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Archive for March 20th, 2019

You Zeng Emerges Victorious in WPTDeepStacks Johannesburg

Zeng collected his largest poker cash over the weekend after taking down the latest WPTDeepStacks Johannesburg Main Event

After three days of poker at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, it was Chinese national You Zeng who took down the latest WPTDeepStacks Main Event this past weekend. The player scooped his largest poker cash to date for coming out on top of 452 runners. Zeng’s share of the prize pool totaled $69,451.

The final day of the tournament was quite an ordeal. It kicked off with 11 players still in the hunt for the title and the lion’s share of the money. And as cards flew in the air to mark the beginning of Day 3, players began leaving the field one after another in a rapid succession.

The start-of-the-day field was whittled down to the official final table of nine in a matter of minutes. And action did not slow down after the final nine took their seats around the final table.

Zeng did not have the strongest start of that closing stage of the Johannesburg event. The player occupied the bottom half of the temporary leaderboard at that point with 1.295 million chips, good for 22 big blinds. It was Bruno Pereira who led the final nine into the final table stage of the game with 2.545 million in chips.

Final Table Highlights

Everyone aiming for the title, the final tablists did not reduce the speed of eliminations once final table action began. It took a limited number of hands until there were just four players left. Pereira managed to maintain his lead down. He had amassed a stake of 5.7 million by the time it was just him, Zeng and two other players left. Zeng was second in chips at that point with 3.575 million.

It quickly became clear that the winner of the title will be a matter determined between Pereira and Zeng. The two players were nearly even in chips at the start of their two-handed duel.

Similarly to the rest of the day, heads-up took fairly shortly. The two finalists battled it out for 15 minutes. The match included several dangerous hands and big-pot confrontations, and Zeng won them all.

On what turned out to be the final hand in play, Zeng moved all-in after the [7s][6s][2d] flop and Pereira called for his last 2 million chips. Zeng turned over [Ac][8d] to Pereira’s [7d][5s]. The [8h] appeared on the turn and the [Qc] ran out on the river to secure Zeng with the chips, the title, and the first-place prize of R1 million. Pereira hit the rail as the runner-up and had to settle for a consolation prize of R544,000.

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Pennsylvania Sports Betting Revenue Takes Massive Slide in February

Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks took a beating in February with disappointing handle and revenue, despite Super Bowl

Pennsylvania’s February sports betting revenue took a disappointing 25.4% slide from January, figures released Monday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board showed. The state’s six operational sportsbooks generated revenue of $1,946,816 last month, down from $2,607,205 in January.

February was the first full month of operation of all six sports betting facilities. Parx Casino, Parx South Philadelphia Turf Club, and Harrah’s Philadelphia launched their sportsbooks in January and only posted partial results for that month.

Pennsylvania’s six operational sports betting facilities handled a total of $31,500,742 in wagers last month. The figure reported represented a slight 1.6% decrease from January when the sportsbooks took in just over $32 million in wagers. However, it should be pointed out that the Super Bowl, one of the biggest sporting events on the calendar, took place in February, so it can be said that the betting volumes reported by the state’s wagering facilities were certainly somewhat disappointing.

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh was the state’s best performing sportsbook. The facility received $8,147,559 in wagers last month and generated revenue of $627,521. Pennsylvania’s first sportsbook Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, was the one to record the poorest performance in terms of revenue generated. The facility reported $13,914 in revenue in February. The South Philadelphia Race and Sportsbook was the bottom performer in terms of bets placed. The property handled $2,601,651 in wagers last month.

Is It Time to Start Worrying about Pennsylvania’s Sports Betting?

Despite the steep revenue dip last month, it should be noted that legal sports betting is still a very young industry in Pennsylvania and it is quite early to draw any definitive conclusions about its state and how it would develop in the coming months and years.

In the first place, it should be noted that Pennsylvania is a big market. The state ranks among the nation’s largest by population. In addition, there are more betting facilities to open doors in the next few months, which could either lead to saturation of the market or to an important boost to wagering activity in the state. The state’s sports gambling industry is also yet to receive a major boost from the upcoming launch of online and mobile betting services.

Digital wagering turned out to be the real driver of sports betting growth in neighboring New Jersey, and a similar positive impact is hoped to be seen in Pennsylvania, as well. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has said recently that the online betting roll-out is likely to begin in mid-2019.

And while there are still at least several months until Pennsylvania bettors will be able to place their wagers via desktop or mobile, the state’s gambling industry is poised to receive an instant boost from the upcoming men’s NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. Betting on the tournament’s 63 games is in full swing. And 63 separate events have a big chance to draw much greater betting activity than a single massive football game did last month.

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Suffolk Downs Will Not Pursue Boston Casino, Even If MassGaming Revokes Wynn’s License

Suffolk Downs has given up ambitions to operate a casino in the Greater Boston area, even if MassGaming deems Wynn Resorts unsuitable to hold a gaming license

The Suffolk Downs thoroughbred race track will not pursue a license for a casino in the Greater Boston area, should the Massachusetts Gaming Commission decide to revoke the license currently held by Wynn Resorts.

