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Best Gambling Guide for online gambling reviews, best gambling bonuses, gambling games, and gambling tips. Best gambling payouts and best gambling bonuses are featured in this gambling guide.

 

Gambling News by Gambling Headquarters

Monday, July 31, 2006

Racino Royale Granted Federal Approval

 

Racino Royale, Inc. ("RR") has confirmed that the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) has granted the company's racing permit. This was the last hurdle RR had to go over before racing could commence at Big Valley Raceway in Craven, Saskatchewan this Sunday, July 23, 2006. Since early June, RR has been working towards insuring that harness racing could commence in Craven by the end of July in order to provide the region's horsemen with five consecutive months of racing. Now, with the support of the Saskatchewan Standardbred Horsemen's Association (SSHA), regulatory approval from both the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority and the CPMA, the Big Valley Raceway site in Craven, Saskatchewan will once again feature harness racing. RR announced last month that it had acquired the exclusive rights agreement for a racino development opportunity in Regina, Saskatchewan, with the SSHA. In short measure, the company has been steadily taking steps to secure a foothold in the Saskatchewan racing industry with that goal in mind, however this first step to revive racing in Craven is an indication of RR's overall commitment to harness racing in the region. "We are very excited about opening day this Sunday," said John G. Simmonds, CEO of RR. "While a small location, Craven represents what this industry is all about: A love for harness racing. We're looking to build on that foundation, and this weekend is just the beginning."

Littlefield Corporation Announces New CFO

 

Littlefield Corporation (OTCBB:LTFD) announces that Richard S. Chilinski has accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer of Littlefield Corporation effective Monday, July 31, 2006. Rich is an experienced and seasoned financial professional with thirty years of related work experience spanning public accounting, manufacturing, services, consulting and high technology. He has held financial analysis, estimating, strategic planning, controller, chief financial officer and vice president of finance positions in established companies and startups. He has worked for such prestigious companies as Peat Marwick, Bausch & Lomb, IBM and Baker Hughes. He is experienced in public company issues having fairly recently been the Senior Vice President and CFO of a public company with direct experience in taking the company public, SEC reporting, stock options, shareholder communications and investor relations. In addition to the usual expected disciplines of finance, accounting, treasury, budgeting, forecasting, management and regulatory reporting and tax planning, Rich is experienced in information technology, human relations, incentive compensation, mergers, acquisitions, capital transactions and due diligence.

Rich holds a BA from St John Fisher College and an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the William E Simon Graduate School of Business of the University of Rochester. He was formerly a Certified Public Accountant in New York and will become registered as a CPA in Texas as a condition of his employment.

Jeffrey L. Minch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Littlefield Corporation, offered the following comments:

"Rich Chilinski is a seasoned and experienced leader and finance professional who will be a welcome addition to our Company. He is a solid businessman.

He has a wealth of experience which will be valuable to the Company immediately and in the future. He has demonstrated strengths in areas from which the Company will immediately benefit. He also represents a significant addition to the Company's day to day management continuity, capability and depth.

Rich will provide a strong foundation for the Company's continued growth and his ability to perform at a consistently high level will provide certainty at a critical time in the Company's history."

Lasseters Offers Vacation

 

Lasseters Online Online, the first ever online gambling site to be government licensed and regulated, is running a competition where one new player and their companion will win a $15,000 vacation to Australia. Only players who have never previously played at Lasseters Online will qualify for the competition. Existing players however are urged to invite their friends to play at Lasseters.com as the may be the lucky companion to jet off to Australia for the vacation of a lifetime. Lasseters made history seven years ago when they became the first online casino to be licensed and regulated by a recognized land based gambling authority. Today, the casino is well know to be one of the safest places to play casino games online, as it has to comply with the strictest regulatory guidelines of any online gambling site. But this is not the only reason to play at Lasseters. The casino has stuck to its strategy of developing in-house online casino games, unlike most other sites that license a games platform from a third party. The result is a completely unique gambling experience, with some of the best video slots online. Lasseters especially extend an invitation to previously registered users who have not made a deposit, as their is now more incentive than ever to do so. Combine this competition with a five times 100% up to $100 deposit bonus, and there should be little reason for hesitation. The Australian Adventure competition closes on August 31, 2006. Said Andrew Housego, marketing executive at Lasseters Online, "The majority of competitions conducted on the Internet attain many thousands of entries with no requirements for entry, offering all concerned a very remote chance of winning. However, as players are required to make a deposit of $50 or more to qualify for this competition, the number of entrants is restricted to serious players, representing tremendous odds for those who take the opportunity to enter."

