Jan 27

Daily Fantasy Sports Apps – Get ’em while they’re hot!

Daily Fantasy Sports Apps – Get ’em While They’re Hot!

Ten years ago, only hard-core sports fans were familiar with the term “daily fantasy sports”, (or DFS for short). Fantasy sports in general have been around for about three decades, but the truncated variation (i.e. “daily”), which caters to the appeal of instant gratification (as opposed to a season-long wait), didn’t really take off until around 2012. That was the year DraftKings showed up to compete against FanDuel, bringing DFS into the limelight. It was a big market, filled with big opportunities, but not one that the world’s largest casino corporations had much interest in. That is, not until now…

Casinos Buying Up Daily Fantasy Sports Apps

The appeal for DFS mobile apps is greater than ever before. This week alone, two of the largest casino conglomerates this side of the planet spent millions of dollars to get in on the lucrative daily fantasy betting market; a trend that’s expected to continue alongside the growth of the online sports gambling industry in the United States.

Bally’s Scoops Up Monkey Knife Fight

On Monday, it was announced that Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corporation has acquired DFS App Monkey Knife Fight. Bally’s, which owns a dozen casino properties across seven US states, invested $90 million in the all-stock takeover of the daily fantasy brand.

This marks just one of many recent acquisitions for the growing gambling company. Other major moves include the purchase of Bally’s Atlantic City, a partnership with media giant Sinclair Broadcast Group, and the pending acquisition of Bet.Works sports betting software.

Monkey Knife Fight is a DFS mobile app that offers free play and paid betting services. The app currently has about 180,000 registered members, with approximately 80,000 users who deposit real money to play. Bally’s intends to expand Monkey Knife Fight’s presence to serve 37 US states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.

Caesar’s Buys Control of SuperDraft

This morning, word came down that Caesars Entertainment has invested in SuperDraft, another DFS betting app with good potential. Caesars operates more than 50 casino properties in North America, and a dozen more in Europe and Africa. Like Bally’s, Caesars is hoping to expand its presence in all legal US online betting verticals.

The company’s investment in SuperDraft makes Caesar’s Entertainment a minority equity holder, earning the company just enough control to integrate the SuperDraft system in all its iGaming portfolios. If all goes well, the agreement gives Caesars the option to purchase 100% stake in the DFS company at a later date.

SuperDraft isn’t as established as Monkey Knife Fight. In fact, it was probably Bally’s acquisition of the latter that drove Caesars to quickly secure the minority stake in SuperDraft, with the option to buy 100% later on.

Last November, SuperDraft founder and CEO Steve Wang estimated his daily fantasy sports app’s number of total registered users to be about 80,000, with 15,000 active paid accounts. In a statement following the agreement with Caesars, Wang expressed a positive outlook for the company’s future.

“SuperDraft is now well-positioned to accelerate its growth with financial staying power while broadening its consumer appeal with bigger contests and better rewards to players of all interest levels,” said Wang.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jan 06

TheScore Eyes Future in Canada Mobile Sports Betting Market

TheScore Eyes Lucrative Future in Canada Mobile Sports Betting Market

It’s virtually guaranteed that single-event betting is on its way into Canadian law books. With it will come a massive new market for sports gambling. Every casino will be looking to install a sportsbook. Assuming federal laws will closely mimic those in the United States, opening the doors to competition between operators, provincial regulators will be racing to authorize and license as many online and mobile sports betting brands as are willing to pay the no-doubt-exorbitant fee.

Our southerly neighbors have already legalized sports betting in 20 states and the District of Columbia (a.k.a. Washington, D.C.) Competition is fierce down south, with big names like DraftKings, FanDuel, WilliamHill, and BetRivers dominating the region’s industry. Those same brands are expected to flock northward when the time comes, but they may find a more formidable foe in Toronto-based Score Media.

TheScore Eyes Canada Mobile Sports Betting Market

Score Media & Gaming, owner of the sports news mobile app and media giant, theScore, and the sports wagering app, theScore Bet, may be flagging against major competitor brands on US soil, but in Canada, its popularity is unrivaled. On Wednesdays, the free sports mobile app jumped into the #1 position on the CA Google Play Store.

According to a report in Bloomberg, Score Media says it currently caters to around 4 million active users, with over 1.4 million logging in from Ontario alone.

Bear in mind, Canadian users are not (yet) able to place bets via theScore’s mobile applications. For now, they are privy only to the popular sports news network. The good news for Score Media is that, being so adored by local sports fans, if and when its Canadian mobile betting app goes live here, it could easily jump into the number one spot, surpassing the biggest companies operating in the U.S. market.

Plans Underway to Launch theScore Bet Canada

Score Media CEO John Levy and his son, COO Benjie Levy, are already making plans to launch theScore’s real money sports betting app in their home country of Canada. For now, the mobile sportsbook app is available only in three US states – Colorado, Indiana, and New Jersey.

The Toronto firm saw its stocks rise 111% on the year. Most of that came in the final weeks of 2020, following the late-November introduction of the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act by Federal Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada, David T. Lametti. That bill introduce the one thing Canadians have never had legal, local access to, straight-up, single-event sports wagers.

According to analysts with Credit Suisse, “Assuming full legalization in Canada, we think this could be a $4 billion revenue opportunity.” The bill, which is being hailed as a sure-thing by political experts, will be a major topic of discussion when Parliament reconvenes later this month.

MP Irek Kusmierczyk (Windsor-Tecumseh) is optimistic that the legislation will move quickly, and with an affirmative response. “We’re hopeful that we can actually move this process along quickly,” he said in a statement. There’s always the possibility of opposition, but Kusmierczyk added, “it does feel as though there’s support among all three parties.”

