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Archive for November 2nd, 2018

Lian Liu Takes Down WSOP Circuit Harveys Lake Tahoe Turbo Event for Debut Gold Ring

Lian Liu outlasts 227 entrants to claim his first WSOP Circuit title

Lian Liu won his debut WSOP Circuit gold ring after surviving the field of the $400 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo event at Harveys Lake Tahoe Casino. Aside from the jewelry piece, the poker pro also took home $18,733 for his efforts.

The tournament was played as Event #7 on the schedule of the ongoing WSOP Circuit Harveys Lake Tahoe series. The event drew 227 entrants, but due to the Turbo structure, the overall field was reduced to a single player who captured the title over a single day of action.

As mentioned earlier, the victory in the Turbo event secured the young poker pro, who was born in China but now resides in California, with his first piece of WSOP Circuit paraphernalia. However, it should be noted that Liu is no stranger to WSOP Circuit action. In fact, the player had six cashes from the series prior to his triumph a few days ago, and he scored them all at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe. It should also be noted that Liu’s first-place prize of $18,733 more than doubled his WSOP Circuit winnings.

But the brand-new champion was not the only player to walk out with a cash from the tournament. The event drew 227 entries who created a prize pool of $74,910. The top 24 finishers received a share of the money. Min-cashes were worth $691.

Stacked Final Table

Liu entered a stacked final table that included seasoned poker pros and familiar WSOP Circuit faces. Two-time gold ring winner Bernard Lee was among the players to comprise the tournament’s final table. Lee, who has more than $1.1 million in WSOP Circuit and WSOP earnings, collected his second-ever gold ring from the series only a few days ago. The poker pro took down the single-day $400 No-Limit Hold’em at Harveys Lake Tahoe for the gold piece and the $11,465 first-place prize. Lee could not add another ring to his collection with a victory in the Turbo event as he busted in 7th place.

Hank Sitton, a player with 47 WSOP cashes, did too make it to the final table of the Turbo tournament. He eventually finished 5th for $4,680. Andrew Jenkins happened to challenge Liu heads-up. However, the title was not meant for the player from Monterey, California and he eventually had to content himself with the runner-up finish and a consolation prize of $11,575.

There are five more gold rings up for grabs at Harveys Lake Tahoe, including the one reserved for the Main Event champion. The $1,700 buy-in tournament is set to take place from November 2 through November 5 at the host casino.

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Churchill Downs Acquires Majority Stake in Rivers Casino Des Plaines

Churchill Downs acquires “crown jewel of Illinois gaming” in latest acquisition deal within the US land-based casino space

Gambling company Churchill Downs Incorporated announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to buy a majority stake in Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Des Plaines, Illinois. The transaction involves Churchill Downs’ acquisition of “certain of the ownership interests” of Midwest Gaming Holdings, parent company of the gaming venue.

Rivers Casino Des Plaines first opened doors in 2011. The property is located two miles from O’Hare International Airport, and is thus able to benefit from domestic and international passenger traffic at one of the busiest US airports. The casino features a 44,000-square-foot gaming floor with nearly 1,000 slot machines and 58 table games as well as multiple food and beverage facilities and an event center.

Under the terms of the deal, Churchill Downs will assume ownership of at least 50.1% of Midwest Gaming and will pay no more than $500 million in cash to complete the transaction. Churchill Downs has thus agreed to buy 100% of the ownership stake in the Des Plaines-based casino’s parent company from Clairvest Group affiliates and co-investors for $291 million and additional units of Midwest Gaming currently owned by High Plaines Gaming, an affiliate of major gambling group Rush Street Gaming, which will result in a cash consideration of no less than $326 million.

It has also become known that Rush Street will keep managing the day-to-day operations of the Des Plaines casino. Once the transaction is complete, the company expects to hold approximately the same stake in the gambling venue as it currently owns.

The deal is subject to approval from the Illinois Gaming Board and other customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2019.

Crown Jewel of Illinois Gaming

Commenting on the deal, Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said that it came as part of his company’s strategy to invest in gaming properties with “stable, predictable cash flows in diverse markets.” the executive further pointed out that the Des Plaines casino is the “crown jewel of Illinois gaming” and one of the nation’s premier casinos.

The acquisition of Rivers Casino Des Plaines is not the first time Churchill Downs and Rush Street have engaged in a deal of this kind. In 2012, the former company bought Riverwalk Casino and Hotel in Vicksburg, Mississippi from Rush Street.

Greg Carlin, CEO of Midwest Gaming, commented on the recently announced transaction, praising Churchill Downs for creating significant shareholder value over the years and expressing optimism that Rivers Casino will continue to be one of North America’s most successful gambling destinations under the Churchill Downs and Rush Street stewardship.

The recently announced transaction comes as another manifestation of a growing trend of major US land-based gambling companies merging or acquiring properties in a bid to cement their positions in a highly competitive environment.

