Thursday, May 31, 2018

Casino News Daily
UK Gambling Industry GGY Increases According to UKGC Report

Today, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) published its latest six-month update to the local gambling industry statistics. The main regulatory body in the UK revealed some details about the market changes and latest trends in the sector, as well as about players’ activity in the period from October 2016 to November 2017.

Such statistics about the performance, customer participation and trends in the sector are published twice a year, in May and then in November. The information released by the Commission is aimed at providing the latest data about the industry, including both land-based and online gambling services offered to UK customers.

The information rolled out by the major regulator in the country has been provided by the companies which run their services under an operation licenses issues by the UKGC.

Remote Gambling Sector on the Rise

According to the Commission, the UK gambling industry generated an overall gross gambling yield of £13.9 billion in the above-mentioned 12-month period. The figures represent a 0.7% increase in comparison to the result posted for the period between April 2016 to March 2017.

The main gambling regulatory body of the UK further revealed that the market share of the country’s remote gambling sector rose by 1% in the twelve months from October 2016 to November 2017 compared to the previous period. In addition, the online gambling industry saw a 3.7% increase in its overall gross gambling yield, reaching £4.9 billion at the time.

As far as the land-based gambling sector in the country is concerned, the UK Gambling Commission reported that the total number of betting shops on the territory of the UK amounted to 8,532. According to the data provided, the figure represented a 3.2% decline from the number of betting outlets in March 2017. There was also a 0.7% drop in the overall number of gaming machines in the UK to 183,928, with the ones requiring a local authority license only being excluded from that number.

A slight 2% increase from March 2017 in the number of bingo premises in the UK was registered. As revealed by the UKGC report, there were 649 bingo halls in the country. As far as casino premises are concerned, two new casinos have started operation since March 2017, with the overall number of casinos in the country rising to 152. In addition, a 3.5% decline was registered in the number of licensed arcades in the country from March 2017, with their number reaching 1,810.

A total of 106,366 people worked in the UK gambling sector in September 2017, with a 0.8% drop registered from March 2017.

Apart from the results of the land-based and online gambling sector, the UK Gambling Commission also provided some details about the contributions to good causes generated by large society lotteries. The regulatory body explained that there was a slight 1.7% drop to £251 million in comparison to the result posted between April 2016 and March 2017.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Udenna plans $5B investment in Philippines’ Clark Global City

This week, the Udenna Development Corporation (UDEVCO) began work on ‘The New Center,’ a new central business district in Clark Global City in the Philippines’ Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ). It’s part of a 10-year plan that will see UDEVCO inject more than $5 billion into the area, including the construction of a casino and an entertainment complex, according to local media reports.

Udenna plans $5B investment in Philippines’ Clark Global CityUdenna’s Chairman and CEO, Dennis Uy, said of the investment, “We are developing what will become the Philippines’ new center of business, life and innovation,” adding that the group had just acquired 177 hectares (437 acres) in the CFZ. He further stated, “Clark Global City will offer a global business destination and spur economic transformation outside of Metro Manila, complementing the government’s efforts to spread growth across the country.”

Clark Global City will be the home of top-grade office buildings, academic and sports centers, upscale retail markets and a hotel and casino. There will also be a large entertainment complex with the possibility of another casino being added by a different Udenna subsidiary.

The development, due to its location inside the CFZ, is perfect to offer an ideal economic, regulatory and operating environment. It offers direct access to Clark International Airport, located 10 minutes away. A new terminal at the airport is currently being built and, when complete, will provide a direct link to the road that leads to the development.

Uy has been working to attract additional developers to invest at Clark Global City. Company officials are in negotiations with nine different local and foreign companies, and executive plan a trip for Hong Kong, Tokyo and Beijing to try and drum up more investment support. “We hope Clark Global City will help pave the way for more companies in various industries to invest in the Philippines and, subsequently, create more employment opportunities for Filipinos,” explained Uy.

Udenna was incorporated in the Philippines in 2002 and is one of the fastest growing holding companies in the country. Its portfolio includes a $300-million integrated resort in Mactan, Cebu, an office tower in Bonifacio Global City and, now, the expansive complex in Clark Global City. Additionally, through its Phoenix brand, it distributes and sells petroleum products and lubricants and is involved in shipping and logistics through a subsidiary, Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Las Vegas casino strike talks going down to the wire

las-vegas-casino-strikeLas Vegas casinos are weighing the potentially significant cost of a labor strike that could commence as early as Friday.

Last week, members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 voted 99% in favor of walking off the job if there’s no satisfactory replacement for their current labor agreements with 34 Vegas casinos that expire at midnight Thursday.

On Wednesday, union analysts claimed that casinos on the Las Vegas Strip and in the downtown district are facing a penalty in the nine-figure range in the first month alone if the strike goes forward. MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertaiment, which together operate 18 of the vulnerable casinos, could face losses of $206m and $113m, respectively.

Union reps conceded that accurate projections of losses are difficult given that the last major strike was way back in 1984, when Vegas was a very different place, both in terms of the number of hotel rooms and visitor traffic. But the unions maintain that MGM and Caesars are likely looking at a 10% daily cut in revenue.