If and when the Canada mobile sports betting market opens, Score Media CEO John Levy says his company will introduce “the best damn sports media company in the betting space.”

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Apr 03

Is postponement in the cards for the 2020 WSOP schedule?

Is Postponement in the Cards for 2020 WSOP Schedule?

An unprecedented series of events flipped the world upside down in March 2020. Covid-19 went from a shocking news story out of China to a global pandemic that’s got everyone huddled in their homes; some voluntarily, some by government mandate. That includes the countless professional and amateur poker players who flock to Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas each year to attend the world’s most prestigious poker festival of them all – the World Series of Poker.

Last year, more than 182,000 people turned out for the 2019 WSOP, registering for one or more of the 90 events in the 50th anniversary edition of the poker tournament series. This year, just as many – if not more – were expected to attend. But with the current situation, it’s not certain what’s going to happen when it comes time to “Shuffle Up and Deal!

Postponement in the Cards for 2020 WSOP Schedule?

Seth Palansky, the WSOP’s Vice President of Corporate Communications, has been on the phone with numerous media outlets in the past week or so. The biggest question on the interview docket is an obvious one:

Will there be a 2020 WSOP?

There are only three possible answers to this question. It can either be held, canceled, or postponed. Unfortunately, that’s a question Mr. Palansky has been unable to answer. According to the WSOP spokesman, that’s not going to change for a while. He doesn’t expect organizers to come to a decision before May.

That’s a long wait for the countless poker players who are surely waiting for a decision. The 2020 WSOP was originally scheduled to run from May 26 to July 15, with a record-setting 101 gold-bracelet events on the roster.

To date, World Series executives have already pulled the plug on 10 WSOP Circuit events since March 13, when the global pandemic first led to social distancing. Future Circuit events schedule through May have already been scratched off the menu, as well. It only makes sense that the official WSOP bracelet series would be either canceled or postponed, but to date, officials refuse to make the call.

“We Don’t Need to Make a Decision Now”

Last week, in an interview with Jim Barnes of the Las Vegas Review Journal, Seth told the poker community that no decision will be made until it has to be, and until then, it will remain business as usual.

“We keep our heads down, keep planning in place,” said Palansky. “We don’t need to make a decision now.”

Further comments pointed towards potential postponement. Palansky said that the WSOP is normally unable to reschedule, due to the Rio in Las Vegas having a packed convention slate. Now, with many conventions being canceled, he says it could give them enough wiggle room to run the tournament series at a later date.

But again, no official word has come down, nor does he expect it to anytime soon. In another interview with CardPlayer Magazine this week, he reiterated his previous statements.

“Everyone’s health and safety is paramount in the decision making, and there is no need to make a decision today,” said Palansky.

As for what might impact the decision of organizers in weeks to come, he said:

There are a plethora of factors to consider, especially when you conceptualize alternatives. That said, the only factor that matters for the WSOP, for it to be held as planned, is the health and safety of guests and staff. So, if we can’t host an event like we have in the past 50 years in Las Vegas, where everyone can participate safely and without risk, we won’t.”

Seth added that contingency plans are being discussed everyday, but as the situation constantly changes and evolves, it’s impossible to come up with a definitive solution at this time. His best prediction for a final answer to the mystery of the 2020 WSOP schedule is early May, at best.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Feb 28

Things to see in Nevada when you’re over the Las Vegas Strip; Reno, Carson City, Silver Springs, and everything in between.

Things to see in Nevada when you’re over the Las Vegas Strip

If you’re not from around the area, you probably don’t realize just how much there is to see and do in Nevada. Everyone visits Las Vegas to see the casinos and myriad culture-shock of crowds along the Strip, but rarely do they ever take the time to see anything else. It’s like going to Disney World. There is so much to take in, you could spend a whole week there and never experience even half of it.

Once you get over the Vegas vibe, don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s nothing left to do or see in the Silver State. It is a beautiful place with a more diverse landscape than most people realize. From desert valleys, to mountainous terrain; deep canyons to breathtaking lonesome highways; this is not the kind of holiday you want to rush your way through.

Things to See in Nevada (besides the Las Vegas Strip)

There’s a fantastic, triangular region in West Nevada that can deliver the most amazing experience, without ever coming close to the fast-paced stress of the Vegas Strip. Whether you’ve been there so many times (or even once) that you’re over the sights and sounds of Las Vegas Boulevard, or you have no desire to step foot into what some consider a cesspool of anxiety, this out-of-the-way Nevada holiday will inspire and relax you to the core, and still provide a chance to do a little Vegas-style gambling. Our adventure starts in…

Reno – The Biggest Little City in the World

Reno Nevada
Now entering Reno, Nevada

Surely you know something of Reno. It is the third most famous gambling city in the United States, after Las Vegas and Atlantic City. What I was surprised to learn over the years is just how few people actually know that Reno is in Nevada. I did a little survey of this among ten purely random people – people I didn’t even know – and only 3 of them knew. Go figure?

