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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: Closure extension edition

3 Apr 2020

By Dan Ippolito
It remains a great time of uncertainty for the casino/gaming industry. Land-based casinos are pushing back dates for their re-openings. Sports are in the same boat, not knowing when their seasons will resume or, in some cases, begin. However, the NFL Draft is still planning on happening in May with a new feel to it. This week we have news on the WSOP Online Championship, Caesars furloughing a high number of employees, free spins week at Intertops Poker and iGaming ad restrictions in Spain. Let’s begin with some free spins: 5. Free spins week starts at Intertops Poker Online casinos remain a hot option for gamblers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Until next Friday, Intertops Poker is giving free spins on four feature-packed slots from Betsoft: Dragon Kings, The Golden Owl of Athena, Stampede and Tiger Claw. Players can win up to $250 on their free spins. Players have until 17 April to take their free spins. Wagering requirement for free spins is 30x. “Does your luck really improve when you’re playing for free, or does it just seem like it?” asked Intertops Poker’s casino manager. “I don’t know… but it can definitely be fun to have nothing to lose!” 4. WSOP’s Spring Online Championship Players in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey can enjoy taking part in the World Series of Poker’s Spring Online Championship through 3 May. The Spring Online Championships features over $4 million in guarantees and includes over 100 events, plus daily tournaments and a 12-event warmup series. Buy-ins range from $10 all the way up to $1,000. Every Sunday of the Spring Online Championships, from 5 April through 26 April, hosts the Sunday Special Edition. These No-Limit Hold’em events with a $215 or $320 buy-in always carry a guarantee of at least $100,000. Other highlights include the Special Tuesday Showdown ($500 buy-in and $75,000 guarantee), High Roller events with a $1,000 buy-in, and the $500 buy-in PLO High Roller with a $40,000 guarantee. 3. Caesars to furlough 90 percent of US workforce The ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency has prompted the temporary shutdown of Caesars Entertainment Corporation's properties consistent with government or tribe-mandated directives around the world. In response, Caesars is temporarily moving to the minimum workforce needed to maintain basic operations. The furloughs are expected to impact approximately 90% of employees at its domestic, owned properties as well as its corporate staff. Those individuals who are furloughed remain employees of the company throughout the furlough period. "Given the closure of our properties, we are taking difficult but necessary steps to protect the company's financial position and its ability to recover when circumstances allow us to reopen and begin welcoming our guests and employees back to our properties," said Tony Rodio, Chief Executive Officer of Caesars Entertainment. Caesars is paying furloughed employees for the first two weeks of the closure period and those employees can use their available paid time off after that. For furloughed employees enrolled in the Caesars health benefit plans, the Company is paying 100% of health insurance premiums through 30 June, or their return to work, whichever comes sooner. On a more positive note, Wynn Resorts extended pay to all salaried, hourly and part-time employees through 15 May and Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson announced in a statement that he is “paying every one of our nearly 10,000 employees as though they were still working. We’re even working to make up for lost tips. I hope to do that right up until the time that we can reopen our businesses.” 2. Spain calls for iGaming advertising restrictions amid COVID-19 pandemic Spain officials have ordered online gambling operators to restrict marketing efforts during the country's current lockdown with the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to “protect problem gamblers.” In a Royal Decree-Law dated 31 March from Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego that was approved by the Spanish Government, operators in the market were told that commercial communications that “implicitly or explicitly, refer to the exceptional situation resulting from the disease COVID-19 or which call for the consumption of gambling activities in this context, are prohibited.” A “serious breach” of the decree will be punished with fines “from hundred thousand to a million Euros.” Over the past 48 hours, operators have aggressively contacted affiliates, asking that they remove all Spanish market references bonuses, logos and promotions and stop sending mailings or messages. 1. US casinos extend temporary closures When news first hit that casinos were temporarily closing, we saw end dates of early April. Now that there is still a question of when COVID-19 will be under control and when we can return to a sense of normalcy, casinos are pushing back their plans to reopen to the public. On Wednesday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak formally issued a “Stay at Home” directive for Nevadans and extended the nonessential business, gaming and school closures and all other directives issued under the Emergency Declaration to 30 April 2020. Illinois is also in the same boat. A day before Nevada’s actions, the Illinois Gaming Board extended the suspension of all video gaming operations at all licensed establishments of any kind and all casino gambling operations in Illinois until at least 30 April 2020. This is most likely just the beginning as we have entered April. It will be no surprise as more states and more casinos issue statements declaring a longer period for the closures.
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