Daily News Poker News Online Gaming News Investor News Vegas News Featured Articles
Strategies & Tips Books & Movies
Gaming Life Gaming Tips Comps & Promos
HOME > > Casino City’s Friday Five: Spheres, firsts and poker records edition

Casino City’s Friday Five: Spheres, firsts and poker records edition

14 July 2023

By Jarrod LeBlanc

The Fourth of July may be in the calendar rearview mirror, but in the gambling world there are always fireworks.

The Sphere in Las Vegas introduced itself to the world as it illuminated for the first time over the holiday week, plus there’s rumblings of an NBA team in Sin City. Kentucky announced that it’s launching retail and online sports betting in September. The World Series of Poker’s historic summer hit another exciting milestone. Palms Casino opened its new Buffalo Zone with 50 Buffalo-themed slot games spanning 10 varieties. Mohegan INSPIRE Entertainment Resort in South Korea announced restaurants, including Michael Jordan’s Steak House, for its new casino resort that is scheduled to open at the end of 2023.

With the NFL season less than 60 days away, let’s start with the news out of Kentucky.

5. Kentucky to launch sports betting in September

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear joined the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and lawmakers on Monday to announce that Kentuckians can make their first-ever sports bets in the Bluegrass State in less than 60 days.

The announcement followed the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission meeting, where members unanimously approved emergency administrative regulations that will govern sports wagering. The Governor then immediately signed the regulations at the Red Mile, a gaming and racing venue that is eligible to apply to be a sports betting location.

Retail locations are set to open on Thursday, 7 September 2023, just in time for the NFL kick-off, tailgating and the college football season, followed by mobile applications on Thursday, 28 September 2023.

“This is a historic day for our commonwealth – sports wagering will open for the first time in Kentucky in less than 60 days,” said Governor Beshear. “Bringing sports wagering to the state not only gives Kentuckians a much-anticipated new form of entertainment, but also brings money to the state to support pensions, freeing up money that can be used to build a better Kentucky through the funding of education, economic development, disaster recovery and other necessary projects, like providing cleaner water, building roads and high-speed internet.”

4. This Week in Gambling Video: MSG Sphere stops traffic, plus a possible NBA team in Las Vegas

Forget fireworks! The jaw-dropping Sphere, which sits behind The Venetian Las Vegas, lit up the biggest LED screen on the planet to celebrate the Fourth of July. The 580,000-square-foot display consisting of over 57 million LED lights actually stopped traffic as everyone wanted to see the show. Standing at 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide, it’s the largest spherical structure on Earth, so it’s no wonder that Sin City is mesmerized by it. So far, some of the illuminations on the Sphere have been Earth, an American flag, an eyeball, a Jack-o’-lantern, and the Moon. Imagine what guests can expect to see on the inside when U2 christens the venue in the fall.

There’s also talk that another sphere could soon be getting a lot of attention in Sin City. In addition to hosting the NBA Summer League games, Las Vegas could be getting its very own team. The buzz is that Las Vegas will be awarded an expansion team from the NBA as soon as 2024. In fact, some in the city, are so confident that this will happen that they’ve already started planning the brand-new basketball stadium.

The Oak View Group of Los Angeles is planning to build an NBA-ready arena on the south end of The Strip on a piece of desolate land near the Silverton Casino Hotel. The goal is to have the 20,000-seat stadium completed without any public funding before the NBA votes on expansion next year. The 850,000-square-foot building will be just one part of the planned $10 billion-dollar, 66-acre complex that will also include a resort with a casino and an amphitheater.

3. Record-breaking WSOP Main Event

The World Series of Poker’s historic summer hit another exciting milestone. When final registration closed last Friday, the $10,000 Main Event shattered its all-time attendance record, officially welcoming 10,043 entrants making the 54th annual edition the richest tournament in live poker history.

