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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: Sports betting licenses and Super Bowl app crash edition

24 Feb 2023

By Dan Ippolito
Two weeks from today, Massachusetts is scheduled to launch mobile sports betting, and yesterday it inched closer to the finish line as nine operators received approval for licenses. While Bay State operators are gearing up for the big day, betr isn’t as fortunate as its dealing with sanctions in Australia.

On top of that, William Hill’s app crashed during the Super Bowl, and the company is still dealing with the Nevada Gaming Control Board cracking down on an embezzlement scheme by the operator’s employees. Lastly, and definitely not least, we had five players walk away with major jackpots.

5. Several jackpot winners this week
Last weekend, Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip was awarding jackpots like it was paid to do so…well I guess in a way, it kind of is.

On Friday night, 17 February, a guest hit a $401,000 jackpot playing video poker. A guest woke up to coffee and cash on Saturday, 18 February as they won a $120,300 jackpot playing video poker. Also on Saturday, another guest walked away with an even bigger jackpot as they took home a $440,000 jackpot playing video poker.

Just across the street, a California resident won $143,042 on Saturday, 18 February after hitting a Royal Flush Progressive jackpot on Ultimate Texas Hold'em at Harrah's Las Vegas Casino & Hotel.

We leave Sin City and head over to Atlantic City where the six-figure wins kept rolling. Anthony out of Jersey City won $766,499 on a $1 wide area progressive Wheel of Fortune slot at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Atlantic City on Thursday, 17 February.

4. William Hill’s app crash and embezzlement scheme
J. Todd’s most recent video covers William Hill’s recent troubles that are being investigated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

On arguably the biggest sports betting day of the year, the William Hill app crashed just before the Super Bowl kicked off. Obviously, it prevented many from placing bets; however, the real issue was that those bettors who placed their bets prior to the game were not able to collect their winnings and were informed that there would be no payouts.

This isn’t the only problem the NGCB needs to look at in regards to William Hill. The Nevada Gaming Control Board needed to get involved when it was discovered that employees from the bookmaker were embezzling money. Unfortunately, this was not until after the criminals had pilfered over $100,000 from the company.

Agents were tipped to the thefts back in December, when William Hill reported potential fraud to the agency using internal information from its sports betting kiosks. Shravan Singh is charged with embezzlement, forgery, and more, while Paige Steiner is facing nearly 300 charges related to burglary, grand larceny and conspiracy.

3. Top 10 new online slots for February 2023
Online developers and providers are pumping out new slot machine games at a rapid pace and Casino City is taking a look at a few examples of some recent releases.

Chilli Master is a five-reel, three row slot with symbols depicting tacos, burritos, avocados and more which must form a matching combination across the game’s 20 paylines to award a win. A wild symbol is also present on the reels, substituting all others in-game except the scatter making it easier for players to create wins.

Monster Superlanche is a six-reel, five-row slot with a crew of creatures that act as symbols within the slot. At least eight of these must be matching anywhere on the reels to award a win. These symbols are then held in place with all other symbols being removed from play and a tumble feature triggering more monsters to land in their place. Above each reel, multipliers are displayed with these towers of symbols having to expand to reach them, unlocking their multiplier.

Benji Killed in Vegas is a 5x3 slot that has a plethora of features, including Nolimit xMechanics xSplit and xNudge. The action ramps up during the bonus modes “VEGA$ Spins” and “B.I.G. VEGAS$ Spins”, with 3-5 overlay multipliers whizzing across the reels and enhancer cells growing multipliers to massive levels.

2. With recent fines, betr’s license could now be at risk
The latest fine from the Racing Commission was given after a discovery that betr, the Australian sports betting operator, was reaching out to people who are considered “non-gamblers.” Also, the operator was caught sending repeated spam messages to recipients that did not provide permission to do so. This $37,000 fine brings the total over the last three months for betr to north of $51,000.

Even with betr making it known this won’t occur again, it seems like the Racing Commission is on board with the “actions speak louder than words” cliché because it mentioned it may have to move to consider other forms of action if something like this were to come to light again, which includes taking a look at betr’s license, which was obtained in October.

The Commission said, “given the serious nature of these breaches, this decision will be published on the Commission’s website so as to place all Northern Territory bookmakers on notice that the Commission treats such breaches very seriously.”

1. Nine mobile sports wagering licenses approved in Massachusetts
Less than a month after the 31 January launch of retail sports wagering in state at the three land-based casinos, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission set 10 March as the allowable launch date for mobile sports wagering licensees.

During a public meeting yesterday, Commissioners approved temporary licenses for nine Category 3 operators. Those operators are BallyBet, Barsool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Betr, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, and WynnBET.

BallyBet and Fanatics informed the MGC that they will not launch on the allowable launch date of 10 March, but both plan to launch in May 2023.

Another applicant, Pointsbet, informed the MGC ahead of the public meeting that they will be withdrawing its application.
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