To earn your chance to win the Australian Adventure of a Lifetime, simply visit Lasseters, register for cash play and make a deposit of US$50 or more. Terms and Conditions apply and can be viewed at the New Player Promotions page. In addition to this amazing competition, Lasseters also offers its new players a 100% bonus up to US$100 on each of their first 5 deposits.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Jacobs Reports Executive Appointments

 

Jacobs Entertainment, Inc. (JEI), an owner and operator of multiple gaming properties, today announced that Ms. Teri Grandfield has joined JEI as Vice President of Northern Nevada Operations. Ms. Grandfield is an industry veteran and will be responsible for overseeing JEI's three Nevada properties: the Gold Dust West-Reno, the Gold Dust West-Elko and the Pinon Plaza in Carson City, which is JEI's latest acquisition. JEI also announced that Mr. Mike Hachquet has joined the Company as General Manager of the Gold Dust West-Elko. Mr. Hachquet is a long-time Elko resident and brings a great deal of experience in the casino industry. He was formerly with the Red Lion Hotel and Casino in Elko. Additionally, Lynne Keller has accepted the position as General Manager for the Pinon Plaza in Carson City. Ms. Keller, a 30-year industry veteran, was previously General Manager of Gold Dust West-Reno.

Caesars Celebrates 40th Anniversary

 

On Wednesday, August 2, Caesars Palace will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a toga party at the legendary resort's outdoor Roman Plaza amphitheater. This historical event will be hosted by actress Jenny McCarthy and feature a live performance by Otis Day and the Knights, the band that rocked "Shout" during the toga party scene in National Lampoon's Animal House. Following the musical set, toga-clad partygoers will be invited to an after party at PURE Nightclub. Guests who arrive in a toga* will be granted free admission to both the outdoor concert, sponsored by VEGAS Magazine and Hendrix Electric Vodka, and the after party at PURE. Doors to the outdoor concert open at 7:30pm and PURE will open at 10pm. When Caesars Palace opened its doors on August 5, 1966 the standard of luxury and magnificence for the hotel and casino industry was changed forever. Its opulent Roman-Grecian world of fantasy captured international attention as the first deluxe themed resort casino if its kind. With imported marble statuary, cocktail servers costumed as "goddesses," a dining experience fit for royalty and nightly performances by the world's greatest entertainers, Caesars Palace immediately became the industry standard for the ultimate luxury resort experience. Forty years later, Caesars Palace has expanded to almost five times its original capacity. The 85-acre resort features 3,340 guest rooms and suites, the largest poker room in the city, a world-class health and beauty salon and a 4.5 acre pool and garden complex, two dozen restaurants and the world renowned Forum Shops at Caesars. In March 2003 Caesars Palace opened its 4,100-seat Colosseum spotlighting international performers Celine Dion, Elton John, and Jerry Seinfeld. The Roman Plaza, a 4,000-seat outdoor amphitheatre plays hosts to a variety of outdoor sporting events, concerts and private functions.

EARNINGS: Harrah's is Off the Mark

 

Harrah's Entertainment has realized that building a worldwide casino operation is going to play havoc on earnings. The gaming industry's largest casino operator said Thursday its second-quarter earnings were affected by development costs and other factors related to growing a company with both domestic and international interests. Revenue for Harrah's rose 67 percent in the quarter that ended June 30 to $2.47 billion, compared with $1.42 billion a year ago. In the 2005 second quarter, revenue was collected for just 17 days from the casinos Harrah's acquired when it spent $9 billion for Caesars Entertainment. Harrah's said its net income in the quarter was $129 million, or 69 cents a share, up 22 percent from $106 million, or 65 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. When earnings per share were adjusted to account for various costs, the company earned 95 cents a share, up from 86 cents a share a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call thought Harrah's would earn $1.02 per share in the quarter. Harrah's Chief Financial Officer Charles Atwood said the company bought back and refinanced $750 million in debt during the quarter, which affected its income statement. Harrah's had $18 million in development and master planning expenses in the quarter. A year ago, that figure was $7 million. The lower per-share earnings were also affected by an increase in the number of shares outstanding resulting from stock issued for the Caesars acquisition.

