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Smiljkovic Leads Final 25 in the MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event
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The $1,100 MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event field is down to only 25 players and it is Daniel Smiljkovic who leads the way. Smiljkovic is one of two players who finished Day 2 with a stack containing more than 100 million chips, 133,639,726 to be exact. Smiljkovic has more than $3.4 million in online poker tournament cashes thanks, in part, to a near $50,000 score right here at partypoker. The Austrian won the High Roller One Shot in early February. Finishing fourth or betting in the MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event will best that impressive result. Hungarian Laszlo Molnar is the other player with a nine-figure stack, namely 127,876,651 chips. Molnar is best known for his high stakes cash game grinding, but he certainly knows his way around a tournament table. It would take a brave person to bet against Molnar going all the way now that he’s so deep stacked. Jamie O’Connor is another player to look out for when play resumes at 19:05 GMT on February 16. O’Connor won The Big Game on Sunday and now finds himself with enough chips for fourth-place when play in the MILLIONS Online Mini Main Event resumes. Some of the other players to keep an eye on include start of Day 2 chip leader Sebastian Henao (66,391,911), and Irish Poker Masters Main Event champion Will Kassouf (26,467,500). MILLIONS Online #01 Mini Main Event Top 10 Chip Counts Place Player Country Chips 1 Daniel Smiljkovic Austria 133,639,726 2 Laszlo Molnar Hungary 127,876,651 3 Leonid Orman Russia 69,596,672 4 Jamie O’Connor United Kingdom 68,136,629 5 Sebastian Henao Mexico 66,391,911 6 Jon De Antonana Malta 63,121,950 7 Francois Pirault United Kingdom 62,496,167 8 Justin Ouimette Canada 62,015,858 9 Rui Da Silva Croatia 60,684,243 10 Carlos Chadha-Villamarin Canada 60,478,888 Arikan Takes Down Mini Second Chance Event Murat Arikan took down the MILLIONS Online #02 Mini Second Chance Turbo and turned his $530 into $14,821. A field of 121 players took to the felt and only 20 of them saw a return on their investment. Sweden’s Andreas Berggren was the unfortunate soul who burst the money bubble, paving the way for the likes of Joseph Cheong, Roberto Romanello and Diego Cuellar to cash. High stakes guru Byron Kaverman was the first finalist to fall. Sarah Forbes, Kasper Juulsen, Arnaud Enselme, and Brener Vicente followed Kaverman to the rail. Rick De Boer and Alastair Smith crashed out to leave Arikan and Stoyan Kitanov heads-up. Arikan got the job done and collected the $14,821 top prize, leaving Kitanov to console himself with the $9,537 runner-up prize. MILLIONS Online #02 Mini Second Chance Turbo Final Table Results Place Player Country Prize 1 Murat Arikan Netherlands $14,821 2 Stoyan Kitanov Bulgaria $9,537 3 Alastair Smith United Kingdom $6,543 4 Rock De Boer Netherlands $4,626 5 Brener Vicente Brazil $3,433 6 Arnaud Enselme United Kingdom $2,474 7 Kasper Juulsen Denmark $2,322 8 Sarah Forbes Canada $1,974 9 Byron Kaverman Canada $1,637 What’s In Store On February 16? There’s plenty of MILLIONS Online action on February 16. First, the Mini Main Event plays down to its final table and we can’t wait to see who reaches it. At the same time, 19:05, some of the world’s best players will battle it out in the MILLIONS Online #03 6-Max High Roller, a $10,300 buy-in one-day event with $500,000 guaranteed. An hour later, at 20:05 GMT, is the MILLIONS Online #04 6-Max High Roller Turbo, a $5,200 buy-in one-day event with $200,000 guaranteed. Love poker? Join party! If you’re ready to jump into the action, then click here to download partypoker and get started! If you already have an account with us, click here to open partypoker and hit the tables!
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PokerStars Rolls Out New LSNG Leaderboard Promotion, Tetris + Spin & Go
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PokerStars has rolled out Tetris + Spin & Go, a temporary takeover of their ultra-popular lottery sit and go game with a new theme and a lucrative new promotion for players. F5poker first revealed that PokerStars was working on such a promotion back in September 2020. On Monday, it deployed globally on most licenses on the global dot-com pool as well as on France and Spain, part of the European shared liquidity network. The Spin and Go lobby in the client has been redesigned with a Tetris aesthetic, as have the tables. The game itself remains unchanged—fast, winner-takes-all sit and gos with a random top prize. What is new is the promotion on top: Tetris-themed leader boards. While the mechanics are fairly complicated—it involves Line Clears, Levels and Game Scores—it boils down to daily player rankings where cash prizes are given out to the highest volume players. For players that fall outside the cash prizes, the operator has a $5000 daily prize draw for players that finished in the top 500. In total, the operator says that over $1.5 million will be paid out in the dot-com market and almost as much—€1 million—in the Southern European market from now until the end of March. This works out at over $33,000 daily in dot-com, and €23,000 in Southern Europe. It appears to replace the previous long-running Spin & Go 20 and 50 leader boards. This had given away just over $20,000 a day and had run throughout much of 2020.