On the flip side, Vegas properties run by non-union operators like Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts could enjoy a mild boost in business by offering customers the same level of service they enjoyed prior to the as-yet theoretical strike.

The unions, which represent 50k bartenders, cocktail servers, housekeepers, cooks, porters and other staff, are seeking a new five-year contract with annual raises of 4%, while the Associated Press reported that MGM and Caesars have reportedly countered with offers of 2.7% to 2.8%.

MGM met with union negotiators on Monday and has more talks planned for this week. Both MGM and Caesars continue to express confidence that labor peace can be achieved before the Friday deadline. Other affected operators include Boyd Gaming, Golden Entertainment, Penn National Gaming and Station Casinos.

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Ocean Resort Casino Has All The Pieces For Opening Day Except One: An NJ Casino License
puzzle piece

With opening day just around the corner, Ocean Resort Casino is waiting for gaming regulators to move forward on a casino license hearing, which would get the Atlantic City casino one step closer to launch.

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World Casino News
Japan considers extending Diet session to pass casino bill

In Japan, the government and its coalition partners are reportedly considering extending the current 150-day regular Diet session to either the end of June or early July in an effort to ensure the passage of important bills on labor reform and casinos, including the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill, prior to the June 20 deadline. […]
Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Macau GDP expands by 9.2% in Q1 2018

Strong exports of gaming services and tourism helped drive Macau’s gross domestic product (GDP) to an almost double-digit percentage growth in the first three months of 2018.

Macau GDP expands by 9.2% in Q1 2018On Wednesday, Macau’s Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) announced that the city state’s economy has expanded by 9.2 percent in January to March 31, 2018 period, higher than the 8 percent growth recorded in the previous quarter.

Macau’s economy remained dependent on gaming and tourism business as reflected on the 16 percent growth of its total exports of services, which is comprised of gaming services and tourism services.

“Exports of services performed satisfactorily and became the major driving force for economic growth,” DSEC said in a statement.

Data from DSEC showed that the rise on exports of gaming services remained unchanged at 16.5 percent from the previous quarter, while exports of other tourism services went up by 19.6 percent, higher than the 15.4 percent growth in the previous quarter.

Imports of services, on the other hand, jumped 34.2 percent year-on-year, according to DSEC.

Macau’s economy also relied on the recovery of domestic demand, with private consumption spending showing significant growth, according to DSEC. Statistics showed that private consumption expenditure climbed by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the 2.7 percent growth recorded in the previous quarter period.

Household final consumption expenditure in the domestic market and abroad also increased by 5.3 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.

The growth of domestic demand was tempered by the slowdown on the government’s final consumption expenditure and investment. DSEC pointed out that the government final consumption expenditure growth slowed by 2.2 percent from the 5.1 percent increase in the previous quarter

Macau also saw a 1.9 percent decline in investments while the implicit deflator of GDP, which measures the overall changes in prices, went up by 3.4 percent year-on-year.

The former Portuguese enclave also saw an improvement in its gross fixed capital formation, thanks to an increased government investment. From 14.1 percent in the previous quarter, Macau was able to substantially taper off the gross fixed capital formation decline to 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

“Merchandise trade remained buoyant. As the economy steadily resumed growth, total demand expanded constantly, with exports and imports of goods rising by 12.8 percent and 7 percent respectively year-on-year,” the government said.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

World Casino News
The future of sports betting; Interview with AG Burnett – Pt I

Additional reporting by K. Morrison When New Jersey filed briefs with the Supreme Court on the future of sports betting last August, many legal experts predicted that the conservative court would rule in favor of Gov. Christie and strike down the Bradley Act as unconstitutional. After Gov. Christie left office, the action was renamed for […]
Casino – CalvinAyre.com
AC’s Trump Plaza casino resists efforts to blow up real good

trump-plaza-casino-demolition-delayAtlantic City will have to put up with the eyesore that is the shuttered Trump Plaza casino for a little while longer.

On Tuesday, the Press of Atlantic City reported that no demolition permit has yet been filed for the Trump Plaza casino, which has been standing derelict since billionaire Carl Icahn’s Trump Entertainment Resorts shut the financially struggling property in September 2014.

The Plaza was supposed to have been imploded this spring, and Icahn’s ownership group has reportedly been shopping around for a guy with a lot of reasonably priced dynamite on hand. But Icahn apparently hasn’t given up his futile quest to have the municipal government shoulder nearly half the tab for turning the Plaza to dust.

While everyone wants to see the Plaza gone so some productive use can be made of the prime land in the middle of AC’s boardwalk, the city won’t allow demolition to take place during the busy summer tourist season, as the demo would necessitate closing portions of the boardwalk. So the earliest possible demolition date won’t come until the fall.

Meanwhile, the US division of UK bookmaker William Hill has confirmed last week’s reports that it has agreed to run a sportsbook at the Ocean Resort Casino (the former Revel). William Hill US CEO Joe Asher announced Tuesday that his company was “very excited … to have a presence on the Atlantic City boardwalk.”

