Weekly Poker Roundup: February 26, 2018

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JaoPoker May or May Not Have Closed

Young online poker site JaoPoker has closed…maybe…we think…or not? According to messages sent to players, the online poker room has been shut down, but further information has come out – including a video from site ambassador Tam Nguyen – that indicates the site is down for maintenance to strengthen the site’s security. Of course, Nguyen isn’t very convincing in his video message.

In its (shutdown) message to customers, JaoPoker said it is moving its games to 64spades.com, though if I was a player, I cannot imagine depositing there. The only way I would create an account is if it meant I could retrieve my JaoPoker funds.

JaoPoker was largely reviled for its “unique” affiliate program which eschewed the traditional affiliate model in favor of an MLM-style scheme. Affiliates first had to pay $250 for the honor and then supposedly made money by signing up more affiliates “under” them and having those affiliates sign up even more affiliates under them. Affiliate revenues would flow up the ladder, with person on top reaping the benefits. Yeah, it’s as bad as it sounds.

Portugal Will Share Liquidity with Spain and France Very Soon

Portugal’s gaming regulator, the Serviço de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ), has published the framework for online poker shared liquidity, meaning it is nearly ready to join Spain and France for semi-borderless online poker.

Last year, the three countries, along with Italy, signed an agreement to allow players from each to play with each other at the virtual poker tables. Previously, all four countries had “ring-fenced” their players, restricting them to sites that served only their own country. The agreement still limits participation – it does not expand around the world – but four nations teaming up is better than none.

Spain and France merged their player pools in January, with PokerStars as the first online poker room to see players from both countries playing against each other. Portugal is expected to combine with them soon, but Italy is lagging. As of late 2017, Italy still hadn’t even started the operator licensing application process.

William Hill Failed to Stop Money Laundering, Problem Gamblers, Fined as Result

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has fined William Hill £6.2 million for falling short of its “know your customer” regulations and (likely inadvertently) allowing money launderers and problem gamblers to play on the site. In examples given in a press release, William Hill identified some people who deposited and lost six-figure sums who clearly showed problem gambling traits, as well as some people who couldn’t adequately prove their source of income, who were later to have found to have been stealing from their employer.

There were ten customers that the news release specifically made reference to; William Hill profited £1.2 million off of those players. The company will be required to forfeit that money and repay players who may have lost money to the customers in question.

“Gambling businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they keep crime out of gambling and tackle problem gambling – and as part of that they must be constantly curious about where the money they are taking is coming from,” said UKGC Executive Director Neil McArthur.

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