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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: WSOP schedule and Massachusetts sports wagering edition

3 Feb 2023

By Dan Ippolito
The wait is over. On Tuesday, the three casinos in Massachusetts began accepting the first sports bets in the state, including one at MGM Springfield from Bruins legend Ray Bourque who dropped $100 on the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup.

Before we look into those details, we have some other top stories of the week to cover. Las Vegas reported its visitation numbers for 2022 and it is returning to its pre-COVID ways, we have a major jackpot at a Florida casino, a new sportsbook opening in Las Vegas, and finally, the World Series of Poker released its 2023 tournament schedule.

Let’s begin with a million-dollar payday:

5. Seminole Hard Rock Tampa guest hits $1.2 million jackpot
A guest at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa hit a grand jackpot of over $1.2 million last weekend. The player was playing Aristocrat Gaming’s Dragon Link slot machine when he won $1,248,171.

The progressive was reset to $1 million.

4. Caesars Sportsbook opens at Downtown Grand Las Vegas
Last week, Downtown Grand Las Vegas commemorated the official opening of its new Caesars Sportsbook with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The festivities continued with a ceremonial first bet and an appearance by author and professional gambler Anthony Curtis.

Caesars Sportsbook at Downtown Grand marks the first Caesars Sportsbook location in Downtown Las Vegas. The new sportsbook offers three betting windows, multiple self-service betting kiosks, and a LED TV viewing wall to accompany multiple odds boards.

3. Las Vegas welcomed nearly 39 million visitors in 2022
Las Vegas welcomed 38.8 million visitors in 2022, according to research published 31 January by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. This figure represents a 20.5% boost from 2021.

Conventions also continued to ramp up in 2022, the first full calendar year of tradeshows and meetings since the pandemic, as the LVCVA recorded five million meeting attendees. That is more than double the 2.2 million convention attendees in 2021.

Hotel occupancy for 2022 also came in at 79%, with weekend occupancy at 89% and midweek occupancy a 75%. Las Vegas leads the nation in overall hotel occupancy, which averages 63%.

Travel to Las Vegas was boosted by several major sporting events, such as the NFL Pro Bowl in February and NFL Draft in April, a full season of the Las Vegas Raiders, and international soccer games that featured giants such as Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Juventus FC and Chelsea FC.

2. World Series of Poker unveils 2023 schedule
The 54th annual WSOP returns to the Las Vegas Strip at Horseshoe Las Vegas and Paris Las Vegas from 30 May to 18 July, offering more tables, more variety and the largest slate of bracelet events ever scheduled in its history.

The 2023 WSOP builds on the momentum of a 2022 tournament that saw 197,626 entrants from more than 100 countries and a record-breaking $347.9 million total prize pool in its new home.

This summer’s event will feature the biggest capacity in series history with 608 tables spread across more than 200,000 square feet of convention space, 24/7 live cash game action including a new permanent Hall of Fame Poker Room, and the first $300 price point tournament in WSOP history.

The centerpiece of the summer will be the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em World Championship, best known as The Main Event, which returns 3-17 July following 2022’s 8,663 entrants, the second-largest field in the history of live poker.

1. Massachusetts makes history with retail sports betting launch
On Tuesday, Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park Casino all began taking sports wagers just in time for the Super Bowl on 12 February.

Lowell resident Claudia Gabriel heard her name called as the first person to take a spot at one of the WynnBet Sports Kiosks, as Encore Boston Harbor chose 32 lucky guests through a drawing ahead of time to place the historic bets at 10 a.m.

Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno placed the first bet at the BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge at MGM Springfield. Sarno put down $50 on the Philadelphia Eagles to win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII next Sunday.

At Plainridge Park Casino, two-time New England Patriot Super Bowl champion Rob Ninkovich kicked off the sports betting, and he placed a bet of $50 on the hometown Bruins to win the Stanley Cup.
With land-based sports betting now underway, many will turn their attention to mobile sports wagering.

Mobile sports betting is expected to launch by the time the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament known as March Madness tips off next month with 11 different operators getting ready to make their apps available within state lines.
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