Changes to Microgaming’s Bad Beat Jackpot Pay Off

Bad beat jackpots are becoming increasingly rare in the online casino world, since interest in progressive poker jackpots seems to be dying out. This month, Microgaming attempted to revive interest in bad beat jackpots by making quite a few changes to its network, and they seem to be paying out.

According to PokerFuse, since the new jackpot program was launched, Microgaming has paid out twice in two days. The new format ensures that more players can cash in on the jackpot prize, which will definitely attract more players to Microgaming’s poker network.

“With the introduction of our new Bad Beat Jackpot, we solve the problem of liquidity segmentation seen in other Bad Beat Jackpots, and make the whole promotion accessible to all MPN players,” says Lydia Melton, Microgaming’s Head of Network Games.

The first progressive prize was awarded to a player named TiltShove. They won $450 000 after losing a bad beat while the rest of the table split the remaining $250 000. Two days later, a player who lost four-of-a-kind 2s to four-of-a-kind 6s won a $360 000 bad beat jackpot prize. The qualifying hand for most bad beat jackpots is usually quad 8s, but Microgaming has made it easier for victims of bad beats to cash in on generous prizes.

DIA Investigates Pokie Fraud

Three pokie trusts and several racing industry professionals are currently under investigation by the Department of Internal Affairs. They have been suspected of collaborating to fraudulently award pokie grants to ineligible organizations and individuals.

The three organizations that have been suspected of fraud are: New Zealand Community Trust, Infinity Trust and Bluegrass Trust. These groups have allegedly manipulated pokie grant applications, committing fraud worth $30 million in grants. At the centre of the scandal is racing trainer Mike O’Brien. It is believed that he worked together with the trusts in order to secure funds for himself and his clubs.

The Department of Internal Affairs has assigned 50 staff members to the case, and has issued 10 search warrants. O’Brien’s home and hotel room were the first locations to receive warrants, and his father’s home will also be searched. Warrants were also issue for pokie trust offices and the homes of pokie trust employees.

This is not the first time that local pokie trusts have been in trouble for misappropriating funds. This has happened many times before, with Bluegrass Trust and Infinity Trust both involved in previous scandals. It seems that there is a serious need to tighten up monitoring for New Zealand’s pokie trusts.

BNZ Closes SkyCity Branch

After coming under fire from responsible gambling advocates many times, SkyCity’s Bank of New Zealand location has finally closed. Neither the casino operator nor BNZ has provided any specifics on why this has been the case – but we imagine it is likely due to the number of scandals in which the bank has been involved.

Last year, Herminia Lanuza stole more than $2 million from her employer using the BNZ branch. She then gambled the money away at SkyCity VIP room. Accountant Richard Watson was also involved in a scandal with BNZ, using the bank to steal $5.5 million in order to fund his problem gambling habit.

The bank’s location and opening hours (14 hours a day) was not believed to be entirely responsible. During a time when politicians want to remove ATMs from gambling venues, it seems that a casino-based bank was not conducive to promoting New Zealand’s new harm reduction strategies. At any time, a problem gambler could not only withdraw money but also cash cheques and conduct other banking.

“Banks and ATMs close to where people gamble are not a good idea,” says Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive Graeme Ramsey.

It seems like a wise move for both SkyCity and BNZ. The bank will be relocating the new future, but has yet to announce where its new branch will be.

PokerStars Launches Facebook App

For years, Facebook has been a popular online gaming platform, and online casino developers are finally working their way into the market. This month, PokerStars announced that it would be launching a new play-money poker application on the social network.

PokerStars’ new Facebook application is an extension of the play money offering on its .net website – except this version is outfitted with a wide range social gaming features. These include experience points, bonus prizes and the opportunity to share progress with friends.

All of your favourite PokerStars features will be available as well. You will be able to access a wide range of games include, ring games, tournaments and even Zoom Poker.

It seems that PokerStars has been developing this social gaming application since last November. While it has taken the company quite some time to debut the app, there is still quite a lot of work to be done. It is still in its Beta stage and can only be accessed on Facebook’s online site; the application is not yet available in the Facebook app store.

Facebook has already entered into the world of real-money bingo, and it seems that the social networking site may be keen to launch real-money poker applications. With PokerStars now launching its first-ever social gaming app, the company is well-positioned for entry into Facebook’s real-money online gambling market.