Exclusive: BetMGM to Launch Online Poker in Michigan Later This Month

Roar Digital, the US online gaming and online sports betting company representing the interests of MGM Resorts International and partypoker parent company Entain, has announced that it will be launching online poker in the state of Michigan this month.

Under the BetMGM brand, the company launched online casino games and online sports betting in Michigan on January 22 of this year. Its license to offer online gaming in the state also includes online poker.

Roar will use the BetMGM Poker brand for online poker in Michigan. The company manages several online poker brands in New Jersey including partypoker NJ, Borgata Poker, and BetMGM Poker. All of its brands in New Jersey pool their liquidity together on the partypoker US Network.

BetMGM is already live with a regulated online casino and sports betting in Michigan. Existing players verified at BetMGM Casino or BetMGM Sports will be ready to go to play on BetMGM Poker MI when it launches in the coming weeks.

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Online Poker in Michigan Growing Fast

PokerStars MI became the first online poker room to launch in Michigan on January 29, 2021, just one week after the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) authorized the grand opening of online casinos and online sportsbooks.

To say that online poker has proven popular in Michigan would be an understatement.

According to the latest cash game traffic data, seen exclusively by pokerfuse, PokerStars.MI is already the largest regulated real money online poker room in the US. Traffic at the newly launch site also exceeds the only interstate online poker network in the US, which includes WSOP NJ, WSOP NV, 888poker NJ and the three racinos in Delaware.

PokerStars MI has even managed to exceed the traffic of its sister site in Pennsylvania, PokerStars PA, despite the fact that the Keystone State has a population of nearly 3 million more than that of Michigan.

In fact, the traffic levels seen in Michigan so far represent the highest traffic levels observed at an online poker room in any US regulated market ever.

Figures tracked by GameIntel, and licensed exclusively by pokerfuse’s Poker Industry PRO, show PokerStars Michigan has averaged 410 concurrent cash game players over the last week.

That figure just exceeds that of PokerStars PA with an average of 405 concurrent cash game seats filled and is significantly greater than PokerStars NJ where the average is just 140 concurrent cash game seats filled. The WSOP/888 US Network with its six online poker rooms spread across three states averages just 275 cash games seats filled.

Later in the year, the lines between the states will continue to blur as interstate online poker is expected to expand. Michigan already has a law on the books that allows its gaming regulators to authorize online poker rooms in Michigan to combine their player pools with those in other regulated US states.

Furthermore, a decision in the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on the Wire Act handed down last month has cleared the way for state gaming regulators to authorize shared liquidity for their online poker operators without the worry of violating federal law.

BetMGM May Debut in Pennsylvania Soon

In addition to its launch in Michigan, BetMGM is also preparing to take the partypoker US Network to Pennsylvania. Roar and BetMGM were approved to offer online gaming (including online poker and casino games) and online sports betting by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) in October of last year.

And while the company has successfully launched an online casino and an online sportsbook in the state, it has yet to go live with online poker.

However, as the prospect of shared liquidity across US states where online poker is legal and regulated begins to become a reality, expect more online poker rooms to launch in Pennsylvania and in West Virginia where online poker is legal but no operator has launched presumably due to the relatively small population of the state.

Even international online poker operators that currently do not have a presences in the US are eyeing the US market as an opportunity. On Wednesday, NSUS Group, the parent company of GGPoker, the fastest growing online poker room in the world, is expected to be approved by the PGCB to offer online poker in the state.

Despite the expected approval, the debut of GGPoker PA is not expected soon, as the state gaming regulator has told pokerfuse that a test launch has not yet been scheduled.

