Are DraftKings and FanDuel Running Out of Cash?

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 26 October 2016 3:15 pm

Are DraftKings and FanDuel finally running out of cash? That’s the suggestion being made by the New York Times, Deadspin, and other media outlets on the eve of the daily fantasy sports giants long-awaited settlement with New York State.

According to a report in yesterday’s New York Times, DraftKings and FanDuel are both behind in payments to vendors and FanDuel has laid off more than 60 employees.

Even more damning, in the Times’ eyes, anyways, is the fact that both companies are negotiating payment plans with New York State to settle claims that their advertising contained fraudulent claims (it turns out it’s not so easy to win a million dollars playing daily fantasy sports after all).

The price of these negotiated settlements is somewhere between $ 8-$ 10 million. That should be just a drop in the bucket for the companies that burned through hundreds of millions of dollars on a legendary ad blitz last year. Apparently, that’s just not the case.

The Times goes on to report that both companies are behind on their payments to vendors. While it’s worth noting that there are many reasons why a company could find itself in this position, a lack of cash is usually the most likely explanation.

That said, it’s fair to say that both companies are burning through mountains of cash as they mount a state-by-state fight to keep their businesses on the right side of the law.

For their parts, DraftKings and FanDuel have not yet commented on why they’re so keen to pay out the State in payments, rather than getting the whole thing done at once. In a statement to the press, a spokesman for FanDuel said that they were not at liberty to talk about the settlement at this time.

In short, it’s clear that the good times are truly over for the US-facing daily fantasy sports industry and the bad times just keep rolling on.

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Black Friday Lives: Former PokerStars Employee Pleads Guilty to Illegal Gambling

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 24 October 2016 3:14 pm

Late last week, a former PokerStars employee plead guilty to a single illegal gambling charge that date back to the Black Friday investigation of 2011.

Paul Tate, 42, stated his plea to U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses in a New York court room. Tate is now facing a sentencing in the case on November 21 and is facing as many as five years behind bars as a result of his plea.

Tate got caught up in the whirlwind of fraud and money laundering that marked the apex of the online poker era when he joined PokerStars as a technician. As part of his work he interacted quite a bit with payment processors and other key figures in the online poker behemoth’s demise.

For his part, Tate presented the very model of contrition as he entered his plea. According to a report on Fortune.com, Tate wore a muted grey suit and eyeglasses as he addressed the court.

Tate kept his comments brief, but expressed remorse for his role in the PokerStars scandal and stated that:

My family and I have paid a heavy price for this conduct.

Amaya, the current owner of PokerStars, had no involvement in the case whatsoever and, not surprisingly, made a concerted effort to distance itself from it. In a statement regarding the matter, an Amaya offical said the case had, “no impact or legal implications on our business or operations.”

In 2014, Amaya purchased the PokerStars brand for more than a billion dollars. More than $ 700 million of that price went towards settling the claims made by the victims of PokerStars employees like Tate.

 

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Investors Freak Out After China Detains Crown Casino Employees

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 22 October 2016 3:17 pm

Eighteen Crown Resorts employees have been detained by Chinese authorities in what’s believed to be the start of a crackdown on the gambling and casino junket business. At least three of the detainees are believed to be Australians, including Jason O’Connor, the head of Crown’s VIP International team.

Details surrounding the whereabouts of the 18 and details about why they were actually detained are slim at this point. At a brief press conference Hua Chunying of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said only that the Crown Resorts worker were being in connection with gambling laws.

As of this writing, the Australians had not yet received consular visits, though those are expected to occur in short order.

While little is known about the fate of the Australian employees, even less is know about the 15 Chinese workers arrested in the raid. In an interview with Bloomberg.com Jeff Sikkema, the American husband of a Chinese national named Jiang expressed concern and confusion over the situation saying:

She’s not even in sales. I don’t understand why she was detained. There’s nothing to hide.

Sikkema is not the only one expressing concern about the incident. Investors in Crown Resorts, and other Chinese-facing casino and gambling firms, are in a state of panic, too. Crown Resorts saw the price of its shares plummet 3.7 percent when news of the raids broke. Other firms, such as Sands China Ltd. and Wynn Macau Ltd. saw similar drops.

The Chinese gambling operates, according to Bloomberg, in a gray area that’s left international gaming and casino companies open to exactly this type of this situation.

That said, the potential rewards for establishing a toehold in the Chinese gambling market is extreme that plenty of companies are willing to take their chances. The fate of the 18 detainees may well determine how much risk these firms are willing to take in the future.

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Valve to Washington State: ‘We Don’t Facilitate Gambling’

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 20 October 2016 3:14 pm

Valve has a message for the Washington State Gambling Commission in response to its recent inquiries regarding skins betting on Counter Strike: Global Offensive, “We don’t facilitate gambling.”

The message was made in response to a recent letter from the Commission asking/telling the video game giant to, “…immediately stop allowing the transfer of virtual weapons known as ‘skins’ for gambling activities through the company’s Steam Platform.”

