Saturday, November 12, 2011

Poker News Media: PKR to Sign New Poker Star

Team PKR Pro Welcomes Latest Member on November 17

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 11/11/11 - On 17 November, next-gen poker room PKR.com is set to unveil the latest addition to Team PKR Pro, the site's stable of sponsored professional poker players.

One of the year's most high profile signings, the new arrival is among the best poker players in the world, and will represent PKR in the biggest events across the globe.

Since Team PKR Pro was created in 2009, 13 players have flown the flag for the next-generation online poker site, each plucked from the wealth of homegrown talent which has emerged from PKR.com's tables. The current crop of six Team PKR pro stars includes EPT champion Vladimir 'Beyne' Geshkenbein and WSOP Europe bracelet holder Scott Shelley alongside rising stars Sofia 'welllbet' Lovgren, James 'james666' Sudworth, Sascha 'locodice' Walter and Marc 'Waswini' Bariller, a Frenchman who parlayed freeroll winnings into a successful online career. Former Team PKR Pros include GUKPT winner Andrew 'golfpro699' Teng and Adrien 'zlatan35' Allain who, after winning APT Macau as a $5 PKR qualifier, has recently gone on to claim a WPT Amneville title.

With current and former members drawn from the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Team PKR Pro has a long history of unearthing new talent from PKR's international player base, valuing not only poker ability but the community spirit with which PKR is so strongly associated. Aside from their participation in major live tournaments, Team PKR Pros create free-to-access poker strategy and lifestyle content for the PKR.com website, provide commentary on the Poker Channel's PKR TV show and contribute to the PKR Forums.

For more information on the Team PKR pro please visit PKR.com

About PKR

PKR.com is a revolutionary new concept in online poker that has changed the way the game is played. Featuring stunning real-time 3D graphics and a uniquely engaging and immersive gaming system, PKR.com brings an unparalleled and previously unseen level of realism to online poker. Developed by some of the brightest stars in the video games and poker industries, PKR.com continues to be the most innovative poker room in the world.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Echo Entertainment - The Star and Crown Limited AGM Pokie Cap Talk, by Greg Tingle - 11th November 2011

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World Casino Directory Global Gaming Directory Australian Casinos The Star Echo Entertainment Crown Casino Crown Limited Gaming Sydney Australia


Times are a changing.

Echo Entertainment, with a capital E for entertainment, and its The Star (no longer Star City Casino)...red headed stepchild... are in some talks with James Packer's Crown Limited about... you guessed it - poker machine cap limits. The fierce rivals have found some common ground, or is it more about bit of a common enemy.

The "Aussie casino wars" as they have been described in gaming business circles have taken on a bit of a new angle, with Australia's 'Big Brother' government cementing itself on the battlefield, taking fire from Echo, Crown and the Liberal - National coalition party. One Media Man news-hound joked "It's bigger than the release of Call of Duty 3. They should be an Aussie casino war videogame".

There's been some good news for Echo coming out of its AGM. The integrated entertainment complex and land based casino owner advised revenue was stronger in the first quarter of 2011-12 and earnings are tipped to surge in the second half.

Mr Packer, perhaps a touch busier than usual, thanks to both his AGM in Melbourne, friend Shane Warne doing his thing with Club 23 at the casino, and insider, golf champ Tiger Woods doing his thing in and around Burswood Entertainment Complex in Perth, got to share his mind to shareholders (this writer being just one of them).

The famous Australian gaming billionaire showed his interest competitor Echo Entertainment, of which Crown Ltd snatched a 4.9 per cent stake in the Tabcorp spinoff last June.

Speaking on behalf of Crown at Echo's shareholders meeting yesterday, long-time Packer confidant, Guy Jalland, quizzed the Echo board whether its talks with NSW and QLD governments had covered ridding Echo's ownership caps which currently limit investors to a 10 per cent stake.

"At the time of the demerger that matter was raised with governments of each of those jurisdictions," advised Echo Entertainment chairman John Story. "Each government indicated it wished to continue the current caps."

Mr Jalland went on to ask whether these ownership caps are in the interests of shareholders.

"It's up to the government to determine that outcome, that's not of our making," said Mr Story.

After the meeting, Echo chief exec Larry Mullen, was probed about if there was any discussions between Crown Limited and Echo Entertainment to which he disclosed that the two outfits have only had talks on common business issues such as the new poker machine regulations.

It's clear that on this point Packer's Crown and Echo (E for Entertainment) have evidently found common ground, if not a common target.

