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sabato 23 gennaio 2021

Allied Esports Entertainment sells World Poker Tour to Element Partners

Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc., a global esports entertainment company, and Element Partners, LLC, a privately-held investment vehicle, today announced a definitive agreement under which Element will acquire the Company’s poker-related business and assets, including the entities comprising the World Poker Tour.

Under the terms of the agreement, Element will acquire World Poker Tour for a total of $78,250,000, consisting of a $68,250,000 upfront payment and a fully guaranteed revenue share of 5% of WPT-branded tournament entry fees on Element-owned or licensed gaming platforms, up to a maximum of $10 million, payable over three years after closing. The Company’s Board of Directors has approved the transaction, which is expected to close in late January or early February 2021, assuming the Company’s shareholders approve the transaction and following required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Furthermore, the rapid growth and popularity of gaming and esports during the COVID-19 pandemic has driven strategic interest in the Company’s esports business, Allied Esports, and the Company’s Board has agreed to explore strategic options for the esports business, including a possible sale. The Company has engaged Lake Street Capital Markets to assist with the process. At this time, no potential or particular buyer has been identified and there are no initial or ongoing negotiations in respect of the sale of the esports business.

Upon completion of the WPT transaction, and assuming the realization and completion of the possible sale of the esports business, Allied Esports Entertainment would proceed, under a new name, as a publicly traded holding company focused on using its cash resources to explore opportunities in online entertainment, including but not limited to, real money gaming and other gaming sectors.

Frank Ng, CEO of Allied Esports Entertainment, commented, “Despite the many challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the WPT business has delivered substantial, impactful results, specifically through its online platforms and services, and has made meaningful contributions for the Company. In addition, Allied Esports, with its world-renowned HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas and best-in-class production services, has generated market attention as the esports industry gained momentum during the pandemic.”

Mr. Ng continued, “Due to COVID-19’s impact on the Company’s overall revenue generation and profitability timeline, we believe the forthcoming sale of the WPT business will garner significant capital and an avenue to determine new opportunities that will deliver accelerated returns for our stakeholders.”

The World Poker Tour has grown considerably since its 2002 inception. Today, its iconic television show is seen worldwide by more than 150 million people annually, WPT events are held on five continents, and the company has awarded more than $1 billion in prize money. WPT initially went public in 2003 and was later purchased by PartyGaming for $12 million and a related revenue share. In 2015, the Company was purchased for $35 million by Ourgame International Holdings Limited and then acquired by NASDAQ-listed Black Ridge Acquisition Corp. with a value of $50 million in 2019 as part of a larger deal that led to the listing of the company as Allied Esports Entertainment.

2020 was an exceptional year for WPT’s online and interactive services pillars of its business model. With in-person events postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19, WPT’s flagship online subscription platform, ClubWPT, increased new registrations by 61% through the third quarter of 2020, exceeding registrations during the full year of 2019. Total subscription revenue for ClubWPT was also up 56% year-over-year during the same time. The shift online also fostered WPT’s largest event in its 18-year history with 2,130 entries for the WPT Online Championship on partypoker and the company’s largest series, also on partypoker, the WPT World Online Championships featuring a $100 million guaranteed prize pool.

The WPT television show, which has been on linear television since 2003, also reached new heights in distribution in 2020, peaking in global viewership on both linear and OTT platforms last year. In the third quarter of 2020, OTT household viewership increased 368% compared to the same period in 2019, while third quarter 2020 linear household viewership was up 77% over the prior year period.

Adam Pliska, the long-time CEO of the WPT, stated, “I want to thank Frank Ng and the entire AESE management team for its support in allowing WPT to flourish during this period. My management team and I are excited about this next chapter and the tremendous new opportunities for the WPT brand and business.”
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BetMGM signs Chris Chelios as brand ambassador

BetMGM, the market-leading sports betting and online gaming platform, announced today the signing of Hockey Hall of Fame member and three-time Stanley Cup champion Chris Chelios to a multi-year deal as a celebrity brand ambassador. BetMGM will partner with the Detroit Red Wings legend on fan engagements, marketing campaigns and public appearances, among other interactive and promotional opportunities.