Valve’s letter, which was originally viewed by reporters at PC Gamer, lays out an argument that separates Valve from the entire gambling industry and, specifically, the websites that actually do facilitate skins gambling saying:

We do not want to turn off the Steam services, described above, that skin gambling sites have taken advantage of. In-game items, Steam trading, and OpenID have substantial benefits for Steam customers and Steam game-making partners. We do not believe it is the Commission’s intention, nor is it within the Commission’s authority, to turn off lawful commercial and communication services that are not directed to gambling in Washington.

The video game giant went on to point out that it does not appear to be in violation of any Washington State ordinances and challenged the Commission to point out any laws it thought Valve was breaking.

Valve’s defiant tone towards Washington State gaming regulators doesn’t meant the company isn’t taking the issue of skins betting lightly. Later in the letter it’s pointed out that Valve has already shut down its relationship with more than 40 website that are engaged in real-money skins betting.

Washington is the first state gambling commission to take the skins betting issue, but it clearly won’t be the last.

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Atlantic City Rolls Out US Casino First: Skill-Based Slot Machines

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 18 October 2016 3:16 pm

As part of their seemingly never-ending bid to get off of life support, Atlantic City casinos are rolling out an American first: skill-based slot machines.

Use of the machines, which are produced by a New York firm called GameCo, Inc., was approved during a late-night meeting of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) on October 12.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the first of the new machines will be placed in properties owned by Caesars Entertainment as early as this week.

The new machines are referred to as VGMs and are designed to attract a new, younger, demographic to the casino floor by incorporating elements of video games to standard slots play.

Not surprisingly, GameCo founder Blaine Graboyes was thrilled by the prospect of his machines carving out a new casino niche saying:

“With this approval from the DGE, the VGM is officially the first skill-based video game gambling product approved by any U.S. gaming jurisdiction regulator.”

Graboyes and his company were able to get expedited approval for their machines from the New Jersey DGE thanks to a program designed to give approval preference to innovative gaming devices if they’re first introduced in Atlantic City.

In a statement touting AC’s position as gaming industry innovator NJ DGE boss Dave Redbuck said:

“We have been at the forefront of encouraging innovation, and are pleased that the efforts of GameCo and division staff have culminated in this skill-based video game becoming available in Atlantic City before any other jurisdiction in the United States.”

If successful in Atlantic City, expect to see skill-based slot machines make major inroads into both the land-based and online gambling industries.

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Atlantic City Continues to Bleed as Trump Taj Mahal Shuts Down for Good

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 16 October 2016 3:22 pm

Atlantic City’s, seemingly, never-ending bloodbath took another victim this week as the Trump Taj Mahal shut it doors for good. The casino is the fourth in AC to close to since 2014 and is leaving more than 3,000 workers without jobs.

Though the once glitzy jewel of the Atlantic City Boardwalk carries the name of the GOP Presidential candidate and former reality TV star, the property is actually owned by Carl Icahn. Icahn picked up the Taj Mahal in February in a bankruptcy sale and has struggled to keep it open ever since.

According Icahn, the biggest problem with the Taj Mahal was the property’s unionized work force, which has been on strike since July 1. Many Atlantic City watchers believe that Icahn closed the casino in hopes of busting the union and reopening under the protection of bankruptcy. (Icahn also claims to have lost more than $ 100 million keeping the casino open since February.)

Not surprisingly, Atlantic City union representatives say that their demands are hardly extravagant. In an interview with USA Today, a local 54 spokesman said that Taj Mahal workers have only received $ .80 an hour worth of raises over the past 12 years. During that time, he added, the cost of living in Atlantic City has risen more than 25 percent. Many of them earn less than $ 12 an hour.

During its heyday in the early 1990′s, the Trump Taj Mahal was one of the city’s most glamorous properties, though it ran into financial problems (due to Trump’s mismanagement and inability to reign in costs) almost immediately. Since the strike began, guests have complained that the property have been complaining that the property hasn’t been maintained.

Guests with reservations after October 11, and that’s a very small group, will be reimbursed for their deposits.

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Dutch Gambling Authority Tells Apple to Pull Gambling Apps

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 14 October 2016 3:27 pm

Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling authority, has ordered Apple to remove all real-money gambling apps from its Netherlands-facing apps store.

The US-based technology giant is complying with the order and has pulled more than 50 apps in an effort to appease KSA. Apple’s acquiescence is the culmination of an anti-gambling app effort by KSA that began back in May.

Though KSA’s actions may seem a bit harsh to outsiders, it’s worth noting that online gambling is not actually legal in the Netherlands. That means every real-money gambling that was downloaded in the country represents criminal activity.

Though the Dutch online gambling market isn’t exactly huge (Holland’s population is only 16 million) the anti-app purge will certainly have an impact on gambling operators.

That said, the operators impacted aren’t exactly mom-and-pop shops. In fact, some of the biggest names in the online gambling industry were impacted by the ban including Unibet and Bwin.

