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Archive for January 18th, 2019

William Hill Clinches Betting Partnership with Iowa’s Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino

William Hill is all prepped to explore another nascent sports betting market, should the activity become legal in Iowa

British bookmaker William Hill announced on Wednesday that it has penned an agreement with Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino to become the property’s exclusive sports betting operator, when and if the Iowa Legislature legalizes the practice.

Should that happen, William Hill and Prairie Meadows will jointly develop a sportsbook at the gambling property to offer visitors the opportunity to wager on various sports.

Under the terms of the recently signed partnership agreement, William Hill and the casino and racetrack venue will develop an 8,600-square-foot sportsbook on the casino’s fourth level, not far from the racing center. The sports betting area will feature a “state-of-the-art video wall technology” that will air different sporting events, and a new bar.

Prairie Meadows opened doors in Altoona, Iowa in 1989. The property features 1,700 slot machines, a number of table games, live and simulcast racing, a hotel, and entertainment facilities, among others.

Commenting on their latest partnership, William Hill US CEO Joe Asher said that they are excited about “the prospect of sports betting in Iowa” and that aim to develop a premium destination for bettors.

The new sportsbook will be part of a larger renovation project at Prairie Meadows. The property is undergoing renovation of its Clubhouse which includes its racing center and is to include its William Hill-branded sportsbook.

Betting in Iowa

Sports betting is currently illegal in the state of Iowa. A dedicated legislation was introduced last year right ahead the strikedown of the long-standing federal ban on wagering by the US Supreme Court. The piece allowed for the legalization of betting on professional and collegiate sports.

It also tasked the state’s Racing and Gaming Commission with the regulation of the sports betting market. Under the bill, interested operators would have had to pay a $25,000 licensing fee and to contribute 17% of their revenue to the state. The piece of legislation failed to gain enough traction in the Legislature, though.

However, its sponsor, Rep. Jake Highfill, has said that the Iowa Legislature will certainly discuss the possibility to legalize sports betting during this year’s legislative session. Other lawmakers have, too, pointed out that sports betting could be legalized this year as more and more states are looking to get involved in this lucrative field.

It is believed that if a legislative piece on sports betting is introduced, it will likely call for the legalization of in-person sports betting only. So far, only a handful of states are offering digital betting, including New Jersey, West Virginia, and Nevada.

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Get Nice Holdings Forms Joint Venture to Enter Casino Race in Japan

Get Nice Holdings joins forces with Shotoku Rinaldo Corporation to jointly bid for one of three casino licenses in Japan

Investment holding company Get Nice Holdings Ltd. announced on Wednesday that its subsidiary Genius Wise Holdings Limited has formed a joint venture with Shotoku Rinaldo Corporation to bid for one of three licenses for the operation of a casino resort in Japan.

Get Nice has previous experience in operating casino business as it was a controlling partner in the Grand Waldo Macau integrated resort, located on Macau’s Taipa Island.

In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Get Nice said it will look to diversify its operations and expand geographically with the formation of the joint venture that would pursue a license in Japan.

The Japanese government is expected to launch the bidding process for three gaming licenses under its recently adopted casino gambling regulations by the end of this year. A number of major gambling companies have already expressed interest to obtain one of the coveted licenses to run a business in what many believe could turn into one of the largest casino markets in the world.

Get Nice said yesterday that it would bid for a license to build an integrated resort in the Makinorhara-Shi Municipality in Japan’s Shizouka Prefecture. The company went on to say that it has been informed by the local government that it has so far been the only party to have expressed interest in building an integrated resort in the municipality.

The IR project envisioned by Get Nice and its joint venture includes hotels, a casino, food and beverage facilities, retail space, multiple entertainment facilities, and convention centers.

Experience in Japan

As per yesterday’s filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Get Nice’s partner, Shotoku Rinaldo Corporation, has considerable experience in Japan where it has been conducting business in the medical equipment and healthcare areas and has been providing agricultural products. The company is also known to have operated gaming-related businesses across Asia.

The joint venture between Get Nice and its partner will see quite some competition when the bidding process finally launches. A number of gaming and hospitality giants have already expressed interest and have pitched multi-billion-dollar development projects, with Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Hard Rock International, Genting Group, and Las Vegas powerhouses MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands, and Caesars Entertainment Corp. being few of those.

The government of Japan is yet to select the three locations where the country’s first casino resorts will be located. Osaka has been among the favorites, with multiple companies pointing to the city as the ideal home for a development of this scale. Osaka won the race for the host of the 2025 World Expo, which many believe would boost its chances to be selected as the preferred host of one of the three integrated resorts, as well.

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Rhode Island Senate President Introduces Mobile Betting Bill

Rhode Island looks to secure additional sports betting revenue with authorization of mobile wagering

Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio introduced Wednesday a bill aiming to authorize the provision of sports betting within state limits. The legislator said late last year that he would push to bring digital wagering to Rhode Island as an additional revenue generator.

