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Archive for February 1st, 2019

Oregon Lottery to Roll Out Sports Betting App Ahead of 2019 NFL Season

The Oregon Lottery has decided to bring legal sports betting to the state ahead of the 2019 NFL season, it emerged earlier this week

At first, residents of the state will be able to place bets via a mobile app. The Lottery has also explained that bettors will only be able to pick the winners of one sporting event or another, either outright or against the spread. Additional betting options will be rolled out at a later stage, it became known.

The Oregon Lottery’s plans include the authorization of in-game wagering at betting kiosks located at bars and restaurants around the northwestern state. At present, such food and beverage facilities feature video lottery terminals.

Sports betting was available, to an extent, in Oregon for nearly two decades. Back in 1989, the Oregon Lottery introduced the so-called Sports Action betting game that allowed people to wager on NFL matches, but only in a parlay format that required three winning picks to claim a prize. Single-game betting was not available via the Lottery’s game.

NBA games were then added to Sports Action, but were removed shortly after as the Basketball Association moved to sue the Oregon Lottery. Sports Action was banned in 2007 as Oregon sought to become the host of the NCAA basketball tournament and the sports betting game could have hampered its plan.

Start of Sports Betting Actions

As already mentioned, a state-operated sports betting app is set to go live this fall, perhaps ahead of the new NFL season. The app will also accept bets on other professional sports. Local news outlet KATU News reported earlier this week that gambling on collegiate sports will not be available via the app.

Oregon Lottery spokesperson Matthew Shelby was quoted saying that allowing betting on college sporting events would not be in the state’s best interest, partly because Oregon universities get funds from lottery proceeds.

Mr. Shelby also said that the Oregon Lottery still has no projections of how legal sports betting operations will perform and how much revenue they could bring every year. The state-owned agency is also yet to determine how sports betting revenue will be allocated and whether it will be earmarked for particular programs or will be referred to the Lottery’s overall funds.

In comments to local media outlets, Mr. Shelby expressed optimism that the state’s regulated sports betting market would be able to overtake the black market.

News about Oregon getting ready to join the sports betting mix arrive days ahead of this weekend’s big game that will see the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. According to experts, the amount of $6 billion will be wagered illegally during Super Bowl LIII, which roughly equals to what was bet legally across the United States last year.

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Long Beach, MS Gets Closer to Casino as Proposed Site Gets Regulatory OK

Long Beach casino plan makes giant step toward materialization as Mississippi Gaming Commission approves proposed site

The Mississippi Gaming Commission approved overwhelmingly the proposed site for what would be the first casino in the city of Long Beach during a Wednesday meeting. The casino project has been years in the making and yesterday’s endorsement by the state’s gambling regulator was a giant step toward its eventual materialization.

Local businessman James (Jim) Parrish, who owns several businesses in South Mississippi, is the mastermind behind the casino plan along with his entity Long Beach Harbor Resort LLC and his partner, Kentucky-based Encompass Develop, Design, & Construct.

The Gaming Commission was originally expected to vote on the casino project last November, but commissioners decided to postpone the vote, saying they needed more time to review application papers. Mr. Parrish and his partners submitted the application for the casino complex last summer, after spending more than two years into working out the details surrounding the development of a property of this kind.

Under plans, the first casino in Long Beach will occupy the 12-acre site of the former Kmart and Sav-A-Center grocery store. The site is located just north of U.S. Route 90 and east of Jeff Davis Avenue.

The gaming portion of the complex will spread over 40,000 square feet and will feature 1,200 slot machines and 20 table games. The casino facility will be located within 800 feet of the mean high water line, as required under Mississippi’s regulations for the situation of gaming venues.

The Long Beach casino resort will also feature a 300-room hotel. Developers have promised that the seven-story hotel tower will meet the city’s restrictions for height. The complex will further include a fine dining restaurant.

Overwhelming Support

Gaming commissioners voted unanimously to approve the proposed site for the casino during yesterday’s special meeting. However, the positive development toward the materialization of the hotel and casino complex does not authorize developers to begin construction.

Mr. Parrish and his partners will now have to secure funding for the complex and to present state gaming regulators with guarantees that the project will be finalized and will have a positive economic impact on the host community.

A final design for the property is also yet to be tabled. Developers will have to work closely with the city of Long Beach on that portion of the project as the casino’s design will need approval from city officials.

The hotel and gaming resort plan has previously been supported by Long Beach Mayor George Bass. The official has said that bringing casino gaming to the area could help his city and its stagnant economy and contribute millions of dollars to local schools and infrastructure improvements.

There have been some opposition to the proposed casino plan, with opponents citing concerns over increased crime, traffic, and property values as the reason why a gambling facility might not be the best thing for Long Beach.

It was back in 2006 when residents of the city approved the construction of a casino north of U.S. 90 at a citywide election.

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Nick Schwarmann Leads after WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Day 3

Nick Schwarmann leads 29 players into Day 4 of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, attacking his first title from the series

The record-smashing 1,415-strong field of this year’s WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open had been whittled down to the final 29 by the end of Day 3 of the prestigious tournament.

