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Gambling News by Gambling Headquarters

Friday, June 30, 2006

Pauma Tribe, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Team Up

 

As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Indian gaming in San Diego's North County is about to get a whole lot bigger. "Confirming rumors that have swirled for months, the Pauma Indian band and Connecticut's Mashantucket Pequot tribe, operator of the world's largest casino, Foxwoods, are to announce today a development partnership that will build a $300 million hotel-casino at Pauma.

"The Pauma-Foxwoods project will have 2,000 slot machines and a 500-room hotel, making it one of the largest in California, but still a fraction of the size of the Pequots' massive East Coast gambling complex, which has 7,100 slots and 1,400 hotel rooms.

".The casino is expected to open in 2009, and will replace Pauma's 1,050-slot facility. It will make inland North County by far the state's pre-eminent Indian gaming corridor, with four large casinos operating more than 7,400 slots on or near a 15-mile section of state Route 76. Two smaller casinos, with 349 slots each, are scheduled to open next year on the La Jolla and Santa Ysabel reservations near Lake Henshaw."

New Obstacle in Thunder Valley Casino Lawsuit

 

As reported by the Gold County Press-Tribute: "A new legal wrangle unfolded Tuesday in a Placer County Superior Court harassment and discrimination case filed by seven former female Thunder Valley Casino employees. "Casino manager Station Casinos is asking that Commissioner Margaret Wells be replaced with a judge. "The move by Station Casino attorneys comes after Wells issued a tentative ruling stating that while Thunder Valley's owner - the United Auburn Indian Community - was exempted from proceedings because of the tribe's sovereign status, the suit against Station Casinos may proceed.

"What was initially scheduled to be a hearing on Wells' tentative ruling on the Nevada-based Station Casinos status as a possible employer of the woman has now become further entangled in submissions over the commissioner's presence on the bench.

Centrebet Closes Float Oversubscribed

 

As reported by the Australia Herald Sun: "Online sports betting shop Centrebet has closed its $70 million float oversubscribed after strong demand from retail and institution investors. "The privately-owned online wagering and gaming company plans to sell 35.11 million shares, or about 40 per cent of the company, at a share price of $2. "Proceeds of the initial public offering will be used to pay down debt and position the company for future expansion in both domestic and international gaming markets.

".It is expected Centrebet will have a market capitalisation of $174 million when it lists on the Australian Stock Exchange on July 12.

"Centrebet managing director Con Kafataris said investors had embraced Centrebet's online business model as well as its expertise in book keeping and risk management.

".The company expects to pay a 4.65 per cent, fully franked dividend for the 2007 financial year."

Down to the First Final Table at the WSOP

 

Three World Series of Poker events (WSOP) will run simultaneously today, a sign that the momentum is building here at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino as players gear towards the Main Event and poker immortality. The final table for Event # 2, the 3-day $1,500 No Limit Hold'Em tournament that began on Tuesday, will be the main draw for the rail birds. Former Main Event winner (2001) Carlos Mortensen will vie for his third bracelet from the sixth chip position. The Spaniard, who is nicknamed "El Matador" was the chip leader after day one, but suffered consecutive devastating hands to lower his position late on day two.

Mortensen has 337,000 chips going into the final table. The buzz around the gallery is that Mortensen's big tournament experience makes him a viable candidate to take home the bracelet. He also has one World Poker Tour (WPT) title on his mantle.

Professional poker player Ron Stanley, in 8th position with $283k also has a WSOP bracelet, winning his first piece of hardware in 1991. The long-time pro has multiple final table appearances in WSOP Circuit Events and WPT tournaments.

Don Zewin, in 6th place with $342,000 chips also has some big-time final table experience, placing 4th at the WPT Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship in 2005.

The final table looks like this:

1.) Brandon Cantu $753k

2.) Lee Padilla $753k

3.) Drew Rubin $573k

4.) Mark Ly $516k

5.) Mark Swatz $359

6.) Don Zewin $342k

7.) Carlos Motensen $337k

8.) Ron Stanley $283k

9.) Brent Roberts $260k

WSOP Event # 3, a $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'Em affair, is also scheduled to start today at 2 p.m. PST with 71 players to battle all day until only nine player remain for tomorrow's final table.

John Juanda and Victor Ramdin sit near the top of the leader board in 3rd and 6th place respectively. Juanda is the owner of three WSOP bracelets and is currently one of the top ranked players in the world on most media outlet polls.

Ramdin is having a life-changing year, winning $1.3 million at the 2006 WPT Foxwoods Poker Classic and finishing 11th this spring at the Bellagio in the WPT World Championship.

The final major tournament of the day is Event # 4, a $1500 Limit Hold'Em Tournament. Play began today at noon and will continue until there are less than 100 players. It will conclude sometime this evening. The tournament is a three-day event.

Hellmuth Record Under Review

 

For now, news from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) has Phil Hellmuth as the all-time leader in cashes with 50 after he made the money in WSOP Event # 2 and received an appreciation ovation for his accomplishment. The announcement was made late on Tuesday in front of the player and spectators filling the Amazon Room of the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, but a record review is underway and it may be that Hellmuth has only have 49.

Hellmuth himself is unsure. After speaking with all-time cash-leader Men "The Master" Nguyen, Hellmuth was under the impression that he was tied at 49. Nguyen told him they are tied for the lead and Hellmuth believes "The Master" for now.

Whether 49 or 50 cashes, Hellmuth at least has a share of the record. WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla said the matter will be cleared up and become official within a day or two.

"I always like to make poker history," Hellmuth said a little steamed after busting out of the event in (65th?). "Whether I did it today or not, I have a good chance to take it because my game is in tip top shape."

Before the 2006 WSOP started, Hellmuth was one behind Men "The Master" and tied with TJ Cloutier and Berry Johnston at 48. Of the four, Hellmuth is second on the all-time money list running neck and neck with TJ Cloutier.

The next closest competitor is Chris "Jesus" Ferguson with 42 cashes.

While others are sorting out the statistics, Hellmuth said he didn't want to reflect on where the all-time cash leader places him in the poker pantheon, preferring instead to speak about his plans for 2006.

Last year, Hellmuth said he spent too much time with outside distractions. This year, he plans to run the gambit with his full attention and try to capture his 10th gold bracelet, a historical mark he covets more than the cash mark.

"My problem is I can't beat all the fuc#*g one-day superstars," Hellmuth said.

Playing in Event #2's second day caused Hellmuth to miss out on Event # 3, a $1500 Pot Limit Hold'Em tournament. One fan asked Hellmuth if the players in that tournament felt lucky he wasn't playing. He responded with "that's what all those guys are.lucky."

Hellmuth said he plans to play in either Thursdays Limit Hold'Em event of Friday's shorthanded No'Limit Hold'Em tournament, both bracelet events in the World Series schedule.

Ryan McLane is a gaming industry reporter for Casino City and is assigned to the poker beat. He is currently covering events at the World Series of Poker. Email your comments and questions to him at ryanmclane@casinocity.com

Column: 'F'in Ridiculous

 

The logistical nightmare of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) makes for an interesting scene that is best described with the word "zoo." Basically, it's a bunch of poker starved animals caged inside a box not equipped to handle them. It's quite a hilarious picture, with grown men and women shouting about "fairness" and people generally berating each other for mistakes in play. Add in the people who have to run the mile and a half to the bathroom in order to make it back before the blinds come and you have the perfect recipe for ridiculousness. In short, the WSOP is awesome and any person who claims to be a poker fan must consider making the pilgrimage to poker Mecca before calling their career complete.

But before you come and make poker history, remember this - leave the "f" word at home. Perhaps the most ridiculous rule in the zoo is that just one cuss word, of the hundreds that exist, is illegal, and said word is deemed vile enough to give you a 10 minute penalty.

Mike Matasow made the controversial "F" bomb rule famous in the 2005 Main Event when he dropped more bombs than the Bush family did on Baghdad. In 2006, the rule is important enough to include in the preamble to every tournament, including the lowly $125 satellite tournaments and side cash games.

I'm not saying I don't understand why the rule is in place. Cleary, Harrah's wants to make the WSOP more TV and family friendly, drawing the young and the conservative old into the booming poker world at the same time.

But seriously, when you've plopped down thousands to play in the Series and some donkey sucks out on you and laughs, don't you have the God-given right to drop America's favorite word several dozen times?

You'd do the same if you've stubbed your toe. For many of us, it's a natural thing to cry out when we're hurt and there is nothing that hurts more than watching your top-two-pair fall prey to the horrible human being that paddles to the river.

Before I explain why the "F-Bomb" rule is obnoxious, consider this - there is no specific rule against using any other cuss words, including racial slurs and the alphabet of swears beginning with "a, b, s and yes, even c."

There is a provision that allows dealers to deem attacks on another person so crass, that a penalty can be assessed, but if you get sucked out on and scream "Sh*t" at the top of your lungs, the "F Bomb" rule does not apply. So be sure poker players, if you're going to let fly a word, make sure it begins with anything but "F." I think this rule needs to be reevaluated. In my opinion, the intent of the rule is to keep the game clean and honorable. By eliminating a word that is offensive to many, Harrah's is trying to keep players from berating each other with profane language.

I like that idea. Poker should be a gentlemen's game and people should not be allowed to harass people just because they feel like being an ass (I can say that word, mind you). The intent is the key. If a player mutters the "F Bomb" to themselves, a common occurrence when someone is upset, there is room to deem the action a mistake and should be treated as such. Most dealers and players are aware of this, and if a violator truly did not mean to offend, he usually covers his mouth in mock shame and everyone lets it go. But if one player deems the word offensive, no matter how it's used, the bosses must enforce the rule and penalize the player.

You all know a player who would be willing to use this to their advantage. He's the same guy who constantly refers to the rulebook and throws it in everyone's face, especially when he's holding a poor bluff.

This is where the rule becomes ridiculous. Dealers and bosses have the same powers of common sense as the rest of us. I say, change the rule to match its original intent. If the cuss was accidental, don't let Mr. Rulebook use his annoyingness as power. And if you think Captain Rules doesn't exist, believe me; he's all over the Rio. Let's do the best we can to keep the zoo clean, but at the same time, let's remind the keepers that keeping animals inside a tiny little cage can sometimes be a recipe for ridiculousness. Even the best men and women makes mistakes. Let's give the animals a chance to be human.

Ryan McLane is a gaming industry reporter for Casino City and is assigned to the poker beat. He is currently covering events at the World Series of Poker. Email your comments and questions to him at ryanmclane@casinocity.com .

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Stanley Leisure to Stay in Liverpool

 

As reported by icLiverpool: "Stanley Leisure's headquarters will remain in Liverpool even if a proposed merger with a rival London-based casino operator goes ahead, the Daily Post can reveal. "Stanley this week confirmed it was in talks with London Clubs International (LCI) over a possible tie-up that could be worth more than £700m. ".A merger between Stanley and LCI has been on the cards since the shake-up of gaming laws paved the way for international operators to run new super-casinos proposed by the Government."

Loto-Quebec, Bally Team Up

 

As reported by the Montreal Gazette: "Loto-Quebec has signed a ground-breaking deal to develop new 'casino game offerings' with Las Vegas-based Bally Technologies, one of the world's oldest and largest gambling systems companies. "The long-term strategic alliance between publicaly traded Bally and Ingenio, the crown corporation's research and development subsidiary, was announced yesterday in a joint news release. ".The deal, which is non-exclusive for both parties, would see Ingenio tender game designs and concepts to Bally, which could buy them. Its product line now includes casino slot machines and video-slots sold the world over."

Island Resort Signs Picks VCAT System

 

Venture Catalyst Incorporated, announced today that the Hannahville Indian Community, dba Island Resort & Casino, has licensed Mariposa, VCAT's customer relationship management (CRM), marketing and business intelligence software system for use at its Island Resort & Casino located in Harris, Michigan. "We are excited to add the Hannahville Indian Community and Island Resort & Casino to our growing family of Mariposa clients. We believe Mariposa is an excellent choice to complement the casino's current expansion effort and will help them strengthen relationships with their customers," said Greg Shay, Chief Executive Officer and President of VCAT. Mariposa is an award-winning software solution that provides a fully-integrated marketing and business intelligence system for the gaming industry. Developed to work in conjunction with existing player tracking, slot accounting, hotel management and other data collection systems, Mariposa can dramatically improve the way casinos do business. By providing gaming properties with tools to create, execute and track sophisticated multi-channel, targeted marketing campaigns, as well as analyze both customers and products on the casino floor, Mariposa can significantly help increase revenues and operating efficiency. Mariposa consists of a proprietary modular suite of applications, including Campaign Management, Data Visualization, with easy-to-read mapping features, a Data Warehouse, including predictive modeling, reporting and analytics, and a Player Contact System. Mariposa clients include: Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino; Hard Rock Hotel and Casino; Greektown Casino; all six Resorts International casinos, including: the Las Vegas Hilton, Resorts Atlantic City, Atlantic City Hilton, Resorts Tunica, Bally's Tunica and Resorts East Chicago; Thunder Valley Casino; Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino; Stratosphere Casino Hotel & Tower; Arizona Charlie's Boulder and Arizona Charlie's Decatur; Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino; San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, Grand Casino Mille Lacs and Grand Casino Hinckley.

"The management and staff of the Island Resort & Casino are pleased and excited to join VCAT's Mariposa family. We believe that Mariposa, coupled with our existing staff's expertise and enthusiasm, can guide us to the next level of customer service. Additionally, the system will enable the management staff to make that next leap forward in efficiency and effective decision making so crucial to the success of our expanding business," said Tom McChesney, General Manager of Island Resort & Casino.

Ellis Gaming, Hopland Band Contract Approved

 

Ellis Gaming and Hopland Band of Pomo Indians have been granted approval by the National Indian Gaming Commission to move into a five-year management contract in which Ellis Gaming will oversee all operations of the tribe's current casino in Northern California, Hopland Sho-ka-wah Casino. Located 82 miles north of San Francisco in Hopland, Calif. in the heart of the California Wine Country, the current casino has 600 slot machines, six tables, bingo and two restaurants. Plans to renovate the property are underway.

"Through our dedication to the tribe and their property, we will implement a training program which allows the employees to develop useful leadership skills that will enhance the property's success," said Rick Richards, Chief Operating Officer for Ellis Gaming.

"We are pleased to have an approved management agreement in place with Ellis Gaming. Our ultimate purpose of this relationship is to inspire and maximize the efficiency of our tribal members. This venture will further stabilize the foundation of the tribe's economic development," said Tribal Chair Wanda D. Balderama.

Tribal Governmental gaming generated revenue of approximately $20 billion in 2004. There are 354 Tribal Governmental gaming operations in the United States, in which 30 of those are under management contracts. Ellis Gaming manages operations for two Tribal Governmental properties and is awaiting approval of a third property, which will make Ellis Gaming the second largest Indian gaming management company in the country.

"On a very personal level I am honored to be affiliated with the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, a group for which I respect so much, in one of the most beautiful places in the country," said R. Shawn Ellis, President of Ellis Gaming. "Ellis Gaming will work every day to improve the profitability of the enterprise."

GWIN Reports Media Sponsorship Deal

 

GWIN Inc. Chairman & CEO Wayne Allyn Root announced today the largest media sponsorship deal in company history. ThePIGPoker.net has signed to be a title sponsor of GWIN's television and radio shows, "Wayne Allyn Root's WinningEDGE(TM)," airing on Saturday mornings starting Sept. 9. ThePIGPoker.net is a newly launched informational poker Web site for fun, entertainment and prizes only, owned by Legendzsports, one of the largest private gaming companies in the world. ThePIGPoker.net is the newest venture by Legendz into the lucrative world of poker. The agreement includes sponsorship of "Wayne Allyn Root's WinningEDGE" national TV and radio show as well as the poker sections of its Web sites winningedge.com and ewinners.com. ThePIGPoker.net joins co-sponsor Hooters Casino Hotel Las Vegas, who continues its sponsorship of The WinningEDGE after a successful 2005 Season.

Root said, "This deal with ThePIGPoker.net is the largest sponsorship deal in GWIN history. And, it is a further indication that in addition to continuing to build our core sports handicapping services business, we are able to generate significant new revenue streams from media sponsorship and advertising partners. This sponsorship deal, combined with the Hooters Casino Hotel Las Vegas sponsorship, lends more credibility to the power and branding of our WinningEDGE(TM) products and personalities. When it comes to sports gambling advice and information, GWIN is clearly a global leader."

Said Legendz CEO Luke King, "Legendz is a big fan of Wayne Allyn Root and The WinningEDGE brand name and media properties. Wayne has been called 'The King of Vegas' and 'The Face of Las Vegas Gaming.' His TV show 'King of Vegas' and the upcoming release of his new book, 'The King of Vegas' Guide to Gambling,' reinforce Wayne as the most positive personality and brand name in gaming. We are excited to be able to work with him and The WinningEDGE to introduce our new ThePIGPoker.net product to American consumers. Poker is exploding in popularity and we believe attaching our new online poker information and entertainment site to a nationally recognized gaming personality like Wayne Allyn Root and The WinningEDGE is a winning formula."

Pennsylvania Board Approves Licenses

 

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today voted unanimously to approve licenses for three companies that filed applications to be manufacturers of slot machines and associated equipment in the Commonwealth. Separately, the Board voted unanimously to approve licenses for 12 companies that filed applications to be suppliers of slot machines and associated equipment. All licenses are subject to a series of conditions set by the Board to ensure that the requirements of the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, and Board rules and regulations are met. "Approving these licenses is another major step forward for gaming in Pennsylvania," said Tad Decker, chairman of the Board. By considering the manufacturer and supplier licenses today, the Board fulfilled its statutory obligation to consider manufacturer and supplier licenses at least 90 days before it votes on any operator licenses, Decker said. Today's votes keep the Board on track for considering operator license applications as early as September 2006, he added.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Staff Cracks Down on Hong Kong Inmates' Gambling

 

As reported by the Hong Kong Government News: "Correctional Services staff will increase surprise searches, night raids and joint searching operations in penal institutions during the World Cup to stem soccer gambling activities, the department says. "The department today reiterated that gambling in any form was strictly prohibited inside institutions, adding newspaper supplements containing horse racing, soccer and basketball betting odds will be withheld before distribution to prisoners.

"...The department has carried out 71 soccer-related gambling paraphernalia seizures since June 9. It has discipined 19 prisoners for their involvement in soccer-related gambling activities and having gambling paraphernalia..."

FullContactPoker.com, Negreanu Launch WSOP Promo

 

What does it take to win big at the World Series of Poker (WSOP)? A lucky bluff? Great cards? What if it was just ... wearing the right clothes? Fresh off Daniel Negreanu's second place $325,000 cash at the 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions, FullContactPoker.com (FCP) announced today the "WEAR THE NAME, SHARE THE FAME" promotion, set to run throughout the 2006 WSOP. The promotion offers FCP members who play in WSOP events the chance to share in potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars, just for wearing FCP apparel. FCP has announced that they will generously match five percent of Negreanu's gross winnings and award it to eligible FCP community members. With over 30 events remaining at this year's WSOP, today's cash already guarantees $16,250 to FCP promotional participants. Negreanu, a three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner, will play almost everyday throughout the six-week WSOP as he tries his hand at sweeping tournaments and winning the 2006 Main Event's $10 million prize. At the end of the tournament, the five percent from FCP will be split into two prize pools, divided equally. One prize pool will be shared amongst online members that wear FCP branded apparel exclusively during any of the WSOP events they play. The second prize pool will be given to any FCP- apparel-wearing community member that makes it to a televised WSOP final table.

"The 'Wear The Name, Share The Fame' promotion is FullContactPoker.com and Daniel's way of showing support for the FCP community. We're thrilled that Daniel's gotten off to such a great start at this year's WSOP and that eligible FCP members have the chance to share in his success just by wearing FCP apparel," said Henry Chu, President of Big Stack Enterprises. "Keep up the great play Daniel and best of luck to the FCP community at this year's World Series."

Red Rock Promotes the Great Outdoors

 

As reported by the Las Vegas Business Press: "Outdoor enthusiast David Bert is working seven days a week on a new venture and he couldn't be more excited. Since March, he's been building and operating Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa's 'Adventure Spa,' and he says it's the fulfillment of a dream he's been pushing for 10 years. "As the eco-tourism and wellness center at the new Station Casinos' resort in Summerlin, the spa offers a wide range of outdoor activities at the Red Rock National Recreation Area and on the Colorado River below Hoover Dam, as well as conventional services such as exercise and massage. "Bert credits Red Rock Casino President and General Manager Scott Kreeger with the idea of creating an adventure spa. Kreeger said he got the idea when he was staying at a similar outdoor recreation spot in Utah. "I saw that it was a very successful spa, and what we had in Red Rock was just as good." Red Rock Casino-Resort guests can now hike or bike in the National Recreation Area..."

Pagcor Expansion Criticized

 

As reported by the Manila Standard Today: "Despite jobs for residents and millions to the city coffers, one official thinks that Manila has one casino too many. "The state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. is set to open more gaming tables in fun houses and exclusive clubs with VIP rooms which translate to better lighted streets and well-paved roads. "The windfall, according to a city official, who requested anonymity, was not justified. ".Manila is host to casino and slot machine operations at the Manila Pavilion Hotel, Gran Boulevard Hotel, Pan Pacific Hotel, Manila Hyatt Hotel and selected arcades."

Smoking Ban Burns Windsor Bingo Parlours

 

As reported by the Canadian Press: "Nearly a month into Ontario's smoking ban, Windsor bingo hall operators say many Michigan customers are staying home. "Business has dropped so much at some bingo parlours that owners are considering layoffs and at least one may close its doors, according to a report Monday in The Detroit News. "...Bingo parlour operators predicted a drop in customers when Ontario enacted a ban on smoking in all public buildings on May 31. "No specific figures are available on just how many fewer Michigan customers are visiting the bingo halls, but owners contend it's a substantial number..."

Aristocrat Leisure Completes Sale

 

As reported by the Aristocrat Herald Sun: "Gaming machine company Aristocrat Leisure has completed the sale of a 28 per cent interest in its African operations to a local partner. "Aristocrat said it would record a net profit of about $6 million on the partial sale to Yabohle Investments -- a consortium led by Matemeku Investments. "The consortium was established under the South African Government's Black Economic Empowerment initiative and it has interests in mineral, technology, hospitality and tourism. ".Aristocrat's poker machine business has undergone a resurgence. It recently invested in new forms of electronic gaming machines and is seeking to add to its gaming technology and intellectual property."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Greek Sportsbook Offers 2007 College Football Odds

 

The Greek Sportsbook, a leader in online sports betting, continues its prominence in college sports with more offerings on college football for the upcoming season. This week, The Greek Sportsbook is the first to release odds on the #1 recruiting class for incoming freshman for 2007. The Greek will use the rankings that are found at Rivals.com one, of the premier recruiting services and websites for grading of the wager. The battles that take place on the field are sometimes secondary to the battles that occur for players in their parents homes. Serious college football fans following the recruiting trail all year know that one key player may enable a team to move up the rankings. The Rivals.com rankings are updated daily during the academic year and change rapidly, all of which should make for competitive wagering and exciting action during the recruiting season.

The 2006 Heisman Trophy is awarded in early December but its outcome can be wagered on now. The Greek posted the odds on the Heisman award immediately following the 2005 ceremony and the current odds reflect player suspensions or other events that may have affected the market.

Senior quarterback Brady Quinn of Notre Dame is the current favorite at +250. Quinn, who considered entering the NFL draft in the off-season, should make a good case for the award with a manageable schedule and weekly national television coverage.

Adrian Peterson of the Oklahoma Sooners is the second choice at +400. The junior running back was hampered by injuries last season, but if he can duplicate his freshman season's performance he may be taking home the award.

Ohio State's do everything offensive weapon Ted Ginn appears a generous +1500. The Buckeye's are one of the favorites to appear in the Fiesta Bowl and Ginn has to figure heavily in their offensive plans. Ginn's quickness and ability to return punts for touchdowns should afford him plenty of "highlight reel" footage for the voters to see before they cast their ballots.

Lindgren Wins Poker Pro Showdown

 

It took nearly four hours for Erick 'E-Dog' Lindgren and Mike 'The Mouth' Matusow to get heads up at the FullTiltPoker.Net Pro Showdown at Red Rock Casino, but just one hand for Lindgren to claim the victory and the $600,000 first-place prize. On June 22, Lindgren and Matusow outlasted five other Team Full Tilt members, including Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, John Juanda, Erik Seidel, and Clonie Gowen who each paid $120,000 to enter this invitational poker tournament broadcast live on FOX Sports Network. 'E-Dog' and 'The Mouth' went head-to-head after Lindgren knocked Clonie Gowen out of the tournament. On their first hand of heads-up play, Matusow moved all in after picking up Ace-Jack against Lindgren's Ace-King. Matusow couldn't improve, and Lindgren walked away from the table with the title and a $600,000 check. Matusow collected an impressive $280,000 for second place, while Gowen recouped her $120,000 buy-in for her third-place finish.

The FullTiltPoker.Net Pro Showdown at Red Rock Casino was the latest in a string of live televised poker tournaments created by Full Tilt Poker, and continued the tradition of exciting play and large prize pools established by their other events: The FullTiltPoker.Net Championship at Wynn Las Vegas and the FullTiltPoker.Net Invitational from Monaco.

"It was a privilege to be able to call the action live as these great pros all brought their "A" games to the table" said Team Full Tilt member Howard Lederer. "Erick Lindgren played beautifully and is a deserving champion."

Online Bingo Championship Attracts Record Numbers

 

After week two of the Bingohall.com World Championship of Online Bingo, 70 lucky players have already qualified to compete for what looks set to be the most coveted prize in the history of bingo on the Internet. The first two weekly Semi Final Freerolls attracted a record number of participants, all trying to win their way to the World Championship of Online Bingo Main Event on July 20, 2006, where the World Champion of Online Bingo will be crowned. "We've been overwhelmed by the level of player interest in this promotion", said Bingohall.com VP Marketing Scott Logan.

"Entry into the World Championship Main Event on July 20 has become the hottest ticket in town and players are very excited about the huge cash prizes on offer."

The 6 week event will give away over $250,000 in cash and prizes, with $10,000 being awarded to the champion along with the highly sought after trophy.

Players can qualify for the weekly Semi Final Freeroll simply by winning the special Crown pattern which plays every hour in the dimes, quarters and high roller rooms at Bingohall.com.

PartyGaming.com Launches Backgammon Product

 

PartyGaming Plc (LSE: PRTY), operators of PartyPoker.com, The World's Largest Poker Room(TM), today announces the launch of its new backgammon product, PartyGammon.com. Known as "the game of kings" and requiring skills of timing and calculation, backgammon is one of the world's most popular games and one of its oldest, with variants dating back more than 5,000 years. PartyGaming has now brought this history to the modern world of the internet, enabling new and existing customers to play backgammon, poker and casino all from a single PartyAccount.