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partypoker’s Patrick Leonard Looking Forward to “Special” MILLIONS Online
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February 16, 2021 Will Shillibier The MILLIONS Online on partypoker is underway! The Mini Main Event attracted over 1,000 entries this weekend to kick off the festival in spectacular fashion. If you missed the Mini Main Event, there will be plenty more opportunities to take part in what promises to be one of the biggest online festivals of the year. And there's one person in particular that is looking forward to the next few weeks - partypoker Ambassador Patrick Leonard. Head to the NEW partypoker HubWant to stay up-to-date on all the latest partypoker news right here on PokerNews? Why not try out the new partypoker Hub! MILLIONS Online is "Special" Leonard is no stranger to success in partypoker online events, having previously final-tabled the WPT World Online Championships Micro Main Event last September. Now it's time for another huge online festival, and Leonard says the MILLIONS Online is "always exciting." "Poker players have been spoiled over the last 12 months with online festivals," said Leonard. "But the MILLIONS Online always feels that little bit special. There were over 140 people satellited into the Mini Main Event on the weekend. The fields are always incredible." Join the illustrious club of #MILLIONS Champions! There are now # 20 x $5,300 seats guaranteed # to the $5m Guarant… https://t.co/XU6KNa6ajp— partypoker (@partypoker) The MILLIONS has a strong history in the live felt, with events in Las Vegas, Rio de Janeiro, Nottingham and Sochi to name but a few. With the events now being held online, Leonard says that he is starting to miss the live scene more and more. "MILLIONS UK has definitely been a big miss for me at Dusk till Dawn. I do miss the local UK scene. I'm looking forward to being able to see everyone in person again. "Most of my close friends don't travel for live events, and I way prefer the online environment. But it's great that people who would normally travel to play all the live stops have had the chance to play these prestigious series online instead." Read More: partypoker MILLIONS Online Schedule Leonard Predicts Staples Success partypoker Ambassadors will be jumping into the MILLIONS Online over the course of the next three weeks, and we asked Leonard who he was picking as the most likely to win a MILLIONS Online title. "I think Jaime or Matt Staples might run it up this series. I predicted that Jaime would do well during WPT Montreal Online and I don’t think he got the title, so hopefully he doesn’t let me down again or I’m going to have to start going for Isaac Haxton every time!" With so many satellite opportunities to make your way into the MILLIONS Online, there is a high likelihood of an underdog coming through. Back in November, two players won their way into the Caribbean Poker Party Main Event for $0.01, and Leonard says he's hoping for an underdog win. "I'd love for an underdog to run deep," he told PokerNews. "I always try and get involved and coach a fans' favourite one way or another, so will have my eyes peeled for who it is this time around." Play in the 2021 partypoker MILLIONS Online You’re going to need a partypoker account if you want to jump into any of the partypoker MILLIONS Online tournaments. Head there right now if you already have an account, or download partypoker via PokerNews if you don’t have an account. Deposit $10 to receive $10 in tickets over the course of a week: Day 1: 2x $1 SPINS tickets + 1x $3.30 MTT ticketDay 2: 4x $0.25 SPINS ticketsDay 4: 1x $3.30 MTT ticketDay 6: 4x $0.25 SPINS tickets Deposit $20 and receive $30 worth of tickets over the course of a week: Day 1: 1x $5 SPINS ticket + 1x $3.30 MTT ticketDay 2: 2x $1 SPINS ticket + 1x $5.50 MTT ticketDay 4: 1x $5.50 MTT ticketDay 6: 2x $3 SPINS tickets + 1x$3.30 MTT ticket
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Thousands of jobs available at tribal casinos
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With millions of Americans out of work, the first sign of a recovery has to be in new jobs coming on the market. The tribal gaming industry is doing its part, with several operators posting new jobs in the past few weeks.Seneca Gaming Corporation has lots of jobs available at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls and Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo. The operator will be hosting a job fair for open positions on February 25 between 10:00am and 6:00pm.“Even with the changes and challenges everyone has gone through over the past year, Seneca Gaming Corporation has remained one of the largest employers in Western New York, and we are excited to be growing our team across a variety of departments,” said Meghan Smith, Seneca Gaming Corporation’s vice president of human resources. “We truly believe that the time we spend at work should be rewarding, fulfilling and fun. That’s how we approach our jobs every day. If people are looking an opportunity in that type of environment, we are ready to talk to them.”Attendees can check out what’s on offer in person or virtually, but should be ready for an interview at a moment’s notice.On the other side of the country, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians are also on the look out for fresh talent. That operator has more than 500 jobs to fill, with as many as 2000 coming for the rest of the year. They’ll be having their virtual career fair on February 18 from 9:00am to 4:00pm.