All Bets Are Off – Yahoo Gets Into Online Poker

    May 17, 2007

Online poker has (deservedly or not) gotten a bad reputation, and it’s actually illegal in the U.S.  It came as a bit of a surprise, then, when Yahoo launched a new site called Yahoo Poker.  The site’s not for kiddies, and it’s not a joke; players will use real money.

Euros and British pounds are the only eligible forms of money, however, as Yahoo Poker is being offered through the company’s site for the UK and Ireland.  Also, as reported (and as we at WebProNews found out for ourselves), “Players resident in the USA are not currently accepted.”

Yahoo has brought more than a few friends into this endeavor, however; St Minver, which “offers fully managed ‘white label’ gaming services,” is a partner, Sam Mann’s photo is visible throughout the site, and Springboard has stepped forward to act as the sole payment provider.

That brings us to another issue – how does Yahoo plan to approach the potentially destructive nature of online poker?  Addiction has caused some people to lose their homes and families, but the search engine corporation stated, “We are committed to taking every reasonable step to discourage problem gambling.  Our systems are designed to reduce the opportunities for problem gambling to occur.”

In a hard-to-find “Responsible Gaming” section of the site, Yahoo explains, “We place monetary limits on the amounts that can be deposited in any one day/week/month,” and there are a number of other systems in place, as well.  Yahoo even points out a connection to GamCare, “the charity committed to promoting responsible attitudes towards gambling and working for the provision of proper care for those harmed by gambling dependency.”

It seems unlikely that those precautions will satisfy every critic; Yahoo Poker may create more than a bit of controversy.  It’ll be very interesting to see, though, just how much time, energy, and money Yahoo puts into this project – and if Google Blackjack launches next week.