LoBiondo, Hughes each say they are best for casino workers

Both U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, and his Democratic challenger, Bill Hughes Jr., spent the summer and part of the fall promoting themselves and painting each other as worse for the region’s dominant industry, as casino after casino closed.

The closing of at least four casinos in 2014 has walloped the 2nd Congressional District: More than 90 percent of the 31,600 casino workers registered with the state in July lived in ZIP codes within the district.

Now, with the closing of the Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza, and the threatened shutdown of Trump Taj Mahal, as many as 11,000 of those district residents could find themselves jobless by Thanksgiving.

Both Hughes and LoBiondo have long-standing ties to the region’s casino industry.

Detailed campaign finance reports from the first two quarters of 2014 show LoBiondo reported $10,500 from four gambling-related political action committees, including the largest amount, $5,000, from the Caesars Entertainment PAC, out of $1.5 million in total campaign contributions.

Federal Election Commission filings show LoBiondo also received $1,150 from individuals who could be identified as directly working for the casino industry.

Hughes received nothing from gambling-related PACs out of about a half-million dollars in donations, according to the FEC. Instead, casino industry employees gave him $9,500, with $6,500 coming from his sisters Lynne and Tama Hughes, both top Atlantic City casino executives.

N. Lynne Hughes, 56, of Ocean City, serves as Caesars Entertainment’s vice president and chief legal officer for its eastern division. She has represented the company’s different casinos in front of the Casino Control Commission and elsewhere.

Tama B. Hughes, 52, also of Ocean City, is a vice president and corporate counsel for Tropicana Casino and Resort. She previously was an assistant prosecutor in the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, and her name was floated as a potential county prosecutor there in 2002.

Neither responded to requests for comment earlier this summer. A third sister, Barbara Sullivan, 54, of Alexandria, Virginia, has no casino industry connection.

Bill Hughes said he takes pains to separate his campaign from his sisters’ business interests.

“Going back very early on, my mom had a very simple rule: no politics or law at the table,” Hughes said in August. But he does not campaign in a vacuum: “If I say or do something that is remotely impacting, I make sure that they know about it.”

Members of Congress have a limited role in the state’s gambling industry. Federal law limits sports wagers, but New Jersey otherwise regulates Atlantic City’s casinos. Regardless, when Showboat Casino Hotel announced it would close this summer, both Hughes and LoBiondo held separate Boardwalk press conferences.

Hughes and a dozen supporters in July first criticized the casino’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment, for planning to close the casino at summer’s end. He also criticized LoBiondo for not doing more to stop Showboat from closing, saying the congressman doesn’t have a plan to save local jobs.

“He has a plan to save his own job,” Hughes said at the time, and promoted his idea to target foreign trade with Atlantic City International Airport.

A week later, LoBiondo joined state Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, who announced a package of proposed state bills to help casino workers. The congressman said it was important to show solidarity with the workers, even though there was little that could be done at the federal level.

“Where is the regard for the men and women who are responsible for this being a profitable facility?” LoBiondo asked at the time. “Where is Caesars’ responsibility for all the years when things were really good?” LoBiondo later disclosed that he had talked with Gary Loveman, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, and told him he would stand with the workers.

Hughes repeated his attack that LoBiondo stood by as joblessness engulfed the district in a television ad that shows the candidate walking the streets of Atlantic City, shuttered casinos behind him. Hughes says in the ad, “When Frank LoBiondo went to Congress, more than 47,000 people worked here, but in 20 years about half of these jobs have disappeared.”

LoBiondo quickly criticized Hughes for holding a fundraiser with former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat whom the LoBiondo campaign labeled as “the man directly responsible for expanding regional gaming competition against New Jersey.”

LoBiondo even ran an advertisement that featured three casino workers, repeatedly naming Hughes and claiming he was “bankrolling his campaign with the same people who brought gaming to Pennsylvania and want to bring it to North Jersey.”

Ultimately, it was LoBiondo, who again won the endorsement of Local 54 of UNITE-HERE, the dominant casino employee union. In a statement, union President Bob McDevitt said LoBiondo “stood strong with the men and women of Local 54 as we continue to weather the repercussions of casino closures in Atlantic City.”

