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Archive for March 15th, 2019

Viny Lima Bests Record-Breaking Field of WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open

Vinicius Lima won last night the monster field of the WPT Borgata Poker Open to join the elite club of WPT winners and add $728,430 to his poker bankroll

The tournament was played back in January at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City until the official six-handed final table was determined. That closing stage of the event was played yesterday at HyperX Esports Arena at Luxor Las Vegas. The new eSports venue has become the permanent home to all televised WPT final tables.

Lima entered the final table short-stacked, but his dangerous position at the start of action yesterday did not discourage him to show his best play and eventually emerge victorious, outlasting the record-smashing 1,415-person field of the prestigious tournament.

Lima previously worked in medical sales, but quit his daily job a few years ago and moved to Las Vegas to pursue a career in poker. Last night’s triumph was the result of hard work and persistence, and support from great friends.

Lima had the loudest and merriest rail yesterday. The player’s friends and family were at the host venue to support him, cheering him all the way through the tough final table that spanned into the wee hours of Thursday morning.

A Long Day of Poker

The six-handed final table of the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open lasted 236 hands and more than ten hours. Lima and his fellow final tablists had two months to prepare for the big finale at HyperX Esports Arena.

The eventual champion told WPT staff that he used that time to take care of his physical wellness and mental stamina. He pointed out that this helped him survive the long session of poker the final table of the tournament turned out to be.

As mentioned above, Lima’s stack stood at the bottom of the temporary leaderboard at the start of play yesterday. However, he was one of just two survivors 190 hands later. Lima faced Dave Farah heads-up. Their duel began with Farah holding the chip leader.

Lima managed to narrow the gap between him and his final opponent and take the lead in the span of several hands. From that point on, he worked hard to extend his advantage and weaken Farah’s defense. That proved a difficult task, though.

The two players battled it out for hours. While Farah never really managed to regain the chip lead, he fought fiercely for the title, doubling up on several occasions and ringing Lima’s alarm that he was playing against a tough opponent.

The moment of victory came on Hand #236. Farah moved all in for his last 6.3 million and Lima snap-called. Farah tabled [9d][5d], while Lima turned over [Kh][Jh]. The [5h][Js][As] flop helped both players connect with a pair, but Farah stayed at disadvantage. The blank [2c] turn and [Ks] river were of no help to the player and he had to settle for the consolation prize of $485,611 for his runner-up finish.

As for Lima, his rail exploded in celebration of his biggest triumph so far. The player ballooned his bankroll to just under $1 million by adding the first-place prize of $728,430 to it. His prize also included a $15,000 seat into the season-ending Baccarat Crystal Tournament of Champions.

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Melco Joins Global Initiative to Tackle Plastics Pollution

Melco Resorts & Entertainment has become the first casino resort operator to join a brand-new initiative that aims to reduce the use of plastics worldwide

Melco announced today that it has become a signatory to The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. The company has joined the global initiative just when it has published its first official progress report.

The New Plastics Economy Commitment was launched in October 2018. It is spearheaded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and UN Environment, and is supported by World Wide Fund for Nature, World Economic Forum, and Consumer Goods Forum, among other organizations.

The initiative addresses the global issue of plastic pollution and calls for the elimination of unnecessary use of plastics.

News about Melco joining Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s initiative came on the heels of the company’s announcement that it would build Macau’s largest array of solar panels as part of its corporate social responsibility strategy and environmental sustainability commitment.

Melco operates properties across Macau, the only Chinese territory where casino gambling is allowed, as well as in the Philippine capital, Manila. The company has also embarked on a global expansion journey with plans to build integrated resorts in Cyprus and Japan.

The gaming and hospitality operator said today that as a signatory to The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, it will be looking to reduce “the use of problematic plastics” and promote “circular economy across its global operations”, including its Macau and Manila integrated resorts and its corporate offices in Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, and Japan.

Melco’s Plastics Use Reduction Strategy

Melco said today that as a signatory to The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, it is committed to “eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging and reducing single-use plastics.” The company will look to remove all single-use plastic bottles at all employee areas by the end of the year. Melco will then expand the scope of its work to guest areas by the end of next year.

Plastic bottles and straws, disposable food and beverage containers and utensils, garbage bags, amenity kits will all be eliminated by the casino operator over the next few years, it became known.

By 2025, Melco expects to complete the process of identifying non-reusable, non-recyclable and non-compostable packaging by 2025 and to develop a further execution plan to address each of these.

Commenting on the new initiative, Melco’s Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho said that they recognize “plastic pollution is a global challenge” and will do their best to “eliminate problematic plastic” by placing the issue at the forefront of their sustainability efforts.

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NetEnt Gets the Nod to Supply Online Casino Content in Pennsylvania

NetEnt ramps up preparations for its entry in Pennsylvania’s online gambling market with a conditional license from regulators

NetEnt has obtained a conditional license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to provide its online casino content in the state’s newly regulated market. The company has been among the first providers of online gaming products to have been licensed by the local regulator ahead of the upcoming official opening of the market.