"The launch of backgammon, a truly international game of skill, is a natural evolutionary step in our strategy to become the global gaming portal of choice," said Mitch Garber, CEO of PartyGaming. "We are very pleased to add it to our portfolio of games." PartyGammon.com offers games to play for free or for cash for a variety of gammon versions, including Hypergammon and Nackgammon. As with all the products in the PartyGaming portfolio, customers can access PartyGaming's 24/7 customer support for any questions about getting started or using the product. PartyGammon.com features cutting edge technology and was developed entirely in-house.

Bodog.com Sponsors Poker Fundraiser

 

Bodog.com, the online gambling and entertainment giant, has signed on as the official sponsor of Baron Davis and Paul Pierce's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" A Magic Night of Poker, Players and Stars Friday July 7th. For this private event, the Avalon and Spider Club in Hollywood will be transformed into a Las Vegas-style casino. Top celebrities, hot NBA players and VIP's will test their luck competing in a Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament. Entrepreneur and CEO of Bodog.com, Calvin Ayers, will host the celebration along with Pierce and Davis and together they will pay special tribute to Magic Johnson.

"We are thrilled to be part of this event that brings together both sports and poker," says Bodog.com's founder and CEO Calvin Ayre. "We often support charities that support education and other services for underprivileged young people such as building schools in Costa Rica through my Calvin Ayre Foundation and the work done by team and player foundations such as Baron, Paul and Magic's organizations."

The All-Star charity weekend will continue with A Midsummer Night's Glam Jam -- a night of music and fashion fusion at the House of Blues on Sunset, as well as, Game Day: celebrity and NBA-sanctioned All-Star basketball games downtown at the Staples Center. The weekend will close with the Champion Celebration Sunday night at a renowned LA hot spot.

The weekend is presented and hosted by L.A. Stars, a charitable event group composed of the Baron Davis Foundation and Paul Pierce's Truth Foundation. A portion of the weekend's proceeds will also go to The Magic Johnson Foundation.

Tickets are on sale to the public at all Ticketmaster locations.

Saratoga Gaming, NYRA Reach Simulcast Deal

 

Saratoga Gaming and Raceway has come to an agreement with the New York Racing Association to simulcast the entire six week Saratoga Race Course meet beginning July 26. The agreement between the two tracks gives visitors to Saratoga Springs, NY the opportunity to wager and view the popular Saratoga races in two locations just minutes away from each other. Additionally, the convenience of having two Saratoga locations to wager and view the thoroughbred races will provide better service to the summer horse bettors and is expected to raise the overall handle for the Saratoga Race Course meet. "We are very excited about covering the summer Saratoga Race Course meet and begin a new working relationship with the New York Racing Association. The level of horse racing that NYRA offers is second to none and we're pleased that our loyal and new guests will be able to enjoy their races at our location," said George "Skip" Carlson, Vice President of Racing at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway. "We further anticipate this agreement will build an even greater summer crowd for Saratoga and bring additional tourism dollars to the area," he added. "Nothing beats the experience of being at the races at Saratoga Race Course," said NYRA President and CEO, Charles E. Hayward. "But there are many people who have to work during the summer or who can't stay for the entire card. Now, if they can't make it to the track, they can pop in at the Raceway and even advance wager on their selections."

To ensure bettors have a wonderful experience while viewing the Saratoga thoroughbred races at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, the Raceway has developed a special $9.95 lunch buffet in Fortunes restaurant where every table has its own LCD television, and mutuel betting windows and automatic betting machines are conveniently located for easy wagering. The lunch buffet at Fortunes will be offered everyday from 11:30am to 3:30pm, with the exception of Tuesdays, July 26 through September 4. With the addition of the Saratoga Race Course coverage, the Saratoga Gaming and Raceway simulcast schedule will include ten different tracks daily and provide race coverage seven-days a week. Parking and admission are always FREE at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway and wagering on all races is at track prices. Saratoga Gaming and Raceway also offers two different air-conditioned areas to wager on simulcast races.

The first gaming facility to open in New York State, Saratoga Gaming and Raceway boasts over 1,300 state-of-the-art video gaming machines, a full service restaurant with buffet, a fine dining restaurant, three full-service bars, a food court and deli, a point boutique, and a variety of guest services including valet parking and coat check. Patrons can participate in our player rewards program, Player Extras Club, while visiting the property. The 55,000 square foot gaming floor cost $15 million to construct and employs an additional 300 local residents. Fortunes, our full service restaurant, overlooks the excitement of live harness racing with seating for 400 guests and can accommodate large group events. Video gaming and food and beverage operations at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway are managed by Delaware North Companies Inc., a leading hospitality and entertainment management group headquartered in Buffalo, NY.

Saratoga Gaming and Raceway is located on Crescent Avenue in Saratoga Springs, NY. Operating hours for the gaming facility are 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. Must be 18 years of age or older to play video gaming machines. Please play responsibly. Simulcast races can be viewed Tuesday through Sunday. Live Harness races run Wednesday through Saturday evenings in July, and Tuesday through Saturday evenings in August. Post time for all races is 7:20 p.m. Must be 18 or older to wager on horses.

Monday, June 26, 2006

PharaohsPokerPalace.com Adds Webcam Option

 

We all like the option of playing poker in our pajamas with no one watching us, but sometimes it would be nice to have a more interactive alternative as well. Soon there will be. For quite a while people have been talking about adding webcam to internet poker. Now a new site, PharaohsPokerPalace.com, has committed to making this concept a reality. In his Super System 2, the legendary Doyle Brunson suggested that "just a couple of years down the road, you may well be able to see real opponents on your screen. Poker will be like a video conference, and you'll be able to focus on the players across the table from you and read them.tells will be everywhere, and then full-scale psychological warfare will come to the online poker battlefield - and nothing will be missing." When this book was published last year, Mr. Brunson was certainly correct in stating that the internet poker industry is at least a few years away from adopting webcam as standard practice. However, the opportunity to engage in the type of interaction he describes will be available this year - at least at one innovative poker site.

When they initially introduce webcams, Pharaoh's Poker Palace intends to make them completely optional at all tables, allowing players an opportunity to become acquainted with the concept. After the introductory period, however, a subset of tables will be designated as "webcam only". At these tables, all players will be required to have a webcam on themselves to play, creating a level playing field for those wanting to see and be seen. The majority of Pharaoh's tables will remain open to webcam and non-webcam players, allowing the option of using either live video or a static avatar. Pajamas are still a viable option for either set of players, so long as they are not offensive.

Pharaoh's Poker Palace opened its site to the public for beta testing on June 15, 2006, and plans to launch real-money tables in July 2006. Once they are live, the site will be offering real-money depositors free webcams, to help ensure that hardware is not an impediment to players being exposed to the next level of internet poker.

PinnacleSports.com Offers Odds on US Coach's Future

 

Following a disappointing 2-1 loss to Ghana that eliminated the U.S. team from the World Cup, speculation quickly arose about Bruce Arena's future coaching the Americans. Head coach of the team since 1998, Arena has become a fixture in American soccer, but after directing the fifth-ranked U.S. team to a winless trip in Germany, his future with the team is murky at best. With his coaching decisions questioned throughout the World Cup, PinnacleSports.com released odds on Bruce Arena returning to U.S. men's soccer just minutes after the team failed to advance out of their group. The largest sports betting site on the Internet, PinnacleSports.com posted odds on the coaching future of Arena immediately following the U.S. loss to Ghana. The oddsmaker strongly believes Arena will become a casualty of the Americans' disappointing World Cup trip, listing the odds on his dismissal as an overwhelming 1/12 favorite (i.e., win $1 for every $12 bet). Meanwhile, PinnacleSports.com lists the odds that U.S. Soccer will remain loyal to the coach that guided the team to its highest ranking ever as a 10/1 long shot. "Whenever a team's high expectations go unfulfilled, the coach usually becomes the scapegoat for underperforming play," said Simon Noble of PinnacleSports.com. "So despite leading the U.S. into the World Cup as the fifth-ranked team by FIFA, Arena's tenure managing the team will almost certainly draw to a close after accumulating only one point in group play in Germany."

Pokagon Gamine Authority Closes Financing

 

The Pokagon Gaming Authority, a wholly owned, unincorporated instrumentality of the Pokagon Band of Potowatomi Indians, has successfully closed its financing of $305 million in Senior Notes due 2014. The proceeds from the notes will be used to partially finance the construction of Four Winds Casino Resort. "We are excited to have completed our senior note financing," said Tribal Chairman John Miller. "We are also very pleased that the financing was well received by investors. With this financing, we can complete the construction of the 51-acre casino development as we have envisioned it." "We look forward to working with the Pokagon Band in developing a successful enterprise," said Tim Cope, President and CFO at Lakes Entertainment, Inc. "Four Winds Casino Resort will provide first class gaming entertainment."

Nebraska Tribes Stop Using Paid Petition Circulators

 

The coalition of Native American tribal governments in Nebraska circulating the petition proposing to allow casino-style gaming for economic and community development purposes has chosen to discontinue the use of paid petition circulators. Recent controversies arising from the methods used by paid circulators employed by other petition sponsors contributed significantly to the tribes' decision, including reports of circulators offering to pay or give prizes to voters for signing petitions. An opposition campaign targeting an unrelated petition has also led to a hostile environment in which all petition circulators have been identified as villainous out-of-towners intent on misusing personal information required on the petitions. The tribes have been working with FieldWorks LLC, a reputable political consulting firm based in Washington, DC, to hire, train and supervise the paid petition circulators. FieldWorks provided professional oversight of these paid circulators, who were paid hourly wages for their work. Although all of the paid circulators hired by FieldWorks were local residents, many were treated disrespectfully by law enforcement officials, property owners, and others. Regrettably, this behavior suggested that the tribes' paid circulators were likely being confused with those circulating more controversial petitions sponsored by out-of-state special interest groups.

"This issue is too important to the tribes and to Nebraska for it to be tarnished by the deceptive tactics used by other petition circulators and paid civic activists," said Ben Thompson with Affirmative Public Policy Solutions, the Omaha-based consulting firm hired by the tribes to organize the initiative campaign. "Members of the public have been misled and are understandably frustrated by what they perceive to be a misappropriation of their right to exercise the initiative power."

The tribes will continue to use volunteer petition circulators in an effort to meet the July 7th deadline for turning in signatures to the Secretary of State. Many of the volunteer circulators are tribal members that more fully understand the initiative proposal and can better explain it to potential signers. Thompson stated, "We hope the exclusive use of volunteer petition circulators will increase the level of respect accorded to them as they exercise the first amendment rights shared by all citizens of Nebraska."

Affirmative Public Policy Solutions is a consultancy whose business is helping public and private entities achieve extraordinary results in public policy.

French Lick Partners File Second Suit

 

As reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal: "A legal feud between the partners in the Orange County casino project apparently has expanded with the filing of a second suit. "A subsidiary of Indianapolis-based Lauth Property Group has filed a lawsuit against Bloomington businessman Bill Cook, its partner in the French Lick project. The filing comes after the casino subsidiary of Cook Group filed a suit against Lauth earlier this month. "Both companies have remained mum about their conflict, and Orange County Circuit Judge Larry Blanton has sealed the lawsuits, blocking their content from the public.

"Blanton has scheduled a July 31 hearing to consider whether the suits should remain sealed.

".Cook and Lauth are partners in Blue Sky Casino LLC, which is developing the $382 million casino project that includes the restoration of two historic hotels in French Lick and West Baden. The casino is expected to open in November."

Hopefuls Seek Buffalo Casino Job

 

As reported by the Buffalo News: "Nearly a thousand prospective blackjack dealers, pit cashiers, food service workers, security guards and even accountants packed an employment preview for the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo Thursday. "Hundreds of job-seekers gathered at the Adam's Mark Hotel, site of the job fair, more than an hour before the doors opened - and about 18 months ahead of the Buffalo casino's expected debut. ".Corey Dickens of Buffalo, who previously worked at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, attended the job fair to get his name on the list for a slot machine operations position. ".A steady stream of 'casino curious' locals snaked their way through a ballroom at the downtown hotel, taking the opportunity to have a quick chat with Seneca Gaming Corp. managers about future employment at the planned gambling facility. While they were not able to drop off resumes or schedule interviews, they were able to pick up information sheets on various job titles and get their names on a list to get a call when formal hiring begins.

"By the end of the four-hour employment fair, 927 area residents had put their names on the list.

".The Buffalo job preview was aimed at giving local residents information about the wide range of jobs that will be available when the Buffalo Creek Casino opens in the city's Cobblestone District in late 2007, said Christina Jimmerson, human resources director at Seneca Niagara Casino."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bodog.com Releases NBA Draft Odds

 

With the Miami Heat knocking off the Dallas Mavericks to capture their first NBA championship, the attention of the basketball world and sports bettors shifts to Madison Square Garden, where the futures of the top amateur players in the world will be decided. The Bodog.com Sportsbook has positioned Texas Longhorns power forward LaMarcus Aldridge as the odds-on favorite to go first overall in the 2006 NBA Draft, which takes place Wednesday, June 28 at 7 p.m. Eastern. In keeping with its tradition of providing the most innovative online sports betting in the industry, the Bodog.com Sportsbook offers pick-by-pick odds as the draft unfolds. Currently, there are five favorites for the top spot in the draft - Aldridge (11/10), Italian League forward Andrea Bargnani (6/5), Gonzaga Bulldogs small forward Adam Morrison (3/1), Washington Huskies guard Brandon Roy (12/1) and LSU Tigers forward Tyrus Thomas (7/1).

The Toronto Raptors hold the first overall selection in the draft. Bettors will be able to place wagers on what player will be selected first, regardless if Toronto chooses to keep the pick or trade it to another team. The Chicago Bulls hold the second pick, followed by the Charlotte Bobcats, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets. Wagers are currently available from picks one through eight.

"The NBA Draft gives fans the opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow embark on the first step of their professional basketball careers," explained Calvin Ayre, Bodog.com Founder and CEO. "With all the drama and intrigue associated with past NBA Drafts, implementing wagering opportunities as the picks unfold seemed like a natural fit - and another way sports fans can be entertained by the event."

The 2006 NBA Draft holds special meaning for Bargnani, who could be the first Italian-born player to be selected first overall. Aldridge, an early entrant who left Texas after his sophomore year, was a third-team NCAA All-American in 2005-06 and is widely considered the chief rival to Bargnani for top spot in the draft.

Keith Urban Joins Mohegan Sun Celebration Line-Up

 

By now, everyone knows that Keith Urban will marry Nicole Kidman this weekend in Australia. But - just days before the happy event - he has also agreed to join in Mohegan Sun's 10th Anniversary celebration in Uncasville, Connecticut, October 19th-22nd. Urban will take center stage in the Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, October 20th. Might Nicole be cheering him on? Might the honeymoon continue in Uncasville? Urban joins some of the entertainment industry's biggest names for the weekend celebration. They include Jerry Seinfeld and Lily Tomlin, as well as surprise guest appearances, celebrities and VIP parties.

Radio legend Don Imus will kick-off the weekend celebration on Thursday, October 19th with a live broadcast of his WFAN-AM morning show "Imus in the Morning" from Mohegan Sun's Wolf Den. On Saturday afternoon, October 21st, guests will be treated to a rare reunion of the original Laugh-In cast. Celebrating an anniversary of their own (40th), the show will feature live appearances by Lily Tomlin, Arte Johnson, Joanne Worley, Ruth Buzzi and more.

The co medy continues on Saturday evening with a special performance by Craig Ferguson, host of CBS-TV's Late Late Show in the Cabaret Theatre and a special private show by legendary comedian Jerry Seinfeld in the Uncas Ballroom.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, October 21st, the popular alternative-rock band Barenaked Ladies, who have performed numerous, sold out shows in the Mohegan Sun Arena, will perform a special intimate concert in the Wolf Den.

Additional weekend highlights include the Boston Celtics versus New York Knicks pre-season basketball game in the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday night and surprise musical guests and events to be announced at a later date.

Mohegan Sun, owned by the Mohegan Tribe, is one of the largest, most distinctive and spectacular entertainment, gaming, shopping and meeting destinations in the United States. Situated on 240 acres along the Thames River i n scenic southeastern Connecticut, Mohegan Sun is within easy access of New York, Boston, Hartford and Providence and located 15 minutes from the museums, antique shops and waterfront of Mystic Country. What began with the Casino of the Earth in 1996 has evolved into a legendary destination that now includes: the Casino of the Sky and over 300,000 square feet of total gaming space; The Shops at Mohegan Sun, featuring more than 60 retail shops and dining venues; the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena for world-class sporting events and concerts, an intimate Cabaret Theatre; and a 34-story luxury hotel, featuring 1,200 guestrooms and suites, premier meeting and convention space and a world-class spa.

eCOGRA Launches New Website

 

The online gaming industry's award winning independent standards authority, eCOGRA has launched a new website www.ecogra.com, to provide the online gaming population with a tool to find out reliable information on trustworthy poker and casino sites. The new website which has details on the rigorous inspection processes and a list of the safest online casino and card rooms, includes features such as: -Player Opinion Poll: Each month players can debate the issues that matter most and suggest new poll topics. eCOGRA will reveal the results of each poll on the website.

-eCOGRA News: Subscribers to the quarterly newsletter gain access to information about newly approved "Play It Safe" sites, responsible conduct training programs for operators, new jurisdictions that recognize the eGAP standards and eCOGRA-supported events.

-Dispute Resolution Service: Through its Fair Gaming Advocate (FGA), eCOGRA continues to offer its acclaimed dispute resolution service to any player encountering problems with a site bearing the "Play It Safe" seal.

-Online Media Room: A tool for journalists to arrange briefings and download information, press releases, upcoming events and statistics about the online gaming industry and player issues by visiting eCOGRA's online media room.

"We're responding to the needs of players, and finding ways to make their voices heard - within the industry, by eCOGRA certified operators and among one another," said eCOGRA CEO Andrew Beveridge. "Our goal is to help players find the safest and most enjoyable experiences when gambling online."

The new Website follows the launch of the organisation's '100 Seals Campaign', challenging operators who have not started the process of obtaining eCOGRA 'Play it Safe' certification to start the compliance and inspection process. This year, eCOGRA aims to increase the number of sites bearing the seal from 76 to 100.

UK Firm Bets on Blackpool

 

As reported by This is Lancashire: "A solicitors firm in Bolton has revealed how a local property firm is gambling on Blackpool winning the right to build a new super-casino for the region. "Mike Beaumont, property partner at KBL solicitors in Mawdsley Street, says his client, Sagon Holdings, is just one firm buying up swathes of residential property near the beach front in Blackpool. ".The company has rapidly purchased 100 flats in the last 14 months and is planning to buy a further 40 in the near future. "Blackpool is among the last eight on the shortlist to win the right to site a Las Vegas style super-casino, containing slot machines with unlimited jackpots, which will be the only one in Britain of its kind."

Treasure Bay Casino Re-opens

 

As reported by the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger: "Eighty-one slot machines and a restaurant that features Asian Cajun crawfish as its signature dish attracted a steady stream of customers to Treasure Bay Casino and Hotel in Biloxi on Wednesday, its first day to be open after Hurricane Katrina. "'We've had a lot of regular customers and former employees stop by,' said Susan Varnes, chief operating officer at Treasure Bay.

".Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, said Treasure Bay's history as an established Gulf Coast casino merited giving the go-ahead for it to reopen with just 81 slots.

".Treasure Bay plans to add additional slots and open hotel rooms by the end of October, Varnes said."

Auburn Council Votes for Seneca Casino

 

As reported by the Auburn Citizen: "One by one, speakers in the Auburn City Council's public comment period praised Mayor Tim Lattimore for his passionate pursuit of economic development. "But the majority of the speakers - 12 of the 16 - said Thursday night they don't want economic development to take the form of a Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma casino and convention center. Lattimore invited Paul Spicer, the chief of the Miami, Okla. tribe, to present about situating a gambling and entertainment resort in the city.

"And yet, despite the public comments, the council voted 3-2 to pass a resolution that the city would be the 'host community' for the gambling pursuit depending upon a compact with the state, federal approvals and submission of studies satisfying questions of the socioeconomic, traffic and environmental impacts of the proposed facility.

".The Seneca-Cayugas say they would pay $4 million to the city in the first five years of the complex's operation, pay $8 million for six to 15 years, and then begin paying property taxes on the company's assessed value. They also promise to pay state sales taxes, give 25 percent of the slot drop to the state and establish a $10 million venture capital fund to finance new business ventures in Cayuga County."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Missouri Numbers Flatten

 

As reported by the Kansas City Star: "Spending by gamblers in Kansas City and elsewhere flattened out in May. " 'We are seeing a bit of a slowdown' industrywide, Merrill Lynch gaming analyst David Anders warned investors last week. "Locally, riverboat revenues were up just 1.2 percent from May 2005, at $57.8 million. Though modest, that gain was stronger than the 1 percent average growth statewide at Missouri's 11 riverboat casinos. ".St. Louis was down 0.6 percent, Detroit was up 1.1 percent, Indiana was up 1.4 percent, and Atlantic City was up 2.9 percent. Results were stronger in Illinois, up 5 percent, and Iowa, up 7.5 percent. Mississippi was down 18.3 percent in May, as coastal casinos continue to rebuild and recover from Hurricane Katrina.

".Averages statewide were dragged down by Kansas City's Isle of Capri Casino, where revenues fell 16 percent, to $7.4 million, and by the President and Ameristar St. Charles casinos in the St. Louis market, which each dropped around 3 percent. "One of Missouri big gainers was Harrah's North Kansas City Casino and Hotel, up 10 percent from May a year ago with its $15.9 million month. That double-digit gain, however, was inflated compared with May 2005, which was one of the casino's weakest months in years, coming during a disruptive period of remodeling and expansion that wrapped up last fall."

Argosy Riverside Replaces GM

 

As reported by the Kansas City Star: "Penn National Gaming has fired its general manager at Argosy Riverside Casino and replaced him with a Kansas City market veteran. "Penn officials announced Wednesday that Gary Johnson, who had headed the casino staff since July 2002, had been replaced by Thomas P. Burke, general manager of Penn's Bullwhackers Casino in Black Hawk, Colo. He is also a former general manager at the Ameristar Kansas City Casino and Hotel. "Penn National spokesman Eric Schippers declined to comment on reasons for Johnson's departure. "Reached at home Wednesday, Johnson said he wished he knew why he was let go."

Tribal Casino Legislation Dies

 

As reported by the Albany Times Herald-Record: "Long-shot legislation to give two Wisconsin-based Indian tribes casinos in the Catskills and settle land claim lawsuits the tribes have against the state, died in the Legislature just days after it was introduced. "Senate leaders who introduced the bill early this week decided late Wednesday it wouldn't even be brought up for a vote. It was never considered in the Assembly. ".The bill, originated by Sen. Majority Leader Joe Bruno, R-Brunswick, would have given casino rights to the Wisconsin Oneidas and the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans. "It also would have legalized the New York Oneidas' successful Turning Stone casino near Utica, by validating a required compact with the state in what was considered a strong-arm ploy to leverage revenue from that tribe."

St. Eugene Resort Partners Celebrate

 

As reported by the Kootenay News: "June 14 marked a special day for the St. Eugene Resort, as many came together to celebrate the First Nation partners assuming operational control for Casino of the Rockies. "According to Dan Shilling, president of SEM Resort Ltd., the celebration will mark the end of a remarkably smooth transition process. "SEM Casino Limited Partnership includes three First Nations: Ktunaxa Nation of Cranbrook, the Samson Cree Nation of Hobbema, Alberta, and the Rama Mnjikaning First Nation of Rama, Ontario. The Chiefs of the three groups all expressed their excitement over the venture and the partnership which as first formed in November of 2004. It happened when Samson Cree and Rama Mnjikaning purchased equal one-third shares in the St. Eugene Mission Resort from the Ktunaxa Nation.

"The move now brings resort operations under one umbrella which Shilling says will provide better tailored packages to customers, more responsiveness to the tourism marketplace and new growth in programming for the facility.

".Shilling said he believes the community to have incredible tourism potential, and they plan to develop and promote packages that will appeal and attract tourists not only to the resort and casino but the entire province. He is confident that the management experience in place will develop and implement strategic planning programs essential to make St. Eugene Mission Resort a tourism destination for travelers from throughout Canada and the United States."

Empress Casino Report Dampened by Layoffs

 

As reported by the Illinois Herald News: "An enthusiastic report on the Empress Casino Thursday was dampened a bit by questions about recent layoffs. "Empress management, city officials and other community leaders extolled the value of having the casino in Joliet during a formal request for a renewal of its operating license. "The Illinois Gaming Board heard the Empress' case for license renewal during a regular monthly meeting at the Joliet casino. A vote on the license could come at the board's July meeting. "While board members praised the Empress for an excellent presentation on the good being done by the casino, they also had questions about 19 layoffs. "The layoffs came this week as the Empress drops several table games and replaces them with slot machines, which require fewer workers."

Harrah's Closes Reno Hilton Sale

 

Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. said today that the previously announced sale of the Reno Hilton hotel-casino to Grand Sierra Resort Corp., and certain gaming assets to an affiliate of the Navegante Group, has closed. Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is the world's largest provider of branded casino entertainment through operating subsidiaries. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada 68 years ago, Harrah's has grown through development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions. Harrah's Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership.

Friday, June 23, 2006

BetUS.com Releases Geographic Research

 

A week has passed in World Cup 2006 and spectatorship has reached astronomical heights all over the world. Even US viewership has exceeded expectations. Before the Cup started the United States grabbed the #4 World ranking, and US fans logged on in droves to the online sportsbook BetUS.com to wager heavily on the US team to move well beyond the first round. With their first round shellacking however, those numbers have shifted, and intense research by the website has shown that wagering now more accurately depicts the ethnic make-up of the melting pot that is the USA. The largest most respected sportsbook on the web, BetUS.com released the following statistics today. "Extensive research shows that people from every state in America have wagered on the World Cup this year at BetUS.com," stated analyst Matt Ross. "Whereas at the start of the Cup we had bets for the US absolutely flooding our site, now that a few games have been played, support is much more widespread illustrating the diversity of cultures that make up the US."

How the US is Betting for World Cup

-New York: Italy 45%, Germany 15%, Brazil 40%

-California: Mexico 60%, England 30%, Brazil 10%

-Florida: Portugal 30%, Spain 10%, Germany 10%, Brazil 25%, Mexico 25%

-Texas: Brazil 55%, Mexico 20%, USA 1%, England 9%, Argentina 15%

Stardust Not Accepting Reservations

 

The Stardust no longer is accepting hotel reservations past Nov. 1, and some industry observers expect that to move up to Oct. 1. Industry observers say the Riviera, Circus Circus and Palace Station can expect to see a bump in hotel reservations as regular guests at the Stardust look for similarly priced accommodations on the Strip. The Stardust, which will be torn down early next year to make way for Boyd Gaming's $4 billion Echelon Place, has stopped taking room and event reservations for Nov. 1 and beyond. Previously, the company said it would accept reservations into December. However, the Strip resort's catering staff last week began calling organizations that had scheduled events or were in discussions about holding them at the Stardust after Nov. 1 and told them that the hotel would close on that date. Boyd Gaming spokesman Rob Stillwell confirmed that no reservations are being accepted for the property after Nov. 1, although the company still intends to keep the resort open past November if it can be staffed properly.

