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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 records and WSOP Main Event edition

12 Nov 2021

By Dan Ippolito
The World Series $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event began last week and Day 4 is underway.

In the final year that the WSOP will be held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the Main Event drew 6,650 entrants, which is down from the 2019 field of 8,569, which was the second-largest Main Event and the last time the entire event was played live in Las Vegas. The winner of this year’s Main Event will take home a whopping $8 million.

Before we dive into more coverage from the WSOP, we have a construction update on a new Las Vegas resort, New York online sports betting taking a big step toward becoming reality, big-name casinos in Las Vegas for sale, and some new U.S. sports betting records.

Let’s start off with the potential sale of The Mirage:

5. MGM and Caesars selling Las Vegas casinos?
MGM Resorts plans to sell The Mirage, while Caesars Entertainment has yet to name which Strip casino it plans to move.

Despite a robust jump in revenue over last year, Caesars still expects to see a net loss of more than $230 million. Revenue is up almost 90% from last year, but the operator announced plans to part ways with a yet-to-be-named Las Vegas casino. Caesars is making this move in order to secure more cash, and also has plans to liquidate their William Hill assets which are not U.S.-facing.

Also, MGM Resorts brought in over $2.7 billion in revenue for the third quarter of this year. However, the company still wants to sell their one of their Las Vegas casinos, The Mirage.

MGM Resorts did purchase the operational rights to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas property on the Strip at City Center. CEO, Bill Hornbuckle, stated that MGM had another strong quarter, primarily due to domestic operations, adding that the results showed “…the continued robust demand for our gaming entertainment offerings across the U.S. and the effectiveness of our operating model.”

4. Construction of Fontainebleau Las Vegas begins
Bringing its long-held dream of introducing its iconic brand to the Las Vegas Strip one step closer to reality, Fontainebleau Development officially broken ground on construction of Fontainebleau Las Vegas at the in-progress 25-acre site at 2777 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

Set to debut in the fourth quarter of 2023, the 67-story, vertically-integrated luxury hotel and casino spans 25 acres on the north end of the Strip – a location that will offer Fontainebleau Las Vegas guests direct access to the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Las Vegas Global Business District.

“It’s kind of a crazy story, but I’m back,” remarked Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Soffer, who first conceived of Fontainebleau Las Vegas in the mid-2000s. “There’s so many people that it takes to make a job like this go forward; it’s not one person it’s a team.”

3. New York awards online sports betting licenses
On Monday, the New York State Gaming Commission recommended nine mobile NY sports betting operators be licensed. The operators will be licensed for 10 years will have its gross sports betting revenue taxed at 51%.

New York represents the 19th jurisdiction in a rapidly growing footprint of states in which WynnBet has secured varying degrees of market access.

Rush Street Interactive was awarded one of nine licenses permitting gaming operators to offer online and mobile sports betting in New York upon its statewide launch, which is expected to occur during the first quarter of 2022.

The New York State Gaming Commission recommended Caesars for a Mobile Sports Wagering License, giving the Caesars Empire a path to bring mobile sports betting and Caesars Rewards to the Empire State.

Bally’s Corporation has also been awarded a license to operate mobile sports betting in New York.

The nine who were awarded licenses are Bally Bet, BetMGM, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, PointsBet, Resorts World, Rush Street Interactive and WynnBet.

2. US sportsbooks set record in September
Regulated U.S. sportsbooks have officially taken in more than $5 billion in wagers over a single month for the first time in history.

Legal sports betting jurisdictions have so far reported that sportsbooks handled $5.2 billion in wagers in September, a month that saw a surge in betting across the country with a full schedule of college football and the first three weekends of the NFL season.

The country’s first $5 billion month became official on Monday afternoon following Illinois' announcement that its sportsbooks had attracted $596.5 million in September wagers. The previous U.S. record for a month was the $4.6 billion that was wagered in March. And because Arizona has yet to report data, September’s handle will still inch higher.

By comparison, betting in September is up 80.6% so far from the $2.9 billion in wagers legal U.S. sportsbooks attracted in September 2020.

This wasn’t the only U.S. record reported this week.

Nationwide commercial gaming revenue reached a new quarterly record of $13.89 billion in Q3 2021, according the American Gaming Association’s Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker. The new high marks the second consecutive quarter of record U.S. commercial gaming performance.

With $38.67 billion in revenue through the first nine months of the year, the industry has already passed revenue generated for the full year 2020 and is on pace to smash its annual record of $43.65 billion, set in 2019.

1. Moneymaker continues Main Event success on Day 3
The 2021 World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event concluded Day 3 on Thursday by bursting the money bubble, sending all 1,000 survivors home with a guaranteed min-cash of $15,000.

The early spotlight on Day 3 belonged to the 2003 WSOP Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker, who was among the first players to run up a seven-figure stack.

Moneymaker spent the last levels of the night on the featured table and advanced with one of the biggest stacks in the room as he bagged up 1,432,000.

Less fortunate were familiar names such as Anthony Zinno, Justin Bonomo, Ben Lamb, Ole Schemion, Greg Mueller, Faraz Jaka, Anfy Black, Niall Farrell, the 2007 WSOP Main Event champion Jerry Yang, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Pat Lyons, Joseph Hebert, and Chris Hunichen to name all but a few.

Before being eliminated in the 2021 Main Event, 2017 champ Scott Blumstein saw some other previous Main Event champs such as reflected on some life-changing decisions that made his run to glory possible four years ago, while former NBA star Tony Parker spoke to our Gary Trask about his maiden voyage into poker’s most prestigious tournament and which of his San Antonio Spurs teammates were his biggest threats on the felt during his playing days.

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