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Three significant developments from the gaming sector form part of our latest update. Gopal Kanda, owner of the Golden Globe Hotels Pvt. Ltd (GGHPL) that operates the Casino Big Daddy has won the polls from the Sirsa assembly constituency in Haryana. A long-standing fixture in Haryana’s politics, Kanda’s political career has been marred by controversies, and the politician is known to have a few criminal cases pending against him. Kanda’s win in the assembly elections makes him the first casino owner in the country to have contested and won in the elections.
Moving over to the U.S., the South Florida-located Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel and Casino has finally thrown open the doors of its renovated tower. The recently constructed 36-storeyed 450-feel tall Guitar-shaped tower boasts of a brand new poker room and other expansions that were completed at the cost of $1.5 Billion. With the renovation, the hotel’s gaming area capacity has also increased. The total casino floor of the property can now accommodate 7,000 seats, while the gaming space boasts of more than 3,000 slot machines and table games.
In another significant development, the founder of Venture For America and Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has strongly voiced support for making online poker legal in the U.S. Yang recently shared his thoughts on the issue on Twitter and the statements have received a positive reaction from the who’s who of the global poker fraternity including the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Phil Galfond, and Bill Perkins.
A businessman and a politician with a controversial past, Gopal Kanda has won the assembly elections in Haryana. Kanda owns the Casino Big Daddy and runs it through his company Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd (GGHPL). The Big Daddy is moored over River Mandovi in Goa and is home to Spartan Poker’s poker room Spartan LIVE. By winning the election, Kanda has become the first casino owner in India to have won an election.
Kanda, who has been associated with Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Ajay Chautala first catapulted into the public domain after he won the polls from the Sirsa seat in 2009 as an Independent. Kanda subsequently formed his own political party, Haryana Lokhit Party, that lost the 2014 elections.
As far as Kanda’s business interests are concerned, he had launched MDLR Airlines in 2005, but the company went bankrupt. His company, GGHPL, however, continues to grow and has several hotels and malls under its umbrella.
Kanda’s interest in Goa’s casino sector dates back to 2011 when he had acquired the offshore Casino Rio from the Leela Group of Hotels but couldn’t operate it owing to licensing issues. GGHPL owed the government a massive amount as license renewal fees and pending penalty, which it finally did last year, after a grueling court case. The Big Daddy is GGHPL’s second ship to legally operate in River Mandovi.
This year again, Kanda contested and won from Sirsa assembly constituency. With the election results in Haryana delivering a hung verdict, Kanda had announced that he was ready to give unconditional support to the BJP that had managed to win 40 seats and needed the help of six more legislators to make a claim for forming the government.
However, it seems that the disgraced politician who has several criminal cases pending against him – some on serious charges like abetment to suicide, criminal conspiracy, income tax evasion, etc., – may not find it easy to enter the power corridors of the government as Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Saturday, firmly asserted that the BJP will not be taking Kanda’s support.
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has recently finished the completion of a $1.5 Billion expansion to its property in Hollywood, South Florida. As part of the renovations that include new bars, restaurants, and extended gaming space, is a tall and glimmering, guitar-shaped tower that has popped up in the skyline of Hollywood! The 36-storey ‘Guitar Hotel’ stands 450-feet tall and has been built along the rock-n-roll theme that is the hallmark at all Hard Rock properties.
The hotel opened its doors to guests last Thursday after a grand opening that included a fireworks celebration amid many A-list celebrities like Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, and Evander Holyfield, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, and reality tv star Khloe Kardashian.
Talking about the project, Hard Rock International CEO Jim Allen said, “We look at this as an adult-integrated resort. It is truly a destination that’s not just a casino. We’re really excited the facility is done on time, on budget, just like we said it would be.”
The Guitar Hotel has 638 rooms and suites that range from $189 to $989 a night, with the most expensive room being the Platinum King Suite that is built across 1,100 square feet. The structure was constructed over 10 million man-hours and used nearly 13,000 tons of steel.
The property is a popular venue for live tournament stops like the World Poker Tour (WPT), and while the construction was going on, the hotel had moved its poker room to the convention center space. The recently-completed expansions include a brand-new poker room that closely resembles the poker room in the hotel’s sister property in Tampa.
The management recently shared images of the new poker room and cash game action on Twitter.
ICYMI: Last night, we gave the world a sneak peak at the brand new poker room! The illuminating entrance leads you into a room filled with elegance and class! The property wide expansion is due to open tomorrow! New room opening time and parking location will be released soon! pic.twitter.com/BOnwNyMsp1
— The Poker Room (@SHRThePokerRoom) October 23, 2019
The @jic9er celebrity cash game is underway in our new room! Including @jasonmercier @natasha_mercier @ melisa_singh @andyslater @JYoungpoker @jeffgrosspoker @benerwinpoker @pouyalilpou pic.twitter.com/zkVjBixgkR
— The Poker Room (@SHRThePokerRoom) October 24, 2019
With this, the property now has casino floor accommodating 7,000 seats and gaming space with more than 3,000 slot machines and table games.
Online poker seems to finally have found a friend in the political arena, and it’s the founder of Venture For America, Andrew Yang. The 44-year-old is also one of many candidates that the Democratic Party is considering pitting against the incumbent Donald Trump in the 2020 elections. Whether Yang will be able to make it through the vast field of Democratic presidential candidates is yet to be seen; however, he has indeed won the heart of the American poker community.
On October 27, Yang tweeted his support for legalising online poker across the US.
Online poker is legal in 4 states. The state-by-state rules are variable and push many players to offshore sites. We should clarify the rules and make it legal in all 50 states. US players and companies would benefit and new tax revenues could be used to mitigate addiction.
— Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) October 26, 2019
His tweet garnered positive reactions from several stalwarts of the poker industry, including Phil Galfond, Daniel Negreanu, Bill Perkins, Jeff Dickerson, and many more.
Yes! & what most outside of poker don’t realize is that MANY sites still operate in the US, but because it’s outlawed, the ones remaining are those who ignore all regulations including responsible gaming, security, anti-money-laundering, etc.
Legal poker makes Americans safer!
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) October 26, 2019
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) October 26, 2019
ok now I really want you to win the nomination <3
— Liv Boeree (@Liv_Boeree) October 26, 2019
I’ve never voted for a Dem in a federal election. I founded the College Republicans at my college, and I served as the VP of the Georgia Association of College Republicans. I voted Libertarian in the last 2 presidential elections. There’s a first time for everything. #YangGang
— Jeff Dickerson 🧢☂️ (@GeorgiaDUILaw) October 26, 2019
Holy shit!! Show me one poker player who doesnt support Yang and I’ll show you a non poker player. We must so all the enrollment we can to get this guy in the Whitehouse. #Math https://t.co/0YWtgSOUc3
— Bill Perkins (Guy) (@bp22) October 26, 2019
Yang is presently polling at just 2.5 percent nationwide among Democratic voters, according to Real Clear Politics. That puts him at sixth among the 18 remaining candidates in his party. With his latest statement in support of online poker, his popularity is through the roof in the poker community.