New Online Poker Site Global Poker Says It’s the Fastest Growing Poker Site in World

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PERTH, Australia -- Online poker sites have been around for more than 20 years now, but new ones are still popping up all the time.

One of the latest to take a shot at the lucrative American online poker market is Global Poker ( out of Australia, which commenced operations late last year and services the U.S. and Canada.

Because it operates under the so-called "sweepstakes model," which technically isn't gambling because you don't wager with real money, Global Poker is able to not only legally operate in the U.S., but also commercially partner with Facebook and PayPal, which don't do business with gambling entities.

Gambling 911 recently traveled Down Under to the land of kangaroos and boomerangs to sit down for a chat with busy Global Poker CEO Laurence Escalante at his company headquarters in Western Australia and ask him about Global's past, present and future.

Here is a transcript of that conversation:

Gambling 911: How does your poker operation work and how is it different from the many other poker sites out there?

Laurence Escalante: Global Poker uses two virtual currencies, Gold Coins and $weeps Cash. You buy Gold Coins, which work the same way as on many social poker sites. You play your Gold Coins and build your stack, but you can’t withdraw them for real money. Global Poker also gives away sweepstakes entries, called $weeps Cash, in order to promote the sale of Gold Coins. Because the sweepstakes entries are free, when you play with them and win, you can cash out with PayPal legally in the United States or Canada.

G9: What is the age limit to join and how do you verify that?

LE: The age limit to play on Global Poker is the age of consent in your state. This varies from state to state, but is 18 in many parts of America. Players should abide by the laws in their jurisdiction. We use multiple checks to ensure players follow our guidelines. These include address and ID verification. At Global Poker, we take our know your customer and anti-money laundering responsibilities very seriously.

G9: How much does it cost to join and what do you get for your money?

LE: It is completely free to play and to register an account with Global Poker. In fact, when you join you get 10,000 free Gold Coins and $2 in free $weeps Cash to get you started. So it is a pretty fantastic value.

G9: Why should an online poker player use your site and not one of the many competitors out there?

LE: We like to think it is the fun, friendly and social aspect of our games that players enjoy the most. There is plenty of chat at the tables and players of varying skill levels. Of course, the fact that we are the only site which allows you to cash out your winnings quickly and securely through PayPal is an added bonus.

G9: How did you get into the online poker business?

LE: Firstly, I would proudly say that Global Poker is a social poker business. We are much more of a social poker room than we are an online poker business. I think this is an important distinction as it emphasizes the importance we put on our customers. For me, this all started as a student growing up in Australia. My friends and I would always catch up once a week for pizza, beers and poker. It was never for large sums of money. It was all about having a good time with good friends and the all important bragging rights of winning that night’s game. This was one of my favorite parts of growing up and as we all got older and moved to different parts of the world, we found it hard to recreate that same experience. It was this desire to bring the same kind of social enjoyment that we used to get from those home games to the digital age which has been my number one goal with Global Poker. This is why whenever I hear somebody describe playing on Global Poker as playing in a home game, I get so happy. This is exactly the type of feel we are looking for.

G9: What has been the growth rate of your business since last year?

LE: We are the fastest-growing poker site for players living in the USA and probably the fastest growing site in the world right now. The amazing thing is we haven’t even been open for a full year yet. So I guess you could say the growth rate has been quite fast.

G9: How do you plan to continue increasing the size of your customer base?

LE: The key for our continued growth will be to stay true to our basic principles. We will keep Global Poker fun and social and we will keep listening to our players. We really work hard to keep active communications with our players through our support team, our social media and active engagement with players on forums. We just want to continue to engage with our customers to give them the type of gaming experience that they want.

G9: Where are you based and why have you chosen that location?

LE: We are based in Australia. The reason for this was simple. This is my home and I love it here. I have a young family all attending schools in the local area and this is such a beautiful part of the world. If you haven’t been here you should definitely check it out.

G9: You mentioned that you are able to process payments via PayPal. How is that done legally?

LE: Players are able to process payments via PayPal. This is done legally and is fast and very simple. The games, services and sweepstakes prizes that we provide are legal so therefore PayPal can process our players cashouts legally. They are also amazingly quick too. Once verified, we have most players funds back in their account on the same day.

G9: Do you have many female players?

LE: Yes, we do. A lot of our female players have told us that they love the social nature of our games as it doesn’t feel as intimidating as other poker rooms. We are really happy about that. Another positive feature is the interactive nature of our Facebook competitions. Every week we give away $weeps Cash prizes to Global Poker players on our Facebook page just for getting a question right. These seem to be really well-received by both our male and female players

G9: What percentage of your players are from the U.S.?

LE: Our entire player base is from North America, meaning the USA and Canada. Due to the sheer size of the USA and the fact that we allow players to cash out securely through PayPal, we see a huge number of our players coming from America.

G9: What are the biggest challenges facing your company right now, including legal, financial and public relations ones?

LE: The main challenge for us at the moment is really managing our phenomenal growth rate. We hoped that the Global Poker offering would be popular among American poker players, but we had no idea it would be this popular. As the site continues to grow rapidly and more and more players make Global Poker their poker home, we consistently look for new ways to ensure that we keep our reputation as a fantastic, fun, social gaming site as well as ensuring our record cash-out speeds and exciting game offerings. We have a few fun things in the pipeline which we are confident will achieve this for us. We look forward to sharing them with you and your readers shortly.

By Tom Somach

Gambling 911 Staff Writer