A New WPT Champion, PokerStars Face Regulation Issues and It's Good News for German Casinos

Phillip Mighall has taken down the four-day $10,000 WPT Online Championship Main Event for a whopping $1.5million. The Brit beat a 1,011 field to claim his first major title and a career best cash.

By: Mark Patrickson

Mighall has an impressive $3.1 million in online winnings with a best cash of $101,643. He also has slightly more than half a million dollars lifetime winnings in the live arena, and basically just took his career to the next level.

Starting the final table second in chips he might have been feeling confident of a decent result, but taking a look around the table there was plenty of reason to worry.

None other than Team partypoker pro Dzimitry Urbanovich, and legendary high-stakes tournament grinder Bert ‘Girafganger7’ Stevens, were sat waiting to feed on their prey.

It wasn’t to be for the favourites though, because six hours later Phillip Mighall was about to have his name engraved on the newly named WPT Mike Sexton Champions Cup.

Final Table Payouts

1 Phillip Mighall $1,550,298.47*
2 Tuen Mulder $1,396,968.73*
3 Damian Salas $814,663.80
4 Blaz Zerjav $552,006
5 Victor Simionato $391,257
6 Dzmitry Urbanovich $277,014
7 Bert Stevens $194,112
7 Akseli Paalanen $153,672
8 Laszlo Molnar $127,386

* Players agreed a deal

Great Prizes Seen Over the Summer

The coronavirus pandemic might have destroyed the live poker scene for 2020, but with some events shifting to online platforms we have seen prize pools and payouts like never before.

The World Series of Poker attracted 5,801 entries,building a $27.6 million prize pool - the largest ever online poker tournament in history. No less than four places paid out more than $1 million, making another record.

Stoyan Madanzhiev of Bulgaria was the man who took home the biggest chunk of cheese, racking up a cool $3.9 million in prize money which now stands as the largest prize ever won in an online poker event.

PokerStars Abandons Serbian Market

PokerStars has withdrawn from the Serbian market according to players in the region. This comes only three weeks after the poker community was shocked at the pull out from China, Macau, and Taiwan.

After the takeover by Flutter Entertainment, PokerStars has been reviewing its regulatory commitments followed by exiting some markets. Earlier this year Cyprus and some overseas French territories were left looking for somewhere else to play after being left high and dry by PokerStars new policy.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, because Slovenia and Slovakia suffered the same fate and were welcomed back into the fold only a few months ago. So, it looks as if the industry is set for a period of review while major platforms get their houses in order over what they must do to remain licensed in some jurisdictions.

German Online Casinos Thrown a Lifeline

Online casinos servicing German customers have been thrown a lifeline following threats of serious legal action.

All 16 states agreed to a deal to ”tolerate” the companies provided that they implement the requirements of the new Federal Gambling Treaty before October 15th 2020. The treaty doesn't come into effect until July 1st 2021 but as a means to avoid expensive legal processes an olive branch was extended.

No prosecutions will be made if the casinos behave themselves according to the new rules.

Sheldon Adelson’s Net Worth Down 13%

Sheldon Adelson has lost 13% from his net worth during 2020. While many of the world’s richest actually increased their wealth Adelson has been hit hard due to the decimation of the brick-and-mortar gambling industry.

There won’t be many tears from the poker community on this score. Adelson has become the bête noire of the online poker world with his backing of the UIGEA 2006 which prevented the online game from threatening his profits.

The Forbes 400, 2020, The Richest People in America has just been published with Adelson sitting in 19th place with a net worth of $29.8 billion, even after taking a $4.7 billion hit.

The CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation firmly puts his rival Steve Wynn in the shade on this score. Wynn has ruined the reputation of the company bearing his name with his actions and sits in 278th place with $3 billion.

No Smoking at the MGM

Other news from the Las Vegas Strip is that the Park MGM will reopen as a smoke free casino later this month. The first time in history a Nevada casino has prohibited smoking inside.

This will be something of a test for MGM as the last time this was tried things didn’t go well.

President and COO of Park MGM Anton Nikodemus is more optimistic. Speaking to the Associated Press he said: "We believe there is a high-level of pent-up demand to have a non-smoking casino, especially here in Las Vegas. During this time we’ve been able to really prepare the property for a smoke-free resort experience.”

Atlantic City casino Revel thought there was a gap in the market back in 2012 and opened with a non-smoking policy but closed its doors only a year later after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Time will tell if the COVID-19 situation will help more people to support non-smoking environments.

ESPN Signs Two Huge Deals

ESPN and Caesars Entertainment have signed a promotional deal. Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill will now sponsor ESPN and provide data on their apps targeting users in states where sports betting is legal.

In a press release ESPN’s vice president Mike Morrison said: “With Caesars utilizing odds from William Hill’s sports betting data, we are able to deliver content in new and innovative ways. Our multi-dimensional relationship is a testament to the growth and opportunity in the sports betting space.”

DraftKings was the other industry giant to link up with the largest sports media company in the world.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said: “ESPN helped revolutionize the 24/7 sports news cycle and continues to the go-to source for many fans today on the latest and largest sports stories. We look forward to this collaboration to exclusively showcase DraftKings’ daily fantasy content and offerings while also advancing further visibility and mainstream adoption of our regulated sports betting products.”

It makes us wonder if these companies know something we don’t about the future of gambling in the US. These are huge deals and show that there is still a lot of will to get this industry fully legalised in each and every state.


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