Joe Cada is the 2009 WSOP champion

The WSOP 2009 Final Table saw a 21 years old American becoming the tournament’s youngest winner. After a fierce final in Las Vegas, ended on 10 November, Joe Cada pocketed $ 8.5 million.

The youngest world champion since the tournament was created 40 years ago, won the deciding hand with a pair of nine, face to Darvin Moon, 25 years old, who had a jack to oppose it.

“I want to thank all my fans and my friends”, said Cada, overwhelmed, in a room of the Rio hotel-casino. The young man who abandoned his studies to become professional poker player, won thanks to a spectacular return in the game through bluffs.

Coming from Detroit (Michigan, North), Joe Cada is the son of an unemployed auto worker and of a casino employee. At first, the latter tried to dissuade his son from abandon his studies and make a living on online poker. But her son’s passion for the game soon convinced her to let Joe follow his own way: “When he started to cope so well, I told him to live his dream. He can always return to school if he wants to, but how many people do what they love?”

Besides the impressive prize, Joe Cada can boast with a gold bracelet that is traditionally a distinction offered to WSOP winners. For his second place, Darvin Moon cash in $ 5 million.

Right2Bet campaign fights for a single European gambling market

Online casino players interested in the liberalization of all European gaming markets now have a great opportunity to voice theirs demands. They are encouraged to support a new campaign, named “Right2Bet”, which asks the EU to impose to member states more liberal gambling laws.

The initiative “Right2Bet” seeks to fight against state monopolies on gambling. Initially funded by Betfair, the campaign brings together “European citizens claiming For the moment, the plan regards Germany, Finland, Sweden and Netherlands and is popularised as a petition. Its subscribers demand “the right to use Internet to bet in any country of the European Union and the right to choose gambling sites run by operators licensed in any member state”. The petition also asks that “further steps should be taken to remove barriers that prevent European consumers from exercising.

The Right2Bet campaign has its legal basis in the “Citizens Intitaive” section of the Lisbon Treaty. Under this section, if a petition is signed by one million citizens, it will be submitted to the European Parliament. Those wishing to freely play online within EU borders hope to influence in this way the political decisions that affect this area. The petition has so far raised about 10.000 signatures.

The campaign’s promoters followed the example of a similar project in US, initiated by Poker Players Alliance.

UK gaming companies turn to French market

UK gaming companies have been hardly hit by the economic downturn. Some big names of the online industry have even chosen to move out from UK and establish operation servers in other jurisdictions, with more lenient taxation systems.

In order to counter the slowdown in British industry, the national operators are turning to the closest markets likely to be soon regulated. Party Gaming, William Hill or 888 Holdings could take a breath of fresh air if they extend their operations in France.

A bill on French market opening will be examined by the nationalParliament on 7 and 8 October. After the law enter into force, local and foreign operators wishing to run poker or sports betting sites will be able to apply for a license to the competent authority.

Jim Ryan, the CEO of PartyGaming manifested big interest for this “great opportunity”. According to the consultancy company H2 Gambling Capital, sales in online gambling will be more than doubled in 2010, the growth being guaranteed by the legal framework. “France is the single largest market on the horizon,” nods Simon Holliday, Head of H2.

France decided to open its market after the authorities had realized that the prohibitory legislation encouraged the illegal offers. This was also a positive response to the pressures made by the European Commission. The EC has several times cautioned UE member states to reform gambling legislation and open their markets. In numerous European countries, the prohibitive legislation is a bar to the free movement of services, a principle set forth in EU Treaties.

Online casinos could be legalised in Canada

British Columbia Lottery Corporation announced on 20th August 2009 it would launch online gaming sites in order to generate an income of not less than $ 100 million per year.

The games offered by the Canadian company, such as blackjack, roulette and poker would be available on its website PlayNow from March 2010. If the project is fulfilled, there would be a first on the North-American continent, where online casinos have been banished so far.

“This is not really an innovative project, but if it was officially legalized by a north-american government, it would be indeed a great innovation”, said Bill Thompson, Professor of public law at the University of Nevada.

The Lottery hopes to get its part of the $ 87 million amount spent by residents of British Columbia on offshore sites. Michael Graydon, the Lottery Corporation CEO, stated: “Rather than let all that money slip away in some tax-paradises like Antigua, we seek to benefit from the opportunity that is giving to us to bring this money back in the country”.

