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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: Fourth of July, WSOP and sportsbooks edition

1 Jul 2022

By Dan Ippolito
Here in the U.S., we are gearing up for Fourth of July celebrations and Las Vegas is no different. Sin City will be home to a wide array of entertainment and party opportunities. Before we look at some of those events, we’ll delve into Gaming and Leisure Properties acquiring property assets of two Rhode Island casinos, interesting news from the Las Vegas Strip, a massive seven-figure win at the World Series of Poker and a Las Vegas sportsbook reopening with a fresh look.

Let’s begin with some the big news from Bally’s:

5. Gaming and Leisure properties acquire property assets of Bally’s two Rhode Island casinos
Earlier this week, Gaming and Leisure Properties announced that it entered into an agreement with Bally’s Corporation to acquire the property assets of Bally’s two Rhode Island casino properties – Bally's Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort and Bally's Tiverton Casino & Hotel.

Bally’s will immediately lease back both properties and continue to own, control, and manage all the gaming operations of the facilities on an uninterrupted basis.

For guests attending these properties, current operations should not be affected and should continue to run normally.

4. Closing the Las Vegas Strip to automobiles?
This week's gambling news comes from Sin City, where there is talk of closing the Las Vegas Strip to cars, trucks, taxis, and buses, at least a few times each week.

The Las Vegas Strip without cars has already happened this year. During the NFL Draft, which took place off The Strip behind LINQ Hotel + Experience in April, The Strip was closed to traffic for three days. While that was obviously a temporary move, county officials say it was met with a mostly positive response.

Now, a state lawmaker has put forth a bill to make the move permanent. If approved, it would close the Las Vegas Strip to vehicles on weekend morning, giving access to pedestrians who want to walk, run, or bike. If that feedback is positive as well, the ban could grow.

3. Las Vegas ready for Fourth of July parties
Visitors to Las Vegas can honor the Fourth of July holiday with entertainment, fireworks, poolside parties and more throughout the celebratory weekend.

Festivities begin today and go through the weekend. Below are some events people can enjoy:

Caesars Entertainment will host a fireworks spectacular on the Las Vegas Strip at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, 4 July. The fireworks will deploy from the Julius Tower at Caesars Palace.

Kevin Hart will perform inside The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday, 2 July and Sunday, 3 July.

Jewel Nightclub at Aria Resort & Casino presents a weekend of entertainment, with Murda Beatz later tonight; Blackbear on Saturday, 2 July and Lil Jon on Monday, 4 July.

Drai’s Beachclub at The Cromwell is also having a weekend of entertainment, with rapper Rick Ross taking the stage on Saturday, 2 July; and hip-hop artist Gucci Mane on Sunday, 3 July.

2. Caesars Race and Sportsbook at Harrah’s Las Vegas reopens
Yesterday, Caesars Entertainment officially reopened Caesars Race & Sportsbook at Harrah's Las Vegas Casino & Hotel. The newly renovated space now features 760 square feet of LED TV walls, 65-inch odds boards, two self-service betting kiosks and six sports betting ticket windows.

A grand reopening event was held on 29 June, featuring remarks from Dan Walsh, SVP and General Manager of Harrah’s Las Vegas, David Grolman, SVP of Retail Operations at Caesars Sportsbook, and special guest, Jonathan Ogden, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Former Offensive Tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.

Festivities also included an official ribbon-cutting and a ceremonial first bet by Ogden on the Ravens to win the Super Bowl ($50 at 20-to-1), a team partner of Caesars Sportsbook, with winning proceeds going to charity.

1. Alex Foxen claims WSOP Super High Roller event
The World Series of Poker Event #50: $250,000 Super High Roller, the biggest buy-in of the summer, began with 56 entrants. Last Saturday, the final eight returned to play down to a winner and their piece of a $13,944,000 prize pool.

Alex Foxen, who is making a case for being the best poker player in the world right now, began as the chip leader, and it took him just five hours to go wire-to-wire on his way to his first gold bracelet, and the $4,563,700 top prize, a new career-high.

"It really means a lot to me. It's kind of been a monkey on the back. I've always wanted a bracelet. I've had some close spots and always been disappointed … this feels like a really special one to get my first in," said Foxen, who was just one of three players at the final table without a bracelet. "To me, what means the most is consistent performance at the highest stakes. This is one of those, so it feels really good."

It wasn't the first piece of WSOP hardware for Foxen, a former football tight end for Boston College. That's because way back in 2012 he shipped a WSOP Circuit ring at Harrah's New Orleans Casino, for a much more modest $22,421.

Foxen married his wife, three-time bracelet winner Kristen Bicknell, earlier this year and was quick to credit her as a major factor in his success.
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