The Swedish online gaming supplier submitted its application for an Interactive Gaming Manufacturer Conditional License last September. NetEnt will be able to provide its products to interested local gambling operators while its application for a full license is under review.

Pennsylvania legalized online gambling in the fall of 2017 as part of a sweeping reform of the state’s gambling industry. However, legal online casino services are yet to go live in the state. This is expected to happen in mid-2019, according to the latest comments of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on the topic.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel shockingly released a revised opinion on the Wire Act, overturning a 2011 opinion that limited the scope of the legislation to sports betting. The new interpretation of the act extends it to all forms of online gambling.

The revised opinion spooked the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and fellow regulators from other states where online gaming is legal as experts threatened the new interpretation could dismantle the nation’s regulated online gambling industry.

The Pennsylvania gambling regulator urged licensed online gambling operators to ensure that they operations were in full compliance with the new Wire Act opinion.

NetEnt Inks Agreements with Pennsylvania Casinos

NetEnt has penned content distribution agreements with several Pennsylvania casino operators, while awaiting its conditional license from the Gaming Control Board. Last October, the company signed a customer agreement with Penn Online Entertainment, LLC, the online gaming division of local gambling operator Penn National Gaming.

The Swedish gaming company inked another deal that would further help it extend its footprint across the regulated market of Pennsylvania last month. Through that deal, NetEnt’s content will go live with Parx Online, the digital gaming operation of Pennsylvania’s Parx Casino. NetEnt’s games will be delivered via the GAN platform.

Commenting on the Swedish supplier obtaining a license to provide its products across Pennsylvania casinos, Erik Nyman, Managing Director of NetEnt Americas LLC said in a press release that they are pleased to be in the first round of licensees. Mr. Nyman went on to say that this fits their strategy to be live with their products “at the first day of market opening.”

As mentioned earlier, Pennsylvania’s online gaming market is likely to officially open sometime in mid-2019.

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New Jersey Sportsbooks Lose $4.5 Million on Super Bowl; Market Still Going Strong

New Jersey’s sportsbooks handled $320 million in wagers in February, FanDuel dominated the market for another month

New Jersey’s sportsbooks had another very good month, February financial data posted by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement showed. The state’s sports betting facilities handled $320.4 million in bets last month.

While the total amount wagered in February was still a reasonable result, it came as a bit of a disappointment to many, as it was the month of the Super Bowl. In addition, the February total represented a 16.8% decrease from a record $385.3 million wagered in January.

The state’s sportsbooks recorded a somewhat underwhelming Super Bowl handle. The amount of $35 million was wagered on the championship, and sports betting operators paid out well over $39 million. On the other hand, wagering activity on other sports, including the NBA and college basketball, added up to another good month for the state and its sports betting industry.

Digital sports betting was once again the leading wagering segment in New Jersey. The state’s online sportsbooks handled nearly $259 million last month, which accounted for 80.8% of all bets placed on the territory of the state.

New Jersey’s sports betting revenue totaled $12.7 million in February. While the reported figure is slightly disappointing, it should be noted that the state’s sportsbooks lost around $4.5 million on the Super Bowl.

Commenting on the February results, PlayNJ lead betting analyst Dustin Gouker said that the state’s sports betting market is “less driven by major events” and that last month’s numbers “bear that out.” Gouker went on to say that “the market’s consistency will eventually help New Jersey overtake Nevada as the largest legal sports betting market in the U.S.”

FanDuel Dominates the Market

FanDuel’s physical sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack and its online operation dominated the New Jersey sports betting market in February. The operator’s online sportsbook surpassed that of its biggest local rival DraftKings last month, generating $6.6 million in revenue, up from $5.9 million the prior month. DraftKings Sportsbook suffered a 46% monthly revenue drop in February to record revenue of $3.7 million.

As for FanDuel’s brick-and-mortar sportsbook, it cemented its position as the market leader last month with revenue of $1.5 million, up from $1.2 million reported in January. It was followed by Resorts Atlantic City, which generated revenue of $142,846, and Hard Rock Atlantic City with revenue of $103,614.

Overall gaming and betting revenue amounted to $241.2 million last month, up 25.6% year-on-year. Atlantic City’s nine operational casinos recorded a 15.7% increase in revenue in February to $196.7 million. Online gaming revenue was up 44.4% last month to $31.7 million.

Commenting on the performance of the state’s Internet gaming industry, PlayNJ lead online gambling analyst Steve Ruddock said that New Jersey’s online casinos were “among the biggest beneficiaries of legalized sports betting.” Online gaming revenue has grown by at least a quarter in seven of the eight months since legal sports betting arrived in the Garden State, Ruddock pointed out.

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