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The Nightly Turbo: Hellmuth's Odds to Win #12, Bwin.Party's Social Gaming Push, and More

Phil Hellmuth

You've probably been following our live reporting of the 2012 World Series of Poker. But what's been going on outside of tournament grind in Vegas? Well, we're here to tell you. In this edition of the Nightly Turbo, we're bringing you 888's tax settlement with Spain, bwin.party's expansion into social gaming, and more.

In Case You Missed It

The first bracelet ws awarded at the 2012 World Series of Poker on Monday. Get the details on that event and more in our daily WSOP recap.

Phil Ivey's return to the WSOP is one of the biggest stories we've seen at the Rio thus far. Rich Ryan discusses Ivey's presence and more in his latest Five Thoughts piece.

Did you miss Sunday's World Poker Tour coverage on FSN? Read our WPT recap to get caught up.

How did Vanessa Selbst get her start in poker? Find out that and more in the latest edition of Seat Open.

King's Casino Rozadov in Germany is adding two new tournament series to its regiment starting in June. Read here for the full slate of events the 2012 German Poker Tour.

Looking for a fun, behind-the-scenes perspective of life at the WSOP? The Muck will offer several daily stories from inside the Rio, so check it out!

Bet on the Poker Brat

It's been five years since Phil Hellmuth last won a World Series of Poker bracelet. Last year, Hellmuth nearly missed out on his 12th piece of hardware three times.

So, is 2012 his year?

According to PKR.com's World Series of Poker betting market, the "Poker Brat" is an odds-on favorite to win No. 12 at this year's series. Hellmuth is listed at 4/5 to win an event as PKR says it expects Hellmuth to "exact revenge this summer."

Hellmuth made Day 2 of Event #2, a $1,500 no-limit hold'em event, so be sure to follow his progress right here at PokerNews.com!

Other WSOP markets offered by PKR include whether a female will win the Main Event or reach the Main Event final table; age or nationality of Main Event champion and Main Event final table chipleader; Main Event field size; and nation match betting.

If you want to place a bet on the WSOP, you can find all of PKR's betting markets at PKR.com.

Bwin.Party Acquires Social Gaming Developer

According to eGaming Review, gaming giant bwin.party has acquired gaming developer Orneon as part of its new social gaming strategy expected to be implemented in the near future.

Orneon creates social games for several platforms, such as PC, Mac, Web, iOS and Android. Bwin.party says it sees "significant potential" in social gaming. The company's first social gaming product will be a poker-based product followed by a casino and sportsbook application by the end of the year.

Tuesday's report comes one day before bwin.party presents its social media strategy to investors. The presentation will take place at 11:00 BST (03:00 PST) on Wednesday and can be viewed online at bwin.party.com.

“Our strategy to enter the social gaming market is almost complete and we plan to host an analyst briefing to present our strategy later this month when we will provide further details on how we will enter this exciting new business segment," the company said in a statement this month.

"We believe that by leveraging our core assets, we can make a meaningful inroad into this fast-growing and profitable market with relatively low levels of incremental investment."

Read the full story at eGamingReview.com (paywall warning).

888 Settles Up

With Spain's new regulated online gambling market set to open next month (albeit after another delay), more and more operators are settling back tax issued with the Spanish Tax Ministry in order to offer their services in the country.

On Monday, online gaming company 888 announced that it has agreed to make a one-off cash payment of €7.4 million to the Spanish authorities. In addition, 888 will pay surcharges and interest of around €1.3 million.

Cash-strapped Spain is demanding retrospective taxes from gambling companies that operated there between January 2009 and May 2011. Spain imposed the back taxes under two laws, one from 1966 and one from 1977, which had previously been applicable to land-based gambling activities in the country.

888 said in a statement that it has "fulfilled all requirements necessary to receive a Spanish eGaming license." Operators are expected to begin receiving licenses as early as June 1, and the new dot-es domains are likely to launch on June 5.

Bwin.party, Sportingbet and Betfair made settlements with the Spanish Tax Ministry last week. PokerStars and bet365 are among many operators expected to settle their tax disputes before the new market opens.

Read 888's press release at MarketWatch.

Get Ready for the PartyPoker Premier League!

The PartyPoker Premier League V makes its debut on Sky Sports HD2 next week, and a newly released trailer has us amped up for another exciting installment of the popular television series.

The fifth version of the Premier League boasted the deepest, most talented lineup we've seen yet. The 16-player field included Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius, Vanessa Selbst, Sam Trickett, Tony G, Luke "FullFlush" Schwartz, Erik Seidel, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Eugene Katchalov, Phil Laak and Daniel "Jungleman" Cates, among others.

If you didn't follow our updates during the Premier League, we won't spoil the results for you. But here's a look at what you can expect:

Online Poker Traffic Report

PokerScout.com released its weekly online poker traffic rankings on Monday. The tracking site reported an overall drop of 2.9 percent, marking the third straight week of declines worldwide.

Despite the waning traffic numbers, PokerScout notes that June "is set to provide a breath of fresh air to the poker world." The World Series of Poker kicked off on Las Vegas on Sunday, and Spain's newly regulated market is expected to launch early next month. In addition, the Cake Poker Network is being rebranded as Revolution Gaming starting on June 1 under the new ownership of Lock Poker.

As for year-over-year traffic numbers, online poker has seen a worldwide decline of 19 percent since this time last year, much of that because of the falloff at Full Tilt Poker and the CEREUS Network. Some of the biggest gainers during the past year were 888poker (up 37 percent), Winamax.fr (up 22 percent) and PokerStars (up 9 percent).

The International Poker Network (down 51 percent) and the Ongame Network (down 14 percent) were among the notable decliners since this time last year.

Read the full report at PokerScout.com.

Welcome Back to the Rio!

As you already know, the 2012 World Series of Poker kicked off on Sunday. PokerNews' Kristy Arnett and Sarah Grant fill you in on everything you need to know about this year's setup at the Rio.

Follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.

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