Yes, Reno is a city on the western edge of Nevada, situated along the border of California just north of Lake Tahoe. It is quite literally a miniature version of Las Vegas. It even has a mini-Strip – they call it The Row – made up of its three major, inter-connected casinos – Eldorado, Circus Circus and Silver Legacy. There are plenty of other interesting things to see and do in the Midtown District, so take your time and enjoy it. When you’re done there, rent a car and hop on Interstate 580/Highway 395 South, where you’ll embark on a picturesque, 40 minute drive to…

Carson City – Modern Take on a Historical Treasure

Kit Carson Trail, Carson City, Nevada
Kit Carson Memorial - Carson City, Nevada

Carson City is the capital of Nevada, so it’s got a big city atmosphere. However, it’s also got a tremendous amount of historical sights and natural wonders to behold. If you like trains half as much as I do, the Nevada State Railroad Museum is a must. The Kit Carson Trail is a museum and national park all mixed into one – bring a picnic lunch, then head over to the Shoe Tree Brewing Company to unwind. If you’re more interested in the nature scene, Washoe Lake and Skunk Harbor are well worth the visit. Spend the last of your evening at one of the local bed and breakfasts – far better than any hotel you’ll find in the city – then get up bright and early for your next drive to…

Virginia City – A Town atop a Century Old Silver Mine

C Street Virginia City, Nevada - Almay Stock Photos
C Street in Downtown Virginia City, Nevada - Almay Stock Photo

Did you ever see a John Wayne movie? How about Wyatt Earp or Gunsmoke? Better yet, Bonanza – it was filmed on location. Entering Virginia City is like stepping into one of those historical towns, straight out of an old western. The drive out, which takes about half an hour via US-50 East and NV-341 W/342 N, is similar, but is clearly marred by the effects of time and modernization.

For instance, you’ll drive through Silver City, which may sound like something special – and believe me, at one time it was – but is now barely more than a fueling station and diner along an old desert road. Back in 1861, when the Sierra was brimming with silver, this bustling 4-hotel city had a population of 1,200. Now, and for many decades past, the population is listed at around 170 – a Ghost Town since 1869.

From there you’ll pass through the Devil’s Gate, a famously narrow, craggy pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and into Gold Hill, a small town with a similar history of desolation. A minute or two further along sets your destination, Virginia City.

The thoroughfare dividing the boardwalks of downtown may be paved with asphalt now, but the buildings along this stretch still bleed of the past. Remove the colorful but deteriorating paint, and the 150 year old hotels, saloons, and trading posts remain virtually untouched. Make sure to arrive early – by high noon, the Wild West tourists come piling out of the woodwork!

Nevada US-50 – The Loneliest Road in America

Nevada Route 50 Loneliest Road in America

If you still have some time, head back south to US-50 and bear east. Forget destinations – you don’t have one. Your path is one of uncertainty and contemplation. Just keep driving for as long as you feel like it. This stretch of road is what’s known as The Loneliest Road in America. It goes on for miles and miles – all the way to the country’s east coast, in fact – but the Nevada expanse goes on for nearly 400 miles. It can take around 7 hours to reach Utah, but the breathtaking views will last a lifetime.

Of course, odds are you’ll get tired of that drive within half an hour or so, at which point I recommend stopping off in Silver Springs. Once you pass Stagecoach, you can’t miss it. It’s hard to miss anything that exists out here in the middle of nowhere – but again, that’s they beauty of it. There’s not a whole lot to do in this small town, but there is a cozy little Silver Springs Airport that will fly you back to wherever you came from.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , ,

Jan 03

Going South: The Best Blackjack Odds in Vegas

Going South: The Best Blackjack Odds in Vegas (99.86% RTP)

If you’re planning your first trip to Vegas, don’t bother reading this. You’ll want to spend your time on taking in the glorious sites along The Strip and Downtown’s Freemont Street. On your first visit, it’s not about the games, but the experience. If you’ve already had that experience, and are looking for something a bit more, then by all means, continue reading.

I’m going to tell you about the best blackjack games in the city. You won’t find them on The Strip or in Downtown, despite the rampant finger-pointing towards El Cortez. That casino does have some nice games, clocking a 99.82% RTP with the cheapest table limits of $5 and up. If you’re willing to spend $25 per hand, you can do better.

Best Blackjack Odds in Vegas

Head south along Las Vegas Boulevard approximately 10 miles from the central Strip area (Bellagio / Caesars Palace); past McCarran International Airport; beyond South Point and The Grandview. Just as you cross the St Rose Parkway, you’ll come to the luxurious M Resort Spa & Casino, sticking up from the vast stretch of desert floor like a hitchhiker’s thumb.

Beating Vegas with M Resort Blackjack Odds

Its opulence may seem a bit out of place this far south of The Strip. Technically, you’re not even in Las Vegas anymore. You’re in the city of Henderson, but once you enter the property, you’ll never know the difference.

I suggest taking advantage of valet parking, unless you don’t mind long walks. Once you get to the doors, head inside and take the nearest elevator to the upper level. Follow the signs to the casino, and once you’re there, stop the first employee you see and ask them to point you to the blackjack tables. The pit boss should be easy to find, standing at his/her central kiosk with a birds-eye view of the dealers.

Tell this person that you heard the M Resort blackjack odds are the best in the city, and ask for directions to one of those tables. There should be three of them It wouldn’t hurt to do this with a tip sticking up between your fingers, ensuring you get preferential seating if there’s a line. Once you’re seated…

M Resort Blackjack Odds and Rules

At the right tables, you’ll find rules that dish up a delicious 99.86% RTP. That’s a mere 0.14% house edge. It isn’t some odd-ball game with wacky rules and side bets. It’s a standard game of classic blackjack, with just enough player-friendly rules to deliver the best blackjack game in Vegas.

These games are played with a double-deck shoe, requiring the dealer to stand on all 17s. Players can double after a split and are allowed to re-split Aces. By these rules, a basic strategy will deliver that beautiful 99.86% return. Making these tables even more appealing, the games have a 0.8 cut card with 60% deck penetration. Deeper would be great, but in a 2-deck shoe, that’s a nice mark for precision card counters.