"BetMGM is at the forefront of an exciting time for the sports betting industry," said Chelios. "I'm proud to be associated with the BetMGM brand and the long-standing commitment to Michigan through MGM Grand Detroit."

Chelios enjoyed a 26-season career in the National Hockey League, having played with the Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Atlanta Thrashers. BetMGM is an Official Partner of the Detroit Red Wings, with whom Chelios won two Stanley Cup titles. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

Matt Prevost, Chief Revenue Officer, BetMGM, said, "It's an amazing privilege to have Chris Chelios join our team. The BetMGM app is scheduled to go live in Michigan on Friday and we look forward to delivering our customers once-in-a-lifetime experiences with the all-time great."

As a BetMGM brand ambassador, Chelios will make regular guest appearances on Detroit's WXYT 97.1-FM The Ticket and provide unique content for BetMGM's social media channels and marketing campaigns. He also will engage with BetMGM customers and MGM Resorts' M life Rewards members through public and private events.

The BetMGM app will be available for download in Michigan on both iOS and Android as of Friday, Jan. 22 and is currently live in eight states including Nevada, New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.
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sabato 16 gennaio 2021

Americas Cardroom publishes article on the world of Twitch poker

Americas Cardroom today announced that it has published an informative article about the Twitch poker scene on its website. "What You Need to Know About Twitch Poker" is the 7th installment in the U.S.-facing cardroom's definitive series of essential poker articles.

Americas Cardroom's freshly published article serves as both an introduction to the world of poker on Twitch and a practical guide to harnessing the popular streaming service for profit. It's also a valuable resource to webmasters looking for relevant, informative and engaging content for their readers.

"Although poker content on Twitch is booming, it still isn't top-of-mind for most online poker players. There's a misconception, especially among older players, that Twitch is for games like League of Legends, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Counter Strike. Yet the streaming site is a perfect match for poker players," stated Americas Cardroom spokesperson Michael Harris. "Our article clears up some of the Twitch misconceptions, explores the types of poker content available on it, introduces players to the concept of content creation, and explains how players can cash in on the trend."

The article begins by introducing the streaming service and examining how Twitch and poker are complementary. Readers learn that Twitch isn't just convenient, it's a poker goldmine that gives fans access to everything from tutorials and discussions of the game to livestreams of huge tourneys.

After the reader learns about the benefits of Twitch, the article describes how to become a poker streamer in five simple steps. With easy-to-follow instructions, even absolute novices can become part of Twitch's online poker community and start streaming their own play in a matter of minutes. Would-be streamers will also learn about the sorts of gear they'll need to thrive online.

Once readers are acquainted with the basics, they'll learn how Twitch streamers make money. The article even spells out how to become a Twitch affiliate and earn coveted partner status on the platform before it delves into other monetizing strategies. It concludes by answering seven frequently asked questions that every player will want to know the answers to.
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Intertops Poker unveils new Golden Horns slot

As the world prepares to ring in the Chinese Year of the Ox, Intertops Poker unveils its new Golden Horns slot game. The latest in Betsoft's Red Dragon line of Asian-themed games, Golden Horns features an animated gilded Ox that can trigger incredible payouts.

This weekend, all active players get 10 free spins on the new Chinese slot game.

"You don't have to do anything to claim these free spins," explained Intertops Poker's casino manager. "Just log on and start playing. Your first 10 spins are free!".

Golden Horns has just three reels and one fixed payline. A magnificent Money Tree, ornate jeweled Koi and lavish jade Frogs spin on its golden reel. The Golden Ox is Wild. Three Golden Ox symbols triggers the Charge of the Wild Ox: an instant payout of 288x the bet with an up to 88X multiplier.