On Friday, both men asserted they were best for the region’s casino work force.

“Well, I didn’t just come to their defense this year,” LoBiondo said, adding that he has long been involved on their behalf. This is particularly relevant now as casino workers face “the most horrible challenge they have.”

Saying LoBiondo has ignored district unemployment, Hughes argued instead he has the energy, drive and vision to diversify the local economy, which he said is long overdue.

“These are the people who are the engine for the regional economy,” Hughes said, “and they are the ones who are taking it on the chin from the failure to heed those long-term warning signs.”

Monday Funday Returns to Barona Resort & Casino With 7X Points on October 13

SAN DIEGO, CA — (Marketwired) — 10/13/14 — Weekend fun continues as Barona Resort & Casino brings back Monday Funday on Monday, October 13. Players will enjoy games, food and 7x points on all slots, keno and video poker!

“Barona is here to help beat the Monday blues with 7x points on Monday Funday,” said Rick Salinas, general manager of Barona Resort & Casino. “Guests will enjoy all the fun and excitement of a weekend along with extra chances to win!”

All Barona players will earn 7x points on slots, keno and video poker from 9 a.m. until noon and from 9 p.m. until midnight on Monday, October 13. And don’t miss the fun and excitement of Party People games, food mobs and Lucky Dealer drawings throughout the casino from noon until 9 p.m.!

Barona Resort and Casino was recently named Best Casino and Loosest Slots for the 4th year in a row along with 11 other awards in the San Diego’s Best U-T Readers Poll awards. Barona has 2,000 slots and video poker machines. Additionally, the casino features over 80 table games including Blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, Barona Craps, EZ Baccarat, Three-Card Poker, Four-Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Let It Ride, Baccarat and Barona Roulette. Barona also features San Diego’s largest Asian gaming pit including popular games such as Sic Bo.

About Barona Resort & Casino
Barona Resort & Casino, an AAA Four Diamond rated property, blends the best of San Diego’s leading resorts with the gaming excitement of Las Vegas. Barona features 400 guest rooms and suites all with beautiful views of the Barona Valley, a variety of award-winning dining options, the AmBience Day Spa, a full-service events center and the 18-hole championship Barona Creek Golf Club, rated the 4th best resort course in California by Golfweek magazine. For Barona Resort & Casino reservations and information, visit www.barona.com, or call toll free 888-7-BARONA (722-7662). You can also join Barona on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Straight out of a Bond thriller: How a brilliantly cunning card sharp and his Chinese moll cheated a London casino out of £7million

The gambler eyed the cards being laid out on the baize table and murmured quietly to his attractive Asian companion. She had accompanied him, he told the staff at the London casino, purely for ‘good luck’.

But why then was she the one talking to their female dealer in Mandarin Chinese, persuading her to oblige her friend’s extreme superstitiousness with all manner of harmless little changes to the high stakes game of baccarat he was playing.

Some might have been suspicious, but casinos love the so-called ‘high-rollers’ willing to gamble millions in a single session. And they didn’t come much more high-rolling than Phil Ivey, regarded as the world’s greatest poker player.

His arrival at Crockfords in Mayfair, Britain’s oldest casino, the previous night had caused genuine excitement, not to mention a gleeful rubbing of hands.

As a casino inspector paced the private room, hung not only with chandeliers and oil paintings but also a battery of security cameras, the scene one August night two years ago could have come straight from the pages of Ian Fleming.

Especially when the couple coolly walked out at the end of two nights of gambling that had seen a staggering £106 million won and lost at various times. In the end, they had made £7.7 million at James Bond’s favourite card game.

Their achievement was all the more impressive because Punto Banco, the version they were playing, involves no skill whatsoever.

This week, the same pair were back in Central London, this time in the High Court, for an equally high stakes game as Ivey, an American, tried to convince a judge he had not been cheating and the casino had no right to withhold his winnings.

Indeed, Ivey felt so confident in his case — the biggest legal battle in British casino history — that the American stunned the gambling world by admitting precisely how he did it. And the truth was even more ingenious — Crockfords might prefer the word ‘devious’ — than anything James Bond ever faced.