"We're hoping to continue operation (unless) employee ranks become a problem," he said.

Stillwell said the company is concerned that it will not be able to maintain customer service standards after Nov. 1 because of employee migration to other properties, retirements and other factors.

Stillwell said the Stardust even could move the date for not accepting reservations forward to Oct. 1 if too many employees leave the property quickly.

"We're just being extremely cautious about the last two months of the year," Stardust general manager Tony Taeubel said.

The company is in the process of relocating workers to other local Boyd Gaming properties, but it is unclear how quickly the transfers will take place, Stillwell and Taeubel said.

Stillwell said several events planned after Nov. 1, which he did not identify, had been canceled, but no room reservations have been canceled yet.

"It's easier to turn the tap back on (if we decide to stay open longer) than it is to turn it off," he said.

Stillwell also said the company has been particularly sensitive to event planners because meetings and conventions require more elaborate planning beyond hotel reservations.

Stillwell also said Boyd Gaming has 11 other resorts in the Las Vegas area to which it can refer customers.

Industry insiders long have speculated that the Stardust would be closed by Halloween, and now they are speculating that it will be shut down by Oct. 1.

"It's no easy trick to keep booking rooms when the market knows you're going to close any day now, date uncertain," said one competitor who asked not to be named.

He and other Stardust neighbors are marketing themselves actively to Boyd Gaming customers in light of the development of the 5,300-room Echelon Place, although they are hesitant to discuss their promotional efforts publicly.

"I wouldn't call it poaching. They're going to be closed for a good four years, and I'd rather pick up their customers than have one of our competitors get them," another competitor who asked not to be named said.

Jim Medick, chief executive officer of the MRC Group, Nevada's largest market research firm, said Circus Circus and the Riviera, each just to the south of the Stardust, are both actively trying to pick up customers who ordinarily would stay at the Boyd Gaming property.

Medick said neighboring hotel-casinos will pick up added customers when the 2,431-room Stardust closes and probably before.

"People who go to the Stardust go out of habit. They'll feel themselves frustrated wherever else they stay, but they wouldn't stay at Wynn or The Venetian. They're not that kind of spenders," he said.

The Riviera and Circus, as well as the Sahara and Stratosphere clustered at the north end of the Strip, are all offering room rates of less than $100 a night in November.

Rooms booked on the Internet at Wynn Las Vegas and The Venetian, by comparison, average more than $350 a night, and no rooms are available in November at less than $250.

"Regular Stardust customers will check in at the Riviera or Circus Circus, but a lot of them will be disgruntled as those properties raise their rates (to meet the newly created demand)," Medick said.

Riviera spokesman John Neeland said his company had no comment about whether it is getting a bump in reservations from Stardust customers or whether it is marketing actively to attract them.

Alan Feldman, spokesman for MGM Mirage, which owns Circus Circus, said it is logical that some Stardust customers will migrate to Circus Circus because the two properties are similarly priced.

However, he said that Circus Circus is not targeting Stardust customers and that the closure will have the unfortunate effect of cutting walk-in traffic in the area.

Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said her company has not yet seen a direct effect on reservations and is not doing anything to target specific Stardust customers.

She also said it is probable that Palace Station will see an increase in reservations over time because it is close to the Stardust and offers similar room rates.

Jackie Brett, spokeswoman for the Imperial Palace which also offers rooms for less than $100, said her company hasn't gone after Stardust business aggressively, largely because her property's convention space is smaller and could not accommodate much of the Stardust business.

And while it is taking bookings through July 4, 2007, for now, its fate also is in doubt as owner Harrah's Entertainment plans the redevelopment of the block on the east side of the Strip north of the Flamingo.

Spokesmen for the Sahara and the Stratosphere did not respond to questions about their properties' responses to the pending closure of the Stardust.

Still, Medick said the Stardust must be closed to make way for Echelon Place and should be closed quickly.

"Every day they drag it out, it gets worse in terms of workers looking for other jobs, service and customers being lured to nearby properties," he said.

Marketing programs in the works to lure Stardust customers are said to include price discounts, bonus player program points, entertainment tickets and personal appeals involving customer service.

BetUS.com Posts Odds on Coulter Controversy

 

Infamous Ann Coulter, known for her crudeness, took it a step further in her latest book "Godless: The Church of Liberalism." In the book she calls the 9/11 widows who have criticized President Bush, selfish "broads" looking for fame. While a number of conservatives have criticized Coulter's statement, many other Republicans rallied to her defense. BetUS.com - a leading online sportsbook and gaming site - has taken it a few steps further and has posted odds on Coulter's destiny. Analysts at BetUS.com posted favorable 4-6 odds that the Widows of 9/11, who were also called "self-obsessed women," will sue Coulter for defamation. However, the chances of Ann Coulter retracting her remarks are slim with only 1-2 odds. Either way, Coulter's outrageousness has shot her new book to number one on Amazon.com.

Executives at BetUS.com have posted the following odds:

Will Ann Coulter retract her remarks?

Yes: 6-4

No: 1-2

Will the 9/11 Widows Sue Coulter for defamation?

Yes: 4-6

No: 11-10

Mohegan Sun Adds to Sales Team

 

Mohegan Sun is expanding its hotel sales and marketing team to serve the needs of its burgeoning meetings and conventions business. To support this continued growth, Mohegan Sun has added new positions to its sales force and hired several new personnel to streamline operations and effectively serve clientele. "We attribute our success in the meetings and conventions market to our superior product and strong commitment to service," said Christopher R. Perry, vice president, hotel sales & marketing at Mohegan Sun. "Being able to expand our resources and services with the superior team we have assembled is a rewarding part of this business and we are delighted to welcome our new staff aboard our award-winning team." Joining the team is Gary Baker who has been named National Sales Manager. In his position, Baker will represent the hotel in the Mid-Atlantic association market to drive long term group business for the property. With this addition, Mohegan Sun adds a second sales professional to assist the lucrative Mid-Atlantic association market.

With 20 years of sales industry experience, Baker most recently spent five years as National Sales M anager at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Baker is the incoming president of the New England chapter of the Professional Convention Management Association as well as co-chair of the membership committee and chair of the Associate Member Task Force for the International Association of Association Management Companies. In 2002, he was voted "Supplier of the Year" by Meeting Professionals International, Connecticut River Valley Chapter.

Additional promotions include: Elizabeth Horner as sales manager covering the New England corporate market; Krista Dodge and Angel Montano, who have both been appointed as executive conference managers handling corporate groups of 75 rooms or less; and Matt Burris, who has been promoted to sales manager for Mohegan Sun's on-site destination services department.

The hotel at Mohegan Sun and Convention Center has become a major player in the meetings, conventions and expositions industry with more than 100,000 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting and function space.

MGM Mirage Appoints Tom Peck as Senior VP

 

MGM Mirage has announced the appointment of Tom Peck as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Peck will be responsible for the overall management and leadership of the company's Information Technology (IT) department, including technology, software development, operations and project management. He will report to Jim Murren, MGM Mirage President and Chief Financial Officer, and will be based in Las Vegas. "Tom's expertise and proven ability to drive peak performance will be of great value to our company as we continue to integrate the IT operations of the former Mandalay Resort Group with MGM Mirage," Murren said. Peck joins MGM Mirage from NBC Universal where he was Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the Global Entertainment Division. He also served as the company's Corporate Quality Leader focusing on driving digitization, organic growth and process optimization.

Previously, Peck held IT management positions at General Electric (GE), NBC Universal's parent company. Prior to joining GE Corporate Headquarters, he served for nine years as a United States Marine Corps Officer in various financial and IT positions.

Peck is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt with extensive experience in the standardization of business practices into a centralized service model. Six Sigma is an overall enterprise improvement methodology that strives for near perfection in any process.

Peck has a Bachelor's of Science degree in economics from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and a Master of Science degree in management from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

PokerTek Signs Contract with Hollywood Park Casino

 

PokerTek, Inc. today announced that Hollywood Park Casino, one of the three largest card clubs in California, has agreed to install an initial six PokerPro(TM) tables for a 90 day trial period. After announcing in April that Hollywood Park Casino agreed to be the first location in California to install PokerPro(TM) tables, this contract provides for PokerTek to initially install six tables under a 90 day trial period, with Hollywood Park having the ability to install additional tables at its discretion. The agreement also provides that the 90 day trial period will automatically be followed by twelve month renewals unless terminated by either party in accordance with the terms of the agreement. Lou White, Chief Executive Officer of PokerTek stated, "We are excited about this initial installation and look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship. Hollywood Park Casino's savvy management team and our technology will be a revolutionary union to introduce PokerPro(TM) into the California Card Club market."

In an earlier statement, Leo Chu, President and Owner of Hollywood Park Casino, said, "The impact that this technology will have on our industry is enormous. In addition to being more efficient, PokerPro(TM) allows us the ability to attract a new segment of poker players to our casino."

California hosts the largest concentration of poker tables in the world with approximately 1,300 poker tables operating in over 100 large card clubs, small card clubs and Native American casinos.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wisconsin Ranks High in Tribal List

 

As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Wisconsin's $1.2 billion in 2005 tribal gambling receipts ranked it ninth among 23 states with Indian casinos, while the nearly $71 million that Wisconsin collected last year in casino revenue-sharing payments from tribes ranked fourth among those states, according to a report released today. "The payments from Wisconsin tribes were definitely at the higher end of (casino) revenue sharing, compared with other states,' said Alan Meister, a California-based economist who wrote the report. Only Connecticut, California and New York, whose casinos draw from much larger populations, collected more than Wisconsin, Meister found. ".The new study findings were cited as evidence by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's administration that the payments Doyle negotiated with Wisconsin's 11 tribes in 2003 were favorable both to the state and the tribes.

"If a $30 million late payment the Ho-Chunk tribe made last month for 2005 is added to the tally, Wisconsin's ranking moves to third, behind only Connecticut, at $421 million in 2005 payments, and California, with $252.9 million, said Sean Dilweg, executive assistant for the state Department of Administration."

Bingo Is Still Alive

 

As reported by the Buffalo News: "Bingo isn't dead yet. "The smoking ban was bad for bingo's health. And competition from high-stakes games and casinos was the death blow for many games. However, the traditional form of the game - for decades, a popular means of fund raising among churches, volunteer fire companies and other nonprofit groups - continues to limp along and sometimes do quite well. Recently, bingo received a transfusion, allowing larger payouts. 'Progressive' and 'share the wealth' games can add thousands of dollars to the payout beyond the $3,000 limit. ".St. Andrew Catholic Church in the Town of Tonawanda operates a bingo game four nights a week that brings in $180,000 a year for the school, according to chairwoman Diane Kirchberger."

Station Casino Looks for Community Feedback

 

As reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal: "Station Casinos Inc. is submitting initial plans to the city for its planned $500 million south Reno project, Mt. Rose Station Casino Resort, but is asking the community to help fill in the details. "Station sent a mailer to south Reno residents, as it has previously to announce the hotel-casino, but now is surveying people for what they would like to see at the property. "Options on the mailer and at the company's online survey include Mexican, Asian or seafood restaurants, movie theaters, ice-skating rink and other amenities. ".Plans call for the casino to begin construction within as much as three years, opening with about 300 hotel rooms, and 500,000 square feet of casino, restaurants and entertainment -- essentially the same size property as the company's Green Valley Ranch in Southern Nevada, Nielson said. That property opened with 200 rooms but has expanded to nearly 500, and the Reno property could expand to 600 within a decade, he said. ".The mailing also attempts to relieve nearby residents' concerns about traffic, proximity to schools and quality of life around the resort."

Negreanu's Protégé Finishes Second in WSOP Event

 

After just seven weeks of understudy with one of poker's most successful tournament players, Brian Fidler of Derby, Connecticut, a member of the FullContactPoker.com community, finished second late last night at the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Event in Lake Tahoe. In the days leading up to the Lake Tahoe event, Fidler flew to Las Vegas and spent several days with Negreanu formulating a strategy. During the final table, Negreanu sat in the front row and provided Fidler with suggestions during breaks in the action. Fidler, who had the chip lead at several points during the final table, ultimately got knocked out after his opponent, Clint Baskin, made a straight on the final hand. Fidler, who played against several more experienced players throughout the entire tournament, took second place for $206,800.

"Brian's composure and self-confidence throughout this tournament has been unbelievable," explained Daniel Negreanu, a three-time WSOP gold-bracelet winner. "His progress over the last seven weeks since becoming my protégé shows that he has the tools to become a top player on the professional tour."

"This has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," exclaimed Fidler, shortly after taking the largest pot in his young career. "How many players in the world get to learn from one of the game's greatest competitors? Thanks to Daniel and Full Contact Poker, I just won over $200,000."

Negreanu, one of the most successful and well-respected players in the game today, has been giving Fidler his invaluable expertise since he became his protégé seven weeks ago. Fidler, who won the opportunity to be Negreanu's protégé by being a member of the www.fullcontactpoker.com community, just finished playing in his second of four professional $10,000 buy-in tournaments under Negreanu and is currently living life like a poker pro.

Bodog.com Conference Roster Released

 

Bodog.com, a global leader in online gaming and digital entertainment, announced today its roster of blue-chip sponsors for the upcoming Bodog.com Marketing Conference hosted by Bodog Founder CEO Calvin Ayre. The 20 sponsors include some of the biggest names in the online gaming world. Future Bet, Chalk, Sports Direct and The Online Wire are all serving as Gold Sponsors for the event. Taking place July 23-35, 2006, at the Wynn Las Vegas, the third annual Bodog.com Marketing Conference is focused on providing attendees - advertisers, affiliates, investors and suppliers - with the tools necessary to "Ignite Your Online Gaming Business." The event is fast becoming the premier trade show for the $13-billion online gaming industry, with major names Pro Cappers, Gateway, Pentasia, VSL Innovations, CardPlayer.com and Nine.com also sponsoring the conference. In addition to sponsors, the conference has announced six new panel speakers to discuss various aspects of the online gaming industry. Topics range from marketing and customer service to financing and management. Joining the keynote speaker, Magic Johnson, as well as Ayre, are the following new speakers:

RONN TOROSSIAN, CEO and President - 5W Public Relations

ERIK HAUSER, Founder - Swivel Media

ALISTAIR ASSHETON - VIP Management Services

KAREN LELAND, Author - Customer Service for Dummies

CHRIS TRENEMAN, Managing Director - Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein

MIKE FAITH, CEO - Headsets.com

"The strong support we are seeing from our peers in the industry is a testament to the continued growth of online gaming in general. We are an industry that has learned the benefits of coming together and working toward common goals," says Ayre, who is featured in the current issue of People Magazine as one of the world's "Hottest Bachelors". "Marketing and Branding have taken over as the key differentiators in this industry. The most well-attended conferences in online gaming are now marketing-focused - and we did it first. Because of that, the Bodog Conference continues to set attendance records for an online industry event."

Mega Millions Winner Steps Forward

 

As reported by the Press Enterprise: " The winner of a recent $34 million jackpot from the Mega Millions California Lottery has stepped forward to collect his prize, according to a lottery news release. "Thomas Thornton, who bought the winning ticket for Friday's drawing at La Quinta Liquor & Deli, chose the cash option and will receive a lump-sum payment of about $17 million, before taxes. ".Thornton is the state's fourth Mega Millions winner."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

South Dakota Video Lottery Case May Head to Supreme Court

 

As reported by the Argus Leader: "Secretary of State Chris Nelson and Attorney General Larry Long are willing to have the challenge from a group that wants video lottery repealed to bypass the circuit court and head straight to the state's Supreme Court. "Since the challenge involves an interpretation of the state constitution, the high court probably would have been asked to rule, even if the case had started in circuit court. "Daniel Brendtro of Lennox brought the challenge. He led the petition drive to place video lottery on the ballot."

Looking in on: Gaming

 

While the Cosmopolitan and Palazzo resorts have spent millions to build multilevel underground parking garages, the planned Montreux resort at the New Frontier has enough extra land to park 5,600 cars - 2,850 more spaces than hotel rooms at the property. And there will be enough space left over for a bus depot. Going underground would have cost too much time and money, says Paul Steelman, the Las Vegas-based architect designing the Montreux. And let's face it, time is money - especially for tourists who have only three days in which to blow their budget. Customers decide which casinos to patronize based on traffic and parking more than any other factor, Steelman said. Steelman said Clark County commissioners are likely to come up with some solutions to the Strip's growing parking problems that will include some kind of satellite parking lots. "We have a Los Angeles-planned city," he says. "Everybody drives."

. . .

Some companies just don't get it.

Rob Dondero, a member of the R&R Partners team who made Las Vegas one of the top five brands in the world with the "What happens here, stays here" ad campaign, knows what that brand stands for.

And it doesn't stand for families.

But that message apparently hasn't filtered down to the many companies offering family-oriented products. Those companies call R&R Partners for sponsorship deals and other promotional opportunities with the company's client, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Dondero reports.

But the LVCVA doesn't do families. It markets to adults.

"That's the F word for us," he said. "We don't have families in our TV spots. We never have."

The MGM Grand theme park is long gone, and the Treasure Island pirate show has replaced burly men with scantily clad women. In spite of our sky-high "sex sells" quotient, the LVCVA says nearly 4 million of Las Vegas' annual visitors are kids. Many more are parents or relatives of those kids.

But it just wouldn't look right to have an ad for frozen pops on the side of a hotel building, no matter how hot it is.

. . .

Hey kids, too hot for the pool? Let's check out that indoor water park!

That's what they'll be up to soon enough at the Reno Hilton.

Harrah's Entertainment's sale of the property to private company Grand Sierra Resort Corp. is expected to close by July 1 after the Nevada Gaming Commission signs off on the deal later this month.

Next year, owners are expected to break ground on the resort's signature feature - the country's largest climate-controlled water park.

The 150,000-square-foot water park will set a precedent not only in outdoorsy Reno but the rest of the casino and resort industry, predicts Larry Woolf, the casino veteran appointed to run the Grand Sierra Resort.

"It used to be, 'Is there a pool? Is there a health club? Is there a casino?' " Woolf said. "In the future, it's going to be, 'Do they have a water park and is it indoor-outdoor?'

"Everyone has great pools, but those pools don't go year-round."

These water parks wouldn't necessarily be of your Wet 'n' Wild, kiddie variety, Woolf said.

Think indoor wading pools where adults can lounge in wintertime. Going topless would be optional.

Washington Lottery Winner Still Missing

 

As reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Somewhere in a wallet, in a purse, or maybe in a Dumpster, lies a Washington lottery ticket worth $6.3 million. "And whoever has it might not know about the gold mine. No one has claimed the winning ticket since the Lotto numbers were drawn last Monday. "Lottery officials don't know who wins until someone steps forward. Most people claim their winnings within 48 hours, but this time it has already been a week, said Jacque Coe, communications director for the Washington Lottery. ".The winning numbers were 3-8-9-10-13-47. The ticket was sold at the Northtown QFC in Bellevue. ".But whoever won last week's unclaimed ticket has time to realize it. Winners have 180 days from the drawing date to cash in."

Mega Millions Falls Short of Expectations

 

As reported by the Monterey County Herald: "One year after California joined the multistate Mega Millions lottery game, sales have fallen short of expectations, and the new game has hurt sales of the existing Super Lotto program. "Combined sales of Super Lotto Plus and Mega Millions tickets are likely to reach about $1.2 billion this year, short of the $1.4 billion projected when California joined the 11-state game in June 2005, said California Lottery acting Director Joan Borucki. ".The previous year, sales of Super Lotto alone were almost $1.1 billion. This year, Super Lotto is down to about $720 million, while Mega Millions is expected to come in around $460 million. "That means Mega Millions cannibalized some sales of the existing Super Lotto program as expected, but brought in enough of its own sales to add at least $80 million to overall lottery revenue. "But lottery officials remain convinced that joining the game was a good move that is paying off for education."

Hungarian Banks Block Online Payments

 

As reported by the HATC News: "Hungarian banks are blocking payments to online betting sites, in order to protect themselves in the legal debate on betting abroad by Hungarian citizens, which is illegal. "The website of online betting agency Sportingbet states that payments cannot be made from Hungary on cards issued by IEB, Citibank, K&H Bank, MKB, Takarékbank and savings co-operatives. The experience of online betting agency Betandwin is similar."

NYRA Promises Strong Bid

 

As reported by the NY Times Union: "The New York Racing Association is betting that experience and the title it claims to hold to three race courses will bring a franchise renewal, its chief executive said Thursday. "'At the end of the day, the nature of running a track and, perhaps more importantly on the resolution of the land claim, we're going to be formidable,' said NYRA President Charles Hayward, who addressed about 80 people at the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce Third Thursday breakfast at the Saratoga Hotel. ".NYRA will submit a bid but has not publicly identified its partners."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

UK Expert Supports 11 Supercasinos Plan

 

As reported by the Herald: "One of the UK's leading experts on gambling yesterday called for the government's advisory panel to allow 11 supercasino licences. "Professor Peter Collins, an eminent academic, criticised the current policy which allows just one regional casino in the UK. "The government's advisory panel will shortly decide the location of the sole regional or resort casino. Glasgow is widely regarded as a front runner in the selection process. "Professor Collins, director of Salford University's centre for the study of gambling and commercial gaming, made the remarks during a pioneering conference on responsible gambling. "…Professor Collins said: "' do not know of anyone who thinks that one licence is the right amount. There is no cogent argument which justifies having just one licence. "'Having 11 regional casinos, which would mean one per region, would be better. I don't think that Glasgow would get the licence if they stick with just one. The market could stand as many as two per region but the evidence indicates that this would have a detrimental effect on the existing industry and places such as betting shops and bingo halls.'…"

MGM Mirage on Black Enterprise's Diversity List

 

MGM Mirage has been named one of the "40 Best Companies for Diversity" by Black Enterprise (BE) magazine. This is the second consecutive year that the company has been named to the list. According to MGM Mirage Chairman and CEO Terry Lanni, recognition by Black Enterprise is a significant accomplishment for the company and its 70,000 employees. "It is a great honor to be recognized for our diversity efforts by such a prominent publication. As we progress on this continuous journey, our work in diversity will require dedication, diligence and creativity of which we are committed," Lanni said. To select the best companies, BE editors conducted an extensive survey of the top 1,000 publicly traded companies and 50 leading global companies with significant U.S. operations. The survey focused primarily on company activities with participation of African Americans and members of other ethnic minority groups. Companies were evaluated in four key categories: corporate procurement, corporate governance, total workforce diversity and minority representation in senior management. BE editors also evaluated diversity programs and consulted with corporate diversity officers, senior managers, minority suppliers and diversity experts to determine the "40 Best Companies for Diversity."

"These 40 companies truly understand the value of a diverse workforce and inclusive business practices to the success of their business," said BE President and CEO Butch Graves. "They are role models in corporate America, and it is our sincere hope that other companies will follow their lead and build businesses that are more reflective of the society in which we live."

This year BE commended MGM Mirage for its strengths in the areas of corporate procurement, corporate governance and minority representation in senior management. Additionally, the company was named to the following BE lists: "10 Best in Supplier Diversity," "10 Best in Senior Management Diversity" and "10 Best in Board Diversity."

Since 2001, when MGM Mirage launched its supplier diversity program, the company has maintained proactive outreach to identify minority, women and disadvantaged enterprises (MWDBEs) with which to work. Last year, the company spent a total of $95 million in biddable goods and services with MWDBEs, in which over 30 percent was expended with African American-owned enterprises. MGM Mirage is the first in the gaming industry to report its diversity spending.

In 2005, MGM Mirage's ethnic minority workforce rose to 56 percent from 54 percent in 2004. Approximately 30 percent of those employees are in management positions. Additionally, the company's 15-member board of directors includes three African Americans, two of whom are women.

The complete list of the BE "40 Best Companies for Diversity" will be published in the July 2006 issue available on newsstands June 27.

Group Accepting Bids for New York Racing

 

As reported by Business First: "A request for proposals for a new company to operate thoroughbred racing in New York was approved Tuesday by the Committee on the Future of Racing. "The long-awaited RFP has a July 15 deadline for bidders. "…The committee said it would send a recommendation about the bidding to New York Gov. George Pataki and the state legislature by Sept. 15, though it is widely expected that a final decision will be deferred to 2007, when a new governor takes over in Albany, the Albany Business Review reports. "The Committee on the Future of Racing is charged with reforming the business model for New York's thoroughbred racing industry and determining whether the New York Racing Association, or some other entity, should run the Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct race tracks.

Bodog.com Favors Wood Over Mickekson

 

The Bodog.com Sportsbook lists Tiger Woods as a slight favorite over Phil Mickelson to wín the U.S. Open, which is set to tee off Thursday at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. For sports fans looking to hedge their bets, the Bodog.com Sportsbook also posts odds on Head-to-Head matchups and futures for the year's second major golf tournament. Currently, Bodog.com bookmakers have Woods at 9/2 odds to walk away with his 11th career major while 2006 Master's champ Mickelson is at 5/1. "The U.S. Open will be a physical and mental test for golf's finest players," says Calvin Ayre, Founder and CEO of Bodog.com. "Once the golfers get a handle on Winged Foot - one of the most demanding courses in the U.S. - the mental aspects of the game will come into play. With Woods back in action, bettors are certain to put to test their predictions on how he and the rest of the field will do."

As always, Woods will garner most of the attention from fans and the media, but the circumstances surrounding his game and life are much different than usual. Woods has not played since the Master's - a nine-week layoff that's the longest of his career - and the fact that he will be playing for the first time since his father's passing has raised many questions about how he will fare. Nonetheless, Bodog.com bookmakers have Woods sitting as the favorite to wín his third U.S. Open and first one since 2002.

Meanwhile, Mickelson is seeking his third consecutive major after winning the 2005 PGA and this year's Master's. Mickelson has been a runner-up three times at the U.S. Open.

Looking to enhance your betting experience, Bodog.com is offering "Hole-by-Hole" betting for the third and fourth rounds. Bettors can now wager on which player will come out ahead with the lower score.

FullTiltPoker.com Responds to Mansion Poker PR

 

The following is an open letter to the poker industry from Fulltiltpoker.com management in response to a Mansion Poker press release dated June 9, 2006. "On June 9, 2006, Mansion Poker issued an inaccurate press release regarding their upcoming Mansion Superstar Challenge. The release stated that Team Full Tilt member, Phil Ivey is confirmed to participate in a series of elimination tournaments. This is untrue. The improper release also stated that Team Full Tilt members Howard Lederer and Mike Matusow had been "…hand selected to fill the all-important shoes of poker "wingman." Again, this is untrue. Not only did Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer and Mike Matusow never agree to participate in this event in any way, they were not even contacted by Mansion Poker about participating.

A fourth member of Team Full Tilt, Jennifer Harman was in discussions to participate in the event, however, due to Mansion Poker's obvious disregard for the truth and egregious actions, she will no longer participate."