Unfortunately for the company, this comes after a controversial statement made on 17th August, by which it was announced that the weekly limit on PlayNow deposits could be established between $ 120 and $10 000.

Some politicians ans especially those from Social Democratic Party, didn’t hesitate to strongly criticize the decision, which “was made without taking into consideration people with addiction problems”. But the Lottery responded to these attacks, stating that a security system would be put in place to prevent customers from depositing money in their accounts before 24 hours from another deposit.

If the proposal is approved, this could be a gateway for the introduction of online casinos in the United States.

Senator Robert Menendez introduces a bill for regulating online gambling in U.S.

In an attempt to overturn The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, widely known as UIGEA, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez has introduced a bill meant to set up the framework for online poker and other games of skill. “Internet Poker and Games of Skill Regulation, Protection and Enforcement Act” focuses mostly on the games where the outcome is determined by the player’s skills and not on the whole field of internet gambling. Besides poker, the other games cited in the bill are bridge, mahjong, backgammon and chess. The specific element that distinguishes these games from other gaming experiences is the little influence the chance has in the final results.

Menendez explains his particular consideration for poker by the significance of this game among Americans spare-time activities throughout their history: “Poker is part of the cultural and recreational fabric of the United States and has been since the founding days of the United States. United States poker aficionados have included presidents, judges, and statesmen.”

According to the proposed bill, the Treasury Department will the institution in charge to make the financial examination of all the applicants. This will reject any person or company that has been accused for any kind of gambling or financial violation. The bill also establishes the security control features that gambling websites will have to include: payment fraud protection and money laundering prevention, age limit policy, residence verification. The compulsive gambling behaviour is another topic of the law. The online casinos and other gaming rooms are obliged to monitor these habits if they want to keep their license. An opt out right for any state or Indian tribe wishing to ban online gambling in their jurisdiction, is equally specified in the text of the bill.

Playtech shares go down

In a tough economic context, Playtech, the leading developer of online casino has not been spared the financial storm that shook all economic fields. The online gambling environment is also suffering from the slump and this is obvious in the stock market prices. Thus, Teddy Sagi group saw its shares falter. The software designer annual stock profit will be lower than estimated. Playtech shares have fallen by 25% of its value.

This disturbing findings are partly explained by the unfavorable environment for gaming, either live or online. In addition, the stock price collapse comes from the Playtech joint venture with the bookmaker William Hill Online. Despite the latest figures, Playtech has seen its shares price growing during the first half of 2009. However, the forecast for the end of the year are not so optimistic. Analysts say the results should be between 49 and 52 million euros instead of 55 million euros expected.

These gloomy financial expectations are unprecedented for Playetch. The company is a leader on its market and develops software for online casinos, poker rooms and sporting bet sites. It provides the software of online casinos and poker sites as that of Euro Partners Group – Casino Tropez, Casino Bellini, Vegas Red, Titan Poker, Affiliates United, with Prestige Casino and 32 Vegas, Party Gaming, Las Vegas Casino, Swiss Casino, Casino MagicBox, Poker770.

UIGEA, in violation of international free trade agreements

Following a complaint filed by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), the European Commission presented its critical report on the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act” in the United States. The least we can say is that Brussels gives right to international association and dares to call the law “contrary to free trade rules”. It must be said that the UIGEA concerns particularly gambling operation based in Europe. So, the struggle goes on…

Mid-June, the “Guardian of the UE Treaties” published a report on U.S. laws on online gambling and its hardening provisions for European companies. The report is the result of an one-year investigation conducted in U.S. The object of the investigation was not only the current law, but also its reform and the effects it would have on online games suppliers.

The juridical battle on American gaming market involves another powerful organization, which has the right to punish its disobedient members. This is the World Trade Organization; both U.S. and Eu member states adhered to its agreements. On the European ground, UE may reprove its members claiming the violation of Treaties’ provisions such as the freedom to provide services within its territory. As for the U.S., the European Commission only could call the international agreements. Thus, the EC claims that U.S. measures impede free trade and are contrary to the WTO rules. At the same time, the report suggests they can resolve the disagreement by negotiating with the new administration.

“Online gambling is a complex and critical issue, and we don’t want to dictate to the United States the method for regulating the market” the Commissioner of the Chamber of Commerce said. “However, the United States must comply with WTO rules. I hope we will be able to find an amicable solution”.

