While the bonds of the European Union are being tested in terms of a global partnership (see: Brexit) it looks like a number of countries in the EU are close to partnering for a poker alliance. That's where we'll pick up this week's poker news.
European Poker Union on the Cusp
For a while now there have been talks that a few countries in the European Union are going to come together on an online poker deal. The pact would allow a set of countries to share players and tournaments. While we've heard rumors about this for a while, it seems we have some concrete dates as ARJEL, which is the head of regulation in France, says that they expect a deal to be in place by June. The countries that will be included are Italy, Portugal and Spain.
There is hope that this will create the opportunity for bigger events, larger tournaments, and more interest among players in those countries. Cash games in France have been declining for the last 22 quarters, while in Spain the number is 12.3% on a year-on-year basis. Italy's cash games have dropped 10% in April. Portugal only has one poker operator that is licensed anyway. The United Kingdom is rumored to be getting in on the discussion, but for now it is just these countries.
Pennsylvania Progressing With Poker Legalization
In Pennsylvania, a bill that is on the table for the regulation of online casinos passed through a couple of Senate committees. House Bill 271 could be in the mix for a full vote by the Senate, which would be a huge step towards legalization. The full Senate vote is reported to be very soon but a date has not been set. The bill also involves daily fantasy sports and lottery sales.
If passed, the tax rate for slots and table games would be 54%, and 16% for internet poker. The cost for a poker license would be $5 million, which would also be the price for a slots and table license. The state is aiming to bring in $250 million from this bill if everything goes through. Those numbers can fill a lot of holes in government budgets, which is why they continue to make the push to legalize gaming.
Doug Polk Live-Streams PartyPoker Win
Doug Polk is well known in the online poker world for his YouTube live streams, but he doesn't just do them for entertainment purposes. Turns out he's also a really, really good poker player. Recently, he won $271,000 in a PartyPoker tournament that he live-streamed, beating out 274 other players at a buy-in of $5,200.
This made for a prize pool of $1,424,000, and now Polk has about $5.1 million in winnings to his name - at the very least. Polk has had a few other big wins as he won over $1.6 million in a $100,000 No Limit Hold'em Super High Roller event in Las Vegas in July 2014, and he won over $1.2 million over two tournaments in Las Vegas and Melbourne in 2015. Polk also streamed a second-place result in a WCOOP event last year.