"Team Full Tilt," is a select group of the world's finest professional poker players, including Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Jennifer Harman, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, Phil Gordon, Clonie Gowen, John Juanda, and Mike Matusow. Full Tilt Poker offers players the unique opportunity to Learn, Chat and Play poker with the best poker pros in the game.

Normandie Casino Launches New Blackjack Game

 

Plays like Vegas, Pays like Vegas but Pure Blackjack is Pure L.A. Style. With gas prices soaring, the Normandie Casino has introduced this new and exciting game that is being played by major Las Vegas Casinos. Why drive 300 miles spending your dollars on gas? Pure 21 Blackjack was officially launched Friday June 10th, 2006 to a large crowd of excited players. "It's Blackjack without Jokers or Wild Cards which in turn makes it easier for both the novice and seasoned players alike to enjoy," as stated by casino owner, Steve Miller. The Normandie Casino offers two variations of Blackjack, Pure 21 Blackjack and Blackjack Jackpot which is played with Jokers. "We are proud to offer both types of Blackjack to our players, we want them to know that here at the Normandie Casino, they have a choice," casino manager Karlo Deza added. "The number one factor that makes Pure 21 Blackjack the game to play is the 3 to 2 Blackjack pay-off; no other casino in Los Angeles is paying these odds."

Other innovative games recently offered at the Normandie Casino are; Baccarat, Card Craps, Caribbean Stud and Three Card Poker which pays up to 200 to 1.

Poker is also no stranger to Southern California's oldest Casino -- No limit Texas hold-em, 7 Card Stud, and Low ball along with other card games are also being offered at the Normandie Casino.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Intercasino.com Launches New Slots

 

InterCasino.com is the new home for Norse deities and intergalactic cosmic justice, as the celebrated online casino and safest place to play online, is rolling new bonus pack games to their award-winning lineup -- including new Thor and Silver Surfer-themed slots. Now, in addition to vying for the biggest online jackpot available on the web, players can take a swing with Thor's mighty hammer and surf through nebulas and star fields in pursuit of bonuses, and take part in the first-ever online version of the popular land-based casino game, Texas Hold'em Bonus Poker. "InterCasino.com is the home of the most savvy players on the web, and as such, we feel compelled to provide them with the most advanced and entertaining games of any online casino," said InterCasino.com spokesperson Peter Marcus. "We experienced tremendous positive response after launching our first Marvel-themed games last year. We decided to develop more Superhero slot games and give our players more of what they love -- action, adventure and huge jackpot opportunities. Along with the Internet's first-ever Texas Hold'em Bonus Poker, our players are in for an online gaming experience like never before."

The Thor and Silver Surfer 9-line multi-level progressive jackpot slots will join InterCasino's existing Superhero game lineup of Daredevil, Punisher, The Hulk, Blade and the X-Men. With the revolutionary new Texas Hold 'em Bonus Poker, players have the power to hold 'em or fold 'em at every flop, turn and river. If a player doesn't like the cards they see, they can simply fold the hand after a single bet.

Players can also enjoy a wide array of thrilling new bonus games, including Sweet Thing, Desert Dream, Diamond Cave, Monkey Mania, Platinum Pyramid, as well as a 20-line version of Rags to Riches and more Rapid Fire Jackpot slots, Hot Summer Nights and Mad Professor.

Mega Millions Grows to $34 Million

 

Lucky players nationwide continue to win big with the Mega Millions game. In Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing, a total of 377,982 tickets from coast to coast won prizes. That includes 2 tickets that each won $250,000. No ticket matched all six numbers to win the estimated $25 million jackpot in the Tuesday, June 13 drawing. So the jackpot for the Friday, June 16, 2006 drawing grows to an estimated $34 million. The winning numbers in Tuesday's drawing were: 01-20-23-24-33 and the Mega Ball number was 29. Those two tickets that each won $250,000 did so by matching the first five numbers and only missing the Mega Ball number. Those tickets were purchased in Illinois and Virginia. Mega Millions is played in 12 states: California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 PM Eastern Time, 10:00 PM Central Time and 8:00 PM Pacific Time.

VendingData Receives South Korean Order

 

VendingData(TM) Corporation (Amex: VNX), announced today that it has received a purchase order from one of its international distributors, TCSJohn Huxley, for ten Deck Checkers(TM) to be installed in the Kangwon Land Casino in Kangwon Province, Korea and the Seven Luck Casino in Seoul. This order represents VendingData(TM)'s first sale into Korea. TCS has requested delivery and installation by June 30, 2006.The 1969 ban against gambling in South Korea ended in October, 2000 with the opening of the first casino for Koreans in the remote town within Kangwon Province. Kangwon Land -- a Korean version of America's Las Vegas -- is made up of hotels, casinos, theme parks, and other service facilities. Its casino is equipped with 960 slot machines, 132 table games, and 477 guestrooms. Since its opening, over 5 million people -- both Korean and foreign nationals -- have visited the casino. Kangwon Land is the only casino in the nation, where Korean nationals are permitted entry. By law, only one casino in South Korea admits local citizens, with the remaining 13 open only to foreigners. The largest casino in South Korea with gaming space of over 2,600 sq. meters and approximately 80 gaming tables is currently the recently opened foreigner-only Seven Luck Casino in Seoul.

"These orders represent our first sale into Korea, the second largest gambling market in Asia, with annual revenues estimated at $956 million. Korean tourism and gaming industry is growing rapidly fueled by Chinese vacation travel. Entering the market through both the most established as well as the largest and newest casino in Korea validates our product line credibility in this market," commented Mark Newburg, CEO of VendingData(TM).

PinnacleSports.com Releases 2006 College World Series Odds

 

Eight teams will vie for the national championship when the 60th Men's College World Series gets underway at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium this week. For only the second time since 1991, seven teams have reached the finals in Omaha in 2006 that were not part of the CWS field last year. A new national champion will also be crowned as 2005 champs Texas were eliminated in the regional. With college baseball's championship tournament set to start this week, PinnacleSports.com has released updated odds on which team will win the 2006 College World Series.The largest sports betting site on the Internet, PinnacleSports.com has calculated individual odds on the eight remaining teams capturing this year's College World Series title. The Cal St. Fullerton Titans, which sports the nation's best team ERA, have opened as early favorites at 3/1 odds to capture their fifth national championship despite being seeded fifth in the tournament. Pinnaclesports.com lists the 2003 champion and second-seeded Rice Owls with the second-best odds at 16/5, just slightly behind Fullerton. Although they're the top seed in the eight team tournament, the Clemson Tigers have only been listed with the third best odds to win their first CWS at 9/2. Georgia Tech, who'll face their ACC rival Clemson in the tournament's first game, come in at 6/1, while the only team returning to Omaha, Oregon State, is at 7/1. Despite holding the fourth seed in the tournament, North Carolina has been made a 9/1 long shot to win the national championship, while Miami (13/1) and Georgia (14/1) round out the field.

"Pitching is always at a premium in the College World Series, which is why we've made Cal St. Fullerton, Rice and Clemson, three of the nation's top five in team ERA, as the favorites in Omaha," said Simon Noble of PinnacleSports.com. "With five players totaling double-digit homeruns this year and ranking third nationally in runs scored per game, Georgia Tech's offensive firepower could easily propel them to the school's first baseball championship."

In addition to offering odds on which team will win the College World Series, PinnacleSports.com has also created unique betting propositions on the tournament. Despite half of the participants coming from the Atlantic Coast Conference, the odds that an ACC team wins the national championship are a 8/5 underdog. PinnacleSports.com will accept wagers on every game of the CWS including run lines, money lines and totals.

Greektown Comp Meal Plan Delayed

 

As reported by the Detroit Free Press: "Some Detroit restaurants were served another delay Tuesday in their efforts to be reinstated in Greektown Casino's $8.7-million complimentary meal program."Restaurant owners had hoped the five-member Michigan Gaming Control Board would issue them some relief after more than three months of lost business. "But the board stuck to its rules requiring the restaurants doing more than $200,000 worth of the free meal business to obtain a casino-supplier license. "A handful of Greektown restaurants were told in February and March that they no longer could accept the free meal coupons from casino patrons because they had not met gaming control board licensing rules. Since then, they have lobbied the board for relief from what they say is overzealous regulation. "…The board asked its staff Tuesday to find a way to exempt restaurants and shorten the time applicants who were denied licenses could reapply and show they were dealing with problems. "…Steve Georgiou, president of the Greektown Merchants Association and owner of Olympia Restaurant, told the board he had spent $50,000 on the investigation but was denied a license…"

Super Casino Bid Splits Parties

 

As reported by the Willesden & Brent: "Labour is fighting plans to withdraw Wembley's bid for a super casino. "A Las Vegas-style casino formed an 'essential' part of the previous Labour administration's regeneration plans for Wembley. "More than £76,000 was spent on two impact assessments before Labour decided Brent should apply for the UK's only regional casino licence. "…But the Liberal Democrats, the largest party in Brent, have proposed the casino application be withdrawn. "And with a deal with the Conservatives, also staunch opponents of the casino, looking increasingly likely, the application's future is unsure. "…This marks a change in the Labour Party's public stance towards a super casino in Wembley…"

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bahamas Talks to Casino Operator

 

As reported by the Bahama Journal: "The government is in "advanced" talks with the prospective operator for the casino at the Our Lucaya Resort whose present operator, Isle of Capri, is preparing to pull out, according to Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe. "…The present casino operator advised the government two weeks ago that it will be leaving Grand Bahama within a year. "Minister Wilchcombe, who did not reveal the name of the new potential operator, said he was confident that details of the takeover will soon be worked out. "…The government is banking on the multibillion-dollar Ginn development to help boost the island's economy. The project is being developed over 20 years, but according to Prime Minister Perry Christie, significant benefits are already flowing as a result of the development in West Grand Bahama…"

Two Bids for BC Casino

 

As reported by the Penticton Western News: "One South Okanagan community has two groups vying for casinos."Both the Osoyoos Indian Band and Rocky Mountain Turf Club from Lethbridge, Alta. are working on applications to the B.C. Lottery Corporation for two distinct gaming facilities for the town. "'I think they both have their niche,' said Osoyoos Mayor John Slater. "Both projects have merit, he said. Ideally, Slater said he would like to bring both the band and the Rocky Mountain Turf Club applications to the solicitor general as a package. The vast differences between the two facilities could be a benefit, as they will attract different clientele, he said. "…Saturday Osoyoos residents will be voting in a referendum that is asking if they are in favour of 100 slot machines going into Desert Park. The machines will help subsidize the horse racing component, which is the focus of the revitalization project. "While the Osoyoos Indian Band said they support the referendum going ahead, but they want residents to remember that the band has been pushing for a casino for nearly 10 years…"

Pennsylvania Board Hearing Continues

 

As reported by the Evening Sun: "Despite allegations at least two members of the Straban Township Zoning Hearing Board are biased, all three members insisted Tuesday they could fairly consider whether or not a proposed slots parlor fits zoning law. "But the matter will soon be left for a judge to decide."With board members refusing Tuesday to recuse themselves from the case, casino investor group Chance Enterprises will petition the Adams County Court of Common Pleas to rule on whether or not the members are biased and should recuse themselves. "The board was scheduled Tuesday to consider whether a casino is a permitted use at the proposed site near the intersection of routes 15 and 30. It is currently zoned as a commercial district.
"But the meeting adjourned after it became clear the bias allegations would end up in court.

"At last week's meeting of the township supervisors, Chance attorney Jeffrey Ernico revealed he had discovered the names of Marcella Kammerer, who chairs the zoning board, and Ed Gillespie, the board's vice chairman, appear on petitions submitted to Straban Township opposing the project. Additionally, Ernico said, a No Casino sign is standing on or near Kammerer's property…"

Analysts Back Genting Bid

 

As reported by Reuters: "Casino group Genting Bhd's strong cash position and low debt levels mean it could fund a casino bid in Singapore without hurting its credit profile, analysts say, although investors are not as confident."Last month Genting was among the losing bidders for the right to build Singapore's first casino, but analysts see the US$4.5 billion (RM16.53 billion) company as a leading contender for the city-state's second casino, which may cost as much as US$3.2 billion. "Bond investors were rattled when Genting, through its affiliates Genting International and cruise operator Star Cruises Ltd, bid for the first licence, concerned that company's financials would be stretched. "Analysts saw the fears as unfounded.

"Merrill Lynch analyst Sean Monaghan said as Genting International had zero debt and Genting Bhd held S$640 million (RM1.47 billion) in cash, the group had room to fund the project.

"…Calyon rated Genting bonds due in 2014 at outperform. It expects spreads on the bonds to tighten by 15 basis points after they had widened on the casino bid…"

Serviceman Hits Bodog Casino Jackpot

 

John A., Naval Electrician, of Norfolk, VA., recently won the biggest Bodog casino payout to date - $282,883.87! Last Monday, June 5, John was waiting for his Bodog Poker tournament to start so he decided to kill some time playing Bodog's Food Fight Flash slot game. After only 20 minutes of playing John hit the jackpot and struck it rich. Needless to say, he didn't play poker that night. With his wife 8 and half months pregnant the money could not have come at a better time. After the baby is born they will be taking a long vacation. When John gets out of the Navy in November he plans on moving his family down to Chicago where he will study Business at the University of Northern Illinois. Congratulations John! We here at Bodog Beat wish you and your family the best.

Teradata Upgrades Harrah's System

 

Teradata, a division of NCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR), is delivering a series of upgrades to the industry-leading data warehouse at Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. These upgrades follow Harrah's acquisition of Caesars Entertainment last June. When fully deployed, the new system will enhance Harrah's existing data collection, storage, analysis and business resumption capabilities, and will support the data analysis needs at nine properties previously owned by Caesars.Harrah's, the world's largest provider of casino entertainment, is expanding its enterprise data warehouse to incorporate the customer loyalty data from Caesars Connection Card into Harrah's award-winning Total Rewards(R) program. Once complete, the merged database will have accounts for nearly 40 million customers.

Harrah's is a leader in active data warehousing and integrates a variety of real-time data with historical data to create an array of revenue-, operations- and customer-focused applications. In addition, Harrah's is deploying the Teradata Dual Active Solution to ensure that their data warehouse is always available to users and protected against disasters or a major single system outage. These active applications can execute more than 400,000 tactical queries against the Teradata platform daily.

Harrah's has been a Teradata customer since 1998.

"Information is crucially important to the successful integration of the Caesars' business with Harrah's," said Tim Stanley, senior vice president and chief information officer of Harrah's. "The expansion of our Teradata data warehouse and the deployment of the Teradata Dual Active Solution will enable a smooth data migration and simultaneously provide all of Harrah's with the peace of mind that comes with a sound business resumption solution."

In addition to the technology upgrade, Teradata Professional Services will provide the scope, design and implementation of the Dual Active solution. Teradata Customer Services will provide the installation, backup, archive and recovery services, and business critical support.

"Harrah's has achieved spectacular accomplishments by fully leveraging the capabilities of their IT-developed operational and analytic applications and visualization applications from our partner Compudigm. Now that the Caesars properties are migrating to our platform, they can also generate superior business results," said Rob Berman, vice president of retail at Teradata. "This deployment underscores the value of Teradata as a world-class provider of data warehouse solutions."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

New Mexico Group Happy with Casino Plans

 

As reported by the New Mexican: "Members of the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance are satisfied with information learned at the Pueblo of Nambé's public meeting on its proposed hotel and casino, but they intend to monitor the project as it proceeds. "Members of the Night Sky Program attended the pueblo's June 6 public meeting at the Lodge in Santa Fe to express concerns that the 150,000-square-foot casino and hotel planned for 30 acres of Pueblo land 15 miles north of Santa Fe would be excessively illuminated. Those worries were based on early illustrations that showed a futuristic casino with a bright beam of light shooting straight into the sky, said Gary Wolf, a member of the Night Sky Program who lives in Eldorado.
"…At the hearing, which was called to get public comment on a recent environmental assessment of the project, the building's architect, project engineer and environmental consultants from Albuquerque-based Marron & Associates walked around the room to answer questions about building design, project location and the environmental, social and economic impacts of the casino and hotel, Wolf said. "…If the assessment is approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission, the pueblo will be free to obtain a management contract with Santa Fe-based Gaming Entertainment LLC, a subsidiary of Full House Resorts. Then construction can begin…"

Lancashire Group Serves as Link to Nevada

 

As reported by the Lancashire Evening Post: "Lancashire is developing a trade link with the world's gambling capital. "A firm of marketers from the county has been appointed the official trade representatives for the American state of Nevada, home of casino city Las Vegas. "Charter Solutions, of Castle Hill in Lancaster, is now the point of contact for US companies looking to do business across the Atlantic and vice versa. "Chief executive Trevor Bargh believes the opportunities for Lancashire to tap into the American dream are endless. "…The chief executive jets out to Nevada a week tomorrow to start a three-day official tour of the state where he will make a presentation to sell Lancashire and the rest of the UK to big businessmen in the States. "He will also meet trade officials from across Nevada during visits to its four biggest cities, Vegas, Reno, Carson City and Sparks, and the state's Lieutenant Governor Lorraine Hunt…"

Omni Casino Slot Jackpot at $3 Million

 

Omni Casino, one of the most popular and highly trafficked Casinos in the world, is ready to make the biggest online casino payout in history. Omni Casino's exclusive Millionaires Club(TM), a progressive 9-line, 5-reel online video slot game, currently boasts a jackpot that stands at a staggering $3 Million, the largest online jackpot ever."As the Millionaires Club jackpot continues to climb everyday to new record-breaking plateaus, hopeful gamblers continue to flock to our award-winning site," said Steve Blair, long time Pit Boss for Omni Casino. "This is more traffic to our site than we've ever seen. The jackpot has never gone this long in between payouts and every slots player knows that it's the best time to play because the machine is loaded, and the very next spin could be the one." Millionaires Club operates like video slot machines found in casinos throughout the world. The BIG difference between Millionaires Club and any other online progressive is that this jackpot is highly loaded in the player's favour and pays out very large jackpots. Not to mention it has a record- breaking payout that could be hit at any minute! There is also an exciting bonus game, where 3 prize wheels appear waiting for the player to spin for a chance to win the jackpot.

The Millionaires Club(TM) has been ready to transform one player into an instant multi millionaire since the last winner picked up a mind-blowing $1.77 million just a week before Christmas. With this much buzz surrounding the payout, Omni Casino has seen the jackpot escalate at a rate of over $35,000 every day. As the summer season is upon us, imagine the type of family vacation $3.0 million dollars could buy!

"This game is truly remarkable," adds Blair. "This is unquestionably one of the most popular slot games ever, online or bricks and mortar."

Party Gaming Shares Slip

 

As reported by the UK Times Online: "Shares in online gambling giant Party Gaming slid this week as investors gave a cool response to four of its founders selling stakes in the group."House broker Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein raised £232m from the sale of 200m shares — about 5% of the company — at 116p each."Anurag Dikshit offloaded 57m shares, reducing his stake to 28.95%, while Vikrant Bhargava sold 67m, leaving him with 6.96%. Ruth Parasol and her husband, Russell DeLeon, both disposed 33m shares, leaving each with 14.87% of the company."Between them, the four founders still own 65.7% of Party Gaming…"

CCC Keeps Card Cheater on Blacklist

 

As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: " Card counting is allowed at the Atlantic City casinos. Card cheating, of course, is not."David H. Morse claims he's a card counter, but others have labeled him a cheater."Facing long odds, Morse had hoped to have his name removed from a blacklist that bans him from stepping inside the casinos. He lost. "The state Casino Control Commission ruled that Morse, who formerly lived in Atlantic City and now resides in Cranston, R.I., failed to show that he deserves a second chance. "...Calling him a card cheat, not a card counter, the state Division of Gaming Enforcement opposed Morse's petition to be readmitted to the casinos..."

Antigua, Barbuda Hits Back at US Laws

 

As reported by the Financial Times: "The tiny Caribbean island state of Antigua and Barbuda has taken the first steps to haul the US back before the world trade court in a long-running dispute over internet gambling."Antigua, which has a population of 68,000, says Washington has failed to comply with a World Trade Organisation ruling last year that US internet gambling laws discriminate against foreign suppliers. As a result, Antigua claims to have lost a large chunk of the rapidly growing offshore gaming business it has been building to diversify its economy away from tourism. US gamblers are estimated to account for about half the $12bn global internet gaming market.

"This week, Antigua requested meetings with the US, a prelude to the establishment of a WTO panel to judge compliance. If, after any appeals, the WTO finds the US still in breach of fair trade rules Antigua can ask for permission to retaliate.

"…Antigua is especially aggrieved because the US has taken no action to implement the WTO ruling, claiming - on the basis of an interpretive statement by the justice department - that its laws are already in compliance…"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Rendell Denies Slots License Favoritism

 

As reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune Review: " Gov. Ed Rendell's office Tuesday angrily denied a suggestion by state House Speaker John Perzel that the governor has promised casino licenses to anyone who approached him. "Perzel, a Philadelphia Republican, told members of an agricultural association that he assured a man who expressed interest in operating a Pennsylvania casino that Rendell had not awarded all of the state's licenses. However, he told him the governor had handed out promises far and wide. "'It's dangerously close to slander, and positively untrue,' said Rendell's press secretary, Kate Philips. "In a telephone interview, Perzel said he was 'teasing' the governor, and did not mean to imply that he believes Rendell actually has promised slots licenses to people. "...The state's Gaming Control Board is reviewing 22 applications for 14 casino licenses statewide and aiming to award them by mid-December..."

Video Bingo Restrictions Passes Committee

 

As reported by the Advocate: "A Senate panel Tuesday advanced a bill to restrict charitable organizations' use of electronic video bingo machines that resemble slot machines. "The Judiciary B Committee altered, then approved House Bill 1315 by Rep. Danny Martiny, R-Kenner. The legislation would allow up to 35 machines at any location. "It also would restrict the hours of use to licensed, six-hour bingo sessions offering no less than 10 games of call bingo or keno with a minimum of $200 in total prizes. "No one under age 21 could play an electronic video bingo machine..."

Video Lottery Measure Going to Court

 

As reported by the Associated Press: "The leader of a group that wants to repeal video lottery plans to ask the state Supreme Court if the idea can go to a public vote in November. "Forward South Dakota collected petition signatures to put the repeal question on the general election ballot, but Attorney General Larry Long said it cannot be repealed by voters because it's a protected state revenue source. "Larry Brendtro, spokesman for Forward South Dakota, said the group will appeal directly to the Supreme Court, bypassing the circuit court process to get a faster resolution..."

Union Battles Station Project

 

An attempt by Las Vegas-based Station Casinos to gain a presence in the Reno gaming market has met opposition from the statewide union that represents hotel employees. Now, the labor organization is taking the challenge directly to Reno residents. Culinary Workers Local 226, with help from the Reno-based grass-roots organization Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, is seeking to qualify a ballot measure for the November election that could stop construction of a planned Station Casinos property in south Reno near the Mt. Rose Highway. Station Casinos, which is looking at developing two casinos in the Reno area, says this initiative drive is just the latest in a series of roadblocks tried by the Culinary Union against the company. The Culinary has sought and failed to organize a vast majority of the gaming company's Southern Nevada 14,000 employees over the past few years. Twice, the Culinary has failed in its attempt to get Station Casinos shareholders to pass various stockholder rights measures.

"They've made no secret that we're enemy No. 1 because we're the largest nonunion gaming company," said Lesley Pittman, Station Casinos' vice president of government relations. "We've spent two years going through the regional and citizens' approval processes in Reno. In one fell swoop, (the union) is trying to undo all that."

Station Casinos is expected to seek a special use permit in the next few weeks for an estimated $500 million hotel-casino near the newly opened Summit Sierra shopping center. Pittman said the project would be similar in scope to the company's upscale Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson.

In addition, the company has already obtained a special-use permit to build a 500-room, 17-story hotel-casino on eight acres across from the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

Pittman said the company has not determined which project would be built first.

Meanwhile, the union is collecting signatures on a petition that would place an initiative on the Nov. 7 ballot in Reno.

If passed, the measure would force a developer planning a casino outside the city's traditional gaming corridors -- downtown Reno, near the airport and adjacent to the convention center -- to seek approval from the city's residents before building a resort.

The initiative also calls for a developer to offer a financial contribution to the city of Reno to help the municipality pay down it's $236 million debt, accumulated through redevelopment and a downtown railroad trench project.

"Any casino built outside of Reno's core gaming area is going to adversely impact the casinos in the city of Reno," Culinary spokesman Chris Bohner said. "This petition is not about any specific property. It's about protecting downtown Reno."

However, Station Casinos is the only gaming company planning projects in Reno. The city has suffered in recent years, losing gamblers to American Indian casinos in Northern California. In 2005, gaming revenue in Reno was $754.8 million, a 1.7 percent increase from 2004. As a contrast, revenue from Strip casinos was $6 billion in 2005, a 13 percent increase from 2004.

Reno casinos have posted gaming revenue gains during the first four months of 2006.

"We're adding to the pie, not taking away," said Pittman, claiming company's Thunder Valley casino outside Sacramento, Calif., has not affected Northern Nevada gaming as long believed.

"(The projects) been met with open arms by the downtown tourism community," Pittman said.

Company officials said several Northern Nevada groups, including building and construction trade unions and the Reno/Sparks Chamber of Commerce, have taken positions against the initiative. Station Casinos believes the two casinos could lead to 1,100 construction jobs and 2,150 new permanent jobs.

On Tuesday, the northern members of the Nevada Resort Association, a casino trade organization, came out in opposition to the initiative.

"(The casinos) would like to see some expansion in the market and they think the initiative would prevent new companies from investing in Reno," resort association President Bill Bible said.

The union needs to collect 11,661 signatures from Reno voters by June 30 to get the question on the November ballot. The petition drive launched on May 3. Supporters of the initiative launched a Web site, www.renotaxpayers revolt.org.

Bohner said the union is actively seeking signatures. The Culinary, which has 60,000 members statewide, represents 2,000 workers at Circus Circus Reno and the Reno Hilton.

"There is a real risk to Reno if a casino developed outside the core market," Bohner said, adding that the union supports Station Casino's plan to build a property next to the convention center because it falls within the main gaming sector.

Progressive Leadership Alliance, in November, put out an analysis on the economic impact the proposed Station Casinos' property in south Reno would have on the downtown casinos, saying the older properties could lose between $14.2 million and $30 million in annual gaming revenue.

Money lost by downtown casinos would effect tax revenue used to pay down Reno's $236 million debt that was accumulated through redevelopment efforts and financing for the Retrac project, in which a trench was built to take the railroad tracks running through downtown below street level.

Bohner said a casino developer would have to tell the city how much it would pay toward reducing the city's debt if it were approved to build a casino outside the downtown jurisdiction.

Andy Green, finance director for the city of Reno, didn't want to take a stand on the initiative. However, he said the debt is being paid down through room taxes, sales taxes and a $60 million payment by Union Pacific Railroad.

Green said sales taxes have generated the bulk of the revenues dedicated to paying down the debt.

