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Online Poker News: Flutter improving Stars Rewards?; Sky Poker Tour online; GVC Holdings offering support for German transition plan; COVID-19 silver linings

In this column, we deliver you the latest and most interesting online poker industry news from across the world and all platforms.

Flutter to improve Stars Rewards?

Flutter Entertainment. Credit: Proactive Investors

Gambling operator Flutter Entertainment presented their H1 results in an online presentation on 27th August. They specifically mentioned the merger with PokerStars’ parent company Stars Group and how it positively affected the group navigating through the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Poker Journalist Nick Jones reported on Twitter about the presentation and summarized some of his learnings and thoughts.

The top line he is mentioning is the fact that Flutter will stop reporting on poker revenue. Instead it will be combined “gaming” revenue going forward.

Jones specifically points out the notations on customer loyalty and he is convinced that “…under Flutter, the operator will reassess how it rewards players with loyalty, and considers that there has been too much focus on recreational players – and overall rewards could increase.”

Nick summarizes his learnings from this report:

You can watch the full presentation video here.

More control over VIP tiers on PokerStars

If some of the above mentioned changes under Flutter management have already triggered some changes in PokerStars’ rewards system is questionable. But the poker giant is from now on giving more control to its customers when it comes to loyalty rewards.

Back in the days many of us went broke trying to reach that glorified PlatinumStar or even Supernova/SNE rank in the old rewards system on Stars.

Nowadays, getting to higher rewards chests can cause the same kind of irresponsible gambling for a certain group of players. The need to achieve that higher tier and open that bigger chest led some players to play higher and more volume than they actually should.

Now, PokerStars has announced some updates for Stars Rewards that permit players to exchange partial progress for an instant Stars Rewards chest at any time. The feature is available for all players at Bronze level or higher.

Previously players were only able to downgrade their chests if they had completed the progress bar by at least 50% and it had to be within 10 days of expiry.

This small change is indeed a big step for responsible gaming, making sure players are not forced towards higher playthrough targets.

“This gives you total control over your tier level in Stars Rewards,” Stars explained in a blog post. “It’s just one of the ways we’re looking to improve our products and increase our offerings to players.”

More: PokerStars WCOOP 2020 Schedule

Sky Poker Tour is moving online

The Sky Poker Tour Online will take place between 5th & 6th September. The buy-in will match the tour’s regular entry fee of £220 and there will be a £50,000 guarantee. Entry will be open to players in the UK. To replicate the live poker experience blinds will increase every 30 minutes, and a maximum of two re-entries will be allowed.

The Sky Poker Tour has been a big community driver on Sky Poker and UK poker players, but the tour ended in Oct. 2013 with a Grand Final held at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham. It did celebrate a comeback in 2017 and has since ran several events across the UK.

Due to COVID-19 the tour was forced to halt any activity after its Manchester event in March. The operator has now announced that the season finale in Las Vegas will be cancelled altogether, but that they will hold their first online event in early September. Satellites are available from as little as £1.30 on the independent Sky Poker client.

https://twitter.com/SkyPoker/status/1294303048521650177?s=20

“We are bringing the Sky Poker Tour online for the first time to allow our customers to experience it in a different way,” Sam Tyrrell, Poker Performance Manager at Sky Poker, told PokerIndustryPRO.

“The tour is all about creating fun and driving the sense of community that we aim to build Sky Poker on,” he added. “Whilst we know it won’t be the same as our live events there will still be the same guaranteed prize pool, a two-day event and some of the added bonuses you get at live events such as bounties on ambassadors.”

“We won’t ever fully take the Tour online but this has the potential to become a permanent stop of the tour in the future.”

GVC Holdings offering support for German transition plan

In a previous article we have informed you about the developments in the German online gambling legislation process. This is no fun as Germany is pressured by the European Commission to finally get their act together in building a proper gambling legislation and they have been acting fast rather than sensibly.

The German government has been throwing some things together to build a new regulation treaty, the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStV), to be in place from 1st July 2021, but are generally fairly clueless on how to get all of this streamlined with operators and customers alike.

Luckily the online gambling operators themselves are coming to aid some processes of the fairly antiquated decision-makers in the country.

The latest company to jump in with a suggestion on how to go about implementing the new law is partypoker parent company GVC Holdings. GVC is suggesting a 5-stage transition plan to really make sure government and operators know where they stand on their way to legislation and don’t lose customers in the process.

“The aim of the new State Treaty is to direct as many stakes as possible to regulated and state-controlled providers, because there, player protection and the fight against addiction can be guaranteed in the best possible way,” Martin Lycka, director of regulatory affairs at GVC, said.

“To achieve this, gaming regulation should be transferred to the new regulatory model within the framework of what is technically possible during the transitional period until the entry into force of the new Treaty.”

“Without such an interim solution, we would lose many customers to the predominantly non-European black market without appropriate protection standards by next summer. This would counteract the goal of the new regulation and risk it failing to achieve its aims,” Lycka warned.

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COVID-19 silver linings

There is no question that the global Covid-19 pandemic has changed how we live. And while we haven’t even seen the full extent of negative developments on the economy and other parts of our modern life, the progress of many technological areas has been fast-tracked.

The coronavirus has affected the land-based and online sectors very differently. Online gaming can sing praise to this. While live casinos have been struggling during the shutdown, Online gaming and gambling soared through the roof.

While there are many opponents to online gambling in the world with probably the most famous example being Venetian Casino owner Sheldon Adelson, casino operators do need to take a closer look at how to incorporate a digital component to their gambling offerings.

In the end it really isn’t that hard. Why not connect the two worlds and make sure one carries the other. Not just for times of global pandemics and social distancing, but simply looking ahead to the future and becoming more modern, more open-minded towards technological opportunities.

There are many reasons for players to stick to the online experience and there also are definite uptakes for the providers. The covid-19 crisis might have finally opened the operators’ eyes to this.

Online gambling is more convenient, it can be just as social as actual personal interaction, it is lower cost to operate and online offers can be used to move customers to the live environment. Might it be poker tournament satellites or special offers that can be unlocked will still send players into the hands of land-based casinos.

The merger of online and live gambling to provide an all round improved gaming experience for everyone is an exciting development coming out of this and we can only hope that operators see that opportunity.

Christin Maschmann

Besides being a passionate poker player Christin Maschmann has been working in different functions in the poker industry for over a decade. She worked as a Content & Community Manager for the poker school IntelliPoker, wrote articles for the PokerStars Blog and appeared as a host on the German poker show PokerToday. Christin is professionally trained in video and audio editing and creates content for YouTube, Social Media and iTunes. She also wrote a book about her experiences in Las Vegas.

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Somuchpoker.com is a news site dedicated primarily on the poker community living in the Asia Pacific region. Founded by poker players based in South East Asia in 2014, Somuchpoker’s main goal is to provide the latest poker news and information from around the world, with greater focus on the happenings in the Asian Market. It covers news from Down-Under to the tropical paradise of South East Asia, to the Land of the Rising Sun and even gets the hottest news from the most secret corners of Mainland China. Somuchpoker is currently the 1st Source of poker information in Asia. Check more

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