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Casino City’s Friday Five: World Series of Poker 2020 kicks off edition

3 July 2020

By Dan Ippolito
Even though we are seeing a much different edition of the World Series of Poker this year, it is officially underway. While it is not taking place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, golden bracelets will be awarded in online competitions this summer, with the first already collected. Speaking of Las Vegas, with Nevada’s COVID-19 cases increasing, is there a chance that we could see a second shut down of Sin City? Also this week, we have Monmouth Park Racetrack starting action again, along with Massachusetts casinos prepping to reopen, and Atlantic City casinos welcoming back guests.

Let’s start with some racing:

5. Monmouth Park Racetrack welcomes back racing and fans
The New Jersey racetrack is implementing new safety protocols for guests and team members as it reopens today with the first post time at 5 p.m.
  • Parking and admission will be free every day.
  • Gates will open at 11 a.m. daily.
  • All fans must enter through either the main Grandstand or Clubhouse entrances.
  • Advanced tickets are not required.
  • Prior to entry, all in attendance will receive a health check consisting of a temperature check and brief health questionnaire.
  • Masks are required to enter.
  • There will be no outside food or drink of any kind allowed during the 2020 season
  • Valet parking will not be available.

4. Is another Las Vegas closure coming?
Just two weeks after Las Vegas casinos reopened, the coronavirus has returned with a vengeance. The Governor of Nevada and the state Gaming Control Board have now made face masks mandatory, but it may be too late to stop a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Las Vegas.

State casinos, restaurants and gyms reopened at a limited capacity, Nevada and Las Vegas reported their largest single-day increases in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

Nevada joins a growing number of U.S. states setting single-day records of new coronavirus infections as the country moves toward reopening. Though Nevada’s cases are increasing, new deaths related to Covid-19 in the state have remained in the single digits since the end of May.

If there are casino closings in Las Vegas, they won’t be the first to occur in the U.S. Gaming venues in other parts of Nevada as well as Arizona and other states have once again temporarily shut down and yesterday the governor of California ordered all card rooms to close until further notice.

Visit to access a free app that tracks all of the casino openings and closings across North America.

3. Massachusetts casinos get approval to reopen Monday
As Massachusetts COVID-19 cases continue to decrease, Governor Charlie Baker announced on Thursday that casinos will be apart of the next phase of reopening which takes place on Monday, 6 July.

The three Bay State casinos are Plainridge Park Casino, Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield.

On 12 July, Encore Boston Harbor will reopen its doors to the public. The resort plans to reopen the casino gaming area and supporting food and beverage outlets around the casino. It also plans to open the hotel on a limited basis. When it re-opens, Encore Boston Harbor will bring back its employees in a thoughtful and measured protocol. Some employees working in the re-opened amenities and restaurants will return to work. Employees, who worked in areas for which a re-opening date is uncertain due to current restrictions, are being placed on furlough until further notice.

For table games at Encore and MGM, licensees will install plexiglass dividers at Blackjack-style tables no less than 5-foot-10 tall separating dealer from player positions and between player positions. There will be no more than three player positions at each blackjack-style table, with chairs for unavailable positions removed. The Commission also ruled that there will be no poker, craps or roulette until further notice.

2. Atlantic City casinos reopen
Several Atlantic City casinos have reopened after being given the go-ahead from Governor Phil Murphy, but with indoor dining, drinking and smoking inside casinos being pushed back, Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa is delaying its reopening beyond the planned 6 July date.

That being said, Resorts Casino Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Atlantic City and Golden Nugget – Atlantic City were among the casinos that did reopen yesterday.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Resorts Casino Hotel has developed a Play Safe, Work Safe operations plan to create a fun, comfortable and safe environment for guests and team members. This plan consists of comprehensive safety and social distancing protocols, some of which include thermal temperature scans for employees, protective mask requirements and limited guest capacity.

Golden Nugget - Atlantic City announced its hotel, pool and casino amenities are now open following all CDC Guidelines and recommendations.
“This is a step in the right direction to getting our employees back to work. We are following CDC, state and regulatory guidelines and taking all the prudent and essential measures to maintain a safe and clean environment for our guests and employees,” said Tilman Fertitta, Owner and CEO of Golden Nugget Casinos.

All employees and guests are required to wear masks in all public areas. Hand sanitizing stations and sanitizing wipes are readily available throughout the property. Staff will be available to help assist guests with hand sanitizing and remind guests of social distancing.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City will follow a new protocols and guidelines, some of which are listed below:
  • The gaming floor will be limited to 25% occupancy.
  • Social distancing will be enforced on the gaming floor by limiting the number of playable slot machines, gaming tables, and seats at each table.
  • Plexiglass will be installed in the following areas: Front Desk, Cage, Wild Card Services, Sportsbook and select table games.
  • Guests will be required to maintain two vacant positions between slot machines and table games played unless related or together in a group. Limited occupancy based on game configuration will take place to allow for social distancing.
  • Each table game will require casino guests to sanitize upon playing.
  • Slot Attendants will proactively sanitize machines throughout their shift.

1. First gold bracelet of WSOP 2020 is awarded
The 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Online Bracelet Events kicked off on Wednesday afternoon with Event #1: $500 No-Limit Hold'em Kickoff. The tournament attracted 1,195 runners who rebought 520 times to create a 1,715-entry field and $771,750 prize pool.

For much of the tournament, all eyes were on Phil "Lumestackin" Hellmuth as he made a run at bracelet No. 16, but he eventually fell by the wayside two spots shy of the final table.

Down the stretch, it was Ohio's Jonathan "Art.Vandelay" Dokler who sped to the finish line to capture the title for $130,425.75 and his first gold bracelet.
Casino City’s Friday Five: World Series of Poker 2020 kicks off edition is republished from

Casino City’s Friday Five: Las Vegas face mask edition

26 June 2020
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Belmont Stakes picks and predictions

19 June 2020
Earlier this week, we posted a Top 10 facts and figures article on this year’s first leg of the Triple Crown. Without major sports in the U.S., this is going to be hit by many bettors as it is one of the few big sporting events in recent months. We are just one day away from the first leg of the Triple Crown. ... (read more)

Top 10 facts and figures on the 2020 Belmont Stakes

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Dan Ippolito
As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.
Dan Ippolito
As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.