Wynn to Revamp 'Le Reve' After Buying Show

 

As reported by the Associated Press: "Wynn Las Vegas, casino mogul Steve Wynn's flagship resort, will pay $15.9 million to buy the rights to its headline show 'Le Reve' from creator Franco Dragone so he can add lights, lasers and perhaps more performers. "The sum, revealed in a filing last week by Wynn Resorts Ltd. to the Securities Exchange Commission, will pay for 'substantially all rights in and to the show and to repay certain unreimbursed excess production costs,' the filing said. "The move came as competition for entertainment dollars on the Las Vegas Strip has intensified. "...Wynn and Dragone, who is Cirque du Soleil's former creative director, were criticized when 'Le Reve,' an aquatic dance show, debuted in May 2005 because it was markedly similar to other shows on the Strip..."

Looking in on: Gaming

 

Cosmopolitan Resort developer Ian Bruce Eichner had a New York moment a few months ago when he sued his neighbors, the Jockey Club condominiums, for holding up his $2 billion, two-tower Strip resort at Harmon Avenue. The Brooklynite and former district attorney sued for breach of contract, claiming the Jockey Club wouldn't sign off on several agreements struck between the abutting properties. One agreement concerned precious parking. The Cosmopolitan agreed to provide 358 parking spaces in its underground garage for Jockey Club owners, and to ferry them between the temporary parking at the Aladdin while the resort - built on the Jockey Club's former parking lot next door - is under construction. An agreement to renovate the Jockey Club's 1970s-era fire-safety system led to the biggest inconvenience for the older building because the Cosmopolitan would be blocking some of its neighbor's fire exits.

Eichner said he filed suit because the Jockey Club couldn't agree on a workable schedule for renovation at the aging property. The upgrade is now occurring floor by floor and requiring the evacuation of certain rooms during the process. He dropped the suit within days after successfully negotiating a work schedule.

As Strip land is bought up and developers shoehorn hotels onto ever-smaller parcels, more complaints - and resolutions - are likely to arise.

"You have the normal tension that exists with ¦ a gargantuan project that's going to be ongoing for the better part of three years and at the end of the day has got to be a major inconvenience to a small building next door," said Eichner, who has built condos in New York and Miami.

The Cosmopolitan, on track to open by early 2009, may be the most New York-like project in town because many of its architectural features have the trappings of Manhattan.

The complex design and construction process, involving a five-story underground parking garage and another five stories of attractions enclosed by glass above the Strip, is "driving everyone crazy," he said.

Which is another of those Manhattan trappings.

How is he coping? "Taking a lot of Tylenol," he said.

. . .

Frank Vignola seems surrounded by good luck.

Three times a famed Megabucks slot machine has hit the top jackpot on his watch.

Vignola, general manager of the Cannery in North Las Vegas, was on hand last week when a 64-year-old woman won $20.5 million on a Megabucks slot near the casino's entrance.

Last year 92-year-old World War II veteran Elmer Sherwin won more than $21 million at the adjacent Megabucks machine. Sherwin previously won a top Megabucks jackpot in 1989 at the Mirage - a feat oddsmakers would equate to being twice struck by lightning.

Vignola said it's no less miraculous that he has witnessed three such hits. The first happened during his tenure at the Oasis in Mesquite.

For a town that likes to celebrate long shots, the Cannery is appropriately installing a plaque above the machines to commemorate the winners. It's not known whether it will note the millions-to-one odds that two adjacent machines will hit one after the other.

"It's a life-changing experience," Vignola said .

"Rub my head for good luck," he joked.

. . .

When Boyd Gaming announced recent plans to purchase a jai alai stadium in southern Florida, the deal brought to mind some comments made by competitor Station Casinos not very long ago.

Station executives said the company passed up Florida because the state's proposed slot tax - at more than 50 percent - is too high, and potential returns are too low.

But then, Station is sitting in fat city - boasting at least five sites of undeveloped casino land ready and waiting in Las Vegas. Boyd, which is Station's No. 2 locals competitor, owns one casino-zoned parcel in North Las Vegas that is years away from development. So Florida doesn't seem so unattractive.

While Station was aggressively buying up land across the valley in the 1990s and catching flack for it, Boyd was doing what most other gaming companies did - expanding into other states. While Boyd's diversified strategy has paid off, so has Station's - giving the company a dominant position in one of the country's fastest growing markets.

Boyd, now in six states, is the first major Las Vegas gaming company to make the jump to Florida since the state legalized slots at certain racetracks and jai alai stadiums. The company believes the state's tax rate on slots is justified by the lack of competitors.

"We know this going in and that's the price of doing business here," Boyd spokesman Rob Stillwell said. "We believe we can be successful in spite of the very aggressive tax rate."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

VIPrewards Success Based on Actually Rewarding the Customer

 

In a time when customers have less and less faith in loyalty programs, which have become notorious for over promising and under delivering, VIPrewards is a breath of fresh air - and customers are taking notice. Rather than spending their time trying to figure out how to redeem their loyalty points or being disappointed by the value they return, VIPrewards' customers are enjoying their rewards. Like Andrew P. who is looking forward to taking his wife to Las Vegas later this year - a trip he won from VIPrewards by easily redeeming points online for a Las Vegas getaway sweepstakes ticket. By staying true to its name and actually rewarding customers for their business, VIPrewards has driven player loyalty levels for its partners to above industry averages. In fact, members enjoy the program so much they are actively wagering at VIPrewards' partner sites almost twice as much as players at other competing sites. For instance, sportsbook VIPsports boasts an average active player retention of 20 months making it the clear leader for player retention in the sportsbook category, which sees average player retention rates of approximately 12 months. Customers, like Alex P., say it best: "I have played with VIPsports for many years and have enjoyed the points that I accumulate on VIPrewards as a Platinum Member, receiving numerous items over the years. Now I am not only looking forward to going to Las Vegas, but also [playing on VIPsports and] enjoying more rewards in the future."

VIPrewards partners with over 10 online gaming sites including sportsbooks, casinos, racebooks and poker rooms, to manage their loyalty programs. Customers fall into one of three reward levels (Silver, Gold or Platinum) based on their volume of play, with the rate at which points are earned increasing at each level. Rewards points, which update every 30 minutes, can be redeemed for gifts and prizes, merchandise, sweepstakes tickets and even betting cash in virtual real-time. Redeeming points is made easy for customers with an online account and shopping cart - customers can clearly see their points and the cost (in points) of different rewards, plus make their purchase, all from their online account.

Retention Manager, Vince Polar, said: "The formula is surprisingly easy. By giving customers rewards that are valuable and relevant to them, and by making the rewards easy to earn and redeem, we have built a strong and loyal customer base. Go a step further and combine a well-designed loyalty program with great service like we deliver and you'll see your customers returning again and again."

Michigan Tribe Launches Ad Campaign

 

As reported by the Kalamazoo Gazette: "The Gun Lake Tribe launched a newspaper ad campaign Sunday to raise awareness of its fight to build a casino in Wayland Township."It was a year ago today that anti-gambling group Michigan Gambling Opposition -- portrayed as a masked robber in the newspaper ad -- essentially halted the Gun Lake Tribe's bid to develop the casino when it filed suit against the U.S. Department of Interior, which manages American Indian lands in the United States. "The Gun Lake Tribe -- officially known as the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians -- announced in 2001 its intention to build a casino in Allegan County. "The ongoing court battle seeks to prevent the government from placing more than 140 acres of land near U.S. 131 into trust as a tribal reservation, land the Gun Lake Tribe wants to use, in part, to construct a gambling facility."

Shareholders Sue Sands Regent

 

As reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal: "Shareholders unhappy with The Sands Regent's deal to sell to Herbst Gaming of Las Vegas for $148 million are suing and asking for a better price, according to court documents. "The deal announced last month would give shareholders $15 per share, but the complaint filed in Washoe District Court calls the price 'grossly inadequate and unfair.' "'The realizable value from growth and a recovery of the company's historic performance, as well as the Reno tourism projections, is far in excess of $15 per share,' the class-action complaint states."

Harrah's Employee Recovery Fund Distributes $2.1 Million

 

Continuing efforts to provide assistance to those hardest hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Harrah's Employee Recovery Fund (HERF) recently issued $2.1 million in assistance to nearly 2,800 current and former employees of Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries. The distribution is the second made by the HERF, which previously paid $4.5 million to 3,600 employees. Any non-management employee impacted by the two hurricanes was eligible to apply for financial assistance from HERF; decisions were made according to need. "The remarkable generosity shown by our employees, customers, business partners and friends in the community was truly inspiring," said Gary Loveman, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Harrah's Entertainment. "Their donations and efforts have helped thousands of our colleagues start down the path of recovery. We will not soon forget the kindness so many showed in our employees' hour of need."

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the Harrah's Foundation seeded the HERF with a contribution of $1 million, which was later raised to $1.5 million. Additional contributions were made by thousands of donors in the months that followed, capped by $2.1 million raised in a February 2006 benefit concert by Celine Dion, Elton John and Jerry Seinfeld at Caesars Palace.

The fund was just one facet of the company's comprehensive relief efforts for the nearly 9,000 employees who worked at four Harrah's properties closed by the storms. The company guaranteed employees' pay for 90 days, continued health insurance benefits, opened employee information and recovery centers in Mississippi and Louisiana, gave affected employees first preference for available jobs at the company's other casinos across the United States, and provided nearly $1.5 million in assistance to employees relocating to other properties.

Nine months after Katrina, Harrah's efforts to return to the Gulf Coast are well underway. In February Harrah's New Orleans re-opened its doors, and later this summer the company will open the first phase of a completely refurbished Grand Casino Biloxi. Harrah's expects to announce plans for the development of a destination resort in Biloxi later this summer.

"We are committed to the Gulf Coast, and look forward to expanding our presence in New Orleans and Biloxi in the years to come," Loveman said.

VIPrewards Success Based on Actually Rewarding the Customer

 

In a time when customers have less and less faith in loyalty programs, which have become notorious for over promising and under delivering, VIPrewards is a breath of fresh air - and customers are taking notice. Rather than spending their time trying to figure out how to redeem their loyalty points or being disappointed by the value they return, VIPrewards' customers are enjoying their rewards. Like Andrew P. who is looking forward to taking his wife to Las Vegas later this year - a trip he won from VIPrewards by easily redeeming points online for a Las Vegas getaway sweepstakes ticket. By staying true to its name and actually rewarding customers for their business, VIPrewards has driven player loyalty levels for its partners to above industry averages. In fact, members enjoy the program so much they are actively wagering at VIPrewards' partner sites almost twice as much as players at other competing sites. For instance, sportsbook VIPsports boasts an average active player retention of 20 months making it the clear leader for player retention in the sportsbook category, which sees average player retention rates of approximately 12 months. Customers, like Alex P., say it best: "I have played with VIPsports for many years and have enjoyed the points that I accumulate on VIPrewards as a Platinum Member, receiving numerous items over the years. Now I am not only looking forward to going to Las Vegas, but also [playing on VIPsports and] enjoying more rewards in the future."

VIPrewards partners with over 10 online gaming sites including sportsbooks, casinos, racebooks and poker rooms, to manage their loyalty programs. Customers fall into one of three reward levels (Silver, Gold or Platinum) based on their volume of play, with the rate at which points are earned increasing at each level. Rewards points, which update every 30 minutes, can be redeemed for gifts and prizes, merchandise, sweepstakes tickets and even betting cash in virtual real-time. Redeeming points is made easy for customers with an online account and shopping cart - customers can clearly see their points and the cost (in points) of different rewards, plus make their purchase, all from their online account.

Retention Manager, Vince Polar, said: "The formula is surprisingly easy. By giving customers rewards that are valuable and relevant to them, and by making the rewards easy to earn and redeem, we have built a strong and loyal customer base. Go a step further and combine a well-designed loyalty program with great service like we deliver and you'll see your customers returning again and again."

Pompano Park Renovations Begin

 

As reported by the South Florida Business Journal: "Suburban Pompano Beach is getting a 'racino' as its harness race track slowly morphs into a combination racetrack and casino. "It could have been bigger. Some scaling back has been necessary because of the 50 percent state tax bite - plus license fees - on future gambling revenue, according to track officials. "Now, plans are on hold for a 450-room, four-star hotel and a 250-room budget hotel on the Pompano Park property. "In March, a development plan was announced for a 157,000-square-foot racino complex that is estimated to cost $140 million, said Tim Hinckly, president and COO of Pompano Park's owner, Isle of Capri Casinos".The new racino complex will be a bit of upscale Las Vegas in South Florida, with action, light and sound. It will hold a gaming arena with 1,500 slot machines for 16-hour-a-day play, a multi-story feature bar with high-imagery audio and video, a high-tech sports bar, expanded simultaneous off-track betting facilities, an expanded poker parlor and four restaurants. Completion is targeted for late 2006 or early 2007."

Washington Tribe Issued Notice

 

Today, National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Chairman Phil Hogen issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in the State of Washington for misallocation of net gaming revenues. The Chairman issued the NOV in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and NIGC's regulations. The NIGC Chairman may issue an NOV to any person for violation of any provision of IGRA, NIGC regulations, or any provision of a tribal gaming ordinance or resolution approved by the Chairman. Earlier this year, NIGC investigators and auditors determined the Tribe was not in compliance with its Revenue Allocate Plan (RAP), which was approved by the Secretary of the Interior on April 28, 2003. The NIGC investigation revealed that the Tribe's per capita payments were significantly out of compliance with the Tribe's RAP, thereby constituting a misallocation of net gaming revenues in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. It was also discovered that the Tribe was not complying with other key provisions in the RAP. The Chairman issued this NOV because these violations are serious obstacles to the long term financial health of the Tribe. Chairman Hogen commented, "Our primary goal in this case is to encourage the Tribe to come into compliance with the approved RAP. Once compliance is achieved, the Tribe will have the ability to provide funding for vital programs and generations to come."

Michigan Tribe Launches Ad Campaign

 

As reported by the Kalamazoo Gazette: "The Gun Lake Tribe launched a newspaper ad campaign Sunday to raise awareness of its fight to build a casino in Wayland Township."It was a year ago today that anti-gambling group Michigan Gambling Opposition -- portrayed as a masked robber in the newspaper ad -- essentially halted the Gun Lake Tribe's bid to develop the casino when it filed suit against the U.S. Department of Interior, which manages American Indian lands in the United States. "The Gun Lake Tribe -- officially known as the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians -- announced in 2001 its intention to build a casino in Allegan County. "The ongoing court battle seeks to prevent the government from placing more than 140 acres of land near U.S. 131 into trust as a tribal reservation, land the Gun Lake Tribe wants to use, in part, to construct a gambling facility."

Shareholders Sue Sands Regent

 

As reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal: "Shareholders unhappy with The Sands Regent's deal to sell to Herbst Gaming of Las Vegas for $148 million are suing and asking for a better price, according to court documents. "The deal announced last month would give shareholders $15 per share, but the complaint filed in Washoe District Court calls the price 'grossly inadequate and unfair.' "'The realizable value from growth and a recovery of the company's historic performance, as well as the Reno tourism projections, is far in excess of $15 per share,' the class-action complaint states."

Harrah's Employee Recovery Fund Distributes $2.1 Million

 

Continuing efforts to provide assistance to those hardest hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Harrah's Employee Recovery Fund (HERF) recently issued $2.1 million in assistance to nearly 2,800 current and former employees of Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries. The distribution is the second made by the HERF, which previously paid $4.5 million to 3,600 employees. Any non-management employee impacted by the two hurricanes was eligible to apply for financial assistance from HERF; decisions were made according to need. "The remarkable generosity shown by our employees, customers, business partners and friends in the community was truly inspiring," said Gary Loveman, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Harrah's Entertainment. "Their donations and efforts have helped thousands of our colleagues start down the path of recovery. We will not soon forget the kindness so many showed in our employees' hour of need."

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, the Harrah's Foundation seeded the HERF with a contribution of $1 million, which was later raised to $1.5 million. Additional contributions were made by thousands of donors in the months that followed, capped by $2.1 million raised in a February 2006 benefit concert by Celine Dion, Elton John and Jerry Seinfeld at Caesars Palace.

The fund was just one facet of the company's comprehensive relief efforts for the nearly 9,000 employees who worked at four Harrah's properties closed by the storms. The company guaranteed employees' pay for 90 days, continued health insurance benefits, opened employee information and recovery centers in Mississippi and Louisiana, gave affected employees first preference for available jobs at the company's other casinos across the United States, and provided nearly $1.5 million in assistance to employees relocating to other properties.

Nine months after Katrina, Harrah's efforts to return to the Gulf Coast are well underway. In February Harrah's New Orleans re-opened its doors, and later this summer the company will open the first phase of a completely refurbished Grand Casino Biloxi. Harrah's expects to announce plans for the development of a destination resort in Biloxi later this summer.

"We are committed to the Gulf Coast, and look forward to expanding our presence in New Orleans and Biloxi in the years to come," Loveman said.

VIPrewards Success Based on Actually Rewarding the Customer

 

In a time when customers have less and less faith in loyalty programs, which have become notorious for over promising and under delivering, VIPrewards is a breath of fresh air - and customers are taking notice. Rather than spending their time trying to figure out how to redeem their loyalty points or being disappointed by the value they return, VIPrewards' customers are enjoying their rewards. Like Andrew P. who is looking forward to taking his wife to Las Vegas later this year - a trip he won from VIPrewards by easily redeeming points online for a Las Vegas getaway sweepstakes ticket. By staying true to its name and actually rewarding customers for their business, VIPrewards has driven player loyalty levels for its partners to above industry averages. In fact, members enjoy the program so much they are actively wagering at VIPrewards' partner sites almost twice as much as players at other competing sites. For instance, sportsbook VIPsports boasts an average active player retention of 20 months making it the clear leader for player retention in the sportsbook category, which sees average player retention rates of approximately 12 months. Customers, like Alex P., say it best: "I have played with VIPsports for many years and have enjoyed the points that I accumulate on VIPrewards as a Platinum Member, receiving numerous items over the years. Now I am not only looking forward to going to Las Vegas, but also [playing on VIPsports and] enjoying more rewards in the future."

VIPrewards partners with over 10 online gaming sites including sportsbooks, casinos, racebooks and poker rooms, to manage their loyalty programs. Customers fall into one of three reward levels (Silver, Gold or Platinum) based on their volume of play, with the rate at which points are earned increasing at each level. Rewards points, which update every 30 minutes, can be redeemed for gifts and prizes, merchandise, sweepstakes tickets and even betting cash in virtual real-time. Redeeming points is made easy for customers with an online account and shopping cart - customers can clearly see their points and the cost (in points) of different rewards, plus make their purchase, all from their online account.

Retention Manager, Vince Polar, said: "The formula is surprisingly easy. By giving customers rewards that are valuable and relevant to them, and by making the rewards easy to earn and redeem, we have built a strong and loyal customer base. Go a step further and combine a well-designed loyalty program with great service like we deliver and you'll see your customers returning again and again."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Casinos Fuel Connecticut's Economy

 

As reported by the Norwich Bulletin: "Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun are the economic engines that drive Eastern Connecticut. "Billed as the world's two largest casinos, Foxwoods, near Ledyard and owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, opened in 1992. "Mohegan Sun, in Montville and owned by the Mohegan tribe, opened in 1996. "Together, they employ more than 22,000 people, and brought jobs to the region at a time when defense manufacturing was declining. The casinos, as they continue to expand, are shifting the region's economy from manufacturing to tourism.

".Mitchell Etess, chief executive officer and president of Mohegan Sun, said he sees the casinos continuing to evolve into entertainment destinations that will add tourists for the state.

".Under the gaming pact with the state, the casinos give 25 percent of all slot machine revenue to the state. That has totaled more than $3.5 billion."

Casino Boat Faces Chilly Waters

 

As reported by the Newsday: "The Southern Elegance is finding no down-home hospitality in Bay Shore. "In the month since the hulking, four-story casino boat arrived at this coastal hamlet, its owners have filed a $40-million lawsuit alleging Islip town has tried to sink their ocean gambling business. "The town has obtained a legal injunction temporarily barring the boat's owners from running their business out of Bay Shore. "And scores of residents have come together, saying the boat will pollute the harbor, overrun existing businesses and draw legions of rowdy, even intoxicated, gamblers to the community.

".Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard responded to two fuel spills in the harbor - one of which was called in by crew members on the Elegance. Neither has been tied to the casino boat although both are still under investigation, a Coast Guard official said Friday.

".The boat has a 500-passenger capacity. It must venture at least three miles offshore, into international waters, before gambling can legally occur."

Isle of Capri Casino to Close

 

As reported by the Freeport News: "Executives of the Isle of Capri corporate office in Biloxi, Mississippi, have announced that a year from now, they will cease operations in Grand Bahama. "Jill Haynes, director of Corporate Communication, said the purpose for terminating operations on June 1, 2007 is to enable the company to focus more on its core properties in the United States. "In a telephone interview with The Freeport News, Ms. Haynes disclosed that when the casino closes next year, employees will be entitled to severance pay as governed by the company's normal separation policy or termination of workers. "...Ms. Haynes was quick to point out that Hurricane Katrina had no bearing on the company's decision to close the casino

"...In July of last year, a drastic decrease in the net profit between the 2004 and 2005 fiscal year at the Isle of Capri Casino resulted in the casino making the "tough decision" of having to downsize its staff by 13 percent.

"...Several employees of Isle of Capri later voiced their views on the matter calling on the government to step-up and explain what it was prepared to do to assist Bahamians employed at the gaming company..."

IEST Enters Asian Market

 

As reported by the INQ7.net: "After being granted the government license to operate the first Philippine-based online sports betting exchange, local startup Inter-active Entertainment Solutions Technologies (IEST) is set to make a splash in the Asian market estimated to be worth one billion dollars, a company executive told INQ7.net.".IEST is considered the licensed technology provider of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), which has granted license to the local company to run this online sports betting exchange in the country, according to Emil dela Cruz, officer-in-charge of IEST in an interview. ".Projecting to make 5 million pesos in revenues on its first year of operations (mainly from commissions it will collect from winning bets), xchangebet.com will require people to register."

Record Sales for Massachusetts Lottery

 

As reported by the Sentinel & Enterprise: ".People are purchasing Massachusetts Lottery tickets in record numbers, Lottery Communications Director Beth Bresnahan said Thursday, despite a stagnant economy and rising gas prices. ".Despite rising fuel prices, Bresnahan said lottery ticket sales will likely beat last year's total revenue of $4.4 billion. "'."Like every entertainment option, we expect rising gas prices to affect sales,' she said. 'Just like movie sales and the travel industry, I'm sure we feel some of that. The difference is the pay-out. With Mega Millions, people say, 'I'll spend the dollar and take my chance at $10 million.' ".The Massachusetts Lottery pays out 71.6 percent of profits in prize money, Bresnahan said. "Last year, that amounted to about $3.2 billion in prizes."

New Brunswick to Hold Gambling Referendum

 

As reported by the CBC: "The New Brunswick government says it will hold a plebiscite next year on whether video gambling machines should be banned. "The plebiscite will coincide with municipal elections. "Finance Minister Norm Betts won't say whether the government will consider the outcome of the vote binding..."

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lady Luck Gets $66 Million Loan

 

A California investment firm has loaned the owners of the shuttered Lady Luck $66 million to be used in renovating the downtown hotel-casino. The financing package is the first tangible development on the Lady Luck since the newly named Downtown Resorts LLC, formerly known as Henry Brent Co., closed the 700-room hotel-casino Feb. 12, displacing 689 employees. Owners said a yearlong remodeling effort was needed because the 42-year-old Lady Luck had not seen a considerable refurbishment in more than two decades. Henry Brent bought the Lady Luck in April 2005 after operating the casino since 2003.

The bridge loan from Canyon Capital Realty Advisors will go toward the planned renovation, which includes a comprehensive refurbishing of all the hotel rooms, and expanding and reconfiguring the casino, restaurant and retail space, which is approximately 54,000 square feet.

Announcement of the financing came from Canyon Capital, based in Beverly Hills, Calif.

A spokeswoman for Canyon Capital said the loan, which is considered a short-term financing opportunity, could lead to additional funding for the project.

Canyon Capital Principal Jonathan Roth said the company wanted to be part of the downtown Las Vegas redevelopment, which includes current renovations being done at the Golden Nugget by Houston-based Landry's Restaurants.

"The Lady Luck will serve as the anchor of the downtown market and its modernization signifies the exciting transformation taking place in downtown Las Vegas," Roth said in a statement. "We believe in the Las Vegas market and are confident that downtown will continue to grow in popularity with local residents and visitors."

Since closing, the Lady Luck ownership has not revealed any plans for renovating the Lady Luck, which has two hotel towers spanning Third Street.

Downtown Resorts, which also operates seven Timbers taverns, hired Breslin

Builders as general contractor and Klai Juba as architect for the renovation.

The Lady Luck opened in 1964 as Honest John's, a newsstand and smoke shop with five employees, five pinball machines, 20 slot machines and approximately 2,000 square feet of floor space.

In 1968, owner Andy Tompkins changed the name of the property, which is on the corner of Third Street and Ogden Avenue, to Lady Luck. In March 1972, the Lady Luck took over an entire block and added live gaming to the property.

Ten years later, two buildings were purchased to the east of the property, providing space for what became 108 garden rooms and a pool area in 1983.

In 1985, a $20 million expansion and remodeling project broke ground, adding a 16-story tower with 297 rooms, two new restaurants, valet parking and a revamped casino floor.

Construction on the second tower began in 1988, adding 387 hotel rooms by 1989.

In 2000, the Lady Luck was sold to Biloxi, Miss.-based Isle of Capri Casinos, then sold again in 2003 to Steadfast Cos. of Orange County.

Indiana Casino Deal Tossed Out

 

As reported by the Gary Post-Tribune: "After a state attorney general's report condemned the company, the Indiana Gaming Commission tossed out the deal that gave a politically connected East Chicago firm a share of the city's casino revenue. "It was the first time the commission rejected part of a local agreement between a casino and its host city. "The attorney general's report said Second Century showed only a murky return for the $16 million it had received in casino revenue over the past decade and with no public oversight.

"The company had been written into the city's local agreement with the casino in 1998, under former mayor Robert Pastrick, after Harrah's purchased the license from Showboat. Second Century is run by former state Democratic Party Chairman Michael Pannos and Tom Cappas, a Pastrick confidant.

"Attorney General Steve Carter said the private company repeatedly blocked efforts to turn over financial records or detail the list of the economic development projects purchased with the 0.75 percent of the adjusted gross income it received from the casino. With the report, his office issued a ruling saying the Gaming Commission had the authority to revoke the contract.

".Second Century attorney J. Lee McNeely argued the company has a private agreement and is not subject to public scrutiny."

Iowa Commission Approves Riverboat Sale

 

As reported by the Quad-City Times: "The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission on Thursday approved the sale of the Mississippi Belle II riverboat casino in Clinton to Wild Rose Entertainment, setting in motion plans to replace the current casino on the Mississippi River with a land-based casino on the west edge of Clinton. "Wild Rose paid $38.4 million for the casino in a deal with the Mississippi Belle II Employee Ownership Co. and the Robert Kehl family, which opened the casino in 1991. The total deal was worth $46.3 million. "The change in ownership to Wild Rose was supported on a 4-0 vote by members of the commission.

