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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: Vaccinations and sports betting edition

20 Aug 2021

By Dan Ippolito
With the Delta variant of the coronavirus wreaking havoc in several areas of the U.S., a few casinos have started to require proof of vaccinations or a negative test in order to gain entry. Could Las Vegas casinos be next on that list? Before we look into those details, we have other news in the gambling industry to cover. The Venetian Las Vegas made another millionaire this past week, New York mobile sports betting regulations were approved and a new hotel opened at a Michigan casino resort.

Let’s begin with a lucky winner out of Las Vegas:

5. $1 million jackpot win at The Venetian Las Vegas
Early morning, on Friday the 13th, Nora Davila from Pharr, Texas, became The Venetian Las Vegas casino's second millionaire since last Wednesday. Nora’s $2 bet turned into $1,021,166 on IGT’s Wheel of Fortune Double 3x4x5x Pay game when the three Wheel of Fortune symbols lined up to activate the progressive jackpot.

Last Wednesday, a player turned a $5 bet into more than $1.5 million. The guest, who wished to remain anonymous, was playing IGT’s Wheel of Fortune Wild Red Sevens when the lucky Wheel of Fortune symbols lined up to activate the progressive jackpot for $1,578,584.

4. FireKeepers Casino Hotel opens new hotel
FireKeepers Casino Hotel’s multi-million dollar expansion is now officially open to the public.

The new eight-story hotel at the Michigan property now accompanies the current hotel, which has been designated a AAA Four Diamond award winner for the past six consecutive years. The new hotel rooms feature upscale, built-in décor, along with the latest in guest service technology.

“Our focus from day one was to design a second hotel tower with the upscale, vibrant, yet fun and friendly approach which has made our first tower such a big success,” stated Kathy George, CEO of FireKeepers Casino Hotel. “Our Get Your Vegas On brand is on display throughout the new design, and now paired with our Team’s great guest service, your experience at FireKeepers will truly be unmatched!”

An exterior focal point added during the expansion is a 20-foot statue weighing more than 3,600 pounds, in the middle of a 15-foot pool of water and fountains. Titled the “Good Life,” the sculpture symbolizes those who live by the Seven Grandfather Teachings, who will enjoy the Good Life. The seven arms of the sculpture represent each of those teachings.

3. New York mobile sports betting regulations approved
After a meeting on 16 August, The New York State Gaming Commission agreed on and published the rules and regulations for mobile sports betting in the state.

It is expected for mobile sports betting to be live in 2022 before the Super Bowl. There have been six license applications already received by the Commission including one by FanDuel, which allows BallyBet, BetMGM and DraftKings to also supply sports betting as well. Some of the other operators who have applied include FOX Bet, Rush Street Interactive and Wynn.

One of the regulations that was agreed upon is that all approved operators will be required to have responsible gambling information accessible on their sites.

The approved operators will be named by no later than 6 January 2022.

2. New York City to require vaccination proof for casinos
That wasn’t the only headline New York was in for the gambling world this week.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday a new Key to NYC vaccination mandate for indoor dining, entertainment and fitness, which started on 17 August.

Indoor entertainment and recreational settings, such as casinos, sports stadiums, movie theaters and concert halls, among other venues, are included in the mandate,

Enforcement will begin, with a multi-agency coalition, on 13 September.

“New York City has one mission: defeat the delta variant and build a recovery for all of us,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The Key to NYC sends a powerful message that vaccination will unlock our city’s potential, and we’ll stop at nothing to save lives and keep New Yorkers safe.”

Indoor venues will accept proof of vaccination via two official apps. Also, a picture of a CDC vaccination card or a hard copy will be accepted.

Also last week, Harrah's New Orleans Casino has become the first in the nation to require guests to show this proof before being allowed to enter.

1. Las Vegas casinos could require vaccinations
It seems Las Vegas has taken notice of other casinos in areas such as New York and could be following suit.

With coronavirus still surging through a third wave, Las Vegas casinos are considering a requirement that their guests must show they are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, some players are considering skipping the World Series of Poker this year because of the COVID rules that are going to be in place with the event.

There are already a few shows and events requiring either a negative Las Vegas covid test or proof of vaccination. Recently, the Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, stated that he did not want to impose more restrictions, but did not rule them out if the state vaccination rate does not improve.

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