Hills’ new sportsbook will occupy a 7,500-square-foot space “in the heart of Ocean’s gaming floor,” complete with “state-of-the-art video wall technology for viewing of sporting events and live InPlay betting odds.” Hills will also provide the casino with its “best-in-class mobile and online sports book products,” although the casino has yet to be approved for online gambling by state regulators.

Ocean Resort Casino is scheduled to open on June 28, shortly after New Jersey legislators are expected to have approved new sports betting regulations. Hills has a similar sportsbook deal with the state’s Monmouth Park racetrack, which is expected to take the state’s first legal wager once the governor signs the regs into law.

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Casino News Daily
Poker’s Most Profitable So Far This Year

We are just five months into the year but some of poker’s finest players have already added millions of dollars to their bankrolls. They have traveled the world, faced other fine and seasoned players and have outmaneuvered them to be rewarded for their skills.

Just as many poker professionals and enthusiasts are readying for this year’s World Series of Poker, Casino News Daily has compiled a quick list of the most profitable players so far in 2018. Here is a little bit more information about how much they have won and how they have performed the past several months.

Justin Bonomo – $8,907,138

Bonomo has been on a hot streak over the past five months and it seems that he has no intention to end his winning spree. The player has cashed nearly $9 million since the beginning of the year from 15 different tournaments. There is more to the story, he won five of these and made final table appearances in most of the other.

Half of Bonomo’s 2018 live tournament earnings came from his first-place finish in the HK$2-million buy-in Super High Roller Bowl China. The popular poker pro bested a field of 75 seasoned high rollers to collect $4,823,077 from the event’s prize pool. Bonomo defeated Finland’s Patrik Antonius (who will appear later in this list) heads-up.

Aside from his Super High Roller Bowl China triumph, he also took down the Lucky Hearts Poker Open $25,500 High Roller for $556,873, a US Poker Open $10,500 event for $190,400, the EPT Monte Carlo €25,000 No-Limit Hold’em for €378,000, and the EPT Monte Carlo €25,000 Single Re-Entry for €259,700.

Jason Koon – $6,837,091

Koon is, too, having quite some year and quite a month, to be more precise. The player won high roller tournaments on two continents over a week’s span. He first outlasted 103 entries in the partypoker-sponsored HK$1,000,000 Triton Super High Roller Montenegro to scoop a hefty payout of $3,569,836.

Just a few days later, the player claimed another title and another seven-figure payout. He won the Aria $100K High roller during the WPT Tournament of Champions Festival at Aria Resort & Casino. Koon was the last man standing from a field of 31 entries. His share of the prize pool totaled $1,039,940.

Koon has cashed in seven events since the beginning of the year and has won one more tournament over the past few months. During this year’s PCA, the poker pro bested the field of the $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em, good for a prize of $421,080.

Stephen Chidwick – $5,906,441

UK’s second most profitable player of all time rounds out the podium of this year’s most profitable live tournament poker players. Chidwick has finished in the money in 15 tournaments since January and has won several of them to add nearly $6 million to his already hefty poker bankroll.

The UK poker pro started off 2018 with victories in two US Poker Open tournaments, both of them $25,000 buy-in ones. He scooped more than $700,000 from those. Just a couple of days ago, the player took down a $25,000 Aria High Roller event for $300,000.

Back in April, Chidwick collected two seven-figure payouts from the partypoker MILLIONS Grand Final Barcelona festival. He first finished runner-up to Jake Schindler in the €100,000 Super High Roller for €1.1 million in prize money, and then collected €1 million for his third-place finish in the €10,300 Main Event.

Patrik Antonius – $4,537,936

We have seen more and more from the Finn over the past months which is always good, as we all know how good he is at this game. The player has cashed in just five events this year, but one of these was the above-mentioned Super High Roller Bowl China.

Antonius collected $3,153,551 from that tournament after outlasting all but one of the contenders for the title. In February, the player put up great performance at the partypoker MILLIONS Germany at King’s Casino Rozvadov to win the €25,500 Super High Roller for a first-place prize of €425,000.

Jake Schindler – $4,411,041

Schindler rounds out the list of the five most profitable players so far this year with nearly $4.5 million added to his bankroll. He has cashed in 17 tournaments since the beginning of 2018, which is an impressive number itself. In addition, he actually topped the fields of some of these events.

As already mentioned, the player emerged victorious in the €100,000 Super High Roller during the partypoker MILLIONS Grand Final Barcelona. His share of the tournament’s massive prize pool amounted to €1,750,000. Schindler has also won a couple of Aria High Roller tournaments over the past several months and has cashed in some other such tournaments.

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Casino News Daily
Upcoming Summer Poker Festivals: Las Vegas Edition

With this year’s Super High Roller Bowl now being halfway through and the 49th annual World Series of Poker being just a couple of hours away from kicking off with record 78 gold bracelets up for grabs, Las Vegas has already drawn a humongous number of the world’s best poker pros as well as of recreational players who love the game just as fiercely as any professional out there.

And while the above-mentioned two events are certainly getting and will be getting the most attention, they are not the only ones set to take place in the major gambling hub this summer. In fact, popular Las Vegas casinos are gearing up for a summer of poker thrill and exciting events.

Here are some of the other major festivals that are slated to run in the mecca of casino gambling and entertainment over the next several weeks.

