MGM sends emissary to Springfield; Florida tribe takes a loss

Undoubtedly realizing that it laid a public-relations egg with its scaled-down redesign of MGM Springfield, parent company MGM HornbuckleResorts International is sending President William Hornbuckle to Springfield to mend fences with Mayor Domenic Sarno. Actually, Sarno has been in MGM’s corner from the get-go. It’s the city council and its constituents that Hornbuckle needs to mollify. (While he’s there, Hornbuckle might ask project president Michael Mathis why costs are “skyrocketing” in an economically depressed area.)

Well, not needs, since the council made a complete hash of its attempt to obtain a referendum on MGM’s proposed changes. It missed the September 29 deadline for Continue reading

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Dan Lee’s Colorado lode; The Caranos take Reno

Since overthrowing the leadership of Full House Resorts, new CEO Dan Lee has been chock-full of initiatives. His latest is to drop DanLee$30 million to acquire Bronco Billy’s Casino & Hotel, in Cripple Creek, Colorado. The move comes as Colorado emerges from a prolonged slump as a casino market — and Lee’s purchase of additional buildings and land besides Bronco Billy’s betokens expansion. The hotel (24 rooms) isn’t much — hence the extra land? — but Lee gets 828 slots and the usual assortment of table games.

Full House came along at the right time for an aging ownership group that was “looking for a transition.” If memory serves, Lee obtained the casino at a favorable Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, Colorado, Dan Lee, Delaware, Dining, Eldorado Resorts, Full House Resorts, International, Internet gambling, Marketing, MGM Mirage, PokerStars, Reno, Scientific Games | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

Mark Frissora“Are you kidding me? I know my kids … These games need to change. The time is now.” — Caesars Entertainment CEO Mark Frissora riling up slot machine makers at Global Gaming Expo by saying he was “shocked” by the retrograde nature of the slot product he saw.

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A little dose of history

Protecting Hoover Dam from terrorism is nothing new, as this piquant chapter of history shows us.

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Quote of the Day

Geoff Freeman“Many regulators, many policymakers, are saying that this is a gray area. Well, it’s time to make it black or white. Casinos can either get involved in this business or they can’t.” — American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman, trying to shepherd daily fantasy sports into the casino fold.

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Turning point for Wynn; Breakthrough for PokerStars

Earlier this week, the Everett Planning Board unanimously assented to Wynn Everett‘s site plan. The Medford Patch described Wynn_BG1this vote as “the most critical local permit needed by Wynn.” The resort-to-be can start pulling building permits now, with the actual start of construction projected for spring of next year. In the meantime, Wynn Resorts will be remediating the brownfield site.

It was a short-lived truce between Steve Wynn and Boston Mayor Martin “McCheese” Walsh. Sore loser Walsh is suing Wynn to have his hard-won environmental certification revoked. According to the Boston Globe, “the city asserts that Wynn and Secretary Matthew Beaton glossed over or ignored Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, Economy, Environment, Harrah's, Internet gambling, Massachusetts, MGM Mirage, Mohegan Sun, PokerStars, Politics, Regulation, Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn, The Strip, Transportation, Tribal | 1 Comment

Catwalk beauties, oysters and organized crime at G2E

Pulchritude on parade was an important subtheme of this year’s Global Gaming Expo, as was showcasing Las Vegas’ many dining options. Chef Daniel Bouloud, by the way, earns our thanks for initiating “Oyster Hour” at db Brasserie in the Venetian. Between 5 and 6 p.m., Continue reading

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Malaise in Macao; Celebration at G2E

Wall Street analysts having revised their expectations downward well beforehand, Macao‘s 33% decline in gaming revenues hardly HotelLisboacame as a surprise. If anything, they expected worse. Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli even noticed some “pre-Golden Week malaise” toward the end of September. “While the September result is the smallest level of decline since January … one would be hard pressed to call it encouraging,” he wrote. Play was 8% lighter in September than in August, although per-day win was better than average for a September.