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Posted on 11:25 pm
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5Dimes Takes A Major Step Towards Legitimacy With Isle Of Man Gaming License

Dreamstime/Tr3gi

Receiving permission to enter legal gambling markets after years of black market operations is extremely difficult. That hasn’t stopped one of the world’s largest offshore sportsbooks from trying.
5Dimes, formerly based in Costa Rica, has just scored a massive victory in that effort. The company announced on Wednesday that it has received a gaming license from the Isle of Man Supervision Commission.
It will now relaunch its international product from that jurisdiction. The Isle of Man itself is a tiny market, with a population of less than 100,000. However, its Supervision Commission has international recognition. Whereas Costa Rican sites are effectively unregulated, an Isle of Man license is an assurance to other countries that the operator is playing by the rules.
“This licensure is an exciting milestone for the 5Dimes brand,” said Laura Varela, speaking for the company’s Board of Directors. “The Isle of Man is a Tier-1 jurisdiction, known for its advanced approach to gambling and e-gaming legislation and its exceptional reputation in the international gaming community. The Isle of Man sets high standards for its gaming operators and players, and we look forward to upholding the same level of principles and innovation with the launch of 5Dimes.”
Varela is the widow of the company’s founder, William Sean “Tony” Creighton. Tragically, he was kidnapped in 2018 and later found murdered.
Creighton’s death left the company in Varela’s hands. It’s under her leadership that 5Dimes began to try to clean up its act. This began with a settlement made with the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to the tune of $46.8 million.
Initial skepticism may still prove warranted
The key in all of this is that Varela herself hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing. In fact, an investigation by US authorities found that she had no part in the company’s black market operations while Creighton was at the helm. Moreover, she entered into the settlement arrangement with the Pennsylvania authorities of her own volition.
That fact forms the basis on which Varela is attempting to steer the company towards legitimacy. Regulatory bodies vary in the extent to which they separate companies from the people who run them. Some take the position that a company’s misdeeds will follow it no matter who is at the helm. However, others are more receptive to the idea that a change in leadership can wipe the slate clean.
5Dimes suddenly stopped taking bets from US customers at the beginning of September last year. This turned out to be related to the settlement the company paid to the Pennsylvania authorities. In return for admitting to the company’s misdeeds and paying the fine, Varela received immunity from further prosecution – for herself and the company – for any crimes committed prior to September 30. US customers received instructions to withdraw their funds prior to that date.
There are still causes for concern, however. Back in September, there were reports from some US-based customers that 5Dimes representatives had directed them to another offshore site, BetAnySports. This company offers a near-identical set of products, right down to a large portion of the copy on its website. Meanwhile, 5Dimes continues to serve many gray market countries, despite having pulled out of the US and a handful of other regulated jurisdictions.
These residual stains don’t seem to have impacted its ability to get a license in the Isle of Man. Other regulators may see things differently, however.
Not all offshore regulators are equal
To someone unfamiliar with the industry, switching from Costa Rica to the Isle of Man may not seem like a big deal. Both are, in some sense, “offshore” regulatory jurisdictions. Neither can serve US customers legally, as states require companies to host their servers locally.
However, when it comes to offshore regulators, there is enormous variation in terms of level of oversight.
Costa Rica falls at one end of the extreme. Though many companies claim to be “licensed” in the country, there is in fact no such thing as a Costa Rican gaming license. Companies will pay a small amount – $4500 up front and $1950 per year – to register in the country. However, they have no oversight whatsoever, and pay no taxes so long as they don’t serve Costa Rican customers.
At the opposite extreme are the Isle of Man and Malta. They have each made a commitment to providing strict oversight to online gambling companies. That, combined with favorable tax rates, have turned international online gambling into a major industry for them. In September 2012, they pushed further in establishing their trustworthiness by entering a mutual data sharing agreement. Through this, they’ve each improved their regulatory standards, and developed the ability to assist each other in investigations.
Not every legal online gambling country insists that servers be hosted locally. Those that allow reputable, regulated offshore sites to operate tend to look for licenses from the Isle of Man and Malta. Virtually every company you’ll see operating legally in the US will have a license in one or both of these places, if it serves international customers. This includes Flutter, Entain, 888 Holdings and their various brands, among others.
PokerStars was the exception that proves the rule
After settling with US authorities, 5Dimes claimed it would apply for a New Jersey license. It hasn’t received one yet, but it hasn’t been formally rejected either. It’s unclear whether the application was ever filed, if it is still pending, or has been withdrawn.
5Dimes is popular because it has favorable lines and a good reputation compared to other offshore sites. US sports bettors are therefore hopeful about its chances. Those without a personal stake in the matter are more skeptical, however, and for good reason.
We know that it’s not impossible for a company to clean up its act and make it into legal US markets. There is exactly one example of that, namely PokerStars. It served US customers illegally from the 2006 passage of the Unauthorized Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) to the 2011 crackdown known as Black Friday.
That illegal activity has prevented PokerStars from getting licensed in Nevada. Other state regulators, however, have been more charitable. PokerStars is currently active as a poker room in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan, while its associated sportsbook Fox Bet is in all of those plus Colorado.
However, PokerStars’ entry to the US demonstrated the effort required to do so. It transformed its corporate identity and went public via a reverse merger with a much smaller company. It distanced itself not only from its original owner, Isai Scheinberg, but all its executives from that era. Finally, it spent years bending over backwards to show a proactive attitude towards compliance. That’s an effort which continues to this day.
If 5Dimes has to go to similar lengths, then its Isle of Man license is only the first of many hoops. It is, however, an important step. Moreover, the speed with which it managed it should give doubters at least a little pause.

