Meet Your New Bonus.com Contributors, Moving From Online Poker Report

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Since 2020, Bonus.com has been the place for honest online casino and sportsbook reviews and transparent information about bonus offers. Starting today, we’re also aiming to be your go-to source for insight into the regulated US online casino industry.

We’ve expanded our team to make this happen. What that means is that all of the content you’ve come to expect from us will still be available without compromise. It will simply come with the addition of daily insight into the inner workings of the regulated online gambling market.

This is a big change. We’re not just bringing in a dedicated industry news editor but a whole team of writers. Some readers may be familiar with Online Poker Report, another site in the same Catena Media network as Bonus. Catena recently decided to retire the OPR brand and bring its entire team over to Bonus.

The Online Poker Report approach

OPR was founded in 2012 with the goal of changing the way affiliate sites operate. That meant separating the news content from the marketing.

Similar to traditional newspapers, the content bifurcation enhanced both sources of information. The objective and subjective stayed in their own corners of the site.

US online poker had just been wiped out by the Department of Justice’s April 2011 crackdown on unregulated poker sites, known as Black Friday. The hope was that this would usher in a new era of regulation.

So rather than promoting offshore sites, OPR sought to build a name for itself as a source of serious news about the legislative and regulatory efforts to bring online poker back to the US in a legal fashion.

During the years, OPR changed leadership multiple times. Recently, it broadened its focus to cover other forms of online gambling, as well. However, OPR’s commitment to journalistic integrity and objectivity was consistent throughout.

At Bonus, the former OPR team will continue to provide online poker coverage, though online casinos will be the focus. The approach will still emphasize insight and forecasts for legislative efforts, regulatory decisions, product launches, industry strategy, responsible gambling and legal matters.

Whether you’re a player, an investor, an industry professional, or simply someone with an interest in the politics and business of online gambling, Bonus will make it a mission to deepen your understanding of this complex industry.

Meet your new Bonus.com contributors

We believe it’s critically important that you know the source of your news. To that end, here’s the new team, introduced in their own words.

Alex Weldon – Managing Editor for Casino News

I’m a lifelong learner who spent the better part of two decades bouncing around between things before finding a home in the field of gambling journalism for the past eight years. Before that, I obtained a BSc in Astrophysics from Queen’s University, then went on to become an ESL teacher, a graphic artist, a game designer, a poker player and ultimately a general freelance writer.

When I started writing about poker professionally – at a site called Part Time Poker – I discovered a job that could combine bits and pieces of all those things. After a couple of years, I was recruited to a new position at PokerScout, later known as GameIntel. There, I managed a subscription newsletter for poker industry executives, presenting and analyzing poker room traffic data. That role leveraged the scientific and graphical portions of my background, as well as my poker playing and writing.

Working for GameIntel also developed my understanding of the inner workings of the gambling industry. That, in turn, led to being offered a job at Online Poker Report, first as Lead Writer, then Managing Editor.

Though my career has been full of twists, my values have remained consistent. Whatever I do, I prioritize clear communication, honesty and the pursuit of knowledge. I hope I can build the same trust and respect for Bonus that OPR enjoyed from its readers over its decade-long run.

Twitter: @BeneFactumGames

Heather Fletcher – Lead Writer for Casino News

As US and Canadian online gambling markets expand, I see my role as providing relevant, timely and understandable information that readers can use. I talk to online casino and online poker operators, vendors and players alike.

One day I’ll write up a Q&A with an operator. The next, I’ll look at the latest industry thought leadership. Sometimes, I even write about the quirky personalities populating this business. There’s no shortage of the latter.

As for my background before chronicling online gambling: I worked in what’s now called “mainstream media.” Believe me; we never called ourselves that. Probably around 2017, we noticed our sources saying that to us, despite author Noam Chomsky coming up with the term in 1997.

Anyway, I’ll give you as complete a list of where you’ll see my bylines as I can, with the publications in alphabetical order: Adweek; Columbus Monthly; Medina County Gazette; New York Daily News; New York Post; Newsday; News-Herald; Queens Courier; Suburban News Publications; Target Marketing magazine, later bought by Adweek; The New York Times (yes, they insist on “The”); and ThisWeek Newspapers.

