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Casino City’s Friday Five: iGaming and sports betting launches in Virginia and Michigan edition

22 Jan 2021

By Dan Ippolito
We are just over three weeks away from Super Bowl LV and more gamblers will be able to place bets on the big game in the U.S. than ever before.

This week, Virginia and Michigan, introduced sports betting, bringing the number of U.S. states/districts that offer a regulated market to 20 since the Supreme Court abolished the federal law against it back in May 2018. Five other states have legalized sports betting, but have yet to become operational.

Before we dive into those details, we also cover last month’s impressive sports betting numbers from Pennsylvania, a couple of royal flush wins in Las Vegas, and big news regarding the World Poker Tour.

Let’s start this Friday off with some payouts:

5. Two sequential royal flush wins at Red Rock Casino
On Friday, 15 January at Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Nevada, two guests hit royal flushes within hours of one another, taking home whopping jackpots of $132,395 and $27,101.

The first guest, a local, hit a reversible sequential royal to win $27,101 with a $1.25 bet at about 5:30 p.m.

Hours later, at about 9:30 p.m., another local hit a sequential royal, winning a massive $132,395 on a $1.25 bet.

4. Pennsylvania sportsbooks and online casinos continue to surge
Pennsylvania's sportsbooks and online casinos returned to record-breaking ways in December, setting fresh highs while combining for more than $100 million in revenue.

Pennsylvania's sportsbooks accepted $548.6 million in wagers in December, according to official data released Tuesday. December's bets were up 11.5% from $491.9 million in November and topped the record $525.8 million record set in October.

Online casinos and poker took in $71.6 million in gross operator revenue, shattering the record $59.8 million set in November. Online casinos produced $680.2 million in revenue for the year.

3. Allied Esports Entertainment sells World Poker Tour to Element Partners
On Tuesday, Allied Esports Entertainment announced a definitive agreement under which Element will acquire the company’s poker-related business and assets, including the entities comprising the World Poker Tour.

Under the terms of the agreement, Element will acquire World Poker Tour for a total of $78,250,000, consisting of a $68,250,000 upfront payment and a fully guaranteed revenue share of 5% of WPT-branded tournament entry fees on Element-owned or licensed gaming platforms, up to a maximum of $10 million, payable over three years after closing.

The transaction is expected to close by early next month.

Adam Pliska, the long-time CEO of the WPT, stated, “I want to thank Frank Ng and the entire AESE management team for its support in allowing WPT to flourish during this period. My management team and I are excited about this next chapter and the tremendous new opportunities for the WPT brand and business.”

2. Online gaming and sports betting launches in Michigan today
The Michigan Gaming Control Board authorized nine operators to begin online sports betting or both online gaming and sports betting at noon today.

The operators authorized to begin online offerings are:

(Tribe or Casino/Associated Platform Provider/Gaming Type offered on 22 January)

Bay Mills Indian Community/DraftKings/Internet Casino Games and Internet Sports Betting

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians/William Hill/Internet Casino Games and Internet Sports Betting

Greektown Casino Hotel/Penn Sports Interactive Barstool Sportsbook/Internet Sports Betting

Hannahville Indian Community/TwinSpires/Internet Casino Games and Internet Sports Betting

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community/Golden Nugget Online Gaming/Internet Casino Games and Internet Sports Betting

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians/Rush Street/Internet Casino Games and Internet Sports Betting

MGM Grand Detroit Casino/BetMGM Roar Digital/Internet Casino Games and Internet Sports Betting

MotorCity Casino/FanDuel/Internet Casino Games and Internet Sports Betting

The MGCB expects to authorize additional operators and platform providers in the coming days and weeks as well.

1. Sports betting in Virginia is now live
FanDuel is the first to the Virginia sports betting market after the FanDuel Sportsbook launched officially yesterday at 2:30 p.m. in the state.

While Michigan has already announced that several sportsbooks will be launching, FanDuel is the lone soldier in Virginia, but that soon may change with competitors such as DraftKings, BetMGM, PointsBet and more likely to jump into the waters. It is likely that, with the Super Bowl approaching in two weeks, that these other sportsbooks will aim to receive approval sooner than later to get up and running in Virginia.

The launch saw a bet quickly placed when someone using a mobile device placed $25 on the Golden State Warriors’ moneyline against the New York Knicks, which did not pay out.

Currently, all sports betting will be done through mobile and online, but plans of building land-based sportsbooks are being talked about.

On top of that, FanDuel’s partnership with The Washington Football Team has made history. The NFL team became the first NFL franchise to receive a sports betting license after being issued a permit from the Virginia Lottery on Wednesday.

One thing to note for sports bettors in Virginia is that they can’t place wagers on games involving teams from Virginia. This follows the rules in place for states such as New Jersey and Illinois.
 
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