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Posted on 11:24 pm
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New Hampshire Man Tried to Sell Gamblers Meth at Encore Boston Harbor Casino


Posted on: February 11, 2021, 01:52h. 
Last updated on: February 11, 2021, 03:05h.
A man from New Hampshire has been arrested and charged with trying to sell methamphetamine inside the Encore Boston Harbor casino resort in Everett, Ma.
A table game dealer at Encore Boston Harbor is ready to deal behind a plexiglass barrier. Police in Massachusetts say a man from New Hampshire tried to sell illegal drugs on the casino floor. (Image: Boston Herald)The Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that Matthew Gorman, 32, has been indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury. The New Hampshire man was indicted on five counts related to possession of a large-capacity firearm, two counts of possession of a loaded firearm, and one count of possession with intent to distribute a Class B Substance.  Healey’s office says an investigation conducted by the Massachusetts State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit led to Gorman’s arrest, which occurred back in September. Law enforcement says Gorman was trying to sell meth on the casino floor.When he was arrested, police found two semi-automatic pistols and three large-capacity magazines in his possession.Massachusetts’s three casinos, Encore Boston, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park, were permitted to reopen in July following state-ordered shutdowns that began in March. They’ve been required to operate at 25 percent of their fire code capacity since December.Massachusetts Casinos Have Strong Police PresenceMassachusetts legalized three commercial casino resorts plus a slots-only facility in 2011. The law mandated that each gaming property be closely monitored by the Attorney General’s Gaming Enforcement Division (GED).Last March, Encore Boston requested assistance from GED to help apprehend an unruly person in the casino’s poker room. The man, Brandon Wangnoon, 25, of Brockton, became physically aggressive and led to two state officers sustaining injuries. One police officer suffered a concussion and another back injuries. Both troopers have since recovered.Wynn Resorts, parent company to Encore Boston, says the casino is largely free of violence. The casino operator says more than 10,000 people typically visit the casino daily, and there are dozens of security and GED personnel on-site around the clock.Severe Penalties PossibleGorman is facing many years behind bars and large fines.The Commonwealth of Massachusetts says any person who knowingly or intentionally distributes a Class B controlled substance faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The penalty for someone found guilty of being in possession of a large-capacity firearm is subject to a minimum prison term of five years.Gorman will be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court at a later date.