Shares of Harrah's closed at $60.36, down $3.49 or 5.47 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange. On May 10, Harrah's shares were $83.33.

"We believe the sell-off in Harrah's is a knee-jerk reaction to an earnings per share miss," Stifel, Nicolaus Capital Markets gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski said in a note to investors. "On a relative basis, we believe Harrah's shares are now undervalued and we would accumulate shares at this level, all else being equal."

Harrah's report, which followed earnings announced this week by Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming Corp., caused Goldman Sachs gaming analyst Steven Kent to issue a cautious note about the gaming industry.

"As the third major operator to disappoint this quarter, it is looking increasingly likely that it may be a difficult quarter across the board for major U.S. gaming operators," Kent wrote in a note to investors.

Harrah's Chairman Gary Loveman, however, said the company's 11 casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City had a robust quarter.

In Las Vegas, Harrah's casinos, including the five casinos acquired in the past year, had revenue of $803.3 million, a 154.1 percent increase from $316.1 million a year ago. Revenue in the quarter from Harrah's Atlantic City casinos, two of which were acquired from Caesars, was $521 million, up 101.2 percent from $259 million a year ago.

In a conference call with analysts, Harrah's executives said the recent 72-hour closure of Atlantic City's casinos by the state over budgetary matters will cost the company between 4 cents and 6 cents per share when third-quarter revenue is announced.

"Our healthy, broad-based growth in the second quarter demonstrates that our overall operations remain strong," Loveman said.

Loveman said integrating the Caesars' properties into Harrah's corporate structure brought $118 million in cost savings over the first year of ownership. The company had originally predicted it would realize $80 million in saving after buying Caesars.

Loveman cautioned investors that master-planning for future Harrah's growth will have some implications.

"During the quarter we incurred higher project development and master planning costs," Loveman said. Harrah's is working on development opportunities domestically in Rhode Island and overseas in the Bahamas, Spain and Slovenia.

Harrah's has three days to decide if it will bid on a second gaming site in Singapore. The company lost a bid for the city-state's first casino site in the downtown Marina Bay district but is still exploring its options for Sentosa Island with its Singapore-based partner, Keppel Land.

"We're still evaluating our position there and we have a few more days to decide," Atwood said. "We figure we'll use all those days to make a decision."

Atwood said Harrah's would still like to expand to Macau, the Chinese gaming enclave where Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Mirage are building large hotel-casinos.

The company's main development focus domestically, Atwood said, will be master-planning its real estate holdings in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Biloxi, Miss.

In Las Vegas, Harrah's has 130 acres of land on the east side of the Strip, which includes the Imperial Palace, Flamingo, Harrah's Las Vegas, Bally's, Paris Las Vegas and several nongaming parcels. Atwood said the company is working on a master plan for the land that would involve an overall strategy where customers could easily visit all of Harrah's casinos.

"We want to remove all the physical barriers," Atwood said. "We look at Las Vegas from an overall picture, that we offer people a comprehensive experience at many of our properties."

This week's announcement by Boyd Gaming that Coast Casinos founder Michael Gaughan would be leaving the company and acquiring the South Coast fueled some speculation that Harrah's would try to purchase the Barbary Coast, a former Coast Casinos property now owned by Boyd Gaming.

The small Barbary Coast sits at the corner of Flamingo Road and the Strip, in the heart of Harrah's casino empire.

"We aren't shy about our desire for the Barbary," Atwood said.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's Called No-Limit For a Reason

 

When poker's ultimate champion is crowned on Aug. 10, the 2006 version of the World Series of Poker will have broken every conceivable record since the tournament was developed 37 years ago in a smoky downtown poker room at Binion's Horseshoe. In the following months, Jeffrey Pollock will be busy planning to break all those marks again in 2007. But the other goal for Pollack, commissioner of the Harrah's Entertainment-owned World Series of Poker, is to make the 6-week-long event at the Rio more accommodating to the legions of poker-viewing fans. "I think we can do a better job of elevating the quality of the spectator experience by making the tournament room more user friendly," said Pollack, who is also Harrah's vice president of sports and entertainment marketing. The attendance at professional poker's signature event will see a marketable increase starting today. The opening round of the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold'em World Championship event will kick off at noon.

Through Monday, up to 2,000 players a day will play until 800 remain after each session. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the 3,200 surviving players will compete until 1,400 are left.

