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Archive for August 7th, 2018

New Jersey Gambling Industry’s Eventful Year Continues with Massive Sports Betting Expansion

The US Supreme Court struck down a long-existing federal ban on sports betting in mid-May to finally give the green light to a big change to the nation’s gambling industry at a time when it seemed that little was happening in the US gambling space.

The SCOTUS ruling that lifted the 1992 PASPA ban on betting on professional and amateur sports unleashed a wave of legislative proposals for the legalization of sports betting in a number of states. And besides Nevada, where sports betting was legal even before the mid-May annulment of the long-standing ban, New Jersey and Mississippi have been the first to go live with sports betting products for their residents. A plethora of states are expected to join in the coming months and thus take part in the formation of what has previously been estimated to be a market with the potential to be worth over $150 billion.

It is important to point out that it was namely New Jersey that filed the sports betting lawsuit in the nation’s highest ranking court and that it has been very consistent in its effort to bring an end to the PASPA era. And it was the first state following the SCOTUS ruling to take advantage of the reformed status quo.

Sports betting operations commenced in two New Jersey properties on June 14, or precisely a month after the ban was lifted. Once holding the monopoly over the provision of casino-style gaming on America’s East Coast, New Jersey’s gambling industry suffered a major blow when neighboring states began opening their own casino properties. The growing competition and the heavy aftermath of the Great Recession culminated in the closure of five Atlantic City casinos in the period between 2014 and 2016.

Signs of stabilization have popped on the horizon and now the state is looking to take the best advantage of them with the expansion of both its casino sector and its sports gambling industries. Aside from the launch of sports betting operations across several gambling properties, New Jersey and Atlantic City saw the opening of two new casino resorts in June that are hoped to help the casino city restore at least some of the luster it had during its the three-decade East Coast reign.

New Casinos

After nearly two years of being home to just seven operating casinos, Atlantic City saw its gaming scene expanded with two more venues. And the two opened on the same day this past June. Hard Rock International brought down Trump Taj Mahal’s iconic minarets to make room for what now operates as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, while Colorado businessman Bruce Deifik finally reopened the former Revel as Ocean Resort Casino. Both properties had their grand opening on June 28 and are hoped to boost Atlantic City’s gambling and entertainment offering and attract a new and diverse wave of customers.

Sights are set on the two casino resorts, but it is yet to be seen whether they will be able to meet the many expectations of everyone involved in New Jersey’s gambling industry. The state Gaming Enforcement Division is yet to publish information about the local casinos’ performance in July, which is the first full month of operation for both Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean, but it can be said that both properties performed quite well during their first few days between June 28-30.

Hard Rock’s property, the renovation of which cost half a billion dollars to its owner, generated revenue of $4,177,295 during its first three days, including $5,569 from its online casino. Ocean, which Mr. Deifik bought from Florida developer Glenn Straub for $200 million and invested another $200 million to renovate and prepare for opening, reported revenue of $3,200,371, including revenue from its sports book totaling $192,671.

Ocean launched its online casino in mid-July with a platform by London-based provider GAN. With that the number of Atlantic City’s online gaming sites reached 18. New Jersey is home to around 9 million people, which means that competition in the iGaming space is fierce. It is yet to be seen whether Hard Rock and Ocean will be able to gain larger share in that particular field, but they will certainly face serious hurdles in their efforts, particularly Ocean which is yet to establish itself as a brand. And the same goes for the two properties’ land-based operations.

New Jersey’s Sports Betting Scene

New Jersey lawmakers passed a legislation authorizing the provision of sports betting at brick-and-mortar facilities and through online and mobile channels days after the historic SCOTUS ruling. And it was not long after that the state’s casinos and racetracks launched their betting offering, the result from their partnerships with major global sports betting players.

The Borgata Casino and the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport were the first to go live with their sports betting operations. Both venues launched their offering on June 14. Ocean joined the state’s betting scene with a sports book upon its grand opening on June 28. The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford and Bally’s and Harrah’s in Atlantic City were the next to launch their own betting operations.

Resorts, known to be the oldest Boardwalk casino, announced last week a duo of deals with major companies that would see it boost its existing offering with sports betting activities. The venue will be working with The Stars Group, owner of PokerStars and BetStars, and DraftKings to provide customers with the newly legalized type of service.

In fact, it was namely DraftKings that took the first mobile bet in the Garden State. That happened last week when the Boston-based company, widely known for its daily fantasy sports offering, launched its mobile app for New Jersey residents. It is still in a test period and bettors need an invitation in order to be able to place bets, but it will not be long before it is fully functional. MGM, owner of the Borgata, has said that the casino would too start accepting mobile bets soon.