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Posted on 11:18 pm

Premier League preview – Gameweek #24


The best football league in the world returns to action this Saturday and Sunday as some truly huge clashes will thrill football fans around the globe.Two of the biggest games of the remaining EPL Season take place over the weekend as Leicester City host Liverpool and Manchester City welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Etihad Stadium.Before we tell you the full fixture list for this weekend’s Premier League fixtures, let’s look at those two games in more details and provide you with some betting odds for a couple of value bets.Leicester City vs. Liverpool (Saturday, 12.30pm GMT kick-off)A crunch clash in the battle to finish in the top four, or another walk in the park for the current champions? In recent seasons, The Reds have dominated many teams on the road and at home, but Leicester City more than anyone. Last season’s match at the King Power Stadium effectively ended the race for the title, with second-placed Leicester summarily dismissed 4-0 by the rampant Reds. A defeat would have pulled Leicester to within seven points, but instead a win from Liverpool made the gap an unassailable 13 points.This season, the clubs are even closer, with Leicester three points clear of Liverpool in 3rd place. A win for the away side would leapfrog them into 3rd place due to their already superior goal difference, but anything other than a win would likely see Liverpool drop out of the top four, with Chelsea and West Ham trailing by just a point in their wake.With Liverpool’s defence looking all over the place at the moment and manager Jurgen Klopp in a period of private mourning for his mother, who sadly passed away this week, Liverpool don’t look likely to keep a clean sheet against the creativity of players such as Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and Jamie Vardy. By the same token, Liverpool’s front line are firing again and even in their 4-1 home humbling by Manchester City, Mo Salah got on the scoresheet.Expect goals and be prepared to cash out when the time is right.Our tips: Over 3.5 goals (15/8) and Correct Score 2-2 (14/1)Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday, 5.30pm GMT kick-off)This meeting between two teams in opposite form comes just two months before a Wembley meeting before the pair will decide which team lifts the first domestic trophy of the season.Jose Mourinho will be desperate for Spurs to get something from the game, not least because their top four hopes are hanging by a thread. Top in December, the Lilywhites could go into the game seven points behind Liverpool and Leicester, with this game and one more being in hand.That makes it even more vital that the North London side shut up shop and play on the break. That’s exactly what they did at White Hart Lane to win the first meeting between the two sides earlier in the season, when Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-Min scored the only goals of the game.This time around, Spurs go into the game struggling for form, on the back of an extra time defeat to Everton in midweek and having lost four of their last five fixtures.With the away side in poor form, it would be easy to assume that City will simply cruise home, but we think it might be a lot closer. Back the half-time draw, before City manage to clinch a late win.Our tips: Half-time draw/Full-time City win (3/1) & Manchester City to win from behind (8/1)English Premier League Gameweek 23 Fixtures:Saturday 13th FebruaryLeicester City vs. Liverpool (12.30pm GMT kick-off)Crystal Palace vs. Burnley (3pm GMT kick-off)Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (5.30pm GMT kick-off)Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Aston Villa (8pm GMT kick-off)Sunday 14th FebruarySouthampton vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (12 noon GMT kick-off)West Bromwich Albion vs. Manchester United (2pm GMT kick-off)Arsenal vs. Leeds United (4.30pm GMT kick-off)Everton vs. Fulham (7pm GMT kick-off)Monday 15th FebruaryWest Ham United vs. Sheffield United (6pm GMT kick-off)Chelsea vs. Newcastle United (8pm GMT kick-off)

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Posted on 10:55 pm
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Warning for ignition poker players


I had my poker account disabled on the client for some unknown reason and I wanted to get into contact with the Ignition support team to help me resolve it. I get on the website, go down to the help section and find the live chat assistance and get matched up with a guy who spends a couple minutes with me saying “how are you doing” and “can I have you date of birth” before he just leaves the chat. After that I tried to find another live chat assistant and apparently that was the only guy on schedule and I think well maybe its bad luck. Hours later and still nobody working. They also have an option to find help from similar situations on the forum, but guess what? Their forum doesn’t exist anymore or maybe there wasn’t one in the first place.I then try to call them on their support phone number and after getting through the automated portion they added in a new part saying that due to covid-19 they aren’t offering phone services anymore. What in the world? How do they handle customer service issues for all the people that don’t like emailing them and waiting days for a email back?I wanted to write this out because I looked in past posts about ignition account disabling and it seemed like quite a few people had major problems getting good customer service, some had funds recovered and some didn’t. Idk what ignition is going through to not be able to afford phone reps but just seemed super strange.TLDR: ignition customer service is very understaffed/not staffed at times and they laid off their entire phone reps too.Also does anyone else have problems with multiple copies of ignition lobby running in the background? I close the app but look in task manager to like 4-6 of them lagging the hell out of my pc. I’m probably going to be moving away from this soon tbh.