The Macanese market also got a kick in the pants from the Continue reading

Posted in Arizona, Economy, Entertainment, G2E, Harrah's, Macau, Melco Crown Entertainment, New York, Sheldon Adelson, The Strip, Tourism, Tribal, Wall Street, Wisconsin | 3 Comments

Why DFS really, really isn’t sports betting … they say

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins makes the preposterous argument that daily fantasy sports isn’t sports betting because there’s only 15% overlap between the two. But with sports wagering limited to a small handful of states, how could the the pool of double-threat players not be limited?

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Baccarat slays the Strip; Do gambling and pot mix?

Lack of a Labor Day weekend had a minimal effect on Nevada statewide gaming revenues in August (-1%). Lower and luckier baccarat play — 17% less drop and 24% less winnings for the house — hurt particularly (especially when one considers 14% higher hold The Stripand that August 2014 was a bad month for baccarat, too, leading one to expect a better 2015 result). Despite 3% less coin-in, Strip slots took in 12% more, which ameliorated the baccarat plunge. Players wagered 8% less on Strip table games and the house won 8% less. But the baccarat woes pushed the Strip from a 4% positive month to a 5% dip.

The lack of holiday weekend seems to have been felt more in Reno (-4%) and especially at Lake Tahoe, which plummeted Continue reading

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Quote of the Day

“Suffice it to say, the money was not going to college tuition.” — Virginia Commonwealth University professor Jay S. Albanese on the revelation that illegal gambling monies are flowing to biker gangs, drug dealers, and New York and Philadelphia branches of the Cosa Nostra.

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Crime and plentitude at G2E

Internet gambling having been temporarily moved to a back burner, thanks to Sheldon Adelson, the American Gaming Association has turned its attention at Global Gaming Expo imagesto organized crime, which continues to be a shadowy partner to gambling, at least in those jurisdictions where gambling is illegal. Reported Casino Journal, “in 2014 alone, 80 operators in 23 states were convicted of running illegal gambling businesses.” As AGA President Geoff Freeman said, “Illegal gambling siphons critical tax revenue from communities and is void of any of the consumer protections provided by regulated gaming.”

Although extortion and racketeering are a far cry from today’s casino industry, money laundering has raised its ugly head of late, underscoring Continue reading

Posted in Atlantic City, Boyd Gaming, G2E, Genting, Geoff Freeman, Internet gambling, Macau, Maine, Massachusetts, MGM Mirage, Mohegan Sun, Neil Bluhm, Penn National, Scientific Games, Sheldon Adelson, Technology, The Mob, The Strip, Tribal, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Shocker from Sheldon; Massachusetts on horns of a dilemma

After a half-dozen years of banging its head on the door of the Florida Legislature, a frustrated Las Vegas Sands is calling it quits in the Sunshine State. Despite having poured millions of Sheldon Adollars into the Florida GOP and its prize causes, Sheldon Adelson is no closer to getting a Florida casino than he was back when he nervily proposed that the state give him exclusive rights to build five or six resort-casinos in the state — or to draw a 75-mile ‘line of death’ around every Sands-branded casino.

Nope, Sands is winding down its lobbying operations and turning its attention to Georgia, where Adelson recently conducted a “listening” tour. (The mere fact that Sheldon was listening rather than talking suggests that Continue reading

Posted in Florida, Foxwoods, Georgia, Harrah's, Massachusetts, MGM Mirage, Mohegan Sun, Neil Bluhm, Politics, Regulation, Seminole Tribe, Sheldon Adelson, Tribal | 1 Comment

Big players accentuate the positive

Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli has been a busy man these past few days, meeting with the top companies in gaming. In no special order …

Boyd Gaming took the usual line on REIT conversion and acquisitions, basically saying, “If we have anything to report, we’ll mainstreetstation-pictell you.” Boyd says it hasn’t been surprised by regional-market softness, continuing to believe in the underlying health of the sector and having “noticed a correlation between lower-end consumer spend and events such as the flash crash and government shut down.” Do you hear that, Congress?

