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: Wire Act and WSOP edition

7 June 2019
By Dan Ippolito

It's been another busy week in the casino and gaming world, as the 50th edition of the World Series of Poker is in high gear at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Also this week, BitStarz is giving away a trip to Egypt, a new sportsbook is unveiled in Downtown Las Vegas, Illinois approves a massive gambling expansion bill, and a New Hampshire federal judge issues a pivotal ruling regarding the Wire Act. Let’s start off with a gold bracelet: 5. Heath wins WSOP $50,000 High Roller Ben Heath, a poker pro from the U.K., won the first seven-digit payout at the 2019 World Series of Poker. Heath took home $1,484,085 after winning the High Roller - $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em event. It is the 27-year-old’s second seven-digit live cash of his career and his first bracelet. The event had 100 entrants, and Heath defeated Andrew Lichtenberger at the end to claim his victory. 4. BitStarz giving away a trip to Cairo BitStarz has opened up its new promotion and is giving players the chance to win big. The online casino is offering €50,000 and a trip to Cairo across 40 levels of gameplay. The promotion is running until 26 July. As players place wagers at the online casino, they will reach new levels with the progression bar filling up. The first player to reach the top level will win a six-night stay at a hotel in Cairo and two flight tickets. Slot games contribute 100% towards the turnover for the promotion, while table games contribute 5%. 3. Circa Sports opens in Downtown Las Vegas Last weekend, casino owner and developer Derek Stevens launched Circa Sports at the new sportsbook at Golden Gate Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Stevens kicked off the opening with the introduction of a $1.5 million pro football contest, a mobile app and a ceremonial first bet. "The bell has rung, and we are thrilled to be taking bets of all kinds with Circa Sports," said Stevens. "We intend to bring that old-school Las Vegas vibe to the floor, so there was no better place to bring this to life than in Las Vegas' most historic hotel, Golden Gate." Later this month, Circa Sports will introduce a satellite program at The D Las Vegas. And in December 2020, a multi-level, stadium-style sportsbook will debut at Circa Resort & Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. 2. Massive gambling expansion bill approved in Illinois Over the weekend, the House and Senate in the Prairie State passed Senate Bill 690, which will create six new casinos and give sports betting licenses to locations that seat over 17,000 people. Three online licenses will be awarded by the Gaming Board and sold for $20 million each. The bill now awaits Governor JB Pritzker’s signature. After the legislation passed the House, Gov. Pritzker seemed very upbeat: "Legalizing sports betting and expanding gaming will create jobs up and down the state, from Rockford to Chicago to Walker's Bluff, where communities hungry for employment will see 10,000 new jobs," he said in a statement. "After the Supreme Court legalized sports betting, I promised the people of Illinois that sports wagering would be a key element of my legislative agenda, so that we are competitive with our neighboring states and can create more revenue for communities around Illinois. But not everyone was so upbeat about the bill, most notably DraftKings CEO Jason Robins, since the bill doesn’t include any online licenses for DraftKings or FanDuel — who will have to wait 18 months before getting a piece of the action. 1. Federal Judge says Wire Act only applies to sports betting A New Hampshire federal judge ruled that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting, rejecting a 2018 opinion that expanded the 1961 federal gambling law to cover interstate online gambling. “I hereby declare that [the Wire Act] applies only to transmissions related to bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest,” stated U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro in his decision. "I have no reason to believe that the Government will fail to respect my ruling that the Wire Act is limited to sports gambling." Barbadoro’s decision comes after the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office filed a complaint in February, challenging the DOJ’s opinion that the 1961 Wire Act applies to lottery sales over the internet. It is likely that the DOJ will appeal Barbadoro’s decision.

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