Big online casinos offer bigger incentives

Originally Posted on Tuesday Feb 9 12:35:00 GMT 2010

The battle for players between the big UK online gambling enterprises is set to continue.

Ladbrokes, which for many years has been a big player in the high street market, wants to continue promoting its online casino.

Last year they used an exciting TV advertising campaign which showed a huge lemur and a game of hide and seek.  The advertisement offered new players a generous no deposit bonus of £25.

Although this was pretty much unheard of at the time, one of their main rivals, William Hill Casino, not to be out done, began offering a no deposit bonus of £30.

However, the battle goes on, because now Ladbrokes are using the TV advertisement again, but changing the no deposit bonus to £50.

Competitors will be seriously challenged if they want to top this offer.  After all, the only aim of any online casino is to make a profit, so there must be a limit to this sort of bonus.

There appears to be no obvious catch to this latest offer, and of course, in this virtual world, there is nothing to stop players in New Zealand joining in the fun.

PartyGaming increased business

Originally Posted on Thursday Feb 4 10:29:00 GMT 2010

There is good news for the online casino business.  One of the biggest and most influential online companies, PartyGaming, which operates PartyCasino and PartyPoker, has seen a big growth on its previous year’s figures.

Like most online casino sites, PartyGaming was hit by the 2006 ban on US customers.  However, the growth in the last quarter is an encouraging sign for the industry as a whole.

PartyGaming operates a large range of gambling opportunities and this may account for the recent percentage growth in players using and returning to the sites.

Jim Ryan the CEO of PartyGaming looks forward to even more positive growth with new games being introduced in Italy this year, the possible opening of the French market later in the year and Denmark following on next year.

Although many countries, including New Zealand, have not fully opening their markets to online casinos, there is still plenty of opportunity for players in these countries to enjoy and participate in the healthy state of the online gaming industry.

Big online poker tournament finishes today

Originally Posted on Sunday Jan 31 15:18:00 GMT 2010

The 16th event in the Ultimate Bet Online Poker Championship (OBOC) was held a couple of days ago and the event attracted 206 entries from around the world including from New Zealand.

There was a guaranteed prize pot of $100,000, but the prize pool eventually ended up at $103,000 which included $27,810 for the eventual winner.

The event was hosted by Liv Boeree and many of online pokers top players took part in the competition.

At the final table there were at least 3 known professionals and the eventual winner was TORREY5.

The UBOC, which has been running for four years now, is a multi-million dollar online poker series which always attracts the very best online players worldwide.

There are 18 events in all with 2 of the competitions having $1million dollar prizes.

The last of the 18 events takes place today and this is one of the events with $1million prize pot.

Those who have missed this year’s championship, should look out for next year’s event, but with many other online poker competitions taking place throughout the year there should be no problem for any player in New Zealand to find an event that suits them.

Poker online sites see lots of mergers and takeovers

Originally Posted on Thursday Jan 28 4:49:00 GMT 2010

Everyday seems to bring yet more news of online poker and gaming sites selling out to competitors, or merging with other sites, thus generally forming bigger companies and in turn making for less competition.

It must be these bigger companies that are able to offer rakebacks to their customers.  The term means that players receive extra money just for using a particular site over and over again.  The expectation is that once a site has attracted a player to their site they will be able to retain them by handing out very generous rakebacks.

Some in the industry see this as short term folly, because ultimately a poker site has to be profitable.  Many online sites are finding it difficult to actually make a profit.  If they were then to withdraw the incentives that keep their regular players happy, they will probably lose them to other sites.

Clearly this a problem that will take some time to work out if many businesses are to survive in this extremely competitive market.

New Zealanders will be as attracted to the sites offering the rackbacks as any other nation and will no doubt be watching as anxiously as the rest of the world as to how the online gambling sites will resolve this problem.

Online casino games to be beneficial to both tennis and online gambling

Originally Posted on Sunday Jan 24 3:22:00 GMT 2010

Although it is well known that there is no love lost between Australia and New Zealand, especially as far as sport goes, it is interesting to note that an arrangement between Betfair Australia and Tennis Australia will be beneficial to both sports.  Hopefully this co-operation between two such widely different sports will also see progress made in other areas of sport and in New Zealand itself.

Betfair have undertaken to give a proportion of every online gambling bet placed on the Australian Open to Tennis Australia.

Tennis has always been farsighted in its attitude to gambling, helping to prevent corruption and profiting financially as well.

Although the contribution to be made by Betfair is expected to be fairly small it is a step towards online gambling and sport being open and fair with each other, so that perhaps all sports will benefit in the long term.

Responsible gambling is part of the Australian and New Zealand culture and putting money into sports development must be encouraged by as many online gambling sites as possible.

Online poker sites contribute to Haitian relief effort

Originally Posted on Thursday Jan 21 10:59:00 GMT 2010

Many online poker sites are helping to raise money for the Haiti Relief Effort.

Amongst the many sites involved are two businesses, owned by Tokwiro, Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, who are holding a poker tournament tonight.

The idea is that players should give a portion of their stake and when this is totaled up after the match, Tokwiro will match it.

The generosity of the online gaming community is well known. This seems to be opposition to the American government’s view of online gambling.  They see the industry as a contributor to social disintegration.

