Weekly Poker Roundup: October 22, 2018

Golden Nugget Proposed Merger With Caesars

Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta has approached Caesars Entertainment about a possible merger, according to industry reports. Fertitta’s proposal values Caesars at $13 per share, 27 percent more than where the company’s stock is currently trading.

Nothing official is going on, as far as we know, but if this were to happen, it would be a “reverse merger.” Caesars is larger than Landry’s Inc., Fertitta’s company which owns Golden Nugget, and would actually be the company to acquire its smaller rival. Landry’s is also a private company; shares in Landry’s would be exchanged for those of the publicly traded Caesars. As Fertitta is the sole shareholder of Landry’s, he would become the largest shareholder of Caesars. In his proposal, he would also become Chairman and CEO.

Though Landry’s owns the Golden Nugget properties, it is perhaps best known for its restaurant chains which include Rainforest Café, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks.

PokerStars Unveils SECOOP for Portugal, Spain, France

Next Sunday, PokerStars will launch a new Championship of Online Poker tournament series exclusively for players in Portugal, Spain, and France, the Southern Europe Championship of Online Poker (SECOOP). It will run from October 28th through November 12th, will consist of 149 events, and will feature more than €10 million in guaranteed prizes.

“We are happy to transform our renowned COOP series into a COOP specifically for our players in Southern Europe that will allow them to compete for bigger prize pools in prestigious tournaments,” said PokerStars Director of Poker Innovation and Operations Severin Rasset in a press release Tuesday. “Our players have really enjoyed our shared liquidity offerings and we look forward to seeing everyone playing at the SECOOP virtual felt.”

Buy-ins range from €5 to €250, but unlike WCOOP and SCOOP, there are no tiered buy-ins of the same event. Each event has just one tournament at the scheduled time, though many of the tournaments repeat at the same buy-in level throughout SECOOP. The SECOOP Main Event will cost €250 and will be held on November 11th.

UKGC Fines Paddy Power Betfair £2.2 Million

When you operate in a regulated online gambling environment, you have to follow proper rules and procedures. And it looks like Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) did not. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has fined the company £2.2 million for failing to employ anti-money laundering and problem gambling procedures in five different cases in 2016.

The most egregious of the violations was a situation in which Simon Price lost – according to what he said to police – around £700,000 at Betfair in 2016. PPB’s screw-up here was that with all of his depositing and losing, it never bothered to ask him where all of that money came from. As it turned out, he was chief executive of Birmingham Dogs Home, an animal shelter, and he and his wife, Alayna Warner, embezzled £894,754 from the organization. Most of that ended up at Betfair. Price was sentenced to five years in prison and Warner was given a two-year suspended sentence.

Of the £2.2 million fine, £500,000 will be returned to victims in the cases, £1.7 million will go GambleAware, a charity which works to help problem gamblers, and £50,045 will be used to pay the UKGC for its investigation costs.

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