This is Vegas on drugs

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Venetian Bangkok?; Online gaming gains a champion

Las Vegas Sands has let it be known that, should Thailand legalize casinos, it would like to get a foot in the door — in the form of a sheldon-tuxmetaresort like its $5.7 billion Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. That’s all well and good but the Thai government remains hopelessly at odds with itself on the issue. When National Police Chief General Somyot Poompanmoung voiced his approval of legalized casinos, Thai strongman Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-O-cha told him to put a sock in it. The country is still without a new constitution and many parliamentarians would rather concentrate upon that.

Even Tourism & Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, whom one would think would support casinos, expressed Continue reading

Posted in Florida, International, Japan, Seminole Tribe, Sheldon Adelson, Singapore, South Korea | Leave a comment

Mirage sold?; Cosmo post-mortem; Ivey counterattacks

Our crackerjack research department at LVA is hot on the trail of a report that MGM Resorts International is going to shuck one of its mirage-pic2signature properties, The Mirage, lock, stock and volcano. A sale of the megaresort that changed Las Vegas irrevocably has been bruited about for years and MGM CEO Jim Murren has been on an asset-selling freny of late. Starwood Capital Group, fresh from selling the Riviera, is the mooted buyer. Fast-rising Paragon Gaming would be jobbed in to run the hotel-casino with which Steve Wynn changed the template of Vegas resorts forever, spurring countless imitations — and in the face of rampant skepticism, it should be remembered.

It may not remain “The Mirage,” though, as Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, Boyd Gaming, Cosmopolitan, Idaho, International, MGM Mirage, North Las Vegas, Riviera, Steve Wynn, Tamares Group, Technology, The Strip, Tribal | Leave a comment

Baccarat blowout on Strip; Ader strikes again

Strip casinos had the impossible task of keeping up with last June’s baccarat tally (when revenues shot up 155%) and, as might be expected, Baccaratfell off the pace. The volume of play plunged 43% and revenue tumbled 57%. As for other table games, wagers were down 4.5% but the house held its own, with revenues flat from last year. Wrote J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff, “we expect the market to continue to experiencing volatility in baccarat play given a likely slowdown in Chinese players.”

The contraction in baccarat play contributed mightily to a 16% decline in Strip gaming revenues. Even slots disappointed, with Continue reading

Posted in Boulder Strip, Entertainment, Internet gambling, Lake Tahoe, Laughlin, Mesquite, Planet Hollywood, Reno, The Strip, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Shocker in Massachusetts; Successes and setbacks for Penn

In a stunning reversal of fortune, KG Urban Enterprises has ditched its $650 million New Bedford casino project, citing financial difficulties. This ends seven years of grinding effort to gain civic NewBedfordcasinoacceptance, which culminated in a landslide electoral victory earlier this year. It also leaves a Neil Bluhm-backed casino proposal in Brockton as the only one on the table before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Said KG Urban Managing Partner Barry M. Gosin, “Despite significant efforts and expenditures on our part, we and our lenders/partners have been unable to create a viable financing package for the project. In particular, both Continue reading

Posted in Election, Environment, Florida, Foxwoods, GLPI, Illinois, Internet gambling, Maine, Massachusetts, Neil Bluhm, Ohio, Penn National, Pennsylvania, Racinos, Regulation, Scientific Games, Steve Wynn, Taxes, Tribal, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Up in smoke

We know that Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas owner Blackstone Group wanted to change perceptions of the property but I don’t this is what they had in mind. One measly cigarette seems to have been all it took to send the resort’s Bamboo Pool area up in a cloud of dense Continue reading

Posted in Cosmopolitan, history, Horseracing, International, Macau, Monte Carlo fire, Pinnacle Entertainment, The Strip | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

“[U]nderworld figures were reportedly told to avoid Echo’s Gold Coast property, the Jupiters Hotel & Casino, because their presence might hurt Echo’s chances to win the second Brisbane license.” — from a Global Gaming Business expose of Australian casino operator Echo Entertainment Group‘s cozy relationship to Ozzie criminal elements.

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MGM’s march to the sea; REITmania explained

Where MGM Resorts International goes, other casino companies Kasim Reedare quick to follow — to Atlanta, in this case. Mayor Kasim Reed (pictured) is being coy about who the new suitors are, other than two are domestically based (would Las Vegas Sands pass on another urban opportunity, having turned down Boston?) and one is from overseas, which surely must be Genting Group. Not that the Hizzoner is a fan of gambling, saying Las Vegas is what it is for a reason but “it would be fiscal malpractice … not to hear these people out.”

