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Eric Perry Wins First Gold Ring from Horseshoe Tunica’s Opening Event

Eric Perry survived through a field of 372 entries to win the Horseshoe Tunica Double Stack for his first WSOP Circuit gold ring

The club of WSOP Circuit gold ring winners has just welcomed its new member – Eric Perry, a poker player from Friendswood, Texas. Perry has topped the field of the $400 No-Limit Hold’em Double Stack at Horseshoe Tunica for a first gold ring and a little over $27,000 in prize money.

The brand new gold ring winner was one of the tournament’s 372 entries. The event took place on Thursday to mark the beginning of the WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Tunica stop.

As mentioned above, the Double Stack tournament drew 372 participants who generated a prize pool of $122,760. The money was split among the top 46 finishers. Steven Williams was the first player to leave with a payout. He collected a min-cash of $277 for his run.

Winning the $400 buy-in tournament was not an easy task for Perry. The player ran below average chips for the better part of the event and it was pretty much towards its end when he gained momentum to eventually take it down.

When the field was whittled down to just the unofficial ten-handed final table, Perry was second to last in the temporary leaderboard with 735,000 in chips. Paul Mattioda was the player who occupied the bottom of the chip counts chart with a stack of 380,000, while James Strickland was the chip leader with a comfortable advantage over the rest of the pack and a stack of 1.925 million.

Final Hours of Action

Perry did not have a good start of the unofficial final table and he maintained a below average stack throughout those final hours of play. Commenting on his run, the player said that “it was a big grind” and that all he needed to eventually capture the title was a “couple of good flops.”

The board delivered those good flops and Perry is now a proud holder of a shiny gold ring from the WSOP Circuit. The eventual winner faced Joey Huey heads-up. Huey was going for his first title from the WSOP Circuit. The player is well familiar to the series with 17 cashes from different stops.

However, the Horseshoe Tunica Double Stack title was Perry’s to win. Huey eventually went out in second place, good for his largest cash from the WSOP Circuit of $16,689.

In his post-victory interview, Perry said that he would be around for the rest of the week. He further noted that he has been practicing the game really hard and that Circuit tournaments were a great opportunity to improve his game and get better playing against some really good players.

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Wynn Macau Wins Gambling Debt Lawsuit against Malaysian Gambler

In an unprecedented move, Malaysian court allowed Wynn Macau to collect its dues from a gambler

A Malaysian court sided on Friday with Wynn Macau in a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against a fund manager who had gambled at the Macau-based casino and had owed it millions of dollars, Reuters reported citing Wynn’s lawyer.

In an unprecedented ruling, Judge S. Nantha Balan said yesterday that fund manager Paul Poh Yang Hong will have to pay Wynn Macau HK$33 million (approx. $4.21 million) in an outstanding debt to the gambling venue plus interest as a result from his failure to pay his due on time.

Wynn filed a lawsuit against Mr. Poh in 2017. The casino claimed that its gambler had owed it HK$33 million before suing him. The fund manager had been extended a line of credit of HK$40 million to gamble at the property. He had managed to pay down to about HK$33 million before being brought to court.

The Friday ruling was the first time when a casino has been allowed to collect dues from gamblers in Malaysia. The country’s current law does not recognize gambling contracts, which means that casinos do not have legal recourse for the funds they are owed by gamblers.

Friday’s Ruling

In the lawsuit against Mr. Poh, Wynn Macau’s legal team has argued that the casino was not seeking dues from a gambling contract but from a credit agreement the fund manager had agreed to, but had failed to honor afterward.

As mentioned above, Mr. Poh had taken HK$40 million to gamble at Wynn Macau, an amount he had only been able to recover a fraction of. During previous hearings, the fund manager said that he was not aware he had penned a credit agreement and that he did not think he owed money to the Macau-based gambling venue.

In a ruling from yesterday, Judge S. Nantha Balan ruled in favor of Wynn Macau in the case and ordered the gambler the outstanding amount of HK$33 million as well as interest.

Mr. Poh’s lawyer declined to comment on the ruling. It is also still unknown whether the gambler would opt to appeal the court’s decision.

