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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: Positive momentum for online poker and sports betting in Michigan and New York edition

8 Jan 2021

By Dan Ippolito
The gambling industry is hoping to take big strides in two U.S. states in the near future. The goal is to launch regulated online poker in Michigan along with online sports betting in New York. Before we get into the details on those, we also saw a World Series of Poker Main Event champion crowned, another huge Las Vegas jackpot winner, and a new casino in Philadelphia announcing its grand opening date.

Let’s begin with a massive payout:

5. Las Vegas local cashes in on $150,000 New Year’s Eve jackpot
Richard, a long-time customer and local resident, who has been visiting The Orleans since 2007, made a $10 bet on a Dollar Storm slot machine when he hit the $150,403 Super Grand progressive jackpot at 4:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

He said he plans on using his jackpot winnings to take a trip to Hawaii.

4. Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia announces grand opening date
Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia announced the new gaming and entertainment destination located in the Stadium District will open on 19 January 2021 at 4 p.m. with a series of reservation-only preview days for Live! Rewards Club members. The Preview Days will be followed by the official Grand Opening to the general public on Thursday, 11 February 2021 at 8 p.m.

“We are beyond excited to go Live! in Philadelphia and bring this world-class gaming and entertainment destination to the heart of the Stadium District,” said Joe Billhimer, Executive Vice President, Cordish Gaming Group. “What we have created here is unrivaled anywhere in the country. Sports fans, foodies, gaming enthusiasts, and anyone looking for a night of fun and excitement only has to make one stop to experience it all.”

The 510,000 square-foot property features:
  • More than 2,100 slots and electronic table games
  • 150 live-action table games
  • 29-table Poker Room
  • Luxury, 12-story, 208-room Live! Hotel
  • A variety of dining and entertainment options
  • State-of-the-art FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Six-room Event Center featuring 15,000-square-feet of customizable meeting space to accommodate groups of 12 to 1,000 guests.
  • Convenient access to parking with an attached multi-level structured parking facility and adjacent surface parking

3. Salas wins WSOP Main Event Crown
For the 51st consecutive year, the World Series of Poker $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, also known as the Main Event, crowned a world champion.

It took 173 hands and nearly six hours of play on Sunday night at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino between Damian Salas of Buenos Aires and Joseph Hebert of Louisiana. The final hand saw Salas call Hebert’s all-in before the flop with king-jack against ace-queen. Salas flopped a pair of kings to give him the lead, the turn card was no help to Hebert, and the river card sealed the deal with another king to solidify Salas’ victory.

“Joseph was a very hard opponent, and he played really well. In a few instances, he was about to win, it was a real fight and he never slowed down,” said Damian Salas. “Going into the championship, I felt all the energy and support from my family and friends in Argentina tonight, and that helped me.”

These two ended up squaring off head-to-head after each one won their way to the finals. Salas took home the international title while Hebert was the victor in the U.S. side of the tournament bringing these two together to determine the true champion of this year’s tournament.

2. Online gambling and poker in Michigan
The Michigan Gaming Control Board has announced it expects online gambling in Michigan will be live by the middle of this month. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that legalized sports gambling in the state late in 2019. Michigan online gaming, however, had to establish its own regulations and licensing.

In a major development for the poker community, a Michigan interstate online poker bill now sits on the Governor’s desk ready to be signed into law. The reason this is such a big deal is due to the word “interstate,” which means poker will be allowed across state lines for Michigan.

1. Online sports betting could be huge for New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo is working on a proposal to make online sports betting legal in New York. If approved, New York could become the largest legal sports-betting market in the U.S., capable of generating $20 billion a year in wagers, according to projections by PlayNY.

The Empire State has already proven to be a significant revenue generator for New Jersey. A report from gaming researcher Eilers & Krejcik Gaming in February 2020 estimated New Yorkers wagered $837 million in New Jersey in 2019.

Governor Cuomo said, "Yes, look, we're going to turn to Washington for compensation as crime victims, as I call it with a slight rhetorical flourish. But we're also going to do our part to raise revenue and two places where we can raise revenue - one is sports betting and I'm going to ask Rob to explain how we want to do sports betting. We want to do sports betting the way the State runs the lottery, Marcia, where the State gets the revenues. Many states have done sports betting but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos, but it makes minimal money for the state. I'm not here to make casinos a lot of money, I'm here to raise funds for the state. So, we have a different model for sports betting. And then recreational marijuana, I think this should've been passed years ago. I think too many people have been imprisoned, and incarcerated, and punished. Too many of those people are Black, Latino, and poor. It's exaggerated the injustice of the justice system. So, I've supported it for years. I've tried to pass it, but this is a year where we do need the funding, and a lot of New Yorkers are struggling. So, I think this year will give us the momentum to get it over the goal line. Rob, do you want to speak about sports betting though? Because there's a very big difference in the way we intend to do it."

"Mobile sports betting will undoubtedly draw billions in bets in New York, and is easily one of the most prized markets that have yet to legalize it," said Eric Ramsey, analyst for "It will be a big market no matter what, but the Cuomo plan has a chance to significantly lower the potential revenue ceiling."

A state-run sportsbook allows the state to capture more of the gross gaming revenue, which makes it appealing to state governments. But a monopoly would do little to aid struggling racetracks and retail casinos in New York. And bettors are left with fewer choices and less enticing promotions, among other issues.
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