Features sponsored by Red Tiger 

ImageTomorrow it will be 270 days since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was signed into law by the President of the United States, and the deadline by which the Secretary of the Federal Reserve System, in consultation with the Attorney General, must set down regulations to identify and block restricted online gambling transactions.

ImageState owned gaming companies are paying part of their profit to public interest groups. These contributions are now being effected in some markets by an increased number of private operators, and the public interest groups are starting to cry foul.

ImageWe have reviewed nine of the largest online gaming operators to see how they have been affected by the signing of the UIGEA and what countermeasures they have taken to ensure growth in 2007.

ImageAs demonstrated this week by PartyGaming's profit warning, many online gaming operators in the industry are facing increasing problems maximising their profitability as a result of mounting costs, particularly in relation to customer acquisitions.

ImageFollowing the introduction of the UIGEA in October 2006, most online gaming companies withdrew from the US market, leaving US players with few legal alternatives as to where to play their favourite games.

ImageThe latest developments in EC law have answered some questions but also given rise to a few new ones. Have the state owned companies found a new way to protect their monopolies?

ImageGoogle, Yahoo, MSN and Ebay represent the big four online. Wherever in the world you are, chances are you are familiar with the names of these giants of online media. These brands which once grew in relative obscurity online are now as recognisable in the real world as McDonalds or Coca Cola.

ImageOn March 16th 2007 the Russian Sports Minister Vyacheslav Fetisov announced that poker has been classified as a sport in Russia. This is to a large extent the result of intense lobbying activities from Dmitry Lesnoy, President of the Russian Sport Poker Federation.

Is 24hPoker's move to a single e-wallet, which allows customers access to more than one poker network, a recipe for success or an open door to leave the network?

24hPoker, owner of the B2B/24hNetwork announced in November 2006 that they would offer their customers the option to use rival poker networks through 24hPoker's e-wallet, a unique concept within the online gaming industry. The first network that they have signed such an agreement with is Boss Media's International Poker Network (IPN).

The concept comes from the founder and CEO Per Hildebrand, who in addition to his business interests is also one of the most highly rated poker players in Sweden, almost reaching the final table at the WSOP in 2005.

His logic behind the concept is that it is common practice for online poker players to play on more than one site, with the average player using three to four different sites. The problem with this practice is the need to transfer money from one site to another, back and forth between the different networks. In theory therefore, the common e-wallet will make it much easier for players that choose to play on 24hPoker, in addition to other networks. But what are the risks and what could be the potential benefits of such a service within the industry?

A problem that the B2B poker network currently faces is that of having sufficient player liquidity on the network. Since the mass withdrawal of the industry from the United States in October 2006, online gaming has become a much more competitive environment, particularly for the smaller poker networks, as competing operators fight for a smaller pool of customers.

By allowing their players to play on different poker networks, the biggest risk for 24hPoker is that the fragile level of liquidity may reduce as a result of players using rival networks and possibly remaining on other networks, which in turn could cause yet more players to leave in search of €˜the action'.

A benefit that 24hPoker can gain from the single e-wallet is from the perception that it looks after its customers needs, which could improve customer loyalty as well as generating referrals through word of mouth. There is also the possibility that they will be able to generate additional revenue from the fact that players are using their e-wallet rather than that of their competitors.

The common e-wallet was originally scheduled to launch in January 2007 and although delayed, plans still seem to be on track for a launch of the service in the near future.

Only time will tell whether this concept will pay off. There are many potential benefits, but with the network facing liquidity issues at this time, this is both brave and innovative, as well as a risky path for 24hPoker and the B2B poker network.

ImageOn July 1st 2007, smoking will be banned in all public and enclosed areas in England. But for some people, smoking goes along with gambling as eating popcorn goes with watching movies.

 

ImageAlthough the view of the European Commission will most likely be that online gambling should be legalised, and that no one should be allowed to have a monopoly on gambling purely due to a commercial interest, the approach on how to deal with online gaming has been quite different among the member states.

GIQ Magazine Digital Edition