With the entrants that stood for 17 years now broken, the WSOP sets its sights on a Final Table to be remembered and a huge first-place prize to be awarded to the eventual undisputed world champion of poker. This year’s Final Table of nine players will enjoy historic payouts, including $12.1 million for first place, $6.5 million for runner-up, and an impressive $900,000 for the first player sent home.

“This is an all-time summer for the WSOP,” said WSOP Senior Vice President and Executive Director Ty Stewart. “Week after week we saw record fields, so it’s only fitting that we break the biggest record of all. Ten thousand players are historic for the industry and this year’s champion will be remembered as the one to conquer the richest event in poker history, well at least until 2024.”

The Main Event will play down to the final nine players tonight (or into the wee hours of Saturday) and a winner is expected to be crowned on Monday night.

2. Palms Casino Resort to debut New Buffalo Zone

Buffalo fans rejoice and get ready to stampede over to Palms Casino Resort as the all-new Buffalo Zone, which consists of 50 Buffalo-themed slot games spanning 10 varieties, debuted yesterday. Don’t worry though, the celebration continues tonight and tomorrow from 4 to 8 p.m. with a variety of game promotions, Buffalo plushie giveaways, Buffalo Trace Whiskey cocktail specials, and more. The Buffalo Zone is located between the William Hill Sportsbook and Mabel’s BBQ.

“There’s no question that our players love Buffalo games by Aristocrat Gaming,” said Scott McDermott, Director of Slot Operations at Palms Casino Resort. “We are so thrilled to introduce this dedicated space to our guests, providing them with an enhanced casino experience and the excitement of hearing the well-recognized ‘Buffaloooooo’ game chant.”

During these celebration times, current and new Club Serrano members can receive $25 in bonus slot play each day to be used only in the new Buffalo Zone. Additionally, Buffalo plushies will randomly be handed out to guests who are playing the Buffalo machines in the Zone. All plushies will be tagged with bonus slot play ranging from $25 - $1,000. Guests can take the winning plushie to the Club Serrano desk and get the bonus play added onto their card for additional play in the Buffalo Zone.

The Palms Casino Resort became the first Native-American owned casino resort in Las Vegas back in April 2022.

1. Mohegan INSPIRE Entertainment Resort announces restaurants

Earlier this week, Cornerstone Restaurant Group, a long-time partner of Mohegan, which operates a portfolio of premier global integrated entertainment resorts, announced the forthcoming expansion to South Korea with the opening of a new Michael Jordan's Steak House, MJ23 Sports Bar & Grill as well as two new original concepts - Hi-Fi Chicken & Beer, and Brasserie 1783.

The new restaurants in South Korea will be part of Mohegan INSPIRE Entertainment Resort, an integrated resort boasting 1,275 hotel rooms, a 15,000-seat multipurpose arena, a foreigner-only casino, convention facilities, retail, an indoor waterpark, and an outdoor themed attraction. Opening in the fourth quarter of 2023, INSPIRE is the next major opening by Mohegan.

“This is a project a long time in the making and it’s something we’re so proud to be part of,” said Cornerstone’s President Joshua Zadikoff. “We’ve always had plans to make our concepts international. What better way to make a global impression than to bring Michael Jordan’s Steak House and three other concepts to the premier new entertainment destination in Asia.”

The new Michael Jordan’s Steak House, which has been wildly successful in the United States, will bring the same high-quality dining experience to Seoul. Guests can expect the finest cuts of meat, exceptional service and an atmosphere that pays homage to the greatest basketball player of all time. The restaurant, designed by the renowned Korean firm Kesson, will take the Michael Jordan’s Steak House experience to new heights with exquisite interiors and exclusive private dining opportunities.

Jarrod LeBlanc
Jarrod serves as Casino City's associate editor and helps produce and edit all of our weekly newsletters, as well as the GPWA Times Magazine.

More about Jarrod LeBlanc
More articles by Jarrod LeBlanc

Sign up for Casino City's Newsletter and a Chance to Win an exciting Casino City Prize