The Red Dragon games collection of Chinese games includes the mouthwatering Dim Sum Prize with sticky buns and sticky Wilds, and the epic Quest to the West with new "Walking Wilds".
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MGM Grand Detroit reopens poker room

DETROIT - MGM Grand Detroit Casino reopened its poker room on Friday with new COVID-19 safety protocols in place. The poker room is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with $1/$2 and $2/$5 No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, $2/$4 Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, and $2/$5 Pot-Limit Omaha. Additional game types are available based on player request and demand.
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sabato 9 gennaio 2021

Governor Cuomo pushing to legalize mobile sports betting


NEW YORK - Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced legislation to authorize mobile sports wagering as part of the 2021 State of the State. Under Governor Cuomo's proposal, the New York State Gaming Commission will issue a request for proposals to select and license a sports operator or platform to offer mobile sports wagering in New York. This operator or platform must have a partnership with one of the existing licensed commercial casinos. The Commission will also require any entity operating mobile wagering apps include safeguards against abuses and addiction. 

Governor Cuomo: "Yes, look, we're going to turn to Washington for compensation as crime victims, as I call it with a slight rhetorical flourish. But we're also going to do our part to raise revenue and two places where we can raise revenue - one is sports betting and I'm going to ask Rob to explain how we want to do sports betting. We want to do sports betting the way the State runs the lottery, Marcia, where the State gets the revenues. Many states have done sports betting but they basically allow casinos to run their own gambling operations. That makes a lot of money for casinos, but it makes minimal money for the state. I'm not here to make casinos a lot of money, I'm here to raise funds for the state. So, we have a different model for sports betting. And then recreational marijuana, I think this should've been passed years ago. I think too many people have been imprisoned, and incarcerated, and punished. Too many of those people are Black, Latino, and poor. It's exaggerated the injustice of the justice system. So, I've supported it for years. I've tried to pass it, but this is a year where we do need the funding, and a lot of New Yorkers are struggling. So, I think this year will give us the momentum to get it over the goal line. Rob, do you want to speak about sports betting though? Because there's a very big difference in the way we intend to do it."
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WSOP announces Online Circuit Series for 2021 season

The WSOP Online Circuit Series kicks off 14 January with the first in a slate of online tournaments marking the beginning of a new season of Circuit Events for 2021. As live poker remains a challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 season will be expanded online. With comprehensive leaderboards and ranking systems, the 13 online events will include added prize money and more than 180 WSOP Gold Rings.

WSOP.com will be the official home for a comprehensive new season of WSOP Circuit Events in the U.S., with incentives and a championship model reminiscent of its live counterpart. The WSOP Online Circuit Series will have an online festival monthly in 2021 on WSOP.com - Nevada and WSOP.com - New Jersey. An additional 13th online circuit event is earmarked pending launch of the WSOP.COM service in a newly regulated market.

All tournament series will feature 12 official WSOP gold ring events, with four special “Super Circuits” having an expanded slate of 18 gold ring events, including $1,000 and $2,000 high roller events and a $500 PLO tournament. New for 2021, some tournaments will be co-branded with official host casino venues, highlighting “cash at the cage” buy-in and cash out availability while offering its out-of-market players special promotional rates to stay onsite.

“Players deserve great tournaments and great value year-round, and that’s what we aim to do with the 2021 WSOP Online Circuit Series,” said Ty Stewart, WSOP Executive Director. “We’ve been thrilled with the big prize pools for WSOP.COM events in 2020, and we only expect to see that grow with this new model.”

In total, the WSOP Online Circuit Series will offer over $600,000 in added prize money across a variety of promotions and events. Each gold ring event will assign leaderboard points for “in the money” performances, which will be tracked to create eligibility for freeroll events and other incentives. Information on the WSOP Online Circuit Series rankings methodology is available at WSOP.COM.
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APCW Perspectives: Coronavirus closures and massive mergers

The world is still a crazy place for our first show of 2021, as a new strain of coronavirus has caused another closure of casinos in the U.K. Also, industry news on a potential merger involving MGM Resorts and Entain, while another country has found a permanent way to stop online gambling.
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sabato 2 gennaio 2021

Huckleberry Seed newest member of Poker Hall of Fame

1996 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Huckleberry “Huck” Seed is the 2020 inductee to the Poker Hall of Fame.