Grand Poker Series

Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in downtown Vegas is set to have its own big series going on over the next month or so. This year’s edition of the Grand Poker Series is slated to begin later today at the gambling venue and to run through July 3.

It will feature more than 80 different poker events and poker formats. Some of the tournaments will feature guaranteed prize pools, with guarantees going up all the way through half a million dollars. Most of the events will be single-day ones, but there will be a few that will feature multiple starting flights and will be played over a couple of days.

The four-day $570 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event will begin on June 28. It will be one of the events that will feature a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000.

Wynn Summer Classic

The 2018 Wynn Summer Classic will kick off on June 1 and will take place all the way through July 16 at the highly popular Wynn Las Vegas. Similarly to the Grand Poker Series, the festival will feature a plethora of events varying in buy-ins and formats, and most of those will take place over a single day.

The Wynn Summer Poker Classic’s schedule includes over 30 different tournaments with very attractive guaranteed prize pools of up to $1 million. It is also important to note that most of those events’ guarantees are six-figure ones.

The $1,600 Main Event is scheduled for July 9. The tournament will be played over five days and will include three starting flights. Entries will contend for the title and the largest share of the guaranteed $1.5-million prize pool.

Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are almost upon those living or visiting the hot Nevada desert and Binion’s Hotel and Casino is offering an escape from the heat with a month-long summer poker festival. The Dog Days of Summer poker celebrations will take place on June 1-July 1 with more than two dozens of different tournaments.

The schedule of this upcoming festival deserves to be paid quite some attention due to its diversity of formats to be featured. Aside from popular formats like No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha, players will also be able to participate in the likes of a $365 buy-in Crazy Stud Mix (Razzudugi; Hi/Lo Regular; Hi/Lo 8) and a $365 Mixed Triple Draw (2-7; A-5; Badugi).

Sumer Poker Series

The Summer Poker Series at The Orleans Hotel & Casino will be another month-long festival to take place in Las Vegas this summer. It will run from June 1 through July 1. The festival features a huge schedule with a wide variety of poker variants that will certainly meet every player’s taste and demands for poker action.

As with the above-mentioned events, this one will, too, feature mostly single-day events. Players will thus be able to enter the ones they feel most comfortable to participate in and to even hop from one casino to another to check out all the festivals set to take place over the next month both on the legendary Strip and in downtown Las Vegas.

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Casino News Daily
Star Entertainment Revenue Boosted by VIP Customers and Queensland Businesses

One of the largest Australian gaming and entertainment groups, Star Entertainment Group, shared that high-roller customers and Queensland businesses have brought larger revenue, at a time when the company has been focused on new Gold Coast- and Brisbane-located projects’ roll-out.

As reported by the operator, the strong revenue growth registered since the beginning of the year has been backed by the boom in the local tourism market, as the number of international VIP customers has also increased. In addition, Star Entertainment further announced a large increase in the amount of the transformational revamp and expansion of its Brisbane-situated Queen’s Wharf project, with a 25% boost in the gross area which is expected to bring the resort costs up from AU$1.8 to AU$2.4 billion.

The company is currently engaged with the development of its AU$2.4-billion Queen’s Wharf resort situated in the central business district of Brisbane. Today, the gambling operator revealed that its revenue increased by 16.4% in the period from January to May 2018.

As revealed by Matt Bekier, the Chief Executive Officer of Star Entertainment, official offers for the first phase of the Queen’s Wharf project are set to be released in June. He further explained that additional dining and retail areas are also planned for the resort. As previously revealed, the foundations, as well as the basement of the project are set to be laid down in 2019, while the construction above the ground expected to begin a year later, in 2020.

More Regulatory Clarity Needed for Gold Coast Tower Project

As mentioned above, Mr. Bekier revealed that the floor area of the company’s Queen’s Wharf project would be bigger than the one originally planned, due to expanded retail and dining area. According to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, the increase reflects the confidence which Star Entertainment has in Queensland and Brisbane.

The company’s boss explained that the increase marked in the number of tourists and higher interstate migration have helped the economy of the state.

The Star Entertainment Group has revealed that the construction of its Gold Coast casino’s new accommodation tower is planned to kick off in August 2018. However, the company still needed more clarity to be brought on the matter, with the State Government expected to say whether the operator would need another casino license, especially for the tourist strip. According to Mr. Bekier, Star Entertainment is absolutely fine with the planned investment in the new tower, but more regulatory clarity would be needed before further investment is given a go.

Kate Jones, the Minister of Queensland Tourism Industry Development is expected to meet with potential supporters of the new resorts in the region. Previously, Star’s CEO shared his opinion that the Gold Coast did not need another casino resort, considering his company’s plans to built four more towers of up to 74 storeys at the already existing Broadbeach venue. In any case, no more poker machines are proposed at the site in question.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

World Casino News
NetEnt continues progressive jackpot streak

You all know and possibly love NetEnt’s progressive jackpot title, Mega Fortune. You’ve probably become used to hearing about it and some of the brand’s other popular progressives in the news with life-changing wins awarded to unsuspecting players. Well, it’ done it again, and this time, the big win changed the life of a player […]
Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Prosecutor handling Okada fraud case draws ire of Philippine justice official

Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada is not yet off the hook as far as his $3 million fraud case in the Philippines is concerned.

