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Casino City’s Friday Five: Sportsbooks in, daily fantasy out edition

1 Mar 2024

By Dan Ippolito
With North Carolina mobile sports betting set to go live on 11 March, seven operators were awarded licenses yesterday. In Massachusetts, 10 daily fantasy sports operators were sent cease and desist letters from the state’s Attorney General. In addition to these top stories, we also have a new millionaire minted at a Las Vegas Strip casino, the first Toronto WSOP Circuit event taking place and some NBA prop bets to consider.

Let’s begin with a massive jackpot:

5. Seven-figure pay day awarded at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino
Within two hours of playing Pai Gow poker, a guest visiting Planet Hollywood Las Vegas took home a gigantic seven-figure prize.

On Wednesday, 28 February at 3 a.m., a Caesars Rewards member won $1,208,521 after hitting a massive Mega Progressive jackpot.

4. Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto to host Toronto’s first WSOP Circuit event
Earlier this week, Great Canadian Entertainment announced that the World Series of Poker is heading to Toronto for the first WSOP Circuit hosted at Great Canadian Casino Resort Toronto at Woodbine Racetrack. The WSOP Circuit, in cooperation with GGPoker, will take place from 22 March – 1 April.

Featuring eight Circuit Ring events in total, the WSOP Circuit at Great Canadian Toronto will be headlined by a total of $3.9 million in estimated prize pools, including a $2,000 Main Event, with a $2.1 million total prize pool, and $3,500 High Roller event, with more than a $850,000 prize pool.

GGPoker, which sent 774 players to the Main Event at last summer’s WSOP, will be exclusively operating the online qualifying tournaments and will be hosting Brand Ambassadors at the WSOP Circuit at Great Canadian Toronto, including local poker hero Daniel Negreanu.

3. Top 10 NBA prop bets for second half of the season
The second half of the NBA’s regular season is underway and teams are starting to make a big push to get themselves into position for playoff basketball in a few months. Below are a couple of our bets for the second half of the season, with odds provided by bet365 Sportsbook.

Central Division winner
The Cleveland Cavaliers are tied with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Central Division.

There is no question that the Bucks had a wild season up to this point. Acquiring Damian Lillard in the offseason put the Bucks in the conversation as one of the top contenders coming out of the East. In January, the Bucks were in second place, but shocked the league and its fans when head coach Adrian Griffin was fired and Doc Rivers was hired days later.

In his first 12 games, Doc and the Bucks have struggled, managing just a 5-7 record. That being said, their roster is filled with experience and star players like Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo who are capable of going to different levels as the games get more important.

The Cavs and Bucks split the season series 2-2 and will not face each other again in the regular season. But with who the Bucks have, and the value bet365 is giving Milwaukee, it is tough not to go with them to win the Central Division.

Bet $100 to win $120 on the Bucks

Most Improved Player
On 6 February, Joel Embiid had a procedure done to fix an issue involving his meniscus. It is to nobody’s surprise that the Philadelphia 76ers have struggled in his absence and with just three wins in their last 10 games, Philly is the five seed in the East and are in danger of falling even further.

The only reason they aren’t completely falling off a cliff is because of Tyrese Maxey. Last year, Maxey had a case to win Most Improved Player. This season, the fourth-year player out of Kentucky is trying to leave no doubt.

Maxey’s scoring has gone from 20.3 points per game a season ago, to 25.8 this year. His passing ability has grown and it really has shown, nearly doubling from 3.5 to 6.4 dimes per game.
He is a better on-ball defender that he was in years’ past and now, with Embiid out, Maxey has demonstrated he is capable of being a top scoring option for a team.

Bet $260 to win $100 on Maxey

Most Valuable Player
“MVP, MVP, MVP.” You hear the chants all of the time when a superstar goes to the foul line and they are having a big game, well, there can only be on true MVP per season and, to me, it should go to someone who already has two to his name.

While players like Doncic, Giannis and Jayson Tatum have all put together big years, OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Denver’s Nikola Jokic are on different levels on this category at the moment.

Averaging 31.2 points per game, Shai is the second-highest scorer in the NBA and is no stranger to taking over games. In his sixth year, the former Kentucky Wildcat dishes out 6.6 assists and grabs 5.5 rebounds per game as well. With those numbers, and his team tied in the top spot in the West, his name deserves to be in this conversation.

One man stands in Shai’s way and that is the back-to-back MVP in 2020/2021 and 2021/2022. Jokic is flat out a stat sheet filler averaging almost a triple double. With 26 points, 12.3 boards and 9.3 assists per game, Nikola is one of the hardest players to guard because of his strength inside to get position, his soft touch around the basket, and his creativity to find open players.

Bet $160 to win $100 on Jokic

2. 10 Massachusetts daily fantasy sports operators receive cease and desist letters
Earlier this week, the Attorney General in Massachusetts sent out cease and desist letters to 10 fantasy sports operators for offering pick'em style games.

The 10 that violated the state’s gaming laws were:
- Boom Fantasy
- Chalkboard Fantasy Sports
- OwnersBox
- Parlay Play
- Real Time Fantasy Sports
- Sleeper
- Splash Sports
- StatHero
- Vivid Picks
- Yahoo! Daily Fantasy Sports

Underdog Fantasy and PrizePicks did not receive letters because they changed their pick’em offerings to be in line with the law.

Also in the Bay State, both Betr and WynnBET announced last week that the two sports wagering licensees will cease operations in Massachusetts. Betr customers can withdraw funds from their accounts until 16 March. WynnBET is currently in the process of ceasing operations, in pursuance with Commission regulations.

Retail sports betting will still be offered at the WynnBET Sportsbook inside Encore Boston Harbor.

Speaking of Encore Boston Harbor’s sportsbook, they were in headlines as well but for different reasons. Last week, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission issued a $40,000 fine to Encore Boston Harbor as a result of Encore’s sportsbook accepting wagers on two events involving a collegiate team (Boston College women’s basketball) based in Massachusetts.

1. North Carolina issues seven online sports betting licenses
Yesterday, the North Carolina State Lottery Commission issued the first online sports wagering operator licenses to seven companies in advance of the launch of legal sports betting in North Carolina on Monday, 11 March.

The online sportsbooks that will be live in North Carolina are as follows:
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- BetMGM
- DraftKings
- Fanatics Sportsbook
- bet365 Sportsbook & Racebook
- Underdog Sports

Bettors who are 21 years old or older and have established accounts with a licensed operator can use their phone or electronic device to place sports wagers as of noon on Monday, March 11. The first wagers will be made on mobile devices.

North Carolinians can begin preparing for the first day of sports betting by registering with one of the companies, setting up accounts, and making deposits as of noon on Friday, 1 March.
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