The Weekly Round-up – 22 March 2021:

22 March 2021: The Tip Top Fox brings you the top poker and gambling industry stories of the week; Tony G gets in on the NFT collectibles market; Bally’s bids $90M for World Poker Tour

Tony G Gets in on the NFT Collectibles Market

Do you have a ‘Date With An Eight’ or are you in the market for an ‘Ace From Space’? Luckily for you, Australian-Lithuanian businessman, politician, and iconic poker player Antanas ‘Tony G’ Guoga has the answer to your prayers.

Guoga has always been something of a trendsetter when it comes to poker. In addition to launching PokerNews back in 2002, Guoga featured heavily in the early televised games of the early noughties. This is where Tony G first came to the attention of many. Especially with the classic “on your bike” put down of Ralph Perry’s king-jack call during the 2006 Intercontinental Poker Championship.

Now Guoga is blazing the trail once again, having recently resigned from Lithuanian politics to focus on the burgeoning cryptocurrency market. Guoga’s latest project is working as an advisor for digital blockchain company Lympo, which recently announced a series of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) based around some of his more infamous poker catchphrases.

What is an NFT?

You could be forgiven for not knowing what an NFT is. Until this week, most other folks had no idea what one was either. Employing similar blockchain technology to cryptocurrencies, NFTs are making waves in the digital world at present. Essentially NFTs are transforming digital works of art, music, and other collectibles into one-of-a-kind, verifiable assets which are then traded online.

While popular online cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum utilise blockchain technology, they are fungible assets so can be replaced or exchanged with another asset of the same value – a bit like trading dollar bills with someone.

However, while NFTs are linked to the blockchain, they are unique digital tokens effectively verifying authenticity and ownership. It’s better to think of them as a rare collectible coin or like some kind of digital Pokémon trading card.

For example, an NFT of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first-ever published tweet is currently on the market for a cool $2.5 million – though we’re not sure how you’d hang that on your wall. Or why you’d pay that much money for it in the first place but to each their own.

Get On Your Bike!

While Tony G’s NFTs probably won’t sell for millions, they do look pretty cool. Lympo are releasing six Tony G NFT’s in total, which you can view in their entirety on the Lympo website.

‘Ace From Space’ is the rarest with the one-of-a-kind NFT up for auction, with all proceeds going to charity. However, it is the legendary ‘On Your Bike!’ that is the Tip Top Fox’s personal favorite:

So how do you buy one? Well, that’s a little complicated, but the Lympo website has all the details. Essentially these Tony G NFTs are available for purchase for anyone who has Lympo Market Tokens (LMT) – which are connected to the Ethereum blockchain – and is available via their website. Then these tokens can be used to bid in an online auction.

As with all cryptocurrencies, the actual value of Lympo currency is fairly volatile, as is the value of the NFTs themselves. It’ll still be worth keeping an eye on though, as it looks like NFTs may well be a part of the future of digital commerce so it’s probably worth getting up to speed now if you want to catch the train.

Bally’s Bids $90M for World Poker Tour

WPT Fallsview Poker Classic

Back in January 2021, it looked as though Element Partners, LLC, was all set to acquire one of global poker’s more recognisable brands – the World Poker Tour (WPT) – for $78 million.

That deal is now off the table after US casino chain Bally’s made a last-minute bid of $90 million. The WPT brand’s current owner, Allied Entertainment, could not resist this “superior proposal” and announced their acceptance of Bally’s bid on 16 March.

However, as Allied Entertainment state in their most recent press release: “There can be no assurance that the Company will enter into a definitive agreement with Bally’s or consummate any transaction with Bally’s.”

With over $1.2 billion in capital commitments spread over six investment partnerships, Element has the cash, and until 5 pm Pacific Time on Friday, 19 March to offer a counter bid.

In addition to their more lucrative offer, Bally’s has the US casino industry background advantage when it comes to the potential of growing the WPT brand. They also boast 12 casino racetrack properties situated across the US in their portfolio. Add in the fact that the WPT brand will be able to acquire online gaming licences through these land-based properties, and it looks like Bally’s have the edge.

This will be the fourth time the WPT has changed hands since its 2002 inception. Party Gaming paid $12.3 million for the brand back in 2009. Then Ourgame International Holdings Ltd paid $35 million to acquire it in 2015.

WPT co-founder Lyle Berman purchased both the WPT and Allied Esports Entertainment for $150 million via his Black Ridge Acquisition Corporation in 2019, before changing the company name to that of current owners – Allied Esports Entertainment, Inc.

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