Lastly, Boyd is seeing millennials drawn to its non-gambling attractions and creating a larger demand for Continue reading

Posted in Ameristar, Boyd Gaming, Colorado, Downtown, Economy, Florida, GLPI, Illinois, International, Isle of Capri, Louisiana, Macau, Marketing, Massachusetts, MGM Mirage, Penn National, Pinnacle Entertainment, Sports, Steve Wynn, Texas, The Strip, Tilman Fertitta, Wall Street | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

Mashpee 4“Under federal law, the state cannot stop an Indian casino from opening, but the Gaming Commission can help it succeed, by denying the Brockton license. Given the debt Massachusetts owes to the Wampanoags, that only seems right.” — the editorial page of the MetroWest Daily News, weighing in favor of the Mashpee Wampanoags‘ case for a casino over that of Neil Bluhm‘s Brockton proposal.

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Boardwalk of Broken Dreams; Adelson strikes again

As Donald Trump continues to boast of his business expertise, the Boston Globe examines his less-than-stellar track record in Atlantic City, scene of four bankruptcies. (Five, if you count the Taj Mahalcurrent insolvency of Trump Entertainment Resorts, in which he holds a 10% stake.) The Globe finds passionately divided sentiments when Trump’s name is mentioned: Some Atlantic citizens feel it was a dark day when he quitted the Boardwalk. Others believe it was good riddance.

If anything, the Globe story goes a little easy on Trump, ignoring his litany of broken promises, such as Continue reading

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Gambling junkies in Illinois; New thinking in China

Despite having added slot routes to the state’s gambling repertory, gaming-tax revenues are down 6% in Illinois. This occurred despite the continuing addition of slot routes. However, some Ritagambling-tax junkies continue to deny the obvious proof of a saturated market. “I’m a believer in using the [casino] expansion to bring more dollars, to create more jobs for the state. But we do need to do this in a smart way. I do believe it would generate additional revenue,” said state Sen. Robert Rita (D), boating energetically down DeNile. He made this assertion in the face of a state-commissioned study which reported that “the state would have a large amount of gaming expansion with little new tax revenues to show for it.”

For a reality check, Illinois Casino Gaming Association Executive Director Tom Swoik said the Illinois Legislature’s report on the economic effects on casino expansion showed Continue reading

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Quote of the Day

atlantic_city_boat“I wouldn’t be surprised if, in 15 years, this looks a lot more like Las Vegas.” — Wolfgang Puck, making one of the most spectacularly wrong predictions in Atlantic City‘s history.

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Problem gambling’s poster girl; Smoke gets in Macao’s eyes

Meet Dianna Duran, secretary of state for New Mexico and, as of this week, America’s most prominent gambling addict. She’s
Duranbeen hit with a 64-count corruption indictment for, among other things, alleged money laundering and embezzlement. Duran is accused of siphoning campaign monies into her personal bank accounts, activity that “often culminated with cash expenditures at casinos throughout the state.” Duran certainly hasn’t been knocking herself out on the job, collecting only 4% of fines for campaign-law violations racked up by Land of Enchantment politicians in the 2012 and 2014 elections.

Gov. Susana Martinez (R, below), who knows a thing or two about casinos, having negotiated with so many of them, said  Continue reading

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Boston offers Wynn olive branch; MGM played for a sucker in Springfield?

Could the war of words between Steve Wynn and Boston Mayor Martin “McCheese” Walsh soon be coming to an end? Wynn, who last month declared himself finished with an “obviously wynn_night-fullirresponsible” Walsh, had a phone chat with McCheese to discuss traffic mitigation in Sullivan Square, primary access point to Wynn Everett (where site-prep work has begun). And the mayor has received emissaries from Wynn Resorts. This is quite a change from Walsh’s usual spew of invective on all things Wynn, as he said in re Sullivan Square, “It’s a common problem that the Wynn folks have and that the people of Boston have.”

Or, as Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker puts it, “In plain English, Walsh backed the wrong horse [Suffolk Downs], and is now crying foul.” Moreover, his lawsuit is going Continue reading

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