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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: NBA Playoffs and Ontario iGaming edition

15 Apr 2022

By Dan Ippolito
With the first round of the National Basketball Association Playoffs set to tip off on Saturday, it’s the perfect time for us to break down some of the favorites and why they all have a shot at winning the title this season. But before we get into our title contenders, let’s take a look at some other news.

There was a six-figure jackpot win on the Las Vegas Strip, a contest featuring the chance to win a Tesla at BitStarz, new offerings coming to an Atlantic City casino resort, and more news from the recently launched iGaming market in Ontario.

5. Ultimate Texas Hold’em jackpot at The Venetian Las Vegas
On 9 April, Peter Ferguson from Scotland was dealt a diamond royal flush while playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em at The Palazzo casino at The Venetian Las Vegas. For his $5 bet, Peter won $280,007.

4. Tesla up for grabs at BitStarz Birthday Bash
BitStarz is celebrating its eighth birthday in style by giving away another brand-new Tesla Model 3 worth €52,000.

To take part in the Birthday bash of the year, all players have to do is wager on any of the thousands of games available at BitStarz, through 10 May. Every €100 a player wagers will earn them one ticket into the lucky draw. The more tickets a player earns, the better their chance of winning.

Once the race comes to an end, one lucky player will be chosen at random. The lucky ticket holder will then be contacted by the BitStarz team with a brand-new Tesla Model 3 ready for shipment.

3. Ontario’s legal online gambling market kicks off with a bang
Ontario's online sports betting and iGaming market went live on 4 April and if the first few days of action is any indication, the market is going to reach or even exceed all expectations. Sixteen gambling operators are operational in the most populous province in Canada, while others have registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Ontario is expected to generate about $800 million in gross revenue this year.

Last Monday's launch means Ontarians can now wager on casino games, sporting events and other gaming activities, creating a big opportunity for online gambling companies like Bragg Gaming Group, Rush Street Interactive, Penn National Gaming, MGM Resorts International, and GAN Limited.

2. Tropicana Atlantic City to debut new dining and entertainment offerings
On the heels of its 40th anniversary celebration last year, Tropicana Atlantic City announced that it will debut eight new dining and entertainment concepts starting this summer and undergoing gaming enhancements.

The new additions are part of Caesars Entertainment’s commitment to invest $400 million into its Atlantic City resorts by 2023. Eight of the 14 new restaurants and fast-casual concepts debuting at Caesars Atlantic City properties this year are at Tropicana.

New arrivals this year include:

Wild Honey Smokehouse and Tavern: Joining The Quarter at Tropicana in April 2022, the 5,000 square foot BBQ restaurant will celebrate and elevate classic American comfort foods. Regional BBQ traditions from across the country and the finest quality meats and seafood guide the restaurant’s menu while the bar program features a robust beer list, innovative large format cocktails, and a selection of double-barrel smoked cocktails to complete the experience.

Ossu Japanese Tavern: Opening Memorial Day Weekend, Ossu will introduce a modern Japanese tavern experience, just in time for summer, with a focus on small plates, yakitori, sushi and more.Hash House A Go Go: Known for twisted farm food and crafted cocktails, Hash House will bring its Midwest flair to Atlantic City this summer.

Purple Zebra: The daiquiri bar will make its Atlantic City debut in time for the Fourth of July.

Gin Rickey’s: A live music sing-along bar with dueling pianos will open in The Quarter this summer. The 4,000-square-foot space will be open seven days a week and will offer nightly live performances, showcasing dueling pianos, Thursday through Sunday.

The Royce Social Hall: Debuting in the fall, The Royce Social Hall is an American beer hall meets an adult rec room. Large format drinks, shareable food and games that range from ping pong to shuffleboard, cornhole and bowling abound in the 10,000-square-foot entertainment destination for groups and parties of all sizes. Located in The Quarter, the Royce Social Hall will be open seven days a week and will come alive on nights and weekends, with regular 21+ evenings on the schedule.

il Verdi: Ranked one of the top overall restaurants in Atlantic City according to OpenTable, Il Verdi offers delicious, authentic Italian cuisine – including house-made pasta and other Italian delicacies - for 40 years at Tropicana Atlantic City. Now, this restaurant will receive a new beachfront location and design transformation, offering a modern design and views of the ocean. Il Verdi’s new venue and atmosphere will draw inspiration from the coast of Italy and the Amalfi region in its new venue this fall.

Hawthorne & Cork: An intimate and refined new signature bar and lounge experience with bespoke cocktails, fine wines, and spirits with personalized service, opening this fall.

1. 10 teams to win the 2022 NBA Finals
The playoff picture is set for the National Basketball Association and later tonight we will find out which teams will be squaring off against the top seeds in the Eastern and Western Conferences.

This year’s NBA title is up for grabs and here I take a look at 10 teams that have a good shot at hoisting the trophy when it’s all said and done.

The Boston Celtics, after going 20-21 through the first half of the season, went on a complete turnaround in the second half and finished at 51-31 to secure the No. 2 seed in the East.

Robert Williams III, working his way back from injury, is a major part of the Celtics’ defense but they still have talent across all positions. Marcus Smart is in contention for Defensive Player of the Year and proved all who said he isn’t a true point guard wrong.

Veteran Al Horford has looked like his old self this season at 37 years old while contributing 10 points and eight rebounds per game.

Then you have the Jays for Boston. Jayson Tatum (27 points per game) and Jaylen Brown (24 points per game) are an incredible duo who can not only score at will, but can play great defense which contributes to the Celtics’ success on that side of the ball.

Then from the Western Conference you have the Phoenix Suns. What an incredible season for the Suns this year. The team posted an NBA-best 64-18 record and are looking for revenge after losing in last year’s NBA Finals to Milwaukee. The 64-win season is the most in franchise history.

Going into the playoffs last year, many of the Suns were inexperienced for postseason play, but now they have that chip on their shoulder after coming so close last year. At +250 to win it all, Phoenix is my top pick to win the NBA Finals this year.
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