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PokerStars Goes Live in Pennsylvania

Online poker has been one of the most anticipated pieces of the Keystone State’s expanded gambling plans. After months of waiting and several setbacks, the online poker industry is finally set to kick off with the launch of PokerStars’ online poker room. The poker operator which is best known as one of the world’s leading online poker operators will be starting off its Pennsylvanian operations with the launch of a toned-down version of its poker site. This is because the launch which is scheduled for November 4 will be a soft-launch and will, therefore, involve a few tests that will be overseen by the PGCB.

Licensed Under Mount Airy

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has already stated that its staff members are ready to oversee the test launch of an online gaming site. While the boar’s spokesperson did not reveal any specific details about the yet-to-be-launched online gambling operation, he did mention that the operation is licensed under Mount Airy Casino.

If you have been keeping an eye on the Keystone State gambling expansion, then you already know that Mount Airy is the official land-based casino partner of PokerStars.

Public Tests

The state’s gambling laws require all regulated operations to undergo a public test period before the official launch. During the test period, the regulator will be tasked with determining whether PokerStars is a good fit for the market and if it is it will be given the green light for a full launch. Some of the aspects that will be evaluated include the geolocation tools that are used by the operator as well as the fairness fo the games offered.

This test phase will last for two to three days after which the regulator will deliver a verdict regarding whether the operator can launch full operations or not. There is quite a bit of optimism that PokerStars will pass the tests. After all, it already has experience in the business and therefore it will certainly utilize this in the state. If all goes well, by next week Pennsylvanian poker enthusiasts will have full access to a robust and fully-featured online poker offering.

Is Mobile Gaming on the Way?

Unfortunately, there is no information suggesting that PokerStars is even thinking of a mobile poker app for the Pennsylvanian market. While the online poker site is definitely going to be responsive enough to work across a wide range of devices, mobile gaming has been gaining a lot of popularity in the state. More and more people are switching to available gambling apps and hopefully, there will be a mobile poker option. While there is no mention of the app and considering PokerStars’ history of starting things off with online gambling, it should not be long before something comes up. Keep your fingers crossed.

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MPN’s Closure and Its Impact on The Industry

Mid last month, Microgaming announced that the Microgaming Poker Network (MPN) would be closing permanently in either the second or third quarter of 2020. The MPN has been running for 16 years now and it has been serving a number of top poker rooms from all around the world. Despite this, Microgaming made the tough decision to pull the plug citing a number of issues that had cropped up.

On Friday, September 20, the Isle of Man-based gaming solutions provider issued a press release that confirmed the rumors pertaining to the closure of the network which had been floating around for weeks. The press released confirmed that the company had indeed made the decision to ax the Microgaming Poker Network. As it turns out, the decision was made after the intensive internal review. This review, in one way or the other, contributed to the conclusion that the MPN was no longer a fully viable venture in the current era.

According to Microgaming’s CEO John Coleman, the poker network model no longer fits into the company’s strategic vision for poker. There was no better time of the company to announce the closure of the network as it shifts its focus to “redistributing key resources and personnel across the business.”

Fortunately, the closure of the MPN does not mean that Microgaming is ending its relation to the game. Instead, the move is intended to assist the company to follow a new strategic direction for the poker vertical. Details of their next move in this regard will be released in due course.

Lessons Learnt

Needless to say, the Microgaming Poker Network was arguably one of the healthiest and most profitable networks during its heyday. While its traffic did not match other big poker sites such as partypoker or PokerStars, it was able to hold its own. This was very impressive. Unfortunately, in recent years, the poker network has been having a bit of trouble especially with regards to traffic.

Times have changed and it seems Microgaming is only trying to adjust to this fact. As mentioned earlier, the company still has some very big plans for poker but it will be pursuing the venture using a totally different strategy. These are very hard times for veteran poker networks and therefore it is important for companies to be very innovative about the products they offer.

It is likely that the Microgaming Poker Network will not be the only poker network that has faced some of the difficulties highlighted here. That said, it is going to be very interesting to see how they will adjust to the new reality.

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New Digital Currencies on the Horizon

The world seems to be slowly warming up to the idea of digital currencies. Already, there have been a couple of institution-backed efforts to introduce newer kinds of digital currencies such as Facebook’s Libra and while many of them are yet to take off in major ways, there is a lot of enthusiasm about them.

