Despite being clocked at baccarat, Las Vegas Strip casinos took in 8% more last month, a jump Wall Street is attributing to the Easter holiday and the much-anticipated Con-Agg expo. Baccarat play was 6% down and casinos won 16% less. Slot revenue, however, was 11% up on slightly higher coin-in. The house also defied the odds at non-baccarat table games, winning 13.5% more against 5.5% less wagering.
Rob Goldstein isn’t exactly a pauper these days but a swoon in Las Vegas Sands‘ Macao takings also took a chomp out of Goldstein’s wallet. His compensation in 2016 was 19% lower than the year before. By contrast, CEO Sheldon Adelson saw his pay packet rise a half-million dollars. (Walking-around money if you’re Adelson.) It pays to be a member of the Adelson family. Literally. Sands newbie and CFO Patrick Dumontwas paid more than Goldstein. Could it be more than coincidence that Dumont is also Adelson’s son-in-law? Ah, the benefits of crony capitalism. The company also shelled out nearly $3.5 million in security for Sheldon and his family, proving that the mogul’s paranoia can be quantified.
“MGM Resorts resulted from the merger of MGM Grand and Mirage Resorts. After the merger, the two organizations continued to operate separately, with two COOs and two separate cultures. Multiple properties competed against each other. There was no unified strategy for growth—and no way to implement one even if it existed.” — MGM CEO Jim Murrenthrowing shade on predecessor J. Terrence Lanni and his silo-driven leadership style, during a lecture at The Wharton School (Donald Trump‘s alma mater!).
Perhaps it’s the distraction caused by casino legalization in Japan. Perhaps it’s the cost creep (now up to $2.4 billion) at Wynn Boston Harbor. Whatever the reason, Wynn Resorts has scaled down its plans for Wynn Paradise Park. Rest assured, the giant, animatronic King Kong still appears to be a “go.” However, the hotel tower has been temporarily shelved in favor of a concentration upon convention space. The downsized Paradise Park is expected to cost between $400 million and $500 million.
Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli wrote that Wynn Resorts “reported strong 1Q17 results and most importantly, gave investors no reasons to rethink their bullish stance.” The lagoon and convention center are Continue reading →
“Water rights are civil rights, and civil rights are human rights. This is not a money problem. This is a democracy problem. Flint, Michigan, is a moral parable about the peril of giving up control of your water.” — NAACP President Cornell Brooks, warning New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) against sellingAtlantic City‘s water authority for quick cash. In other news, Christie said Revel owner Glenn Straubshould get a gaming license, like all other casino owners, or get out of town.
“This is Senator Lou D’Allesandro’s (D) 19th attempt to legalize casino gaming in the state, and each successive bill’s annual defeat in the House has become something of a New Hampshire tradition, a bit like Rochester Fair but less fun.” — Casino.org on the dim prospects for casino legalization in the ever-prim Granite State.
If Attorney General Jeff Sessions goes ahead with a ban on Internet gambling, he could be in for a world of hurt. Never mind the states with online casinos. He’d be messing with the states that have online lotteries, a huge revenue source they won’t forego easily. This latter group includes Minnesota, Georgia, New York and Illinois … red and blue states alike. The Conservative Political Action Conference was polled on the issue and 91% of attendees came down against the ban, Sheldon Adelson‘s pet project. Said Institute for Liberty President Andrew Langer, “Conservatives see RAWA [Adelson-pushed legislation] for what it is — one of the worst forms of crony capitalism in Congress today. [Restoring America’s Wire Act] is nothing short of an effort by one of the richest men in the world to ban a form of competition for his brick and mortar casino empire—and everyone knows it. Worse yet, he is even willing to trample on the Constitution to do it.”
Unfortunately for Adelson, not only are his fellow conservatives wise to his attempt to abrogate the Tenth Amendment, Continue reading →
Compared with a flood-plagued March of 2015, business was booming at Louisiana casinos, up 10%, especially Baton Rouge (+20.5%), although New Orleans was flat. JP Morgan analyst Joseph Greff is predicting less salubrious results in April, blaming the Easter Bunny, among other factors. Last month saw very fewer poor performers, led by Harrah’s New Orleans ($22 million, -9%), Boyd Gaming‘s Evangeline Downs ($7 million, -6%) and Diamond Jack’s in Shreveport/Bossier City ($4 million, -9.5%). Boyd also had a poor month at Amelia Belle ($4 million, -6%) and good ones at Treasure Chest ($10 million, +10%) and Sam’s Town Shreveport ($7.5 million, +8.5%). Boyd’s breakout performer was Delta Downs, up 26% to $17 million. Caesars Entertainment also had a very, very good March at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, up 29.5% to $4 million.
Lake Charles dominated the Pelican State both in total gross ($80 million on the nose) and percentage improvement. Golden Nugget shot up 23.5% to $25 million while Pinnacle Entertainment‘s L’Auberge du Lac grossed $27 million (up 9%). Even Continue reading →
“They passed Keno and they passed the online buying of lottery tickets so they must like gambling.” — ever-optimistic New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D) on the Granite State’s Legislature, where the House of Representatives has voted down casinos 19 times.