In addition to being a fixture of high stakes cash games for several decades, Seed has several notable tournament wins, including four (4) World Series of Poker gold bracelets. Seed won the 2009 NBC Heads up Tournament for $500,000 and the 2010 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. His total live tournament winnings are currently $7,649,864.

Seed, a Las Vegas resident, stands 6-foot-7 and was an all-state basketball player in Montana for Corvallis high school. He went on to star on the basketball team at Caltech college, where he studied electrical engineering. Away from the table, there are many tall tales of Seed’s wagers, Nicknamed the “Master of the Prop Bet,” additional Seed bets included he could train his long frame to do a standing backflip within six months and not shave for an entire year.

“Hearing the news that I am being inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame this year brought back memories of my early poker days, walking into the Binion’s Horseshoe, about to start a poker session, admiring all the Poker Hall of Famers on the wall,” Seed said. “It feels good to be included with all the poker legends that I once idolized and competed against over the years. Thank you everyone.”
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Mohegan Sun reopens poker room

Mohegan Sun Poker has made its return and will be open daily from 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. With health & safety being the top priority, the Poker Room reopens at under one third of its total tables, will feature a max of seven players at a table at once and will incorporate safety shields for players and dealers. Spectators, as well as food, will not be permitted in the Poker Room, and guests must sanitize hands with easily accessible hand sanitizer before touching cards.

The Mohegan Sun Poker Room temporarily closed down in mid-March 2020, along with Mohegan Sun as a whole, due to the pandemic. Mohegan Sun, after investing more than $1 million in health and safety protocols across property, reopened to the public on 1 June.
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sabato 19 dicembre 2020

Harrah's Resort Atlantic City reopening World Series of Poker Room

Harrah's Resort Atlantic City will reopen its World Series of Poker Room this month as the official destination for poker at Caesars Entertainment's Atlantic City casinos. The iconic brand of poker will resume operations for the first time since March on Saturday, 26 December at noon, with enhanced health and safety protocols at the forefront of the experience to ensure the well-being of players and team members.

Harrah's Resort will be the first casino in the market to offer an eight player game, with individual safety shields made of plexiglass for each guest to ensure social distance between players. Additional plexiglass will be installed on each game for the safety of dealers, as well as players.

Harrah's Resort is thrilled to re-open our World Series of Poker room just in time for the new year, which will serve as the destination for poker in Atlantic City at our Caesars Entertainment resorts, explained Ron Baumann, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Harrah's and Caesars. We've spent the last several months ensuring we had enhanced health and safety measures in place, so both our players and team members can feel confident when they play at Harrah's, while allowing us to take an important step forward in responsibly returning more of our table games product to the market.
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Poker Hall of Fame finalists announced

Following nearly two weeks of open nominations for the Poker Hall of Fame, today the list of ten finalists was announced. These finalists will now be considered by living members of the hall of fame, who will allocate a ballot of 10 total points to any or all of the nominees to decide who will be inducted. The 2020 Finalists are (in alphabetical order): Patrik Antonius; Lon McEachern and Norman Chad; Eli Elezra; Antonio Esfandiari; Chris Ferguson; Ted Forrest; Mike Matusow; Matt Savage; Isai Scheinberg; Huckleberry Seed;

There are three new finalists in the 2020 class, including Lon McEachern and Norman Chad becoming the first “duo” nominated for induction due to their outstanding contributions to the WSOP broadcasts on ESPN, Patrik Antonius and Isai Scheinberg. Six of the nominees were also finalists in 2019, with another, long-time tournament director Matt Savage, a finalist in previous years.