Prosecutor handling Okada fraud case draws ire of Philippine justice officialThe Philippine’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a probe against the city prosecutor who dismissed the four counts of estafa (fraud case) that Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. (TRLEI) filed against Okada for alleged bias, according to Philippine News Agency report.

Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara confirmed that Paranaque City Prosecutor Amerhassan Paudac will be investigated to determine whether he prematurely disclosed the decision on Okada’s fraud case. There’s a possibility that Paudac’s dismissal of Okada’s fraud case will be voided if Paudac is found guilty of leaking the decision.

“I will look into this matter ASAP. Premature disclosure of orders and resolutions prior to official release is not allowed unless there are compelling reasons that would sufficiently justify the same,” Guevara said, according to the news outlet.

TRLEI, a subsidiary of Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment Corp., accused Paudac of partiality after his ruling on Okada’s fraud case made its way to social media networks like Instagram and Facebook before the casino operator even received the copy of the resolution.

The firm claimed in its motion for inhibition that Chloe Kim, who was believed to be connected with Okada, posted the dispositive portions—including the signatures—of Paudac’s resolution junking Okada’s fraud cases as early as May 18.

When the casino developer and operator asked the status of its case in Paudac’s office, TRLEI said that they were informed that no resolution was available for release.

“Resolutions purportedly disposing the captioned cases in favor of respondent Okada have apparently been leaked… as shown by the unlawful publication thereof in the Facebook and Instagram accounts of his (Okada’s) close companion, Chloe Kim, although said resolutions have not been officially released,“ TRLEI alleged in its pleading.

Okada’s camp, for its part, insisted that Paudac’s resolution was already available for pick up by the UEC’s lawyers on May 18, claiming that not a single TRLEI representative came to the prosecutor’s office to get the copies of the resolution on that day.

Last week, Philippine prosecutors in Makati and Paranaque Cities junked the $10 million perjury and fraud complaints against Okada after they failed to find a probable cause to move the case forward to the lower court.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

World Casino News
New Jersey race track sues NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB over $150m in lost revenue

A lawsuit filed Thursday by the operator of Monmouth Park, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA), against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the four major sports leagues alleges that the leagues legal action [Murphy v NCAA] in August 2012 to enjoin New Jersey’s Sports Wagering Act cost the thoroughbred horse racing track […]
Casino News Daily
Matthew Waxman Wins WPT Tournament of Champions

It started off with 80 former WPT Main Tour Main Event champions, but it was Matthew Waxman who outlasted that elite field to become this year’s WPT Tournament of Champions winner. The player claimed the title and the first-place prize of $463,375 after picking off a bluff from his heads-up opponent Matas Cimbolas.

Waxman and Cimbolas were two of the five players who returned for Day 3 of the prestigious tournament. Instead of playing that final day at Aria Resort & Casino, the remaining survivors switched venues and their final battle thus took place at the brand new Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor.

Waxman entered the final day of action third in chips, while Cimbolas held the second largest stack at the time when cards were thrown in the air. The five finalists were led by Darren Elias, who won his record fourth WPT title just a few days ago.

The player maintained his momentum for a while, but then lost his chip lead to Waxman. Elias eventually busted in third place, thus missing the chance to win a back-to-back title and smash another record. He collected $177,060 in prize money.

Nick Schulman was actually the first player to leave the final table on Day 3. He was eliminated in fifth place namely by Elias. His share of the $1,365,000 prize pool totaled $89,290. David Benyamine went out in fourth, good for $123,045.

Heads-Up Action

Waxman was the player to set the two-handed match after he eliminated Elias in third place. The eventual champion entered heads-up as a chip leader with 2:1 advantage over Cimbolas. The first half of their duel saw chips swinging back and forth from one player to the other and vice versa.

Waxman then began to pull ahead of his final opponent until he took controlling advantage. On the final hand in play, the eventual champion check-called the three streets with [Qc][7d]. Cimbolas moved all in on the river with [10h][3s] on a [Kd][2h][Qs][4s][8h] board. Waxman quickly picked off his opponent’s bluff and called to claim the title and the largest share of the prize pool. Cimbolas exited the tournament in second place, good for $265,590.

As for Waxman’s first-place prize, it also includes a $15,000 seat into next season’s WPT Tournament of Champions, a luxurious Hublot watch, a JetSmarter membership worth $50,000, and the one and only WTP Tournament of Champions trophy.

Talking to WPT staff minutes after his triumph, Waxman said that it took him some time to decide whether he should play in the Tournament of Champions or not due to the high buy-in, the elite field, and the lack of much confidence in his game. It seems that he has made the right decision, though.

The event concluded Season XVI of the popular poker series. As mentioned above, it attracted 80 entries, including the winners from throughout the season and players who had won WPT titles during previous seasons. A prize pool of $1,365,000 was generated to be split among the top 10 finishers, min-cashes starting from $39,840.

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Vietnam issues casino license to Banyan Tree’s Laguna Lăng resort

vietnam-laguna-lang-casino-licenseVietnam’s Laguna Lăng Cô has been awarded a casino license, the first such license the Vietnamese government has issued in a decade.