Story stayed on message as JP (that's James Packer) when he railed against the pokie reforms and how it would hit the casino and gaming industry at a time when Echo and Crown are spending a combined $4 billion on new "tourism infrastructure"...that's including the redevelopment of Echo's flagship Sydney land based casino, The Star.

He advised the tipped reforms (pre-committing being a big part), "are unproven and untargeted proposals, which are at risk of adversely impacting the casino and tourism industry without the desired improvement in the occurrence of problem gambling." He said they along with many members of the casino sector are in talks with the government to find a more effective solution.

Swinging back to the Echo AGM, Mullen told investors that trading for the current financial year was in line with expectations and "solid" given the cautious consumer environment and disruptions from its redevelopment program.

Revenues at Echo were up 15.2 per cent from July 1 to October 31 he said.

Mullen pointed out that while benefits of the redevelopment of The Star will be evident from this quarter, earnings for the half year will be impacted by $30 million worth of pre-opening costs and higher initial operating expenses.

Even in the casino business, you have to sometimes spend quite a bit of money to make money, and the stakes are often higher for the casino company than for the punters that might come in to try their luck on Cleopatra, Sinatra, Monopoly, Wheel of Fortune or any other one of hundreds of game titles.

Media agencies such as Media Man and Casino News Media are currently obtaining information from the public at large as to whether The Star or Crown Casino are seen at number one in Australia as well as if both casino groups are more about gambling or entertainment, or both. Information gathers and analysts at the likes of Roy Morgan and the Australian Government are expected to be very interested in the findings.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Echo Entertainment: Entertainment name of the game at The Star casino, by Greg Tingle - 10th November 2011

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World Casino Directory Global Gaming Directory Australian Casinos The Star Echo Entertainment Gaming Sydney Australia


Stop saying Star City Casino... owned and operated by Tabcorp Holdings. It's The Star, run by Echo Entertainment, and don't you forget it my friends.

Integrated entertainment complex and land based casino owner Echo Entertainment advised revenue was stronger in the first quarter of 2011-12 and earnings are expected to rocket in the second half.

If you missed it, Echo Entertainment demerged from betting and gaming outfit Tabcorp Holdings in June 2011, and today operates The Star in 'Sin City' Sydney, Jupiters Hotel and Casino at Surfers Paradise, The Treasury Casino (Brisbane) and Jupiters up in Townsville.

Chief exec Larry Mullin told the company's AGM that Echo's performance in the three months to September 30 had been in line with the firms expectations.

Revenues in the period were up by 15.2 per cent and up 14.4 per cent on a normalised basis, he said.

Full-year earnings would be hit in the first half from costs associated with opening the newly revamped The Star, Mr Mullin said.

Pre-opening costs are going to be in the region of $30 million, while operating expenses at The Star will initially be higher.

Strong earnings growth is expected in the second half, due to new products and expansions at The Star, Mr Mullin said.

Second-half earnings in Queensland are also forecast to accelerate, following the impact of floods in the previous corresponding period.

In the meantime Australia's most famous gaming billionaire James Packer, and his Crown Limited - Crown Casino empire are not going to roll over and die, with casino revaps of their own in Melbourne and Perth, with Burswood in Perth expected to be rebranded Crown.

Media agencies such as Media Man and Casino News Media are currently obtaining information from the public at large as to whether The Star and Crown Casino are more about gambling or entertainment, or both. Roy Morgan and the Australian Government are expected to be very interested in the findings.

Websites

The Star

Echo Entertainment

The Darling

Casino News Media

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Revenue Rises; Italian Game Boosts Business, by Greg Tingle - 9th November 2011

Profiles

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com World Poker Tour Games Casinos Italy Greece Australia News Financial News Casino News Entertainment News


Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, the world's biggest and most successful listed online gaming company, shrugged off the global credit crunch to post a lift in third-quarter revenue, helped by the launch of new games in Italy and strong growth in its casino division.

The Gibraltar-based company, whose brands include PartyPoker.com, PartyCasino.com, Bwin and Foxy Bingo, said on Tuesday total net revenue grew 3% to 201.1 million euros (276 million) in the third quarter.

Bwin.Party, which was formed by the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming earlier this year, advised its third-quarter revenue was boosted by the launch of table games such as roulette and blackjack in Italy after the government opened up the market for casino table games and cash poker in July.

The company, which offers up to 30,000 bets daily across more than 90 sports, said it had also benefited from a bar on U.S. poker website Full Tilt Poker in April following charges of illegal gambling.

Bwin.Party said current trading was robust and in line with management's expectations.

"We expected our business to be resilient but not immune to the recession, and I think that's where we are today," said Chief Financial Officer Martin Weigold.