The Poker Hall of Fame criteria remains the same as previous years, A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition Be a minimum of 40-years-old at time of nomination Played for high stakes Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers Stood the test of time Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results. The 2020 inductees will be announced Wednesday, 30 December prior to the WSOP Main Event finale at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

It is expected that a formal induction ceremony will take place later in 2021.
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APCW Perspectives: Saying goodbye to 2020

Our last show of 2020 says goodbye with a story that some think could bring an end to the Swedish online gambling market. Also, news from the U.S. about problem gaming, underage gaming, and credit cards.
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sabato 12 dicembre 2020

IGT selling gaming business for €950 million

International Game Technology PLC today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Lottomatica Holding S.r.l. has signed a definitive agreement to sell 100% of the share capital of Lottomatica Videolot Rete S.p.A. and Lottomatica Scommesse S.r.l., the members of the IGT group which conduct its Italian B2C gaming machine, sports betting, and digital gaming businesses, to Gamenet Group S.p.A., a subsidiary of funds managed by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, Inc. (together with its subsidiaries, a leading global alternative investment manager.

"The transaction enables IGT to monetize its leadership positions in the Italian B2C gaming machine, sports betting, and digital spaces at an attractive multiple to comparable Italian transactions, providing us with enhanced financial flexibility," said Marco Sala, CEO of IGT. "Aligning with our recent reorganization, the favorable rebalancing of our business and geographic mix reframes and simplifies our priorities while improving the Company's future profit margin, cash flow generation, and debt profile."

The transaction values the businesses being sold at an enterprise value of approximately €1.1 billion. The businesses being sold generated about €207 million in aggregated adjusted EBITDA1 in 2019, placing the transaction in the upper band of valuation ranges achieved by the most recent Italian benchmarks. The sale price is €950 million, with €725 million payable at closing, €100 million payable on December 31, 2021, and the remaining €125 million payable on September 30, 2022. The deferred payments are not subject to any conditions other than closing and are secured by an equity commitment letter from the Apollo-managed funds. IGT will use net proceeds from the transaction primarily to reduce debt.

The Board of Directors of IGT has unanimously approved the transaction, which remains subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. IGT expects that the transaction will close in the first half of 2021.

Credit Suisse International is acting as lead financial advisor to IGT, UBS is acting as financial advisor and fairness opinion advisor to IGT and its Board of Directors, and White & Case and NCTM are advising IGT. Mediobanca, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and the Italian offices of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP and Latham & Watkins, LLP are advising the buyer.
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New Year's Eve will look different in Las Vegas

New Year’s Eve celebrations will look different this year, with many of Las Vegas’ well-known traditions on-hold. However, Vegas will still own the title of ‘America’s Party’ guaranteed to bring the phrase “out with the old, in with the new” to life, in real time. On 31 December, log in online or Vegas’ Facebook, and YouTube channels – for a livestream countdown to midnight for an Only Vegas celebration, complete with a live DJ and epic sights that cannot be missed. While the physical event is not open to the public, guests from around the world can celebrate virtually. Las Vegas enthusiasts can even share what they are most looking forward to in the new year for a chance to win trips to the destination in 2021.

When the countdown clock strikes zero, get ready for what Vegas is well known for: a blast. Experience a burst of color and sound as 2020 is literally blown away and 2021 is ushered in. A 2020 sign will be lit up – and then blown up – in spectacular fashion. A DJ will then begin the new year with a celebration of music when a massive LED lit 2021 sign is revealed along with an eruption of confetti, streamers and fireworks. The 12-15-minute colorful pyrotechnic spectacular is the perfect way to ring in a much-anticipated new year.

“We know that celebrating New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas is a bucket list item and a long-held tradition,” said Steve Hill, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “Although many visitors from around the country and the world will not be able to join us in person to turn the calendar, this virtual event will allow us to share our enthusiasm and excitement with Vegas fans near and far as we look toward a brighter 2021.” No matter where they may be, visitors will still be able to celebrate safely and virtually from their own homes with hundreds of thousands of other revelers the Only Vegas way.
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