"Wild Rose is in negotiations to purchase a 29-acre site near the intersection of U.S. 30 and Mill Creek Parkway where the new casino would be located, officials said. Kevin Preston, senior vice president of gaming operations for Wild Rose, said the company plans to retain current employees and create more jobs at the new Clinton casino.

".The new land-based casino will feature 650 slot machines, 20 table games, a VIP lounge and a bar with table-top video poker machines.

".The company will focus marketing for the redesigned casino to residents in a 75-mile radius. The boat currently draws three-fourths of its visitors from out of state."

Fitch Comments on Seminole Lawsuit

 

On May 22, 2006 the Seminole Tribe of FL (the tribe) filed a claim in Broward County, FL court stating that the financial services agreement (FSA) between the tribe and Power Plant Entertainment, LLC. (PPE) originally executed in 2000, is illegal. Under the terms of the FSA the tribe pays PPE 30% of net revenues from three of the tribe's six gaming facilities; Tampa Hard Rock, Hollywood Hard Rock and Seminole Indian Casino, Hollywood (together Tampa/Hollywood). The remaining 70% flows to the tribe and is pledged to bondholders. The tribe continues to honor its obligation to PPE on a monthly basis and has expressed its intention to maintain such payments pending a court decision on the claim. PPE has until Monday, June 12th to respond to the tribe's claim and to date, has not filed any official correspondence.

Fitch believes that rating action at this time would be premature. If PPE files any correspondence by the June 12, 2006 deadline Fitch will conduct further review and provide additional comments to the market. Any potential impairment of pledged revenues or deterioration of the general credit profile of the tribe could create negative pressure on the rating.

Fitch assigned an 'A-' rating to the tribe's Gaming Division Revenue Bonds Series 2005 A & B on September 26, 2005. Security for the bonds is primarily derived from earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of the tribe's Immokalee, Brighton and Coconut Creek gaming facilities and from net revenues of the Tampa/Hollywood facilities, excluding payments to PPE. Credit strengths supporting the 'A-' rating include strong legal protections, ample debt service coverage, solid competitive position and revenue diversity across six gaming facilities and sound financial management at both the governmental and gaming operations.

At the time of the rating assignment Fitch identified the key credit risk as uncertainty regarding the tribe's contractual relationship with PPE. Prior to filing the claim in court, the tribe and PPE were negotiating a buy-out of the FSA and Fitch was concerned that any bonded settlement by the tribe could reduce debt service coverage. This credit risk is still applicable.

Atlantic City Casinos Win Up

 

As reported by Reuters: "Casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, won 2.9 percent more money from gamblers in May than they did a year earlier, the state's Casino Control Commission said on Friday. "Casinos' gambling winnings totaled $432.5 million during the month, the state regulator said. For the first five months of the year, casinos won $2.1 billion from gamblers, up 5.9 percent over the same period last year. ".The 12 Atlantic City casinos saw their slot machine winnings rise 2.8 percent to $316.1 million, while table game revenue rose 3.2 percent to $116.4 million."

Tioga Downs Raceway Opens Today

 

Nevada Gold & Casinos, Inc. today announced the opening of Tioga Downs Raceway. The new harness racing and entertainment facility includes numerous amenities, including a newly constructed 90,000 square foot grandstand housing restaurants, lounges, arcades, entertainment, and retail, as well as the Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) facility, which includes 750 video lottery terminals, and is expected to open later this month. Live racing and simulcasting begins today. John Arnesen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nevada Gold & Casinos, Inc., commented, ``We are delighted to celebrate the opening of the Tioga Downs Raceway, which brings a new level of racing and entertainment to the Binghamton and surrounding areas. With the completion of our racing and dining facilities, we are delivering truly exciting and dynamic entertainment options to our guests and we think they will be as enthusiastic as we are about the many new features Tioga Downs offers. We believe today marks a milestone for the company, as Tioga Downs is one of many compelling projects that will be instrumental in facilitating our growth and building shareholder value over the long term.'

Nevada Gold & Casinos, Inc., through its subsidiary Nevada Gold NY, Inc., owns a 40% membership interest in American Racing and Entertainment, LLC. American Racing owns 100% of Tioga Downs Racetrack, LLC, which owns the Tioga Downs Racetrack in Nichols, New York.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Purse Snatcher Steals Casino Winnings

 

As reported by the East Valley Tribune: "Scottsdale police are investigating a purse-snatching incident reported by a woman who said she had just won $40,000 from Casino Arizona. "The 60-year-old woman, whose name was not released, told police that a man grabbed her purse in the parking lot of the Albertsons at 2785 N. Scottsdale Road about 7 p.m. Tuesday shortly after she left the casino. She wasn't injured.


"The robber is described as a 5-foot-8 Hispanic about 28 to 35 years old, weighing 170 pounds with short black hair.

"He was driving a newer-model gold pickup truck with an extended cab and dark-tinted windows. She said she last saw the truck traveling north on North Scottsdale Road…"

Renovation in Plans for Caesars Indiana Casino

 

As reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal: "Harrah's Entertainment wants to renovate the Caesars Indiana casino, expand its pavilion — and possibly add restaurants and entertainment options, a company executive said yesterday."Plans to overhaul the Harrison County complex will likely become final and be released within six months, said Anthony Sanfilippo, president of Harrah's Central Division.

"He said the company also is considering whether to add a second tower to the casino's hotel, which now has 500 rooms.

"The gambling boat, however, would not be replaced.

"…After the work is done, the company will rename the casino to be part of its Horseshoe brand…"

Manchester Casino to Bring Jobs

 

As reported by the Manchester Evening News: "A new upmarket casino complete with two restaurants and a live music venue is due to open in Manchester's Great Northern Warehouse in October, creating 350 jobs."Manchester 235 will feature 14 roulette tables, 10 blackjack tables and a poker-room that will double as a conference room - as well as hosting live entertainment seven nights a week.

"The £13m development is not affected by new laws controlling what casinos can be built in Britain because of its relatively small size and the fact its licence was granted before the recently-passed Gambling Act came into force.

"…The new development was welcomed by tourism chiefs, who hope it will bolster Manchester's case to be awarded Britain's only licence for a huge Las Vegas-style 'super-casino' at SportCity in east Manchester. The city is on a shortlist of eight possible sites, including Blackpool and London…"

Everett Casino Changes Hands

 

As reported by the Everett Herald: "The downtown's only minicasino has closed temporarily as the business changes ownership, but off-track betting facilities, a nightclub and restaurant at the landmark building on Everett Avenue remain open.

"The Big Apple Casino shut down after Saturday night, said Allen Hemmat, who owns the 85-year-old building housing the enterprise at 1611 Everett Ave.

"Hemmat again is taking over ownership of the minicasino and Club Broadway from a group of investors led by Dave Bemis. That group suffered from internal conflicts at a time when the state's indoor smoking ban hurt the business, Hemmat said…"

Borgata Expansion Approved

 

As reported by the New Jersey Courier Post: "The Casino Control Commission Wednesday approved the expansion of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The $200 million addition, a mix of fine dining and casual restaurants, lounges, and casino space, opens to the public June 30."The highlights include Bobby Flay Steak; Michael Mina's Seablue, which will be the Borgata's first seafood restaurant; and Wolfgang Puck American Grille.

"Tony Luke's, Villa Pizza and Fatburger are among eight fast-food eateries in an upscale food court adjacent to a new, 85-table poker room. Borgata will add its own outlet, called Bread and Butter.

"The expansion will also bring in 500 slots, a betting parlor for horse racing and 44 more table games. Two lounges round out the new offerings…"

MP Pushes for Coventry Casino Bid

 

As reported by the Coventry Observer: "Coventry City MP Geoffrey Robinson has pledged to do everything he can to revive Coventry's super casino bid after a successful meeting with culture secretary Tessa Jowell.
"Mr Robinson met Ms Jowell on Monday evening to talk about what could be done to get Coventry's bid for a regional casino at the Ricoh Arena on to the shortlist.

"Ms Jowell said the shortlist was only provisional, and invited Mr Robinson to keep up pressure on the Casino Advisory Panel to include Coventry.

"She also suggested that the city apply for one of the smaller licences which are going to be handed out when the super casino is decided in November this year…"

Friday, June 09, 2006

Full House for Calgary

 

As reported by the Calgary Sun: "It's a full house when it comes to casinos in Calgary and no further gambling dens will be approved for the foreseeable future, says Alberta Gaming Minister Gordon Graydon. "Graydon said Calgary, with six casinos and a seventh in the works, is at the saturation point for a city of its size, and he doubts Alberta Gaming will allow another to open here until the demand significantly increases. "Graydon said the $44 million Stampede Casino, which will open in 2008, doesn't count as a new facility, as it will replace the old casino, while offering more 'bells and whistles.' ".As well, Graydon said the Tsuu T'ina Nation casino, which is approved and is expected to undergo construction in the next year, will not be affected by the ban on further facilities."

San Pablo Defends Card Room

 

As reported by the Oakland Tribune: "An East Bay city staunchly defended its tribal card room in a letter sent Tuesday to a U.S. senator who's trying to shut it down, predicting fiscal doom should that happen and offering the tribe's written vow not to expand. "San Pablo City Manager Brock Arner's letter was in response to a May 31 letter 13 state lawmakers sent to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., whose pending bill would revoke the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians' right to conduct gaming at Casino San Pablo.

".The city objects to local lawmakers' claim that the tribe engaged in 'reservation shopping' by having Casino San Pablo placed in trust, Arner wrote; a settlement with the federal government had barred the then-landless Lyttons from gaming on ancestral territory in Sonoma County, forcing them to look elsewhere.

".The Lytton Band and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in August 2004 agreed on a 2,500-slot-machine casino from which the state, county and city would share 25 percent of the revenue."

Businessman: Timing Right for Arkansas Gambling Expansion

 

As reported by the Fort Smith Arkansas: "A Texas businessman pushing a new gambling amendment said Monday that the timing may be right for approval of a statewide lottery and casinos in Arkansas. "The Legislature's endorsement last year of a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize bingo for nonprofit groups and the voter-approved expansion of electronic gambling at racetracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis are good indicators that opposition to a gambling amendment may be fading, said Michael Wasserman of Gainesville, Texas. ".Under Wasserman's proposal, which had its popular name and ballot title approved by the attorney general general's office in March, 100,000-square-foot casinos would be built and operated in Boone, Crittenden, Garland, Jefferson, Miller, Pulaski and Sebastian counties. The proposal also would create a statewide lottery.

"Wasserman said Monday that he expects each casino to generate about $250 million a year in net revenue.

".The casinos would pay state and local taxes, and proceeds would allow the state to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries, Wasserman said."

Casinos Offering Fuel Discounts

 

Casino companies are starting to hedge their bets in case rising fuel prices start keeping some visitors away. To keep them coming, some Las Vegas casinos are offering gasoline giveaways and discounts. Circus Circus, for example, sent out an electronic blast Monday announcing a free $25 gasoline card, featuring colorful pictures of young drivers. The cards, handed out at check-in, include a $25 credit good at local gasoline stations, a $4 discount off the cost of admission to the Adventuredome Theme Park and a book of coupons worth $100. The cards are offered to guests who book a minimum two-night stay on the hotel's Web site. Alan Feldman, spokesman for Circus Circus owner MGM Mirage, the largest casino operator on the Strip, said the program was designed to address growing customer concerns about the soaring price of gasoline.

Previously, all major hotel-casino operators have claimed that gasoline prices were not enough of a concern for customers to change their vacation plans.

Recently, gasoline prices in Southern California, where most of Las Vegas's drive-in business originates, have been hovering above $3 a gallon, up more than 75 cents a gallon, or 33 percent, in the past year.

"Recognizing that consumers may be thinking about altering their travel plans due to the price of gas, we have already launched at least one promotion with a gas-price theme and we are considering similar promotions at our other properties that have a strong proportion of drive-in visitors," Feldman said.

MGM Mirage is offering similar programs at its properties in Primm -- Whiskey Pete's, Buffalo Bill's and the Primm Valley Casino Hotel -- where it also operates gasoline stations.

"What began as a summer promotion is now an ongoing part of the club. Basically customers can comp their own gas by using their (casino) points," Feldman said.

"Our July and August room offers will also include a gas voucher. This is a loyalty promotion based on a certain level of play. It will include room offers and gas," he said.

"At some of our other properties, we're looking at developing other promotions but have not firmed up anything definitive yet," Feldman said.

Harrah's Entertainment, the world's largest gaming company, has no similar marketing programs in place, said spokesman David Strow.

But executives at some individual Harrah's properties, who asked not to be named, said gasoline giveaway and discount programs are in the planning phase.

However, Imperial Palace, which for the past year has been owned and operated by Harrah's Entertainment, beat other Harrah's properties to the punch. It launched a direct mail campaign a few weeks ago for all Imperial Play Club members.

Imperial Palace spokeswoman Jackie Brett said the program is aimed at helping customers relieve some of the pressure they feel from increasing gasoline prices.

"The offer was for specific dates, June 19-30, and varying amounts from $50 to $150 on a gas card along with room offers," she said.

Similarly, Mark Sterbens, director of marketing at Terrible's Hotel and Casino, said his company has two programs in place.

"The first one is an earn-and-reward program where if you come to Terrible's any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday or Saturday and play slots, we'll give you $5 in free gas for 1,000 points up to $15. If you earn 3,000 points playing slots, we'll give you $15 in gas free and you keep your points," he said.

The second program offers gasoline cards for redemption at all Terrible Herbst Chevron locations, and points earned in the casino can be used for gasoline, car washes, oil changes and other auto services.

In addition to its hotel-casino at Paradise and Flamingo, Herbst Gaming is a slot route operator, and its holding company, Terrible Herbst, owns and operates gasoline stations and car washes throughout the valley.

Brian Gordon, a partner in the Las Vegas-based consulting firm Applied Analysis, said the casino programs are probably more psychologically helpful than pocketbook friendly.

"It's an attempt to bond with customers and tell them, 'We feel your pain,'" Gordon said.

Local operators with gasoline programs are joining an increasing number of hospitality industry companies nationwide that are using gasoline giveaways and discounts to help keep customers coming.

While lower-priced properties rather than premium hotel-casinos so far have led the way in Las Vegas, upscale resorts are joining the fray nationally.

For example, Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Spa in San Diego is offering visitors complimentary self-parking and gasoline credits when they book a $350 room for a night.

Harrah's Major Sponsor of New Jersey Latino Issues Convention

 

Harrah's Operating Company, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:HET - News) was a major sponsor of the Latino Issues Convention and Exposition, held May 26 and 27 in Edison, N.J. Harrah's served as overall corporate underwriter of the event for the second year. More than 6,000 New York and New Jersey residents attended the event, which included a job fair, college fair, workshops on issues of importance to the Latino public, and a luncheon featuring keynote speeches by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), New Jersey Attorney General Zulima Farber, and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Pro-Tem Wilfredo Caraballo.

The convention was organized by The Latino Institute, Inc., a non-profit organization focused on connecting the Latino community to the educational, cultural, governmental, social and economic institutions of society.

"We are pleased to work with our friends in the Latino community to make this important event a reality," said Carlos Tolosa, president of Harrah's Eastern Division. "Over the years Harrah's has grown and thrived in New Jersey, and we are committed to sharing that success with this community. Helping local Latinos build successful careers is a cause we are privileged to support."

Illinois Lottery Launches "Set for Life"

 

If you've ever considered buying a lottery ticket, this is the summer to start. The Illinois Lottery is giving away $200 million in total available prizes through its largest ever second chance promotion, called "Set for Life." The Lottery is holding weekly drawings for 16 weeks, where one winner will be randomly drawn to participate in a not-to-be-missed grand finale event on Sept. 30th at Wrigley Field. The 16 lucky winners will walk away with one of the following: $100,000 a year for life, the cash equivalent of a new leased car every year for life or the cash equivalent of a fabulous vacation every year for life. The first week's winner, Wayne Koepple of Round Lake Beach, hopes that he is lucky enough to take home the $100,000 grand prize. The only downside of being the first "Set for Life" winner is that Koepple has to wait until Sept. 30 to learn which prize he will win at the grand finale event.

"There are friends of mine who say, now that they've seen that I've won, they're going to start playing the Lottery," said Koepple, who intends to continue playing Lottery.

"Every year, the Lottery strives to bring its players the ultimate winning experience, and this year we've really outdone ourselves," said Illinois Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams. "At times like these, I really wish that I could play!"

To enter, players must send in $30 worth of eligible non-winning tickets from the "Set for Life" instant ticket suite or any "Pick 'n Play" tickets. Players can mail in entries or submit online at IllinoisLottery.com by Sept. 1.

"It's always such a rewarding experience for the Lottery when we see our players win big, but 'Set For Life' takes things to a whole new level," added Superintendent Adams. "It's amazing that we're able to reward our players with prizes that they can appreciate for the rest of their lives; this is huge for us!"

Last summer's second chance promotion, "Road to Riches," had a record breaking $150 million in available prizes. Lottery qualified winners over a period of 20 weeks for a chance to win a brand new Chrysler car and cash prizes ranging from $25,000 to $1 million. Winners had to wait until the grand finale event hosted by Robin Leach, of the hit show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," at U.S. Cellular Field on Sept. 24, 2005 to find out which car and how much money they won. Barb Delgado of Downers Grove, Barbara Zientara of Villa Park each won a new car and $100,000 while Marion Domanski of Rockford walked away with a cool $1 million in addition to his new car.

"I didn't even realize I had won. Robin Leach had to tell me three times before it hit me," said an overwhelmed Domanski at a press conference immediately following the game. "I feel like I'm going to pass out and my knees are buckling ... Thank You Lord!"

"In September 'Set for Life' winners will experience for themselves the excitement Marion Domanski felt last summer," said Superintendent Adams.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mt. Airy Casino Moves Ahead

 

Casino took another step forward Tuesday night, as the Paradise Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the preliminary land development plan for the first phase of a $360 million plan to redevelop the site of the former Mt. Airy Lodge. "This action keeps us moving ahead as we seek to secure a gaming license for the region," said Louis A. DeNaples, the northeastern Pennsylvania businessman who owns Mount Airy. "We will continue to work with Paradise Township to ensure Mount Airy Resort & Casino meets the needs of the community and complements - not competes with - existing businesses and attractions in the Poconos."

Phase I of the redevelopment plan calls for the construction of a 200-room luxury resort hotel, a gaming and entertainment complex that would house 3,000 slot machines, four restaurants, two live entertainment lounges, an 18-hole championship golf course, an indoor pool, spa, retail shops, and a covered parking facility.

Phase I construction is estimated at $300 million, which would be followed in Phase II with an expanded casino to accommodate a total of 5,000 slot machines, an additional 200 luxury hotel rooms, and additional conference, entertainment and parking facilities. The plan also provides nearly 550 acres of green space.

The Supervisors attached a number of conditions to its vote. Conditions include securing local, county, state, and federal permits before construction and signing of a developer's agreement outlining the process by which Paradise Township will take over Woodland Road from the state.

Mount Airy is expected to open in the Fall of 2007 after the first phase of construction is completed. The resort will be run by a world-class team of gaming industry executives led by Paul Henderson, the former President and Chief Operating Officer of Caesars Atlantic City, the Atlantic City Hilton, and Trump Marina Hotel and Casino. The operations team has worked at more than 50 casinos and gaming companies worldwide, and has an extensive background in the development, design, opening and operation of gaming facilities.

Court Affirms Minnesota Racing Decision

 

Southwest Casino Corporation announced that on June 6, 2006 the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed a decision by the Ramsey County District Court granting summary judgment in favor of the Minnesota Racing Commission and North Metro Harness Initiative, LLC. The Court of Appeals upheld the District Court's decision to dismiss claims that the Racing Commission violated Minnesota's Open Meeting law when deciding to grant licenses to North Metro to develop and operate a harness racetrack and card room in Columbus Township, Anoka County, Minnesota. Southwest Casino Corporation owns a 50% membership interest in North Metro. MTR-Harness, Inc., a subsidiary of MTR Gaming Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:MNTG) also owns a 50% membership interest. The Appellate Court's decision may be appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The Minnesota Racing Commission voted to grant the licenses to North Metro in January of 2005, but an anti-gambling citizens group opposed to the development filed two lawsuits against the Commission in attempts to overturn the licenses and block the project. Today's Court of Appeals decision could be appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which would then have discretion to decide whether to hear the case. The Minnesota Supreme Court has not yet ruled on a request for review of a previous Court of Appeals decision upholding the Racing Commission's decision to grant racing licenses to North Metro.

Regarding yesterday's Court of Appeals decision, Jim Druck, CEO of Southwest Casino Corporation said, "We are once again delighted. The Court of Appeals has again confirmed what we always believed, that the Minnesota Commission acted properly when it decided to grant racing licenses to North Metro and that those licenses are valid and appropriate. While the litigation process continues, we are pleased to be another step closer to starting construction."

South Dakota Couple Collect Powerball Jackpot

 

As reported by the Argus Leader: "The winners of the $116.8 million Powerball jackpot - the largest lottery prize ever won in South Dakota - are a Pierre couple who used to operate the Colorful Nails salon. "Lan 'Bill' Nguyen, 37, and his wife Tina, 30, chose to receive their jackpot winnings as a one-time cash prize of $51,584,755. "After federal tax withholding, the couple's prize payment was $38,688,566. "Bill Nguyen purchased the winning ticket on May 17 at the Kum & Go store on West Sioux Avenue in Pierre, adjacent to Chikadily's Restaurant."

Court Rules Mega Millions Legal in California

 

As reported by the Sacramento Business Journal: "A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled late Tuesday that California's multi-state MEGA Millions game is legal and authorized to operate in California. "Judge Lloyd Connelly also ruled the Lottery Commission is operating lawfully and that the MEGA Millions operation in California does not require specific legislative approval. "The court acknowledged that a conflict may exist regarding different jackpot claim periods among partner states, and the court gave the Lottery a year to address this issue. The suit was brought against the Lottery Commission by the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion."

False Claim by Foreign Remote Gaming Company

 

The Lotteries and Gaming Authority would like to bring to your attention that a foreign remote gaming company by the name of Poker Ducks is claiming that it is being located in Malta and therefore winnings for EU citizens are tax free. The Authority would like to inform the public at large that the above statement is not true. Pokerducks.com has no connection whatsoever with the Maltese jurisdiction. The LGA strictly advices the public to play responsibly with companies licensed with reputable jurisdictions who have sound remote gaming regulations.

Bringing Down the House with Andy Bloch

 

Andy Bloch wasn't the only member of the MIT Blackjack Team that took casinos around the world for millions of dollars in the 90's, but the title of the novel that chronicles that incredible run - "Bringing Down the House," - could easily be assigned just to him. Since graduating from high school, Bloch has been inventing ways to bring down the house. Here's an easy way to measure his success: He has two degrees in electrical engineering from MIT and a law degree from Harvard, but has never used them. The casino is his office and the games provide his salary. Whether its blackjack, poker, or an obscure spread few people have ever even heard of, Bloch is constantly thinking of ways to make a profit from the house. Given enough time, chances are he'll figure a way to do it.

"Any casino game can be beat with the right strategy and the right amount of time," Bloch says. "The key is how much money can you expect to win and whether it's worth your time. You need to pick the most favorable situation and go with it."

Bloch believes blackjack gives gamers the best chance against the house, but it wasn't the first game he decided to attack with computer strategy and a team.

In the 90's, Foxwoods Resort and Casino offered a version of a little known game called Six-Card Wild Bill Hickok Poker. Due to its low popularity, Foxwoods altered the rules to make it more enticing.

When the rules changed, Bloch pounced. Using computer models, Bloch developed a strategy giving players a six percent edge against the casino. He put together a bankroll and a team of MIT friends and attacked the game.

It wasn't long before Foxwoods figured out what was happening.

"They caught on fairly quickly," Bloch says. "We were not losing at the expected rate and it's pretty obvious when the same guys are playing the same game all the time. They knew we were beating them, but they didn't know why. So they changed the rules."

Foxwoods no longer offers Hickok and Bloch said he hasn't found another casino spreading the altered version of the game. Although he believes there is still a way to grind out money at Hickok without the favorable rule change, the expected return is too low to warrant the hours of play needed to profit.

Bloch on Blackjack

Andy Bloch is among the few card-counting blackjack players willing to talk about their trade. Although he is among the best in the poker world, blackjack is where he has experienced the most success.

After convincing the world he could beat the casinos with his Hickok poker team, Bloch was invited to join the famed MIT blackjack team and eventually ended up captaining the group. Bloch said his team counts their total winnings in the millions.

"When people pool their money together, it means everyone in the team can bet more," Bloch says. "You really need a team to be most effective. It's not something you can learn in a day, but with lots of practice, it's possible to make good money."

Bloch says there are three parts to successful blackjack team play - basic blackjack strategy, card counting, and camouflage. Although Bloch believes it's highly ignored by most casual blackjack players, basic strategy, the first talent an aspiring professional needs to master, is available in any blackjack book.

Card counting is a different story. Various card-counting theories have been tested and tried at casinos over time, but they are difficult to grasp and impossible for some to master. Bloch believes anyone who can employ the skill can grab a serious advantage over the house. The problem is practice. Even knowing the art is not enough; you have to practice to become disciplined enough to employ the tactic.

"No one can watch my DVD or read a book, then go to the casino and win money," Bloch says. "These methods work and its possible to win millions playing blackjack, but it takes a lot of patience and practice to get to a point where you're a consistent winner under all the pressure."

The last part of the equation is perhaps the most difficult. Although it's not officially illegal, card counting will get a player banned from a casino and it's the job of the pit boss to look for people who are winning more than the casual player. Thus, camouflaging your ability is essential, making Bloch say the only way to make the big money is by employing a team of players who can shield the action from prying eyes.

"Some people in the team are there to count and others are there to make the bets when the time is right," Bloch says. "We use to have one big better that would bet only when signaled by the card counters. That way, the casino couldn't tell if the person betting was counting or not."

Bloch has been banned from numerous casinos in numerous countries. Nevada has a blacklist of cheats and degenerates who are not allowed in casinos, but because card counting is not illegal, Bloch said he's never been on one of those lists. If he's banned from a casino he simply moves to another and waits until a casino he's been banned from forgets who he is.

"I've been banned from most casinos that I've played in for any significant amount of time," Bloch says. "Fortunately, legally they can't ban you for a lifetime. The statute of limitations on those things runs out and casinos change ownership. There's ways to get back into a casino."

One particularly hairy moment for Bloch occurred in Monte Carlo. Traveling with his blackjack team, Bloch and friends took a casino for a significant amount of money before his luck ran out and the casino caught him.

Bloch's group was whisked out of the casino and forced to endure several hours of questioning. When his car was searched, Bloch was sure officials were going to plant evidence and have them arrested.

In the end, the team was released and Bloch is able to laugh about the incident now, but at the time, he admits to being more than a little afraid of his chances.