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Posted on 10:49 pm

Tropicana Las Vegas Listed for $384 Million, Post-Repair Value Could Be $500 Million


Posted on: February 11, 2021, 01:18h. 
Last updated on: February 11, 2021, 01:50h.
About a month after Tropicana was listed for sale again, owner Gaming & Leisure Properties (NASDAQ:GLPI) finally has an official asking price: $384 million, according to real estate web site MyHouseDeals.com.
Tropicana Las Vegas. It’s for sale for $384 million, but it may be worth more. (Image: AP News)Rumors about the fate of the venue have circulated since March 2020. That’s when GLPI acquired the property and the ground lease of an asset in Morgantown, Pa. from Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) in exchange for $337.5 million in rent credits. Today, GLPI owns Tropicana’s land, while Penn maintains operational obligations.Both the real estate and operating rights are for sale. But the aforementioned $384 million price tag references the physical asset. That asking price is well below Tropicana’s estimated worth, at least in the eyes of some.Should a buyer make needed enhancements and refurbishments, the famous gaming property could sport an after-repair value (ARV) of $500 million, according to MyHouseDeals.com. That means a buyer could walk right into $116 million in equity.
Tropicana Las Vegas could be worth more than its asking price. (Image: MyHouseDeals.com)Discount UnderstandableIt’s reasonable to ponder why the Tropicana isn’t being spruced up prior to the sale to fetch a higher price. But the strategy is easy to comprehend for investors familiar with GLPI’s way of doing business.The real estate investment trust (REIT) owns a sprawling portfolio of gaming real estate across 15 states. But its preference is for regional casinos, not destination markets such as Las Vegas. In fact, Tropicana isn’t listed on GLPI’s property roster on its web site.Assuming Tropicana Las Vegas sells, the REIT’s Nevada exposure will consist of M Resort, Spa & Casino in Henderson, Tropicana in Laughlin, and Cactus Pete’s Casino Resort in Jackpot.Penn, GLPI’s largest tenant, operates M Resort and Cactus Pete’s. But reducing its Sin City footprint makes sense as well, because at its core, the company is a regional gaming firm — the largest in the US.Expect Plenty of SuitorsGLPI hasn’t identified potential buyers for Tropicana. But last year executives from the company said there was plenty of interest, though much of that boiled down to tire-kicking, not actual dealmaking.With rumors swirling that Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:CZR) could soon put Planet Hollywood on the block, there could be competition among sellers looking to unload Strip assets. There’s also likely to be a receptive audience for both venues. The coronavirus pandemic depressed gaming real estate prices, meaning it’s a buyer’s market.The Strip casino real estate rumor mill usually kicks up private equity companies, tribal gaming entities, and operators currently lacking exposure to the US gaming mecca. To that last point, Bally’s Corp. (NYSE:BALY) is a name to remember for several reasons.First, the Rhode Island-based company has a deeply acquisitive history. Second, it has no Las Vegas footprint. Finally, it has a relationship with GLPI, as it leases Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Delaware and Tropicana Evansville in Indiana from the REIT.