“The expansion of San Manuel will offer an economic boost to the local job market at a time when it is really needed,” said Brigitte Saria, Chief People and Infrastructure Officer. “Our efforts to boost the local economy are guided by our commitment to ensuring our employment process and work environment follow leading health and safety standards.”The Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino in Coarsegold, California are also hiring. The tribe is looking for 50 full-time and part-time positions, and will have a job fair on February 23 from 10:00am to 1:00pm.Add those jobs to the 150 that Oneida Nation Enterprises were offering as of last week, and there’s a lot to be hopeful for about the future of the economy, and particularly that of tribal gaming.Connecticut tribes close to new dealGovernor Ned Lamont wants sports betting in his state, and he needs a new deal with the tribes to get it done. He used his budget address to emphasize the push:“My administration has been in active negotiations with our tribal partners to bring the state’s gaming economy into the digital age. And I am submitting legislation which reflects what I believe to be the best bet in ending this stalemate of inaction in a way which is in the best interest [of] the entire state.”Construction resumes at Four WindsThe Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ contractor recently resumed building a hotel at Four Winds South Bend Casino. Construction slowed down significantly due to Covid-19.The new 23-story hotel was originally due to be completed this year. But with construction crews only working on the foundation now after a 10-month delay, maybe 2022 seems more accurate.
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GGPoker Adds More Variety to No-Strings-Attached “Daily Freebie” Promotion
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Verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day.One of the most popular promotions for low stakes players on GGPoker has been further expanded. During the software update on February 10, the Daily Free Spin promotion changed to Daily Freebie. Furthermore, UK players can now also claim the daily gift for a chance to boost their bankrolls. All players, both existing and new, just need to have verified accounts and log in each day to claim their gift, which lets plays play real money tournaments—and compete for real money cash prizes. The update has expanded what is given away. Now, there are Daily Freebie tickets for Flip & Go, the super-successful new format introduced in January 2021. It has also undergone some changes since its launch, with GGPoker increasing the frequency and adjusting the buy-ins as well as the maximum number of stacks for purchase. “GGPoker is happy to confirm that we’ve relaunched our Daily Free Spin offer as the Daily Freebie; verified players can continue to play a real-money game, such as Flip & Go and Spin & Gold, for free each and every day. All they need to do is log in and claim their daily reward!” said Paul Burke, Head of Public Relations at GGPoker. “We hope to continue to change up the rewards on offer in the future, giving all players the opportunity to try out GGPoker’s most exciting games, no matter their bankroll.” For existing players, Daily Freebie is available immediately—just log in and claim. If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so today and enjoy the promotion as soon as you have verified your account. You can also take advantage of all of GGPoker’s generous welcome bonuses. How the GGPoker Daily Freebie Promotion Works The operator has seen unprecedented growth in 2020 to become one of the leading online poker platforms for tournaments and cash games. GGPoker has achieved that with a plethora of promotions, innovations, and high-profile partnerships. Their continued success has led to a record $7.5 million in promotions given away in February 2021. One of several promotions for players with smaller bankrolls is the Daily Freebie formerly the Daily Free Spin. This was launched on September 7, 2020. It has given verified players the opportunity to claim one $0.25 Spin & Gold ticket every day ever since. The free ticket courtesy of GGPoker continues to be available under the new name three times per week—*but this rotates with other ticket types.* Players can see the next six upcoming Daily Freebies listed under the “My Promo” tab. A new daily gift becomes available after each daily reset at midnight Pacific time. Each ticket will continue to feature an expiration date of 24 hours once the Daily Freebie has been awarded. The current rotation of Daily Freebie is fixed for the time being. However, GGPoker hopes “to change the daily prizes on a semi-regular basis,” according to Burke. He also hinted at a strong possibility that the Daily Freebie will include the alternative currencies C$ or T$ sometime soon. Newly included as a prize in the Daily Freebie is a $1 Spin & Gold ticket, which can be claimed once per week. Furthermore, five $0.05 Flip & Go tickets are up for grabs three times per week, giving players the chance at trying the new tournament format free of charge. As a mixture between a Flipout and regular tournament, Flip & Go was launched on January 12, 2021. However, it only took a few days for the first tweaks to be made. Initially slated to take place once every hour, it was soon increased to once every 30 minutes. The buy-ins were also adjusted and the lowest available stake was increased to $0.05 with a guarantee of $50. Players can now take a shot at their own leisure three times per week and enter this lowest tier with five stacks thanks to the Daily Freebie. Upon launch, the Flip & Go featured a maximum of 10 entries for each of the four stakes. However, that number has been adjusted recently and the stacks for purchase are now capped at a maximum of eight. This makes the bonus stacks based on the holdings during the Flipout stage more valuable in comparison. The overall feedback for the new tournament format has been very positive, as outlined by Burke. “Players love it! We have been very pleasantly surprised by the positivity seen across almost all feedback, of course not all players are interested in a new game type but those who have tried it have mostly good things to say about Flip & Go. We’ve also received some constructive criticism, which is also valuable.” Further tweaks to the Flip & Go format may very well possible, as GGPoker is constantly reviewing and optimizing its schedule. One such adjustment was made with the expansion of the popular Daily GGMasters earlier in February. The changes to the Daily Freebie promotion went live on February 10. All verified GGPoker players in eligible countries can claim their daily gift under the “My Promo” tab after each daily reset.
