After years of waiting, the fate of Kansas‘ seemingly unwanted fourth casino license, long in abeyance came down to three-and-a-half hours of presentations by a trio of rival bidders. The Kansas Lottery Gaming Facilities Review Board will make its choice by June 30 and the Kansas Racing & Gaming Commission must sign off on the selection by July 10. That’s a fast track for a proceeding that has been stuck in bottom gear for as long as one can remember.
The heavy hitter was Phil Ruffin (above), whose $84 million Camptown Casino would be fully funded in Continue reading →
A bill introduced in the New Jersey Legislature sets up a proxy fight between Gov. Chris Christie (R) and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) over the timing of when Garden State voters will be called upon to decide Atlantic City‘s fate. Sweeney wants to wait a year and Christie would prefer a November plebiscite. A bill — lacking important details like the tax rate — to authorize non-Boardwalk casinos has been put forward. The other potential loser in the bill, as presently written, would be Monmouth Park Racetrack, expressly ruled out as a casino site.
“I want to thank the people at Fox who years ago took a chance on a quirky, little animated show about a bumbling dad and his family — which I saw and then created ‘Family Guy,’ ” — Seth MacFarlane, upon receiving the Louis XIII Genius Award from the Critics Choice Television Awards.
Driven by apocalyptic job-loss projections by Foxwoods Casino Resort and Mohegan Sun, the House of Representatives of Connecticut passed a casino bill to Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) for his signature. The bill doesn’t authorize a casino per se but rather allows MoFox to cut a host-community agreement, then bring that to the Lege and the U.S. government for approval. A MoFox consultant predicted that 9,000 direct and indirect jobs could be lost if Connecticut doesn’t retaliate against casino openings in Massachusetts. That argument swayed Continue reading →
That’s Wall Street‘s spin on a 37% decline in May gambling revenues. Writes Carlo Santarelli of Deutsche Bank, “We view the tightening with forecasts … as a modest positive for the group and an indication of a forming bottom.” In other words, the sub hasn’t stopped sinking but it’s starting to strike silt. One Macanese operator, Sociedade de Jogos de Macau CEO Ambrose Sodoesn’t see full recovery for two years: “In the long run, with the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge in use in 2017, business would be back to normal. When the roads are open, money will come in.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is already throwing in the towel on his five-year plan for Atlantic City. If lawmakers want to put a statewide expansion of casino gambling on this fall’s ballot, Christie would “have absolutely no problem with that question going on the ballot right away … The competition’s only going to grow, in New York [where Saratoga Casino & Racewayis adding a hotel and electronic table games] in particular. And so if we could plant our flag firmly in the ground, I think it would make the project even more successful.”
“The biggest challenge of Internet gambling in the U.S. is that this is an industry still looked at as having been born out of sin. The new world of Internet gambling is clearly regulated and regulatable.” — 888 Holdings attorney Gil White, during an address to the East Coast Gaming Congress.
Gaming expansion is being introduced in the Illinois Legislature again and it has a pretty familiar look: a city-owned casino (the only one) in Chicago, four casinos scattered around the state, including one in Rockford, plus a pair of smaller (600-slot) satellite casinos, one in Decatur and the other potentially as far south as Cairo. Racinos, however, are out of the picture. The Chicago casino would get to keep all its revenue for seven years, as a means of satisfying growing pension obligations. However, lawmakers don’t have much time to get this done, since they adjourn on Sunday.
Baccarat play on the Las Vegas Strip improved by double-digit numbers for the second month in a row, up 14% in April, contributing to an 8% upward surge on the Strip. Baccarat revenues rose 5%, while all other table games improved 4% despite a smaller increase in action, and slot revenue shot up 11% although coin-in only grew very modestly. “Overall, we continue to think that LV Strip can generate low to mid-single [room revenue] and visitation growth, though the market will/should continue to experience volatility in baccarat play given a likely slowdown in Chinese players,” wrote J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff.
Who knew that Gary Loveman was a creditor of Caesars Entertainment? His compensation package has been identified as among those adversely affected by Caesars Entertainment Operating Co.’s bankruptcy. The Chapter 11 proceeding has impacted five deferred-compensation plans, two of which will resume payouts since they overlap between Caesars and CEOC. “Based on a review of plans and related documents, we determined Caesars Entertainment is likely to be jointly liable with CEOC for certain deferred compensation liabilities. As a result, we recorded and disclosed the liability and resumed the related payments that had been discontinued,” said Teneo Strategy‘s Steven Cohen.
Reality continues to sink in at Revel, where Glenn Straubhas thrown in the towel on reopening this summer — raising the prospect of a grand-reopening in the cold-weather months. Not very auspicious, that. Labor Day is the target date for getting the amenities back online and even that is a tentative date. Unable to get electrical power from other sources, Straub will continue his shotgun wedding with ACR Energy Partners for the foreseeable future. “They’re putting roadblocks up,” he complained.
Meanwhile, Straub finds himself in the middle of a legal wrangle between Continue reading →
Well, that’s it. With the exclusion of evidence gathered from all three Caesars Palace VIP villas used by Paul Phua, the federal government’s case against the poker pro collapses ignominiously. U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon had already tossed all the goodies that the FBI had scooped up from Phua’s main villa, allegedly the nerve center of a renegade sports book operation. Now he has also excluded what was found in two ancillary villas, including “an array of computers and television monitors set up to handle the action.”
Operating profits in Atlantic City don’t tell the whole story: The Showboat was notoriously in the black when Caesars Entertainment closed it but the company said it was running at a loss … thanks to interest payments with which CEO Gary Loveman had burdened it. Still, Atlantic City is coming off a very profitable April, up from $39 million last year to $81 million, with Borgata alone contributing $38.5 million worth of good news. “We aggressively reached out [to orphaned players] and the customer base found Borgata to be a nice home,” said President Joe Lupo.
“You can go to any country club in Alabama on Saturday night and get into a high-stakes poker game … You let the tribes operate gambling and people perceive that Indians and money are incompatible.” — Poarch Band of Creek Indians Chairman Eddie Tullis, on the hypocrisy of Cotton State policy.
Golden Nugget Lake Charles continues to be the outboard engine that speeds up Louisiana gaming revenues. The Pelican State was up 4% last month — but 13% when Tilman Fertitta‘s casino is added to the tally. It even made inroads upon L’Auberge du Lac, shaving 4% from what that Pinnacle Entertainment property made last year. L’Auberge, however, continued to dominate the market in sheer dollars: $31 million to Golden Nugget’s $18 million. Nearby Isle Grand Palais made a modest gain, while Boyd Gaming‘s Delta Downs was up 3%.
“There are actual reports posted as to where the ATMs were that cards were used by Kansas residents … at liquor stores, cigarette shops, strip joints. Casinos was another.” — state Sen. Caryn Tyson (R), justifying the state’s crackdown on welfare recipients.
Various law enforcement agencies are richer to the tune of $9.6 million after nailing an offshore betting ring that extended all the way to Panama. The case started humbly enough, with some Albany County jail officers found to be involved with the illegal Internet gambling sites. Joined by other constabularies, the Albany County Sheriff’s Department worked its way up the food chain. The FBI‘s Boston, Miami and Oklahoma branches became involved, conducting literally tens of thousands of wiretaps, not to mention monitoring other forms of electronic communication.
Las Vegas Sands‘ CEO Sheldon Adelson’s pet piece of legislation, “Restoring America’s Wire Act” turns out to have a raft of unintended consequences, 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 Stutzhas the full analysis but suffice it to say it would be very costly for Continue reading →
Penn National Gaming CEO Tim Wilmott recently broke bread with J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff, who found Penn management “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 →