Gibraltar Faces Increasing Pressure as EU Cracks Down on “High-Risk Nations”

Gibraltar Faces Increasing Pressure as EU Cracks Down on “High-Risk Nations”

In December, the EC updated its rules regarding high-risk third countries. The nations included in the ignoble list face systemic anti-money laundering (AML) or countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) failings. The recent inclusion of Gibraltar deserves special mention, as the territory is one of the largest online gambling hubs. Tightening regulations may significantly hamper the day-to-day operations of operators stationed there, forcing them to search for alternatives.

An EC Listing Is Bad News for Everyone Involved

The EC is one of the founding members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The international organization focuses on preserving the financial system’s integrity by combating money laundering, the financing of terrorism, and other such threats. As such, the Commission’s list of high-risk third countries carries significant negative implications for all nations unfortunate enough to be included.

A recent warning by the EU may significantly impact businesses involved with such countries. Regulators now face increased pressure to ensure due diligence and will likely crack down on all related parties. Such updated rules may significantly impact many gambling operators, especially those operating out of Gibraltar. The accompanying loss of face can also have severe long-term consequences.

Gibraltar-Licensed Operators Will Face Rising Difficulties

The FATF greylisted the territory in June 2021, followed by an EC listing as a high-risk third country. The implications of such measures for a thriving financial hub like Gibraltar are not pleasant, as all transactions in and out of the country will face increased scrutiny and potential delays. 

The gambling industry, in particular, will bear the brunt of the impact. As of May 2022, the territory hosts 45 licensed online gaming operators employing over 2000 people. The EU demanded enhanced due diligence measures from all businesses and individuals involved with listed nations. 

Such measures aim to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, maintaining the financial system’s integrity. Despite the EC’s attempts to cooperate with local governments and address the issues behind the listing, implementing an action plan can sometimes take years. Meanwhile, bureaucratic pressures can drive current licensees away and dissuade operators from considering a Gibraltar registration.

The Government Aims to Preserve Gibraltar’s Reputation

The EC listing is a significant black mark in Gibraltar’s ongoing efforts to prove its regime robust and effective. Andrew Lyman, the territory’s chief commissioner for gambling, denied any AML/CTF deficiencies, insisting that the local regulator was doing an adequate job. However, the EC did not share the sentiment, leading to this unfavorable situation.

A FATF greylisting can significantly hamper a nation’s international prospects, disincentivizing foreign investments. Despite ongoing uncertainty, Gibraltar’s economic attractiveness and favorable licensing conditions helped it secure several new high-profile licenses. However, the subsequent EC listing may significantly degrade the country’s reputation, meaning the government is hard-pressed to address its ongoing issues.

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Garrett Adelstein Won’t Be Welcomed Back to Hustler Casino Live (For Now)

Garrett Adelstein Won't Be Welcomed Back to Hustler Casino Live (For Now)

Six months after accusing Robbi Jade Lew of cheating, the show’s most popular player — Garrett Adelstein — is no longer permitted to play on Hustler Casino Live. But the ban is considered “indefinite,” according to co-owner Nick Vertucci, and he won’t rule out the possibility of one day allowing the high-stakes crusher to return.

Don’t count on that return any time soon, however. On the Nick Vertucci Show, guest Ben Lee, a regular on HCL, asked the host when Adelstein would rejoin the live-streamed cash game show from Hustler Casino in Los Angeles.

Vertucci, who spoke with PokerNews via a Monday phone conversation, made it clear that Adelstein isn’t banned from Hustler Casino Live. But, along with co-owner Ryan Feldman, he made a “business decision” in regards to Adelstein’s current status on the show.

Adelstein accused Lew of cheating during an infamous jack-four hand on Sept. 29 and hasn’t appeared on HCL or any live-stream since. He toyed with the idea in a tweet earlier this year of returning for Hustler’s $1 million buy-in cash game in May. But Vertucci made it clear in his podcast and to PokerNews that he won’t be among that show’s lineup.

“It’s Not Personal

Adelstein, Vertucci, and Feldman have some history together, and most of it has been positive. Feldman previously ran the competing live-stream show Live at the Bike and “G-Man” was the most popular regular in the game, much like he’s been at Hustler.