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Did the next Macau bubble just start two weeks ago?
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The entire concept of a “bull market in stocks” makes little sense. Sound crazy? These days, certainly, because we’re always hearing about a perpetual bull market in stocks. Valuations increasingly disconnected from economic reality, asset bubbles in one class or another, armies of speculators moving like zombie hoards descending on the next fad and blowing it up to infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear-like.Why is the whole concept of a bull market generally, nonsense? Because if the value of everything is going up simultaneously, then nothing is going up. If everyone is a superhero, nobody is. If, in an imaginary economy, absolutely everything costs, say, $5, (labor, land, capital whatever) and then the next day everything costs $10, then what’s changed? The answer is absolutely nothing.The only thing that matters is relative valuations between asset classes. Let’s divide them into three of the most basic ones. Equities (stocks), bonds (debt), and commodities (consumer goods). If all three are going up in tandem, then there is no “bull market” in anything. If commodities are going up faster than stocks and bonds, you have inflation, or even hyperinflation. Ask anyone in Venezuela whether they care that their stock market is doing great, nominally. They don’t. They’re looking for their next glop of gruel or morsel of moldy bread to survive the day.But if stocks and bonds are rising and consumer goods are static to falling, you have a bull market in financial assets. This is where we are now. And boy are we really hard and deep into it now. Below is the ratio of the S&P 500 to the CRB Commodities Index.And I’ve got news for everyone. This bull market in stocks relative to consumer goods in dollar terms is already over. It ended almost a year ago. On April 20, 2020 to be exact. Red circle blowoff top above. That was when oil crashed to negative $35 a barrel and we all lived in an alternative financial freakhouse universe. But I have more news than that. This entire “bull market” in stocks has been one gigantic illusion from the very beginning. Stocks aren’t going up. They haven’t gone up for 21 years. Money is going down. Here is the graph of stocks relative to the prime monetary commodity, gold, over the same timeframe above.We can see here that from 1990 to 2000, we had a real bull market in stocks. Equities rocketed in gold terms and in terms of consumer goods generally. Everyone felt richer. Portfolios up, expenses down. But since that time, money has been dying at an accelerated pace and the standard of living has fallen.The bull market in stocks over the last 21 years has been an illusion, a tiny echo of the bull that ended at the turn of the century. We have spent the last 21 years trying to reinflate it, but gold has exposed the lie. We are now at the point where the illusion is about to collapse completely. In my view, we have only a few months left until it all hits the fan. Until then, the bubbles will keep coming in staccato frenetic fashion, moving from one asset class to another faster and faster, until we all get so dizzy we can’t follow it anymore. Last week I speculated that maybe the next target for the zombie hoard will be in penny gaming stocks. I was close. It’s in Macau stocks. It may already have started two weeks ago. The frenzy has started over news about China opening up again. I mean, just look at this crazy chart of the Macau proxy ETF:That last surge higher is just since February 1. We could be at the beginning of a crazy but brief ride higher in Macau stocks right now. New all time highs again, and Macau isn’t even fully open yet. The latest full month statistics for December show a 78.6% drop in visitors year over year. And yet we’re at new all time highs in these stocks already. It’s just completely crazy. I can understand the Macau opening up again trade, but to argue that this factor is being priced in at these levels, at new all time highs? As if none of this full year shutdown hurt any of the casinos fundamentally at all? That’s just totally bonkers crazy. It’s a reflection of the value of the currency these stocks are priced in, not the stocks themselves.What’s happening is that the zombie hoard of bubble chasers is reading the headlines regarding China starting to open up again, and