Hellmuth Headlines WPT Changes, Other States Seek Gambling Solutions

Written By Jessica Welman on September 5, 2017 - Last Updated on March 25, 2022

Last week, the big boxing match overshadowed Phil Hellmuth’s Poker Night in America victory. This week the Poker Brat wanted to be sure he was alone in the spotlight when he final tabled his first World Poker Tour (WPT) event in several years.

The WPT put on quite the show this past week. While the tour moved forward and made changes at their popular California stop, other US gambling entities were spinning their wheels though.

In Massachusetts, the state Treasurer is growing increasingly frustrated with the state’s lack of online gambling progress. Whereas New Yorkers are getting fed up with the upstate casnos’ lack of revenue.

One place that is happy with the way things are going are Nevada sports books, who are basking in post-Mayweather/McGregor glory and gearing up for football season.

Here’s the scoop on all that and more.

Lively at the Bike

Even though the latest season of the WPT technically started in the spring, Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino always feels like the new year for the tour.

It certainly featured some new elements on the tour this season. Several changes are on the staffing front.

After years of hosting the Raw Deal segment and the livestreaming final tables, Tony Dunst officially stepped into Mike Sexton’s old role as co-host. Meanwhile, a rather big ego stepped into Dunst’s shoes, making quite the splash in the process.

Prior to last week, Hellmuth had not made a WPT final table since 2010. Not only did he make the final six in Los Angeles, he came close to the title. Unfortunately for him, he finished second, and still has no WPT titles to go with his 14 World Series of Poker bracelets.

The other bad news is that this run probably only strokes Hellmuth’s already massive ego. How that will affect his ability to analyze hands in the Raw Deal remains to be seen.

New York casinos wish they were a little more lively

Granted, the expectations for the three New York casinos upstate are sky-high. Still, the early numbers coming out of the area are disconcerting. The trio of properties are currently running about 40 percent below where estimates suggested they would.

There is still one more property to open too, Resorts World Catskills. Many within the casino industry say oversaturation is an issue. Most notably, Todd Gates, head of Seneca Nation.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo insists there is nothing to worry about. However, he is also warring with Seneca and threatening to bring another casino to Niagara. In other words, there might be an agenda at play here.

MA worried New Hampshire is passing them by

Massachusetts wants to establish itself as a state at the forefront of New England gambling. When it comes to casinos, they are making progress. Both Wynn Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield are advancing towards completion.

Online though, it is another story. Recently Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg criticized fellow lawmakers for their lack of forward thinking. New Hampshire is rolling out online lottery and keno tickets next year. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has no plans to move its lottery online.

Goldberg referred to her home state as “dead ducks”, as yet another state embraces online gambling in the increasingly competitive market.

Nevada sports book fill during Mayweather / McGregor

It is a happy week to be a Nevada sports book operator. College football is underway, plus NFL is just around the corner. It could have been a really depressing few days though, were it not for Floyd Mayweather.

The Mayweather/McGregor boxing bout was huge for Nevada sports books in terms of betting volume. However, it could have resulted in huge losses with a McGregor upset. The number? A possible $48 million.

The books did not profit that much, but they did pocket a couple million to pad the coffers before football gets in full swing.

Photo courtesy of World Poker Tour/Poker Photo Archive

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for WSOP.com. A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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