For Ivey, 38, and his companion — no casual observer but one of the sharpest operators in Las Vegas — were ‘edge sorting’. That means he and Cheung Yin Sun were able to ‘read’ the cards by spotting imperfections on the back of them.

Crockfords and its owners, the £21 billion Genting Group of Malaysia, were not prepared for this when Ivey came to play.

He was 16 when he told his parents in New Jersey he was going to become a professional gambler. He developed his poker skills playing colleagues at a telemarketing firm, went on to win countless World Series ‘bracelets’, or championships, and is regarded as the best all-round player on the planet.

He now lives in Las Vegas, after divorcing his wife, and his life is dedicated to the game. So when he contacted Crockfords and told them he would like to come to London and lay seven-figure bets on its tables, the casino was keen to accommodate him.

High-rollers can make a huge difference to a casino’s balance sheet. However much he won or lost, it would be good for the casino’s image to have the ‘Tiger Woods of Poker’ on the premises.

 

Champion poker player Phil Ivey ‘stitched up’ casino in £7.7m winning streak, court hears

One of the world’s best poker players “stitched up” a venerable London casino after taking advantage of a minor flaw in playing cards to go on a remarkable £7.7 million winning streak, the High Court has heard.

Professional player Phil Ivey created an “air of superstition” by insisting on wearing a lucky hat, using a lucky Asian card dealer and a lucky pack of cards to hide the fact that he had adopted a system that tipped the odds in his favour, the casino management claimed.

Aided by a Hong Kong friend, Mr Ivey, 38, turned around early losses to win the fortune over two days of playing a game of little skill at the upmarket Crockfords Club in London’s Mayfair that is part of the £21 billion Malaysian Genting Group.

Mr Ivey is suing the casino group after it returned his £1m stake but refused to pay his winnings after claiming that it had been cheated out of the money. Despite being one of the biggest casino operators in the world, senior staff at the casino were unaware of the known flaw in the playing cards, the court heard.

Mr Ivey says that he exploited the casino’s failures to take proper security measures and they went along with all his requests without question. “Putting it bluntly, he played, he won and they ought to pay up,” said Richard Spearman, counsel for Mr Ivey.

Ivey turned around early losses to win the fortune at the upmarket Crockfords Club in London’s MayfairIvey turned around early losses to win the fortune at the upmarket Crockfords Club in London’s Mayfair (Alamy)
As a high-roller of international standing, Mr Ivey was given a private room to play a version of Baccarat known as Punto Banco over four sessions in August 2012. He was a regular at the club – and was considered enough of a VIP for him to request a private jet from Barcelona to London, according to court papers.

CCTV footage that captured the game showed how Mr Ivey used the technique of “edge-counting” to give him a better chance of guessing the next card that would come out of the shuffling machine.

The game – based on gambling on the value of two or three cards – was tipped in his favour after the pair asked for the best cards – 7s, 8s, and 9s – to be turned 180 degrees before they were put back into the machine.

Because of the flaw in the cards – that was not known by the casino – Mr Ivey was able to spot them before they came out of the shoe and gave him a better chance of winning.

Phil Ivey pauses during a hand at the final table at the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP)Phil Ivey pauses during a hand at the final table at the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) (Getty Images)
Staff at the casino discussed the fact that they asked the dealer to turn around some of the cards “like that made any difference” and put it down to superstition. “It did make a difference,” said Mr Spearman. “They just didn’t realise.”

But Mr Ivey’s legal team said that casinos “preyed upon” the superstitions of big-money players to make some of their highest profits. But Mr Ivey – whose poker tournament winnings alone amounts to more than £12m – and his assistant Cheung Yin Sun were allowed to request their changes unchecked over hours of play.

Mr Spearman told Mr Justice Mitting, a bridge player who said that he had never been to a casino, that there was an adversarial “cat and mouse” atmosphere at the club. He said that the casino could have halted the winning streak by changing cards or putting extra security on the dealing machine – but they didn’t.

“He regards this as entirely fair play,” said Mr Spearman, who said that his client had used the technique at casinos in Canada, the US and Australia. “If a casino fouls up from start to finish that’s the gamblers good fortune.”

