Inside Gaming: Phil Galfond Launches New Daily Fantasy Sports Site
This week's installment of Inside Gaming shares news of a new daily fantasy sports site launched by a famous poker pro and his partner, tells of developers' efforts in Iowa to build a new casino in Cedar Rapids, and reports on the Bay 101 in San Jose at last making a planned for move across the street into a new facility.
Phil Galfond Launches New DFS Site, Draftboard
We've enjoyed watching Phil Galfond play pot-limit Omaha on Poker After Dark this week via PokerGO. The poker pro finds his way into the "Inside Gaming" line-up this week as well with news of a new daily fantasy sports site launched by Galfond and CEO Dan Quinn called Draftboard.
The new DFS site opened for business on Wednesday and offers players similar games as ones found on DraftKings, FanDuel, and other popular sites.
However, as Galfond explains in a post on his poker training site, Run It Once, the new site hopes to improve on existing offerings with added features designed to make things less daunting for the recreational DFS player.
In his post Galfond notes how on most sites the DFS pros are able "to enter additional line-ups with no degradation in skill," drawing a contrast with online poker where at a certain point players who multi-table cannot add additional tables without lessening their edge.
Allowing multi-entry is something of a necessity for DFS sites looking to increase prize pools and payouts, Galfond acknowledges. However, Draftboard hopes "to allow users to multi-enter while not putting single entry users at a disadvantage" via what it calls "Fair Match" games featuring separate lobbies for "Rookie" ($1-$5) and "Veteran" ($10-$50) games. Players are allowed only to enter contests in one of the lobbies each day for each sport.
In other words, players are prevented from playing both low and high buy-in contests in the same sport on the same day. Other features of the site include random opponent selection (to avoid pros targeting certain opponents) and a special multi-entry system matching first entries with other first entries, second entries with second entries, and so on.
Also distinguishing Draftboard is its "Live" section allowing players to follow the action with real-time animations that resemble "game cast" screens for following games online. It's a feature Legal Sports Report says "obviously far outpaces the in-contest experience you'll find at any other DFS operator."
The site is giving new sign-ups a dollar to try out the site, which currently is only offering NFL games. Draftboard is also taking a "legally conservative approach in the US" says Legal Sports Report, not offering games in U.S. states where there are DFS regulations and where "the site is either applying for licensure or waiting for the economics to make sense."
In September 2016, Galfond announced plans to launch an online poker site which currently remains in development.
Cedar Rapids Casino Proposals Meet Resistance from Current Iowa Operators
Three years ago, a bid to build a casino in Cedar Rapids, Iowa was rejected by state regulators, a decision made in part because of marketplace concerns expressed by other casinos.
Thus the scene was a familiar one this week at a public hearing in Cedar Rapids involving regulators, where several different proposals for casinos in the state's second-largest city were discussed with operators of casinos speaking out against such plans, reports The Gazette.
"Nothing has changed in this market and we urge you not to grant Cedar Rapids a license," said Dan Kehl, CEO of Elite Casino Resorts, to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. Elite Casino Resorts operates two casinos in Davenport and one in Larchwood.
The commission traveled to Cedar Rapids to hear three different proposals followed by a public hearing. The proposals included one from Wild Rose Entertainment for a $40-$55 million "boutique" casino, one for a $105-$118 million casino proposed by Peninsula Pacific and Cedar Rapids Development, and a third from those same two groups for a $165-$187 million project.
The latter, largest proposal is "nearly identical to the project rejected by a 4-1 gaming commission vote in 2014 based largely on projections it would cannibalize other casinos," reports The Gazette.
Besides the practical, economic objections additionally raised by representatives of casinos in Tama, Waterloo, and the Quad Cities, opposition was expressed at the hearing by one pastor representing "a handful of local residents opposed to any casino" as being "a sin."
Other officials representing Cedar Rapids and Linn County also expressed opposition, something Gaming Commissioner Jeff Lamberti said would be taken into consideration but would not ultimately determine whether or not a license would be granted. A decision is expected to come in November.
New Bay 101 Casino Opens in San Jose
Finally, the popular Bay 101 Casino in San Jose, California has found a new home right across the highway from its former facility, with today marking the grand opening of the new modernized casino, reports The Mercury News.
The new $53 million building covers 68,000 square-feet on North First Street and features a streamlined architectural look, added lighting, and higher ceilings. The Asian-themed Province restaurant additionally highlights dining options in the new facility.
Also making the move is the Bay 101's famed poker room, home of the annual World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star series that will continue to be held going forward.*
The casino includes 49 gaming tables (the maximum allowed by city law), offering pai gow poker, blackjack, EZ baccarat, and Texas hold'em. Free wi-fi, deposit boxes, and 40 high-definition TV screens are among the other services and conveniences.
"We're confident our patrons will enjoy the casino's contemporary design, high-tech amenities and easily accessible parking options," said Bay 101 general manager Vincent Shaw.
The Bay 101 is one of two card rooms available to poker players in San Jose, the other being just up the street at the Casino M8trix.
First opened as the Sutter's Club in 1929, San Jose's oldest card room closed in June 1992. Then after new developers sought to reopen a new site, a contest was held resulting in the new "Bay 101" name being used for the reopening in late 1993. Plans for the across-the-street move began in 2013.
*Ed note: While earlier reports on the Bay 101's move suggested the WPT event would continue to be held, that has not been confirmed.
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