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LOTTO QUEBEC LOOKS OUTWARDS
Loto Quebec, which operates online gambling facilities for the Quebec province in Canada, is looking at the possibilities of contracting in international online poker providers, according to an interview published in the Huffington Post.
Lottery spokesperson Marie-Claude Rivet told the publication that the possibility of licensing large, reputable and well established companies was being considered, and hinted that preliminary talks have involved Amaya Gaming, the prospective new owners of Pokerstars' parent group Rational.
The rationale behind the move appears to be a desire to ensure compliance by operators in the market in all respects with the Canadian Criminal Code.
Montreal-based Amaya seems to be the front-runner in the initiative, particularly in view of its Canadian - Quebec roots and its new prominence in the industry following the Rational Group acquisition deal.
The company already supplies e-gaming technology the lottery's online operation Espace-Jeux, which is delivering a positive business performance, albeit not on the scale of international rivals like 888 and Pokerstars.
BETSSON MOBILE PLAYER HITS $658,148 JACKPOT
Swedish online gambling software provider Net Entertainment has announced its first ever progressive mobile jackpot pay-out - a windfall of $658,148 hit by a Swedish player on Mega Fortune Touch at Betsson mobile casino on Saturday 25th January.
Mega Fortune Touch has reportedly been very well received by online punters with a taste for progressives. The game brings together a high degree of entertainment and excitement backed by good gameplay quality using the latest HTML5 technology to suite a wide variety of different mobile devices. And of course the opportunity to score seriously high pay-outs.
Net Entertainment CEO Per Eriksson said Thursday: "Mega Fortune Touch launched at the end of last year, and considering the high volume of players on this version, its great [that] we can already congratulate the very first winner. Our ability to offer our partners and their players a seamless Mega Fortune experience over multiple device channels adds further liquidity to the product."
PLANS TO FORM NEVADA - NEW JERSEY POKER PLAYER POOL?
The release Tuesday of MGM's second quarter results was notable for both improvements in performance in reducing losses, but also for comments made on the group's internet poker ambitions.
CEO Jim Murren told the Reuters news agency that MGM Resorts International is working with Nevada officials on a project that could lead to New Jersey and Nevada combining into one online poker market, establishing better player liquidity for both states.
"I think it's likely that in 2014 we'll see a compact between New Jersey and Nevada. We've really been focusing on Nevada's ability to compact with other states, create more liquidity," Murren said in an interview following the company's second-quarter earnings call.
The relatively small size of Nevadas online poker market, and the consequent risk that it may become saturated by too many operators, is a concern previously voiced by Murren and others.
Murren's opinion is shared by A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, who told Reuters:
"Nevada is striving to do what it can in regards to compacts. We do not jump into the fire without having done a lot of cautious research and study into the particulars of such agreements, and that phase is nearing completion," he said.
David Rebuck, who heads up the New Jersey regulator, seemed to support the idea of shared player liquidity, saying that New Jersey anticipates allowing for future growth and development in online gaming through compacts with like-minded states.
MGM's Murren told analysts on a call after the earnings announcement that the company has dedicated a team to its online efforts.
"We have a big team that is preparing us on a state-by-state basis and on the states that we believe will be the most productive for us. And we've been working with the state of Nevada on their efforts to compact with other states," he revealed.
"I think at least 40 of the 50 states are in some stage of debating this internally. The ones most visible are New Jersey, New York State, Illinois and California," he added.
"We're providing all the support they ask of us."
Reuters reports that analysts project Nevada's online gambling market will yield $50 million to $250 million in annual revenues. The larger and more populated New Jersey is pegged to generate $500 million to $1 billion yearly.
MGM and Boyd Gaming have partnered with European online gambling group Bwin.Party to provide software and other services to their online gaming efforts across the U.S., including in both New Jersey and Nevada.
Murren's earlier hopes for a federal online poker-only solution across the United States appears to have cooled a little; during his interview he admitted that whilst a federal regime remained his first prize, prospects for such an outcome were "very challenging".
He also conceded that rival Caesars Interactive Entertainment would be the next to launch intrastate online poker in Nevada, following in the footsteps of the Station Casino's Ultimate Poker operation, which was first to market over three months ago. But he added that MGM would be following Caesars.
MGM Resorts International posted a net loss of $93 million in Q2 2013, improving on the $145.5 million loss from the same period a year earlier.
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