Sheldon steps in it; Tomato King to the rescue

Las Vegas Sands‘ CEO Sheldon Adelson’s pet piece of legislation, “Restoring America’s Wire Act” turns out to have a raft of unintended Sheldon-Adelsonconsequences, several of which would kneecap the casino industry. For one, it would ban mobile gambling, which is a headline amenity at — you guessed it — Venetian and Palazzo, last known to be owned by one Sheldon Gary Adelson. Local attorney Greg Gemignani also found that RAWA could interfere with server-based gaming. Howard Stutz has the full analysis but suffice it to say it would be very costly for Continue reading

Posted in International, Penn National, Pennsylvania, Politics, Racinos, Regulation, Sheldon Adelson, Sports, Technology, Tomato King Procacci | Leave a comment

Penn “upbeat” about future; Connecticut tribes closer to new casino

Penn National Gaming CEO Tim Wilmott recently broke bread with J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff, who found Penn Penn logomanagement “positive and primarily focused on PENN’s robust development pipeline,” which it thinks will produce improved cash flow even before the Tropicana Las Vegas is added to the equation. “Additionally, regional gaming trends can be described as more encouraging than not and our review of April trends and May’s comparison would suggest that they are likely Continue reading

Posted in Alex Yemenidjian, California, Florida, Foxwoods, Hard Rock International, Harrah's, Massachusetts, Mohegan Sun, Penn National, Racinos, Rhode Island, Station Casinos, The Strip, Tribal, Wall Street | Leave a comment

MGM rebellion quashed; No ‘Net poker for Mississippi

lionJonathan Litt‘s battle for control of MGM Resorts International‘s destiny is over almost before it was begun. His Land & Buildings firm has dropped its slate of candidates for the MGM board of directors, after failing to gain traction with major shareholders like Kirk Kerkorian and John Paulson. As for Litt’s vision of $55/share MGM stock, Union Gaming analyst Chris Jones dismissed it as Pollyanna thinking.

Litt couldn’t resist taking a victory lap anyway, issuing a self-congratulatory statement that read, in part:  Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Internet gambling, MGM Mirage, Mississippi, Sheldon Adelson, Sports, Steve Wynn, Taxes, The Strip, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Ghosts of projects past; Alabama rethinks gambling

With so much Las Vegas Strip acreage either in flux (Tropicana Las Vegas, Hooters Casino Hotel) or newly on the market (“Project Jackpot”), CBRE Las Vegas has been moved to unleash Las Ramblas60.5 acres on Harmon Avenue that were the graveyard of three victims of the condo bubble. The centerpiece is the land optioned for a George Clooney-planned resort called Las Ramblas, which “called for 11 towers encompassing a 4,400 room luxury hotel, condominium residences, a spa and health club, nightclubs and a casino.” That pipe dream burnt out in 2006, right on the verge of groundbreaking. Next door was another bust-o-rama, Continue reading

Posted in Alabama, Hard Rock Hotel, history, Hooters, Penn National, Planet Hollywood, Racinos, Taxes, The Strip, Tribal | 1 Comment

Loveman’s best decision; New face at Bellagio

Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman‘s decision to pull out of the troubled Baha Mar metaresort may represent one of the best judgment calls he ever made. The $3 billion BahaMar_Vert_TM_RENDERED GOLD_4CBahamas resort has missed three deadlines to open and has received the rather dubious governmental assurance that it’s “too big to fail.” (Rule of thumb: Those enterprises which are too big to fail generally do just that.) “It can’t sit there idle it must eventually open,” said a desperate minister of state. Whistling past the graveyard, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said that when Baha Mar eventually opens, “the same enthusiasm will be there because of what it represents. It will require a tremendous amount of marketing, and a lot of events centred around the opening, but it will be outstanding.”

In the meantime, Continue reading

Posted in Australia, Genting, Harry Reid, International, Macau, MGM Mirage, Sam Nazarian, South Korea, The Strip | 1 Comment

Massachusetts: And then there were two

Last Thursday, casino boosters from Somerset were expected to show up a Massachusetts Gaming Commission hearing and ask for yet another delay to get Crosbytheir act together. Instead, they surprised the MGC and the rest of us by simply pulling out of the running. Crossroads Massachusetts never had a firm plan and, worse yet, didn’t have the money it needed. “Nothing surprises me in this business. We never know who is in or out until the last minute,”said an unfazed MGC Chairman Stephen Crosby.

The MGC also gave provisional permission for KG Urban Enterprises to move towards a June referendum, provided that Continue reading

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Quote of the Day

Wisconsin state sealWisconsin cannot have it both ways. The state must entirely prohibit poker within its borders if it wants to prevent the [Ho-Chunk] Nation or any other Indian tribe from offering poker on the tribe’s sovereign lands. When the state decriminalized hosting poker for taverns, it could no longer deny that game to tribes as a matter of federal law.” — U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Diane Wood, handing a victory to the National Indian Gaming Commission and the Ho-Chunk tribe, and a defeat to Wisconsin’s attempts to strip the tribe of its video poker machines.

