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Archive for March 5th, 2019

Andrey Zaichenko Leads 108 Into WPT L.A. Poker Classic Day 3

One-time gold bracelet winner Andrey Zaichenko now attacking the WPT top and L.A. Poker Classic’s $1 million top prize

Day 2 of this year’s edition of the WPT L.A. Poker Classic is now in the books, but what a day it was. It kicked off with 337 survivors from Day 1. They were joined by 23 players who registered into the event during its second day of action. By the end of that second day, there were 108 hopefuls left.

Russian player Andrey Zaichenko scooped the largest stack after surging to the top of the leaderboard. The player bagged 946,500 for the overnight chip lead. The poker pro will thus continue to battle for his first cash from the World Poker Tour.

While he is yet to scoop a prize from the series, it should be noted that Zaichenko is no stranger to poker success. In 2016, the player won a gold bracelet from the World Series of Poker. He claimed the piece after topping the field of a $1,500 Seven Card Hi-Lo 8 or Better tournament.

The Russian poker pro won his career’s largest cash of €487,190 in 2014 when he took down a €10,300 High Roller event during the EPT Prague festival. Zaichenko can now improve that result and take home his first-ever seven-figure poker prize.

The 546-person field of the $10,000 buy-in WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event generated a prize pool of more than $5.1 million. And a top prize of $1,015,000 will go straight to the winner. However, there are a few more days to be played until their name becomes known.

What’s on the Day 3 Agenda?

The remaining 108 hopefuls could burst the money bubble later today. There are payouts for the top 69 finishers, min-cashes starting from $17,230, but everyone is certainly eyeing the lion’s share of the prize pool and the accompanying accolades.

While Zaichenko secured a comfortable chip lead into Day 3, there were other players who did quite well throughout Day 2. David Gonzalez with 860,500 and Brian Yoon with 646,500 are the other survivors who made it to top three of the temporary leaderboard.

There are several former WPT Main Event champions still in the hunt for the title. Most notably, record-breaking four-time WPT winner Darren Elias collected one of the largest stacks of Day 2. The player is set to return to the host venue, Commerce Casino in the Los Angeles area, with 385,000 in chips. Other Champions Club members that will join him later today include Taylor Paur (523,000), James Carroll (321,000), Mike Del Vecchio (256,500), and Tony Tran (252,500) among others.

Action is set to resume at noon local time at the host casino. As mentioned above, the money bubble will probably burst at some point throughout the day. In addition, organizers will introduce the Action Clock one table from the money.

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Casino Operator PH Resorts Postpones Planned Share Sale

PH Resorts postponed its planned sale of stock to explore other financing opportunities for the development of two casino resorts

Leisure and gaming operator PH Resorts Group Holdings Inc., owned by Philippine businessman Dennis Uy, said late last week that it has decided to postpone its previously announced share sale to a later date.

The company planned to use proceeds from the sale of stock to fund the development of two casino resorts in the Philippines.

In a letter to the Philippine Stock Exchange, PH Resorts said last Friday that it has been presented with “more strategically suitable alternative options for its funding needs” and that was why it has decided to give up plans for a share sale for now. The company went on to say that it would still pursue the sale of stock, but would postpone the realization of that plan to a later time.

Under initial plans, PH Resorts was set to conduct the share sale this month. The company previously said that it intended to sell 2.054 billion common shares at a price of between PHP3.65 and PHP5.84 per share. PH Resorts would have thus raised between PHP7.5 billion (approx. $144.7 million) and PHP12 billion (approx. $231.5 million).

Casino Resort Plans

PH Resorts is planning to expand its portfolio of properties with two more integrated resorts. As mentioned earlier, the company actually intended to use proceeds from the share sale to fund its new projects. It now seems that it would explore other options to finance the development of its new operations.

It was in late 2017 when the company broke ground on The Emerald, a $340-million hotel and casino resort in Punta Engaño on the Mactan Island in Cebu. Phase one of the property is expected to be completed and launched in the third quarter of 2020.

The resort will occupy 13.5 hectares of land and its first phase will feature a 7,585-square-meter casino floor with nearly 1,200 slot machines and 146 gaming tables, a hotel with 838 rooms and five villas, a retail center, a convention venue, and multiple food and beverage facilities. Phase two of the project will include the addition of 9,400 square meters of gaming space and a 1,300-room five-start hotel, among other facilities.

PH Resorts is also planning to spend more than $276 million on another integrated resort. The property will be located in the Clark Freeport Zone. Development of Clark Resort was expected to begin during the first quarter of the year, but the postponed share sale would probably affect the project’s timetable.

When operational, Clark Resort will feature a casino with 600 slot machines and 100 table games, several hotels, a dining complex, and retail space.