"It was scary when they were going through the trunk because we didn't know what they were willing to do," Bloch says. "But once we realized we were ok, we knew we'd have a good story to tell."

Bloch on Poker

Looking for another game to challenge his calculating mind, Bloch walked into the Foxwoods poker room in 1992.

He started small, buying-in to weekly $35 Limit Hold'Em tournaments. By the year's end, Bloch was competing in World Poker Finals events and won a $100 buy-in No Limit Texas hold'em contest. It was the very first time he'd played No-Limit and he found he had a talent for that version of poker.

Although poker was of secondary interest compared to blackjack and other gaming ventures, he became enamored with the game and eventually made the pilgrimage to play at the World Series of Poker in Vegas. He skipped his last week of law school classes to play in the 1997 Main Event, prompting several friends to joke that the classic poker film "Rounders" was loosely based on him.

When the World Poker Tour began five years ago, Andy Bloch was at a stage of his poker career where he didn't really care for the game anymore. Bored with the tournament lifestyle, Bloch was nearly ready to retire from the game and find a new hobby. The prospect of competing on a compelling poker television program changed his mind.

It was a good choice. In the first WPT season, Bloch made the final table at the Foxwoods Resort Casino World Poker Finals and the Commerce Casino L.A. Poker Classic. He finished third in both events, moving him from a well-known player in professional poker circles to household name in poker's growing fandom.

His success and computer skills prompted the Full Tilt poker team to offer him a sponsorship. Although he no longer plays in WPT events because of contractual disagreements, he can be seen at high profile tournaments around the globe sporting his Full Tilt hockey jersey and raking in big pots.

He no longer wants to retire from poker and he plans to play in most of the 2006 World Series events, hoping to shed the stigma of being one of the better players who's never won a WSOP bracelet.

Bloch on Blackjack versus Poker

If forced to pick a favorite between blackjack and poker, Bloch says it would be impossible to chose because his strategies for each are so different.

"I think I enjoy them equally as well," Bloch says. "Both involve gambling and cards, but one (blackjack) is a cat and mouse game where you're trying to get a nibble of cheese and the casino is the cat and they're trying to kill you and eat all of the cheese themselves. Poker is more of an athletic contest between individual players."

Expounding on the differences between his two best games, Bloch said he likes to play poker sometimes because he doesn't have to worry about what he looks like, who's trying to catch him, and what casino he's allowed to play at. Likewise, being sneaky is thrilling as well and he still gets a "kick out of playing blackjack for big money."

"It's harder for me to play especially since my part with the MIT blackjack team is so well known," Bloch said. "I play blackjack sometimes and people recognize me as a poker player. I can use that to my advantage and distract them, especially if I'm part of a team. If I'm recognized, I can distract the floor person from the person betting the big money. I've used that trick before."

In June, Bloch is joining forces with Expert Insight creator and professional poker player Phil Gordon to run the Las Vegas Academy, a one day workshop for players interested in learning about high level Texas Hold'Em or blackjack play. Bloch will share the same information provided in his DVD, "Beating Blackjack" plus additional information only available to attendees. Gordon's poker segment follows Bloch's morning classes. The academy costs $199 for both sets of instruction. For more information visit www.expertinsight.com.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ohio Developer Files for Gambling Vote

 

As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer: "The developer seeking to build a hotel with slot machines at Broadway Commons has filed a new petition seeking statewide voter approval of gambling - for a third time. "Kim Norris, spokeswoman for Attorney General Jim Petro, said the petition was filed late Friday. It contains more than 3,200 signatures. "Last Tuesday, Petro rejected a petition from hotelier Louis Beck and Queen City Gaming Entertainment because it had 83 fewer voters' names than 1,000-signature minimum. ".An additional 323,000 signatures are needed by Aug. 9 to place the issue on the Nov. 7 ballot. But they can't be collected until Petro approves petition language and the initial signatures. His office has 10 working days from Friday to complete its review."

North Carolina Video Gambling Ban Passes

 

As reported by the Charlotte Observer: "State senators voted Monday to end video poker gambling throughout most of North Carolina next year, ending a seven-year battle to rid the state of a form of gambling that opponents have described as a scourge. "'If you have a cause you believe in, stick with it,' said Sen. Charlie Albertson, D-Duplin, who has led the Senate fight against the gaming machines. The proposal he endorsed bans video poker everywhere except casinos on Cherokee land. "Senators have made banning video poker a mission -- voting to rid the state of the gambling machines five times since 2000, the year South Carolina banned them. After each of the first four votes, those senators ran into opposition from Mecklenburg's most powerful lawmaker, House Speaker Jim Black.

"Black, a Matthews Democrat, capitulated a few weeks ago as another form of gambling -- a state lottery -- has taken off and as the speaker's political fortunes have waned.

".A compromise Black proposed two weeks ago will force video poker operators to sell some of their machines every four months and have all of them out of the state by July 2007. A Senate plan proposed earlier this year would have rid the state of all the machines by December.

".The bill now goes to Gov. Mike Easley, who is expected to sign it."

WSOP Reveals Redesigned Products

 

The most prestigious symbol in all of poker will have a new look in 2006. For more than 36 years, winning a gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker(R) has stood as the game's ultimate accomplishment. The 37th annual World Series of Poker, which runs from June 25 to August 10 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, will feature redesigned winners' bracelets as well as a champion's bracelet as unique as the honor of wearing it. "It's impossible to overstate the value of a World Series of Poker gold bracelet to anyone who takes the game seriously: It is the equivalent of winning the Stanley Cup in hockey or the Lombardi Trophy in football," said World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "The champion's bracelet at the 37th annual World Series of Poker will be the best ever - something the winner will take pride in for a lifetime."

TRITON Jewelry, a division of Frederick Goldman, Inc., is developing the bracelets and a specialized line of jewelry for men and women modeled on its design. The new line, which will consist of pendants, bracelets, cuff links, rings, a key ring and a money clip, will feature the World Series of Poker logo and be thematically consistent with the champion's bracelet. The new line of jewelry will be available at independent jewelers and merchants in the fall.

This year's World Series of Poker will feature a total of 45 events in which players will have an opportunity to win a gold bracelet. Forty-four winner bracelets will be crafted from 14-karat yellow gold, enhanced with full-cut white diamonds. The center plaque is hand set with 66 diamonds weighing one-third of a carat and is supported by roughly 35 grams of solid diamond cut rope chain.

The champion's bracelet - bestowed upon the winner of the $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold'em Main Event - will be crafted from 14-karat white and yellow gold, with full-cut white diamonds. The plaque is handset with 170 hand-picked diamonds weighing more than six carats. The bracelet's center features uniquely shaped precious color stones to represent the suit designs - a heart-shaped ruby for the Heart suit, a princess cut-shaped ruby for the Diamond suit, a heart-shaped black sapphire for the Spade suit and three round black diamonds for the Club suit. The bracelet's plaque is supported by roughly 58 grams of solid diamond cut rope chain.

"This is a great opportunity for retailers to bring the appeal and excitement of the World Series of Poker home in a personal statement of individual style," said Jonathan Goldman, chairman of Frederick Goldman, Inc.

The World Series of Poker is the largest, richest and most prestigious live poker event in the world. In 2005, players from more than 40 nations took part in the World Series of Poker, generating a total prize pool in excess of $103 million. Main Event champion Joseph Hachem took home a record payday of $7.5 million.

Frederick Goldman, Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers of jewelry in North America. The company's brands include Goldman, ArtCarved, Diana Classic, Lyric and Triton.

Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is the world's largest provider of branded casino entertainment through operating subsidiaries. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada 68 years ago, Harrah's has grown through development of new properties, expansions and acquisitions. Harrah's Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its customers through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership.

Horse Betting is Out of the Gate

 

As reported by Wisc News: "Though the new off-track betting parlor at the Ho-Chunk Casino has only been open a month, it's already earned a following of old-timers who wager on horse and greyhound races - and get a little bantering in on the side. "'This is first class - probably the best in Wisconsin that I've seen,' said Madisonian Paul Hammersley, who's been betting on horses for 60 years and now treks to the casino a few times a week. "...The Ho-Chunk betting parlor, housed in a circus-tent-shaped dome built in 1995, is the largest in the Upper Midwest at 11,000 square feet. Thoroughbred, harness and dog races from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to the Indiana Downs are simul-cast on 33 flat-screen TVs Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight.

"The betting center opened just in time for the May 6 Kentucky Derby and had a standing-room only crowd for that race, said racebook manager Sheridan Cloud.

"...Off-track betting was a natural, though well-researched, addition for the tribe, said executive administrative officer John Stoddard..."

Celebrity Poker Tournament Helps Brain Tumor Research

 

Drawing on the soaring popularity of poker, The Tug McGraw Foundation is gathering an all-star team of entertainment and sports celebrities to challenge their guests playing Texas Hold 'Em at the Foundation's annual gala event, "An Evening with Tim McGraw & Friends: Honoring Those Who Make a Difference," on November 3rd, 2006, at The Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Guests will be playing for a trip to Las Vegas and a seat at the table in the World Series of Poker. "This is shaping up to be a very special evening, one that will both entertain and inspire people," said Tim McGraw, the Grammy-winning country singer whose father, Tug McGraw, the famed Phillies and Mets relief pitcher, died from brain cancer in 2004. "In addition to trying their hand at poker, guests will enjoy a live stage show, live and silent auctions, and an awards ceremony honoring people who have helped to improve the quality of life for brain tumor patients and their families."

Returning as Master of Ceremonies, legendary baseball analyst and commentator, Bob Costas, will recognize this year's honorees: Chicago White Sox First Baseman, Jim Thome; one of the leading brain tumor researchers in the world, Dr. Darrel Bigner; President of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tom Muldoon; and Chairman of the Philadelphia Phillies, Bill Giles.

The celebrity poker players include former Chicago Bear Super Bowl winning quarterback, Jim McMahon. "I was a huge fan of Tug McGraw's and was inspired by his tremendous courage. I'm happy to raise funds for research that helps brain tumor patients live better," said McMahon.

Last year, approximately 400 guests attended the gala, which was held at Gotham Hall in New York City. George Bodenheimer, President of ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, accepted an award on behalf of ESPN, Inc. for its work to support brain tumor research. Awards were also given to Rusty Staub, Tug's friend and teammate with the New York Mets, and Tim McGraw, the Tug McGraw Foundation's Honorary Chairman. McGraw's band, the Dancehall Doctors, performed along with Hot Apple Pie and the Warren Brothers.

Sportsbook.com Favors Mavericks

 

The match-up is set and the odds are up! According to Sportsbook.com, the largest sportsbook and casino in the world, the Larry O'Brien Trophy will be awarded to the Dallas Mavericks in seven games. Current odds for game one have the Mavs favored as a -205 bet with the Heat sitting at +125. The last time the two teams met, Miami suffered its worst loss in the regular season (76-112) at the hands of a punishing Mavericks offence. The Miami squad has since declared and proven that they are a cohesive team that will not breakdown - the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons are evidence of that.

Statistically speaking, Dwayne Wade is the best player still on the court in the NBA, and with Shaquille O'Neal dominating the paint Miami will be a force. Wade is listed at 2-1 to be the series MVP, O'Neal is a 7-2 bet.

But the Mavs can certainly answer back with a deep bench and quickness that is lacking in the Heat line-up. Pressure will be on Udonis Haslem to contain prolific scorer, and MVP favourite Dirk Nowitzki, listed at 10-13. Across the court, swingman Josh Howard (10-1) will be called upon to shut down D-Wade.

"History is being made with the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Final for the first time," said Alex Czajkowski, Sportsbook.com. "Everybody bets and sportsbook.com has plenty of wagering options to add to the excitement from series odds, to player props and live in-game betting."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Vernon Downs License Decision Today

 

As reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard: "Vernon Downs may get permission today to start racing for the first time since 2004. "The state Racing and Wagering Board will consider whether to give the track licenses to begin racing and simulcasting..."

Clooney Project is Sold

 

As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "The 25-acre Las Ramblas project on Harmon Avenue has been sold to Las Vegas-based developer Edge Resorts for $202 million, an executive said Sunday. "Las Ramblas, a joint venture between Las Vegas-based Centra Properties and The Related Cos. of Florida, was announced in early 2005 as a $3 billion mixed-use project that would include 4,000 condo-hotel units, upscale shopping and restaurants. "Centra and Related paid $75 million for the property, currently the site of the Harbor Island apartments.

"Actor George Clooney and nightclub owner Rande Gerber were brought on as partners to help make Las Ramblas a hip destination in Las Vegas, strategically located between the Hard Rock hotel and the new W Las Vegas hotel being developed by Starwood Worldwide and Edge Resorts.

"Adam Frank, principal of Edge Resorts, said the new project, known as Edge East, will be developed as a complementary master plan to the W Las Vegas hotel..."

Courts Rule Against Thunderbird Resorts

 

Thunderbird Resorts, Inc. ("Thunderbird") announces: In Chile, Thunderbird is participating in public bids to secure new casino licenses. Under the new Chilean casino law, up to 17 new licenses are in the process of being awarded in 2006. The Company has had a very active business development presence in Chile since July 2003, with the objective of securing 2 to 4 new licenses. The Company has been engaged in a "legal challenge" against the Superintendent of Casinos who excluded the Company from the bid process nearly 9 months ago.The Company filed for "protection recourse" in its quest to be included as a bidder in the Chile Bid Process. On April 5, 2006, the Santiago Court of Appeals unanimously ruled (3-0) in favor of Thunderbird's petitions against the Chilean Gaming Commission's resolutions that had excluded Thunderbird from the casino bid process. The Court of Appeals found that the Gaming Commission's resolutions were arbitrary and illegal. The Chilean Gaming Commission thereafter appealed the decision to the Chilean Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has ruled against Thunderbird by a 4 to 1 decision based on "admissibility grounds".

Albert Atallah, General Counsel, commented that, "The Company is disappointed that the Supreme Court did not reach the merits of the case;" further that, "(W)e are analyzing the effect of the ruling and are considering additional legal recourse on the merits with the understanding that the Chilean Supreme Court has made a final determination on the protection recourse remedy exclusively on admissibility grounds."

The Supreme Court decision to overturn the Court of Appeals' ruling was made without having considered the substantive merits of Thunderbird's case. However, the effect of the Supreme Court ruling is that the Company is now excluded from the bid process.

Thunderbird Resorts is a successful recreational property developer and operator in each of its markets. Thunderbird Resorts' success is based upon creating genuine value for the community and for its employees and shareholders. Thunderbird Resorts achieves its mission by offering customers dynamic, themed and integrated venues anchored by casinos and gaming facilities.

Illinois House Speaker Questions Lottery Sale

 

As reported by the Lincoln Courier: "House Speaker Michael Madigan is raising his own questions about the proposed sale of the state lottery, casting a potential shadow over Gov. Rod Blagojevich's plan for a quick but temporary fix for school funding. "In a letter to Blagojevich that was also sent to all Illinois lawmakers, Madigan listed eight questions he said must be answered, including what will happen to schools when an initial influx of $4 billion is exhausted after four years. ".Blagojevich wants to sell or lease the state lottery, which he said will bring $10 billion to state government. Of that, $6 billion will be invested in an annuity to provide the state about $650 million a year for the next 17 years. That will replace the profits the state gets now from lottery sales. ".Madigan also questioned how the administration determined that the lottery would fetch at least $10 billion if sold or leased to a private operator. Blagojevich officials said the numbers came from the investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs after evaluating the potential sale."

New Mexico Lottery Names Interim CEO

 

As reported by the New Mexican: "The New Mexico Lottery Authority's board of directors Thursday decided it liked Tom Romero enough as the lottery's interim chief executive officer to offer him $165,000 a year to stay as CEO. ".Romero, 48, has not accepted the position because the terms of his three-year contract are still being negotiated. Board members said the contract would include a base salary of $165,000 a year and future "merit-based" compensation. "Lottery officials expect the contract to be finalized by the next board meeting, which is scheduled for June 15. ".Romero will oversee the daily operations of the lottery and its 62 employees. The lottery is a quasi-governmental organization that pays for its operating budget out of ticket sales rather than state revenues."

Manitoba Casino Investigators Laid Off

 

As reported by the CJOB News: "Manitoba Lotteries has laid-off 16 casino investigators. "Vice President of Corporation Security Gerry Boose tells CJOB the move will save MLC around one million dollars annually. ".He says those responsibilities will now be covered by security guards at the casinos and corporate investigators."

Monday, June 05, 2006

Black Oak Casino, California Tribe Sponsor Golf Tournament

 

Black Oak Casino and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk are pleased to announce their two-year commitment as presenting sponsor of the 2006 Northern California Open Championship. This prestigious three-day event set for September 25 - 27, includes a Senior Open Championship to be played at Diablo Grande Resort (Patterson, CA) with the NCO Pro-Am and Northern California Open Championship to be conducted at the nationally-ranked Saddle Creek Resort in Copperopolis, CA. "We are so pleased to be able to partner with The Northern California PGA on this tournament, one that is rich in Northern California golf tradition," said Al O'Brien, Marketing Manager at Black Oak Casino. "It serves as a symbol in our commitment to golf and a prelude to our own golf resort development on Tribal property, in Tuolumne, CA."

The Northern California Open Championship began in 1920 and has been under the direction and sponsorship of the NCPGA since 1962.

"We are very pleased that Saddle Creek will serve as the premier venue for this years event," said NCPGA Tournament Director Nancy Maul, "and with the support of Black Oak Casino we are confident that the championship will continue to attract top players throughout the Western United States."

Las Vegas Sands Gets Loan for Macau

 

Las Vegas Sands Corp. has secured a $2.5 billion financing package to fund its gaming projects in Macau. Analysts consider the loan, which comes from six different banks, to be the largest single credit facility ever given to a nongovernment entity in China. The loaned money will be used to fund an expansion of the casino at the existing Sands Macau and for construction of the $3 billion Venetian Macau, now under construction on Cotai, which is just minutes south of Macau by car. The Sands expansion is expected to finish this year; the Venetian Macau is scheduled to open in 2007. A portion of the money also will be used to build a 400-room Four Seasons hotel adjacent to the Venetian Macau.

"The primary purpose (of the loan) was the Venetian Macau, but this goes a long way toward our financing initiatives in China," Las Vegas Sands Chief Financial Officer Scott Henry said this week.

The loan package consists of a $1.2 billion seven-year term loan, a $700 million six-year term loan, a $100 million five-year term loan and $500 million in a five-year revolving credit line.

Las Vegas Sands, through company Chairman Sheldon Adelson, is directing development of the Cotai Strip. The company controls seven land parcels on Cotai and has encouraged some of the world's largest hotel companies to open locations on the developing area.

North American hotel companies, such as Hilton, Starwood and Four Seasons, will join Asian hotel company Shangri-La to bring some of the world's most recognizable brands -- Sheraton, St. Regis, Intercontinental, Conrad and Holiday Inn -- to Cotai.

Las Vegas Sands will build the hotel projects. The hotel operators will manage their own rooms and restaurants while Las Vegas Sands will run the properties' casinos and showrooms.

By decade's end, Cotai is expected to be home to more than 20,000 hotel rooms, casinos, showrooms, restaurants, convention space, retail and a 15,000-seat sports arena.

The loan deal was signed last week, the same day the Singapore government awarded Las Vegas Sands the rights to build a $3.6 billion casino and resort in the city-state.

Henry said the company filed a form 8-K with the U.S. Securities and Exchange to announce the loan package, so the deal wouldn't compete with the Singapore casino announcement.

Goldman Sachs Credit Partners was the leading financial institution on the loan and was joined by Lehman Bros., Citigroup Global, Bank of Nova Scotia in Canada, Banco Nacional Ultramarino from Portugal and Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The Standard, a Chinese business newspaper, reported that Las Vegas Sands spent six months seeking banks willing to fund its concept of transforming Macau into a convention and resort destination.

Henry said Citigroup is making its initial entry into the Chinese gaming market.

Citigroup managing director Evan Ladouceur said the financial institution believes in what Las Vegas Sands is trying to do in China.

"This is the first transaction in Macau for Citigroup, but we have a lot of respect for Las Vegas Sands and their execution in Macau and on Cotai.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands may have no trouble financing its Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. According to a story in the International Herald Tribune, the company has received between six and nine lending proposals for the project, which includes a 2,500-room hotel, 1 million square feet of convention space and 1 million square feet of retail.

Several of the same banks financing Las Vegas Sands in China have offered to participate in Singapore.

Las Vegas Sands President Bill Weidner said the company would finance the project without the Singapore government's help.

On Thursday, Las Vegas Sands shares closed at $70.95 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange, up 34 cents or 0.48 percent.

Unibet Launches GTS' Football HiLo Game

 

Unibet, the international online gambling operator, will launch GTS' World Cup-themed Football HiLo game as a part of their massive promotion for Germany 2006. As a fantastically attractive centrepiece, all players that stake at least ?1 and score at least one goal in the game during a specified week will be entered into a draw in which they can win a ticket to the World Cup Final. The new game by GTS, the leading global supplier of open end-to-end soft e-gaming solutions, merges the highly popular 'HiLo' format with the globally popular sport of football. Players must guess correctly whether the next shirt number will be higher or lower and pass their way up the pitch in an attempt to score a goal. A progressive stake is placed upon their choice of higher or lower. This fun and colourful game has massively wide appeal and provides a high turnover gaming opportunity.

This latest game adds to a host of top titles that GTS already supplies Unibet with, as well as providing them with their patented EdGE platform.

Football HiLo will be firstly launched in a World Cup-orientated skin to coincide with Germany 2006 before returning to a standardised 'club football' skin after the tournament has ended. This highlights GTS' unique ability to produce games in a promotional context at the request of their clients. The game will also be launched in twenty-five languages.

Packer, Ho Hit Jackpot

 

As reported by the Australian: "Three months after James Packer and his Hong Kong joint venture partner Lawrence Ho agreed to spend $US900 million ($1.2 billion) buying a Macau casino licence, it is now valued at $US1.36 billion. "The valuation, done by Hong Kong firm American Appraisal, was released to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange this week as Mr Ho's company Melco moved to raise $200 million to help fund its Macau casino ventures. ".A full casino licence, which will extend to June 2022, will allow the partners to open as many casinos with as many gaming tables and poker machines as they like in Macau.

"The valuation report estimates that their Macau casino licence could be worth anywhere from $US865 million, in a worst case scenario, to a high of $US1.928 billion.

".PBL and Melco are building a $300 million six-star Crown Macau hotel-casino, which is expected to open in April next year."

Bodog.com Offers Ebert & Roeper Review Odds

 

Two thumbs up at the movies could mean a fistful of dollars for bettors. This week, Bodog.com has started to offer wagers on whether Chicago Sun-Times film critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper will give favorable, mixed or unfavorable reviews during their weekly syndicated television show. "In providing a narrative critique, filled with lively debate and sometimes even a little lighthearted banter, film critics Ebert and Roeper have become a pop-culture phenomenon," says Bodog.com's Founder and CEO Calvin Ayre, who recently starred in a major network television show of his own, Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker Series . "We are all film critics to some degree and since most of us will never get a chance to make our movie picks on national TV, having a small stake in the outcome of Ebert and Roeper's recommendations is the next best thing."

Bettors can begin making their predictions on how movies will fare with this week's episode of "Ebert & Roeper", which will feature reviews of "The Omen" and "The Break-up". The maximum amount that can be wagered on Bodog.com's novelty props is $100.

The odds for "The Omen" in the Bodog.com Sportsbook are:

Two Thumbs Up - 1/1

Two Thumbs Down - 3/2

Split Decision - 8/5

For "The Break-up", the odds are:

Two Thumbs Up - 9/5

Two Thumbs Down - 3/2

Split Decision - 1/1

"The Omen" is a remake of the 1976 horror classic that starred Gregory Peck. The updated version premieres on Tuesday and stars Julia Stiles as the mother of the devil child named Damien. In "The Break-up", which opens on June 9, Jennifer Aniston stars with off-screen love interest Vince Vaughn in a romantic comedy.

After hearing the news of weekly wagers being offered on his reviews, Roeper commented on the issue in his column in Thursday's Sun-Times.

"You're probably hoping I'll give you the results in advance so you can take advantage of a sure thing - but those movies won't be reviewed until this weekend's `Ebert & Roeper,' and as everyone knows, we do the show live on Saturday night, in the balcony of a real movie theater," he wrote.

For a list of all the odds, and a host of other reality show and entertainment props, see: Bodog.com

Rhode Island Voters to Decide Casino Issue

 

As reported by the Newport Daily: "Barring a successful legal challenge, casino proponents will be spinning the electoral roulette wheel this November to see if voters will approve an amendment to the constitution allowing a privately run casino in the state. "The Senate approved the constitutional referendum, 23-13. Unlike all other legislation, the governor does not have veto power over constitutional questions, so the issue will head to the ballot unless it is challenged in court. "The vote came after 90 minutes of debate and after supporters narrowly defeated a proposed amendment to open the casino license to competitive bidding. As worded, the resolution would, if approved, put into the constitution a provision granting one casino license to 'the Narragansett Indian tribe and its chosen partner.' The tribe has a partnership with Harrah's Entertainment to run the casino. The referendum also stipulates that all state revenue from the casino be dedicated to property tax relief.

"Tribe Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas was surprisingly subdued following the vote. Addressing reporters, Thomas said he was pleased with the Senate vote.

".Rep. Timothy A. Williamson, D-West Warwick, the bill's sponsor, said he was 'happy' that the issue appeared to be heading for the ballot, but said he expected some group would mount a legal challenge.

".Gov. Donald L. Carcieri quickly issued a statement blasting the vote and said his legal team would be reviewing the legislation to determine if a court challenge is justified."

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sun International Won't Bid for Singapore License

 

As reported by Reuters: "Top South African casino operator Sun International said on Friday it would not submit a bid for the second of Singapore's two planned casino resorts, narrowing the number of contenders for the billion-dollar project.

"Sun said the Singapore development would involve too great a diversion of its resources, adding that it was focusing on two "high-potential projects" in the UK.

"The group, owner of South Africa's glitzy Sun City resort, said it was looking to expand in other African countries, including Nigeria.

"…Bids for the second casino, slated for Singapore's resort island of Sentosa, are due in October. Sun's pullout leaves three confirmed bidding groups…"

Casino Site Vandalized

 

As reported by the Bellingham Herald: "The site of the Nooksack Indian Tribe's planned casino was vandalized with more than 100 aluminum nails spread across the driveway entrance.

"Larry Mount, chief of Nooksack Tribal Police, said the nails were 'systematically spread across the whole driveway' for 8 to 10 feet. They were placed there between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

"…The tribe's plans to build a casino at Northwood and Halverstick roads have sparked heated opposition. The site is on tribal land north of Lynden and in the middle of an agricultural area.

"…Mike Wootan, manager of the Nooksack River Casino in Deming, said he wasn't surprised about the vandalism because he had heard threatening comments previously…"

Sportsbook.com Pick Carolina to Win Cup

 

Coming off a 4-3 series win over the never-say-die Buffalo Sabres, the Eastern Conference champion Carolina Hurricanes are -135 favorites to win the Stanley Cup, according to odds makers at Sportsbook.com, the world's largest online sportsbook and casino.

