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Resorts Set to Open Physical Sports Book on August 15

Resorts will become Atlantic City’s fifth casino to be operating a physical sports book, the property itself has confirmed in a press release. Its betting facility is slated to open doors on Wednesday at 11 am, pending approval from New Jersey gambling regulators.

Earlier this month, Resorts became New Jersey’s first casino to launch online and mobile sports betting. The roll-out of its digital offering was the result from its partnership with DraftKings. The casino has also recently sealed a partnership with The Stars Group, owner of the BetStars betting brand, among others.

Resorts’ physical sports book will feature a 12-foot video wall as well as 15 television screens. There will be six betting windows and four self-serve kiosks located across the facility.

Resorts will be Atlantic City’s fifth casino to launch a sports book on casino premises. The Borgata was the first to open a betting facility as part of its gaming floor. Its physical sports book went live on June 14. Ocean Resort Casino launched its sports book on June 27, followed by the Wild Wild West Casino at Bally’s, which took its first sports bet on July 30. Most recently, Harrah’s went live with a temporary sports book.

Initial Financial Information

According to official data by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the amount of $16.4 million was generated in sports bets in the period between June 14-30. That figure included bets taken in by the Borgata, Ocean, and Monmouth Park racetrack, which, too, began operating a sports book on June 14.

Revenue generated by the three properties amounted to nearly $3.5 million, with Monmouth leading the way with $2.3 million, followed by the Borgata with $986,831 and Ocean with $192,671.

New Jersey was the first state to legalize sports betting, following the mid-May annulment of the federal ban on sports betting. The state was actually the one to lead the push for the eventual lift of the ban for a number of years and eventually brought the matter to the US Supreme Court.

SCOTUS announced last year that it would review New Jersey’s petition and issued its ruling, favoring the state, on May 14. The decision of the nation’s top court made it possible for all 50 states to legalize sports betting if they believe this would be a positive move. The 1992 PASPA ban prohibited betting on professional and amateur sports leagues at a federal level.

New Jersey managed to craft a sports betting legislation and go live with sports betting operations within a month after the ban’s annulment. The move came as another important manifestation of the busy year the state’s gambling industry has had. Aside from the legalization of sports betting, New Jersey and Atlantic City, in particular, has seen the opening of two new casinos – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino. The two new properties and the legalized sports betting offering are hoped to help the state’s gambling sector revitalize after a disastrous decade that culminated in the closure of five Boardwalk casinos within two and a half years.

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Adam Ross Wins First WSOP Circuit Season 2018/2019 Main Event at Harrah’s Cherokee

Adam Ross became the first WSOP Circuit Main Event champion of the popular poker series’ new season. The player topped a behemoth field at Harrah’s Cherokee in North Carolina for his biggest career score of $295,970, his first WSOP Circuit gold ring, and a seat into next year’s WSOP Global Casino Championship.

Ross was more than ecstatic to win the major tournament. He was jumping and shouting at the top of his lungs, celebrating the fact that he has finally scooped a life-changing amount of money that would help him pay his mortgage.

Ross has been playing poker as a recreational player for quite some time. He has collected multiple cashes from different tournaments, but has never before won what he considers a life-changing monetary prize. Fresh off his victory, he said that he will continue playing poker occasionally and that he plans to take part in next year’s WSOP Main Event, aside from the WSOP Global Casino Championship.

The WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Cherokee Main Event took place over four days at the host venue. The $1,700 buy-in tournament featured two starting flights and two more days of play. Each of the starting flights allowed players to re-enter once. The event eventually attracted 1,056 entrants who generated a prize pool of $1,599,840. The top 108 places paid, min-cashes starting from $2,944.

Ross’ Performance

Ross did not have a smooth start of the tournament but improved significantly during Day 2 to eventually bag and tag the sixth largest stack of all 21 players who remained in contention at the end of play on that day.

He maintained his momentum throughout Day 3 to battle and hold up against much more accomplished players, including WSOP gold bracelet holder Jesse Rockowitz, six-time WSOP Circuit gold ring winner Dan Lowery, and former gold ring winners Eyal Bensimhon, Andrew Kelsall, and Charles Johnson.

Ross finally faced Ryan Phan, a one-time gold ring winner, heads-up. The two-handed match began with Phan holding the chip lead with 16 million to Ross’ 15 million. The match was packed with action as the chip lead exchanged hands a number of times, until Ross assumed control over the majority of chips in play one final time and never looked back, methodically weakening his opponent’s defense.

On what turned out to be the last hand of the final table and the tournament, Phan had only a couple of big blinds left, which he moved all in pre-flop. Ross called with [2c][2d] to Phan’s [Kc][10d]. A [Ac][4d][6c][2h][5h] board sealed it for Ross, while Phan hit the rail in second place, good for $182,990.

Harrah’s Cherokee was the first stop of the new WSOP Circuit season. The series has a total of 28 festivals booked throughout its 2018/2019 season and Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut will play host to the next one from August 16-27.