To recap…

  • Shoe: Double-Deck
  • Soft 17: Stand
  • Double: Any 2
  • Double After Split: Yes
  • Re-Split Aces: Yes
  • Blackjack Pays: 3 to 2
  • Cut Card: 0.8
  • Deck Penetration: 60%
  • Min / Max: $25 / $5,000
  • House Edge: 0.14%
  • RTP: 99.86%

If you’re interested in testing your skills against the best blackjack odds in Vegas, set your destination for the M Resort Spa Casino, located at 12300 S Las Vegas Blvd South, Henderson, NV 89044.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Nov 19

Judging a Safe Online Casino by its Cover: Why licensing jurisdiction is everything.

Judging a Safe Online Casino by its Cover: Licensing Jurisdiction is Everything

When you were growing up, did your parents or mentors every teach you don’t judge a book by its cover? I’m sure you understand the meaning of this age-old idiom. And in many ways, it is excellent advice. You should never judge or negatively label anything or anyone without giving it a chance; finding out for yourself if it’s worthy of appreciation. That’s all well and good for most things in life, but not online gambling.

Joining a disreputable casino site can be a devastating experience. It can result in anything from identity theft to financial ruin; both of which have long-lasting consequences. If you’re lucky, the rogue operator takes your first deposit and disappeared into the great blue yonder. If not, you could end up investing time and again into games that are fraudulently designed to rip you off – much more so than the legitimate, low-edge casino games we choose to play.

Any educated gambler knows very well that every single casino game is built to favor the house. Only knowing we have a chance to win makes it fun. It provides an entertaining experience that’s worthy of our spare cash. Take away that reasonable chance, and what you’re left with is disappointment, despair, and downright illegal activity.

Judging a Safe Online Casino by its Cover

In years past, evaluating the legitimacy of an online casino was a tedious task. There were multiple features you had to look for, sifting through a website’s many pages and terms of service, reading the fine print… Who wants to do that?

While this method was extremely effective for those who took the time to do it right, most people didn’t. Instead, they went to one of thousands of the world wide web’s online gambling review websites and trusted the information they found there. But iGaming affiliates are comparable to the online casino industry. Some sites are safe, and some are not.

Some affiliate reviews sites are great. They’re honest, diligent in their reviews, and updated regularly with helpful information. Others are biased, lacking any integrity, saying anything and everything they can to get players to click their links. And why wouldn’t some do this? Let’s not forget, just like the casinos, affiliates are looking to make money. So if you can’t trust every casino, you can’t trust every review, either.

The good news is, thanks to the increasing rate of iGaming regulation in some parts of the world, no one has to go through all that trouble anymore. In fact, the whole process can be narrowed down to the evaluation of one single item.

Jurisdiction of License and Regulation

Kim Kardashian Playing Poker with Mirrored Sunglasses

If you want to know if an online casino is safe, go to its website, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and look for the licensing info. The jurisdiction in which an operator is licensed and regulated is more telling than Kim Kardashian playing poker in mirrored sunglasses… yeah, she really did that.

There are good jurisdictions and bad ones. Any province of Canada (B.C., Ontario or Quebec) is good. Each hosts its own self-regulated iGaming website, but you must live in that province to access its home-grown gambling operation. Any US state that regulates iGaming is also good, but the same stipulation exists. Outside of these, you’re looking for any country in Europe.

If you come across a country name you don’t know, look it up on Google or Wikipedia to find out where it is. There are several small island nations off the coast of Europe that North Americans may not be familiar with, and several of them make good business out of licensing iGaming operations. So if you’re not sure, look it up! It only takes a couple of seconds.

Safe Licensing Jurisdictions

The UK is top of the line. UKGC sets the standard for bet practices, player protection, anti-fraud and anti-money laundering, the works. Malta and Isle of Man are right up there, too. Gibraltar, Alderney, Estonia, Cypress, Latvia – pretty much anywhere in Europe. France, Italy and Spain are also top-notch, but they are ring-fenced like Canada, so you can only access those sites if your physically located within their respective borders.

The same goes for any direct regulation by a US state. Acceptance of American players means nothing. If a US-facing operator isn’t regulated in the US, it can’t possibly be licensed and regulated by a responsible authority. Which brings us to…

Lax Regulatory Jurisdictions

Anything that doesn’t qualify under the description above is not a jurisdiction that you can put 100% trust in. Costa Rica, Curacao, Panama – places like these love to dole out licenses and collect fees for them, but they take no responsibility for the legitimacy of the companies they license. They offer little, if anything, in the way of a legal framework.

Costa Rica, for example, has only one rule – do not accept players from within Costa Rica. Anything else goes. Operators can appear one day, disappear the next, taking all player account balances with them. So long as they don’t violate that one rule, Costa Rica’s government won’t do a thing about it. There are absolutely no player protections in place; no one to turn to if the worst happens.

Similar licenses are sold in Panama. Curacao isn’t as bad, but it’s not much better, either. The fact that Curacao licensees can accept American players is very telling. Look at it this way. If it’s illegal for people in New York to gambling online, and a Curacao licensed site is accepting New Yorkers, it’s pretty clear the regulations aren’t all that tight.

Double Check the Credentials

Once you’ve scrolled to the bottom of the online casino’s homepage and determined where it is licensed, you can go one step further to make sure the license is genuine. The safest online casinos will provide a logo for the licensing jurisdiction, and link it back to their licensing info on the regulatory body’s website. Clicking this logo should prove the license is valid and active.

If there is no clickable link or logo, you can take a moment to look up the regulatory authority’s website. For instance, if it’s in Malta, search for “Malta Gaming Regulator”, or “Malta Gaming License”, etc. These searches will lead you directly to the Malta Gaming Authority, found at www.mga.org.mt.