The Hurricanes, making their second trip in four seasons to the Stanley Cup final, will be looking to engrave their names on Lord Stanley's coveted trophy for the first time in franchise history. Meanwhile the Edmonton Oilers, listed as the underdog at +115, are hoping to spoil the Hurricanes' plans and bring the Stanley Cup back to the "city of champions" for the first time in sixteen years.

"This could be a final for the history books, especially if the Oilers upset the 'Canes," said Alex Czajkowski, Marketing Director Sportsbook.com. "Everybody bets on the Stanley Cup final and while Carolina is the favorite, all eyes will be on Edmonton to see if they can return to their 1980's dynasty days."

Sportsbook.com is also offering odds on who will take home the Conn Smythe Trophy - the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Carolina's rookie goaltending sensation Cam Ward is the 4-1 favorite, while Dwayne Roloson, the Oilers' netminder with a current playoff .931 save percentage, is right behind Ward at 9-2.

The first puck of the series drops in Carolina on Monday, June 5, 2006.

Niagara Casinos President Named

 

Art Frank, former President and CEO of Casino Rama, has been named President of Niagara Casinos by the board of directors of Falls Management Company (FMC).

As President of Niagara Casinos, Mr. Frank will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of both Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara.

While with Casino Rama, Mr. Frank spearheaded expansion including an entertainment centre, an all-suite hotel, restaurants and a spa. Casino Rama experienced record financial success over the past three years while under Mr. Frank's charge.

Prior to his tenure at Casino Rama, Mr. Frank served as Sr. Vice President, Gaming Division, Carnival Resorts & Casinos, responsible for all U.S. and Caribbean casino operations and development of new projects.

"Mr. Frank's in-depth gaming experience and knowledge of the Ontario gaming market will prove to be important assets in his leadership role with Niagara Casinos, building on the current success of Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara," said Clare Copeland, CEO, FMC.

Mr. Frank's appointment is effective July 1, 2006.

Falls Management Company is a consortium of five firms which was selected by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to operate Casino Niagara; and to finance, design, build and operate Fallsview Casino Resort.

Built on a cliff overlooking the world-famous Horseshoe Falls, Fallsview Casino Resort is the largest and most elegant gaming resort facility in Canada and the crown jewel in Niagara's stunning array of wonders. It features a casino with over 3,000 slot machines and 142 gaming tables, a 374-room luxury hotel, a full-service spa and fitness centre, a 1,500-seat showroom, dozens of dining and shopping options, over 30,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, the only wedding chapel in a Canadian gaming facility and the brand new nightclub 'Dragonfly.'

Opened to the public on December 9, 1996, Casino Niagara remains a cornerstone of the tourism and nightlife scenes in Niagara Falls, Canada. In 2005, Casino Niagara underwent $12 million in renovations and is today home to more than 1,800 slot machines, 80 gaming tables, a 15-table poker room, a new steakhouse called "Lucky's," an expanded Market Buffet, two new bars called "Quench" and "Corona," an on-site radio broadcast centre, a stage for live entertainment right on the gaming floor, a Yuk Yuk's comedy club and "The Sports Section" - Canada's only casino-based facility dedicated to multi- sports wagering and off-track betting.

Saskatchewan Government Relaxes Charitable Gaming Rules

 

As reported by the Canadian Press: "The Saskatchewan government will soon allow charitable organizations to raise extra money by holding poker tournaments and gaming nights.

"Relaxed rules are part of a two-part provincial strategy to help charities, which have struggled in recent years because of declines in gaming-related revenues, said Deb Higgins, minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority…"

Calgary Catholic Schools Debate Gambling Funding

 

As reported by the CBC News: "Trustees with the Calgary Catholic School District will debate on Wednesday the issue of raising funds through gambling, a practice the city's bishop has called morally problematic.

"Bishop Fred Henry sent a letter to the board last December outlining his concerns. Cathie Williams, the chair of the board trustees, said she is praying for a compromise on the issue that doesn't sacrifice one principle for the other.

"Trustees have consulted with school councils on the issue during the last month. While some have supported the bishop's request, Williams says others are worried what the lack in funding will mean for certain programs…"

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Centrebet Looks to Raise $70 Million

 

As reported by the Age: "Online wagering and gaming company Centrebet is placing its bets on a new generation of sport and poker lovers as it looks to raise $70 million and list on the stock market. "The company, owned by Sydney's wealthy Kafataris family, expects to list on the Australian Stock Exchange on July 12, after offering 35.11 million shares at $2.00 each to the public. "The family bought the Alice Springs based-Centrebet from Jupiters Casino in 2003 for $46.5 million. "Centrebet expects to have a market capitalisation of $174 million upon listing. ".Centrebet has a current client base of more than 60,000 active customers across Australia and Europe."

Last Call for Video Poker in North Carolina

 

As reported by the Jackson Daily News: "Sheriff Ed Brown, a longtime supporter of a proposed ban on video-poker machines, said Wednesday's House vote to approve a phaseout of the gambling machines by summer 2007 is the right move. "'It should have been done a long time ago,' he said. "The state House passed the measure with a resounding 114-1 vote Wednesday. The bill is now pending in the state Senate, where a vote is expected on Monday. The Senate has passed similar measures in previous sessions but lacked House support for such action to become law. "Currently, video poker machines aren't illegal; there are about 10,000 legal machines in the state. An establishment can only have a maximum of three machines and must register them with their county sheriff's department. "The problem is that many machines are operated illegally, either by not registering them or by giving out cash prizes to winners instead of the legal $10 merchandise prize."

Halifax Casino Adds New Features

 

As reported by the Chronicle Herald: "Security cameras using facial recognition technology will soon scan everyone coming through the doors of the newly renovated Casino Nova Scotia. "A digital security system and facial recognition technology, costing $3 million, are just part of $20 million in renovations being conducted at the Halifax casino by Great Canadian Gaming Corp., a casino and horse-racing company. ".The casino now has 720 video lottery machines, down from the previous 750, but about half of those machines are new. Instead of eating and spitting out coins, the machines have a 'ticket in and ticket out' technology. If a patron wins, the ticket may be redeemed at a cash station. Some penny and two-cent machines have also been added.

"A new eight-table poker room is proving to be highly popular among patrons, he said.

"The company has closed the restaurant TGIF and opened its new signature restaurant, Trapeze, and added Java Jazz, a 24-hour cafe. Live music and entertainment are available all day at the casino's lounge, and [Howard Blank, the company's vice-president of media and entertainment,] said entertainment is expected to be a big drawing card."

32Red Acquires Bet Direct

 

UK Casino and Poker Operator 32Red today announced the acquisition of Bet Direct from Sportech Plc, for a total of £11 million plus account liabilities. Bet Direct is one of the largest independent telephone and internet betting businesses in the UK, offering telephone, internet, interactive TV and mobile sports betting, as well as online casino, poker and fixed odds games. The buy-out of the Liverpool based firm brings with it a strong database of customers, as well as excellent infrastructure, notably employees, software and content feeds. Ed Ware, CEO of 32Red Plc, commented: "The acquisition of Bet Direct fits the strategic objectives of 32Red extremely well providing a much enlarged customer database and the ability to offer the full portfolio of betting and gaming products through a variety of distribution channels. Our combined UK focus has enabled both management teams to identify areas of marketing cross-over, area for review and customer recruitment and retention opportunities."

"We welcome the staff and management of Bet Direct to the Group and look forward to an exciting period of growth and development."

This latest news from 32Red comes on the back of their float in September 2005 on to the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) as well as the announcement in April of this year that 32Red.com will be the official club sponsors of Aston Villa Football Club for the 2006/07 and 2007/08 seasons.

Centrebet Looks to Raise $70 Million

 

As reported by the Age: "Online wagering and gaming company Centrebet is placing its bets on a new generation of sport and poker lovers as it looks to raise $70 million and list on the stock market. "The company, owned by Sydney's wealthy Kafataris family, expects to list on the Australian Stock Exchange on July 12, after offering 35.11 million shares at $2.00 each to the public. "The family bought the Alice Springs based-Centrebet from Jupiters Casino in 2003 for $46.5 million. "Centrebet expects to have a market capitalisation of $174 million upon listing. ".Centrebet has a current client base of more than 60,000 active customers across Australia and Europe."

Turning Stone Casino Remains Open

 

As reported by the Albany Times Union: "Despite its murky legal status, Turning Stone casino won't be closed, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Thursday. "In his most protracted remarks since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the land under the casino is taxable, and therefore not sovereign territory, Spitzer said the thorny problem of its continued operation is difficult to resolve. ".He said the Oneida Indian Nation, which has operated the casino since 1993, had an apparent right and belief it was operating legally, having received a gaming compact from Gov. Mario Cuomo. State court rulings have rendered the compact illegal because the Legislature never ratified it.

".The next governor will likely inherit the issue of the legality of gambling at Turning Stone. Gov. George Pataki has been trying to get federal authorities to offer guidance. The federal government suggests the state attempt to resolve the matter as part of its land claim negotiations with the Oneida.."

Greektown Tangled in Red Tap

 

As reported by the Detroit News: "While MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity casinos are working furiously to build lavish new permanent hotel-gaming complexes, Greektown Casino remains tangled in red tape that has prevented it from placing its first shovel in the ground. "The delays could end up costing Greektown Casino tens of millions of dollars in revenue. Both MGM and MotorCity already have started signing up conventions and events at the new facilities for 2008 and beyond. "MotorCity broke ground on its $275 million permanent facility late last year and expects to open by late 2007 or early 2008. It will use its current temporary casino as part of the structure. The $765 million MGM permanent facility, the only one being built from the ground up, broke ground earlier this year and is expected to open in early 2008.

"Greektown still expects to open its permanent facility by 2008, but is almost certain to trail its competitors.

"Trailing the pack is nothing new for Greektown. By the time it opened its temporary casino in 2000, its two competitors had been open a year and had raked in more than $900 million in gambling revenue. Greektown has never caught up, remaining a distant third among the three casinos in gambling revenue.

".Greektown is still at least several weeks away from receiving site plan approval from the Detroit City Planning Commission."

Friday, June 02, 2006

Illinois Track Subsidy Faces Challenges

 

As reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal: "A potential $10 million subsidy for Arlington Park, Churchill Downs Inc.'s Chicago-area racetrack, faces a challenge from casino operators, who contend that a new Illinois law is unconstitutional. "Last Friday, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the bill, which calls for a two-year subsidy of horse racing by riverboat casinos. "Yesterday, casino operators told the Illinois state treasurer that they will make payments under protest and that they will test the law's constitutionality, said Mickey Ezzo, a spokesman for the Illinois Racing Board. ".Under the law, Illinois racetracks will receive the subsidy -- expected to yield $36 million a year -- based on the state's four largest riverboat casinos' paying 3 percent of adjusted gross receipts to a Horse Racing Equity Trust Fund. ".Arlington spokesman Thom Serafin said the casinos had threatened litigation on the issue before yesterday. ".The new subsidy is intended to help the horse-racing industry counter declines in business since casinos opened in Illinois."

California Gambling Revenue Rises

 

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle: "Gambling in California, fueled in large part by the expansion of Indian casinos, has grown into an industry worth more than $13 billion a year, according to a report released Wednesday by the state attorney general. "Indian casino revenue made up the biggest single chunk, with an estimated $5.78 billion in 2004, the latest year for which figures were available, the 181-page report said. Researchers found modest revenue benefits to state and local governments. "For example, from 2001 to 2004, tribal casinos contributed $154.6 million into a pair of state revenue-sharing funds. The contribution is dwarfed by the roughly $17 billion in gross revenue Indian casinos saw in the same period.

"Horse-race wagering came in second in annual gambling revenue at $4 billion, followed by $3 billion by the state's lottery sales and $655 million by card clubs.

"Gambling has emerged as one of the state's biggest industries when compared to such giants as agriculture, whose revenue totaled $34.3 billion in 2004."

SCi Entertainment, Microgaming Sign Deal

 

As reported by Sharecast: "Computer games publisher SCi Entertainment has signed a number of deals to licence its Lara Croft and Hitman titles as video slot games across online and land-based casino platforms. ".It has signed an exclusive licensing deal that will see gaming software provider Microgaming's rights for Lara Croft and Tomb Raider renewed for exclusive development of games for online and land based casino platforms. "Microgaming has also been granted similar rights for the Hitman series."

Natives Protest Ontario Casino Site

 

As reported by the Canadian Press: "Aboriginal protesters took their fight on the road Wednesday, setting up an information picket at the Brantford Casino, claiming the site as theirs. "Federal and provincial representatives met with Six Nations delegates Wednesday to talk about land claims. "Native protesters said they wanted to show Canadians their fight is for more than a housing development they are occupying in nearby Caledonia. ".The casino property, which backs onto the Grand River, is on land that wasn't sold or given to Canada by Six Nations people, [spokeswoman Janie] Jamieson said. "'This is unceded, unsold Six Nations territory. Look at the prosperity this brings and not a penny comes back to Six Nations,' she said. 'The bottom line is Canada is prospering big time and it's on stolen land.'."

Study: Grand Forks Casino Will Bring Jobs

 

As reported by the Grand Forks Herald: "The proposed tribal casino in Grand Forks would bring as many as 446 jobs to town, with wages totaling $12.3 million a year, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa said today. "Tribal chairman Ken Davis released the long-awaited economic impact study that, he said, shows the project would benefit both the tribe and the local community. "Besides local workers, the study, done by Klas Robinson Q.E.D. of Minneapolis, also said the local hospitality industry would benefit from 1.1 million tourists a year. "All this data is meant to convince the City Council to fully support the casino. Tribal leaders have said all along that local support is the critical factor."

VIP Casino Adds Marvel Comic Games

 

Mutant vigilantes and vampire hunters are arriving at VIP Casino, bringing all the excitement of Marvel Entertainment's world famous comic book series to the trusted online casino. Working with software developed by CryptoLogic, the new 9-Line Slots will feature such Marvel Superheroes such as the X-Men, The Hulk, Blade, Daredevil, and The Punisher. "These Marvel games are by far the most exciting slots available online," said VIP Casino manager Kate Berkeley. "With their interactive features and thrilling arcade sequences, these new slots are sure to please casino customers and comic fans alike." In the one-of-a-kind arcade sequences, VIP customers join Professor X in battling mutant enemies, destroy tanks and helicopters with The Hulk and take down drug dealers with The Punisher.

In addition to its lineup of Marvel Hero slots, VIP Casino will offer players the Bejeweled 10 Line Slot, based on the wildly popular skill game. VIP Casino's impressive lineup of over 160 casino games, provided by CryptoLogic's award-winning software, also provide players with impressive selection of 3, 9, 10 and 20 line slots and classic favorites such as Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker and Roulette as well as CryptoLogic's own patented Millionaires Club progressive jackpot slot, which has now grown to more than US$2.2 million - making it the largest jackpot available to be won in the history of Internet gaming.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Smoking to Cease at Ontario Casinos

 

As reported by Buffalo Business First: "Wednesday is the last day for smokers to light up at Canadian casinos, then business could light up on this side of the U.S.-Canada border. "That's what The Seneca Nation of Indians is hoping for when a smoking ban goes into effect at Canadian gaming establishments June 1st. "The Seneca Niagara Casino allows smoking as New York state's smoking ban doesn't apply because the casino is on sovereign land and run by the Seneca Nation. Seneca Gaming Corp., which operates the Niagara Falls, N.Y. establishment, is hoping to see a positive impact from Canada's legislation and gain an edge over the Canadian competition."

Jeff Simpson on Harrah's Plan to Transform the Center Strip

 

Harrah's Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Loveman says he is getting pretty excited about his company's planned transformation of the center Strip. After meeting Loveman last week in his offices at Caesars Palace, it is clear the professorial executive believes the project will stand apart from some of the other big developments that are planned or being built on the Strip. He said he expects to reveal details of the center Strip project by the end of the summer, but the company definitely isn't thinking small. Among Harrah's assets in the area: Caesars and the Rio on the west side of the Strip; Harrah's Las Vegas, Imperial Palace, Flamingo, Bally's and Paris Las Vegas on the east side, along with the site of the demolished Bourbon Street and a lot of additional land behind those properties.

Loveman isn't saying what and where the company plans to build, but some of his comments offer clues about the scope and nature of his plans.

Key to the development: Creating a sense of place for the entire center Strip area that Harrah's controls, using Disneyland as an example.

"When you're visiting Disneyland, you know you're not outside anymore; that you're in Disneyland," Loveman said, saying that the properties that now look separate and distinct from the outside would be tied together in a sensible way to communicate to visitors that the individual resorts are part of a greater whole.

One way will be with signs, another will be to use Harrah's industry-leading Total Rewards card system and modern technology - think BlackBerries and cell phones - to stay in close touch with guests during their visits.

Loveman envisions using the Total Rewards loyalty card system and electronic communications to more closely interact with customers, perhaps letting Paris guests know that tickets are available to see Celine Dion at Caesars .

Loveman didn't say what resorts or property expansions he would build, but said the Strip frontage near Flamingo Road in front of Caesars and Bally's is underutilized.

He also acknowledged the company's Horseshoe brand is strong, and available.

Which properties will remain? Caesars, Harrah's, Paris and the Flamingo will; Imperial Palace won't, and Bally's, with one of its towers less than satisfactory, is a question mark.

What about Boyd Gaming Corp.'s Barbary Coast, smack-dab in the middle of Harrah's canvas?

Loveman says he knows how central its location is, and that he wants it. And that Boyd knows he wants it. But he declined to say whether he thought a purchase of the property, some kind of an asset trade, or even an outright purchase of Boyd would be how the property changes hands - if it does.

Loveman credited builder and Rio developer Tony Marnell with one of the most important things he's been told about operating Las Vegas resorts.

"You have to feed your customers a steady supply of new stuff," he said.

Loveman learned Marnell's lesson - he's getting ready to feed Harrah's customers a whole lot of new stuff.

. . .

Loveman was undoubtedly disappointed - and I was surprised - by Singapore's announcement Friday that Venetian owner Las Vegas Sands was its pick to develop a $3.2 billion casino and convention resort at Marina Bay.

Industry insiders both here and across the Pacific told me they thought Sands would be too tied up with its major Macau development.

I had thought MGM Mirage or Harrah's would get the nod. I was wrong, but extend congratulations to Sands and its owner, Sheldon Adelson, whose message about the power of the convention business is persuading doubters around the world.

Loveman told me that waiting for the Singapore announcement made him more anxious than he has been since he had to wait for his admission letter to graduate school.

The earlier wait had a happier ending, but perhaps Loveman's patience will be rewarded when Singapore awards its second casino license for Sentosa island later this year, an opportunity Harrah's also plans to pursue.

Poker Champ Helps Heart Patients

 

As reported by the Stabroek News: "A philanthropic US based Guyanese who won $1.8 Million US dollars at the poker table has put some of his fortune to good use. Real Estate operator Anand 'Victor' Ramdin, who does business out of the Bronx, New York, won the sum at three recent poker tournaments. "Now, he has put it to good use by donating US$100,000 to Guyana's First Lady Varshnie Jagdeo to take thirteen children and four adults from Guyana for heart treatment in Chenai, India as part of her Kid's First Fund 'Heart to Heart Campaign' that is currently underway. ".The First Lady expressed herself delighted to be the recipient of his largesse on behalf of the lucky patients. ".The 'Heart to Heart' party leaves today for India complete with Mr Ramdin, and they are expected to be there for about two weeks before returning to Guyana and New York."

Two Casinos Fined for Gaming Violations

 

Two casinos in Clark County have agreed to pay fines for violating state gaming regulations - one for permitting a 6-year-old girl to take part in a casino drawing and the other for accounting discrepancies. In a proposed settlement with the state Gaming Control Board, Terrible's Hotel on Paradise Road agreed to pay a $10,000 fine after admitting that the child participated in a December 2003 drawing for a new car. In the other case, Aztec Gold Inn, 2200 Las Vegas Blvd. South, is to be fined $5,000 after general partner Donald Dombrowski and attorney W. Owen Nitz signed a stipulation admitting to accounting violations.

The Terrible's charges stemmed from a promotional drawing at the casino for those who had won slot jackpots.

A mother who was one of the winners eligible brought her daughter to the casino for the four-stage drawing for a new car. The woman survived the first two rounds and was one of 10 finalists in the third, in which a key for the car was pulled from a drum. In the drawing, officials permitted the 6-year-old to draw the key for her mother. The key she drew, however, did not start the car.

The complaint said at least five Terrible's employees were aware that the child - in violation of rules prohibiting juveniles from being near slots and gaming tables or taking part in gaming-related activities - was present in the casino but did nothing about it. In recommending disciplinary action, the board termed it an "unsuitable method of operation."

In the Aztec case, the complaint said the casino had been warned in January 2005 of violations in its internal control accounting procedures and agreed to correct the discrepancies. But when state agents reviewed the casino in June, it found continued violations, including underreporting slot winnings by $38,218. State taxes are based on casinos' winnings.

The complaint also said the coin counter in the Aztec's count room was not properly tested and cited other improprieties, including the improper recording of supply purchases and allowing a bartender to have a $2,000 bankroll for making gaming payouts not recorded in the accounting system.

Both casinos waived their rights to a public hearing before the Nevada Gaming Commission, which will vote June 22 on whether to accept the settlements.

Report: Tattersall's Bid for UNiTAB is Fair

 

As reported by New Zealand Stuff: "An agreed $A1.7 billion ($NZ2.05 billion) bid by Australia's biggest lottery operator, Tattersall's Ltd, for second-ranked wagering group UNiTAB Ltd is fair and reasonable, according to an independent expert's report. "The report by Deloitte Corporate Finance comes after Australia's competition watchdog last week cleared the way for the bid to go ahead. "Tattersall's made an agreed bid for UNiTAB in March, offering 4.33 of its shares for each UNiTAB share. At Tuesday's close, that valued UNiTAB shares at $A12.90, well below UNiTAB's close of $A14.75, indicating investors expect a higher bid to emerge. "A statement released by the two companies to the Australian Stock Exchange on Wednesday said Deloitte assessed standalone trading values per share of $A12.40-$A13.50 for UNiTAB and $A3.10-$A3.40 for Tattersall's."

Casino Bosses Las Vegas' Highest Paid Executives

 

Just as the biggest gaming companies grew through consolidation last year, executive pay packages also fattened, reflecting larger responsibilities and record corporate profits. As they have in the past, casino bosses topped the list of the highest-paid executives in Las Vegas in 2005. The Sun's sister publication, In Business Las Vegas, compiled the list, using publicly available proxy statements. The entire list will be published by In Business in its June 2-8 issue. Salary analysts say shareholders are not balking at executive compensation because it is justified by corporate performance.

Topping the list:

Station Casinos Chief Executive Frank Fertitta III ranked first for the second year in a row, earning $5.7 million in short-term compensation and an additional $37.1 million in long-term compensation from the value of stock options he exercised last year.

Short-term compensation includes annual salary, bonus and the value of other perks such as fitness clubs, country club memberships and the use of company vehicles. Long-term compensation can also include awards of restricted stock, which is stock that can't immediately be sold.

In 2004 Fertitta received a large chunk of restricted stock and $75.4 million from exercised options, but didn't receive any restricted stock last year.

Bobby Baldwin, chief executive and president of MGM Mirage's Mirage Resorts division, earned $6.1 million in short-term compensation and $32 million in long-term compensation, which propelled him forward from his 28th position last year to second place. (Like some of the other executives, Baldwin also received other compensation, making his total pay greater than the sum of his short- and long-term packages.)

Boyd Gaming Corp. Chief Executive Bill Boyd ranked third with $3.8 million in short-term compensation and $34.1 million in long-term compensation. He was No. 4 on the 2005 list.

MGM Mirage Chief Executive Terry Lanni advanced from fifth to fourth with $8.8 million in short-term compensation and $21.9 million in long-term compensation.

John Redmond, chief executive and president of the MGM Grand Resorts division of MGM Mirage, ranked fifth with $6 million in short-term compensation and $23.3 million in long-term compensation. Last year he ranked 12th.

Anthony Marlon, chief executive of Sierra Health Services, was the highest-compensated nongaming executive in Las Vegas and ranked sixth, with $3.4 million in short-term compensation and $15.7 million in long-term compensation.

Other executives in the top 10 were Station President Lorenzo Fertitta, Shuffle Master Chief Executive Mark Yoseloff, Wynn Resorts President Ron Kramer and Station Chief Development Officer Scott Nielson.

Among the other top Strip moguls, Harrah's Entertainment Chief Executive Gary Loveman ranked 14th, Steve Wynn ranked 19th and Venetian owner Sheldon Adelson ranked 28th.

Loveman, who leads the world's largest gaming company, earned a hefty salary and bonus of $5.9 million and exercised options worth $3.9 million - less than some of his peers. Wynn reported $6.1 million in short-term compensation but didn't receive any stock last year, nor did he exercise any stock options. Adelson's compensation was also mostly reflected in his salary and bonus of $3.6 million.

Among top executives, annual salaries and bonuses rose last year, with executives cashing out tens of millions of dollars worth in stock options that rose significantly in value in recent years.

Analysts say one-year snapshots of executive pay are misleading because they may include options executives have held for many years and that are due to expire. Executives are often encouraged to cash out options within a few years of expiration to reduce investment risk.

Like many companies, Station Casinos uses a compensation consultant to advise its board members on appropriate salaries for executives.

Station's top executives are among the highest paid in the business. They are also highly compensated relative to other industries and the company's size.

"We have an experienced, cohesive management team in place that has allowed us to grow the company and maintain our performance," Frank Fertitta said. "We're out there every day competing for talent."

The company's stock - up about 13 percent from a year ago - has been a top performer in recent years, pre-empting any backlash from shareholders or Wall Street over executive compensation.

At the company's annual meeting Wednesday, Station stockholders praised the management team for posting the highest profit margin and return on capital within the casino industry.

Hefty pay packages in other industries such as health care and technology have been thrown into question in recent years after dips in company performance.

But that has not been an issue in the casino business, which is rolling in record profits and benefiting from unprecedented investor interest.

The bonus potential for casino executives is hitting an all-time high because gaming companies are performing at or better than Wall Street expectations, said Marc Weiswasser, an executive recruitment expert for Las Vegas-based gaming management consultant Navegante Group.

Graef Crystal, a former compensation consultant for Fortune 500 companies and an executive-pay columnist for Bloomberg News, found that at the country's largest public companies, executive pay was more strongly correlated with size than performance or any other factor.

But different rules apply when rewarding gaming executives, consultants say.

Jack Marsteller, a principal with global management consulting firm Towers Perrin in Los Angeles, said directors have little choice but to keep pace with rising salaries for executives at top performing companies.

"That's not a choice a director has unless you're willing to take the risk to lose the talent," said Marsteller, who has worked with casino companies.

"The primary determinant of pay is the ability to create return for shareholders," Marsteller said. "The gaming stocks are red hot and companies are expanding. These executives are creating wealth for shareholders."

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