TV Deals and a Chess World Champion Dominate the Industry News

Plenty of happenings in the poker and wider gambling industry this week, including a WPT syndication deal, a dubious possible return of 3D online poker site PKR, Unibet sponsoring World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen and Ukrainian online poker regulation news…

By: Andrew Burnett

WPT to hit 15 million new homes

We’ll kick things off with news that the World Poker Tour will now be visible in an extra 15 million homes in the USA thanks to a newly-announced distribution deal.

The new deal will start by showing seasons XII and XIII across 22 networks, including LA’s KDOC, Las Vegas networks KSNV, KVCW and NVCW, and Houston’s KBPX.

“We know we have a strong audience across the US and want to give our fan base more content with easy access,” stated WPT Director of Ad sales and Distribution, Loc Sondheim.

He added: “With us in syndication, we will be able to hit a majority of the US in major regions with absolutely no barrier of entry and cost to a viewer, and who doesn’t like free? We wanted to make it easy on our fans to find and give them as much as possible.”

The Return of PKR or a shady cash-grab?

Once a darling of the poker community, PKR with its 3D tables disappeared under a cloud in 2017, soon after joining MPN.

Recent social media posts, however, indicate it could be set for a comeback of sorts, but it all appears a bit too shady to be true.

Maltese online casino Videoslots bought out the majority of PKR’s technology, claiming it would be relaunched in 2018, but the first we have heard of it since was an announcement on a new website.

“We GTD Videoslot's poker is returning this year. PKR3D will be adverting Former PKR Software's return!”

Hardly inspiring, and neither is the slew of FB posts that have accompanied the announcement. As others have mentioned, this could be good news, or it could just be a quick cash-grab.

Unibet sponsor World Chess champ Magnus Carlsen

Unibet have targeted an “estimated 600million chessplayers” by signing a global sponsorship deal with World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

Though that ‘600million’ figure is generally laughed at by anyone close to the game of chess, the Norwegian world champ most certainly isn’t, and it could prove to be a real coup for Unibet.

“Since 2014, Unibet has communicated that “luck is no coincidence”, stated Rhodri Darch, Chief Commercial Officer at Kindred Group, adding: “celebrating those players who rely on research and statistics to make informed decisions. Magnus is a perfect fit for this concept…”

Carlsen himself said of the new sponsorship: “This is something I’m really looking forward to. Unibet and I share a lot of the same values and interests in sports and related stats…To make the right decisions, you need a well-balanced combination of knowledge, skill, and intuition.”

Ukraine may get new gambling bill that helps poker

Three separate proposals submitted to the Ukrainian government could put poker back on a footing that it recently lost when new President Zelensky promised to get tough on gambling last year.

The plans to legitimise online gaming, sportsbooks and lotteries with taxation could see poker recover from the usual ‘caught in the crossfire’ that saw casinos and pokerrooms raided.

One of the proposals, if passed by parliament, could see the following taxation introduced, not a terrible deal for poker players in the country.

Sportsbooks: 7.5 %

Online gaming: 12.5 %

Land-based lotteries: 22 %

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