Calvin Ayre, who is a controversial figure in the online casino world, is also offering to help the Haitian appeal.  He has offered to match any donation from the online casino world up to $1million.

No-one knows where Ayres is currently living as he likes to keep a low profile as far as the American government is concerned.  However, this latest move of his cannot be criticised.

Pocket Fives online community have also been raising money for the Haitian disaster and managed to raise around £15,000 last weekend alone.

So it seems that many poker sites are helping to raise money of Haiti.  The generosity of the New Zealand online gaming community will no doubt be joining in too.

Gambling in New Zealand and how it has changed

Originally Posted on Wednesday Jan 13 11:15:00 GMT 2010

When the first ships arrived in New Zealand bringing new settlers to the country, they brought with them a love of gambling.

Things have changed hugely over the years with gamers able to enjoy many forms of gambling including an amazing array of online casinos.

The new settlers passion was for horse racing and it is easy to see how that particular interest has progressed over the centuries.

The passing years have seen great enthusiasm for sports gambling in New Zealand.  The dramatic rise in the profile of the All Blacks rugby team has been a contributor to the gambling passion.

The online gambling laws in New Zealand are somewhat confusing and many people would like to see a system that is completely legalised.  The supporters believe that many positive benefits would ensure.  It would be hoped that controls would make sure that gambling was safer and bring a bigger choice of online gaming for New Zealand players.

Kiwis are traditionally sports mad and with that comes a desire to gamble on the results on sporting events.  Of course, this may result in some people developing a problem with gambling.

For this reason the Ministry of Health is charged with looking at solutions to the problem.  Their recommendations are passed on to the Gambling Commission and Internal Affairs.

There are also many organisations that can help people who acknowledge that they may have a problem gambling habit.

New Zealand Gambling Watchdog investigates the pokie industry

Originally Posted on Sunday Jan 10 12:21:00 GMT 2010

The New Zealand Government Watchdog is looking into a possible crackdown on the pokie industry.  There is evidence that some organisations are taking cuts from the profits which should be going to community groups.

There seems to be some good reasons to look more deeply into expense claims, as many operators are making exaggerated claims for things like staff costs and utilities.

On January 11 the New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) will be compelled to turn off its pokie machines for a day. It is estimated that this will cost them $290,000 in lost revenue.  The penalty is in response to questionable expense claims.

The law states that gaming machines can only be run by non-commercial organisations with some of the profits going to community groups.

Around $1.3 billion is gambled on gaming machines each year.  The pubs and clubs that run the pokies are allowed to claim reasonable expenses in relation to their running costs.

NZCT made $103 million from pokie machines last year, with 39% of the proceeds going to community groups.

As the inflated expense claims seem to be fairly widespread there will be a more extensive surveillance of operators in 2010 to try to put a stop to operators using gambling money for personal gain by inflating expense claims.

Online casinos in New Zealand are not affected by these crackdowns.

Change in the US online gambling laws will benefit NZ too

Originally Posted on Thursday Jan 7 11:16:00 GMT 2010

2010 will no doubt continue to be a year for speculation about whether or not online gambling in the US will, or will not, be legalised.

There are many who wish to see a relaxation in the legislation put in place by the last Bush administration, and just as many who wish to see no change in the current position.

A recent study conducted by Kenilworth Systems Corporation (KSC) seems to indicate that the American online gambling industry could generate as much as $63 billion.

The study was carried out by allowing remote betting to a Dominican based casino.  During a 6 month period thousands of players placed bets on a roulette game.  A large amount of income was generated during this time.

The delayed decision in the US regarding the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) may be opportune for the people who support a more relaxed attitude to online gambling, as they will now be able to use the Dominican study to support their case.

Legalising online gaming in the US would generate much needed income from taxation and regulate the whole industry, thus protecting both players and operators from illegal activities.

A relaxation in the US would undoubtedly be beneficial for the online gambling industry worldwide as well as in New Zealand.

New Zealander wins record amount on racing bet

Originally Posted on Sunday Jan 3 3:12:00 GMT 2010

A 37 year old New Zealand man has seen out the Old Year with a record win of almost $800,000.  He placed a multi-bet over six races at Ellerslie races.

He managed to pick all six winners and won a record fixed-odds payout by the TAB.

His final choice of horse was Tanha Strike and it was a nail-biting final race, with Tanha Strike winning by just a head.

The lucky punter, who was not actually present at the races, watched them on the television from has Auckland home.

He then celebrated by going to the SkyCity Casino and setting up a drinks tab for his friends and Tanha Strike’s jockey.  Ironically, although he celebrated in style, he did not spend any money on gambling in the casino that night.

His future plans include making some reinvestment in the TAB and taking six good friends to Las Vegas in June.

The 37 year old Aucklander is indeed a lucky man.  Last year he won $260,000 on another multi-bet.  Although he also admits to losing many bets too.

He is a keen gambler who analyses the race book and then covers all the combinations.

A New Zealand Racing Board spokesman said it was the largest fixed-odds payout in its 60 year history.

It is, of course, possible to make racing bets via online gambling sites, as well as use the sites for other gambling pursuits such as poker.  New Zealanders are no exception to the growing popularity of online gambling.