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Behind the Showboat sale; Cosmo comeback

During its crusade to drive Stockton University out of the Showboat, the CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts, Robert Griffin airily informed Stockton Showboat_Atlantic_Cityrepresentatives that they should buy Trump Plaza instead — puncturing TER’s public posture that college kids should be kept far away from its casinos. Turns out that Showboat wasn’t Stockton’s first choice on the Boardwalk: It tried to buy the Atlantic Club from TJM Properties at a steep markup. Stockton would have paid $23 million for what TJM got for $13.5 million.

Fortunately, someone at Stockton was minding the mint. Numbers were run and Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, Cosmopolitan, Economy, Glenn Straub, Harrah's, Politics, Steve Wynn, The Strip, Trump Entertainment Resorts | Leave a comment

New life for the Trop?; Paragon’s latest trophy

David G. Schwartz muses on the brave, new world at the Tropicana Las Vegas — soon with 100% more Penn National Gaming. He assesses it as a win for both parties. trop-picPenn gets a foothold at a strategic crossroads on the Las Vegas Strip. The Trop gets hooked up to Penn’s player database. When it comes to incentivizing players, Penn never before had a pot of gold at the end of its rainbow. Not even M Resort counts. Once it finds a nightclub formula that works (as Schwartz points out, Onex Corp. had three swings and struck out), maybe it can work on the entertainment, which currently consists of secondhand goods like Raiding the Rock Vault … well named, since the Trop purloined it right out from under Westgate Las Vegas‘ nose.

(Speaking of Westgate, it’s fallen to Continue reading

Posted in Alex Yemenidjian, Baseball, Colony Capital, Columbia Sussex, Donald Trump, Entertainment, Hard Rock Hotel, history, M Resort, MGM Mirage, Penn National, Riviera, Sahara, Sheldon Adelson, Singapore, Station Casinos, The Strip, Transportation, Westgate LV | Leave a comment

April is the cruelest month for Atlantic City

Not only did players put dramatically less money onto the tables and into the slots but Atlantic City casinos had a run of bad luck last month. All of these factors contributed to CaesarsBallysACa 17% decline. When the four closed casinos are subtracted from the equation, the dip was a more-acceptable 4%. Slot coin-in fell 8% and win slipped 10%; table play was 20% off and casinos won 31% less. Borgata (down 3%) defied the trend to an extent, winning 1% more at the slots on 9% higher coin-in. Table play was rough, though, with 4% less wagered and 12% less won by the casino.

Internet play was a bright spot, rising 11% for a Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, Boyd Gaming, Entertainment, Harrah's, Internet gambling, MGM Mirage, Mohegan Sun, The Strip, Tilman Fertitta, Tropicana Entertainment, Trump Entertainment Resorts | 1 Comment

Long road back for Macao; Phua case becomes a federal obsession

Macao‘s status as shorthand for “corruption” got another bump this week when it was announced that former bureaucrat Li Huabo had gambled away $4 million in the casino Venetian Macaoenclave, then absconded with $16 million in stolen. As deleterious as that news may be, the real concern is erosion in the mass-market segment, those steady bread-and-butter players upon whom companies like Sands China is so reliant. “Not only is spend per visitor falling, Macau’s visitor arrivals had also fallen 4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2015, worst decline since  visa restrictions in 2008-09,” wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Karen Tang, who projects lower mass-market traffic extending into the coming years.

Hoteliers have particular reason to be concerned, given Continue reading

Posted in Australia, Downtown, Economy, Harrah's, Macau, Philippines, Sheldon Adelson, SLS Las Vegas, Sports, The Strip, Tourism, Vietnam, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Caesars rethinks pensions; Bluhm wins in Massachusetts

Caesars Entertainment has been feeling the heat for cutting off pension payments to 340 current and former executives. By lumping them in with other unsecured creditors, it gave caesarscasino_1itself a rationale for the severed payouts, leaving the pensioners to face the prospect of modest, long-delayed recompense. But now, while not doing a full 180, Caesars will resume payments to most of the unfortunate 340. “The reopening of the pay spigot comes after a federal prosecutor [Paul Fishman] started asking why the payments had stopped — and the executives threatened to sue the casino operator,” the New York  Post reports.

“Any participant who missed a payout between the suspension of payouts in January and now will receive a ‘catch up’ distribution with Continue reading

Posted in Foxwoods, Harrah's, Massachusetts, Neil Bluhm, Regulation, Sheldon Adelson, The Strip | 1 Comment

Glenn Straub: The Omega Man

Glenn Straub‘s public image as an ADD-afflicted flake won’t be helped by a recent Bloomberg Business story that outlined the latest twist in his ever-shifting plans for Revel: StraubStraub wants to turn it into a hotspot for cryogenics, of which he is an apostle. “I’ll extend your quality of life by an extra 20 years, guaranteed. If we don’t extend your life and you don’t feel more comfortable, don’t pay,” Straub promises. After every polo match he plays, Straub indulges in a session of cryogenic cold-temperature treatments, zapping his body with nitrogen vapor cooled to minus-260 Fahrenheit, augmented by weekly blood transfusions. Straub would like to live to 100 and believes there’s a substantial Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, Donald Trump, Florida, Revel, Sports, Tourism, Transportation | 2 Comments

