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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports.

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Casino City’s Friday Five: Black Friday and WSOP online edition

16 Apr 2021

By Dan Ippolito
Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the infamous Black Friday. Before we get into that, we have some other news to cover from this week. The National Football League has announced partnerships with Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings. We also details on the World Series of Poker’s online bracelet schedule, bonus spins at Intertops Poker and sports betting in the U.S. advancing in two more states.

Let’s begin with bonus spins:

5. Bonus spins week at Intertops Poker
Of the 70 new games from Nucleus Gaming that Intertops Poker added, Runes of Odin and Sands of Egypt are showcased during the Bonus Spins Week that continues until 19 April. Players can win up to $250 with their bonus spins when the deposit.

"When you add so many games all at once it takes players awhile to try them all," laughed the manager of Intertops Poker’s casino games section. "It's early days, but there are a few that are already clear favorites!"

4. Caesars Entertainment expands partnership with NFL
It wasn’t long ago that the NFL did everything in its power to avoid being associated with gambling. But times have changed drastically. Not only does the NFL now have a team based in Las Vegas, but this week the league announced that it has new “official” sports betting partners.

Caesars Entertainment will become an Official Sports Betting Partner of the National Football League as part of an agreement that extends the partnership in which the company became the league's first casino sponsor.

The multi-year agreement, beginning with the upcoming 2021 NFL season, allows Caesars to leverage NFL marks within the sports betting category and activate around retail and online sports betting.

As an Official Sports Betting Partner, Caesars will integrate relevant sports betting content directly into NFL Media properties, including and the NFL App.

Caesars wasn’t the only one getting involved with the NFL this week.

The National Football League announced that DraftKings will also become an Official Sports Betting Partner of the league and extend its current relationship as the exclusive Official Daily Fantasy Partner.

DraftKings will utilize the NFL’s official League data feed. DraftKings will also be able to enhance their fan experience with NFL highlights, footage and Next Gen States content.

In addition to becoming an Official Sports Betting Partner of the NFL, DraftKings will renew its exclusive relationship as the Official Daily Fantasy Partner of the NFL, which provides DraftKings with exclusive rights to NFL marks to promote daily fantasy sports contests.

3. Two more states move forward with sports betting in US
Sports betting is expected to go live at two more states this fall as Arizona and Maryland made advancements and sent approved sports wagering legislation to each state's governor to sign this week.

Arizona's SB 1797 was passed on Monday and yesterday saw Governor Doug Ducey sign the bill into law. The bill will legalize online sports betting and award up to 10 licenses for land-based sports betting locations. In addition, another 10 licenses could be given out to tribes that could be for opening new casinos and sportsbooks. Some of these new sportsbook locations are rumored to be at Chase Field where the Diamondbacks play and at Phoenix Suns Arena. In addition to this news, on Wednesday the PGA TOUR and DraftKings announced they will expand their existing commercial relationship to provide DraftKings market access for retail and mobile sports betting in Arizona. The two have also announced plans to operate a premium retail sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale.

Maryland saw HB 940 receive approval from the Senate and is on its way Governor Larry Hogan's desk for signature. The legislation in Maryland, which could come into effect this fall, allows for an unlimited number of digital and in-person betting licenses in five categories. Operators who hold Class A and Class B licenses in Maryland will have the chance to apply for mobile sports betting licenses as well. Similar to Arizona, Maryland will be allowing sportsbooks at the professional teams' arenas and stadiums.

2. WSOP announces online bracelet schedule for US play
Following the announcement of a live World Series of Poker tournament series returning this fall, on Wednesday announced the full WSOP Online 2021 domestic schedule for this summer.

The U.S. schedule of events for WSOP Online 2021 kicks off Thursday, 1 July and will offer at least one bracelet event each day through Sunday, 1 August, for a total of 33 bracelet events this season.

Premiere Week will kick things off with a diverse slate of events including the popular “Lucky Sevens” $777 No Limit Hold’em on Wednesday, 7 July, and “Crazy Eights,” a $888 buy-in NLHE event on Thursday, 8 July.

This year’s WSOP Online domestic schedule will conclude on Sunday, 1 August with the $500 NLHE “Grand Finale” including a $1 million prize pool guarantee, the largest prize pool guarantee in the history of The events will be played on the All-American Poker Network, currently available to players in Nevada or New Jersey.

1. Poker’s Black Friday: A decade later
Known as Black Friday, 15 April 2011 saw three major poker sites get suddenly indicted and shut down, leaving tens of thousands of players and their accounts in limbo.

The “Big 3” of online poker — PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker — were open to players in the U.S. but taken down by the U.S. Department of Justice on Black Friday. The three immediately took action and suspended real-money play on their sites and players who visited the sites were met by a seizure notice.

One of the most pressing issues involved with this case was the money in the player accounts. The money in these accounts on the suspended sites were basically left in limbo and could not be collected at first, and there was no real answer as to when players could access and take out their money. In fact, in some cases it took several years before the majority of players in the U.S. were paid. Full Tilt players didn’t start getting money back until 2014.

In addition to the resulting lawsuits, fines and jail time that was dished out, Black Friday also severely damaged the reputation of some of the more popular poker players in the game.

Ferguson was near the top at Full-Tilt Poker and was accused of collecting over $40 million from his involvement in the site due to a Ponzi scheme. In 2013, Ferguson forfeited a bank account containing an undisclosed amount of cash, as well as an additional $2.35 million after reaching a settlement with federal prosecutors. With 21 poker titles to his name, Ferguson went into hiding, but returned to the live circuit in 2016.

Another famous player, Howard “The Professor” Lederer also made tens of millions of dollars from Full Tilt after the site’s failure. However, despite saying he didn’t do anything wrong, he still decided to reach a settlement like Ferguson. Lederer faced a $42.5 million civil lawsuit from the DOJ, but only had to give up $2.5 million in cash and assets in a settlement.

Black Friday brought some concerns about the future of the online poker industry, but today those doubts can be put aside now as online poker is very much alive and thriving.
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