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Archive for February 2nd, 2019

Dave Farah Leads WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open Final Table

Dave Farah leads the six-handed final table of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, third-time WPT final tablist Daniel Busgon headlines

While WPT action at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City wrapped up last night, the winner of the 2019 WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open is yet to be determined. However, fans of poker and of the popular series will have to wait until mid-March to see who will claim the title.

There are just six players left in contention after five days of action at the host casino and they all are vying for their first WPT Main Tour Main Event title. The six finalists will gather together for one final day of action on March 13. The final table of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open, just as all other televised final tables within Season XVII of the series, will be played at HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor Las Vegas.

This year’s edition of one of the most popular tournaments within the WPT Main Tour schedule drew a record-breaking field of 1,415 entrants. A prize pool of more than $4.5 million was generated to be split among the top 177 finishers.

The penultimate day of the event kicked off with 29 remaining survivors and by the end of the night there were just 6 of them left to compete for the title and a first-place prize of $728,430 up for grabs.

A Little Something about the Six Finalists

The six final tablists will be led by Dave Farah, who secured a comfortable advantage over the rest of the pack over the course of Day 4 play. The player bagged and tagged 18.85 million in chips last night. Farah has two previous WPT cashes and this will be his first Main Tour final table.

Brandon Hall bagged the second largest stack last night, good for 14.1 million. The player made it to his first WPT final table and has locked up his fourth cash from the series.

Daniel Busgon rounds out the podium in the temporary chip counts chart with 9.1 million in chips. The player has seven previous WPT cashes recorded to his name and two previous final tables. Joseph Di Rosa Rojas with 5.8 million, Ian O’Hara with 5.1 million and Vinicius Lima with 3.55 million were the other three players to make it through the end of Day 4 of the tournament and secure their seat at the final table. All three of them will be playing their first WPT final table.

Each of the six finalists is guaranteed a minimum cash of $154,734. However, they are certainly eyeing the top where a prize of $728,430 awaits. The champion’s payout also includes a ticket into the season-ending WPT Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions.

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Paddy Power Betfair Snatches Georgia’s Largest Online Gambling Operator

Paddy Power Betfair has acquired Georgia’s largest online gambling operator to gain foothold in a new lucrative market

Gambling powerhouse Paddy Power Betfair announced today that it has acquired a controlling stake in Georgia’s largest online gambling operator, Adjarabet, in a deal worth £101 million (approx. $132.5 million).

The Dublin-headquartered company said that its latest purchase was part of its strategy to extend its footprint and cement its position into rapidly growing digital betting and gaming markets.

Under the terms of the deal, Paddy Power has acquired a 51% stake in Adjarabet for a purchase price of £101 million. The company also revealed that it has the option to buy the remaining 49% of the Georgian operator after three years at a price of seven times Adjarabet’s EBITDA for 2021.

Adjarabet is the leading operator in the lucrative Georgian online gambling market with an estimated 40% share of overall online revenue generated. The company also went live in the regulated market of Armenia in 2017 and claimed a 10% share of it last year. Adjarabet’s total 2018 revenue amounted to GEL215 million (approx. £64 million, $80.6 million).

According to Paddy Power’s statement announcing the deal, Armenia’s regulated online gambling market grew at a 40% rate in the period between 2016 and 2018 to around £180 million in revenue.

Focus on Fast-Growing Markets

Commenting on the acquisition of a controlling stake in Adjarabet, Paddy Power Betfair CEO Peter Jackson said today that the bolt-on deal came in line with the company’s strategy to establish “podium positions in attractive online markets.”

The executive went on to say that together with Paddy Power Betfair’s technology and sports capabilities, they are confident that Adjarabet will position itself to continue to build on the success.

Paddy Power was not the first major gambling company to spot the rapid growth of Georgia’s online gambling market and to move to expand there. Last spring, Isle of Man-headquartered gambling giant announced the acquisition of a 51% stake in local operator Crystalbet for a total consideration of €41.3 million and an option to buy the remaining 49% in 2021.

News about Paddy Power acquiring Adjarabet came days after a report by The Times claimed that the Dublin-headquartered gambling group secretly held talks late last year to merge with The Stars Group, parent company of PokerStars and Sky Betting & Gaming.

The two operators did not comment on the matter and The Times reported that tie-up talks were no longer taking place. A merger between these two would have created a gambling behemoth worth nearly $10 billion. However, The Times noted that any attempts for a deal of this scale would most certainly face regulatory scrutiny due to its impact on competition.