they’re slamming buy orders and call options like they’ve been doing with tech stocks and Gamestop and BTC and all the other fads. We just got news out of Bloomberg that China’s Imax had a face-ripping rally due to exploding ticket sales. China is, indeed opening up, and the zombie hoard of speculators is now going to spray their money hoses at anything Chinese. Macau might be at the center of it.How high can this Macau bubble go, if that’s what we just saw start two weeks ago? The truth is, it doesn’t matter. If you get into it, you’ll get hooked and keep levering yourself up, counting your paper gains, unable to separate from them until you get caught in a vortex. At some point, my view this year, it’s all going to come crashing down when all the damage from 2020 is finally revealed all over the world. You can’t paper it over forever. The damage to Macau casinos doesn’t just go away. It festers in the form of more and more debt, and a damaged consumer base that can no longer patronize casinos in the way it once could. Festering wounds need the paper bandage removed and they need to be operated on. That is painful. And it’s coming.When we think of the word “bubble”, what are we really talking about? A bubble is something that looks, from the outside, to be really big and stable. The shape of it, a sphere, is the most stable shape in the universe. It’s why planets, stars, moons, and possibly even the spacetime continuum itself, spontaneously shape themselves into spheres. The force of gravity equalizes at every point on the sphere, forming equilibrium. Nature always seeks equilibrium. And so bubbles take on the illusion of stability, but unlike a real sphere, there’s nothing inside them. When they pop, they are gone almost instantly. This one is about to pop. Macau appears to be the next victim sucked up by the bubble. Macau will survive and rebuild. The question is, in what form? I wouldn’t take a bet the depended on me getting the answer to that question right.
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Colorado Licence for Intelitics
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Intelitics, the leading performance marketing and analytics platform provider, has been granted a licence by the Colorado Division of Gaming allowing it to work with licensed sportsbook operators in the state for the first time.Intelitics already holds licences in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with Colorado the third with more to follow in the coming months.Intelitics provides online sportsbook and casino operators with a single platform that allows them to track, analyze and grow all acquisition partnerships and campaigns across web and mobile through access to real-time data which in turn allows them to unlock hidden revenue and boost ROI.Intelitics’ real-time data hub keeps media buyers, analysts and executives on the same page about spend and results. Operators can use one set of metrics to “slice and dice” media performance to discover what activity is delivering the best results.Powerful, streamlined reports provide full visibility into cross-channel interaction and the customer journey. A holistic view of costs v player value means operators can easily determine the most valuable media sources which improves revenue allocation modelling and inform media investment.CasinoAffiliatePrograms, the premier standalone iGaming specific Ad Network, which is powered and run by the Intelitics team, has delivered more than $70m in net game revenue through 150,000+ new depositing customers.Armed with its Colorado licence, Intelitics is now looking to work with licensed online sportsbook operators in the state in order to help them unlock the greatest value from their marketing activity.Allan Stone, CEO at Intelitics, said: “We are delighted to have secured a licence from the Colorado Division of Gaming allowing us to work with licensed sportsbook operators in the state for the very first time.”“As legal online sports betting continues to roll out across the US, there is a tremendous first mover advantage to be had but operators must ensure they are acquiring players at the right cost and through channels that deliver true value.”“Our cutting-edge platform provides the real-time data, insight and reporting that operators need to do just that across all of the channels they use to market to players. We look forward to working with sportsbooks licensed in the state of Colorado.”

