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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: Poker, casinos, sportsbooks and acquisitions edition

20 Nov 2020

By Dan Ippolito
Due to COVID-19, we didn’t get to experience the usual World Series of Poker in Las Vegas that we have become accustomed to over the years. However, that doesn’t mean we will be without the biggest poker event of the year. It will just look very different. Before we dive into that, we have some other top stories to cover this week. Bally's - Atlantic City was acquired by Bally's Corporation, formerly Twin River Holdings. We also saw Live! Casino Pittsburgh have their ribbon cutting ceremony earlier this week and a new sportsbook opening at a Pennsylvania resort. Lastly, a new Las Vegas resort is starting to accept reservations for early 2021. Let’s start with Atlantic City news: 5. Bally’s Corporation completes acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City On Wednesday, Bally’s Corporation announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of Bally's in Atlantic City from Caesars Entertainment and VICI Properties. The total purchase price of the acquisition was $25 million. "We strongly believe in the potential of the Atlantic City market and are confident that we can restore Bally's to its former glory," said George Papanier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bally's Corporation. This news comes just a week after Twin River Worldwide Holdings officially rebranded as Bally’s Corporation earlier this month. In addition, the very same day, Bally’s Corporation announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Bet.Works, a U.S. based, sports betting platform provider to operators in New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana and Colorado, for $125 million. 4. Ribbon cutting ceremony at Live! Casino Pittsburgh Tuesday night, The Cordish Companies held a ribbon cutting ceremony in celebration of the opening of Live! Casino Pittsburgh, marking a major milestone for the Company as the first of two Live! branded casinos to open in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The $150 million Live! Casino Pittsburgh, located at the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield Township, is scheduled to open its doors to the general public at 6 a.m. on 24 November 2020. Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, located in the heart of Philly's Stadium District, will open in early 2021. To prepare for opening, Live! Casino developed a comprehensive Play It Safe plan, an enhanced health and sanitation program that allows for ample social distancing, reduced occupancies, and vigorous hygiene and health measures for all guests and employees. 3. Wind Creek Bethlehem opens new sportsbook Wind Creek Hospitality and Betfred USA Sports opened the newest sportsbook in Pennsylvania at Wind Creek Bethlehem on Wednesday. The sportsbook features two video walls, 31 individual TVs, three betting windows and eight self-service betting kiosks, in addition to multiple viewing areas and a sports pub for food and beverage. Jay Dorris, President and CEO of Wind Creek Hospitality said, "Opening the Sportsbook at Wind Creek Bethlehem provides yet another exciting gaming opportunity for our Guests. Partnering with Betfred USA Sports will allow us to bring a first-class sports betting experience in a high energy environment to the property." The sportsbook is the first for Wind Creek in the U.S., and the third for Betfred Sports, the U.K. based bookmaker that first established as a single betting shop in 1967 and continues its expansion into the U.S. after opening sportsbooks at Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort in Iowa and Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Colorado. Betfred will also operate the sportsbook inside the newest Las Vegas resort set to open in January, which brings us to... 2. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas now accepting reservations Reservations at the reconceptualized Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, are now being accepted online. Rooms and suites will be available for stays beginning 15 January 2021. The resort, located at the former site of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, just off the Las Vegas Strip, has over 1,500 rooms, each featuring a specially designed format with two spaces, “The Dressing Room” and “The Lounge,” separated by a privacy door. The property will feature three unique towers, Opal, Canyon and the all-suite Ruby Tower, offering guests a variety of experiences and each chamber will offer views of the Las Vegas Strip, surrounding valley or the property’s five-acre pool oasis. The property’s resort pool is just steps away from all the action inside the hotel and casino and features VIP-style cabanas and daybeds. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is also excited to introduce its restaurant partners. "We are looking forward to welcoming an elite group of restaurant partners to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas," said Richard "Boz" Bosworth, President and CEO of JC Hospitality LLC, owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. "Our partners will provide our guests with top-tier service and hospitality that we cannot wait to debut." 1. WSOP Main Event is set for December The 2020 WSOP Main Event is set, and this year's tourney will be different than any in history. The Main Event will be played as an online-live hybrid both domestically and internationally. The $10,000 tourney will take place on – New Jersey and - Nevada website for players in the two states and play down to a final table of nine. GGPoker will play host to international players and also play down to a final table of nine. Each site will offer a separate tournament with the exact same structure. The final tables of each tournament will then play out live. The 2020 World Series of Poker Main will play to a winner at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Monday, 28 December, while GGPoker finalists will play to a winner at King's Casino in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, 15 December. The winner of each tournament will then battle it out in a special Heads-Up Finale with the victor taking home an added $1,000,000, a bracelet (the only one to be awarded), and the title of 2020 WSOP Main Event champ.
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