A look into the biggest industry-based stories for July 2017.

The 2017 calendar year has witnessed unprecedented, seismic-like shifts within the poker industry as high profile storylines continue to play out across forums, third party platforms, and poker media outlets. With growing consistency, consumer-based insight is rivaling traditional operator content across the poker media landscape as the entire gambling industry inches closer towards broad, mainstream circulation.

Here is a look at the Top 3 Poker Media Current Events along with community reaction to what is shaping up to be an extremely interesting second half of 2017.

PokerStars Chests, PKR Bailout and Content Distribution

The all-new PokerStars Rewards system has finally made its way to the site’s Rest of World market and — as expected — many high volume players are unimpressed.

READ: Stars New Rewards: Chests (Two Plus Two NVG – Page 30 – Jul 6, 2017)

A number of longtime PokerStars customers are communicating their plans to move to competing site Partypoker as a result of the changes, which have resulted in an 85 percent cashback loyalty payout decrease for select individuals generally regarded as “high volume” or “net withdrawing” players.

However, PokerStars also announced three days ago that it is refunding 60,000 online poker players who previously formed part of PKR’s active customer base. The No Strings Attached Deal with PKR’s administrator has received high marks from an appreciative online poker community that acknowledges the terms upon which PKR’s former players are to be reimbursed as more than reasonable considering past clawback experiences.

The Stars Group’s arrangement to bailout PKR (which operated as a skin on the Microgaming Poker Network) comes just in time for the rollout of Microgaming’s Quickfire product line on CasinoStars — a result of separate business conducted between the parties earlier this year.

READ: PokerStars Expands Casino with Microgaming Content (Poker Industry PRO – Feb 6, 2017)

On top of this, a bidding war (expected by some to reach £40 million) may break out this coming week for United Kingdom “social video publisher” Unilad. Typically, this wouldn’t be of relevance to the poker community, except that PokerStars announced a new partnership with the Manchester startup less than 48 hours ago. Unilad will distribute exclusive content for the world’s largest poker site, ranging from videos featuring Kevin Hart and Usain Bolt to PokerStars Championship coverage.

READ: Bidding War for Troubled Unilad Starts Next Week (Business Insider UK – Jul 6, 2017)
READ: Unilad and PokerStars Team Up (iNTERGAME Online – Jul 7, 2017)
READ: Dan Bilzerian’s New Girlfriend Goes Viral (Unilad – Jul 6, 2017)

48th Annual World Series of Poker

Our in-house authors here at PartTimePoker have enjoyed bringing readers both unique content and relayed coverage from the 2017 World Series of Poker as the $10,000 buy-in Main Event kicks off this weekend.

PokerGO’s exclusive broadcast rights agreement with the WSOP and subsequent launch has caused quite a stir among poker enthusiasts who signed-up for the $10/month streaming and archived shows subscription service.

READ: PokerGO In-Depth Review (Lorin Yelle – PartTimePoker – Jun 20, 2017)
READ: PokerGO Critique & Proposed Solutions (Alex Weldon – PartTimePoker – Jul 1, 2017)

Under normal circumstances, Poker Central’s controversial offering combined with daily updates might be enough to satiate the poker community’s desire for captivating narratives, but 2017 hasn’t been a “normal” year for many longtime WSOP patrons. Legionnaire’s Disease and Marked Cards (among other things) have exposed perhaps the biggest untold story of this year’s marquee poker tournament series… a blatant lack of communication by WSOP officials.

Even traditional smartphone services appear to have been affected by some Faraday Cage Phenomenon that struck Las Vegas this summer, while rumors abound of experts seeking guidance from the fine folks at Scientific American for possible solutions.

There could be several soul-searching editorials coming from poker media once this year’s WSOP has concluded, so be on the lookout for more communication, documentation and opinions from actual WSOP participants and on-site media personnel by month’s end.

Proposed Online Gambling Legislation and Pennsylvania

Perhaps there’s something to be learned from the slow legislative grind that is coming to a head in Pennsylvania this month as statewide lawmakers consider regulation of online gambling, licensing of up to 40,000 Video Gaming Terminals (VGTs), and corresponding taxation rates.

Could the answer to stakeholders’ woes truly lie within mass-license issuance? Something akin to Anywhere USA cordoning-off its powerhouse populace of 500 strong and offering them all an opportunity to pay $5,000,000 in upfront money for peer-to-peer Internet gambling?

Trolls aimed at what this author deems potential Supply & Demand imbalances aside, the noise coming out of the Keystone State is admittedly more advanced than the Son-in-Law Sideshow that California devolved into last year.

READ: Another Year, Another California Online Poker Failure (Jen Newell – PokerUpdate – August 2016)

Online gambling’s staunchest opponent Sheldon Adelson is back in the news too, poised for yet another onslaught of anti-iGaming rhetoric supported this time by Franklin and Marshall College associate professor of marketing Jeffrey S. Podoshen via Philly.com.

Will PokerStars’ position in the online poker industry improve or suffer as its corporate vision becomes clearer to a larger portion of the poker community?

Should WSOP officials be held accountable for their perennial dismissal of feedback from players, media and in-house service personnel?

Will regulated, real money online poker spread beyond the borders of New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware this year?

The clock continues to tick as these stories and many more unfold throughout July 2017.