Manny Pacquiao Releases His Own Cryptocurrency

Philippine celebrity boxing champion turned politician and singer Manny Pacquiao has recently launched his own cryptocurrency with the support of a number of private investors including Michael Owen who is an ex-Liverpool and England soccer star and Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling family. He is clearly very serious about this token.

Referred to as the ‘Pac’, the digital currency or token has already been listed on n Singapore’s Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX) which means that fans can buy merchandise and interact with the Filipino boxer on various social media platforms. Jeffrey Lin, the Founder and CEO of the Global Crypto Offering Exchange (GCOX), has been quite welcoming to the idea and has even said that Pac will not only raise money but will also build a token ecosystem.

As it turns out, Manny is not the only one who has had his sights set on the world of crypto. American singer-songwriter Jason Derulo is also reportedly planning to launch his own cryptocurrency on GCOX.

China’s State-Backed Digital Currency Coming Soon

Meanwhile, China is also reportedly on the verge of launching its own cryptocurrency sometime in the next few months. When it launches, the new currency will initially be issued to a total of seven institutions. These institutions will include the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, Alibaba and Tencent; and Union Pay, an association of Chinese banks – they will be tasked with dispersing the cryptocurrency to the over 1 billion Chinese citizens as well as to any party doing business in the country’s fiat currency.

Speaking on behalf of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), Mu Changchun, its deputy director, has revealed that the new digital currency will use a two-tier system. The first tier will connect the Chinese central bank with commercial banks while the second tier will connect the commercial banks to the retail market.

It is, however, worth noting that the currency will not be a ‘cryptocurrency’, at least not in the traditional sense. A report by Binance states that central authorities will be able to gather information and unlike other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, it will be “fully non-anonymous”.

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Pbet to Redefine Gambling with Its Blockchain Solution

Its been over a decade since the blockchain, as we know it, came to be. In that period, technology has proven that it is a useful tool for a vast range of applications beyond digital currencies and one of the sectors that have embraced it is the gambling industry. It has been said on more than one instance that the very dynamic blockchain technology is set to completely redefine the gaming industry – this is already happening.

Pbet, a rising crypto-powered gambling platform is one of the companies that is championing the quest to “blockchainize” the gambling industry. That said, it is easy to see that the casino is much more than a mere cryptocurrency casino. The gaming company has come up with a complete blockchain-based crypto-based gaming platform that is set to spark up a revolution of sorts in the gambling industry. In essence, with the new platform, Pbet is addressing some of the most user-oriented concerns when it comes to online gambling – these are fairness, transparency, safety, and security as well as affordability.

Pbet’s innovative and revolutionary idea is a blockchain crypto-based Unified Gaming Platform and its intended to create a convergence between land-based casinos and online gambling sites. All this will be added while combining both the players, the casinos and the Pbet platform itself with each set to benefit from added value.

“We are driven by the mission to combine all 3 pillars- physical casinos, players and Pbet- through our disruptive blockchain crypto-based Omnichannel Gaming platform business model.  Our state-of-the-art platform is strategically designed to benefit both the players and casinos through blockchain technology”, stated a Pbet spokesperson.

The Perks

To begin with, Pbet’s new blockchain solution is set to give the players even more reason to trust the gaming platform and this will be achieved through the transparency of information. This will help to address trust issues which have always been a major concern for players across all major online gaming platform despite the operator’s efforts to address the issues.

Fairness aside, players have also complained about the slow nature of the payments at the casinos as well as the high transaction fees that they are charged. Pbet’s gaming platform will be addressing this issue by introducing a payment solution that will fix both of these problems – it will be fast, reliable and very affordable. Considering the tremendous improvements that have been made to blockchain technology, the users can expect near-instant transactions speeds.

Moreover, Pbet has also recently announced its Omni-Channel Pbet Reward Club. This will assist its partner casino to benefit from hospitality sectors in order to provide freebies which are meant to assist with player acquisition and retention.

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Is Facebook’s Libra The Future of Cryptocurrency?

