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. More articles by Dan Ippolito

Casino City’s Friday Five: Virtual sports and sports gambling edition

21 June 2019
By Dan Ippolito

We are just two days away from the grand opening of Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Massachusetts. Sunday, the $2.6 billion property will officially open to the public. There were several other stories that topped the headlines this week in the gambling industry. The World Series of Poker has had impressive numbers so far, Century Casinos acquired three properties, Rivers Casino is building a new hotel, an introduction of the NBA’s first virtual sports betting game will occur and sports wagering in New England states is making moves.

Let’s start off with some numbers from the 50th edition of the WSOP.

5. 2019 WSOP already with several achievements

Through the first 35 events, the World Series of Poker saw 83,054 entries along with $82,767,489 in prize money awarded. Both of the figures are more than any other WSOP tournament between 1970 and 2004.

There have been 50 different countries to capture a WSOP gold bracelet, with Nigeria being the latest. We have also seen some repeat winners this year, including one of the more well-known players, the John “Johnny World” Hennigan.

Hennigan won his sixth career WSOP bracelet after taking down the $10,000 Seven Card Stud event along with a $245,451 payday. His career WSOP earnings is $5,793,660.

4. Century Casinos to acquire three casinos from Eldorado Resorts
The agreement will see Century Casinos, Inc. acquire the operations of Isle Casino - Cape Girardeau, Lady Luck Casino - Caruthersville and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort from Eldorado Resorts, Inc. for approximately $107.0 million. Both Isle Casino and Lady Luck are in Missouri and Mountaineer Casino is in West Virginia.

“The acquisition of the operations of Cape Girardeau, Caruthersville and Mountaineer will transform Century Casinos into a premier regional casino operator in North America,” Peter Hoetzinger, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Century Casinos remarked. “We believe these assets are a great fit for our portfolio and will complement Century Casinos’ expertise in operating small to mid-sized casinos. We are pleased to partner with VICI Properties to structure this transaction in a manner that we expect will be immediately accretive to our operating results,” Hoetzinger concluded.

Once this transaction is complete, the company’s portfolio will increase to 10 casinos in North America that include over 6,700 gaming machines and 150 table games. The hope is to have this deal finished in early 2020 as the companies wait the approvals of the Missouri Gaming Commission and West Virginia Lottery.

3. Rivers Casino to break ground on new hotel
Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh announced on Tuesday that it will break ground on a $60 million North Shore hotel this summer. “The Landing Hotel Pittsburgh” will include 219 guest rooms in the seven-story, four-star property. It will also be attached to the casino.

“The time is right,” said Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh. “Statewide gaming expansion changed our schedule, but never our intentions. Rush Street always envisioned a hotel for Rivers to create a full-service destination on the North Shore. We see it as a natural evolution.”

2. First-ever NBA virtual sports betting game
The National Basketball Association has teamed up with Highlight Games to create NBA Last 90. The virtual sports betting game will use actual NBA highlights and footage.

In the upcoming season, NBA Last 90 is expected to debut in the U.S. and European gaming and lottery markets.

NBA Last 90 players will have the ability to wager on various outcomes, including which team will win, who will score on the first possession and the total number of points scored by both teams, during the last 90 seconds of a simulated matchup between two NBA teams.

“Virtual sports betting is incredibly popular in regions around the world and we’re looking forward to giving fans another innovative way to engage with the NBA,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, Head of Fantasy & Gaming, NBA. “With NBA Last 90, Highlight Games has created a new spin on virtual sports basketball and delivered an authentic gaming experience utilizing real NBA content.”

1. Sports betting in New England
Earlier this week, we saw New York’s Senate approve Senator Joseph Addabo’s bill to legalize sports betting in the state. Other states were also in action in regard to sports betting, as Maine and New Hampshire made their own progress.

Maine is looking to become the 15th U.S. state to have sports betting if Governor Janet Mills signs off on the bill that was approved by state lawmakers. The legislation would legalize sports betting for both land-based locations and mobile devices.

Maine wasn’t the only state in New England state passing sports gambling legislation. Late last week, the New Hampshire state legislature passed HB 480, which established a system within the lottery commission for sports betting. The next step for New Hampshire is to get Governor Chris Sununu to sign it, and he has already demonstrated he is on board with legalized sports betting in New Hampshire.

Casino City’s Friday Five: Virtual sports and sports gambling edition is republished from