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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: Renovations and WSOP records edition

7 Jul 2023

By Dan Ippolito
Major records are being broken at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, but before we take a more in-depth look at that, let’s cover some other top stories from this week.

Sports betting in Florida took a major step forward last week after a ruling was overturned, the new ownership at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has announced some changes, a new restaurant hits a Connecticut casino, and a millionaire was minted at a Florida property.

Let’s begin with seven figures:

5. Semonile Hard Rock Casino pays out $1 million jackpot
On Friday, 30 June, a Florida resident hit a $1 million jackpot on an Aristocrat Gaming’s Dragon Link slot machine at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.

The guest hit a $1,042,996.95 jackpot while playing the slot game with a $50 bet. This casino is no stranger to awarding big wins. In 2021 and 2022 Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood awarded more than $1 billion in jackpots each year.

4. Foxwoods announces opening of Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen
Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut announced the grand opening of its Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen will be on Saturday, 15 July.

The restaurant provides seating for nearly 260 patrons, featuring a chef’s counter and an exclusive 40-seat private dining room.

“I’m so excited to open the doors to Hell’s Kitchen at Foxwoods Resort Casino,” said Chef Gordon Ramsay. “Not only is it our sixth location of this incredible concept, but being at Foxwoods means it’ll be a destination for guests throughout the Northeast.”

3. Florida ready to welcome sports betting….again
Last week, a lower court ruling was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to make sports wagering legal in Florida.

When the decision becomes official, it will allow the Seminole Tribe to bring brick-and-mortar sportsbooks to its casinos in The Sunshine State and launch the Hard Rock online platform to players.

By the sounds of it, it doesn’t seem like it will be an instant launch for Florida. It will most likely have to wait until August before we see sports betting.

This won’t be the first time for sports gambling in Florida. Back in 2021, the state did offer sports betting just for a brief period before a judge quickly stepped in and blocked a compact that allowed for it.

2. Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to undergo renovation
Dreamscape Companies announced a partnership with Fettle, Gianpiero Gaglione Interior Design, Lifescapes International, and Marnell Architecture for the renovation of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Looking to fully takeover operations in Q4 of this year, Dreamscape’s multi-year redevelopment of the resort includes a full refresh of the 2,500 all-suite guest rooms; 150,000 square-foot casino floor; 220,000 square-foot meeting and conventions space; five acres of luxury poolside amenities and general resort areas, with the design of several new, first-to-market food and beverage concepts.

“The Rio has been an iconic property in Las Vegas for over two decades and we are thrilled to be working with such a talented and experienced team to bring our vision for the property to life,” said Dreamscape Founder Eric Birnbaum. “We are confident that with the talent we have brought on board, from both an architectural and design element, we will create a new and differentiated experience for our guests to enjoy.”

1. World Series of Poker records
The Main Event is underway, but there’s and we won’t get down to the final nine players until late next week. But after the first four days of action, it’s apparent it will be even harder for players to survive to the final nine.

The 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event officially set a new attendance record yesterday during Day 1D.

With 9,000 entrants and counting and two more days of late registration available, a new record was officially broken, besting the previous mark of 8,773 players from 2006.

The turnout also guarantees that someone in the field will win a “Main Event Seat for Life” or a complimentary entry to the Main Event for the next 30 years. That drawing, amongst all registrants in the 2023 Main Event, will take place shortly after registration officially closes on Saturday, 8 July.

The record setting wasn’t done there as Phil Hellmuth aka “The Poker Brat” continues to shine in the poker world by claiming WSOP bracelet number 17.

Before 2 July, Hellmuth had nine cashes at this year’s tournament, but couldn’t add another coveted bracelet to his trophy case. Well, that feeling didn’t last very long. Already the all-time leader in WSOP bracelet wins, Hellmuth claimed $803,818, plus bounties, by capturing the Turbo Bounty event.

This victory adds to one of the best poker resumés that began in 1989 with Hellmuth's first bracelet in the Main Event.

As with all but three of his bracelets, his 17th victory came in the No-Limit Hold'em variant. The fast blind structure and bounty element drew a field of 642 runners that generated a total prizepool of $4,044,600.
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