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Spain’s OHL Increases Stake in €500-Million Madrid Development Project Half-Owned by PokerStars Founder

Construction company OHL Desarrollos has purchased a 32.5% stake in the Centro Canalejas Madrid development from Grupo Villar Mir to increase its holding in the project to 50%. PokerStars founder Mark Scheinberg owns the other half of the ambitious plan, which was originally kicked off in 2014 and was faced with a myriad of challenges that prevented its earlier completion.

The complex, which will feature hotel and residential areas as well as retail space and multiple food and beverage outlets, is now slated for late 2019 opening. It is being developed next to the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid and includes buildings formerly occupied by the Banco Santander.

In a Monday filing to Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores), OHL said that it would pay €50 million for the 32.5% stake in the development with an option for an additional €10-million payment in the event of gains if it sells its stake subsequently.

Excluding the newly added holding, OHL originally owned 17.5% in the scheme. The acquisition marks Villar Mir’s official exit from the project and provides OHL with a 50% stake, the other 50% being owned by Mr. Scheinberg, who joined the project last February through his company Mohari Limited.

More about the Project

Grupo Villar Mir and OHL bought the land where the complex is currently being developed back in 2012 from its former occupant Banco Santander. The property was set for an earlier launch, but legal and other challenges prevented that from happening.

Development work commenced in 2014 and the complex is now expected to open doors in late 2019. It will feature a 200-room Four Seasons-operated hotel, which will mark the Canadian chain’s entry into the Spanish hospitality market, a residential area, which will, too, be operated by Four Seasons.

The property is expected to create 4,800 direct and indirect jobs and has been touted as one aiming to bring revitalization to the area and protect the historic and cultural heritage of the buildings it will include. In fact, the risks the project might pose to the integrity of the area has been one of the main reasons why it has been contested heavily by a number of heritage defense groups.

Mr. Scheinberg, who together with his father, Isai, founded PokerStars in the 2000s and then sold it to Canada’s Amaya for nearly $5 billion, entered the Centro Canalejas Madrid scheme in February 2017. The businessman, whose net worth is estimated at $4.8 billion (Forbes: Real Time Net Worth), paid €225 million for a 50% stake in the endeavor. The deal marks his first foray into the Spanish real estate market, which seems to be gradually returning its mojo after the 2008 property bubble burst that saw property prices collapse overnight and shatter Spain’s economy like a massive earthquake.

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No Casinos, New or Existing, Will Operate on Boracay after Rehabilitation, Tourism Official Says

There will be no casinos on Boracay after the Philippine island’s planned reopening on October 26, a government official told local news outlets earlier today.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that neither already established gambling venues nor new ones will be allowed to operate on the island, known to be a popular hub for tourists from the Asia-Pacific region due to its whitesand beaches and breathtaking views.

The island was shuttered for a six-month rehabilitation at the end of April and is scheduled to resume operations in late October. Boracay has been subject to extensive media coverage over the past several months due to an ongoing campaign led by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte aimed to prevent the proposed construction of a $500-million casino resort on the island after its reopening.

Macau gaming and hospitality giant Galaxy Entertainment Group has partnered its Philippine counterpart Leisure and Resorts World Corp. to build the resort in question. The two companies bought a 23-hectare portion of land on the island and received a provisional gaming license from PAGCOR, the Philippine gambling regulator, in order to be able to proceed with the scheme.

President Duterte has repeatedly said that he would not authorize the construction of the multi-million resort, while the developers have remained determined to materialize the project.

Ms. Romulo-Puyat told local media that the country’s top official has also instructed the Department of Tourism (DOT) that Boracay’s existing casinos be shuttered after the island’s reopening this fall.

Casinos Not Within DOT’s Jurisdiction

Commenting on the latest announcements in relation to Boracay’s gaming sector, Rep. Gus Tambunting, Chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusement, told media that the DOT might not be able to close the island’s casinos as it is not within its jurisdiction to do so. Mr. Tambunting went on that it is actually PAGCOR that has primary jurisdiction over gaming operations and that government agencies are supposed to act within their own jurisdiction.

Boracay’s closure for six-month rehabilitation came as part of the Philippine government’s efforts to direct the country’s tourism industry toward better sustainability and to further boost the sector. Boracay annually welcomes around 2 million international visitors. Official data showed that despite the island’s closure, the number of overseas visits grew 10.4% during the first half of the year. The DOT has set a goal of 7.4 million international visits this year.

A separate casino resort project has, too, drawn the ire of President Duterte recently. The $1.5-billion scheme for the construction of the NayonLanding integrated resort in the Manila Bay area celebrated its groundbreaking last week, but received fiery comments by the Philippines’ top official accompanied by oaths that the project would not be allowed to push through. In a series of comments, President Duterte and members of his administration said last week that he does not want any form of gambling expansion in the country and that much effort would be put into the prevention of such expansion.

The post No Casinos, New or Existing, Will Operate on Boracay after Rehabilitation, Tourism Official Says appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Why Has Sweden’s Gambling Market Re-Regulation Created Such a Big Buzz?

The recent participation of Casino News Daily team members in several iGaming conferences has, among other things, confirmed what we all expected – Sweden and the re-regulation of its gambling market has indeed created quite some buzz in the field.