Commenting on the latest development in the case, Wynn Macau’s lawyer, Vincent Law said that if Mr. Poh decides not to appeal the ruling, yesterday’s judgment “will be the law in Malaysia for the foreseeable future.” The lawyer added that the Malaysian court’s decision was good news for the whole gambling industry.

Wynn Macau opened doors in 2006 to become the first Macau-based property of Las Vegas gaming and hospitality powerhouse Wynn Resorts. The company opened its second integrated resort in the gambling mecca – Wynn Palace – in the summer of 2016.

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Maryland Explores Loopholes to Legalize Sports Betting Without Referendum

Maryland is exploring ways to fast-track sports betting without a statewide referendum as more states are expected to jump on the wagering bandwagon this year

Maryland lawmakers have rekindled the sports betting legalization debate just days after the beginning of the 2019 legislative session and are looking for faster ways to pass a legislation authorizing the practice without voter approval.

Under the state’s current law, any proposal for commercial gambling expansion should be approved via a statewide referendum. Residents of Maryland approved the legalization of casino gambling a little over a decade ago, but sports betting requires another referendum.

State lawmakers could not pass a betting legislation to put it on the November ballot last year, which means that the practice could only be legalized after the 2020 ballot and if endorsed by voters.

However, neighboring Delaware, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have all gone live with sports gambling since last May when the US Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on the activity, which means that Maryland has already lost important competitive advantage.

To prevent the state lag further behind its neighbors, legislators are now exploring a possible loophole – the legalization of wagering on sports through the state lottery instead of through privately-run entities.

The Maryland lottery was created in 1972 after voters approved Constitutional amendment that authorized the creation of the body and gave it the power to consider various lottery games without requiring endorsement by residents.

What Lawmakers Think

A spokesperson for the state’s Governor, Larry Hogan, has said that the official will be working closely with the General Assembly to determine the best path toward the legalization and regulation of sports betting. It also became known that Maryland’s top official is open to any ideas put forward.

Del. Anne Kaiser, Chairwoman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has said that she believes a sports betting legislation will pass during this year’s session. However, it is yet to be seen what path the state Legislature will take.

Gordon Medenica, Director of the Maryland lottery, has told media that they are ready to embrace sports betting and that they have been keeping up with the developments in the field. However, Mr. Medenica pointed out that the General Assembly will have a lot of things to consider and clarify before going forward with an actual legislation.

The lottery official explained that lawmakers might need to discuss the definition of lottery games and lottery operation, and to clarify what it means for a given lottery game to be operated by the state lottery. According to Mr. Medenica, even if the General Assembly passes a sports betting legislation, the activity would probably not go live before early 2020, as a procurement process will have to be conducted first.

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Massachusetts Governor Moves to Legalize Sports Betting

Massachusetts sports betting debate gains momentum as Gov. Baker tables bill to legalize wagering on professional sports

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker launched Thursday his own push to bring legal sports betting to the state with a bill calling for the authorization of wagering on professional sports.

Gov. Baker’s bill joined a handful of legislative pieces that were introduced to the state Legislature earlier this week and are all aiming to legalize sports betting in one form or another. Rep. Brad Hill, Rep. Dan Cullinane, Sen. Brendan Crighton, and Sen. Michael Rush are all keen to bring the activity to Massachusetts.

Under Gov. Baker’s bill, bettors would only be able to wager money on professional sports. Betting on collegiate and high school sporting events would be strictly prohibited. The piece of legislation authorizes the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to oversee and regulate the provision of sports betting on the territory of the state and to vet all license applicants.

It should be noted that Gov. Baker has undertaken a slightly different approach in the legalization of the practice. His bill allows for both in-person and mobile betting. The state’s existing casinos – MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino (as well as the soon-to-be-opened Encore Boston Harbor) will be able to form partnerships with betting providers to offer both retail and digital services.

However, interested online gambling companies will, too, be able to apply for a license from MassGaming without having to partner any of the state’s existing land-based properties. While online operators will probably welcome that opportunity, it is believed that Massachusetts’ commercial casinos would be less enthusiastic.

