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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: Ontario iGaming and groundbreaking edition

7 Apr 2023

By Dan Ippolito
The first-year results have been released for iGaming in Ontario and the numbers show why the Canadian province has quickly become a top market in North America. In addition, Puerto Rico has moved closer to online sports betting action. Other top stories in the industry this week include a record-setting jackpot out of Reno, an Illinois casino welcoming live table games, and a casino groundbreaking in Arizona.

Let’s begin with a life-changing amount of money:

5. Atlantis Casino Resort pays out $14 million jackpot win
A local turned a $10 bet into a $14 million-dollar Megabucks jackpot Sunday night at the Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa in Reno, Nevada.

The longtime Atlantis guest, who wished to remain anonymous, played Megabucks Mega Vault for 40 minutes before hitting the biggest slot machine win in Reno history. The official value of the record-setting jackpot was $14,005,833.

It wasn’t even the player’s original plan to be at the Reno casino making it all the more lucky. The Reno woman had not expected to be at the Atlantis on Sunday, but due to a cruise cancellation, she extended her stay at the AAA Four Diamond resort. The change in plans led to a life-altering, whirlwind moment for the city’s newest multimillionaire.

4. Hard Rock Casino Rockford rolls out live table games
On Wednesday, Hard Rock Casino Rockford added live table games after receiving formal approval from the Illinois Gaming Board.

Live Blackjack, 3 Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em are available for players. The hours of operation for live table games will be 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

“We are thrilled to offer this highly requested amenity to our casino floor,” said Geno Iafrate, Hard Rock Rockford President. “We are extremely proud of the hard work our team dedicated to make it happen for our guests, and we thank the Illinois Gaming Board staff for working with us to bring live table games to Rockford.”

3. New Desert Diamond Casino breaks ground in Arizona
The Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise broke ground two days ago on a new Desert Diamond Casino. Construction of this $450 million project is expected to last approximately 19 months.

The first phase of the new facility will feature a 184,000 square-foot casino floor with 900 slot machines, a poker room, a retail sportsbook, and table games including blackjack, craps, roulette, and baccarat, as well as dining and other amenities.

“This is a special day for all Tohono O’odham,” said Ned Norris Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation. “We are making good on our promise to provide for future generations of our tribal citizens. This groundbreaking serves as an important milestone to celebrate our progress as a Nation.”

2. Puerto Rico takes a big step in the sports betting world
Last week, the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission approved sports wagering licenses for nine entities, some of which are new, while others are already in the game.

Currently, sports betting is limited to land-based casinos in Puerto Rico; however, legalized online sports wagering is in the works, but not yet permitted.

International Betting Integrity Association received its license. The anti-corruption monitoring service provider can notify operators if it detects any suspicious activity after pouring over consumer data.

ASF LTD and Sports Content Co. also received their respective licenses. Both companies collect data and statistical information from gaming leagues for licensed betting markets.

Condado Hotel Services Group Inc. & Condado Duo La Concha Casino, which does business as Casino del Mar, and CHPR Hospitality, which does business as Casino Metro, were two of the three companies that had their licenses renewed, which is required on a yearly basis in Puerto Rico.

BetMGM, which offers its services to Casino del Mar, is the third company that had its license renewed by the Commission. BetMGM, which had a license for in-person sports betting, also received a second license as an internet gambling platform provider, which will allow BetMGM to make its online gambling application available to the public.

The Commission granted three-year licenses to the last three companies, Global Tote US LLC, Kambli Malta Limited 3, and United Tote Co. 3.

1. Ontario emerges as one of North America’s largest iGaming markets
In just its first year, the Upper Canadian province delivered about $35.6 billion in total wagers and $1.4 billion in total gaming revenue, placing it among the top five iGaming jurisdictions in North America.

iGaming Ontario announced these totals to mark the open market’s one-year anniversary. Ontario was the first Canadian province to launch an open, regulated iGaming market on 4 April 2022. Since then, more than 1.6 million active player accounts on websites run by more than 40 operators with agreements with iGaming Ontario have made the province the most competitive market in North America.

Below are some of the statistics released in the report:

- On average, iGaming Ontario numbers show the monthly spend per active player account over the last year to be about $70.
- The most popular sport to bet on was basketball at 28% of betting wagers, followed by soccer at 15%, football at 14%, then hockey at 9% and baseball at 8%.
- Within the online casino category, nearly half (48%) of all casino wagers were on slots, nearly a third (32%) on table games with a live dealer, and the remainder (19%) on computer-based table games.
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