Then, from the regulator’s website, you should be able to search for the casino name or the owner/operator company, generally listed in the copyright info (bottom of homepage).

Of course, if you’re not finding the information you’re looking for – no license info, no name of owner/operator, no valid license number – if any of this is difficult to find, you know it’s time to move on. Don’t waste your time on a website that isn’t making this search easy for you. Remember, it should be a quick, one step process. If the website seems like it has something to hide, it probably does. It’s not a safe online casino.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , ,

Sep 11

Winning the lottery is all fun and games, until the bank runs dry.

Winning the Lottery is All Fun and Games, Till the Bank Runs Dry

How many of you out there have ever dreamt of winning an enormous, multi-million dollar lottery prize? I’d be willing to bet most of you have. Anyone who has bought a lottery ticket has surely considered what they would spend all that money on if they ever struck it rich.

The list often starts out the same. We would buy a new house, or pay off an existing mortgage. We would buy a new vehicle. Maybe even two of them – one for practical purposes, and one for joy riding. Most of us would designate a portion of the money to help out others, either paying off the debts of family, granting cash to loved ones, and/or donating some to a worthy charitable cause.

These are the things most of us say we will do if ever that fateful day comes. Sometimes, we throw in college funds for the kids or grand-kids. We may even promise to invest a large portion, ensuring our wealth continues to grow for generations to come. But just as our dreams of becoming a lottery winner are usually only fantasies, for many people who actually win the prize, those honorable intentions go up in smoke.

When Winning the Lottery Isn’t All Fun and Games

Once a player wins the lottery, we don’t usually hear anything more about them. They go on to live their lives, for better or worse. The only cases we hear about far down the line tend to be those with extreme endings, and unfortunately, those extreme endings are rarely good.

There are at least two dozen tales of “riches to rags”, in which lottery winners suffered a terrible fate. These are some of their stories…

Fast and furious financial burn…

By far the most common reason for ruin is burning through all of the cash in a fast and furious reign of exotic purchases. Luxury homes, sports cars, personal jets and yachts, elaborate vacations – the most expensive things life has to offer can drain millions in just a few months time.

Evelyn Adams was once considered one of the luckiest women in the world, winning a pair of lottery jackpots in 1985 and 1986, worth a combined $5.4 million. She spent it nearly as fast, spending, gambling and giving it away. She now lives in a trailer.

Gerald Muswagon blew through the $10 million he won in 2011, spending it on himself and a fast-growing list of ‘friends’ who showed up nightly at his new party house. A few years later he was broke, working on a farm to support his girlfriend and six children. In 2018, he hung himself in his parents basement.

Sharon Tirabassi won Canada’s $10.5 million Lotto Super 7 jackpot in 2004, and managed to sift through the entire sum in just two years. She paid no attention to dollar signs, by anything and everything her heart desired. Countless homes, cars, vacations and handouts later, her seemingly bottomless barrel of wealth dried up. In 2013, she was back to riding the bus to work to suport her children.

The young and the reckless…

Mickey Carroll and Callie Rogers are two of the youngest lottery winners of all time. Mickey was 19 when the young Brit collected his £9.7 million winnings in 2002. He tore through the cash so fast, he earned the nickname ‘Lotto Lout‘. Most of it was spent partying with drugs and prostitutes. The rest was lost on exorbitant material purchases.

Callie suffered a similar fate in 2003 when she won £1.8 million. She was only 16 at the time. Excessive partying, plastic surgery and lavish purchases left her penniless. In August 2019, she was calling for the UK to raise the age limit for lottery ticket sales, and despite now making just £12k/yr as a caregiver, says “I am the the happiest I have ever been.”

Generous to a fault…

Every lottery winner in history has been bombarded by friends and family, all hoping for (if not demanding) a hand out. It’s one reason so many winners find their families torn apart. You’re either too stingy, and everyone hates you, or you’re too generous, and the money disappears.

Jack Whittaker, Janite Lee and Billie Bob Harrell Jr. all fell into the latter category.

Whittaker won a $314 million Powerball jackpot in 2002. He was a generous man all his life, and once he had the ability to help so many people, he couldn’t stop himself. Jack was passing out huge stacks of cash to family members, friends, strangers, the local church, and leaving king-sized tips for everyone from diner waitresses to strippers.

Lee’s story was similar, following an $18 million haul in 1993. She gave to charities, social causes, education and political campaigns. She was originally receiving annuities, but changed her agreement to a lump0sum for the remainder. By 2011, she was $2.5 million in debt and filing for bankruptcy.

Billie Bob Harrell Jr won the Lotto Texas for $31 million and immediately began donating fantastic sums of money to his church and individual members of the congregation. Combined with purchase of new homes and cars for he and his wife, and all of their family members, the money was gone, and his marriage over, within just two years. Harrell Jr. was so distraught, he committed suicide.

Lottery money – the root of all poison…

Suicidal tendencies are the only reason some lottery winners turn up dead. Ibi Roncaioli and Urooj Khan were both poisoned after their would-be-fortunate windfall.

Ibi won a $5 million jackpot in Canada in 1991. She and her husband were already doing well; he being a gynecologist. But after the win, Ibi became a reckless problem gambler and alcoholic. In 2003, she dies. In 2008, her husband, Dr. Joseph Roncaioli, was convicted of her murder. The horrid tale that finally emerged was that Mr. Roncaioli poisoned his wife after discovering her expensive double life.

Urooj Khan’s fate was similar in as much as he died of a lethal dose of poison in 2012. However, his fate between winning the lottery and dying was entirely different. In fact, the Chicago businessman dies just weeks after he won – before he received a single dollar of his $1 million winnings. At first, his death was reported to be natural causes, but his family insisted on an investigation into the 46 year old man’s sudden demise. An autopsy found the true cause to be cyanide poisoning. His murder case remains unsolved.