Christopher Pymont QC, counsel for the casino, said that he took advantage of ignorance at Crockfords and said Mr Ivey’s actions were “highly immoral and dishonest”.

“The whole point is to stich up the casino, to fix it, when you know it’s in ignorance of what you’re doing,” he said.

The case, which is expected to last a week, continues.

Horseshoe Casino Cleveland voted top casino in Ohio by Casino Player Magazine readers

Horseshoe Cleveland Casino celebrates 2nd anniversary

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Horseshoe Casino Cleveland was recently voted the top casino in Ohio in 15 categories in the annual survey of readers of Casino Player Magazine.

The magazine ranked the top three casinos in states and areas, including several in Las Vegas.

Ohio has four casinos. so all did well.

Among the categories Horseshoe Cleveland won were best casino and best overall gaming resort.

Other categories it won include best hosts, best comps, best Players club, best promotions and best dealers.

Hollywood Casino Columbus won the other five categories, including the casino where people feel the luckiest. It was the runner-up for best casino and best overall gaming resort.

The Columbus casino was among the top three in all 20 categories. Cleveland was not named in the categories of best video slots and best video poker.

SugarHouse Team Votes Casino One of Philly’s ‘Best Places to Work’ Four Years in a Row

PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–For the fourth year in a row, SugarHouse’s more than 1,100 Team Members have voted the casino one of Philly’s “Best Places to Work” in the annual ranking published by the Philadelphia Business Journal (PBJ). And, for the second consecutive year, SugarHouse has earned the silver recognition in the extra-large company category, defined as a workplace with more than 1,000 employees.

“I’m so grateful to our Team for their hard work, dedication and for voting us to this list for the fourth time! The love is mutual – they are the best in the business!”

The rankings were announced at a special reception this morning, and will be featured in an exclusive publication of the PBJ, which debuts tomorrow.

The “Best Places to Work” program recognizes the top employers in the Delaware Valley, which are determined by scores given to the companies by their own employees through an anonymous survey. The questionnaires are administered by Quantum Workplace, an independent third-party surveying firm.

Once SugarHouse was nominated, a certain percentage of its team members—defined by Quantum Workplace—were required to complete the questionnaire, which asked members to rank the casino on several dozen questions. Common themes among top companies focused on work-life balance; respect and caring for employees; recognition of accomplishments; feeling empowered; good teamwork and commitment to community.

SugarHouse opened in 2010, earning the bronze recognition just one year later in 2011 — the first year it was eligible to be ranked — followed by gold and silver rankings in 2012 and 2013.

“We work hard every day to make SugarHouse a best place to work for our Team Members, but they’re really the ones making Philly’s casino the best,” Wendy Hamilton, general manager of SugarHouse Casino, said. “I’m so grateful to our Team for their hard work, dedication and for voting us to this list for the fourth time! The love is mutual – they are the best in the business!”

In addition to the recognition in the Philadelphia Business Journal, SugarHouse employees also voted the casino a “Top Workplace” for three consecutive years in the ranking conducted by Philly.com.

Residents Battle for Casinos

A rendering of the $1.5 billion casino and resort in Tuxedo, N.Y., as proposed by Genting Group, one of the firms seeking to develop a casino in the state. Genting Group

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y.—The casino rivalry between the Catskills and Orange County was on full display Tuesday at a public hearing here that often took the tone of a campaign rally complete with promotional T-shirts and banners.

Catskills residents said that when the state Legislature legalized Las Vegas-style gambling last year it was intended to revive economically depressed places such as Sullivan and Ulster counties. Supporters also said they have been trying to bring in casino development for more than four decades to make up for tourism lost after the region’s historic resorts closed.

“We’ve waited too long,” Darryl Kaplan, 76 years old, of Thompson, N.Y., told the Gaming Facility Location Board. He grew up working in a family business that did laundry for the resort hotels during the heyday of the Catskills. “Please be just. Give us what we’ve been waiting for for 40 years.”

Orange County boosters said their communities can make the most money for the state and is in a superior location—about 40 miles from the county’s southern border to Manhattan.