PH Resorts has also announced plans to expand and upgrade its existing Donatela Hotel. The upscale resort is located in Panglao, Bohol and features 21 villas. PH Resorts will add more than 60 hotel rooms to the existing offering at the complex.

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888 Buys BetBright to Boost Growth across Sports Betting, Casino Verticals

888 buys a proprietary sports betting platform to support its growth across the US, other regulated jurisdictions

Online gambling group 888 Holdings Plc today announced that acquisition of online sports betting platform BetBright for £15 million in a move that the company believes would help it strengthen its product and technology capabilities and support its long-term development strategy for its betting business.

This is the third acquisition deal announced by 888 in recent months. In February, the company purchased a portfolio of online bingo operations owned by JPJ Group for the total amount of £18 million. Late last year, the gambling group took full control over All American Poker Network, buying out the remaining 53% in the entity from its joint venture partners.

Based in Dublin, BetBright develops and operates its own proprietary online sports betting and casino platforms. The company’s office in the capital of Ireland will be integrated into 888, the latter announced in a press release from earlier today.

888 further pointed out that the integration of BetBright would give the group complete ownership over its technology and product development across four key online gambling verticals – sports, casino, poker, and bingo. 888 also believes that its latest purchase is providing it with a “high-quality and scalable sportsbook technology” that would support its long-term strategy for the growth of its online sports betting business 888Sport.

Expansion Ambitions

Commenting on the latest addition to their growing portfolio, 888 Chief Executive Itai Pazner said that the acquisition of BetBright was the missing piece in 888’s proprietary product and technology portfolio and would enable the company to own proprietary solutions in the four main verticals it is focused on.

The purchase of the sports betting platform provider and operator also comes as 888 is looking to cement its 888Sport brand across multiple regulated jurisdictions. The online gambling giant has become particularly interested in expanding its presence across the United States where the Supreme Court struck down a long-standing federal ban on sports gambling.

888’s sports betting product is currently available in Nevada, Delware, and New Jersey. Last September, the online gambling group inked a sponsorship deal with NFL franchise New York Jets. Thanks to that partnership, 888 secured brand exposure at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey where the team plays its home games.

Adding a proprietary sports betting platform would certainly come as a big boost to 888’s bid to further expand across the US as more and more states are considering the legalization of sports betting within their borders. Mr. Pazner said today that 888 remains committed to its strategy to be a “global leader in the online gambling market by driving organic growth across regulated markets, supported by value-accretive M&A.”

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Victoria Rejects Crown’s Request to Delay the Start of Construction of One Queensbridge

Crown’s request to delay the start of construction of One Queensbridge rejected by the government of Victoria

Crown Resorts’ project for the construction of Australia’s tallest building hit another setback as the company received an informal notice that its request to delay the start of development was turned down.

Crown said in a statement from earlier today that it is now looking at its options for the planned skyscraper.

The government of Victoria approved in February 2017 Crown’s plan for the development of the One Queensbridge hotel and apartment tower in Melbourne at the company’s existing casino resort. Many criticized the government’s decision to greenlight the project, but Premier Daniel Andrews justified its approval by saying that it was of “state significance.”

Crown plans to develop the tower through a joint venture with partner Schiavello Group. The two companies applied last month for a planning extension with the Victorian government while they were trying to secure the necessary financing.

Their request to have their two-year approval timeline extended arrived as the nation’s property market is losing its mojo. Melbourne and Sydney comprise nearly 60% of Australia’s real estate market by value. Crown plans to build a A$2-billion integrated resort on the Sydney waterfront, as well.

The hotel and casino operator said earlier today that it has received an informal notice about its request to delay the start of construction of its planned Melbourne tower and expects to receive a formal notice soon.

The Tallest Building in Australia

The 323-meter, 90-story One Queensbridge tower will be Australia’s tallest building when and if constructed, topping Q1 in Surfers Paradise. Crown said that the Melbourne project would be among those it would focus its attention on after it departed from Macau in 2017.

The company and its partner plan to invest nearly A$1.8 billion in the development of One Queensbridge. However, Crown said in today’s statement that funding arrangements with the Schiavello Group could not be reached before the set construction commencement date.

It is now unclear when construction is set to begin, but according to initial projections, the tower will take five to six year to be completed and become fully operational. With more than 300,000 square meters of planned floor area, One Queensbridge will be one of Australia’s largest single-building development projects.

Crown has also promised to plough more than A$100 million for upgrades at the nearby Queensbridge Square and Sandridge Bridge as well as for road improvements.

Last month, the hotel and casino operator reported a considerable slowdown in its half-year profit growth, blaming it on the sharp withdrawal of Chinese visitors at its properties.

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