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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: Enhancing schedules and resorts edition

6 Sep 2019

By Dan Ippolito
Last week, we saw the Sahara name make its return to the Strip after SLS Las Vegas announced it was rebranding. This week, we take a step out of Las Vegas as news in Atlantic City, New York and Europe took over headlines. Let’s begin with New York. 5. NYRA sets new all-sources handle record Who says horse racing is dead? The 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course generated over $700 million in all-source handles by the New York Racing Association. This is the first time in history the NYRA has reached that mark. The total was $705,343,949, a 7% increase compared to last year. This year’s meet was conducted over a five-day race week and last year’s was a six-day race week. "This has been a truly outstanding meet highlighted by the traditional recipe that sets Saratoga apart: world-class thoroughbred racing and entertainment. We would not be in this enviable position without the dedication of the owners, the talent of the horsemen, and the unmatched enthusiasm of our fans. I want to thank the local community for their support and everyone who contributed to our success this summer," said NYRA CEO & President Dave O'Rourke. The total paid attendance at the New York track reached over one million fans for the fifth consecutive season. Also, the on-track handle for the 2019 season was just over $146 million. 4. Buffalo Wild Wings partners and BetMGM partner for sports betting experience MGM Resort International is teaming up with Buffalo Wild Wings to create an unprecedented alignment with a national sports bar and a gaming leader. The partnership is going to bring sports betting experiences across the U.S. inside Buffalo Wild Wings through BetMGM. It will also see a new Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar open up at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in 2020. This is one of at least three new Buffalo Wilds Wings to open at MGM properties. The sports bars across the country will begin showing sportsbook content on TV screens and feature live betting odds provided by BetMGM. "Our partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings is an important development in MGM and Roar's position as the leader in sports entertainment and betting," said MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. "With more than 1,200 sports bars across the country, Buffalo Wild Wings is firmly established as a 'go-to' venue for sports viewing in all of its markets. Adding access to MGM's world-class properties and the BetMGM mobile app will create unique customer experiences and redefine how fans enjoy sports." 3. FanDuel Sportsbook opens at Blue Chip Casino Yesterday, the FanDuel Sportsbook opened at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa in Indiana. NFL Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher placed the ceremonial first wager; however, he probably wasn’t thrilled after last night’s game. Urlacher placed a $54 wager on his former team, the Chicago Bears, as three-point favorites over the Green Bay Packers. The Bears ended up losing 10-3, so that bet didn’t pay out for Urlacher. However, with the sportsbook just debuting, there is still an entire football season to bet on. “Today is the perfect day to open our doors in Indiana, as the regular season kicks off tonight in Chicago,” said Keith Wall, Vice President Commercial Retail, FanDuel Group. “We are excited by the opportunity to bring the FanDuel Sportsbook to the Chicagoland market, and look forward to a highly successful partnership with Boyd Gaming at Blue Chip, Indiana’s leading entertainment casino resort.” 2. WSOPE announces enhanced schedule for 2019 We are less than eight weeks away from the start of the 2019 World Series of Poker Europe and now we have more to look forward to. Five new events have been added to the tournament at King's Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. From 13 October to 4 November, there will be 15 gold bracelet events and prize pool guarantees of more than €22 million. “We heard the feedback and are happy to add some mixed games and some bigger buy-in tournaments in order to encourage more players to make the trip,” said King’s Resort owner Leon Tsoukernik. “After hosting some big events here at King’s recently, players insisted to me they would come back to WSOP Europe if we added a few additional tournaments. So, we have now done so and we look forward to welcoming them with this revised WSOP Europe schedule in October.” The tournament will end with the €10,000 buy-in Main Event, featuring a €5 million guarantee, with starting flights on 25 and 26 October. 1. Borgata to pour $14 million into property enhancements On Wednesday, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City announced an investment of more than $14 million into the property. The additions will include the Lobby Bar with adjacent VIP check-in, and 312 Fiore Suites are going to be redesigned. The 1,700-square-foot Lobby Bar is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month. On weekends, the venue will become a piano bar with live entertainment for guests. “Borgata’s commitment to property growth and development is unrivaled in Atlantic City,” said Marcus Glover, President & Chief Operating Officer for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “The reinvention of our business has been a core principle since our 2003 debut, and we are pleased to continue developing the type of engaging product that our guests have come to anticipate.” The Fiore Suites are planned to be redesigned by early 2020. Each suite will have a custom entertainment center with stone countertops and USB charging ports. This update to the Atlantic City property comes just two months after it introduced the new sports entertainment venue, Moneyline Bar & Book.
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