Lotteriinspektionen, the Swedish Gambling Authority, launched the application process for gambling companies interested in operating in the country under its new gambling law on August 1. According to various sources, the regulatory body accepted 22 license applications on the very first day. Around 27 companies are believed to have applied for a license so far, and Swedish authorities expect around 70 applications ahead of the January1, 2019 opening of the market.

Sweden’s state-run Svenska Spel as well as major gambling companies originating from the country but operating from Malta, including Betsson, LeoVegas, and Kindred Group, were among the early birds of the ongoing application process. And while a number of companies are looking to join the Scandinavian nation’s gambling space as early as possible, others have told members of our editorial team that they would approach the newly regulated market a bit more cautiously and wait until after the actual re-regulation takes place.

It is believed that Sweden could rapidly turn into one of Europe’s largest regulated jurisdictions in terms of revenue generated once its new regulatory regime takes effect. According to official data by Lotteriinspektionen, the regulated portion of Sweden’s gambling market, which is controlled by state-run operators, generated revenue of SEK17.07 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2017, while unregulated operators servicing local players generated SEK5.534 billion ($607.97 million).

Here it is important to note that the size of the country’s gray market cannot be estimated accurately and that it is probably much larger than what has been stated in Lotteriinspektionen’s latest annual report. Nevertheless, the figures reported certainly create optimistic visions of the future of Sweden’s re-regulated gambling market. And it is a matter of a very short time until the industry sees whether these visions will become reality.

Potential of the Swedish Gambling Market

Online gambling has been a popular activity across the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden included, since its not-so-distant dawn. The widespread tech-savviness of the Swedish population and the high Internet and mobile penetration rates have helped the online gambling industry as well as other digital developments keep and grow their footprint in the country.

In other words, Sweden has always been in a pole position when adopting and assimilating digital infrastructure, and this is why it is believed that the re-regulation of its gambling market and its opening to international operators that will bring further innovation, but in a regulated environment, is a step in the right direction, and a step that would provide for a further growth of the market.

The way a market is regulated defines the way it will develop in future. It can be said that, with very few exceptions, the provisions comprising Sweden’s new gambling law seem to be quite reasonable ones, not that likely to prevent the re-regulation’s success. For instance, Swedish lawmakers have introduced an 18% tax rate on gross gambling revenue, which given the anticipated size of the market and the wagering volumes operators expect from Sweden, could be described as a reasonable rate. It is a bit higher than UK’s 15% point-of-consumption tax, but it is lower than Denmark’s 20% tax.

eSports Betting – an Anticipated Success Story

With gambling companies looking for ways to attract younger generations of customers to their products, eSports and eSports betting are gradually becoming a popular option for drawing clientèle.

According to multiple online gambling companies, eSports could be one of the big success stories of the upcoming re-regulation of Sweden’s online gambling market. The world of eSports seems to be booming right now and a recent report by Paypal and Superdata shows that Sweden is Europe’s second biggest eSports market, only topped by Russia.

The publication notes that the Swedish eSports market is worth $31 million based on tickets and other products sales as well as sponsorships and brand popularization activities. In comparison, Russia’s eSports market is estimated to around $38 million.

A separate report by Kindred Group claims that Sweden has more professional eSport players than any other country. In addition, the country was allocated a particularly large portion of overall eSports winnings in 2016. And Paypal and Superdata believe that the Swedish eSports market will continue growing beyond 2019 when the European market is expected to reach its peak in terms of audience and players.

Data from the above reports presents a really nice picture for the potential creation of a solid eSports betting sector in Sweden under the country’s new regulatory regime. And multiple operators have actually confirmed that they would venture into the nation’s re-regulated market with an eSports betting product, in addition to their more traditional offering.

Possible Hurdles Before Gambling Companies

Competition in Sweden’s gambling market is expected to be fierce. A number of companies will be competing for a bigger share of a newly regulated market in a country with a total population of 9.9 million people. And some of these companies have already gained advantage over their future competitors through aggressive advertising activities in the country.

A report by measurement firm Kantar Sifo has shown that the national monopoly Svenska Spel as well as international gambling companies Kindred Group and LeoVegas placed among the nation’s top 20 advertisers in 2017 with total ad spending of SEK472.3 million, SEK443.09 million, and SEK313.1 million, respectively.

These companies as well as a number of major others operating in Sweden for years have already gained brand awareness and customer bases that will challenge newcomers quite significantly.

Another important thing to be taken into account as part of Sweden’s iGaming regulatory push is one particular provision in the country’s new gambling law, under which licensed operators would not be able to offer bonuses to their players beyond “the first occasion in which [a] player participates in a game”. As a result, black market operators will be able to gain a competitive edge with countless bonus offers, which would certainly create inconvenience for licensed companies.

Final Comments

Sweden is months away from re-regulating its market and opening it to international operators. The process is expected to create one of Europe’s largest and highest grossing jurisdictions, but despite the expectations and the fact that the regulatory environment created will be, to some extent, operator-friendly, there still will be major hurdles before the newly licensed companies and that it will take time before the market truly shows its actual potential.

The post Why Has Sweden’s Gambling Market Re-Regulation Created Such a Big Buzz? appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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