Mid last month, Facebook finally revealed the details of Libra, its digital currency that will allow users to not only make purchases but also send money to each with close to zero costs. On paper, the cryptocurrency is a near perfect iteration of the concept of digital currencies especially because it bears many of the traits of ideal cryptocurrencies while at the same time being backed some of the top players in the financial sector. Yes, that is right. Libra will not be under the full control of Facebook – instead, the company will have just a single vote in the governance of the currency alongside other members of the Libra Association who will include Uber and Visa among others, each of whom have invested no less than $10 million in the project.

The Libra Association will be responsible for the promotion of the open-sourced Libra Blockchain and eh developer platform with the Move programming language in addition to signing up various businesses to accept Libra for various payments. Libra users will be able to use pseudonyms to buy or cash out their Libra both online and at grocery stores after which they can choose to spend it using third-party wallets apps or the Calibra wallet that was created by Facebook themselves.

What This Means for Bitcoin

Ever since it was announced, Libra has generated a tremendous amount of hype and this makes it less of a competition for other digital currencies like bitcoin. In fact, the international debate over Libra has, in a way, elevated the conversation around digital currencies as a whole and since bitcoin is the most popular one, a lot of attention has been shifted towards it.

Furthermore, regardless of how everything turns out for Facebook’s Libra, it will be a confirmation that blockchain-based solutions will definitely have a lot to do with the future of currency.

Lawmakers Ask Facebook to Freeze Libra Project

Barely a month after its announcement, Facebook’s Libra seems to have finally met its first hurdle after United States lawmakers formally called on the company to halt all development of the project. The House Democrats who sent the letters said that the company will need to wait until both Congress and the regulators get time to formally investigate the possible risks that the digital currency poses to the world’s financial system.

“If products and services like these are left improperly regulated and without sufficient oversight, they could pose systemic risks that endanger U.S. and global financial stability. These vulnerabilities could be exploited and obscured by bad actors, as other cryptocurrencies, exchanges, and wallets have been in the past,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee wrote in the letter.

The Facebook executives have not responded to the letter but when they do it is speculated that they will be able to able to offer clarifications some very important issues especially with regards to the potential risks to data privacy. It is even more serious in this case since Facebook has a rather skewed reputation when it comes to data protection.

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A Review of Blockchain Poker: Is This It?

Online gambling has been around for a very long time now but the level of innovation in the sector puts many other industries to shame. This is mostly because the gambling industry has shown time and time again that it is more than willing to try out new and risky ideas in a bid to appeal to the newer generation of players while at the same time cashing in on new gaming verticals.

Some of the areas where online poker and online casinos have been focusing on in the past couple of years include digital currencies and blockchain technology. At this point in time, it would be an understatement to say that the blockchain has had its fair share of success with online gambling. In fact, the technology has solved so many issues that previously plagued online gambling activities – these include such aspects as biased gameplay, unfairness by some operators, lag timings and even slow transactions, all of which have now been improved significantly.

That said, more and more blockchain-powered gaming applications are beginning to rise and Blockchain Poker is one of the more interesting ones that players will come across on the internet. Not only is this online platform a great place to try out your luck at gambling but it is also a near-perfect version of the older generation of online casinos. In other words, it delivers on some very vital promises. For instance, all the transactions are secured, not biased in any way and are very secure.

What It Offers

Transaction speeds aside, Blockchain Poker gives poker players the opportunity to play using bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin SV (BSV) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). In essences, the blockchain-powered online gambling platform was “built to be a fun, easy way to help get more people using Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Bitcoin SV (BSV)!”

Unsurprisingly, while this platform is geared towards giving poker players the convenience of playing on an improved version of an online gambling site, the aim of the project is to facilitate further growth of the crypto community and ecosystem. What better way to do this than by showing people just how useful blockchain applications can be?

More Features

One of the most notable features that Blockchain Poker offers is the ability to instantly enter into No-Limit Texas Hold’em cash games or tournament using bitcoin. For these games, anonymity is guaranteed since the players are not required to sign up. The platform further award free satoshis to new players.

Moreover, Blockchain Poker also offers some very lucrative rake caps and rake backs thus giving the players a better chance to build their bankroll.