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Meet America’s 63rd National Park
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As Americans continue to weather the pandemic, the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and spending bill passed by the federal government in December brought an unexpected and lasting gift: a new national park.The 5,593-page spending package included a raft of provisions authorizing little-known projects — the construction of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota, for one — and giving lawmakers a chance to advance a variety of long-delayed initiatives. Among them was the elevation of the New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia, to the status of Yellowstone, Yosemite and the country’s other most renowned outdoor spaces. The designation of the area — roughly 72,000 acres of land flanking 53 miles of the gorge — as a national park and preserve creates the 63rd national park in the United States and completes a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark.“Towards the end of this year, with these big bills coming down, I decided to strike,” said Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican and the state’s junior senator, who, along with Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat, introduced the New River Gorge legislation in 2019.“This was the right opportunity,” she said.A draw for rafters, kayakers and other outdoor enthusiastsThe gorge and its surroundings have been prized for decades as one of southern West Virginia’s more spectacular natural places.In 1963, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution seeking to designate the New River Gorge as a “national playground,” preparing to send the proposal to President John F. Kennedy, whose primary campaign was lifted substantially through support from West Virginia voters. But momentum to create a national recreation area stalled after Mr. Kennedy’s assassination later that year.Though the gorge remained a curiosity among rafters and outdoor enthusiasts, the area only received federal protection from the Interior Department in 1978, when it was designated a national river.Now, the outdoor offerings in the gorge have come to define the area as a premier destination for adventure sports in the East.The New River plunges 750 feet over 66 miles, resulting in long stretches of violent rapids that can reach a class five level, generally considered the most difficult that can be navigated by white-water boaters. (Licensed outfitters operate in several towns near the river, providing rentals and tours for rafting and kayaking.)The canyon walls, which soar as high as 1,600 feet, offer miles of cliffs that rank among the best in the East Coast for rock climbing. Sheer faces in the gorge made of robust Nuttall sandstone provide both traditional and sport-climbing routes across the difficulty spectrum.Bike routes are scattered throughout the park on both sides of the river, with options for both technical mountain biking and more casual pedaling along former railroad beds.A glimpse back in timeAccording to the National Park Service, geologists believe the New River — its name a misnomer used by early American explorers who often assigned the same name to any river they came upon for the first time — was a segment of the preglacial Teays River. This larger river, which traversed much of the current Ohio River watershed, was later diverted and broken up by glaciers. The age of the Teays is uncertain, but fossil evidence suggests it could be as much as 320 million years old, leaving its remnant, the New River, as quite possibly the second oldest river in the world.Beyond the millions of years of geological history on display, the gorge is also filled with signs of the region’s heritage as a major coal production hub.Miners once capitalized on the easy access to rich deposits of high-quality bituminous coal in the canyon, where the river had already shorn through hundreds of feet of rock. Especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway linked the New River coal fields to markets in 1873, dozens of boom towns popped up along the river’s edge, thriving well into the 1920s.In 1963, a coal mine was still operating in the gorge, said Dave Arnold, a state tourism commissioner who operated a rafting company for more than 40 years.“In ’76 or ’77, if you were in my boat, we’d have been floating down the river and I would have been showing you, ‘here’s an old coal tipple, here’s the old hotel at Caperton, here’s this and that,’” he said.The demand for coal around the turn of the twentieth century was so high that towns existed every half mile along up the river, according to the Park Service. As the industry went into decline, however, by the 1950s many were already abandoned, leaving ghost towns scattered throughout the gorge. Additionally, logging during the late nineteenth century stripped vast portions of the gorge bare, clearing enormous swaths of virgin forest.The park contains the remnants of communities such as Nuttallburg and Kaymoor, which still stand near the riverbank and are accessible from points higher up. Seams of exposed coal are visible along some trails leading into the gorge and its towns, where abandoned mine portals and the foundations of coke ovens remain.Restoring an ecosystem with diverse wildlifeDespite the environmental degradation and pollution that industry unleashed, some unique ecological features make the gorge well-suited to a diverse combination of wildlife, which has slowly reappeared as time has passed.The river lies at the center of a migration corridor where plants and animals that typically range further north or south come together, including several federally endangered and threatened species, such as the Virginia big-eared bat and the Allegheny woodrat.According to Lizzie Watts, the park’s superintendent, the river itself is also notably warmer than surrounding areas, making it a popular warm-water fishing destination with more than a dozen public access points. The river is one of the premier spots for smallmouth bass fishing on the east coast, and muskellunge and walleye are common in the park today.“The next generation will have the opportunity to see what, in the last 150 years, it looks like when an area goes from being logged and mined to left alone,” Ms. Watts said. “The ecosystem has come back to full trees and mature forests.”As federal protections took effect after the Park Service began overseeing the area as a national river in 1978, wildlife has largely recovered, and many see an opportunity to showcase the region’s natural elegance.