Drug addiction leads to destitution…

Having a sudden and seemingly endless supply of money can certainly lead to irresponsible behavior. Sometimes that behavior can harm more than the lottery winner’s finances. Drug abuse is unfortunately and exceptionally common. When it stems from, and/or leads to, addiction, it can be all the more devastating.

In 1989, when the crack cocaine epidemic was as its worst, Willie Hurt won the Michigan Super Lotto for $3.1 million. He was already suffering from an addiction to the drug, and having access to so much money only fueled the problem. Within two years, his life was in shambles. He was penniless, undergoing divorce proceedings, and fending off a murder charge after allegedly killing a woman during one of many drug and alcohol binges.

In 2001, Kentucky resident David Lee Edwards won the Powerball for $27 million. He and his wife were so excited, they literally blew through $1 million a month for the first year. It was irresponsibly innocent at first – exotic cars, a mansion, a personal plane. Five years later, these materialistic things no longer satiated their appetite. Both fell into a deep drug addiction from which they never recovered. In 2013, at just 58 years of age, David died alone in the care of hospice.

Death and deception…

Sometimes, it takes a monumental shift in one’s circumstances to reveal who they really are. The truth isn’t always pretty. That’s what happened when these people won the lottery.

In 1996, Thomas Rossi was a happily married man – or so he thought. One day, out of nowhere, his wife, Denise Rossi, demanded an immediate divorce. Shocked and utterly confused by her marital discontent, he soon found out that 11 days earlier, Denise had won an $11 million lottery. She was hoping to divorce Rossi quickly enough to keep all the cash for herself.

The Pennsylvania Lottery paid out $16.2 million to William ‘Bud’ Post in 1988. He also suffered from the unfortunate irresponsibility of greed, buying anything and everything he desired all at once. Another chunk was lost to his long-time girlfriend, who successfully sued him for her fair share after he dumped her in favor of the cash. His own brother hired a hitman to kill him hoping to inherit a portion of the money. Post lost it all. He was $1 million in debt within a year, and according to the most recent reports, is now a product of the welfare system.

Then there’s Jeffrey Dampier, winner of a $20 million Illinois Lottery jackpot in 1996. He wasn’t a terrible investor at all. In fact, following he and his wife’s amicable divorce and 50/50 split of the winnings, he remarried, moved to Florida and opened a very successful popcorn business. Jeffrey was very generous with his new wife’s family, ensuring they never went without. He was especially helpful towards her younger sister Victoria, who he subsequently began having an affair with. Eventually, Victoria grew tired of Jeffrey – but not his money. In 2005, Victoria’s new boyfriend came up with a plan, and she was all too willing to help. She called Jeffrey, faking car trouble to lure him to a secluded road. There, she and her beau demanded he turn over his wealth. When he refused, they murdered him.

Good luck turned bad…

Lisa Arcand of Massachusetts thought she had it all figured out after she won a cool $1 million playing the state lottery in 2004. She did everything you would expect, buying a new house, going on a couple of well-deserved (if not a bit exorbitant) vacations, and most importantly, investing in her future. Lisa followed her dreams by opening a restaurant in her hometown. Unfortunately, the business bombed. Within four years, all of the money was gone and she was forced to close up shop.

Roger and Lara Griffiths had it even worse. They were a happily married couple with a daughter, living a typical life in Great Britain, when they suddenly won a £2.19 million jackpot prize. It changed their lives forever, but not for the better. Roger spent copious amounts of money chasing an adolescent pipe dream of becoming a rock star. Needless to say, that didn’t pan out. Lara became an instant high-class shop-aholic, buying a lavish home, exotic cars, designer clothes, jewelry, and anything else her heart desired. The two sent their daughter to an expensive private school. Like Lisa Arcand, they also thought it wise to invest in a business, pouring hundreds of thousands into a posh salon. Ironically enough – after their carefree lifestyles led to bitter divorce – the former Mrs. ended up working at the very salon she once owned.

If you didn’t think their bad luck could get worse, think again. Alex Toth of Florida could have lived comfortably for the rest of his life after winning a $13 million lottery. He did what most of us would consider the smart thing, taking 20 years worth of annual payments instead of a smaller lump sum. However, that worked out to an ominous $666k per year. Whether that figure had anything to do with her unfortunate future is hard to say, but the story is far from a happy one. Alex soon left his wife, agreeing to split the money with her. He then began squandering away his portion as fast as it came in. So fast, he didn’t bother to pay the taxes on it. After being charged with tax evasion by the IRS, the penniless Mr. Toth checked himself into a mental institution. He died in 2008 at the age of 60.

Do You Really Want to Win the Lottery?

There are many more stories like these – stories of drug overdoses, contract killers, families ripped apart by greed and irresponsibility. It makes you wonder if its worth winning the lottery at all, if you’re better off where you are now?

Personally, I’d still want to win, and odds are everyone who reads this will say the same. What I would recommend, however, is that you put a bit more planning into your future, should your ticket ever come up a multi-million dollar winner. Maybe not quite so much planning as Bon Truong of Edmonton, Alberta, who just claimed his prize after purposely sitting on a $60 million winning ticket for 10 months – but far more than the people detailed in the above context.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , ,

Aug 14

The legal NFL sports betting outlook across North America.

The Legal NFL Sports Betting Outlook across North America, Aug. 2019

With the 2019-20 NFL Preseason well underway and the Regular Season fast approaching, we thought it might be a good time to take a closer look at the current legal status of sports betting across the US and Canada. For some it’s legal. For others it’s illegal. And as usual, there are a few in-betweens that require greater explanation.