William Hill operates the sports book at Ocean, while it has emerged that Hard Rock had struck a partnership with bet365 for the operation of sports betting. It is yet to be announced when the company’s Atlantic City casino would go live with its betting offering.

July revenue figures are yet to be uploaded by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, but June data shows that the state’s three betting operations generated revenue of $3,458,668 and handle (total bets placed) of $16,409,619. Monmouth was leading the way with betting revenue of $2,279,166, followed by the Borgata with $986,831. Ocean’s sports book generated $192,671 during its first three days of operation.

While it is still too early, officials at the properties were generally happy with the performance of their newly launched betting operations. Sports betting has a great potential in the US due to enormous following different sports have across the nation, but it is yet to be seen how the industry will develop in the states where it is legal or will be legalized, New Jersey included.

The post New Jersey Gambling Industry’s Eventful Year Continues with Massive Sports Betting Expansion appeared first on Casino News Daily.

WPT Choctaw Main Event Winners over the Years

The WPT Choctaw $3,700 Main Event is currently under way at Durant, Oklahoma’s premium poker destination. Players from here and there flocked to the place to participate in one of the hottest summer events to be taking place in the US.

And while they are battling for the largest share of the tournament’s prize pool and the prestigious poker title, Casino News Daily has looked back to prior WPT Choctaw Championship editions. Here is a little bit more about when the tournament was first held and who has won it over the years.

Season 2015-2016

The inaugural WPT Choctaw festival took place early into Season XIV of the popular poker series. The Main Event itself ran from July 31 through August 4 and featured two starting flights and three more days of play.

The tournament was a $3,700 buy-in one. In fact, all four editions of the WPT Choctaw Championship, including the ongoing one, have featured the same buy-in fee. As many as 1,175 entries registered during the first-ever edition of the tournament to generate a prize pool of $3,989,125. The top 147 finishers received a share of the money, min-cashes starting from $3,874.

Jason Brin was the player to win the first WPT Main Event ever held at Choctaw Casino in Durant. The player survived a field of tough fellow competitors to win a first-place prize of $692,975 for his efforts. To date, Brin has $915,523 in live tournament earnings and his triumph at the WPT Main Event is still his best live tournament accomplishment.

Season 2016-2017

The second WPT Choctaw Main Event took place at the host venue between July 29 and August 2, 2016. Players had the opportunity to enter the tournament through one of two starting flights. The event featured three more days of play.

The overall field of that edition of the Choctaw Main Event comprised 1,066 entries who generated a prize pool of $3,619,070. The money was split into cashes for the top 109 places. After the bubble burst, each of the remaining contenders was guaranteed a minimum cash of $3,315.

It was James Mackey to scoop the lion’s share of the prize pool. The player collected $666,758 for his triumph. This was Mackey’s second WPT Main Tour Main Event final table. Three seasons earlier, the player finished third in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Main Event for a cash prize of $441,128.

Season 2017-2018

Last year’s edition of the WPT Choctaw Main Event began on August 4 and ran through August 8, featuring two starting flights and three more days of play.

There was a decrease in attendance and the field dropped below 1,000 entries during the third edition of the tournament. As many as 924 players registered into the event last summer to create a prize pool of $3,121,980. There were payouts for the top 99 finishers, min-cashes were worth $6,400.

Jay Lee won the event last year for a monetary prize of $593,173 and his only cash from the WPT series. It is also interesting to note that the player had just two prior in-the-money finishes in live tournaments before taking down the WPT Choctaw, both of which were from the WSOP.

The post WPT Choctaw Main Event Winners over the Years appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Poker Tournaments Starting August 6-12

August has arrived with all the happy days full of cold drinks and barefoot beach walks. But a poker player would, among other things, be interested to know where the hottest poker events will take place. The upcoming week has a lot to offer in that regard and Casino News Daily has picked four of the most interesting poker festivals set to kick off in the coming days. South Korea, the Czech Republic, Las Vegas, and Minnesota are four of the poker destinations worth heading to this week. Here is more about some of this week’s most exciting poker events.

APT Korea Championships

Paradise City Hotel & Resort in Incheon, South Korea will play host to the next APT installment. The festival is set to run from August 8 through August 19. Its schedule features 22 different tournaments with buy-ins varying from KRW165,000 (approximately $148) to KRW16 million (approximately $14,368).

The festival will kick off with two No-Limit Hold’em tournaments, a KRW330,000 one and the highest buy-in one on the APT Korea Championships schedule (KRW16 million). Aside from those two, there will be multiple other Texas Hold’em and Omaha opportunities for players over the course of the major poker event.

