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Archive for February 9th, 2019

Casino Expansion Bill Appears in West Virginia Legislature

A bill calling for the expansion of West Virginia’s casino industry found its way to the state’s House of Delegates floor earlier this week

If it navigates its way through the West Virginia Legislature successfully, the legislation would pave the way for the state’s four racetracks that also feature slot machines and table games to open satellite casinos at nearby locations.

House Bill 2901 is spearheaded by West Virginia Racing Association President John Cavacini and is co-sponsored by House Finance Committee Chairman Eric Householder. As mentioned above, the piece was introduced earlier this week and was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. If approved there, it will then go to the Finance Committee.

Under West Virginia’s current gambling law, slot machines and table games can only be operated at the state’s four racetracks – Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Mardi Grass Casino and Resort at Cross Lanes, and Mountaineer Casino and Resort in Hancock County, as well as at the Greenbrier Resort. Smaller betting parlors across West Virginia can feature a limited number of slot machines.

Under HB 2901, the four racetracks will be allowed to build satellite casinos within the limits of the counties their main casinos are located.

Wheeling Island Wants Satellite Casino at The Highlands

While HB 2901 would allow all four racetracks to open a satellite casino, it is believed that only Wheeling Island would take advantage of the opportunity and expand its operations. The hotel, casino, and racetrack complex is located on Wheeling Island in the middle of the Ohio River.

Mr. Cavacini said yesterday in an interview for WV Metronews’ Talkline for Thursday that being located on the island, the property is frequently forced to close due to heavy floods, which hurts the business.

The racing official further explained that the racetrack’s owner, Delaware North, has expressed concerns over the upcoming construction on I-70. The project will include the bridge over the Ohio River, and the main exit for the casino is on that bridge. Extended road work will make it more difficult for visitors to reach Wheeling Island, which too will affect the business.

Delaware North wants to build a satellite casino at the Highlands shopping center located just east of the city of Wheeling. Mr. Cavacini explained yesterday that the complex offers easy access along I-70, which would certainly lead to an increase in the number of slots and table game players.

HB 2901 does not include any revenue projections, but Mr. Cavacini said that the city Wheeling will keep its gaming revenue share even if some of the casino business is moved to The Highlands.

As mentioned earlier all four racetracks would be able to open a satellite casino, if the piece of legislation survives in the Legislature. However, Mr. Cavacini said that Wheeling Island would probably the only one to open a satellite facility, as the other three racetracks already have premium locations, unlike the island-based property.

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WPTDeepStacks Brussels Day 1A Ends with 48 Survivors

Kyriakos Papadopoulos leads after Day 1A of the WPTDeepStakcs Brussels Main Event, Ioannis Angelou-Konstas eyes record-breaking third title

The WPTDeepStacks is back to one of its favorite European poker destinations for another exciting edition of the series. The WPTDeepStacks Brussels Main Event kicked off yesterday with the first of three starting flights.

The €1,200 buy-in tournament drew 147 entries on Day 1A at the host casino Grand Casino Viage Brussels. Of them, only 48 made it through the end of the 12 levels scheduled for the day. The remaining survivors are set to go back to the host venue on Sunday for Day 2 of the tournament.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos scooped the largest stack last night to lead his fellow players into the second days of action. The player put 305,500 in his bag for a comfortable chip advantage over the rest of the remaining contenders.

An important thing that should be mentioned about the Day 1A overnight chip leader is the fact that he is no stranger to WPT success. Last year, the Greek player topped the massive 2,983-person field of the Zynga Poker 2018 Aria WPT500 that took place in Las Vegas. Papadopoulos claimed the title and a first-place prize of $184,900 for being the last man standing in that difficult race.

Who’s in the Hunt for the Title?

With two more starting flights to be completed and several more days of play, it is quite early to tell who might be a favorite for the WPTDeepStacks Brussels Main Event title. In fact, the prize pool and the places paid are, too, yet to be announced. That will happen once registration closes.

Papadopoulos built a solid stack on Day 1A of the tournament. As mentioned earlier, the player had 305,500 worth of chips by the end of the day and is well ahead of his fellow Day 1A survivors. Arne Coulier bagged the second largest stack last night, good for 188,000.

Michael Mizrachi, a member of the elite WPT Champions Club, rounded out top three of the temporary chip counts chart with 184,000. Mizrachi was actually the only Main Tour Main Event champ to make it through the 12 levels of the day.

Ioannis Angelou-Konstas is eyeing his third WPTDeepStacks title. The player collected 34,000 in chips last night to secure his seat into Day 2. Angelou-Konstas took down the WPTDeepStacks Brussels this time last year. The player now has a chance to become the first-ever winner of three WPTDeepStacks titles in the history of the series.

Other notables still in contention include Francois Tosques, Javier Hernando, and Dragos Trofimov. Alexandru Cinca, Saman Ziarati, and Christophe De Meulder were among those who got eliminated before the end of Day 1A.

Action resumes today at the host venue with Days 1B and 1C. The second starting flight of the tournament is set to kick off at 2 pm local time, while the final starting flight is scheduled for 10 pm local time and will feature 20-minute levels.