“We have no hard feelings toward (Adelstein),” Vertucci said. “We wish him the best. It’s not personal.”

Vertucci said he wasn’t opposed to bringing the long-time star of Los Angeles live-stream poker back. In fact, he initially proposed the idea of having Lew and Adelstein both on the same episode. That would almost certainly attract a massive audience and getting views is what pays the bills, but Feldman saw it differently.

“As a matter of fact, I even told (Feldman) why don’t we have them both on and we’d get a ton of views and he said, ‘I don’t care about the views, I’m not doing it,'” Vertucci said.

Vertucci reiterated that he has no ill-will towards the former star of his show. He explained that it was a “business decision” and that as a friend and business partner with Feldman, he “supports his decision.”

The Hand the Poker World Can’t Stop Talking About

garrett adelstein poker

The infamous J4 hand brought about some publicity for Hustler Casino Live, but the show was already booming and didn’t exactly need the mainstream media talking about a potential cheating scandal occurring during one of their streams.

Adelstein was adamant that Lew had cheated him out of a $270,000 pot when she called off a six-figure bet on the turn with nothing but jack-high and was correct. He left the game shortly after in protest and then took to social media and internet forums in the days and weeks after to share circumstantial evidence in an attempt to back up the accusations.

Hustler Casino Live‘s production company, High Stakes Poker Productions, brought in a third-party investigator to look into the allegations. Following a month-long investigation, no proof of cheating was found. Lew even took a polygraph test and passed.

But the incident and accusations brought out a negative light on Hustler Casino Live. They even opened up a can of worms from conspiracy theorists who went so far as to allege that Vertucci, and possibly others, had been cheating for quite some time on HCL.

“Garrett decided to lean into his narrative without any proof and continued to lean into that narrative without any proof, and all the indications in his writings about what he thought happened didn’t do us any good,” Vertucci said.

Vertucci continued to explain that although he wasn’t thrilled with Adelstein going public with the cheating accusations, he said, “I don’t blame Garrett for anything. He has a right to his opinion.”

The Infamous Jack-Four Hand Explained

Will Adelstein Makes His Return to Live at the Bike Instead?

Long before Hustler Casino Live launched in July 2021, Adelstein was a regular on Live at the Bike at the Parkwest Bicycle Casino not too far from Hustler.

Prior to the J4 incident, he’d continued playing on LATB fairly regularly on days he wasn’t playing at Hustler. So, with HCL announcing that Adelstein won’t be welcomed back for the time being, that could leave open the possibility of his return to LATB instead.

“When Garrett decides he wants to play live-stream poker again, we look forward to having him,” Houston Curtis, Live at the Bike’s executive producer told PokerNews.

Garrett Adelstein
Garrett Adelstein

Lew has already made her live-stream return and did so multiple times recently on both Live at the Bike and in Texas at The Lodge Card Club.

But would she be welcomed back on Hustler Casino Live if she wanted to play on the stream?

“Robbi has never reached out to even ask about playing ont he show since the infamous game in late September,” Feldman said. “As of now, we have no intention of inviting her to any games in the near future.”

Adelstein issued a tweet in response to Vertucci’s comments on the Nick Vertucci Show. As you can tell from the following tweet, he wasn’t too thrilled about what was said.

PokerNews reached out to Adelstein for comment following his tweet but he said he didn’t “have anything to add beyond my tweet.”

Adelstein appeared 53 times on Hustler Casino Live, none since Sept. 29, 2022. According to the website, he’s up over $1.5 million on the show lifetime.

Vertucci said he doesn’t worry about the popular poker pro returning to Live at the Bike and that show potentially stealing some Hustler viewers away because “of course I took that into consideration.”

“I was for having him back because how good he is for the show, but Ryan, because he makes the lineups, felt because the games are playing longer and deeper, it was a better long-term decision not to bring him back,” Vertucci continued.