The four-day Main Event is slated for August 15-18 and will feature two starting flights and two more days of play. Interested players will be able to enter it by paying a buy-in fee of KRW1,650,000.

MSPT Regional Minnesota

The next MSPT Regional event is scheduled for August 8-12 and will be played at Canterbury Park Racetrack & Card Club in Shakopee, Minnesota. The $350 buy-in Main Event will feature a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000 that would quite certainly be crashed, given the popularity of the MSPT events.

Starting August 8, interested players will be able to enter the tournament during one of the four starting flights scheduled to take place within the Main Event. There will also be an additional fourth day of action, during which the champion will be determined.

partypoker Grand Prix Germany

Jumping to Europe, partypoker’s next live festival is just days away and is full of thrilling opportunities for players from all around the continent and those visiting. The partypoker Grand Prix Germany is slated for August 9-13, bringing once again quality poker action to Europe’s hottest poker arena King’s Casino in Rozvadov, the Czech Republic.

The festival’s schedule includes five tournaments and multiple satellites to the €220 Main Event. That latter event will begin on August 9 with the first of six starting flights. It will feature two more days of play and will end on August 13, when the final table will be played. The Main Event will offer a guaranteed prize pool of €500,000.

Another highlight tournament will be the €550 High Roller with a guaranteed prize pool of €200,000. It will take place on August 12.

August Extravaganza

Back to the States and hot Las Vegas, The Venetian Hotel and Casino will be hosting the August Extravaganza festival between August 9 and August 19. Its schedule includes 17 tournaments, varying in buy-in fees and structures. Most of the tournaments will be single-day ones, with a three-day $340 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em DoubleStack with a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000 and the Main Event being the only two exceptions.

The $250 buy-in Main Event will be spanning over six days, starting August 14. It will feature five starting flights and one more day of play. Players will contend for a share of the $200,000 guaranteed prize pool that might well be exceeded once action gets under way.

The post Poker Tournaments Starting August 6-12 appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Casino Boss Kazuo Okada Detained in Hong Kong on Fraud Charges

Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada was reportedly arrested in Hong Kong on fraud charges, according to Chinese media outlets. Mr. Okada was the founder and Chairman of pachinko and slot machine manufacturer Universal Entertainment Corp., but was ousted from the company last summer after being found to have transferred more than HK$150 million from its accounts for personal benefit.

Chinese media outlets reported late last week that Mr. Okada was detained by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption. Established in 1974, the independent agency is responsible for investigating and eliminating corrupt activities.

As mentioned above, Mr. Okada was forced out of the company after reports emerged that he had misappropriated funds on two main occasions between 2015 and 2016. The first occasion had involved the businessman transferring the amount of HK$135 million as a loan to Goldluck Tech Limited, a company that, as it had turned out, he had been associated with. The transfer had been carried out without a necessary approval from the company’s board.

The second occasion had involved Mr. Okada ordering the preparation of a HK$16-million bearer check from Tiger Resort Asia, a subsidiary of Universal Entertainment, and had brought that out. Following investigation by an independent unit, it was found out that the businessman had sought personal gain.

Mr. Okada was also ousted from Tiger Resort Asia whose subsidiary Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment developed and operates the Okada Manila integrated resort in the Philippine capital. The Japanese tycoon faces multiple lawsuits in relation to his misappropriation of company funds.

Leaked Resolution

News emerged last month that Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment has asked the Philippine Department of Justice to investigate the leakage of a court resolution in relation to Mr. Okada’s fraud case.

Earlier this year, leaked sections of a resolution favoring Mr. Okada were posted by his “close companion” Chloe Kim on her Facebook profile. The leaked legal document reportedly had the signature of Parañaque City Prosecutor Amerhassan Paudac, who presided the businessman’s case in the Philippines.

Mr. Paudac formed a panel to investigate the matter and asked the Philippine Bureau of Investigation to probe Ms. Kim’s social media profiles. However, Tiger Resort turned to the DOJ, asking it formally to take on the investigation, as it considered it improper for Mr. Paudac to participate and that his involvement was “whitewashed”, “self-serving, and unjustified.” The company had previously said that the prosecutor should restrain himself from the case as he had been biased toward the Japanese gaming tycoon.

The DOJ has said that it look into the matter as soon as possible. Tiger Resort’s lawsuit against the businessman is one of piling legal battles the businessman has been facing. As mentioned above, the company operates the Okada Manila casino resort which is one of three properties of this kind operating within Manila’s Entertainment City.

The post Casino Boss Kazuo Okada Detained in Hong Kong on Fraud Charges appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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