We always knew Sheldon Adelson was fundamentally shameless — remember when he would gush with praise of Red China? — and this photo of him cuddling up to sometime anti-SemiteSteve Bannon just proves it. What’s newsworthy, though, is why Adelson may have been rather frosted at the White House for omitting any mention of Jews from its International Holocaust Remembrance Day proclamation, a move that was blasted in the pages of Adelson’s Haaretz newspaper (a periodical that Adelson supposedly examines with a fine-tooth comb).
It has been revealed that Adelson gave $5 million toward Donald Trump‘s $107 million inauguration (a figure that gives me relief that such things are privately funded) and probably expected greater deference from the Trump administration after being so “george” Continue reading →
Could the East Windsor satellite casino be a Machiavellian plot to extract the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegan Tribe from their obligations to the State of Connecticut? Probably not but state Attorney General George Jepsen has already opined that the existing compact could be broken in court by an expansion, even one by the Pequots and Mohegans. If an expansion bill passes out of the General Assembly — a fading prospect this session — a lawsuit by MGM Resorts International appears inevitable. For the time being, the two tribes are guaranteeing the continuation of the compact that grants the state 25% of slot revenue.
The latest development in this saga is the introduction of a third bill, one that would up taxes on the satellite casino to Continue reading →
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) leveled the playing field when he allowed third-party racinos to join the juiced-in Penn National Gaming and Caesars Entertainment casinos in the Buckeye State. The question now is how level a playing field is a good thing. KeyBanc Capital Markets exec Jay Masurekar takes a gloomy view, saying, “Ohio has been doing pretty well but I don’t think it requires 11 properties. One or two may drop off at some point — there are winners and losers in any market.” If we picked one casino to “drop off,” it would be low-grossing Belterra Park, a Pinnacle Entertainment property that is intractably stuck in last place.
Remember the Monte Carlo fire and how it was fueled by construction foam? It was much the same story last night when the south “arm” of Bellagio caught on fire, a blaze which raged for 25 minutes. “You can smell that sulfur,” said one onlooker. Because the fire was in a fiendishly inaccessible spot, firefighters had to use a deck cannon to hose it down. Some witnesses faulted the fire department’s response time, which seemed tardy even though there’s a substation at Cosmopolitan. In a way, though, the situation could have been far worse, as high winds were prevalent when the blaze erupted around 10:45 p.m. Given the flammability of the styrofoam-based material that comprises so many casino façades, we should Continue reading →
“As a Republican, [Attorney General Jeff Sessions] should also favor letting people and the states that represent them make their own decisions and be very cautious about setting a dangerous anti-federalism precedent, not just for online gambling, but for any number of other politically disfavored activities. The decisions made now about online gambling will impact all sorts of issues for years to come.” — Competitive Enterprise Institute fellow Michelle Minton on Sheldon Adelson‘s push to outlawInternet gambling.
In Massachusetts, the disputed Aquinnah Wampanoag casino is “on” again, following a federal appeals court’s reversal of a lower court ruling that nixed the project. The appellate court found that, in the words of The Associated Press, “the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe exercises sufficient government powers on its lands to be considered a sovereign tribal nation that can conduct limited gambling under federal law without seeking local approvals.” There was no immediate response from Martha’s Vineyard or from state Attorney General Maura Healey, as both retreated to lick their wounds ponder their options.
The proposed Aquinnah casino would forego table games in favor of 300 VLTs — if Continue reading →
It’ll take a lot more than an extra weekend day to account for a 7% spike in Atlantic City‘s gaming revenue. When you subtract the corpse of Trump Taj Mahal from the body count, the year over year comparison is an increase of 15%. Holy roulette wheel, Batman! Borgata was responsible for $60 million of the $200 million gross, with 3% more slot handle driving 6% higher win. That’s nothing in comparison to the 27% moonshot in table revenue, the more remarkable for having been achieved in a month that saw 30% less wagering.
Citywide, table revenue was up 15.5% on 10% more wagering, while a slot win improvement of 3% was driven by Continue reading →
“For years the tribes have carried the burden of bringing gaming to the state and they’ve come close and have never got it and right now out-of-state corporations have claimed a monopoly here in the state, and I’m glad for the jobs they provide but there’s room in the market for tribal gaming.” — Maine state Rep. Benjamin Collings (D), on a bill he’s sponsoring to permit federally recognized tribes to operate casinos in the state. Penn National Gaming testified in opposition.
If Attorney General Jeff Sessions was thinking about re-reinterpreting the Federal Wire Act, he might want to think again. The National Governors Association composed a letter to Sessions in which it said, “States are best equipped to enforce and regulate online gaming.” They didn’t bury the lead, either. The first sentence of the letter says, “The nation’s governors are concerned with legislative or administrative actions that would ban online Internet gaming and Internet lottery sales.” Whilst acknowledging differences of opinion on gambling among various and sundry governors, the letter went on to say, “we agree that decisions at the federal level that affect state regulatory authority should not be made unilaterally without state input. A strong, cooperative relationship between the states and federal government is vital to best serve the interests of all citizens.”