Nick Schwarmann bulldozed his way to the top spot on the temporary chip counts chart yesterday and will now lead the remaining hopefuls into the penultimate day of action at the host venue – The Borgata Casino in Atlantic City.

The surviving players will play down to the final six today. The televised official final table of the event will then be played at HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor Las Vegas on March 13. As from Season XVII of the World Poker Tour, all televised Main Event final tables are to be played at the new eSports venue as part of WPT’s strategy to spice up poker action.

This year, the $3,500 Main Event of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open drew a behemoth field of 1,415 entries for a prize pool of $4,529,415. The money was split into payouts for the top 177 finishers, with min-cashes being worth $6,024. The money bubble burst early into Day 3.

Each of the remaining 29 players is guaranteed a min-cash of $21,369. And each of the six finalists with walk away with a payout of no less than $154,734. The winner will receive $728,430, including a ticket into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.

Who’s Still in Contention?

As mentioned earlier, Schwarmann is leading the remaining players into the penultimate day of the tournament. The player put 4.565 million worth in chips in his bag last night after maintaining a chip advantage for the greater part of the day.

Schwarmann is followed by Dylan Gang, who bagged 4.065 million last night. Brandon Hall rounds out the top three on the temporary chip counts chart with 3.87 million. Daniel Buzgon with 3.765 million and Melad Marji with 3.35 million are the other players to comprise top five of the leaderboard.

There are no former WPT Main Event champions among the final 29, which means that the club of winners will be joined by a new member. Olivier Busquet was the last former champ standing, but the player busted in 32nd place last night, good for a payout of $21,369.

Other notables who did not make it among the final 29 include poker celeb and WPT Raw Deal host Phil Hellmuth, who was eliminated in 102nd place, WPT Gardens final tablist Steve Sung, who exited the event in 83rd place, and three-time WPT Main Tour Main Event winner Anthony Zinno, who got busted in 175th place last night.

Day 4 action kicks off today at noon local time and the remaining players will play down to the final six.

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Ocean Resort Casino’s New Owner Files Gaming License Petition

Luxor Capital Group has filed interim license petition, seeking authorization to enter Atlantic City’s casino market

Luxor Capital Group, a New York-based hedge fund that agreed recently to buy Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino, has filed a petition with New Jersey gambling regulators, seeking interim authorization to run the property.

Ocean Resort Casino opened doors last June at the site of the former $2.4 billion Revel Casino Hotel. Revel was shuttered in the summer of 2014, just two and a half years after its original opening as it failed to earn a profit.

Florida businessman Glenn Straub bought the property in 2015, pitching an ambitious plan to reopen it and turn it into a popular Boardwalk hotspot. That never happened and Mr. Straub eventually passed the unfortunate resort onto Colorado investor Bruce Deifik.

Mr. Deifik purchased the former Revel early in 2018 for $229 million. He funded the acquisition with two bridge loans – a $110 million one from J.P. Morgan and a $122.5 million one from Luxor. Mr. Deifik repaid the J.P. Morgan loan in June with a second, $175 million loan.

As mentioned earlier, Ocean Resort Casino swung its doors open in June but never managed to gain momentum in the vibrant Atlantic City casino market, its revenue lagging behind that of its competitors. Reports surfaced last year that Mr. Deifik was looking for buyers for the property. The businessman confirmed early in January that another entity would assume control of the Boardwalk resort but refused to reveal its identity.

Following weeks of speculations, Mr. Deifik and Luxor announced earlier this week that the latter would purchase a controlling interest in the property, while the Colorado investor would retain a small non-controlling interest.

Casino License

Under the state’s gambling laws, Ocean Resort Casino’s new owner will need to obtain a casino license in order to be allowed to run the property. The Press of Atlantic City reported Wednesday that the New York hedge fund submitted a petition for an interim casino license on January 28.

The interim authorization will allow Luxor to operate the property after an initial investigation conducted by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and approval by the state’s Casino Control Commission.

An additional, more thorough, review of Luxor and its eligibility to enter Atlantic City’s casino market as a Boardwalk resort owner will then be conducted. The Division of Gaming Enforcement will have 90 days to complete that review and to submit a report with its findings to the Casino Control Commission. The latter will then schedule a hearing within 30 days after the report was submitted to determine whether to issue a permanent license to Luxor.

Once the interim authorization is granted to the hedge fund, it will form a trust that will hold shares of the parent company of Ocean Resort Casino. The trust will be overseen by a trustee. In its recent petition to New Jersey gambling regulators, Luxor named Eric J. Matejevich as the future trustee. Mr. Matejevich had at one point served as Chief Operating Officer of the now shuttered Atlantic Club Casino.

Announcing the acquisition of Ocean Resort Casino, Luxor also revealed that it would invest $70 million into opening a buffet at the resort, finish its uncompleted 10 floors that would add 600 rooms to the 1,399 currently available, and would upgrade further the casino floor.

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