This week, Laguna Lăng proudly announced that its $2b resort project in Thua Thien Hue province had finally received its casino license. It’s the first such license issued in Vietnam since The Grand Ho Tram Strip, currently the nation’s only large-scale integrated resort with gaming, received its go-ahead.

The license was formally presented by Nguyen Van Cao, chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee, to Ho Kwon Ping, chairman of Laguna Lăng’s managing partner Banyan Tree Holdings, at the recent Vietnam-Singapore Business Forum 2018 in Singapore.

The Laguna Lăng resort opened its $285m first phase five years ago but Banyan Tree’s Ho said “many hotel investors and development funds have been awaiting the casino license and the selection of a casino operator before finalizing their investment into our Phase 2.”

The resort’s casino operations are expected to launch by 2022. Banyan Tree remains cagey regarding who will run its gaming operations, although the local government has reached some kind of understanding with US casino operator Hard Rock International regarding gaming operations in the province.

In addition to new hotels and other amenities, the developers intend to embark on a major infrastructure upgrade, including transportation, electrical systems, water and environmental management systems to ensure the resort can handle the expected influx of tourists.

Given its expected launch date, the Laguna Lăng casino won’t be open in time to participate in Vietnam’s three-year trial of allowing local residents to gamble in casinos. The Ho Tram venue and the country’s smaller gaming halls (mostly in upscale hotels) have traditionally been off-limits to locals but the government announced it would temporarily relax these rules at select casinos to gauge the impact on society.

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World Casino News
William Hill US to operate sports book at Ocean Resort Casino

The largest sports book in Nevada, William Hill US will reportedly run the sports book at the Ocean Resort Casino slated to open at June’s end this year. The partnership between the London-based sports book and the resort casino at 500 Boardwalk was confirmed on Thursday by Jordan Deifik, principal of Ocean Resort Casino, who […]
Casino News Daily
Darren Elias Leads WPT Tournament of Champions Final Table, Eyes Back-To-Back Wins

The second day of the WPT Tournament of Champions was completed on Saturday at Aria Resort & Casino. It started with 29 players but just five of them survived through the very end of the day and are still in contention for the title and the $463,375 first-place prize.

Day 2 of the tournament kicked off with Dennis Blieden leading the pack of 29 hopefuls from Day 1. The player had a solid run during the first day of the WPT Tournament of Champions and methodically built a massive stack into Day 2. However, it appeared he had lost some of his momentum when he returned to the tables yesterday to eventually lose his chip advantage. The player was eliminated in 11th later on Day 2 to become the unfortunate bubble boy.

The original field of the prestigious tournament comprised 80 entries. The prize pool totaled $1.365 million and included the $15,000 buy-in fees paid by the participants and an additional $150,000 contributed by the WPT. The money was split into payouts for the top ten finishers.

The five finalists are set to resume play today at 4 pm local time. Unlike the previous two days when they played at the poker tables of Aria Resort & Casino, the final tablists will take to the felt of the brand-new Esports Arena Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel and Casino to battle it out until there is just one player left.

Darren Elias Aims For Back-To-Back Titles

Darren Elias came into the WPT Tournament of Champions fresh off the inaugural WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, which he took down to win a record-breaking fourth title from the series. And if Day 1 of the Tournament of Champions belonged to Blieden, it can be said that Day 2 belonged namely to Elias.

The player eventually bagged and tagged 1.4 million to top the chip counts chart. It is also important to note that he has quite some advantage over the rest of his remaining opponents.

Commenting on his run over the past several days, Elias said that “wins […] come in bunches in poker” and that when a player wins in a tournament, they become more confident and maybe play better in their next tournaments.

While Elias might have secured the chip lead, he will have a different task today as the rest of the finalists are seasoned players themselves. Matas Cimbolas collected a stack of 1.159 million last night to rank second in the chip counts chart. Matthew Waxman finished third in chips, good for 554,000. Nick Schulman, a player who boasts $3,534,047 in live tournament earnings, and David Benyamine, who has collected more than $1.8 million from different live tournaments, were the other two players to make it through Day 2 with and collect almost even stacks at the end of the day with 447,000 and 440,000, respectively.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Casino News Daily
Dennis Blieden Leads 29 Survivors into WPT Tournament of Champions Day 2

The WPT is about to wrap up another successful season. Once again the popular poker series is celebrating the end of its season with the WPT Tournament of Champions, a three-day event that features champions from the past year and is already taking place at Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Day 1 of the season-ending tournament was played on Thursday at the host casino. It started off with 80 participants but the field was whittled down to just 29 players by the end of the day.

The event came with a buy-in fee of $15,000, but those who won Main Tour Main Events throughout the season had that fee included in their first-place prizes. The WPT also added $150,000 to the prize pool, of which $50,000 would go to the winner to create an overall prize pool of $1.365 million.

The top 10 finishers will leave with a payout, min-cash worth $39,840. The winner will receive $463,375 from the prize pool. However, awards for the big champion would not be limited to the monetary prize. Their victory will also be rewarded with a Hublot Big Bang Unico Titanium Ceramic watch, a JetSmarter membership worth $50,000, and the one and only WPT Tournament of Champions trophy.

