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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: Decreasing restrictions and goodbye to Full Tilt Poker

26 Feb 2021

By Dan Ippolito
Last week, we heard the news that Nevada casinos moved from 25% limit to 35%, with hopes of moving to 50% in mid-March. Now, we are seeing more Sin City casinos return to their normal hours. Along with Las Vegas opening up more, we saw the demise of one of the most well-known brands in online poker history, as well as two big jackpot wins, a race to build a casino in Virginia, and Tennessee sportsbooks bringing in massive numbers.

Let’s begin with one of the jackpots:

5. The Orleans awards progressive jackpot win
A lucky B Connected member from Massachusetts turned his visit to The Orleans in Las Vegas into a payday of more than $185,000 when he hit Boyd Gaming’s regional linked Pai Gow Poker progressive jackpot on 22 February.

Kenneth, a frequent visitor to the off-Strip property since 2009, was playing Pai Gow Poker around 10 p.m. when he hit a seven-card straight flush to trigger the six-figure win.

The Pai Gow Poker progressive jackpot has reset at $150,000.

4. $1 million progressive jackpot win at San Manuel Casino
San Manuel Casino became the first California casino to award a $1 million progressive jackpot from a Scientific Games product on Wednesday, 17 February.

The lucky Classic Club Serrano member hit a $1 million jackpot playing Fortune Pai Gow Poker Progressive.

“Nothing makes us happier than seeing our guests enjoy a life changing win,” said Kenji Hall, Chief Operating Officer of San Manuel Casino.” At San Manuel we have the most table game progressive jackpots in the country. It was only a matter of time until we had a million-dollar winner.”

3. Record January for Tennessee sportsbooks
Tennessee, which launched mobile-only sports betting in November, hit a new high in January, becoming just the seventh state to generate more than $200 million in sports bets in a single month.

Bettors placed $211 million in wagers in January, according to official data released Tuesday evening by The Tennessee Education Lottery. That is up 16.6% from $180.9 million in wagers in December. Those wagers produced a record $21.8 million in the operator revenue, up 56.8% from $13.9 million in December.

January's results pushed lifetime gross sports betting revenue to $49 million and wagers to $523 million, topping Indiana's $274.2 million, which was the previous record for a market's first three months.

But Tennessee's market faces its first headwinds, too. Most notably, Virginia launched online sports betting in January, the first of Tennessee's neighbors to do so.

2. Richmond, Virginia is a hot spot for building a casino
Three companies have thrown their hat into the ring to build a casino in Richmond, Virginia.

Wind Creek Hospitality proposed a $541 million project in two phases, which includes 100,000 square feet of casino gaming space with 2,500 slot machines and 120 table games; two 252 room hotel towers; seven food and beverage outlets; a spa; indoor pool and fitness center; and a 67,000 sq ft family friendly entertainment center.

The Cordish Companies responded to a request for proposals issued by the City of Richmond, Virginia with a plan to develop a $600+ million destination casino resort in the city's Scotts Addition area. The project includes a 250,000 square foot casino; a luxury hotel with approximately 300 guest rooms and 30 suites; upscale spa and fitness facilities; a 4,000-capacity live entertainment venue; 40,000 square feet of multi-use event space; and 18 restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.

On Monday, Bally's Corporation submitted a proposal to the City of Richmond to develop and operate the Bally's Richmond Casino Resort. The project would span more than 1.6 million total square feet and include a casino, sportsbook, hotel, resort-style pool, dining and retail outlets, and a flexible space for live entertainment and conferences.

1. Goodbye Full Tilt Poker
Earlier this week, PokerStars announced that the Full Tilt desktop and mobile applications are no longer available. Players who sign up on Full Tilt are given a Stars Account and this universal player account can be used to access all Stars Group brands available.

In brighter news, several Las Vegas casinos reopen in an effort to get “back to normal.” Nevada casino restrictions have been loosened, so Strip properties Mandalay Bay, Park MGM and The Mirage will resume 24/7 operations effective 3 March.

Also, COVID-19 derailed the opening of the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas set in mid-January. Now the property, located where the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino used to be, has a new grand opening date of 25 March.

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