|Ladbrokes, the UK based bookmaker and online gaming operator, has announced plans to invest a further £3 million into its 2007 Poker Million tournament with a view to creating a European competitor to Las Vegas’s World Series of Poker (WSOP).|
This year’s WSOP, which is owned by Harrah’s Entertainment, was the biggest live poker tournament to date, comprising of around 8,700 players competing for more than $82 million (£44 million) in prize money.
However John O’Reilly, managing director of Ladbrokes’s e-gaming division, said that more than half the players had qualified online meaning that future events would be compromised by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was introduced last week.
“The Act opens up a huge opportunity for an offline poker tournament in Europe to rival the World Series,” he said.
“Poker Million is already the biggest poker event in Europe and we believe that by investing in the tournament and changing the format, London may rival the World Series.”
The Poker Million tournament brings together online qualifiers from ladbrokespoker.com for the week-long final at its new casino in Paddington, London and will be televised on Sky Sports.
Currently, the tournament winner will earn $1.2 million out of a total prize pool of $4.1 million, which through extra investment will double next year.