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DAO.Casino to Build Gambling 3.0 Blockchain with MixBytes

DAO.Casino, a renowned blockchain-based gambling protocol has recently announced its plans to develop their own blockchain which will become the heart of the DAO.Casino ecosystem. The protocol is will be partnering with MixBytes in order to develop a unified solution for building the so-called gambling 3.0 blockchain network.

Why Now?

The adoption of blockchain and digital currencies has been in the rise over the past few months, a situation that, in a way, proves that the crypto market is moving past the bearish trends of 2018 that almost completely ruined the crypto markets. To that effect, there have been a plethora of investments into the decentralized ledger technology (DLT) space with the number of start-up growing almost exponentially – this was mostly thanks to the enthusiasm of venture capitalists who have invested no less than $5 million.

Now, there are a number of different industries that have come under the wings of the innovative DLTs and this has created even more optimism in as far as the future of DLTs is concerned. As expected, online gambling is one of the industries that have welcomed the new technology with a number of crypto- and blockchain-based virtual gambling platforms mushrooming on a regular basis. This is not surprising especially because of how open and welcoming the online gaming industry is to new and innovative technologies.

It, therefore, goes without saying that there has never been a better time for various industries to capitalize on and expand various blockchain applications.

DAO.Casino’s and Mixbytes’ Plans

The partnership between the two companies is now primarily meant to address some of the biggest challenges that currently face the online gaming industry – these issues include the lack of trust and doubts regarding the security of funds and the DLT applications offer solutions by bringing transparency which, in turn, eliminates the possibility of any form of manipulation.

By partnering with MixBytes, DAO.Casino will now have access to resources such as more high-level experts taking part in the “creation of a brighter future for the gambling industry”. As per the terms of the partnership agreement, MixBytes will be providing DAO.Casino with thorough “consulting and collaborate to create the DAO.Casino Blockchain, featuring all the necessary technologies to ensure the future prosperity of decentralized gambling, as finality, random number generator, high throughput, low latency and more.”

Blockchain technology continues to take center-stage in a number of global business and these kinds of developments do not show any signs of slowing down anytime so. For companies like MixBytes and DAO.Casino that have already realized the potential of such applications, it might be much easier to get to the mainstream market when the time is right and these applications finally blow up in the mainstream market.

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Online Crypto Sportsbook and Gambling Platform Goes Beta

Wagerr, a new generation online cryptocurrency sportsbook and gambling platform has recently opened access to its 3.0 testnet in private beta, that is, this is now available to a small group of customers – 50 to be more precise. The expansion will allow the core group of valued users within the crypto community to test the company’s new 3.0 mainnet fork before it is finally released.

Wagerr’s new version 3.0 upgrade includes a complete redesign of the website interface and the backend betting protocol – these are meant to not only improve scalability but to also assist in making the overall system much more efficient than it was before.

More About Wagerr

Wagerr is a decentralized online gambling platform that touts itself as the blockchain for betting. The platform uses its native WGR token to facilitate payments made within the Wagerr ecosystem thus providing its users with fast, extremely affordable and effortless payouts – the token is a proof-of-stake coin which uses coin “weight” and a randomization system to calculate the chance of rewards staking. To provide its users with the highly secure and fair betting services it boasts of, Wagerr utilizes various forms of blockchain technology including master nodes and smart contracts. In addition to that, the gaming platform has recently made significant upgrades to its Oracle Masternode system.

Oracle master nodes use Application Specific Smart Contracts (ASSC) to ensure both stability and security on the network and this, in turn, provides platforms such as Wagerr with a secure and decentralized network that assists in keeping the sportsbooks updated while also verifying the bets made through the smart contracts. Moreover, the system includes a revenue model that allows the customers to make a bit of additional income through the Wager platform by becoming one of the masternodes on the Oracle system.

Lightning Spin Becomes First-Ever LApp to Sell

In other stories, Rui Gomes, the creator of Lightning Spin which is one of the pioneering Bitcoin Lightning Network’s pioneering lightning applications (Lapps) also recently announced that he was selling it. With the Lapp players “could pay 6¢ for a single spin, (1 BTC was around $6,000 back then) and withdraw your winnings in seconds — something that would be impossible with the fiat system and would be increasingly difficult on Bitcoin’s base layer.”

While very little details have been disclosed about the buyer of the gaming app, Gomes assured fans of the game that the new owners shared his vision and therefore they can expect the same features and perks as they did before.