Et tu, Harry?; It’s a new era in Manila

Now that Sen. Harry Reid (D) has one foot out the door on Capitol Hill, he’s turning on the casino companies — particularly Caesars Entertainment — that helped him stay in harry-reid-shooting-riflepower five years ago. Just when Sen. Lindsey Graham‘s mooted bill to outlaw Internet gaming seemed to have quietly evaporated, Reid stirred new life into the issue. While he used to favor a carve-out for online poker, Reid’s abandoning even that token form of support for Big Gaming. “I haven’t made up my mind — but I’m going to look closely into banning it totally. I’m going to take a hard look at it. It would be something I would certainly consider strongly.” Thanks a lot. To paraphrase an NRA chestnut, if Internet poker is outlawed, Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, Delaware, Genting, Harrah's, Harry Reid, Internet gambling, Kazuo Okada, Melco Crown Entertainment, MGM Mirage, Philippines, Politics, Regulation, Sheldon Adelson, Singapore | Leave a comment

Adieu, Monte Carlo; Sunny April in Detroit

Judging from how it bastardized the Strip facade of Monte Carlo, it’s clear MGM Resorts International doesn’t quite know what to do with the place. CEO Jim Monte Carlo fence.jpgMurren tacitly confirmed this recently when he said MGM was studying myriad options for the property, up to and including rebranding it as something else — hopefully not a  meaningless tag like Aria or Vdara. Some hints to Murren’s thinking were his reference to Monte Carlo as the “gateway” to The Park and the new MGM/AEG arena, characterizing the hotel as the cradle to the sports venue.

If MGM is going to sink millions into reinventing Monte Carlo, it’s also likely to push it into a higher price tier. Given its proximity to the arena, Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, CityCenter, Detroit, Harrah's, MGM Mirage, Station Casinos, The Strip, Tourism, Wall Street | Leave a comment

More trouble for Caesars; Slot routes corrode casino revenues

Caesars Entertainment will soon have a new unsecured creditor — Uncle Sam. The company is trying to negotiate a settlement with the Financial Crimes Enforcement caesars-palace-02Network. The tab for making things right with The Man could run to $20 million and Caesars isn’t out of the woods yet: a federal grand jury probe into the company continues. However, “Uncle,” as he’s referred to in The Friends of Eddie Coyle, might be lucky to collect a dime of that $12 million-$20 million. As the newest unsecured creditor, the Treasury Department takes a spot at the back of the long line of people trying Continue reading

Posted in Dan Gilbert, Environment, Harrah's, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Racinos, Regulation, Slot routes, The Strip, West Virginia | 1 Comment

Pence ultimately gets it right

WDRB 41 Louisville News

After months of Hamlet-worthy public agonizing, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) did the right thing by doing nothing. Satisfied that it was not his never-defined “expansion” of gambling, he decided to let a casino-reform bill that enjoyed heavy legislative support become law without his signature. One could fume about Continue reading

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Hooters sold (again); Fat lady sings for Opera House

If someone with deep pockets wants to gamble on a big recovery on the Las Vegas Strip, then Spectrum Group Management would like to have a chat with them. Spectrum
hooters-picholds title to optimistically slugged “Project Jackpot,” just north of MGM Grand. The collection of commercial properties, described as “a hodgepodge of shopping, parking lots, chain restaurants and a motel” was written down to $220 million in 2008 and is probably even cheaper now, given the deflation of land prices on the Strip. If the location sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it was to be the site of Robert F.X. Sillerman‘s high-end, Elvis-themed megaresort. That project not only never Continue reading

Posted in Ameristar, Dotty's, Genting, Harrah's, Hooters, Isle of Capri, MGM Mirage, Missouri, North Las Vegas, Penn National, Pinnacle Entertainment, Steve Wynn, The Strip, Tropicana Entertainment, Wall Street | 1 Comment

Quote of the Day

Wynn on Fox“What will the second quarter look like in Las Vegas? Weak. Did you hear me? Weak. This notion of a big recovery is a complete dream.” — Steve Wynn, waxing pessimistic on Las Vegas’ near-term prospects.

Posted in Economy, Steve Wynn, The Strip, Tourism | 1 Comment

Ohio: Racinos get a leg up; Pro b-ball for Vegas?

Business is booming for Penn National Gaming in the Buckeye State. Not only are its two casinos up 5.5% from last year — 4% at Hollywood Toledo and 7% at former Columbus exteriorunderachiever Hollywood Columbus — but it continues to get impressive per-slot bang for its bucks at its racinos. By contrast, Dan Gilbert‘s two Horseshoe-branded casinos are slumping (-5%), with Horseshoe Cleveland falling behind Hollywood Columbus for the highest gross in the state. Hard Rock Rocksino (+18%), meanwhile, has zoomed past Gilbert’s ThistleDown Racino (down 8%) and into third place. (Is it mere coincidence that Continue reading

Posted in Dan Gilbert, Hard Rock International, Harrah's, International, Internet gambling, Maryland, Ohio, Penn National, Pinnacle Entertainment, Racinos, Sports | Leave a comment