Hustler Casino Live has over 228,000 YouTube subscribers, up nearly 30% since the J4 incident. Live at the Bike has 213,000 YouTube subscribers and has recently touted on social media increased viewership over the past month. Wherever Adelstein appears, if and when he does, there will certainly be plenty of poker fans tuned in.

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Caesars Palace Makes Two Lucky Players Rich

Cirsa Casinos in Mexico Introduced Zitro’s Mega King

Caesars Palace, a Las Vegas casino owned by Caesars Entertainment, paid out two big wins last Friday. One of the winners struck a big prize when playing a slot, while the other cashed in on video poker.

The first win saw one Caesars Palace Las Vegas Visitor win $489,649 from playing a slot called Red, White and Blue. The game is developed by International Game Technology, a world leader in gambling tech and solutions.

While Caesars refrained from releasing more details about the player and the winner themselves preferred to remain anonymous, we know that the life-changing moment happened on Friday morning.

Several hours later another player’s life was changed by Caesars Palace. The second player won $240,000 from video poker, although he also preferred to remain anonymous for the time being.

Other Recent Caesars Palace Winners

Many Caesars Palace players have been getting lucky since the beginning of the year as these are far from the only jackpot winners for the year.

In early February, Bonnie Rivers, a running back for the Los Angeles Rams, won a whopping $514,837 from Three Card Poker.

Around a month ago, an anonymous player also became a jackpot winner, taking home $401,000 thanks to his video poker performance.

A day later, two players won video poker jackpots at the venue. The first of the two won $440,000, while the second one earned $120,300.

Caesars Continues to Lead Gambling in NA

Caesars Entertainment is one of the biggest gambling companies in North America. The famous operator has an extensive reach and it’s the company of choice of many players in the US and beyond.

The online gambling content aggregator Pariplay just unveiled an agreement with Caesars Entertainment’s Ontarian arm, Caesars Sportsbook & Casino. Under the agreement, the former company will power the gambling juggernaut with games. As a result, titles from Wizard Games, a studio owned by Pariplay, launched on Caesars Sportsbook & Casino.

Caesars experienced certain setbacks in 2022, because of which its losses ramped up and its rating by S&P Global Ratings declined. Luckily, the operator’s business rebounded and the ratings firm eventually improved its rating.

Earlier this month, the casino giant provided industry enthusiasts with a sneak peek into its upcoming casino in Nebraska. The property is called Harrah’s Columbus, NE Racing & Casino and marks Caesars’ foray into the Cornhusker State.

At the beginning of March, Caesars also announced that it is stepping up the fight against problem gambling.

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What Poker Hand Left Daniel Negreanu Feeling “Stung” Over the Weekend?

What Poker Hand Left Daniel Negreanu Feeling "Stung" Over the Weekend?

Unlike the over-sharing Allen Kessler, Daniel Negreanu isn’t one to tweet often about hands that sent him to the rail. But a crucial pot he lost in a PokerGO Tour pot-limit Omaha bounty event he played on Friday “stung” badly enough to discuss it with the Twitter world.

The hand in question came against Isaac Haxton in the $25,000 buy-in tournament at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas on Day 1. It was Event #7 of the PLO series, eventually won by Lautaro Guerra for $228,000 along with another $75,000 in bounties. Another Isaac — Isaac Kempton — took second place out of 114 entrants for $171,000.

Well before the champion was crowned on Day 2 (Saturday), a hand in Level 12 (10,000/20,000 blinds) was heavily discussed on social media thanks to Negreanu’s following tweet:

Early PGT Tour PLO Series Recap

Poker Can Be Cruel Sometimes

The hand Negreanu shared was debated as to if the Poker Hall of Famer played it optimally. It was initially live reported by PokerGO as follows:

On a board of {k-Clubs}{q-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{8-Hearts}, Haxton made a pot-sized bet of 800,000 with {a-Hearts}{a-Spades}{4-Spades}{3-Hearts}, giving him an ace-high flush and he could only lose to a straight flush. Negreanu, with {k-Hearts}{j-Clubs}{10-Spades}{6-Hearts}, had a king-high flush and went into the tank for a few minutes before calling to find out the bad news.