The report approached, of course, the alarmist claim of the Remote Gambling Association. Filed on 11th March 2008, it stated that the UIGEA denies access to foreign funds and discriminates radically all foreigners wishing to play or wager in the United States. Nevertheless, in 2006, the most of the European companies decided to act on their own and left the U.S. market. But they still suffer from lawsuits for their past activities on this market. Therefore, the report also concludes that the prosecutions are not legally justified and they are discriminatory.

The European Commission now seeks a solution consistent with international agreements through a dialogue with American administration.

Chinese Government tightens its anti-gambling policy

On June 9th, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an important announcement: the Government was “hoping” to work with China’s neighbors for more effective border controls and notably for putting a limit on the gambling development along its borders.

According to recent reports, several citizens of the northern province of Shanxi have been kidnapped and held in wait for a ransom, after being lured to casinos located in Myanmar (ex Burma) and the Yunnan Province.

“The Chinse Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked our embassy in Myanmar to verify this information, and requested the Government of Myanmar to investigate the matter and to take measures to ensure freedom and security of Chinese citizens”, spokesman Qin Gand said.

In China, casinos and games like poker, blackjack, slot machines or bingo, are prohibited. Nevertheless, the Chinese Government is forced to accept the extraordinary growth of gambling industry in the independent Province of Macau. In this part of Asia, Macau is the gaming capital, a paradise for both players and investors.

The online casino field doesn’t submit to a better regime. Online casinos are also prohibited in China; moreover, as from July 1st, all personal computers sold in China will be endowed with software blocking web surfers’ access to gambling sites and other sites designated by the authorities.

William Hill bookmaker to launch a French poker room

Strengthened after the merger with Playetch, the British company William Hill continues its advance in Europe, by launching a French version of its site, modernised and with some new improvements. The story of the English bookmaker goes back to the interwar period, when William Hill created a society for sports betting. This society recently became the first betting company in UK, ahead of its number one competitor Ladbrokes.

Meanwhile, it has developed by offering on its website casino games in addition to sports betting. Its reputation increased when the company proposed William Hill Poker Grand Prix, a show broadcast since 2006 on the British channel SkySports.

William Hill and Playetch merged on January 2009, on the basis of a contract for a period of 5 years. This allows Playetch to own 29% stake in the new entity created by the project “William Hill On-line”. This transaction, having amounted $250 million, is a boon for William Hill, because since then profits are steadily increasing.

In view of the forthcoming opening of the French market, the site has benefited from a makeover and has been integrally translated into French. Thus, the site has undergone some revisions of graphics and ergonomics.

Many tournaments will be available each day for all the members of IPOKER network. Sit’n Go’s, freerolls and many other tournaments will be offered on a regular basis.

The World Series of Poker attractions

The World Series of Poker greet each year the biggest players in the world. This year, the series looks again explosive. From May 27th to July 15th, Las Vegas will celebrate the 40th anniversary of this prestigious tournament series that continue to crown legends of poker.

These world championships of poker are held annually in the gambling capital of the world, cover all variations of poker and offer honourable titles, including “the world champion of the year” one. In 2008, it was the very young Dane Peter Eastgate who won the Main Event – the main attraction of the Series.

The huge Main Event opens on July 3rd, with no fewer than four “Day 1″. 13 days of intensive competition between the best Texas Hold’em players will shape the final table that will take place in early November. Approximately 10.000 players will be expected to attend the event (including some having been qualified through online casino). With a €10.000 buy-in, a tremendous amount could “collapse” on the winner.

But besides this Main Event, the world of poker has eyes fixed on the first major tournament to be held. For the 40th anniversary of the WSOP, a €40.000 buy-in tournament is set to open May 28th. This can be considered a precaution method of the organizer: Harrah’s Entertainement, aware that the level of the Main Event is very uncertain, inaugurates an event reserved for professionals. In fact, only champions can afford the very expensive ticket and the 300 seats available will boost the prize pool at € 10 million. In recent years, many players still unknown came in the spotlight, like the title holder, Peter Eastgate. At 22, the young Dane excelled especially online before winning in Vegas.

The pros will have another challenge to take: win the maximum of gains by finishing in paid places of the 50 tournaments offered. Scotty Nguyen, crowned “the Prince of the poker” after his performance in 1998, has promised to stop if he doesn’t pick up at least $ 4 million. For purists, the Event which will crown the true poker master, is the HORSE event. It combines 5 variations of poker and has the capability to test the highest skills.