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Norwegian TV Host Sues Gaming Innovation Group over Failed Collab

Popular television personality claims he has reached a verbal agreement entitling him to 3.4 million shares now worth NOK10 million

Popular Norwegian TV presenter Hallvard Flatland says he is entitled to 3.4 million shares in online gambling group Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) under a verbal agreement with company officials back in 2015. The company is being sued by the television host and the two parties met in the Bergen District Court this past Wednesday, local news outlets report.

Mr. Flatland has worked for Norway’s first commercial television station, TVNorge, as well as for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. He is best known as the creator and host of the nation’s most popular gameshow, Casino, which aired between 1989 and 1993 and then briefly from 2003 to 2004. Mr. Flatland is also an avid gambler.

According to court filing, the TV presenter believes he is entitled to 3.4 million GIG shares, which are currently valued at around NOK10 million. Mr. Flatland has told court that back in the spring of 2015, he reached a verbal agreement with former Nio Inc. Chief Executive and investor Kjetil Myrlid Aasen to receive shares in the gambling group as part of a collaboration that would have seen the TV host become a GIG ambassador. Nio, a gambling company itself, had just secured the acquisition of GIG at the time.

Deal or No Deal

Providing further details about the agreement, Mr. Flatland has said that it was reached on April 30, 2015 in Bergen. The involved parties did not sign any documents to officialize the deal, but the TV presenter has pointed out he was ensured a deal was reached. A new CEO was appointed to lead the combined entity, once the Nio/GIG deal was completed. Mr. Flatland contacted the newly appointed executive shortly after and asked for additional information on the agreement’s execution. However, the TV presenter was told that there would be no collaboration and that there was no agreement reached.

Mr. Aasen said in court that there was no deal of any kind, but admitted that he was approached by Mr. Flatland and that the latter asked to talk with GIG management about potential collaboration.

GIG Chairman Helge Nilsen represented the group in court on Wednesday. He explained that they were skeptical about the success of potential collaboration with Mr. Flatland. Mr. Nilsen further pointed out that the company did not have much money at the time and was not sure how its partnership with the TV presenter would help it.

On the other hand, Mr. Flatland said that as part of his agreement with GIG, he bought one million shares in the company to show his faith in its future. Mr. Aasen said yesterday in court that the purchase of shares was part of the capitalization of the gambling group and had nothing to do with the alleged agreement.

Gaming Innovation Group is headquartered in Malta, but operates offices in Oslo, Gibraltar, and Copenhagen, among others. Its activities include the provision of both B2B and B2C online gambling products.

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Key Cayman Islands Lawmaker Slams Tougher Illegal Gambling Penalties

Opposition leader proposes alternative approach toward addressing gambling-related issues

The Cayman Islands government opposition leader has criticized the recently introduced Gambling (Amendment) Bill 2018 that calls for the implementation of higher fines and longer prison terms for individuals conducting and engaging in illegal gambling services.

Opposition leader Ezzard Miller has called the measure “draconian” and has further pointed out that it represented another attempt of the government to “find a solution for the wrong problem”, local news outlet the Cayman News Service reported.

The provision of gambling services on the territory of the Cayman Islands is prohibited under the current law. It is also important to note that the law has not been amended since it was first introduced in the early 1960s.

Mr. Miller has pointed out that the global and national gambling landscape has changed significantly since the 1960s and a lot of people are now gambling online or playing US lotteries, thus circumventing the existing ban. The lawmaker has also noted that the government should not be looking to crack down on something that is difficult to be policed fairly and should instead address gambling-related issues in a different manner.

The Gambling (Amendment) Bill is set to be debated in the Legislative Assembly later this month. Under the piece of legislation, people caught to be conducting gambling activities as well as ones caught to be gambling illegally would be subject to tougher penalties and longer prison sentences.

Those Who Can Least Afford It

According to Mr. Miller, those members of the society that can least afford it would be the main target of the proposed clampdown. The lawmaker stressed on the fact that it is usually the poorest who engage in gambling activities or provide gambling activities in hopes to win or to earn quick money. Instead of launching a “draconian measure” that targets the “wrong problem”, Mr. Miller has proposed the regulation of certain gambling services, including the highly popular lotteries so that gamblers can wager money in a regulated environment and avoid black market operations.

Recent studies argue that the current Cayman Islands gambling landscape nurtures a thriving black market industry and contributes to a growing number of gambling-related crimes. Mr. Miller has noted that gas stations, local stores, and even barber shops are selling lottery tickets, commonly known as numbers across the Cayman Islands, but instead of punishing people buying those tickets, the businesses that sell them should be penalized.

As a possible solution to the pressing issues, the lawmaker has proposed the legalization of lotteries and their taxation. Proceeds from the provision of lottery services could be contributed to education and other good causes, Mr. Miller has said. He has suggested 30% as a reasonable rate and has said that the revenue generated could be put to good use and could benefit society in different ways.

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