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Posted on 9:51 pm

Google Play Store to Lift Ban on Gambling Apps


The online casino industry has grown and spread across various devices to increase convenience.
With the mobile gambling industry taking off only a few years ago there have been several kinks to sort out.
One is the struggle of having access to proper gambling apps due to regulatory restrictions and device fine print.
Mobile players can start rejoicing as Google’s Play Store has lifted the ban on Gambling Apps in over a dozen countries recently.
Google Lifts the Gambling App Ban
Mobile gambling is not a new way of playing online casino games, but gambling apps have been banned in the majority of countries. Some apps have been made available but for players, this generally meant a more tedious download process.
With Google’s recent Google Play Store policy update the ban on gambling apps has been lifted across 15 countries. Meaning more countries will now enable you to download your favourite online casino’s mobile app straight from the Google Play Store.
Based on the new policy update the Gambling App ban will be lifted in 15 countries from 1 March 2021. The list of countries includes Germany, Mexico, Romania, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Australia, Colombia Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, and the USA.
Once the policy comes into effect developers will have the ability to publish online casino games, lotteries, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports apps. The updated Real-Money Gambling, Games, and Contests policy is thought to be one of benefit for both users and developers.
It should be noted that even with the ban lifted the current gambling regulations in the country will still affect which apps are allowed on the Google Play Store. With some countries having stricter rules and regulatory restrictions in place than others when it comes to online gambling activities.
In some country’s operators will only be allowed to offer lottery apps, whereas in the UK the restrictions vary depending on the different states. Thus, app developers will have to do a thorough investigation before releasing any apps.
Operators Required to Apply
Players should not expect there to be a massive influx in new apps available for download once the ban is lifted. As always Google will have a strict application process in place which all developers are required to follow. If the application is successful, the app will be loaded onto the Play Store.
During the application process, developers will need to ensure apps are licensed under current gambling regulations of the country where it will be sold. As this also ensures Google stays on the right side of the law and keeps illegal apps from being promoted on Google Play Store.
With apps readily available for download via the Google Play Store operators will have the opportunity to reach a wider audience and expand their target market. It also increases the number of opportunities available for affiliates of the casino brands.
The ban on Google Play Store gambling apps will only be lifted on the 1st of March so until then no new additions should be expected.

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Posted on 9:39 pm
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UFC 258 odds: Usman set to battle Burns


Odds courtesy of OddsShark.comNow that the NFL season is officially finished, the UFC will help to fill the sports betting void on most weekends and there’s a terrific card at UFC 258 on Saturday night from the organization’s APEX facility in Las Vegas headlined by a welterweight title fight between champion Kamara Usman and Gilbert Burns. The main card begins at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view, meaning this bout should start around midnight.The 33-year-old Usman (17-1) was born in Nigeria but his family moved to the United States when he was eight years old and Usman now fights out of Florida. The UFC ranks him as the No. 5 pound-for-pound fighter but there are more than a few MMA fans who think Usman, a former collegiate wrestling All-American, should be No. 1.“The Nigerian Nightmare” lost his second professional fight to Jose Caceres in May 2013 by first-round submission in the Championship Fighting Alliance but hasn’t lost since. Usman won the welterweight belt at UFC 235 with a unanimous decision over Tyron Woodley, who was around a -215 betting favorite.Usman was priced in that range in his first title defense and beat Colby Covington by fifth-round TKO at UFC 259 in December 2019. Title defense No. 3 was supposed to be against Burns last July at UFC 251, but Burns withdrew about a week beforehand after testing positive for COVID-19. Burns was replaced by Jorge Masvidal and Usman beat him by unanimous decision even though Usman was fighting with a broken nose suffered in training. He was immediately placed on a six-month medical suspension after the bout.Five straight Usman bouts have gone to the fifth round and nine of his victories overall are by the judges, with seven by KO/TKO and one by submission. He is a -275 favorite Saturday.The 34-year-old Burns, from Brazil, is 19-3 and ranked as the No. 2 welterweight behind Covington. “Durinho” brings a six-fight winning streak into the Octagon. He was a +140 underdog last time out against Woodley in May but won by unanimous decision. This will be Burns’ first title shot. He wins the majority of the time by submission (42 percent) with two of three losses via decision. Burns is priced at +215.Also on the card is a middleweight bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Ian Heinisch, both Americans. Gastelum (16-6) fought for the interim middleweight belt against current champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 235 and lost by unanimous decision. The 29-year-old Gastelum, ranked No. 9 in the division, has lost two more fights since. The 32-year-old Heinisch (14-3) is ranked No. 15 and this will be his most accomplished opponent to date. Gastelum is -230 and Heinisch +180.