Dennis Blieden Leads After Day 1

The first day of this year’s WPT Tournament of Champions concluded with Dennis Blieden leading the elite pack into the night. The player bagged and tagged 593,000 to lock a comfortable start to Day 2.

Blieden is followed by J.C. Tran with 305,500 and Marvin Rettenmaier with 234,500, but it can be seen that the overnight chip leader has secured quite an advantage over his remaining opponents.

Blieden catapulted himself to the top of the Day 1 chip counts chart after winning a massive pot during Level 4 of play. The player clashed against Andy Frankenberger. The latter went all in with pocket aces to Blieden’s pocket sixes. A [6c][4d][2c] flop and blank turn and river saw Frankenberger hit the rail, while Blieden collected his chips. Later the same level, the overnight chip leader scooped quite some chips from Mike Del Vecchio to further cement his advantage.

Blieden won the LA Poker Classic $10,000 Main Event back in February to claim his first WPT title, a seat into the WPT Tournament of Champions, and $1 million in prize money. The player had cashed in two WSOP events prior to his triumph earlier this year. Talking with WPT staff last night, Blieden said that he has not played tournament poker since the LAPC, but he was running pretty well in the Tournament of Champions and it felt as if he had picked where he had left off.

Unlike many of the other tournament entries, Blieden is not that well known to the poker community. Dwelling on that, the player said that he knew many of his table mates considered him “terrible” and that was why he was getting calls that many would not. He went on to say that he got quite some coolers throughout Day 1 and it seemed to him that every time he bluffed, his opponents would fall, while every time he called, he would win the pot.

Play is set to resume at Aria today at noon local time. The remaining hopefuls will play down to an official six-handed final table. Aside from Blieden, the likes of Erik Seidel, Marvin Rettenmaier, Justin Young, and Darren Elias, who came into the Tournament of Champions fresh off his record fourth WPT win in the inaugural WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic, will also join Day 2 action.

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World Casino News
PokerStars.pt joins three-nation shared liquidity scheme

Canadian iGaming operator The Stars Group Incorporated has announced that its envisioned online poker shared liquidity scheme involving players in France, Spain and Portugal is now a reality after its PokerStars.pt domain was accepted into the tri-nation club. Toronto-listed The Stars Group Incorporated, which is also responsible for the FullTilt online casino brand, stated that […]
Casino News Daily
Tiverton Casino Set to Open a Month Ahead of Schedule

Twin River Tiverton Casino Hotel in Tiverton, Rhode Island will open doors on September 1, precisely a month ahead of schedule, property officials confirmed Thursday.

John Taylor Jr., Chairman of the company behind the project, Twin River Management Group, told media that the work of the construction teams made it possible for the opening to take place at an earlier date.

The Tiverton-based casino will feature a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,000 slot machines and 32 table games, five dining facilities, an 84-room hotel, and a parking garage. It will operate under a license previously issued to Newport Grand Casino, which was too owned by the same company up until recently.

Twin Rivers sold the property to the Johnston-based Carpionato Group for the amount of $10 million earlier this month. As mentioned above, the license for the operation of gaming was retained by the Twin River group and will be transferred to its new facility in Tiverton.

Despite its original plan to invest $75 million, the company behind the project has nearly doubled its investment to $140 million. Mr. Taylor has previously explained that the cost was entirely covered by Twin River Management Group and that they had not received any subsidies from the state or any taxpayer money.

Missed Original Deadline

Developers of what has been promoted as a “convenience casino” had hoped that it would be completed by the summer of 2018. However, delays of different nature prevented the gambling venue from meeting that original deadline.

In previous interviews with local media, Mr. Taylor has revealed that challenges related to the land where the casino was being developed, imposed limits on construction hours, and the multiple delays in the beginning of the town planning process were among the most important factors to hold back their project’s timely completion.

Twin River Management Group also owns the Twin River Casino Lincoln complex. The property is among the largest casinos in the United States. When asked whether their new gambling venue will be of the same scale, Mr. Taylor has explained that their Tiverton property would represent just a quarter of the Lincoln one.

The new Tiverton casino is expected to create between 500 and 600 permanent jobs once operational. Of these, around 160 positions would be occupied by people who previously worked at the Newport Grand casino. The rest of the available jobs were first offered to residents of the Tiverton area.

Located near the Massachusetts border, the Tiverton casino will look to draw customers namely from its neighboring state. Massachusetts itself is in the middle of expanding its commercial casino industry with two massive gaming resorts. MGM Resorts International is set to open a $960-million property in the city of Springfield this fall, and Wynn Resorts is building a $2-plus-billion complex near Boston, slated to open doors sometime next year.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Casino News Daily
Darren Elias Makes History at Aria Casino, Captures Record Fourth WPT Title

Darren Elias finally claimed a coveted fourth WPT title after a near miss earlier this season in Jacksonville. The player topped last night the elite field of the inaugural WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic to become the only one to have ever captured four titles from the series’ Main Tour.

The WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic drew 162 entries to the tables of the host venue – Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. It was a star-studded field of former WPT champions, former WSOP Main Event champions, including 14-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, and a plethora of other accomplished pros and recreationals. They created a prize pool of $1,555,200 and the amount of $387,580 went to the winner.

Elias entered the final day of the event as the chip leader and with a massive stack. The player said that he was there for anything but the win, and he did his best to execute his strategy and claim the prestigious fourth title that put him ahead of Gus Hansen, Carlos Mortensen, Anthony Zinno, and Chino Rheem who are all holding three WPT titles.

It was an action-packed day at the host casino on Wednesday. Despite his advantage, Elias’ ride to victory was not a smooth one. Aside from him, the official six-handed final table of the event featured two players who were eying their third WPT titles (Jonathan Little and Sam Panzica), a player who was looking to claim a second title (Dietrich Fast), former WSOP Main Event champion Joe McKeehen, and female poker pro Kitty Kuo who has been smashing tables over the past several months.

Thrilling Heads-Up

Little and Panzica were the first to leave the final table, their hopes for a third title thus being brought to an abrupt end. The players collected $74,520 and $97,795, respectively. Fast was then eliminated in fourth place, good for $130, 895.

The most important hand of the final table occurred during three-handed play when McKeehen and Elias found themselves locked in an all-in confrontation that would end everything for one of the players. It was eventually McKeehen to bust in third place for $178,610, while Elias collected his chips to enter heads-up against Kuo with a 3:1 advantage.

Despite the huge gap, Kuo was not showing any signs that she was ready to give up on the title without a fight. As a result, the two-handed duel lasted three hours and over 100 hands. While Kuo never managed to take the lead during the match, she doubled several times and almost erased the gap.

On what turned out to be the final hand of the tournament, Kuo announced all in for her last 600,000 and Elias called almost immediately. Elias tabled [Ah][10c] to his opponent’s [As][5d]. The [4d][Js][8h][7s][2c] arrived on the board to end Kuo’s participation in the tournament. The player took $248,380 for her performance.

As for Elias, the player is now heading into the WPT Tournament of Champions which starts today at Aria. Fresh off his latest triumph, he will play against the WPT Main Event champions from throughout the season for a chance to be crowned the absolute champion of Season XVI of the series.

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World Casino News
Developments in US sports betting

While the race has been on for awhile to regulate sports betting at the state level, the pack broke into a sprint on May 14 when the US Supreme Court declared the federal law banning the practice unconstitutional when they ruled on Murphy v. NCAA. With the demise of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection […]
Casino – CalvinAyre.com
New Crown pokies tampering video surfaces on YouTube

Australian MP Andrew Wilkie may have found the final nail to seal the coffin of Crown Resorts Ltd. after a video on a supposed ‘Crown pick’ enabling autoplay on video poker machines (pokies) surfaced on video sharing website YouTube.

New Crown pokies tampering video surfaces on YouTubeWilkie, who is already in touch with the YouTube whistleblower, believes that the latest piece of evidence on pokies tampering will compel Victoria’s gambling regulators to impose a greater penalty against the casino operator, the ABC News reported.

He also presented to local reporters a plastic pick that was double the size of a guitar plectrum and has a Crown casino logo, claiming that it was used to tamper with the pokies.

“[We have] a new whistleblower, new allegations, and even video footage of these picks being used at Crown Casino to, in effect, illegally modify a poker machine,” Wilkie said.

In the video, an unnamed croupier shows a supposed Crown casino pick that is jammed into the pokies’ button. The pick was said to be responsible for continuous plays on the machine even in the absence of a player and could dramatically expedite the loss rate of a player since it slashed the time between spins to as little as two seconds.

With this new evidence, Wilkie questioned whether Crown is fit to hold its license. He has also added more pressure on the Victoria Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to impose a harsher penalty on Crown, claiming that the state regulator’s reputation was at stake.

“If the regulator doesn’t do its job, then the State Government needs to act, and we need to consider whether other bodies such as the anti-corruption body would need to become involved,” Wilkie said.

In April, the VCGLR found Crown Resorts guilty of violating the Gambling Regulation Act of 2003 when the casino operator “adjusted” its gaming machines. It slapped Crown Resorts with a AUD300,000 (US$226,608) fine, the heftiest punishment ever imposed on the Australian operator.

Wilkie, however, roasted the VCGLR’s response, saying the fine was just loose change for Crown.

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Hold Up: NJ Sports Betting Bill May Block Casinos With Ties To Sports Franchises From Taking Bets
road block

A provision in the NJ Senate bill regulating sports betting prohibits casinos who own sports franchises from operating sportsbooks on any level, effectively blocking a good portion of Atlantic City's casinos from taking bets.

The post Hold Up: NJ Sports Betting Bill May Block Casinos With Ties To Sports Franchises From Taking Bets appeared first on .

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

World Casino News
Playtech receives official consent for Snaitech SpA purchase

In Italy, omni-channel gaming software and services innovator Playtech has reportedly received official approval from the nation’s Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS) regulator to purchase a majority stake in prominent local online and retail operator Snaitech SpA. According to a Monday report from the Reuters news service, Playtech agreed a deal early last […]