The World Series of Poker winners won’t be the only ones leaving the Rio next week with riches.
A handful of specialty businesses — from makers of poker cards and felt to massage therapists, dietitians, portable toilet providers and cryptocurrency dealers — will also be cashing in. The Rio will also generate revenue as the host.
The WSOP, which runs from May 30 until July 22, attracts about 50,000 ”unique” poker players to the Rio over that time span, including nearly 8,000 during the peak period from July 8 through July 11, according to Seth Palansky, a spokesman for the tournament.
It helps keep the hotel humming during the slow summer period for convention business.
‘’We are keeping the hotel rooms, the restaurants and shows filled,” said Palansky.
The Rio boosts its room rates during the peak tournament period from July 6 through Tuesday. Sunday’s promo rate of $329 falls to $49 just one week later while Monday’s $212 rate drops to $40, according to a marketing email by Caesars Entertainment Corp., owner of the Rio.
The WSOP is also keeping cash ATM operators busy. The Rio has added three ATMs near the convention floor where WSOP is being held to ensure players can extract some of the $72 million in tournament entry fee. But it’s not just cash players need.
CashBot, a bitcoin trading operation, is offering to convert WSOP players’ cash winnings to the cryptocurrency for a 7.9 percent fee. Losers needing more cash can sell their bitcoin to CashBot for a 5.9 percent fee.
“Poker players can run into liquidity issues while traveling,” said Alex Pryor, a WSOP player who founded CashBot last month.
Pryor said clients have mainly been converting sums more than $10,000. Peter Klamka, owner of Bitcoin Direct LLC, said monthly turnover at his bitcoin ATM near the Rio rises to about $50,000 from $20,000 during the WSOP period.