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SwC Poker: The World’s First True Bitcoin-Only Poker Game

As much as the crypto buzz may have dwindled a little over the last few months, there are still tons of innovative ideas being floated around and implemented in a bid to get both blockchain and digital currencies to be massively adopted. The use-cases have grown immensely but there is still a lot to be done in order to propel further growth which means that the industry needs all the help it can get. Fortunately, one of the industries that have been taking the concept of bitcoin and blockchain very seriously has been the gambling industry.

However, despite all the innovations in the crypto-gambling scene, most operators have been forced to keep one foot out of the fold – even though several online gambling websites have integrated crypto onto their platforms, very few of them have completely tokenized their services. Now, SwC Poker is changing the narrative by becoming the very first gambling service provider to go all in on bitcoin gambling with the tag line “No Banking, Only Bitcoin”.

Bitcoin 3.0

Launched in March 2015 following the shutdown of SealsWithClubs over some ethical issues, SwC Poker builds upon its predecessor’s ethos as well as data which included usernames and krill amounts. This basically means that some of the things that the site focuses on are anonymity, fast cashouts, and, of course, significantly low rakes. The concept of decentralization is also very important to the internet-based organization which has its server geographically distributed across the US hence its popularity among crypto enthusiasts and online poker players.

Moreover, in November last year, the company relaunched the amazing “Bitcoin Poker 3.0” and since then its customers have been treated to one of the most stable online poker experiences. Regardless of whichever device or operating system you may be using, the poker experience will be nothing short of exceptional.

Not only is the site now accessible from virtually anywhere in the world, but is also much easier to register on it and begin playing. As expected, in addition to a robust web-based client, the online poker platform also offers the users the luxury of downloading platform-specific software and apps – the experience is, fortunately, streamlined across all of the devices.

To register, all that is required is an email address but even though the site puts a lot of emphasis on anonymity, it also offers two-factor authentication for some important actions like making withdrawal or logging in.

Some of the other features that players should look forward to including 24/7 freerolls, a number of lucrative tournaments as well as the recently introduced Bad Beat Jackpot – the latter is a no-limit hold’em cash game that builds a jackpot fund using the normal rake amounts.

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Is BTC Gambling Still a Lucrative Investment Opportunity?

Bitcoin and digital currencies, in general, have become quite appealing as business prospects which was not the case just a couple of months back. Despite recent declines in the overall value of most digital currencies, the crypto industry is on a rather consistent upward trend. In many ways, the industry has seemingly gotten to the point where it can be said to be ripe for investment and exploration – a number of these are already underway. This is especially true for the gambling industry which is among the very first industries to adopt various crypto-related innovations. If history is anything is to go by, then this is a sign that crypto will be vital in the quest to boost returns for the gaming industry.

What 2019 Has in Store

Well, according to a number of experts, 2019 is going to be the year of next level application of bitcoin, and other digital currencies, in the gambling market. These projections mainly rely on the trends and forecasts for both markets that indicate several extensive changes that will come into effect by the second quarter of the year. This steady growth trend is expected to go on for the next two years with the areas expected to see the most changes being mobile gaming, sports betting and live online gaming.

Online casinos and online poker operators stand to reap the most from the integration of crypto technology and mainstream consumer technology. The trends indicated by these projections and forecasts are going to peak in 2019 which means that we might actually get to see fully-fledged applications taking advantage of the untapped potential of the crypto market. That said, it is safe to conclude that despite the ups and downs of the cryptocurrency space, it was always bound to rise above all that.

Blockchain Poker Tournaments

Last year we got to see the very first blockchain poker tournament that highlighted the three-day World Crypto Conference and was hosted by Las Vegas-based Aria casino. The tournament brought together live poker action that was powered by blockchain technology, making it the first to show off the full potential of blockchain and crypto technology in the gambling space. Poker players should expect more of these in 2019.

Prior to the inaugural blockchain poker tournament, there were already a number of established online poker brands including Virtue Poker that were already using decentralized smart contracts to manage their data. Even though the technology is still far from being perfected, players have grown to love the idea of their data and gaming application being managed by decentralized platforms primarily because the technology helps in reducing the possibility of site fixing and the use of poker bots.