“To show off our rock climbing, our extreme sports availabilities in that area, is just really exciting,” said Ms. Capito of what she described as a “kind of wild and wonderful part of our state.” ‘The cream of the crop’The National Park Service, created in 1916, oversees more than 400 areas across the country, including national monuments, seashores and battlefields as well as parks, which together total more than 85 million acres.While the new title for New River Gorge does not fundamentally alter the area’s day-to-day operations, both lawmakers and the Park Service tend to view “national parks” as the crown jewels of the park system — a protection granted to some of the largest and most prized tracts of the country.“National Park status is usually considered like the cream of the crop,” Ms. Watts said. “But it really is just another one of those names.”The New River Gorge does not match the scale of many national parks in the western United States, where Death Valley, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone sprawl over more than 1 million acres each.Nevertheless, officials expect the new designation to bring a substantial influx of travelers, boosted in part by a dedicated set of enthusiasts who strive to visit every national park.In typical years, around 1.3 million travelers visit the gorge, according to the Park Service’s tourism data. Based on studies of other areas that received national park status, Ms. Capito said she expects to see visitors increase by as much as 20 percent.“It does feel like the very beginning stages of transformation for the whole area,” said Becky Sullivan, the executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’ll be very, very interested to see where we are in about 10 years.”Maintaining the community and its favored pastimesAs unique outdoor attractions throughout the Appalachian region have gained more national visibility, some concern has grown over the idea of a wealthy and mobile set from out of state trampling the communities adjacent to these places.West Virginia remains the second-poorest state in the country in terms of median household income, according to data collected by the United States Census Bureau. And while tourism has brought a needed injection of wealth to areas all around the gorge, it has also changed the makeup of neighboring communities, as more people have come to visit the park or settle down near it.Interest in the natural offerings around the park has brought slow but measurable change for small towns nearby like Fayetteville. Officials say that the advent of remote work during the pandemic has only hastened a trend of properties in the area being repurposed for vacation rentals and outsiders snapping up second homes.“You cannot find a house for sale in Fayetteville, because they’re just in such high demand,” said Sharon Cruikshank, the town’s mayor. “So that definitely changed the budgeting of the town as well as the county.”When legislation was first introduced to designate the area as a national park, pushback came from some locals. Hunters have long enjoyed access to secluded sections of woods around the gorge, and with hunting prohibited in federal parks, some protested the potential loss of thousands of acres of hunting grounds.In a compromise, more than 65,000 acres of the total area were designated as a nature preserve where hunting can continue as before, and only roughly 7,000 acres directly within the canyon are officially off limits as national parkland. A provision was included to empower the park to acquire more than 3,000 acres of private land around its current boundaries as well, to expand the size of the preserve and add public hunting grounds.In a nod to tradition, the legislation also enshrines the right for visitors to continue to make use of one of the park’s most famous features — the New River Gorge Bridge — at least once a year.BASE jumping, an extreme sport in which jumpers parachute from elevated structures or cliffs, is banned in every other national park.But, since 1980, BASE jumpers have been permitted to plunge from the top of the 876-foot-high bridge and parachute down toward the river once a year, on Bridge Day, held one Saturday in October. The legislation designating the area as a national park allows that tradition to continue.As many as 100,000 people typically come to watch the jumpers plunge, according to Ms. Sullivan, providing a major boost for businesses in the region. The event has only been canceled twice, including last year because of the coronavirus.Bridge Day’s organizers advise jumpers that the only dependable way to touch down safely is to plan to land directly in the river. In normal years, hundreds do so, often multiple times that day, gliding down and softly hitting the New River’s waters.
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Richard Downey explains the power of the US sports betting market
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No one in the industry can underestimate the old fashioned values of building trust amongst customers. Richard Downey, Senior VP for Connections by the Specialist Works, understands that more than most. He sat down with Calvinayre.com’s Becky Liggero Fontana to share his insights on the U.S. sports betting market.Downey emphasized leveraging relationships from prior careers. “I was publisher of a magazine called Poker Player and I moved from there into the agency. I’ve been able to maintain an involvement in the gaming industry by having clients in the space,” Downey said.Downey is a firm believer that operators still require a that branding plays an integral part in building trust with customers in the highly competitive U.S. sports betting market. “In the gaming sector there is an element of credibility and trustworthiness that exists everywhere, but especially in the U.S. market. Getting access to online gaming in the U.S. market for the past period of time has not been completely legitimated. Gaming is being rebranded as mainstream entertainment and it’s really important that the brands that come through with it do a good job for the customers.”Downey pointed out that new operators have to consider the Vegas perceptions of gaming when it comes to brand marketing and alignment.“For a long time gaming has been synonymous with Las Vegas and therefore it’s completely logical that a lot of the Vegas gaming companies are using their brands to do that job of legitimization and credibility. If a gaming operator is trying to break into the mainstream market in the U.S. then I think having a credible brand behind you, either through brand recognition or through marketing is a good way of making people believe that you know that their gaming environment is a safe one,” he said.In the full interview, Downey gives advice for new operators for developing brand strategy in the U.S. sports betting market. And if you haven’t yet, watch all of our videos as they go up by subscribing to the CalvinAyre.com YouTube channel.