Rhode Island was the seventh US state to go live with legal sports betting in the wake of a landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court that struck down a long-standing federal ban on the practice. Twin River Casino in Lincoln opened the state’s first sportsbook on November 26. Its sister casino Twin River Tiverton went live with in-person sports betting a week later.

The two gambling venues were originally expected to bring sports gambling to the state a few months earlier, but delays of different nature prevented that from happening. According to initial projections, the state was to collect sports betting tax revenue of $23.5 million from its two sports betting venues during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. As a result from the delays, Rhode Island now targets tax revenue from the activity of around $11.5 million.

Under the state’s sports gambling law, sportsbooks are taxed at 51% on their revenue. Of the remaining 49%, the casinos hosting the sports betting facilities claim 17%, while IGT, their betting partner, collects 32%.

Mobile Betting – A Convenient Option

In a press release introducing the contents of his bill, Sen. Ruggerio said that in-person sports betting has proved particularly popular in his home state, with lines of bettors oftentimes stretching out the doors of the two operational sportsbooks.

Expanding the existing offering to mobile betting “would provide a convenient option for those wishing to enjoy this form of entertainment” and would “open up the economic benefits” beyond the walls of the two Twin River-branded casinos, one of the state’s top lawmakers further pointed out.

Under his bill, mobile betting would be available at the two casinos as well as anywhere else in the state. Rhode Island residents as well as visitors from other states will be able to wager via a specially designed mobile wagering app as long as they are on the territory of the state.

The bill contains a provision that requires anyone who wants to place wagers via their smartphone to make an initial registration at any of the two sportsbooks where staff would be able to verify the bettors’ age.

Sen. Ruggerio said that sports betting taxes support “critical services” and that they can offset reliance on taxes for state needs.

State lawmakers have been bullish on the success of sports betting, but a better picture of how the nascent market performs is yet to be revealed. The Lincoln-based facility processed $682,000 in betting handle during its first days of operation until the end of November. December results are yet to be released by state regulators.

Rhode Island has one important advantage as it is the first state in the region to go live with sports betting. However, several other states are looking for a piece of the wagering pie, which means that competition might be on the way.

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Chino Rheem Adds PCA Main Event Title to Impressive Poker Portfolio

Chino Rheem came, saw, and conquered the PCA Main Event, bulldozing his way to the title through a stacked final table

Chino Rheem dominated the six-handed final table of the 2019 PCA Main Event from start to end. He sent all his five opponents to the rail to accumulate a massive chip stack and eventually claim the title and the first-place prize of more than $1.5 million.

Rheem has thus added another major poker accomplishment to his ever-growing poker portfolio. The player is member of the elite club of three-time WPT Main Tour Main Event champions. And it should be noted that the California-based grinder actually rose to prominence last decade when he became part of the original WSOP Main Event November Nine.

Now Rheem boasts another serious poker success – a title from the PCA Main Event. The player worked hard for the title and that hard work paid more than well.

Rheem entered the final day of this year’s edition of the PCA Main Event as the chip leader and he never relinquished his advantage. His natural ability to read every situation at the table, pick bluffs, take advantage of his opponents’ weaknesses, and fold when necessary, he bulldozed his way through the final table of the prestigious tournament until it was just him and the PokerStars trophy.

Indeed Rheem dominated action, but entering the final day of the Main Event, he had some really tough opponents to overcome.

Final Day Recap

The last day of the tournament was played yesterday at the Imperial Ballroom of Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. A field of 865 entries, including 94 re-entries, had been whittled down to just six players, Rheem leading the way with 7.55 million in chips.

His fellow US poker pro Brian Altman was the first victim of Rheem’s terrific run. Altman walked out in sixth place, good for $297,020 in prize money. Spain’s Vincent Bosca finished fifth for $396,880, thus failing to bring another major PCA title to his homeland after his fellow countryman Ramon Colillas took down the PokerStars Players Championship a few days ago.

Pavel Veksler and Scott Wellenbach were the next two players to hit the rail after unsuccessful confrontations with the eventual champ. Veksler took home $503,440 for his fourth-place finish, while Wellenbach collected $671,240.

Daniel Strelitz remained Rheem’s final opponent. Heads-up did not last long as Rheem had a massive advantage over Strelitz and did not give his rival even the slightest chance to narrow the huge gap.

The moment of triumph came when the two players went all in, Rheem holding pocket fives to Strelitz’s ace-deuce suited. A blank board brought no hope for Strelitz and the player walked away in second place, collecting a consolation prize of $951,480.

With his latest cash, Rheem’s live tournament earnings now exceed $10 million. And his poker record now includes a victory in the PCA Main Event, one of the most prestigious tournaments on the poker calendar.

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