The 2,400,000-chip pot was a game-changer for both players as it gave Haxton at the time over 2.7 million chips — more than 135 big blinds — and left “DNegs” with nothing but crumbs. Haxton would go on to finish in sixth place for $68,400 and Negreanu busted in 12th place for $34,200.

Negreanu would fill in a few blanks compared to the live reported hand as to what transpired preflop, on the flop, and on the turn. He explained that at the six-player table, Alex Foxen had limped from the cutoff with an undisclosed hand, as did Negreanu on the button.

Haxton then raised the pot to 100,000 from the small blind and it went heads-up to the flop. The preflop aggressor bet 70,000 and received a call before checking the turn. Negreanu, who had also picked up a flush draw to go along with the nut straight he turned, bet half-pot, or 200,000. This is where some were critical of his play (more on this in a bit).

The bet didn’t convince his opponent to fold and then the flush came through on the river without pairing the board. According to Negreanu, if the {7-Hearts} appeared on the river instead of the {8-Hearts}, he wouldn’t have paid off 800,000 as he knew there was a shot he would have been up against a full house.

Did He Make the Right Play?

Daniel Negreanu poker

One of the criticisms from a couple poker players on Twitter was with the turn bet. Some argued that he should have bet the pot instead of half-pot. Those in that line of thinking said it would have likely forced Haxton off the pot. Negreanu disagreed.

A few followers suggested he never should have been in the hand in the first place, or at least folded to Haxton’s preflop raise after initially limping, to which he also disagreed. In the end, regardless of how correctly it was played, this is one of those hands that would leave a sting with just about anyone. Imagine the reaction if it were Phil Hellmuth who lost the pot.

PokerGO Tour PLO Series Update

The PokerGO Tour Pot-Limit Omaha series began its ninth and final event on Sunday — $2,200 5-Card Pot-Limit Omaha and played down to a winner before wrapping things up for the night.

Also on Sunday was the second day of Event #8: $25,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship.

Guerra was the biggest star of the series, winning both Event #5 ($10,000 PLO) for $220,400 and Event #7 ($15,000 PLO Bounty) for $228,000. He had just $500,000 in career live tournament cashes prior to the series, according to Hendon Mob. He’s now fifth on the 2023 PokerGO Tour leaderboard. Perhaps the pot-limit Omaha community has a new star-in-the-making on its hands.

Full List of PokerGO PLO Series Winners

  Event # Tournament Winner Prize
  1 $5,000 PLO Daniyal Iqbal $160,000
  2 $5,000 PLO Bounty Allen Shen $91,290
  3 $10,000 PLO Nacho Barbero $234,000
  4 $10,000 PLO Hi-Lo Sean Troha $200,000
  5 $10,000 PLO Lautaro Guerra $220,400
  6 $10,000 Mixed PLO/PLO 8/Big O Jim Collopy $206,400
  7 $15,000 PLO Bounty Lautaro Guerra $228,000
  8 $25,000 PLO Championship X $518,750
  9 $2,200 5-Card PLO X $43,700

*Image courtesy of PokerGO.

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Holly Holm vs. Yana Santos UFC on ESPN 43 Odds, Time, and Prediction

Holly Holm vs. Yana Santos UFC on ESPN 43 Odds, Time, and Prediction

Both Holly Holm and Yana Santos (nee Kunitskaya) lost the last time they fought. Another similarity is that neither fighter has fought for a while, possibly not being in their best physical shape. Holm had some kidney problems, while Santos (relatively) recently gave birth.

Holly Holm vs. Yana Santos Odds

Moneyline Odds
Holly Holm -220
Yana Santos +168

*Odds taken from FanDuel on Monday, March 20, 2023.

When, Where, and How to Watch?

  • Place: AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas
  • Date: Saturday, March 25, 2023
  • Time: ~10:00 PM ET
  • How to Watch: ESPN

41-Year-Old Holly Holm Is Not Giving Up

Holly’s been fighting professionally since 2002. In the early days of her MMA career, she also ventured into other combat sports, namely kickboxing, and boxing. And she was very successful in those. For example, she was the boxing world champion at several points in the early 2010s.

