Yahoo’s has launched a new “for cash” poker website on their UK & Ireland property. Users can play against others via a Flash interface, and are offered $1,000 in credit when they make their first deposit into the account. Registration is allowed from most countries, although the U.S. and Gibraltar, where online gambling are prohibited, are blocked (I tried). The service is provided through a partner, St Minver, but the game play occurs on the Yahoo site.
The introductory video says “Congratulations on choosing Yahoo Poker…use your skills and try your luck at winning the pot.” Players have maximum loss limits – they cannot withdraw more than GBP1000 from their bank account every ten days.
In 2004, Yahoo and Google announced that they were removing gambling advertising from their sites. This launch seems to contradict their position on Internet gambling.
This is an extremely controversial move, and one that Yahoo may not be equipped to handle. Yahoo does provide a “responsible gaming” tutorial, but the press will be quick to jump on any tales of woe from players who’ve lost a lot of money from the site. Broken marriages and lost homes will only make the stories juicer.