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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: Closing and selling edition

27 Sep 2019

By Dan Ippolito
In May, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a sports betting bill and since then, several casinos have launched sportsbooks. Earlier this week, it was announced that mobile sports betting will begin next week in Indiana. Also this week, we have a record-breaking poker tournament for PokerStars, New Hampshire receiving sports betting proposals, a poker network closing and the sale of a Las Vegas casino. Let’s begin with some big numbers from PokerStars: 5. WCOOP 2019 becomes biggest in PokerStars history The World Championship of Online Poker tallied some massive figures throughout its annual online series. It awarded a record-breaking $104.7 million across 20 days of action and surpassed its $75 million guarantee by almost $30 million. Last year’s series held the previous record, when there was a prize pool of just over $99 million. This year, there were more than 1.2 million entries and a total prize pool of over $104 million. The Main Event High awarded $11.18 million, making it the biggest Championship of Online Poker Main Event in this decade. BigBlindBets came out victorious in the Main Event and took home $1,665,962. 4. New Hampshire Lottery receives 13 proposals for sports betting Thirteen vendors and retailers sent the New Hampshire Lottery a proposal to offer sports betting in The Granite State. In July, Governor Chris Sununu legalized sports betting by signing a bill that allows sports betting to be conducted at as many as 10 physical sportsbook locations and as many as five online sportsbooks. “We are pleased and encouraged at both the robust number of responses and the overall quality of proposals,” said Charlie McIntyre, executive director, New Hampshire Lottery. “As the critical next step in the process, we look forward to reviewing each response carefully and thoroughly to ensure we can ultimately make the right decisions in launching a sports betting system that engages and protects players, while also driving crucial revenue for education in the Granite State.” The plan is to officially launch sports betting in New Hampshire by early 2020. 3. Microgaming Poker Network set to close Microgaming has announced that the Microgaming Poker Network is set to close in 2020. The decision to close came after an internal review of the supplier’s portfolio and strategy, which has provided online poker players with gaming for over 16 years. In the run-up to the network closure, access to online tournaments, promotions and cash games will remain available to players. John Coleman, CEO of Microgaming, said, "The network model no longer fits with our strategic vision for poker, and this is the right time to announce the closure as we focus on redistributing key resources and personnel across the business.” 2. Caesars Entertainment announces sale of Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino On Monday, Caesars Entertainment said it had signed an agreement to sell the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to a company controlled by a principal of Imperial Companies for $516.3 million. Caesars will continue to operate the Las Vegas property pursuant to a lease for a minimum of two years and pay annualized rent of $45 million. The buyer will have an option to extend that lease for a third year. "This deal allows Caesars Entertainment to focus our resources on strengthening our attractive portfolio of recently renovated Strip properties and is expected to result in incremental EBITDA at those properties," said Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment. "The retention of the World Series of Poker and retention of Caesars Rewards customers are all factors that make this a valuable transaction for Caesars." The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019. 1. Mobile sports betting heading to Indiana French Lick Resort launched retail sports betting on 6 September. Now, the Indiana resort has mobile sports betting in its sights. Rush Street Gaming was given the green light from the Indiana Gaming Commission to conduct mobile sports wagering through the resort, beginning 3 October. “We are partnering with Rush Street Interactive to provide our guests in the casino and online with a premier entertainment experience for football season and beyond,” said Chris Leininger, Chief Operating Officer of French Lick Resort Casino. “Rush Street Interactive is a proven leader in sports betting, and we know sports fans across Indiana will be thrilled with our new in-casino and online sportsbooks.”
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