Online Poker Numbers on the Decline

There was a time when online poker was the most popular online activity, providing internet users from around the world with a unique gaming experience. Now, it seems as though the trend is dying, as online poker numbers have dropped for the past seven weeks.

According to traffic monitor Poker Scout, online poker activity is down 6% from this time last year. All of the Top Ten poker sites are seeing weaker numbers, and overall revenue has dropped by 12% since 2012.

While these numbers could mean that online poker is facing downswing, industry professionals are more optimistic. At Poker Scout, they are calling it a case of ‘spring fever’, as European temperatures are much higher than usual for this time of year.

“As usual, the fair weather sent players scrambling to get outside and away from their keyboards, causing traffic to plunge across the board,” says a spokesperson for PokerScout.

Despite the decline, PokerStars continued to be the top performer in the online poker market. iPoker followed closely behind along with 888 and Microgaming. Should PokerScout’s predictions prove positive, then these sites can expect a surge of activity in coming weeks.

Pre-Commitment Proposed for Harm Reduction Bill

MP Te Ururoa Flavell has introduced a number of new provisions to his Harm Reduction Bill. After garnering a great deal of support for the legislation, he has decided that several new responsible gambling methods would benefit the community by reducing problem gambling rates.

Flavell seems to have taken some inspiration from Australia’s federal government. This week, he proposed that pre-commitment and tracking technology is installed on all poker machines in clubs and pubs across the country. Players would be given pre-commitment cards, which would require them to set their own betting limits before they wager. The tracking systems would then ensure that they do not exceed these limits.

According to recent studies, pre-commitment seems to be an effective method to reducing problem gambling. Although it has not been put into practice yet, Australian politicians believe that players will be less likely to exhibit compulsive gambling behaviour when they set their own betting limits.

This is just one of many new provisions that Flavell has introduced. He has also proposed that 80% of pokie profits be returned to the community from which they game via grants. This would ensure that the areas that require problem gambling assistance the most obtain the funding for counselling and aid that they truly need.

Zynga Plus Casino and Zynga Plus Poker Now Live

Popular social gaming developer Zynga has finally made its move into the online casino market. After being live for over a month, and are now hosting a wide range of online gambling activities for players to enjoy.

These new online gambling websites will revolutionize the market. Real-money casino operators have launched Facebook apps before, but this is the first time that a social gaming developer has ventured into the real-money gambling word. It is a new era for the gambling market.

At Zynga Plus Casino, many of the games are exclusive to the site. Some games are based on existing Zynga titles, such as the new Farmville slots games, while others feature familiar characters, such as Intensive Scare. There are also some exclusive branded slots, like Sin City and Knight Rider. With an impressive selection of online slots and table games, Zynga Plus Poker will certainly attract a wide range of players.

Zynga Plus Poker is likely capitalizing on the company’s existing Zynga Poker fan base. The play-money Facebook app has millions of users, many of which have likely made the switch to Zynga’s new real-money poker application.

Currently, the websites are only accessible by UK players. We hope that they will expand to other markets in the near future.

Auditor General Clarifies SkyCity Report

This week, Auditor General Phillippa Smith came forward to offer some clarification about her report concerning the SkyCity convention centre deal. She initially reported that neither the casino operator nor the local government acted inappropriately – and Prime Minister John Key announced that the report vindicated the deal. Unfortunately for him, this was not the case.

The Auditor General’s assistance was requested by the Greens in 2012. The political party felt that the deal (which would see SkyCity build the $350 million convention centre in return for 500 new pokies) was not entirely above board, and Phillippa Smith was brought in to investigate the deal.

She determined that SkyCity had been given an unfair advantage, especially since the casino operator was the government’s last choice. However, the group was willing to pay for all of the construction costs for the convention centre, so the government worked with SkyCity to improve its proposal. Although John Key claims that these findings vindicate the deal, Smith states otherwise.

As such, The Greens and other political groups feel that the tender process should be repeated. Many other groups were interested in building the convention centre, and they feel that they should be given a fair chance to bid on the project.