She was also the champ in the UFC, winning the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title in 2015 after beating Ronda Rousey by KO. Since then, things started going downhill for her. After the win over Rousey, she went on to win 4 and lose 6 UFC fights.

Her most recent fight saw her lose to Ketlen Vieira by a split decision in the main event on the fight card. The bout lasted for full 25 minutes, but Holm who was 40 at the time looked well physically. This came as a surprise to some, considering that The Preacher’s Daughter had a layoff of more than a year before that due to kidney problems.

Yana Santos Fighting Her First Fight Since Giving Birth

Last April, Yana and Thiago Santos became parents. Some 11 months after giving birth, the Russian fighter is coming back inside the Octagon. The last time she was there she got destroyed by Irene Aldana in round 1 (TKO), which was her sixth career loss.

She also has one no contest in her portfolio, along with 14 wins. Half of those wins happened by KO/TKO, but we just can’t see her doing the same to Holm. Instead, Yana’s only road to victory on Saturday is to try and win by points.

The bad news for her is that her strongest weapon (striking) is just not good enough to beat Holm. She could try to take Holm to the ground, but she’s not great at wrestling/grappling. The proof is that her takedown accuracy is just 53%. Meanwhile, Holm’s TD defense stands at 78%.

Holly Holm vs. Yana Santos Prediction

Holm is superior to Santos in pretty much everything. The only advantage the Russian has is that she’s eight years younger. Still, this doesn’t mean she’s is better shape than her American rival. And even if she is, it might not matter much as the co-main event of UFC San Antonio is a three-round fight. Even at 41, Holm looks capable of fighting for 15 minutes.

Pick: Holly Holm to win by decision

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The Star Confesses Sale of Gambling Chips with Credit Cards

GGPoker Became Title Sponsor of the Dublin Poker Festival

A probe into Star Entertainment’s operations last year uncovered deficiencies and alleged ties to criminal activities such as money laundering. The investigation, led by Adam Bell SC, which became popular as the Bell Review, sought to determine the eligibility of The Star to hold a license.

In light of this, the NSW Independent Casino Control Commission (NICC) claimed that the operator isn’t suitable to hold a license. Still, The Star was given a chance to remedy the situation and ensure its compliance with the regulatory framework and license conditions.

Besides that hurdle, The Star was slapped with a hefty fine of AU$100 million. This happened back in December after the Queensland government claimed the operator breached multiple laws. Before that, in NSW, the operator was served with another fine along with the appointment of a special manager.

To make matters worse, now, the operator pleaded guilty to further breaches, this time, related to offering the purchase of gambling chips with credit cards. A statement released by Queensland Government’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman, claimed that the operator pleaded guilty to breaching the regulations by allowing the use of credit cards for gambling chip purchases.

Operator Admits to Multiple Breaches

The breaches for which The Star Entertainment pleaded guilty were a total of seven. The Minister for Justice revealed that the charges related to a breach of the Casino Control Act of 1982, Section 66. Under this section of the gambling act, the purchase of gambling chips via a credit card is prohibited.

Star Entertainment, operators of Brisbane’s Treasury Casino and the Star Gold Coast, has pleaded guilty to seven charges under the Casino Control Act 1982. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the charges related to Section 66 of the Act which prohibits the purchase of gambling chips with a credit card,

reads a statement released by the Queensland government

According to the latest announcement, The Star Entertainment’s operators, the Star Gold Coast and Brisbane’s Treasury casino admitted to the breaches. The breaches of the regulations occurred within two different time periods: between June 2, 2017, and December 29, 2018, as well as between March 23, 2022, and April 2, 2022. 

In its statement, the Queensland government noted that it remains committed to ensuring that all gambling companies operate in line with the existing regulations. At the same time, the government authorities noted that casino operators need to adhere to the highest standards of integrity to ensure the trust of the public. Although the guilty plea was announced Monday, the sentencing is set for June 2, 2023.

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DoradoBet to Serve as FedeFut’s Sponsor

DoradoBet to Serve as FedeFut’s Sponsor

DoradoBet, a leading Latin American sportsbook and online casino gaming operator, has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Federación Nacional de Fútbol (FedeFut), Guatemala’s national soccer federation. As a result, the gambling company will commit to supporting the sports federation and its national teams.