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Churchill Downs Launches Online Casino, Betting Website in New Jersey

Gaming operator Churchill Downs Incorporated went live yesterday with online sports betting and casino gaming in New Jersey in partnership with Golden Nugget Atlantic City

The company launched its BetAmerica betting and gaming platform that provides residents of the state with the opportunity to wager on NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB games as well as on a number of other sporting events and collegiate sports. The BetAmerica website also offers slot and table games by a number of popular providers, including NetEnt, IGT, Every, and Konami.

Churchill Downs and Golden Nugget forged a partnership last May, only days after the US Supreme Court struck down a long-standing federal ban on sports gambling.

New Jersey legalized sports betting shortly after the landmark SCOTUS ruling. Golden Nugget entered the state’s sports betting field in mid-August with the launch of a temporary in-person sportsbook. The temporary facility remained operational until early September when the Boardwalk casino resort debuted its permanent sports betting venue. The SportsBook at Golden Nugget is powered by SBTech. The facility generated revenue of $1.7 million in the period between mid-August and December 31, 2018, according to New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement data.

News about Churchill Downs launching its BetAmerica brand in New Jersey came just a day after the company received regulatory approval to operate a sportsbook at Presque Isle Downs & Casino in neighboring Pennsylvania. The operator finalized the acquisition of the Erie-based casino and racetrack in January.

Churchill Downs Grows BetAmerica Brand across Multiple States

The presence of the BetAmerica sports betting brand is not limited to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In fact, Churchill Downs debuted its BetAmerica Sportsbook brand in August with the launch of sports betting facilities in Mississippi where it runs Harlow’s Casino Resort & Spa in Greenville and Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg.

Commenting on its entry in New Jersey, the company said that they are excited to introduce their offering to local gamblers and that being allowed to enter the market was another opportunity for them to deliver “innovative, state-of-the-art products.”

Golden Nugget managed to lock up a fine by the Division of Gaming Enforcement in the short time of legal sports betting in the state. The casino was found to have accepted wagers on New Jersey collegiate games shortly after it launched its sportsbook.

New Jersey gambling laws and regulations prohibit betting on New Jersey college sports, but Golden Nugget apparently accepted bets on various state college football games last September. The illegal bets were canceled once discovered, but funds were unable to be returned as the identities of the patrons who made the bets were unknown. As a result, Golden Nugget had to pay a $390 fine in gaming winnings owed to the unknown individuals.

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Melco to Announce Cyprus Casino Resort Contractor Within Days

Three developers are bidding to build what would be the first integrated casino resort in the Republic of Cyprus

Cyprus Casinos Ltd. is just days away from announcing the winning contractor for the construction of the City of Dreams Mediterranean integrated resort, business news outlet the Financial Mirror reported Thursday citing people familiar with the ongoing bidding process.

Gaming and hospitality giant Melco Resorts & Entertainment was selected in the fall of 2016 as the preferred developer of what would be the first casino resort in the Republic of Cyprus. The company and its local partner, Cyprus Phassouri (Zakaki) Ltd., originally planned to invest €550 million in the property’s development but has recently revealed plans to up that original investment.

The Financial Mirror reported yesterday that Melco and its local gaming arm Cyprus Casinos are close to making their final decision on which one of three bidders will build the Cyprus resort. The identity of the preferred contractor is to be revealed in the coming days.

The announcement will be followed by the immediate signing of the necessary paperwork. Melco is expected to break ground on City of Dreams Mediterranean by April. The gaming and hospitality giant targets 2021 opening of the property.

Sources told the Financial Mirror that three joint ventures are bidding for the right to build what would be Cyprus’ first casino resort and the largest property of this kind in Europe, with those being Greek developers Terna and J&P Avax, France’s Bouygues Construction Group and its local partner Cybarco, and Consolidated Contractors Company, known to be one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East.

Resort to Boost Cyprus’ Tourism Product

The property will be built in the Zakaki area in the western part of the city of Limassol. It will feature a five-star hotel, multiple food and beverage facilities, retail space, a conference center, and a number of other attractions. As mentioned earlier, the resort will also include a casino with Las Vegas-style gaming options.

Last summer, Cyprus Casinos debuted a temporary gaming facility in Limassol that will be operational while the main resort and casino are under construction. As part of Melco’s license from Cypriot regulators, the company will be able to operate four satellite casinos around the island nation. The first such facilities opened doors late last year – one in the capital Nicosia and the other at Larnaca International Airport. The other two will be launched later this year in Paphos and Ayia Napa.

Cyprus is looking to boost its tourism product and become a year-round tourism hub, and lawmakers believe City of Dreams Mediterranean will play an instrumental role in its efforts.

Cyprus’ first Deputy Minister for Tourism, Savvas Perdios, has recently said that Melco and its casinos would turn into an important contributor to the nation’s tourism industry and would help it cement its reputation as a “popular and must-visit destination.” Mr. Perdios is heading the island republic’s newly-formed Deputy Ministry for Tourism.

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