After a one-day break, the 1,400 remaining competitors will play on a daily basis beginning Aug. 4 until nine remain for the final table.

Two weeks after it all begins, the ultimate champion will take home at least $10.5 million, a figure that will increase as the number of tournament entries grows.

Harrah's is anticipating close to 8,000 entries in the world championship event. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 7,500 players had signed up to participate.

The Rio's makeshift tournament poker room in its convention center can accommodate up to 2,000 players per session, which is the reason for the four-day opening round.

Without a card having been dealt in the championship event, this year's World Series of Poker has already rewritten the record book.

With 38 of the planned 45 events already completed, almost 36,000 players have competed, topping the more than 32,000 that participated in all 45 events last year. In 2005, a record $106 million was paid out in prize money. So far, $73 million in prize money has been awarded with seven events left to be played. As of Thursday, the main event had a prize pool of $72 million.

The main event is already the tournament's largest field ever. Last year, 5,619 players entered and each of the final nine players won at least $1 million. Australian Joseph Hachem captured a record $7.5 million for his championship run, a figure already certain to be eclipsed.

"That's really kind of mind-boggling when you think about it," said Hachem, who is planning to try and win a second straight world poker championship, although he knows the odds are long.

"I'm a realist. With 8,000 players, I know the field is full of land mines," Hachem said. "When you're the champion, people are always gunning for you."

While the main event will draw a crowd, the Rio's four-day Gaming Life Expo, adjacent to the World Series of Poker tournament room, is also expected to attract gambling fans.

Poker patrons can visit 235 booths and 23,000 square feet of retail that includes poker products, apparel, jewelry, and other items. The expo is free and open to the public, age 21 and over.

"This is my first time going through the World Series of Poker," said Pollack, who joined Harrah's at the conclusion of last year's event. Pollack had previously spent five years in a marketing role with auto racing giant NASCAR.

"The World Series of Poker is a charmed, rich and colorful event," Pollack said. "The headlines this year have had some wonderful stories."

The tournament began at the end of June and the games have produced several history-making moments:

-1989 world poker champion Phil Hellmuth won his 10th bracelet, matching Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan for the most World Series event wins in the tournament's history.

-21-year-old University of California, Santa Barbara film student Jeff Madsen became the youngest person to win a bracelet at the World Series of Poker, when he captured a $2,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold'em event. About a week later, he won a second bracelet, taking first place in a $5,000 buy-in Short-handed No-limit Texas Hold'em event.

Madsen, who made three final tables in the tournament for two first place finishes and a third place win, will return to college with more than $1.4 million in winnings.

- 80-year-old Kuei Chi Chang, who had never played tournament poker prior until this year's World Series of Poker, finished in the money twice in a matter of days. The Las Vegas resident finished 52nd out of 1,068 players in one event and 42nd out of 415 in another.

"What's happened so far proves the fact that for an amateur player, dreams can come true, and for a poker professional, you can make history," Pollack said.

Skybook Adds LiveHive NanoGaming Solution

 

LiveHive Systems today announced that Skybook is enhancing its current in-game betting offering with the LiveHive NanoGaming Solution in time for the 2006 National Football League (NFL) season. Last season, Skybook rolled out a competitive in-game betting product to its customers and found that bettors were thoroughly captivated by the ability to wager on every play. By upgrading to the LiveHive solution, Skybook will be launching the next generation of NanoGaming that provides faster odds generation and longer betting windows with no software downloads required, resulting in a better overall wagering experience. "At Skybook we quickly realized the power of in-game betting during last year's NFL season and thoroughly believe that NanoGaming is the next phase in sports wagering," said Keith Anderson, General Manager, Skybook. "The LiveHive NanoGaming Solution is the only system that can manage the complexities associated with instant odds generation, short betting windows and over 400 betting opportunities per game."

The LiveHive NanoGaming Solution is a complete turnkey system that enables online sportsbooks to offer smaller and frequent "NanoWagering" opportunities to their customers as the action is taking place during any live sporting event, reality TV show, or live broadcast such as award shows or elections. Online sportsbooks are deploying the product now for the NFL season. NCAA Football, NCAA and NBA Basketball, European Soccer, ATP Tennis, and Major League Baseball games will be offered over the coming months.

