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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: More US states joining in edition

15 Feb 2019

By Dan Ippolito
Another busy week in the world of casinos and gaming as we saw another massive progressive win, two U.S. states making moves toward legalizing sports betting, a Monte Carlo offering from PokerStars, historic wagering action on the Oscars and a topping-off ceremony for a new California casino. Let’s begin with a large payout that we all hope to hit someday: 5. $1.1 million win at The Venetian Las Vegas The Sands Millionaire Progressive, which starts at $1 million and increases incrementally, is eligible by placing a $5 side bet. To win this life-changing amount, the player must have a royal flush from the cards they were dealt. This progressive is available on several table games: Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker, Let it Ride, Caribbean Stud, Crazy 4 Poker, and Mississippi Stud in both The Venetian Las Vegas and The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino. On 1 February, The Venetian saw the first player win the Sands Millionaire Progressive. Kevin Ripski from Ontario, Canada was at a Caribbean Stud table at The Venetian casino and was playing his hand blind. He let the dealer flip his cards over and saw the royal flush for $1,114,079. “It finally sunk in when I came home and told my family. I’m a huge Philadelphia Flyers and Eagles fan, so I will be attending some games in the near future. Also, I might do a little traveling and play a little extra golf,” said Ripski. 4. PokerStars offering qualifiers for Monte Carlo and EPT Qualifiers for the PokerStars and Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort European Poker Tour (EPT) went live online on and last week, and on Sunday they will be available at This year is even less expensive to qualify than last year. Players can join the satellite buy-ins for €1 rather than €5. A range of tournaments and Spin & Go’s will award Main Event packages for the €5,300 Main Event, which runs 29 April – 4 May. If you win a Main Event package, you are receiving something worth €8,220. This package includes a €5,300 tournament buy-in, accommodation in the hotel and expenses. Turning €1 into €8,200 doesn’t sound too shabby. 3. Two U.S. states add sports betting bills Minnesota is ready to introduce a sports wagering bill to allow gambling on professional and collegiate sports games at tribal casinos but would not permit online sports gambling. This legislation from Representative Pat Garofalo is a little different than others. His bill would have a 0.5% tax on handle instead of taxing gross gaming revenue like other states have proposed and done. Garofalo’s reasoning is to allow casinos to have very positive years in regards to revenue without being hit hard by taxes from it. Washington has made similar progress, but took it one step further than Minnesota. The bill proposed by Democrat Majority Caucus Chair Eric Pettigrew and seven other representatives would allow gambling on professional and collegiate sports games. However, this bill, unlike Minnesota’s, would allow online sports betting along with land-based. The goal for Washington is to have this passed and then begin to discuss further details with the tribes on what will be available to be offered in the state. 2. New Jersey sportsbooks accepting first legal Oscar bets New Jersey sportsbooks are the first in U.S. history to legally accept bets on the Academy Awards, which will be held 24 February. With this opportunity, New Jersey sports betting operators have responded with nine online sites currently offering odds on the Academy Awards. Most sportsbooks are simply offering odds on the winners of the big six Academy Awards categories: best picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actor and supporting actress. Odds for a tight Best Picture race range from the favorite, Roma (odds are as low as 1-to-2), to the dark horse, Vice (as high as 800-to-1). Without a clear favorite, the Best Picture race could generate significant interest. It will be difficult to predict the handle for the event because it has never occurred before. 1. Hard Rock Casino in Sacramento holds topping off ceremony Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Sacramento at Fire Mountain held a topping off ceremony on Wednesday to celebrate reaching this major construction milestone in the project. The Northern California property is expected to premiere in fall of 2019. “I want to thank everyone involved in this momentous development,” said Mark Birtha, president of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain. “It is such an incredible feeling of pride and excitement seeing it coming to life. I know this property is going to be a landmark in the region and a shining representation of all the Hard Rock brand has to offer.” During the ceremony, the signed final beam was lifted to the top of the structure. The resort will feature a hotel with multiple suite offerings, a large gaming facility with over 1,800 slot machine and table game positions, along with an outdoor pool and deck area, large meeting space and a great selection of bars and restaurants.
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