Oh, and I spent a year as a public relations representative for an international trade organization. Plus, I subbed K-12 and worked as an America Reads/America Counts tutor for the New York City Department of Education. Also, I worked as a photo stringer for the Associated Press during political conventions and a presidential inauguration. However, none of that experience counts as a byline.

Finally, I hold a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree from New York University, both in Journalism. Most importantly, though, I have a dog named Ellie.

Twitter: @HeatherReporter

John Holden – Freelance Writer

I’m an academic based in Oklahoma, as well as an attorney licensed in the state of Florida. I earned my Ph.D. from Florida State University, an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa and a JD from Michigan State University.

I have authored dozens of academic articles on gaming and the regulation of the sports industry. During the Christie/Murphy case, which brought legalized sports betting outside of Nevada, I filed two amicus curiae briefs with the Supreme Court.

Over the last few years, I have been lucky enough to move beyond simply writing for an academic audience.

Since late 2018, I have had the opportunity to use a lot of the knowledge that forms the basis for my academic writing to cover corruption and legal issues for various websites, including Online Poker Report and Legal Sports Report.

I will be continuing in the same vein for Bonus.com, providing in-depth coverage and analysis of the most significant legal issues facing the gaming industry.

Twitter: @Johnsportslaw

Devon Jackson – Freelance Writer

I used to think I had my finger on the pulse of whatever was in the ether or coming down the pike. Now I feel like a perpetual latecomer to the zeitgeisty, the au courant, or whatever those darn kids are listening to. Luckily, I have a knack for tracking down good sources and ferreting out people way smarter and wiser than me, as well as a nose for a good story.

I prefer to write about whatever I consider “interesting,” which sometimes means interesting only to me. Often enough, it’ll reach an audience that finds it interesting too. Sometimes, that’s people who are obsessed with serial killers (such as my first cover story, for The Village Voice). Other times it’s a worldwide and historical fascination and belief in conspiracy theories (my first book, Conspiranoia!, came out back in 2000, a more innocent time, just before 9/11, the explosion of the Internet, Reddit, 4chan, QAnon, and everything else that has followed).

More recently, you might find me writing an objective look at Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 (for The Santa Fe New Mexican—well before the controversy around it had made the mainstream) or just an observational riff on metadata (for The New York Times magazine).

I’ve lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for probably too long. Beautiful as it is, I’m finding it too parochial for my taste. It ain’t the Big City. Even so, having grown up in the Southwest and being back here again, I feel I have an outsider’s perspective on the area, yet get treated like a red-haired stepchild by city folk just often enough to keep me humble.

I feel fortunate to have crossed paths with Alex and the others here at Catena Media. I think we enjoy a rare and vital latitude in what we can cover and, more importantly, how we cover it.

To paraphrase my old friend Marc Maron, “Every book is a self-help book for me.” I feel that way about all good writing, especially journalism: it should be useful to the reader — something to be shared. I look forward to sharing information with you here at Bonus.

Twitter: @djoutsider88

Katy Jean – Freelance Writer

I’m a writer from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. I like to write in a way any reader can understand, from industry pros to someone happening upon my articles in a search.

I strive to provide as much context behind a subject as possible. I’m happy to fall down and climb out of rabbit holes and put it all in one space for readers to not only enjoy but leave informed.

I’m also an avid tweeter. Much of my writing features social aspects and details pulled from social media platforms, which readers may not get anywhere else.

I’m thrilled to have the chance to share my writing on Bonus and to continue covering news and perspectives on the intricate world of online gambling.

Twitter: @katynotie

About the Author

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is the Casino News Managing Editor for Bonus. He’s a former semiprofessional poker player and has been writing about online gambling professionally since 2014. Prior to his current position, he was Managing Editor at Online Poker Report and, before that, the GameIntel Poker Update, a subscription newsletter for industry executives. Alex provides insightful content on the regulated online casino and poker industries, with an emphasis on legislation, regulation, responsible gambling and business strategy. His writing about poker has earned him multiple nominations for the American Poker Awards over the years.

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