Rumors of the potential site continue to circle on doomed Turner Field (the Atlanta Braves go through baseball stadiums like Continue reading

Posted in Baseball, Boulder Strip, Genting, Georgia, GLPI, Massachusetts, MGM Mirage, Ohio, Penn National, Pinnacle Entertainment, Politics, Regulation, Sheldon Adelson, Sports, The Strip, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

“What you have put together is a template on how this should be done. “There are good synergies between these two companies.” — Nevada Gaming Commissioner Randolph Townsend, on Golden Gaming‘s takeover of Lakes Entertainment, which was consummated yesterday.

Posted in Golden Gaming, Lyle Berman, Regulation | Leave a comment

Boyd gets Wall Street love; Louisiana expansion slows

Boyd Gaming doesn’t make Wall Street‘s hit parade very often, so this morning’s dispatch from Deutsche Bank‘s Carlo Santarelli the boyd-gaming-200more remarkable. “The improving regional [gross gaming revenue] climate and intense cost disciplines take our forecasts, and subsequently, our Price Target higher,” he wrote. Second-quarter cash flow comfortably exceeded expectations and Boyd raised projections for full-year cash flow by $32 million.

J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff was also impressed with Boyd’s numbers, both in terms of Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, Downtown, Economy, Eldorado Resorts, Harrah's, Isle of Capri, Louisiana, MGM Mirage, Penn National, Pinnacle Entertainment, Racinos, The Strip, Tilman Fertitta, Wall Street | 1 Comment

Quote of the Day

“Bigger projects’ best hope for success depends on Vietnam’s government changing course, and that’s not a smart money bet.” — Forbes correspondent Muhammad Cohen on the difficulty of large-scale casino development in Vietnam.

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Trump (the casino) loses again; New look for Bluhm

Business is in a tailspin at Trump Taj Mahal, in part due to Unite-Here‘s call for a boycott of the austerity-minded property. Trump trump-taj mahaEntertainment Resorts wanted the union muzzled, plus financial compensation. But a federal judge handed CEO Bob Griffin his walking papers, ruling that federal law protected Unite-Here’s actions against the casino. Griffin had argued that bankruptcy law forbade Unite-Here from lobbying casino clients and urging them to avoid the Taj. Union President Robert McDevitt took a victory lap, saying, “We knew at that point that [owner-to-be] Carl Icahn didn’t have the legal right to stop us from talking to Taj Mahal customers.” It remains to be seen whether McDevitt will act upon the union’s strike vote.

On another front, Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Atlantic City, Carl Icahn, Cordish Co., Idaho, Maryland, Neil Bluhm, New York, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Unite-Here | Leave a comment

Vetting the candidates

Although Paddy Power has lengthened his odds for gaining the White House to 12/1, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) would be one of the most supportive — if not the most supportive — candidates Christie Guadagnotoward the gaming industry. He’s also taken advantage of the Department of Justice‘s reinterpretation of Wire Act to get the Garden State into Internet gaming (although he downplays the significance of his signature on the enabling legislation). He’s also pushed very, very vigorously for legalized sports betting. His one blemish is recent mistreatment of New Jersey‘s Indian tribes, which could point to a more conservative position on tribal gambling nationwide.

That “maybe” hardens into a certainty when the subject is Jeb Bush, the ex-Florida governor who refused to Continue reading

Posted in Arkansas, Election, Florida, International, New York, Politics, Regulation, Tribal | Leave a comment

Panning for gold in Macao

Wall Street analysts succeeded in setting their expectation for Las Vegas Sands performance in Macao so low that the company was Sands-Macaoable to exceed them despite deep, double-digit declines in revenue, including 14% less revenue per hotel room. Lower marketing costs were cited and “retail came in better than expected (retail mall profits were up 21%)” wrote J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff. Also, the decline in premium mass-market play was smaller than that in the base mass-market segment.

Even a slippage at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore was ameliorated by higher premium-mass play from Continue reading

Posted in Economy, International, Japan, MGM Mirage, Regulation, Sheldon Adelson, Singapore, South Korea, The Strip, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Sands hit hard; No toilet paper for you!

Macao‘s recession has affected Las Vegas Sands‘ most recent quarterly results and the news isn’t good. You know things are bad Sands Cotaiwhen Sands Bethlehem ($137.5 million, +9%) is the lone bright spot. At least LVS had only mildly adverse news on the Strip, where Venelazzo ($346 million) was down 2%. But the numbers from Macao were varying degrees of dire. Even in Singapore, things weren’t so good, with Marina Bay Sands ($713 million) reporting an 11% dip. Getting back to China, hardest hit were Venetian Macao ($739.5 million) down 28% and Sands Cotai Central ($554 million) falling 29%.