Under the agreement, DoradoBet will sponsor all national teams. This, according to José Osorio, DoradoBet’s general manager, includes the women’s soccer teams which have been growing at a very rapid pace.

As agreed by DoradoBet and the FedeFut, the gambling company’s logo will appear on the national teams’ players’ jerseys, spreading awareness of the brand.

The agreement with the betting operator was announced at a recent press conference. FedeFut players and staff attended the event where the sponsorship was officialized. Representatives of the federation welcomed DoradoBet as a sponsor, saying that they are glad to be working with the company.

FedeFut Is Happy to Have DoradoBet on Board

Max Solorzano, FedeFut’s assistant general administrative secretary, shared that his team is delighted by the opportunity to work with national and international companies that truly care for Guatemala soccer.

Solorzano expressed his desire to work with such companies to continue building the future of Guatemalan soccer teams. He concluded that the FedeFut is committed to supporting teams across young and old categories.

Meanwhile, José Osorio, the general manager of DoradoBet Guatemala, said that he just as is excited about this partnership. Osorio noted that DoradoBet already has an extensive presence in Latin American sports and is glad to join the FedeFut as a sponsor.

Osorio said that being able to sponsor the federation fills his team with hope as it will help them contribute to the national sport.

Other LATAM Gaming News

In other LATAM-oriented news, several operators just banded together to form the Brazilian Institute of Responsible Gaming. The operators in question are bet365, Flutter, Betsson and Betway, who will work together with all sectors of society to promote safe and responsible gambling.

This follows another major development for Brazil, which saw the formation of the Brazilian Association for the Defense of Sport Integrity, the country’s first sports integrity body. The ABRADIE, as it is known, already has the backing of several high-profile sports betting operators.

In terms of agreements, Novibet recently penned a Brazil-facing deal with Fortaleza. Earlier this month, XSA Sports secured a content boost from Pragmatic Play. At around the same time, NuxGame solidified its LATAM presence through an agreement with Monnet.

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Adrien Sanz Crowned 2023 Marrakech Poker Open Main Event Champion (MAD 770,000/€72,200)

Adrien Sanz Crowned 2023 Marrakech Poker Open Main Event Champion (MAD 770,000/€72,200)

After four days of poker action in the beautiful Es Saadi Resort, Adrien Sanz was crowned the champion of the 55th edition of the Marrakech Poker Open 15,000 MAD Main Event.

Sanz defeated long-time player Karim Lehoussine in heads-up play to collect the first-place prize of 770,000 Moroccan Dirhams (€72,200).

Sanz, who started the day with a comfortable chip lead, managed to stay ahead for the entire final day. Thierry Gogniat’s third-place finish confirmed a full French podium after he collected 380,000 MAD (€34,650).

The only Moroccan player of the final table, Mostafa Boukri, had to settle for fifth for 212,000 MAD (€19,330), while Swiss Dinesh Alt secured a seventh-place finish after bagging the runners-up spoils from the MPO High Roller. Rosalie Petit, who won a WSOP ring in Marrakech in January, made the final table but was the first to depart.

Final Table Results

1 Adrien Sanz France 770,000 €70,200
2 Karim Lehoussine France 530,000 €48,320
3 Thierry Gogniat France 380,000 €34,650
4 Nuno Correia Portugual 280,000 €25,530
5 Mostafa Boukri Morocco 212,000 €19,330
6 Thierry Morel France 166,500 €15,200
7 Dinesh Alt Switzerland 134,000 €12,220
8 Jorge Bouquet Portugual 107,000 €9,850
9 Rosalie Petit France 86,000 €7,840

Winner’s Interview

The victory came with some emotions for the French professional living in Marrakech. Sanz, who most plays Spin and Go tournaments online, captured his first major title in a major event, and in a place that is close to his heart.