As many of you know, a cursory glance will cover our situation in the Great White North, so we’ll get to that one first. Our neighbors to the south, however, have a lot more legal fluctuation to deal with these days. Some are even scrambling to get their sportsbooks open before the first official NFL kick-off of the season on September 5, 2019.

Legal NFL Sports Betting in Canada

Above the 49th parallel, the situation has maintained status quo for years. We can bet on sports till the cows come home, but it’s more like buying a lottery ticket. You grab a slip at your local retailer, fill out a series of picks (3 to 6 in most provinces), and hand it to the cashier for purchase. The odds aren’t too appealing, since we’re forced to bet parlay style, where all picks have to be correct or the entire bet is lost.

Yes, straight up betting is still illegal in Canada. But that statement means more than meets the eye. You can’t bet on a single even “in” Canada, but you can bet on a single event at any reputable online sportsbook “outside” of Canada.

That makes two advantages we have over most Americans.

US Sports Betting Laws to Date (Aug 13, 2019)

Following last year’s reversal of PASPA, state governments immediately began legalizing, or debating legalization of, sports betting. So far, 10 states have a lawful sports betting market – some with mobile offerings, some without. They include, in order of implementation:

  • Nevada: Legal since 1949, Nevada was the only state to offer legalized sports betting during the 26-year reign of PASPA (1992-2018). Local sportsbooks are available within most of the state’s casinos. In 2010, mobile sports betting was added, giving punters the ability to place a legal bet from anywhere in Nevada.
  • Delaware: This state’s sports betting laws went into effect the moment PASPA’s 26-year reign ended in May 2018, thanks to a 2009 law giving DE Lottery the right to expand its parlay products. Only PASPA stood in the way. Therefore, upon its repeal, sportsbooks were instantly legal. However, wagers may only be placed at one of the state’s three land-based casinos, Delaware Park, Dover Downs or Harrington Raceway. While mobile sports betting is technically legal, no authorized provider has launched an online or mobile sports betting app.
  • New Jersey: Sports betting was legalized in New Jersey as quickly as the governor could get his signature on the bill. Within 72 hours, the first bets were taken at land-based casinos. By July 2018, online and mobile sportsbooks went live.
  • Mississippi: Legalization of sports wagers had been on the agenda since 2017 in Mississippi. Once legislation was capable of moving forward, it did so, going into effect on August 1, 2018. Like all other forms of gambling in the state, sports betting is limited to physical casinos, on land or on water, but not online.
  • West Virginia: Punters in West Virginia have been able to access retail sportsbooks since August 2018, and online sportsbooks since December 2018. However, a legal dispute caused the state’s sole mobile sports betting app to shut down that same month. No additional mobile offerings have appeared since.
  • New Mexico: While the state of New Mexico has not legalized betting on sports, one tribal casino, the Santa Ana Star, offers a legal sportsbook under its Class III gaming license. The state isn’t happy about it, but would have to amend existing laws to put a stop to it.
  • Pennsylvania: Technically, sports betting became legal in Pennsylvania the moment PASPA was lifted, but regulatory guidelines were nowhere near ready. The first sports bets were not accepted until November of 2018. Likewise, the first online and mobile sportsbooks appeared until May of 2019.
  • Rhode Island: Sports wagering was passed in June 2018, with the first bets taken at the very end of 2018. In March 2019, legislation was updated to approve mobile sports betting. Launch is pending, with the goal of offering a mobile sports product before the starts of the 2019-20 NFL regular season.
  • Arkansas: Some would say Arkansas is late to the game, but better late than never, right? The Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort is currently the only casino to offer sports betting in the state, accepting its first wagers in July 2019. Others are planning to follow suit in the coming months.
  • New York: On the law books since 2013, it took New York until July 2019 to finalize regulations and authorizations for sports betting. The first land-based offerings came along last month, but so far, the state has no plans to integrate online or mobile sports betting.

Legal But Pending Launch

The following list of US states have already moved to legalize the activity, and are currently racing to deliver a legal NFL sports betting product before September 5.

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aug 13

RTP comparison reveals the best paying slot machines in Nevada.

RTP Comparison Reveals the Best Paying Slot Machines in Nevada

When it comes to gambling, people have developed conceptions over the years as to how and where they can achieve better odds of winning. Some say it’s the games you play. Others say it’s the casino in which you play them. I (and everyone else with a higher education in gaming) say it’s both. But if there’s a specific game you want to play, location is everything!

I’m talking specifically about slot machines. Everyone knows these aren’t the best paying games overall. If you want the highest possible RTP, you have to play blackjack or video poker with a perfect strategy. That takes time and mental energy that some players simply aren’t willing to expend.

Slots fans play for the simplicity and entertainment value above all else. For these players, you won’t convince them there’s a better overall game out there. And since choice of game is out of the question, location becomes the primary focus. And with that, we’ve drug up statistical data that reveals…

…the best paying slot machines in Nevada.

Las Vegas, Nevada is the gambling mecca of the western hemisphere. When we think of casino hubs, The Vegas Stripis the first place that comes to mind. But it’s not the only place in the Silver State that caters to gamblers. There’s many more – some more famous than others. Downtown Vegas, North Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City, Henderson, Laughlin, Boulder Strip, Silver Springs, the list goes on and on.

When you compare the best paying slots from one area to the next, there are two locations that rank highest, appearing consistently on the list more than any others, Downtown Vegas and Boulder Strip. And then there’s the two obvious choices to compare – Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip.

