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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: World Series of Poker Europe and sportsbook openings edition

10 Dec 2021

By Dan Ippolito
Less than a month after the World Series of Poker crowned the 2021 Main Event champion in Las Vegas, we have the winner of the 2021 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event. In addition to that, we have renovations being made to a popular Las Vegas attraction, retail sportsbook in three states, news from the World Poker Tour’s 20th season, and a newly minted millionaire from the Las Vegas Strip.

Let’s start with a life-changing payday:

5. The Venetian creates a millionaire
On 3 December, a guest at The Venetian Las Vegas, who wished to remain anonymous, turned a $2 bet into more than $1 million.

The guest was playing IGT’s Wheel of Fortune Double 3x4x5x pay game when the three Wheel of Fortune symbols lined up to activate the progressive jackpot for a payout of $1,022,077.

4. Miracle Mile Shops to begin renovations next year
Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas will begin an extensive interior and exterior transformation complete with elevated finishes, upgraded technology and digital design elements.

The center's restaurant zones will be entirely redesigned to allow guests to relax and recharge with a variety of mouthwatering food and beverage options.

"The renovations are coming at the ideal time as our city welcomes the return of domestic and international tourists. This is not only an investment in Miracle Mile Shops, but also in one of the world's most iconic travel destinations, Las Vegas,” said Robert Buchanan, Vice President, General Manager of Miracle Mile Shops.

The location will remain open during construction, which is set to begin in winter of 2022 and will be completed in spring of 2023.

3. World Poker Tour kicking off 20th season
Fresh off of a successful tour stop at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, the World Poker Tour is returning for the first event of Season XX of the WPT with the Lucky Hearts Poker Open in January.

The WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open runs 13 January through 26 January and features a $3,500 buy-in championship event with a $2 million guaranteed prize pool.

The Lucky Hearts Poker Open has 31 total events and more than $5 million in guarantees.

All Season XX final tables will be livestreamed on World Poker Tour channels with the Lucky Hearts Poker Open slated to be the first on 26 January.

2. MGM National Harbor sportsbook now live
MGM Resorts International and BetMGM announced today that legalized sports betting is now low live at MGM National Harbor in Maryland.

The state's first bet was placed by Gov. Larry Hogan at the BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge. Hogan placed a futures wager on the Washington Football Team to face the Baltimore Ravens in the 2022 Super Bowl.

BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge Facts:
  • Size: 8,000 square feet
  • Visuals: 110-foot long wraparound screen, 360-degree halo screen
  • Seating: Stadium-style, lounge, and VIP banquettes
  • Capacity: 350
  • Betting Windows: Seven
  • Betting Kiosks: 15
  • Mobile food and beverage ordering
  • DJ booth and radio broadcast facilities
The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge is one of three staffed sports betting locations at MGM National Harbor which includes TAP Sports Bar (four kiosks; four betting windows) and the casino's second level (seven kiosks; five betting windows). Additionally, the main casino floor houses nine betting kiosks.

Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut also had the launch of its permanent DraftKings Sportsbook yesterday.

The DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods includes wall-to-wall televisions, anchored by one of the largest LED screens in the industry at 50 feet by 30 feet, multiple VIP rooms, two full bars including an ice rail and 24 beers on tap, and a full restaurant that will offer game-day favorites including burgers and wings.

With the official launch of DraftKings Sportsbook at Foxwoods, fans can now bet and play any way they want – on property at the sportsbook or betting kiosks located across the resort, or via the mobile sports betting and iGaming app.

If that wasn’t enough sports betting for you, we also have Live! Casino & Hotel in Maryland opening its new FanDuel Sportsbook today.

Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed opened the new FanDuel Sportsbook with a ceremonial first bet, which was a $20 moneyline wager on Dustin Poirier to win at UFC 269.

The FanDuel Sportsbook features 10 betting windows and 31 IGT PlaySports self-service betting terminals.

1. Gulas Jr. wins WSOPE Main Event
The coveted gold bracelet in the €10,350 WSOP Europe Main Event will remain on home soil as Josef Gulas Jr. became the eighth player from the Czech Republic to win a WSOP gold bracelet when he defeated Johan Guilbert in heads-up play for €1,276,712.

In the 2021 edition, a new attendance record for the WSOP Europe Main Event was set as 688 entries created a prize pool of €6,536,000, surpassing the previous record by 95 entries.

"It's an incredible feeling. I am truly thankful and happy," an overwhelmed Gulas said in the interview after his victory. "It was a perfect tournament with a very nice structure in the best casino in Europe. Just incredible!"

When asked what he will do with the money, Gulas was pretty certain he was going to build a house and save the remainder of the money. The 24 year old usually sells cars but a career change may be in order. His father who bears the same name, was right there when everything unfolded and came up a few spots short of the money after bowing out on Day 3.
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