“In the few Main Events I’ve played live, I haven’t had much success, so I feel grateful today. But for two years, I have had consistent results. I was the Mystery KO event runner-up in this festival and won the Progressive Bounty the next day, so I’m pleased about my week! ” Sanz told PokerNews.

“I play all the events here, even the monthly regular tournaments. I feel at home. And it’s also my first big final table, with my friends around; it’s a great feeling,” he added.

Sanz won a decisive hand during the heads-up when he called all-in with two pair on the turn while Lehoussine who had hit a flush. Sanz found one of the four outs he needed on the river to make a full house and jumped to a massive chip lead.

“I was in shock, but even with a 2% chance of winning, I still believed in it. I made a mistake in that spot, but you still need luck sometimes,” said Sanz.

Adrien Sanz and Karim Lehoussine
Adrien Sanz and Karim Lehoussine

Final Day Action

At 2 p.m. local time, just ten of the 295 players returned to the felt, with each of them already guaranteed 68,000 MAD (€7,840). Most eyes were already on Sanz from the start, as well as experienced player Boukri and Nuno Correia, who started in second and third place, respectively.

Boukri started the eliminations by sending Said Basri into the rail in 11th place to set up the official final table. Sanz then continued to extend his lead by eliminating Petit and Jorge Bouquet. Alt followed them out in seventh place after he shoved preflop with ace-queen, but Boukri’s jack-ten paired up on the river was enough to eliminate Alt.

Rosalie Petit
Rosalie Petit

After the exit of Thierry Morel, Boukri ended his run in fifth when his pocket sevens crashed into Lehoussine’s pair of kings.

Not long before the dinner break, Sanz took care of busting Portuguese player Nuno Correia in fourth place. Correia three-bet shoved with pocket eights while Sanz held pocket tens.

The three-handed play lasted two hands, as Gogniat three-bet shoved in the small blind with a pair of queens, while Lehoussine had pocket kings.

The heads-up lasted more than one hour, and Lehoussine even came back close to Sanz in chips despite his terrible bad beat after Sanz hit his aforementioned four-outer. However, Lehoussine called the four-bet shove from Sanz with ace-six while his opponent held ace-jack and found no help on the board to secure a second-place finish for €48,320.

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Svend Aage Kirk: “Protecting Customers Requires a More Diligent Effort From the Operators Themselves”

Can the Gambling Industry Be Sustainable?

More than 30 individual US markets combined to generate nearly $100 billion in total wagers for the 2022 calendar year, yielding more than $7.5 billion in revenue for operators.

And a measurable increase in problem gambling. While legalization and regulation have provided a new layer of protection for bettors, they’ve also brought increased exposure to danger.

Data from these young markets almost universally demonstrate an unmissable rise in the number of people who seek help for their gambling behavior.

Operators Pushing Customers Too Hard?

Some of the blame falls directly on operators for what can be summed up as bad behavior.

Advertising has utterly boiled over, for starters, with the largest operators spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on traditional and digital marketing. Alliances between sportsbooks and teams/leagues are further helping to stitch gambling into the fabric of American sports – even in the realm of college sports where the on-campus audience is largely underage. At least one major US operator has already faced fines for marketing directly to university students.

These same sportsbooks are meanwhile giving away hundreds of millions more dollars in free and boosted bets, perhaps the simplest tool to entice customers into playing more and playing more often.

It’s easy to see why this is a dangerous combination for customers, particularly for those who are already vulnerable to addiction or other forms of harm.

The US Isn’t Alone in Its Indulgence of Gambling

The US isn’t the first jurisdiction to reckon with the process of regulating this industry from scratch. And these circumstances have historically created conditions that are ripe for public outcry and the sort of fear that forces policymakers to intervene with a strong hand.

Once again, over-advertising seems to be the low-hanging fruit.

France has attacked this issue head-on, starting with a stern warning from the regulator ANJ in 2021. That notice eventually spawned a new set of rules that now govern the tone of advertisements and cap bonuses for customers. Similar reevaluations have recently taken place in Holland, Belgium, and Germany among others. The established gambling industry in the UK even appears to be on the verge of a sweeping reform pending recommendations from a long-awaited white paper.

Looking back, these forced corrections were inevitable.