If you think Las Vegas and The Strip are the same thing, think again. As far as reports from the state’s gaming regulators are concerned, Las Vegas refers to the casinos that are “off the Strip”. Downtown Vegas is the area North of the Strip, including Freemont Street. The Boulder Strip isn’t a single location, but rather a series of 30+ casinos that appear along a long strip of the Boulder Highway, from Downtown Vegas to Henderson and beyond.

Now that you know where they are, let’s compare the average slot machine RTP (return to player) between these four locations, based on recent data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB). For absolute accuracy, we’ll divide the payout ratios by coin denominations (penny slots, nickel slots, quarter slots, etc).

Highest Paying Slots by Denomination

Location       RTP of 1¢ Penny Slot Machines
The Strip 88.38%
Las Vegas 90.88%
Downtown Vegas 89.15%
Boulder Strip 90.38%
Location RTP of 5¢ Nickel Slot Machines
The Strip 91.64%
Las Vegas 95.29%
Downtown Vegas 93.40%
Boulder Strip 96.21%
Location RTP of 25¢ Quarter Slot Machines
The Strip 89.35%
Las Vegas 96.41%
Downtown Vegas 94.25%
Boulder Strip 96.13%
Location RTP of $1 Dollar Slot Machines
The Strip 92.43%
Las Vegas 95.39%
Downtown Vegas 94.63%
Boulder Strip 96.13%
Location RTP of All Slot Machines Combined
The Strip 91.96%
Las Vegas 93.53%
Downtown Vegas 92.67%
Boulder Strip 94.34%

Best Paying Slots are Off The Strip and Off the Grid

The table above clearly shows that the Las Vegas Strip is, in fact (and as rumored), the worst place to play slot machines. The best paying slot machines in Nevada are found on the Boulder Strip, with Off-Strip casinos in Las Vegas coming in a close second.

Not surprisingly, the penny slots are the worst of all. No matter where you play them, the best average RTP in the reporting period was only 90.88%. The highest average, 96.41%, was found on quarter slots in off-Strip Las Vegas casinos. But overall, Boulder Strip casinos had the highest RTP average out of all categories.

On a final note, you’ll find similarly high RTP slot machines entirely off the grid. The online casino industry is famous for housing the highest paying slots of all. For the month of May 2019, Royal Vegas Casino recorded an average slots RTP of 96.87%. That’s higher than any of the slot machine RTPs recorded by the NGCB in a similar time frame.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , ,

Jul 10

Canada iGaming firm The Stars Group is teaming with New York’s Akwesane Mohawk Casino for live and online sports betting; online poker to follow?

Stars Group Signs w/ Mohawk for New York iGaming

The legalization of sports betting in New York has caused quite a stir, not just in the Empire State, but across the border into Ontario and Quebec, Canada. New York happens to have a few tribal casinos near its borders, granting rather convenient access for Canadian sports fans to enter the country and place all the wagers their hearts desire.

Here in Canada, it’s not illegal to bet on sports, but it is highly restrictive. We are forced to make bets with long odds – parlays, they’re called. Multiple picks, and they must all win, or the bet is lost. For years, many Canadians have trusted offshore gambling websites to place the bets they really want. But now – or rather, very soon – New York will present the same single event betting opportunities we crave, live and in person.

Oddly enough, it’s one of our own who will operate the first sportsbook across the St. Lawrence River. The Stars Group (TSG, formerly Amaya Inc.) of Toronto have inked a deal with the Akwesane Mohawk Casino Resort to run the property’s upcoming sports betting business.

Canada iGaming Firm TSG Signs with NY’s Akwesane Mohawk Casino

Canada's TSG to supply Sportsbook for NY's Mohawk Casino, Poker to Follow?

TSG’s benchmark contract gives the Canadian firm a foothold in the budding iGaming business of New York. The group’s contract gives them operational rights over an online sportsbook for the property, and will also see them performing support services for the casino’s retail sportsbook.

TSG’s newly appointed CEO, Robin Chhabra, comments:

“We are excited to announce this agreement with Mohawk, which further strengthens our market access as we work to build our Fox Bet business into one of the leaders in the emerging U.S. online betting and gaming market.”

The terms of the agreements are extensive, giving Stars Group the right to launch its online poker and online casino offerings as well, if and when New York takes the next step to legalize those iGaming activities. TSG is, of course, the owner of PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room. And if more casinos sign sportsbook contracts with major operators like TSG, maybe it will help motivate New York legislators to move in that direction, based on the success in neighboring New Jersey, if nothing else.

At this point, it’s been widely speculated that New York will become the fifth US state to regulate online poker. No doubt Stars Group is banking on it, hoping to tap into yet another lucrative market on US soil. For the time being, their focusing on the growth of their US sports offers via another recent partnership with Fox Sports, which has the two brands collaborating on the production of Fox Bet.

PokerStars Events Getting Closer to Home?

It’s worth noting that single-event bets aren’t the only thing off limits to Canadian players. PokerStars is another area of legal contention in the Great White North. While the operator claims to accept Canadian customers, it’s no secret that their doing so teeters of the border of unlawful internet gambling.

Canada’s iGaming laws are known to be far less restrictive than our neighbors to the south. The only thing we must abide by is the law that states no entity with a physical presence in Canada may provide gambling services without a provincial license to do so.

With Toronto being home to TSG headquarters, and having no license from any provincial regulator in the country, Canadian players would be wise to keep their distance from the online poker room. But what about PokerStars Live? If the New York casino were to open a live branded poker room so close to the border, it could open the flood gates for Canadian poker pros to hit up new PokerStars sponsored events a lot closer to home. It’s all speculation for now, but I have no doubt the gears are turning in the minds of TSG executives.

written by Grameister777 \\ tags: , , , , , , , , ,