“You can build the best casino in the whole wide world,” said Colleen Pearce, who has lived in Woodbury, N.Y., for 38 years and owns a deli in town. “If it’s in the wrong spot and hard to get to, they won’t come. It’s not ‘Field of Dreams.’ “

The state is considering 16 applications to build a maximum of four casinos in three different regions: Near Albany, in the southern tier near the Pennsylvania border, and in the Catskills and Hudson Valley. No region can have more than two casinos.

The Gaming Facility Location Board will base 70% of its determination on how much economic activity a project will generate, 20% on its local impact and 10% on its workforce-development plan. There is no deadline, but licenses could be awarded as early as mid-October.

The competition has been most fierce in the Catskills and Orange County, where nine applications have been filed. Applicants include Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, owner and operator of the Mohegan Sun; Caesars Entertainment; and Malaysian gambling corporation Genting Group3182.KU -0.86% which runs the Resorts World Casino in Queens.

A business-development nonprofit gave out bright-orange-colored T-shirts that read: “Orange County: NY’s Best Option!” A banner supporting two casinos in Sullivan County read: “$1.5 billion of total upstate development!”

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein said the Catskills, located north of Orange County, would be cut off from the visitors coming from New York City if Orange County was awarded a casino license.

Steven Neuhaus, Orange County executive, said his community, with its proximity to the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, offered the best chance for the state to compete with future casinos being considered in northern New Jersey. “We need to think about long-term sustainability,” Mr. Neuhaus said.

Susanne Williams, of the village of Tuxedo Park, spoke out against Genting’s proposed $1.5 billion project in the town of Tuxedo, which she said would strain municipal resources and create additional traffic.

Michael Levoff, a spokesman for Genting, said his company has tried to address the concerns of residents, including meeting with critics and opening a visitor center to answer questions about the project.

Barona Resort & Casino Gives Players 10x Points on Friday 10-10

SAN DIEGO, CA–(Marketwired – Oct 8, 2014) - Barona Resort & Casino is the place to be this Friday, the 10th day of the 10th month, with 10x points! From 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., all Club Barona members will receive extra points on slots, keno and video poker.

“Weekends always start off with a lot of excitement at Barona but this Friday is a Perfect 10,” said Rick Salinas, general manager of Barona Resort & Casino. “Players will earn 10x points on 10-10 giving them more chances than ever to put a little extra cash in their wallets.”

Barona Resort & Casino will give all Club Barona members 10x points on slots, keno and video poker from 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Friday, October 10.

Barona Resort and Casino was recently named Best Casino and Loosest Slots for the 4th year in a row along with 11 other awards in the San Diego’s Best U-T Readers Poll awards. Barona has 2,000 slots and video poker machines. Additionally, the casino features over 80 table games including Blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, Barona Craps, EZ Baccarat, Three-Card Poker, Four-Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Let It Ride, Baccarat and Barona Roulette. Barona also features San Diego’s largest Asian gaming pit including popular games such as Sic Bo.

About Barona Resort & Casino
Barona Resort & Casino, an AAA Four Diamond rated property, blends the best of San Diego’s leading resorts with the gaming excitement of Las Vegas. Barona features 400 guest rooms and suites all with beautiful views of the Barona Valley, a variety of award-winning dining options, the AmBience Day Spa, a full-service events center and the 18-hole championship Barona Creek Golf Club, rated the 4th best resort course in California by Golfweek magazine. For Barona Resort & Casino reservations and information, visitwww.barona.com, or call toll free 888-7-BARONA (722-7662). You can also join Barona on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Revel Casino in Atlantic City Is Sold to Real Estate Company

There appears to be life after closing for the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

With an offer of $110 million, a real estate company won the bidding this week for the bankrupt casino, which closed its doors a month ago.

The company, Brookfield Asset Management, is buying the casino resort at a fraction of the $2.4 billion it cost to build and plans to reopen the sweeping blue-glass tower at the north end of the city’s boardwalk.

“It’s an opportunity to acquire the newest and highest-quality asset in Atlantic City at an attractive basis,” said Richard B. Clark, chief executive of Brookfield Property Partners, an affiliate of the buyer. “We’ll be in discussion with all the parties and partners involved to formulate a feasible plan that ensures the long-term viability of the property as a resort destination.”