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Posted on 9:36 pm

Felony Charge Added to Accused Murderer of Poker Player Susie Zhao

February 11, 2021
Chad Holloway

There was an update this week in the case against 60-year-old Jeffery Morris, who is set to stand trial for the July 2020 murder of poker player Susie “Susie Q” Zhao.
Aileen Winblad of The Oakland Press reported that the case has been sent back to the district court by Judge Martha Anderson of the Oakland County Circuit Court so that prosecutors can add a new charge of felony murder.
There will now be a preliminary exam regarding the new charge before it can officially be added.
Morris, a convicted sex offender, was already charged with first-degree premeditated murder of the 33-year-old Zhao, whose body was found badly burned and damaged on July 13, 2020. According to an autopsy, Zhao was burned alive and had been sexually assaulted.
Police in White Lake, Michigan subsequently arrested Morris following the highly publicized murder. The new charge of felony murder – which means murdering someone while committing a felony – is essentially chief assistant prosecuting attorney David Williams hedging his bet as the more charges the better chance Morris will be convicted on at least one of them. Michigan does not have the death penalty, meaning Morris faces the possibility of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.
Zhao was known in poker for a few deep World Series of Poker Main Event runs and occasional appearances on the live-streamed cash game “Live at the Bike.” She had reportedly moved back in with family in Michigan after spending previous years as a regular cash player in the L.A. area.
According to The Hendon Mob, Zhao had amassed $222,671 in lifetime tournament earnings, including a career-best $73,805 for finishing 90th in the 2012 WSOP Main Event.
Susie Zhao
Details of the Case
In a press conference held last year, police said Zhao and Morris met the night before the murder at a motel at which Zhao had visited on multiple occasions. At the time, police said the investigation into any possible relationship between the two remains ongoing.
They also said Zhao’s poker or other gambling activities aren’t believed to be a factor in the case.
Morris claimed that after spending time with Zhao at Sherwood Motel, where they consumed alcohol, that she left around midnight “and took all of her belongings including her cell phone with her.” However, cell phone records indicated that it did not leave the property until around 5 a.m., which is when surveillance footage revealed Morris drove to the state park where Zhao’s remains were found.
Potential evidence was also discovered in Morris’ vehicle. Also discovered were duffle bags containing an apparently-bloodied bed sheet and a wooden baseball bat. Both items are being tested at a crime lab.
Morris is currently being held without bail at the Oakland County Jail with his next court date to be determined.
*Lead image Facebook; Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

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Posted on 9:35 pm

Texas Lieutenant Governor sheds doubt on the possibility of legalized sports betting

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has basically shut down any hope of sports betting legislation being approved this session. Patrick spoke with a local radio show this week, stating that the option was not going to see the light of day during this current legislative session. The Lt. Governor continues to put a negative spin on the option and says he had never been in favor of legalization.
Not Going to Happen
In speaking with KFYO, Patrick pointed out he has never been in favor of sports betting in Texas, and every year, he seems the same effort to push for legalization. He says each year, proponents say that $150 million in revenues could be produced from the industry, and while that is a lot of money, it is only half a day of the yearly budget.

Patrick says that people were fooled years ago when lottery legislation was being considered, as it was touted as a way to pay for education. However, it pays for a ‘couple of days of education,’ according to Patrick. The Lt. Governor says any pitch involving sports betting or casinos in Texas needs to discuss the jobs and tourism the industries can create.
Not Enough Support
Currently, there is not enough support in the legislature to see any sports betting measure move forward. According to the Lt. Governor, the Senate does not have enough votes to amend the constitution to allow sports betting, which is what must happen to move forward with the option.
In the Senate, there is an 18-13 republican majority. A total of 21 votes would be needed to allow a constitutional amendment to be considered by voters. The Lt. Governor also pointed out that there are stakeholder issues that are also standing in the way of legislation passing into law.
Stakeholders cannot seem to get on the same page when it comes to sports betting. Pro sports teams in the state are in support of a bill that would make the team’s license holders. Then you also have casino interests wanting to be licensed along with opposition from tribes in Oklahoma and religious groups.
For right now, there is legislation on the table regarding sports betting. In January, Representative Harold Dutton filed a measure, though it has not made any movement yet. This week, Senator Roland Gutierrez filed a measure to amend the constitution to allow casino gaming and this measure does have support, including from the Las Vegas Sands.
While there is gambling legislation up for consideration, it seems there may not be enough support to move things along like many would hope possible.

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Posted on 9:12 pm