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Abby Messick

Abby served as an associate editor for the Casino City editorial team for three years, between 2015 and 2018.

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Casino City's Friday Five: Online gambling and esports edition

30 Mar 2018

By Abby Messick
Ah, Friday. What can we say about Friday? TGI-?

As for the previous few days, we've heard much about Pennsylvania's in-production online gambling industry, the UKGC's dedication to making gambling safer for all, and a frankly mind-blowing esports arena that just opened up in Las Vegas. (Seriously. We really want to go.)

5. UK Gambling Commission aims to make online gambling safer
As it is still technically Problem Gambling Awareness Month, here's a little more problem gambling awareness news. The U.K. Gambling Commission continues its tireless journey to make things a little safer for us all by proposing changes to free-to-play games, the age verification process and unfair terms.

The Commission will also require operators set limits on player spending until the proper checks have been conducted, which will go a ways toward preventing things like William Hill's and Sky Bet's recent gaffes from happening again.

Some operators, like BGO, have already done their part.

4. Pennsylvania online gambling could be ready in November, say analysts
Last week, Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board announced it would begin accepting petitions for Interactive Gaming Certificates, which can only mean one thing – online gambling is on the horizon.

But how much longer must we wait?

We have on good authority from PennBets that the answer is: Not too long.

After licensed Pennsylvania casinos snap up one of 13 available gaming certificates – available in three flavors: P2P games like poker, slot machines and table games – we'll have a bit of a wait while the casinos' iGaming sites are approved by the Gaming Control Board. Taking into account the 120-day application period and guesstimating up to 90 days for approval, that puts us somewhere around November.

Which, alright, that's a whole seven months. But we can handle it.

3. PokerStars debuts Split Hold'em
The latest innovation at PokerStars is Split Hold'em, a variation of poker that, yes, splits community cards into two separate hands, creating two turns, rivers and flops. Will classic poker strategies work anymore? At the very least, a player may have to consider their next move more carefully than usual.

The winner of each board will receive half the pot. (It's also possible to grab the whole pot by having the best hand for each board.)

PokerStars is also making use of its Seat Me function for the first time on the global liquidity player pool, meaning those of us who want to hop into a game can do so without much fuss. Previously, you'd have to manually select a table and game to join. Now you just click, and boom! You're seated and ready to play. Those who tragically remain without seats will be placed onto a waiting list.

2. Golden Nugget offers live dealer casino floor roulette
Golden Nugget - Atlantic City has introduced the first real-money, live dealer casino floor roulette game in the U.S. this week. A live video feed captures the action on the Golden Nugget floor, streaming it directly to the laptops, desktops or smartphones of players in New Jersey, making it easier than ever to enjoy the action of the gaming floor from the privacy of your own home.

1. Esports Arena Las Vegas officially opens at Luxor
The Age of Esports continues as Luxor Hotel and Casino opens its Esports Arena Las Vegas, the first permanent esports venue in the area. But is it really worth all the fuss?

This 30,000-square-foot space houses a 50-foot LED video wall, PC and console gaming stations, and a TV-quality production studio – all the makings of a quality place to catch a DOTA 2 match or play a few rounds of your own.

Chef Jose Andres was kind enough to put together what he calls a "For Gamers, By Gamers" menu, featuring such favorites as rice bowls, sandwiches, sushi and, our personal favorite, mochi ice cream. (We're not sure what makes this menu more appropriate for gamers than any other menu – is it that it's mostly all handheld? – but we'll trust Chef Andres.)

In the absence of a competition, guests can go head-to-head in a virtual reality setting with a pair of Virtuix Omni boards – the virtual reality setups with actual treadmills! Yes, we're a little impressed.

The cherry on top is the addition of classic arcade cabinets such as PAC-MAN and Street Fighter. They really did think of everything.

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