Trump Trek: The wrath of Khan

Trump flyerDonald Trump‘s touring show is playing Treasure Island even as I type this (Phil Ruffin was the opening act). The Culinary Union‘s Bethany Khan was loaded for bear and unleashed this blast at The Donald today.

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So long, Sammy; DFS gets a wakeup call

As predicted here, Sam Nazarian has liquidated his 10% stake in SLS Las Vegas to majority owner Stockbridge Capital Group. He’ll still get some extra cash out of the deal, which licenses his SLS brand to Stockbridge (although you could call the place Sam’s Shack snazas have as much brand equity). With the departure of Sam The Sham, we will hopefully have an end to newspaper mentions of Nazarian as a “visionary.” After all, unlike SLS, CityCenter actually produces a return on investment but nobody has ever lobbed the V-word around in reference to Jim Murren. By getting The Naz out of the picture Stockbridge “says it allows the SLS Las Vegas more flexibility to switch out brands and restaurants,” says the Las Vegas Sun.

That would seem to portend drastic changes at the property, which has already severed ties with retailer Fred Segal and may have many more surprises in store. Considering that SLS Las Vegas is sinking fast, Continue reading

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Buckeye bounce; Macao’s woes a secret benefit?

Casino and racino revenues in Ohio were up nicely last month, +6.5%. We’re still at least a month away from having a full set of Toledo Casinoyear/year comparisons but Gov. John Kasich‘s decision to supersize a four-casinos-only constitutional amendment into four casinos and seven racinos is paying off handsomely for the Buckeye State. (Too bad he can’t use those talking points out on the campaign trail.) The overall results were about what you’d expect: Penn National Gaming up, Rock Gaming down. Among smaller operators, Eldorado ResortsScioto Downs was flat ($11 million) and Continue reading

Posted in Dan Gilbert, Economy, Eldorado Resorts, GLPI, Hard Rock International, Harrah's, Macau, Ohio, Penn National, Pinnacle Entertainment, Racinos, Steve Wynn | Leave a comment

Doubling down on Philadelphia; Baltimore throws a Horseshoe

Cordish Gaming got the go-ahead to start building its Packer Avenue casino in Philadelphia. The news came on the same as a bulletin that should give Cordish pause, with SugarHouse casino reporting a 4% drop in slot revenues. Given the amount of gaming Cordish Phillyproduct in the greater Philadelphia market, Cordish should probably brace itself for disappointment. It remains a puzzlement why Greenwood Racing is a joint-venture partner in this project, one which is likely to dilute Parx Casino revenues. Perhaps Greenwood has subscribed to the old Gary Loveman business model of flooding a market with your product and hoping to get more money out of it than anybody else, even if you’re your own primary competitor. (A strategy that’s not working too well in Cleveland these days.)

In any event, Cordish’s $400 million Stadium Casino will flood the market with an additional 2,000 slots and 125 table games. It also still has to clear several legal hurdles, including Continue reading

Posted in Cordish Co., Foxwoods, Greenwood Racing, Harrah's, Maryland, Mohegan Sun, Neil Bluhm, Pennsylvania, Tribal | Leave a comment

No boost for Illinois; The wrath of Wynn

So much for the invigorating effect of Labor Day weekend. Even with a holiday, September in Illinois still saw a decline in casino revenue. Casinos in the Land of Lincoln were down 5% for the month. Foot traffic fell 2% and spending was off by 3%. MGM Resorts Grand Victoria ILInternational‘s Grand Victoria ($14 million) continues to stage a comeback, though, up 4%. That was a rare bright spot in the northern tier of the state, where even Rivers Casino ($32 million) was 14% down. Harrah’s Joliet ($15 million) fell 13%, while Empress Joliet ($10 million) was up 10% but Penn National Gaming‘s Hollywood Aurora ($9 million) dove 7%. Out west, Jumer’s Casino Rock Island ($6 million) staged a rally, up 5%.

To the south, things were somewhat better, with Harrah’s Metropolis ($6.5 million, up 4%) enjoying a positive month, while the percentage declines Continue reading

Posted in Boyd Gaming, GLPI, Harrah's, Illinois, Massachusetts, MGM Mirage, Neil Bluhm, Penn National, Regulation, Slot routes, Sports, Steve Wynn | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

macao1952“We believe sentiment has recently benefitted from comments made earlier this month by Li Gang, the director of the Liaison Office between Macau and Mainland China, where he stated that the central government is going to release more measures to support Macau’s economy and that most of these measures (no details were given) will relate to the gaming industry.” — from a report by J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff. Like, duh, Mr. Li. Eighty percent of Macao’s economy is gaming. What else are you going to prop up?

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Trouble in Fantasyland

Remember, it’s not whether you win or lose but whether you covered the spread.

Untoward, insider dealings in a completely unregulated, gray-area, half-understood  industry? Why, I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked! At least the allegations of self-dealing within DraftKings and FanDuel might explain the preposterously large amount of winnings claimed by some of the Joe Schmoe characters who pop up in those ubiquitous TV commercials. One DraftKings employee racked up $350,000 from FanDuel after “inadvertently releasing data before the start of the third week of N.F.L. games,” according to the New York Times. We’ve come a long way from the weekly football pool in the company office.

Both FanDuel and DraftKings assure us that Continue reading

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MGM reassures Springfield; New gig for Loveman

MGM Resorts International President William Hornbuckle‘s promptly arranged visit to Springfield took on the nature of a damage-control effort yesterday. Hornbuckle made an unequivocal commitment to the city, saying, “We have not gone anywhere, we will not go anywhere and we will be here to the end of this.” He also said that the company had already poured $250 million into the project, and the publicly available figures (which include line items like the Massachusetts license fee) come to $235 million, which we’d say is close enough.

Hornbuckle also dangled the prospect of a high-rise hotel tower if the casino is successful enough to warrant Continue reading

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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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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