Last May, the KSA sent out letters warning gambling operators that they needed to pull their apps or face the consequences.

In an effort to show that they were really serious, the KSA recently beefed up the penalties for unauthorized online gambling in the country. According to a report on CalvinAyre.com, the new fines have been raised from €50,000 to €100,000.

The report goes on to say that at least six operators have already been hit with penalties for violating the Dutch ban.

Operators with an eye on the Netherlands might, however, get a chance in the very near future. Dutch lawmakers are currently considering several bills that would allow for regulated online gambling in the EU’s tenth most-populated country.

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Is a William Hill, Amaya Merger in the Works?

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 13 October 2016 6:13 am

Amaya, Inc. and William Hill, two of the biggest names in the online gambling world, are reportedly discussing the possibility of a merger. The blockbuster deal, should it come to pass, could have a major impact in the worldwide gaming business.

According to a joint statement by the two companies, as reported on by the Reuters News Agency, the deal is being described as, “consistent with the strategic objectives,” of both companies. The statement went on say that any potential merger would be a, “merger of equals.”

No matter how it all sorts out, a merger between William Hill and Amaya Gaming would be a very big deal for the online gambling industry.  After all, in the wake of its purchase of PokerStars’ assets in 2014 for nearly $ 5 billion, Amaya is one of the world’s larges publicly traded gaming company.

For its part, William Hill is one of the UK’s largest, and best known, bookmakers and commands huge market share in the country.

Word of the potential merger was music to the ears of investors, who piled on Amaya Gaming stock all day. Almost immediately after the companies released their statement, Amaya Gaming stock prices leaped by an amazing 9.1 percents.

Besides its potential for increased profit, the merger is a bright spot in what’s been an otherwise miserable year for the Canadian-based Amaya Gaming. Earlier this year David Baazov, the company’s former CEO was charged with securities fraud in Quebec. Though he denies any wrongdoing in the case, and is mounting a vigorous defense, his troubles have been a major distraction for the company.

William Hill is not the first company to express an interest in joining with, or taking over, Amaya. Earlier this year the company was the target of a takeover by GVC Holdings, the current status of that deal is not known.

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Anti-Gambling Group Challenges NY Daily Fantasy Sports

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 10 October 2016 3:20 pm

A New York-based anti-gambling group is suing the State in hopes of stopping the daily fantasy sports business in its tracks.

According to a lawsuit filed last week by a group called Stop Predatory Gambling, a deal struck recently by lawmakers that allowed the daily fantasy sports industry to continue operating in the state was illegal. Their contention, as expressed in the lawsuit, is that the state would need to amend its constitution in order to legally allow industry to operate.

At the heart of the group’s challenge is passage of New York State gaming law which reads:

No law shall be passed… except as hereinafter provided, no lottery or the sale of lottery tickets, pool-selling, bookmaking, or any other kind of gambling, except lotteries operated by the state …except pari-mutuel betting on horse races … and except casino gambling at no more than seven facilities as authorized and prescribed by the legislature shall hereafter be authorized or allowed within this state…

They bolster their argument by pointing out that State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman used that same passage as the basis for his argument against the industry earlier this year.

Supporters of the industry, including a number of state senators, maintain that the State’s legislative bodies have tremendous leeway (and the final say) as to what is and is not gambling in the Empire State.

Fortunately for the daily fantasy sports industry, they’re free to continue operating in New York until the lawsuit is settled and that could take month or years to reach a conclusion. That said, if Stop Predatory Gambling is successful, the daily fantasy sports industry will have some new, and very serious problems to deal with.

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Full Flush Poker Goes Down, Leaves Players with Serious Questions

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 9 October 2016 7:11 am

Full Flush Poker has been offline since Friday and company officials say that an attack by hackers is responsible for the shutdown. The company’s players, however, aren’t necessarily buying the company’s story.

Full Flush’s troubles began sometime on Friday when, according to SafestPokerSites.com, the site, “completely flat-lined.” Since that time, players have not been able to access either games or their personal funds.

Company officials took to social media on Monday saying that they were, “…in the process of updating our gaming solutions to offer a new, more exciting platform,” and that they would be providing, “…updates on this change each day.”

That same statement went on to assure Full Flush Poker players that their funds were perfectly safe. Their statement did not, however, provide much comfort for players who follow the hyper-vigilant online poker media.

Some sites, including SafestPokerSites, have been reporting that all is not as it seems at Full Flush. The biggest red flag, in their eyes, is the fact that the Full Flush Poker domain name has been put up for sale.

Full Flush Poker players with questions about the status of their funds are finding answers incredibly hard to come by. Questions sent to the company’s social media properties have gone unanswered and there are reports that the company’s customer service center has gone dark, too.

The Full Flush blackout isn’t just worrying for players, it’s left plenty of casino affiliates wondering if the Curacao-registered operation will be paying them out.

If Full Flush Poker is really down for the count, players and affiliates may find themselves with little legal recourse as Curacao laws make reclaiming damages from gaming operators incredibly difficult.

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