Betting Taxes and Other Important Provisions in Gov. Baker’s Legislation

Under Gov. Baker’s bill, retail betting will be taxed at 10% on revenue, while online wagering will be taxed at 12.5%. Interested operators will have to pay an application fee of $100,000. Approved candidates will have to pay a $500,000 licensing fee that will have to be renewed every five years.

Gov. Baker said yesterday that his legislation was modeled after New Jersey’s betting law. The latter state launched legal sports betting in June 2018, just weeks after the landmark SCOTUS ruling that lifted a federal ban on the activity. New Jersey offers both in-person and mobile betting. Digital betting accounted for approximately 63% of the overall betting handle of $1.2 billion the state’s licensed operators processed in the period between mid-June and December 31, 2018.

As mentioned earlier, if passed, Gov. Baker’s bill would only authorize betting on professional sports. Other bills on the matter tabled in recent days include provisions allowing for betting on collegiate athletics or betting on collegiate sporting events taking place outside Massachusetts.

Gov. Baker’s legislation does not propose an integrity fee/royalty for professional leagues. Rep. Cullinane’s bill, on the other hand, contains a provision that allows leagues to collect a fee out of the wagers placed on their games.

Under Rep. Hill’s bill, tax revenues would go to a health insurance fund, an education fund, and a transportation fund.

With the sports betting debate gaining momentum, Massachusetts could become the second state in New England to legalize the practice. Rhode Island went live with legal wagering late last year when its Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton launched their physical sportsbooks. State legislators are now pushing to bring mobile betting during the ongoing legislative session.

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Frank Stepuchin Leads Final Table of WPT Gardens Poker Championship

Frank Stepuchin leads six players into the first televised final table of WPT Season XVII with a comfortable chip lead

The names of the players who will play the first televised WPT Season XVII final table are now known. Frank Stepuchin is leading the last six survivors in the WPT Gardens Poker Championship into the final stage of the tournament with a comfortable lead.

The six remaining players represent the first delayed final table of a WPT Main Tour Main Event. The popular poker series announced last year that from the start of Season XVII all its televised final tables will be played at a later stage and at HyperX Esports Arena at The Luxor in Las Vegas.

The televised final table of the WPT Gardens will be played on March 12 and will be filmed for FOX Sports Regional Networks.

After four days of play at The Gardens Casino, Stepuchin emerged as the chip leader out of six remaining players. He bagged and tagged 4.065 million in chips when the final table was set and organizers stopped action. The player is now in possession of about 40% of all chips in play.

He took the lead and cemented his position when he eliminated Toby Lewis, a three-time WPT final tablist. On what turned out to be the final hand of the night, Stepuchin moved all in with pocket fives on a [Jc][5h][2h][Kd][3d] board and Lewis called with [Kh][Jh] to hit the rail and miss the chance for another WPT final table appearance.

The Other Five Finalists

Of the other five remaining players, Shannon Shorr sits closest to Stepuchin on the temporary leaderboard. The player collected 1.71 million, good for the second largest stack. Steve Sung bagged 1.58 million into the final table.

Brent Roberts with 1.385 million, Ray Qartomy with 820,000, Jonathan Abdellatif with 555,000 were the other three players to make it to the final table of the WPT Gardens championship.

Stepuchin and Abdellatif have both secured seats into their first-ever WPT final table, while Shorr Sung, and Qartomy will all make their fourth final table appearance in March. Roberts has one previous WPT final table to his name. The player also has one WPTDeepStacks title from a few years ago. If he takes down the WPT Gardens, he will become the first player to have ever won both a WPTDeepStacks and a WPT Main Event.

All in all, the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, a $10,000 buy-in tournament, drew 253 entries who generated a prize pool of $2,428,800. The money was split into payouts for the top 32 finishers, min-cashes starting from $19,120. Each of the six finalists is guaranteed a minimum payout of $110,225. And the winner will walk away with the first-place prize of $548,825, including a $15,000 package into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.

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