"There are certain markets that have been particularly hit by the financial crisis ... for us Greece is the one that stands out. However, even Greece shows quarter-on-quarter growth, but if you looked at the year-on-year movement, we have seen a double-digit decline," Weigold said.

GREEK GAMBLE

Co-Chief Executive Jim Ryan said a possible Greek exit from the euro zone would have a limited impact on the business.

"If in fact they did leave it would just be a function of the consumers in Greece playing with a different currency; they'd still continue to use the service," he said.

The gaming industry has traditionally been a rock for the entertainment sector during periods of economic weakness.

Rival 888 reported a 42% rise in third-quarter sales last week and said it expected 2011 earnings to be significantly ahead of market estimates as British consumers stay at home, watching TV and gambling online amid an economic slowdown.

Shares in Bwin.Party, which have dipped around 33% of their value since the merger, rose 1% to 136 pence by 1000 GMT (5 a.m. ET) on Tuesday.

"Bwin.Party's third-quarter (statement) ... shows good progress across the group," Evolution Securities analyst James Hollins said in a note.

Hollins, who has an "add" rating on the stock, highlighted the company's brand resonance in key European countries and the long-term U.S. upside.

Bwin.Party's average daily revenue climbed 8% on the previous quarter, while the number of daily average players fell 4%, in part because player numbers were boosted last year by the soccer World Cup.

"The elephant in the room remains German legislation, the company's single largest market (around 22%)," Daniel Stewart analyst Michael Campbell said.

In September Germany's highest civil court upheld a ban that bars private-sector companies from operating online gambling sites.

Bwin.Party said it was working with German states on a regulatory framework and said it hoped to secure a license in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where gambling-friendly laws were passed in September.

The firm is interested in expanding into markets such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is known around the globe for brands such as PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com and World Poker Tour

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Monday, November 07, 2011

MGM Resorts, Boyd Gaming, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment In Talks For US Online Poker; Casino, by Greg Tingle

Profiles

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com World Poker Tour Games Casinos MGM Resorts International Boyd Gaming News Financial News Casino News Entertainment News


Shares in Bwin.Party have jumped in recent days with news that the company has joined forces with leading casino brands MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming to offer online poker to US residents once legislation is passed in the States, a number of experts have advised not to get too excited, too soon.

Land based casino operators MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming this past week unveiled a plan to partner with online gambling company Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, subject to the legalization of Internet gambling in the United States.

Gibraltar-based Bwin.Party, the world's largest publicly traded online gaming company, was formed earlier this year through the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming.

Bwin.Party would own 65 percent of a start-up company that would offer online poker to U.S.-based players, while MGM would own 25 percent and Boyd would have a 10 percent stake.

U.S. prosecutors earlier this year accused the owners of three of the largest Internet poker companies of tricking regulators and banks into processing billions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds.

That crackdown derailed a similar deal between online gambling operator PokerStars and Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts Ltd. Steve Wynn is understood to have gotten out of that deal in approximately one week.

MGM closed its original Internet gambling operations in mid-2003, citing regulatory uncertainties.

"There is now an overarching opinion in Washington that this needs to be addressed," MGM Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren told Reuters in a telephone interview. "U.S. citizens are putting their financial assets at risk on sites that the U.S. government has no comfort over how they are being operated."

Wynn, MGM and other land based casino operators have been lobbying hard in recent years for U.S. legalization of online poker...which they say is primarily a game of skill, rather than other forms of gambling where the customer is playing against the "house."

Their goal is legislation at the federal level, but legalization efforts are also underway in several states.

"Federal legislation is a vastly better solution ... to avoid any ambiguities in laws," Murren said.

Casino companies argue that millions of Americans are already playing online poker on websites operated from overseas and legalization would bring that revenue to the United States, where it could be taxed, jobs would be created and integrity could be assured.

Opponents, including groups like the Southern Baptist Convention, say online gambling is an irresponsible way to raise revenue.

Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts also said each has agreements to use Bwin.Party's technology under its own brands.

MGM owns 10 casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, ranging from Circus Circus to the Bellagio, as well as casino-resorts in Mississippi and Michigan and joint ventures in New Jersey and Macau, the only place in China where gambling is legal.

Macau is currently seen as a more go ahead region for the gambling business than Las Vegas.

Boyd Gaming, which runs Las Vegas properties that cater mainly to local residents rather than tourists, owns and operates 16 casino properties in six states.

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is looking to expand in a number of countries. The United States is their key target, however they also have Australia and New Zealand squarely in their sights.

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is known around the globe for brands such as PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com and World Poker Tour.

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