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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: History at 2021 WSOP edition

22 Oct 2021

By Dan Ippolito
The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino saw some crazy action this week during this season of the World Series of Poker. Before we get into some record-breaking moments, we have a few things to cover first. We have mobile sports betting and online gaming officially live in Connecticut, one casino breaking ground and another ready to do so, and finally sports betting in New Jersey posting massive numbers in September.

Let’s begin with some New Jersey news:

5. New Jersey breaks sports betting record
New Jersey became the first U.S. state to generate more than $1 billion in sports betting in a single month by taking in $1.01 billion in wagers in September.

New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks attracted $1.01 billion in September, breaking the state and U.S. record of $996.3 million that New Jersey set in December 2020. September’s volume was up 35.1% from the $748.6 million generated in September 2020, up 52.1% from $664.7 million in August.

The new high for sports betting came as New Jersey also set a new high for online casino revenue, helping to push New Jersey to the total gaming revenue record ($453.6 million).

Bettors wagered $918.4 million in September through online sportsbooks, representing 90.8% of the statewide handle.

4. Developer looks to break ground on new Las Vegas hotel in early 2022
Majestic Las Vegas developer Lorenzo Doumani said he plans to start construction on the 720-room hotel in the first quarter of 2022, after saying in January that he expected to break ground in late summer or early fall this year.

However, Doumani said he is “still on track” to complete Majestic in late 2024.

His roughly $850 million project would not have a casino and is aimed at business travelers.

The suites would range from 5,000 to 25,000 square feet and occupy the tower’s top 10 floors, Doumani said, adding sales will start at the end of this month.

3. Gila River breaks ground on fourth casino
Gila River Hotels & Casinos officially announced its newest project, Santan Mountain, at a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday on Gila River Indian Community land south of Chandler.

When complete, Santan Mountain will include more than 850 slots and table games including mini baccarat, craps and roulette as well as an exclusive High Limit Gaming Salon.

The BetMGM sportsbook will extend the casino floor and offer plush seating, multiple large-screen TVs for viewing live games and convenient sports betting.

The new property will also provide multiple dining options and a lively bar in the center of the casino floor featuring entertainment. A hotel may be added in the future.

2. Mobile sports betting and online gaming launches in Connecticut
After a seven-day trial period, online sports betting and online gaming officially went live in Connecticut on Tuesday. This made Connecticut the 28th U.S. state with live legalized sports betting since PASPA was abolished by the Supreme Court back in May 2018. It also joined New Hampshire and Rhode Island as the New England states with legalized sports betting.

Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mohegan Sun and the Connecticut Lottery are the current players in the state for online sports betting and iGaming.

Foxwoods launched a retail DraftKings Sportsbook on 30 September but it was the only the temporary location that was introduced. There are major plans for the permanent one.

“We have one of the most amazing sportsbook venues that you will ever see in this country, and possibly the world, behind the vision of our CEO Jason Guyotte and the work that he is doing. We are looking at doing a ribbon-cutting for that in mid-November and it will be a sight to be seen,” said Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Tuesday also marked the opportunity for players throughout the Constitution State to be able to play slots and table games through the Foxwoods and Mohegan online casinos.

1. History made at the World Series of Poker
The 52nd annual World Series of Poker wrapped up its third week of play at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino with thrilling wins and new champions crowned. Week three delivered on excitement with poker legend Phil Hellmuth winning his record-breaking 16th gold bracelet and a stacked faceoff in the final day of the $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Championship.

- Phil Hellmuth Wins Record 16th World Series of Poker Gold Bracelet
  • Poker legend Phil Hellmuth took home his 16th WSOP Gold Bracelet in Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw. The 16th Gold Bracelet extended Hellmuth’s record of having the most championship wins in WSOP. This is his first gold bracelet in a 2-7 poker game and his third in a non-Hold’em variation.
- Anthony Koutsos Wins First WSOP Bracelet in Event #35: $500 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em
  • Anthony Koustos, a real-estate agent by day, took home his first WSOP gold bracelet and $167,272 in winnings. A poker player of nine years, this was Koutsos’ first time at the World Series of Poker and his third bracelet event.
- WSOP Adds Two More Main Event Starting Flights as U.S. Travel Restrictions Ease
  • In response to the easing of travel restrictions into the U.S., WSOP has announced two more Day 1 Event flights. Day 1E and Day 1F will take place 8 November and 9 November.
- Adam Friedman Defeats Phil Hellmuth to Win WSOP $10k Dealer’s Choice for Third Straight Year
  • Adam Friedman made history, winning Event #36: $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Championship for third consecutive time and denying Phil Hellmuth his 17th WSOP gold bracelet. Friedman now has four gold bracelets and over $2 million in cashes.
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