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TALKING POINTS

Rhode Island casino to allow sports betting beginning Monday

SPORTS BETTING

R.I. casino to allow sports betting beginning Monday

Rhode Island will officially become the first New England state where sports betting is legal on Monday, when the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., opens its sports books for the first time. Twin River said it would launch the new offering Monday afternoon, when a group of dignitaries including the state House speaker and Senate president place ceremonial first bets. Rhode Island rushed to join the first group of states to legalize sports bets after a ruling by the US Supreme Court allowed the practice to expand beyond Nevada, where it has long been legal. New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania have also begun allowing sports wagers. In Rhode Island, gamblers will only be able to place bets at Twin River’s Lincoln casino. The Tiverton Casino Hotel is set to join later. — ANDY ROSEN

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INTERNATIONAL

WTO to investigate US tariffs on steel and aluminum

The World Trade Organization agreed Wednesday to investigate the legality of US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports based on national security concerns, a decision the US says could undermine the legitimacy of the Geneva-based trade body. Members including the European Union and China asked the WTO to examine the US levies, which they say don’t bolster security but further US economic interests. Any review of America’s essential security interests “would undermine the legitimacy of the WTO’s dispute settlement system and even the viability of the WTO as a whole,” the American delegation said at a Wednesday meeting of the WTO dispute settlement body, according to prepared remarks seen by Bloomberg. The WTO has long avoided this politically fraught confrontation. If the trade organization decides in favor of the United States, the decision could entice the body’s 164 members to use the national security justification to impose protectionist measures for economic gain; if it rules against the United States, President Trump could decide to leave the WTO entirely. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

CHRISTMAS

The perfect tree may cost more this year

There’s a tight supply of tannenbaums this holiday season. That means some shoppers will be paying more or searching longer for that perfect Christmas tree. But industry officials say there’s no cause for panic buying. The tight market is rooted in an oversupply followed by the Great Recession that caused many growers to leave the business. Now the supply is tight. Tim O’Connor from the National Christmas Tree Association says most people will find what they want, but prices could be a bit higher than last year’s average retail price of about $75. All told, the association says US consumers are expected to buy about 27 million live trees. That’s roughly the same as the last two years. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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VIDEO GAMES

GameStop to sell A&T wireless stores for $700 million

GameStop Corp., the video game retailer, agreed to sell its AT&T wireless stores to Prime Communications LP for $700 million, exiting a business that the company once viewed as a key source of future growth. The sale of Spring Mobile, with 1,289 stores, is expected to close by the end of January, Grapevine, Texas-based GameStop said Wednesday. Proceeds from the sale may be used to reduce debt, repurchase shares, or reinvest in the company’s core video-game business. The retailer continues to evaluate strategic options to boost its share price. Shares of GameStop rose more than 11 percent. The stock was down 32 percent this year through Tuesday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

LUXURY

Dolce & Gabbana apologizes for insulting remarks about China

Dolce & Gabbana apologized Wednesday for insulting remarks about China it allegedly made in conversations on Instagram but denied that it was responsible. Chinese celebrities reacted angrily after screenshots of the conversations were posted on social media and several said they would boycott a Dolce & Gabbana show that was scheduled for Wednesday night. The luxury fashion house later said the show had been postponed. The screenshots appear to show co-founder Stefano Gabbana referring to China with crude terms and emoji as he defends promotional videos that had sparked controversy earlier. Separately, the Dolce & Gabbana Instagram account used offensive language in another exchange. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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HOMES

Sales up in October for first time in six months

US home sales rose in October, breaking a six-month losing streak. But sales are still down from a year ago, hurt by rising interest rates. The National Association of Realtors says that sales of existing homes climbed 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.22 million last month from 5.15 million in September. But the October sales were still down 5.1 percent from a year earlier, the largest annual drop since July 2014. ‘‘No way is the housing market on solid ground at the moment,’’ says Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist. He blamed a sharp increase in mortgage rates over the past year. October sales were up in three of four US regions. Only the Midwest recorded a drop in sales last month. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Bitcoin another topic off limits at the holiday table

That cousin who peddled Bitcoin to you last Thanksgiving will have some explaining to do. This time last year, recent adopters were bragging of their good fortunes at the dinner table as the cryptocurrency was in the middle of a bull run that would see it more than double to a record $19,511 just before Christmas. But Bitcoin was as low as low as $4,051 Tuesday. “Last year people were showing off how they own Bitcoin,” said Andres Garcia-Amaya, chief executive officer of Zoe Financial Inc. in New York, who said he owns a bit of Bitcoin. “My guess is no one is going to bring it up.” — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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FACTORIES

Orders for big-ticket goods fall by largest amount in more than a year

Orders to US factories for big-ticket manufactured goods fell by the largest amount in 15 months with a key category that tracks business investment showing weakness for the third consecutive month. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods dropped 4.4 percent last month. The October drop led by a huge decline in the volatile areas of commercial and military aircraft. The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a strong 3.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter but this gain came despite the fact that business investment spending slowed sharply in the third quarter, to an annual rate of just 0.8 percent, the weakest showing in nearly two years, after an 8.7 percent surge in the second quarter. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ECONOMY

Claims for unemployment rise to highest level since late June

Filings for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since late June, potentially reflecting holiday-related volatility in what otherwise has been a strong labor market. Jobless claims increased by 3,000 to 224,000 in the week ended Nov. 17, Labor Department figures showed Wednesday. That compares with the 215,000 median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists and follows an upwardly revised 221,000 in the prior week. The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, rose to 218,500. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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