I expecting it to hurt? Yes. Look at my location, every Tom, Dick and Harry around me has got Internet access. Would you wait here in the queue or go on the Net and print one out?"
He also notes that he would be reluctant to check tickets which had been sold online, because "I'm not going to get anything out of it."
WOULD YOU RATHER HOLD A PHYSICAL TICKET?
But a northern suburbs dairy owner who recently became a Lotto franchisee to increase "foot traffic" doubted that convenience stores would be badly affected.
"Everything is going online", but many customers would feel more confident holding a winning ticket that had been printed in a Lotto shop, he says. He had been told to expect the launch of online Lotto ticket sales in April.
Another retailer said he had been told ticket sales would probably go online within a few weeks. There is speculation that NZ Lotteries may time the launch for a week when there are no massive jackpots on offer.
COMPARED TO BRITAIN
In Britain, where lotto tickets have been sold online since 2003, online sales accounted for 7 per cent of sales in the second half of last year, raking in GBP 163.3 million (NZ$412.9 million). More than three million players in the National Lottery have registered to buy tickets on the Net, through interactive TV and via their mobiles, says national operator Camelot.
RETAILERS STILL MOST IMPORTANT CHANNEL FOR LOTTO... FOR NOW
Ms Jones says retailers will continue to be Lotto's most important sales channel for the foreseeable future and retailers would not be expected to redeem prize-winning tickets that were bought online.
Unlike Britain's National Lottery, NZ Lotteries would not offer an equivalent of its Instant Kiwi "scratchies" online.
Ms Jones says NZ Lotteries has told prospective franchisees of its plans to sell tickets over the Web since August 2007 and has been "very open" with all its retailers.
Posted by GG Admin: at 13:33
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
“No one ever saw a cowboy on the psychiatrist’s couch.
Yesterday was a big day for me. After sitting at my desk for three months, everything happened at the same time. I had three important meetings; the Extreme Poker Show at the Venetian sent a group in to discuss tactics as did High Stakes Entertainment – the golf tournament guys. The third meeting was maybe the most important…my bookie who owed me money from basketball. That would have been a full day but they came on a day I had two doctor appointments. I had these doctor appointments scheduled for weeks and couldn’t cancel so I tried to make all five meetings.
My first appointment was with my dermatologist. I had a bump on my head that I couldn’t get rid of. Actually it was more like a large pimple and after my experience with melanoma cancer 46 years ago I was more than a little concerned. The doctor looked at it and announced it was a type of cancer that needed to come out. Just what I needed at 9:00 in the morning. Usually at 9 a.m. I roll over for another hour of sleep! The good news was that it was a squamous cancer that didn’t spread easily but it could bore straight down. That was cool; it could penetrate my skull and eat up what few brain cells I have left. The doctor said he would have to make a large and deep incision to be sure he got it all and it would leave a bad scar. I’ve got enough scars on my face and head that it looks like I went through a Viking war. So I told him to be sure and do the operation up right because I was pretty sure Cameron and Drew wouldn’t want me to do any more love scenes in the movies with them. So now I’m walking around looking like I’ve been in a fight at the Hogs and Heifers Bar.
After a thirty minute wait, they said no problem, they got it all. After I went home and changed my shorts I felt fine.
I ran to the meetings with Extreme Poker and High Stakes Entertainment before my three o’clock appointment with my cardiologist. I had taken a bunch of tests at my last visit and she had the results. After chewing me out for gaining ten pounds she said I was in pretty good shape for someone my age. My cholesterol was 179 which is really good but my bad cholesterol – whatever that is – was high. So her advice was to cut down on red meat, don’t eat cheese and to exercise a lot. Yeah, right. I did notice she didn’t tell me to have more sex or do any fun stuff. But, I guess I’ll try to do what she said.
There is an island in the Pacific called Brunson Island. That is where all the bookmakers go after they have me for a customer for a while. They retire and live like kings on my money. This time I had a lot of money coming and my bookie didn’t have it.
No wonder I had to take 2 ½ Vicodin to go to sleep. What a day!
Source: Poker Road
Posted by GG Admin: at 02:58
Friday, February 29, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Poker Site Employing Bots?
Internet poker traffic monitoring site, PokerScout.com, reported last week that online poker room, DoingPoker.com, may be using bots to fill its tables. Now, before panic sets in, PokerScout readily admits that it has no concrete evidence of this, but it feels that after observing the traffic and play at the tables, there is a chance that some players on the site may be less than real.
The first point the folks at PokerScout make is one that should make perfect sense to anyone who has played online poker for a few days. Typically, every poker room sees its player traffic ebb and flow throughout the day. Traffic is highest when its core customer base is home, generally in the evenings after work and before bed. Traffic is lowest when these same players are asleep. At DoingPoker, however, the traffic is constant, no matter what time it is.
Additionally, there is always at least one active table for all five poker variations: hold’em, Omaha, Omaha high/low, stud, and stud high/low. At a site like PokerStars, this would not be unusual, but when the site has fewer than 100 simultaneous cash players, this is extraordinary. At small sites, almost every active game is hold’em. At the smallest sites, of which DoingPoker is most definitely one, having even one non-hold’em game going is odd.
PokerScout goes on to note that the players who are seated even look strange. Upon observing a single table, the site noticed that of the eight seats, two were always open. Additionally, and perhaps more damning, the six players seated were always the same. The same after two hours, the same after twelve hours, the same after a couple days. Yet they’d switch seats. Some of the players also had similar names, such as “sasha-us” and “sasha-00,” and “SUMO-00,” as well as “jangsanv” and “jangsang.”
As a final piece of evidence, PokerScout observed that the play at the tables often defied any rational explanation. Either the players were blind and stupid, or they were bots program to just play recklessly and/or randomly. They would also post blinds, get up from the table, sit back down, and post blinds again. There was no apparent method to their madness, except to possibly give a human a chance to take the empty seat for the minute they were gone. In no-limit games, the only bets were min-bets and min-raises, and oftentimes, players would go back and forth, min-raising each other to death, when all of a sudden someone would fold to one more bet.
PokerScout contacted DoingPoker, which responded that it does not use robots to fill in seats. The company said that it is still in testing mode, and does employ people to test the software at play and real money tables. Some of these people, the site said, are not very good at poker.
PokerScout does note that there was no evidence of collusion amongst the suspected bots, but at the same time, it does not know if they would play different against human players.
Posted by GG Admin: at 14:34
Friday, February 22, 2008
License Plate Poker in Utah
A new license plate has recently been issued by the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles. The new plate features ‘The Greatest Snow on Earth’ and depicts the majestic Wasatch Mountains with the figure of a skier in front of them.
In celebration of the new plate, Ski Utah has decided to play some cards in the form of license plate poker.
License plate poker is simple to play and all Utah vehicle owners are eligible to enter. Contestants must email a picture of their new plate with their name and city to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to enter. License plate letters and numbers are scored like poker hands. The player with the highest plate will hit the slopes next winter with a brand new pair of Rossignol skis and bindings or a Burton snowboard with bindings. Ski Utah will accept new contestants throughout the 2007-08 winter season.
“We were so excited by the new ski plate, we just had to have some fun with it,” said Ski Utah president, Nathan Rafferty.
License plate poker is a great way to get people as excited as we are about this new plate… and win some great gear too.”
Posted by GG Admin: at 12:15