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Italian Gambling Market Has Exploded in the Past 15 Years, Report Finds

The Italian gambling market has literally exploded over the past fifteen years, according to a report by independent research agency Eurispes

Gambling turnover more than doubled in Italy in the period between 2008 and 2017, according to the recently released report. It amounted to €101.8 billion in 2017, up from €47.5 billion in 2008 and from €15.5 billion in 2003.

Overall gambling revenue hit €19 billion in 2017. Of that amount, a total of €10 billion was contributed to the nation’s coffers, Eurispes’ Italy 2019 Report showed.

According to the study, three in ten Italians, or 28.2% of the country’s population, have engaged in one form of gambling or another. Around 18.3% of all gamblers took part exclusively in offline gambling activities, only 2% told Eurispes researchers that they gambled online only, and 7.9% gambled both online and offline.

Based on the responses of interviewed gamblers, Eurispes researchers listed scratchcards as the most popular gambling activity with a participation rate of 85%, other lottery products also occupied the top spots in the gambling participation ranking. Around 52.7% of all interviewed gamblers engaged in sports betting, while 22% opted for casino gambling.

The Most Harmful Gambling Products

Eurispes researchers also asked interviewees to list the most dangerous forms of gambling. Slot machines were defined as l’uomo nero (boogeyman) of gambling, with 83.4% of those surveyed saying they were the gambling activity that was most likely to incur great harm.

Slots were followed by online gambling with 78.3% of those interviewed considering digital gambling services extremely harmful, sports betting with 71.8%, and scratchcards with 66.7%.

Nearly 28% of all respondents listed the hope for a big win as what motivated them to gamble, followed by the search for easy money (22%), and just for fun 21.1%.

The growth of Italy’s gambling market is expected to slow down in the coming years in the wake of the newly implemented blanket ban on all forms of gambling advertising and the newly revised taxes on gambling services.

As from January 1, licensed online casino operators are required to pay a 25% tax on gross gaming revenue, up from 20%. The Italian government projects the increased rate will bring an additional of €50 million a year for the budget.

Online sports betting operations are now taxed at €24% on revenue, up from 22%. Retail betting is now taxed at 20% following the introduction of the new taxation regime. The government projects additional sports betting tax revenue of €30 million a year.

The increased gambling tax rates came as part of Italy’s budget plan that aims to cut the nation’s deficit to 2.04% of GDP.

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The post Italian Gambling Market Has Exploded in the Past 15 Years, Report Finds appeared first on Casino News Daily.

Florida Senate President Wants to Act on Sports Betting, Seminole Tribe Compact

Uncertainty surrounding gambling revenue in Florida is growing as a multi-million deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe expires in a few months and the Legislature cannot act on any gambling-related issued without voters’ approval

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano said earlier this week that he wants to take action on the potential legalization of sports betting and a new revenue-sharing compact with the Seminole Tribe. The tribe operates Hard Rock-branded casinos in South Florida.

State lawmakers and tribal officials have negotiated a number of deals over the years, and their latest compact is set to expire in May. Under that deal, the Seminole Tribe contributed an estimated of $343 million in gaming revenue per year to the state in exchange for the exclusive right to operate blackjack and other table games within Florida limits.

Over the years, negotiations between tribal officials and state lawmakers have not always taken place smoothly. The Seminole Tribe threatened a few years ago to end its revenue contributions to Florida, arguing that the state had failed to act against non-tribal card rooms around the state that had offered the so-called player-banked table games and had thus breached the terms of their compact.

It is to be seen whether a deal will be stricken between the two parties in a less troublesome manner this time around.

Commenting on the matter, Florida’s newly sworn-in Senate President Bill Galvano said Wednesday at an Associated Press event in Tallahassee that they are “in a dubious state right now” and that “it is worthy of [them] to create stability” with the Seminoles.

Sports Betting Discussions

Senate President Galvano also discussed the possibility to bring legal sports betting to the state. The lawmaker pointed out that there is an opportunity for the practice in Florida. Sports betting activities are already conducted in the state, Mr. Galvano said earlier this week, but those being unregulated do not bring any revenue to the coffers.

While the Senate’s top official did not provide details about what he thinks would happen once the legislative session kicks off on March 5, he revealed that he has directed a Senate committee to review sports betting and craft a draft legislation by the end of the month.

However, even if a sports betting legislation gains traction in the state Legislature, it will be voters who will have the final say on the legalization of the practice. Florida residents approved last November constitutional amendments that gave them the power over any gambling-related issues. In other words, any decision related to casino and gambling activities conducted within the state’s borders will have to be approved via statewide referenda.

Senate President Galvano said earlier this week that despite operating in “a different world post-constitutional amendments”, the Legislature still has a chance to bring legal sports betting.

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