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In First Hint of WSOP 2021 Revival, WSOP Launches “Ultimate Poker Champion” Sweepstakes Promo
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In what is thought to be the first sign that Caesars is planning for a live World Series of Poker festival in 2021, the operator has put on a new free-to-enter sweepstakes promotion, the Ultimate Poker Champion Experience. Running from February 15 through April 30, 2021, the contest offers anyone in the United States a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of the WSOP Main Event. One lucky person will not only get their entry into the Main Event paid in full, but they will also be treated to an elite experience during their stay. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the form. With the coronavirus pandemic still causing mass disruption to live events and travel in the United States and around the world, the WSOP has yet to announce any schedule or plan for this year’s series. There is no information around the main event, for which the promotion is centered around. The Normal Ramp Up to the WSOP The WSOP is poker’s biggest event of the year. Tens of thousands of players descend on the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for more than six weeks of poker. Action culminates in the $10,000 Main Event, the most prestigious tournament in the game. The winner is crowned the year’s champion, poker’s highest accolade. However, last year, due to the coronavirus, the regular World Series of Poker 2020 was canceled for the first time in its 51-year history. In its place was an online series held half in the United States—on the official WSOP Nevada and WSOP NJ online poker rooms—and half outside the US on global online poker room GGPoker. WSOP.com USA: The world’s most recognizable poker brand is legal and regulated in Nevada and New Jersey!Massive Value100% deposit bonus up to $1000 + freeroll tickets.The only online poker network that spans across multiple states. Compete for real WSOP bracelets and rings in official online events from your own home.Frequent reload bonuses and lucrative monthly promotions.CHOOSE YOUR STATE:New Jersey »Nevada » In the winter, WSOP and GGPoker joined forces again for a hybrid online-live Main Event where players competed in tournaments online, then met for a live final table. The two winners of these met in a special heads-up match in Las Vegas. Normally by now, organization and marketing are in full flow. Online satellites are underway on official WSOP sites as well as partners internationally. Schedules are revealed, packages are offered and promotions are spread. However, nothing has yet been revealed for this year—understandable, given how no one knows how the next few months will unfold. That makes this promotion even more intriguing. Sweepstakes Package Details The winner of the sweepstakes promotion will win entry into the $10,000 buy-in 2021 WSOP Main Event. As noted, normally this is a multi-day tournament held live in the Rio; last year, it was mostly online. What it will be this year is unknown. The implication, however, is that Caesars wants to run this live in Las Vegas, given the other parts of the prize package. The winner and their guest will be flown to Las Vegas from anywhere in the continental United States. Once in the city, they will be treated to a dinner for two at a Celebrity Chef restaurant, a three night stay in a suite at Caesars Palace, a whisky and cigar night at the hotel’s Montecristo Cigar Bar, and $1,000 in spending money. The total prize package, including all the extra goodies, is worth $14,000. Prize Approximate Value (USD) $10,000 Seat to 2021 WSOP Main Event $10,000 3-night stay in a Suite at Caesars Palace $1,000 Round-trip airfare for two (from continental US) $1,100 $1,000 VISA Gift Card $1,000 Whisky and cigars at Montecristo Cigar Bar $400 Dinner for two at Celebrity Chef’s restaurant $500 Hotel Stay at the Rio, a Hint of the WSOP Finally Moving? Curiously, the stay is only for a three nights—which would normally not be long enough for a deep run of the WSOP Main Event. Last year, the tournament was spread over two weeks, with three Day 1s and two Day 2s then a Day 3, Day 4, and final table, with breaks gaps in-between. Also of note, the hotel stay is in Caesars Palace, not the Rio. Whether this suggests an anticipated location move or not remains to be seen. The Rio was sold back in 2019 though Caesars agreed to manage the property for two years. The 2020 event was scheduled to take place in the Rio, and the live Main event did go ahead in its convention center. However, no announcement has been made for the 2021 series—and with Caesars potentially coming to the end of its management contract, this could well be the first indication that WSOP plans to move it to another Caesars location in Las Vegas. How to Enter the WSOP Ultimate Poker Champion Sweepstakes Promo If you are a United States resident, just fill out this form. That’s it! You can read below for more details. The contest is open to anyone over 21 years of age, with the exception of employees and family of Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Inc or Caesars Entertainment Services, LLC. The offer is only valid in the continental United States and void where prohibited. Entries are open until midnight on April 30, 2021 and the winner will be randomly chosen on May 6, 2021 from all the entries received prior to the closing date. In the event that the winner does not meet eligibility requirements, up to 5 alternate draws will be made to choose a winner. If no eligible winner is selected after the maximum 5 alternate draws, the prize will remain unawarded. Prizes are non-transferable, and not subject to change except at the discretion of the contest Administrator. The Administrator reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value if the above prizes are not available for any reason, and winners are responsible for all taxes and fees which may be associated with receiving or using the prize. There is no cash equivalent for this prize. The dates for the prize will be set once the Main Event is scheduled, but the trip must be taken before December 31, 2021. This gives the organizers a wide window to schedule the WSOP 2021 Main Event—whatever form it takes.
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