Suffolk Downs was among the bidders for the Greater Boston gaming license, but its bid lost to that made by the Las Vegas casino and hospitality giant. Owners of the race track are suing Wynn Resorts, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and several other involved parties, arguing that the selection and licensing process was marred by cronyism and a number of other improprieties. Suffolk Downs is seeking $3 billion in damages for losing the “tainted” bidding process.

The Suffolk Downs CEO, Chip Tuttle, told the Boston Herald on Monday, that even if the bidding process reopens, they will not seek a license. “That ship has sailed,” Mr. Tuttle said.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is assessing Wynn Resort’s suitability to operate an integrated resort in the Greater Boston area. The company has entered the final stages of construction of the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor. The luxury resort is located along the Mystic River in Everett and is slated to open doors on June 23. Wynn Resorts has already begun holding job fairs in a bid to recruit around 5,000 employees for its new property.

MassGaming Obtains “Critical” Information

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission received Friday a report compiled by its in-house Investigators and Enforcement Bureau. The report presented the bureau’s findings in a nearly year-long investigation into sexual harassment allegations against casino mogul Steve Wynn that surfaced in early 2018.

MassGaming launched the probe to discover evidence about the allegations as well as whether Wynn Resorts had any previous knowledge of those and how it addressed them. The gambling regulator is now looking to rule on whether the company should be given the go-ahead to launch and operate its Massachusetts property or have its license revoked.

The Boston Herald reported Monday that according to “heavily redacted minutes” of a closed door meeting that took place last Friday, the Gaming Commission has obtained “critical” information that could play a role in determining whether the Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant can keep its gaming license.

The Friday meeting minutes showed that the commission has been provided with a complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that was filed against Mr. Wynn just a few months before Wynn Resorts was awarded the Greater Boston license.

According to a statement by the Deputy Director of MassGaming’s team of investigators, Loretta Lillios, the “2014 EEOC matter is a crucial piece of evidence” and that without it the Gaming Commission “may not have fair and accurate information to review Wynn Resorts’ suitability.”

While the 2014 EEOC complaint was labeled a critical piece of evidence, this does not automatically mean that Wynn Resorts’ license is threatened.

Massachusetts gaming commissioners have pointed out that they would try to make their decision about the company’s suitability to operate the state’s second full-fledged casino before its scheduled June 23 opening.

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Showboat Owner Unveils Plans for Casino Targeting New Generation of Gamblers

The owner of Atlantic City’s Showboat revealed Monday plans to build a casino on a vacant lot right next to the existing resort

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission approved Monday the statement of compliance petition filed by Philadelphia businessman Bart Blatstein. Securing the statement of compliance was the first of many steps the owner of the Boardwalk property needs to complete in order to obtain a full gaming license.

Mr. Blatstein plans to build the gambling venue on a 123,000-square-foot lot off New Jersey Avenue. The site is currently used for sand volleyball. A deed restriction placed by the former owner of the Showboat, Caesars Entertainment Corp., prohibits the property to be used as a casino for a ten-year period. The restriction has five more years to go, but by locating the casino on a nearby lot, Mr. Blatstein will be able to circumvent it.

The portion of land he is planning to use for the gambling venue is not part of the Boardwalk resort but can easily be connected to it.

Caesars operated the Showboat for 16 years before closing it in the summer of 2014. The property was the second of four casinos that closed doors that year. Mr. Blatstein bought the Boardwalk resort in January 2016 and reopened it as a non-gambling complex in the summer of that year.

”Not about the Number of Casinos”

Although Mr. Blatstein is yet to reveal the full scope of his casino project, he did provide casino commissioners with certain details. He said that his gambling venue will be directed toward a younger demographic with diverse sports and eSports offering.

Answering to questions by gaming regulators, the Philadelphia businessman said Monday that “the world has changed” and that “older-style casinos are no longer en vogue.” He went on to explain that the younger generations are very experience-oriented, so his casino will be designed in a manner that would appeal to that group of customers.

Commissioners also raised a question about the impact of a tenth casino in Atlantic City to which Mr. Blatstein responded by saying that it was not about the number of casinos but about variety. He further dwelt that Las Vegas has 104 casinos in the middle of nowhere, while Atlantic City currently has nine that are “within a short trip from one-third of the nation’s population.” According to the businessman, the market is looking for something different and he aims to provide it.

Mr. Blatstein will pursue authorization to provide a full range of gambling options at his future casino, including slot machines, table games, sports betting, and online gambling. A third-party company will operate the facility when it is built and launched. The casino operator is yet to be selected.

The Showboat owner said that he plans to break ground on the casino next year and that construction will take around 14 months.

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