Sands Macao  ($242 million) also had a rough quarter, off 23%, but Continue reading

Posted in Florida, Harrah's, Indiana, Macau, Pennsylvania, Regulation, Sheldon Adelson, Singapore, The Strip, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Sheldon Adelson, spymaster?

So Sands China did have a “blackmail strategy” after all … in the eyes of the Chinese government, that is. According to a report commissioned Sheldon Aby Sands and marked eyes-only for Sands China CEO Steven Jacobs, “Many of the officials we contacted were of the view that US intelligence agencies are very active in Macao and that they have penetrated and utilised the US casinos to support their operations,” it read, adding that Sands “is the primary subject” of Peking’s concern: “A reliable source has reported that central Chinese government officials firmly believe that Sands has permitted CIA/FBI agents to operate from within its facilities. These agents apparently ‘monitor mainland government officials’ who gamble in the casinos.”

U.S. government agents were accused of “‘luring’ and entrapping Continue reading

Posted in Internet gambling, Macau, Politics, Sheldon Adelson | Leave a comment

Trump, Trump, pants on fire; Tensions in California

Did Donald Trump lie to casino regulators when he put his net worth at $3.6 million? He told one of his biographers that “I try” to be honest Trump smallbut added that his value “goes up and down with markets, and with attitudes, and with feelings, even my own feelings …  affect my value to myself.” Isn’t it nice knowing that subjective feelings now impact net worth. How valuable are you feeling today? In the past few weeks, Trump’s self-proclaimed net worth has fluctuated between $8.7 billion and $10 billion. He must have been feeling very good about himself.

(Incidentally, Trump is a piker compared to Sheldon Adelson, whose net worth is pegged around $28 billion.)

* Tempers are fraying between California tribal casinos and the state’s card rooms, which are skirting Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, California, Donald Trump, Economy, Regulation, Sheldon Adelson, Tribal, Trump Entertainment Resorts | 2 Comments

Quote of the Day

“As Macau also is painfully aware, what Beijing gives it can readily take away, and it’s difficult to believe the Communist Party has gone to the trouble it has to cut off illicit money flows through the South China Sea only to have it slip out the Yellow Sea.” — Global Gaming Business correspondent James Rutherford, on the burgeoning South Korea casino market.

Posted in International, Macau, Regulation, South Korea | Leave a comment

Doubts pervade Massachusetts; California casino resurrected

A recent article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal poked fun at Massachusetts‘ nascent casino industry and at Penn National Gaming‘s Plainridge Park in particular. All that schadenfreude may Plainridgenot have been gratuitous after all, in view of the gloom presently emanating from the Bay State. With both MGM Springfield and Wynn Resorts looking at 2018 openings (possibly later in Wynn’s case), New England casino expert Clyde Barrow tells the Boston Globe, “You could say the state is losing $1 billion in revenue because of the delay from 2016 to 2018.”

With perhaps a bit of exaggeration, Barrow says the implementation of casino gambling in Massachusetts could last as long as Continue reading

Posted in California, Environment, Foxwoods, Massachusetts, MGM Mirage, Mohegan Sun, Penn National, Regulation, Rhode Island, Steve Wynn, Taxes, Tribal | Leave a comment

Caesars ups the ante; Packer: Fear and loathing

Caesars Entertainment stock rallied today on news that the company had palliated its junior creditors by offering them a $200 million forbearance fee along with 10% ownership of the REIT, which it Harrahs_NOcharacterized as “a substantial improvement in recoveries.” Caesars claims to have a “significant amount” of junior debtors behind the move. It also plumped up the value of its proposed REIT by transferring Harrah’s New Orleans and Harrah’s Laughlin into it if the deal goes through. The Motley Fool‘s Travis Hoium, however, wasn’t buying it. He characterized it as a last-ditch move to keep Caesars Entertainment from toppling into bankruptcy, too. Currently it’s teetering on the precipice, as Judge Benjamin Goldgar prepares to rule on whether lawsuits challenging the alleged “fraudulent conveyances” of assets out of Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. can move forward or not.

“This latest offer at least gives second-lien note holders something to think about, but there’s not an agreement with Continue reading

Posted in Australia, Harrah's, James Packer, Laughlin, Lawrence Ho, Louisiana, Macau, The Strip, Wall Street | Leave a comment