Given an inch, operators have largely taken a mile in an effort to carve out a market share that’s big enough to keep their shareholders happy. The race to acquire customers has turned into a full-on sprint, and the corresponding increase in addiction has exposed inadequacies in the current support system. People are being harmed.

The US isn’t alone, but the fact that there’s so much history to learn from makes this overindulgence from operators especially troubling. It’s time to stop looking the other way.

US Regulators Wisening Up, Cracking Down

The conversation around a policy is heating up in the US too, and regulators are certainly starting to pay more attention.

Two states (Maryland and Colorado) have so far revised their original laws to disallow promotional deductions. It’s not a massive change for operators, but it does remove some of the tax incentives for those who overspend on promos.

And the efforts to change the landscape won’t stop there.

Read between the lines of this quote from Dan Hartman, the director of the Colorado Division of Gaming: “What we are seeing is a lot of ads, and we are starting to get a bit of feedback from legislators and other folks that there is too much.”

Coming from a regulator, that’s more than just a complaint. It’s an early warning. And it’s easy to foresee a stronger crackdown if the current trends continue unabated. Some states are already considering more drastic intervention, for that matter. And federal lawmakers have even floated the idea of an outright ban on all sports betting ads across television and radio.

Protecting Customers Requires a Better Effort from Operators

It is imperative for the industry to impose some self-corrections. For a few reasons:

–           To provide real protections for customers
–           To avoid a severe regulatory crackdown
–           To build a more sustainable business

That first point serves as a foundation for the others.

Protecting customers requires a more diligent effort from the operators themselves, who represent the first line of defense against addiction and other forms of gambling-related harm. It requires more than compliance. It requires building real relationships with customers and making decisions that are in their best interest rather than the operators’ own. It requires taking steps to make the world a better, more sustainable place outside of gambling too. It requires a long-term, wide-lens view.

If operators don’t look out for their customers and the future of this industry, then regulators will.

Don’t take our word for it; listen to New Jersey’s top regulator David Rebuck: “If the industry does not control itself, the government will step in and certainly create standards that they may not want.”

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Hofstra Opposes Nassau Coliseum Site Casino Project

Hofstra Opposes Nassau Coliseum Site Casino Project

Hofstra University wrote an open letter concerning the proposed construction of a Las Vegas Sands casino resort at the Nassau Coliseum site in New York. The university highlighted the educational significance of the area and said that it opposes the project because of its proximity to numerous learning institutions.

Hofstra Highlighted Its Activity in the Area

“We, Trustees of Hofstra University, oppose Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s proposal to build a casino in the area surrounding the Nassau Coliseum on Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County, Long Island,” the letter begins.

Hofstra noted that it has occupied its current site for almost nine decades and has grown from a liberal arts college to a big university with thousands of students. It employs around 2,500 people and is a major economic driver for the town, country and state, the letter says.

Hofstra added that it is а nationally recognized arboretum and the only university to have hosted three US presidential debates in a row. The university also spoke about its community-oriented programs and activities in detail.

Hofstra students compromise around a quarter of the 40,000 students in the proximity of the Nassau Hub.

The University Opposes the Casino

According to Hofstra, the Nassau Hub is not an appropriate location for a casino because of its proximity to various schools and universities. It added that there are local communities that should not be exposed to the increased risks that gambling may attract.

The Nassau Hub is an entirely inappropriate location for a casino. It is surrounded by educational institutions from preschool through graduate school, and a diversity of suburban communities that should not be exposed to the increased traffic congestion, crime, economic harm to local businesses, and other negative impacts that a casino development would likely bring.

Hofstra open letter excerpt

The Hofstra trustees believe that there are many locations in and around New York City that are not so close to learning institutions and would be better sites for a future casino.

The university is not the first entity to oppose the casino as locals remain divided on the topic. Garden City leaders, for example, took a formal stance against the construction of a casino at the Nassau Coliseum site.

New York’s Governor, David Paterson, on the other hand, believes that people’s concerns are overblown. According to him, few account for the fact that the proposed property would be a casino and hospitality venue that will not be entirely focused on gambling.

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