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Casino City’s Friday Five: Canadian sports betting edition

28 Feb 2020

By Dan Ippolito
Since our last edition of the Friday Five, a lot has taken place in the gambling industry. We lost a legend and an icon in Kobe Bryant, we saw several casino openings and expansions and sports betting is always in the conversation. In this week’s edition, the World Series of Poker is back in headlines, two U.S. states see sports betting progress, a new Las Vegas poker room in unveiled and Canada pushes for an improvement to sports wagering.

Let’s begin with some news from Michigan:

5. William Hill enters Michigan market
On Monday, William Hill and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians announced a long-term partnership. The sports betting company will be GTB’s exclusive provider of online casino games and sports betting throughout Michigan.

There is also a plan to open a retail sportsbook at Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel later this year.

The William Hill Sportsbook will be located in the current Onyx Sports Bar at Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, with a satellite location at Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge. Both are expected to open prior to the 2020 football season. William Hill plans to launch online casino gaming and sports betting when permitted under Michigan regulations.

4. BetMGM launches sports betting app in Indiana
Moving over to another U.S. state, we see BetMGM entering Indiana through an agreement with Boyd Gaming. The sports betting app is now accepting wagers throughout The Hoosier State.

In conjunction with this week's launch, Indiana bettors will enjoy promotions only available within Indiana, affording ample opportunity to bet on professional as well as collegiate sports through a variety of pre-match, and in-play and player proposition wagers.

Indiana is BetMGM's third U.S. market entry, following New Jersey and West Virginia.

"Introducing BetMGM in Indiana is a significant development for Roar Digital and MGM Resorts," said Scott Butera, President of Interactive Gaming for MGM Resorts. "Indiana has a rich history in professional and amateur sports and a strong fan base. We believe that the sports betting opportunities offered by BetMGM, and access to MGM's world-class entertainment offerings and resorts, will be well-received."

3. Enhancements coming to the 2020 WSOP
We are just three months away from the start of the 51st annual World Series of Poker on 26 May at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The schedule has been finalized and also seven notable improvements are coming to this year’s tournament.

For the first time at the WSOP, in-person registration and payouts for events will be separated into different rooms, allowing for more stations to be added to both areas. This is designed to ease congestion and speed up wait times.

“There is no doubt we need to do a better job of getting people in their seats and playing poker faster,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart. “We’ve looked closely at several areas in the off-season and are dedicating new resources – technology, equipment and people – to aid in these efforts in 2020. These changes, in conjunction with better informing guests of the required documents needed to register, make us optimistic it can lead to noticeable improvement.”

More details of the other enhancements will be coming out in the coming months.

2. SAHARA Las Vegas celebrates grand opening of new poker room
Continuing with poker, SAHARA Las Vegas had the official grand opening celebration of the new poker room on last Friday.

“We have continued to expand our gaming offerings since beginning our $150 million transformation in 2018,” said Paul Hobson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of SAHARA Las Vegas. “The addition of poker to our gaming amenities provides for a much more well-rounded gaming experience for our guests.”

The new poker room boasts seven tables, a 16-foot by nine-foot LED video wall and five additional screens throughout the room along with 24/7 food options.

The room offers an extensive game chart including No Limit Texas Hold'em, Limit Hold'em, Pot Limit Omaha, Seven-card Stud and various mix games.

1. Another push for single-event sports betting in Canada
The Canadian Gaming Association fully supports the introduction of the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act in Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill by Kevin Waugh. The bill will make it legal to bet on a single sporting event.

Canada has had legal sports wagering for decades however presently, Canadians can only place wagers through a parlay bet, which means betting on and correctly predicting the outcome of at least two or more games in order to win their bet.

Canadians are wagering approximately $10 billion annually through illegal bookmaking operations in Canada, usually operated by organized crime. Additionally, more than $4 billion is wagered through offshore online sports wagering sites. Currently, only $500 million is wagered through legal provincial sports lottery products offered to Canadians.

“Amending the Criminal Code to legalize single-event sports wagering will provide provinces with the necessary tools to deliver a safe and legal option to Canadians,” said Paul Burns, CEO of the Canadian Gaming Association.
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