Brookfield already owns two casinos — the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Since it would acquire Revel at a bargain-basement price, company executives said it was possible to pull off a revival.

The current owner of Revel, Revel Entertainment Group, said in a statement on Wednesday that it would seek approval for the sale to Brookfield at an Oct. 7 hearing in United States Bankruptcy Court in Camden, N.J.

Revel, which opened more than two years ago, was supposed to be the resort of the future for beleaguered Atlantic City, with an emphasis on luxury dining, nightclubs, entertainment and million-dollar views of the waterfront, as well as gambling.

The resort did have the most popular nightclub in the city and some of the best restaurants.

But Revel, like the 11 other casinos in Atlantic City, was battered by large debts and increasing competition from gambling halls in Delaware, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.

The combined gambling revenues in Atlantic City have fallen by half since peaking in 2006 at $5.2 billion.

Since January, the Atlantic Club, Showboat, Trump Plaza and Revel have closed, laying off thousands of workers and threatening the city’s already precarious finances.

“We assume that they are planning to hire back all of the people who worked at Revel previously,” said Bob McDevitt, president of Unite-Here Local 54, which represents thousands of workers in the casino industry. “We’re hopeful that this is a positive step forward, not just for Revel, but for all of Atlantic City.”

But Atlantic City faces another possible closing at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, once the city’s largest and most luxurious resort. The owners, Trump Entertainment, had notified its 2,953 employees of plans to shut down on Nov. 13.

More recently, Trump Entertainment Resorts and its principal lender, Carl Icahn, have put forward a plan involving significant concessions from the city, the state and union workers that they say would allow them to remain open.

They are asking forgiveness for $30 million in property taxes, a demand that has already been rejected by the city, and want a $25 million infusion from the state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

Trump Entertainment also wants to stop making health and welfare payments to the union fund and to replace the pension fund with a 401(k) plan.

Mr. McDevitt of Local 54 chastised Mr. Icahn, accusing him of trying to take advantage of the crisis in Atlantic City to do away with health care for thousands of workers, who earn, on average, less than $12 an hour.

GTA 5 Online QnA: Best Update So Far, Heist vs Casino, What DLC Needs and More

Another discerning YouTuber, TwoDynamic (aka Declan), has shared some of the most interestingdiscussion topics in his latest video as part of the QnA series for GTA Online, along the lines of popular QnA series uploads from DomisLive (aka Dom) and iCrazyTeddy.

Best GTA 5 DLC So Far

One of the top fan queries doing rounds on the internet pertains to the best GTA 5 DLC released so far, wherein gamers are comparing the Flight School update with the Last Team Standing DLC in terms of clothing, vehicles used and the overall gameplay experience.

Answering his fan query, TwoDynamic clarifies in this QnA video that the Last Team Standing DLC stands out in terms of content, while The Flight School update impresses with the sheer number of vehicle additions into the game.

The YouTuber admits that older updates such as High-Life and Hipster DLC have been more successful in terms of content as well as replay value as they introduced brand new weapons, vehicles and the addition of some new apartments/garages into the mix.

Live-streaming on YouTube

Declan also reveals his plans about doing a live-streaming video on YouTube in the near future, wherein he would portray some in-game activities such as races, stunts and more.

Undead Nightmare vs Casino vs Heists (Single Player and Multiplayer)

Answering another intriguing fan query about the most-anticipated DLCs among Undead Nightmare, Casino and Heists, the YouTuber puts his money on the Undead Nightmare, as Zombie mode DLC would be an interesting addition to GTA Online given its dynamic open-world gameplay elements.

On a second count, Declan believes that Heists would definitely be a game changer for GTA Online as Casino DLC is likely to be a smaller update or probably be an integral part of Heists.

Ramp Races, Stunts and More in GTA Online

Talking about the success formula for GTA Online, TwoDynamic clearly explains that the addition of side missions and activities such as ramp races, stunts and open-world events in the game are key to its overwhelming popularity in the video gaming industry.