This spring, customers enjoyed placing NanoWagers during the Survivor reality TV series. This year, NanoGaming will be offered on a number of other Reality TV programs including: American Idol, The Apprentice, Big Brother, and The Bachelor.

HivePoint, a wholly owned subsidiary of LiveHive Systems will be launching its Speed of Sport website, a NanoGaming play for fun site in time for the NFL preseason. Says Dave Bullock, President, LiveHive Systems, "Speed of Sport provides sports enthusiasts with a fun, free way to play along as the action unfolds."

Littlefield Names New Senior VP

 

Littlefield Corporation announces that Michael J. Lindley has accepted the position of Senior Vice President - Director of Capital Transactions. He will assume his new duties in mid-August. In this position, Mike will be directly responsible for acquisitions, capital transactions related to raising debt and equity for acquisitions and institutional investor relations. Cecil Whitmore, Financial Analyst, will continue to oversee investor relations for the Company's "retail" shareholders. These duties will entail identifying current bingo hall owners in targeted states, establishing contact and communicating the Company's acquisition strategy. Mike will oversee the acquisition process including coordinating due diligence efforts. He will also be responsible for communicating the Company's acquisition strategy to likely sources of project and balance sheet financing in support of acquisitions. In addition, he will be responsible for communicating the Company's story to current and prospective institutional shareholders in particular micro/small cap mutual funds and hedge funds. Lindley is well-qualified for this new position having worked on Wall Street for Merrill Lynch in investment banking and having worked for a number of years in a similar position (with Jeff Minch who was the President and CEO of that company) in the commercial real estate business. Most recently Mike has been in a similar position with a public company in the advertising specialty industry.

Mike was the President and Chairman of a private company employing a novel technology driven strategy in the advertising specialty business. Most recently, he has been involved in merchant and investment banking with Austin-based Focus Strategies.

Lindley, 41, brings a wealth of acquisitions, capital transactions, investment banking and operational experience to his new position. He and Jeff Minch worked together for a number of years in the real estate business.

Lindley is a graduate of the University of Texas and holds a bachelors degree in Finance.

Jeffrey L. Minch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Littlefield Corporation, offered the following comments:

"Mike Lindley is a smart, hardworking professional who will invigorate our acquisition program. His experience and the Company's current portfolio of acquisition opportunities will result in a more rapid identification, negotiation and closing of suitable acquisitions.

We enjoyed an excellent and profitable working relationship in the past and I am confident that he will be a great addition to our team providing energy, expertise and enthusiasm at a critical time in the Company's history.

His investment banking background and knowledge of the investment business will be a valuable addition to our team.

His experience as a President and CEO will provide additional management depth to the Company."

Get Ready for the 2006 WSOP Main Event

 

Screw the white picket fence, forget about the little house in the country, and leave the 2.5 kids at home - winning the World Series of Poker Main Event is officially the new American Dream and if you're going to take home the $10 million, you better leave soon. Honestly, I haven't been this excited about a sporting event since the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. This year's Main Event is going to be something special and just thinking about it makes me giddy. My only regret leading up to the largest land-based poker tournament ever played - I wish I had been even close to good enough at poker to qualify for the thing. Seeing that a.) It's too late for me to qualify, and b.) You don't really care to hear my woeful lamenting or bad-beat stories, let me give you a few insightful nuggets about how to enjoy poker's biggest week.

1.) Throw a Big Old Party

The problem with the Superbowl is that it only happens once a year. In fact, all the major party events - New Year's Eve, Cinco de Mayo, July 4th and General Ulysses S. Grant's birthday - happen only once a year. That's why there's so many of these things, because people like to party. So why not throw the Main Event final table in there? The thing is on pay-per-view. Order it, grab a keg, invite some friends over, and have a little home game party. Your neighbors will thank you.

2.) Pick More than One Player to Cheer For

This sport isn't like baseball or football, you're not a bad person if you cheer for more than one "team." That has it advantages. Let's say you're stuck cheering for a team like the Chicago Cubs. Year after year, your loyalty is rewarded with heartbreak and misery. In poker, it's an acceptable "man law" to have a couple favorites and in all honesty, the volatility of tournament poker makes it likely that your favorite player is no longer involved when the final table comes around. My suggestion: Cheer for a guy named Phil. Chances are someone with that name will go deep.

3.) Follow the Action on the Internet

If you're like most poker fans, the Internet has cost you buckets of money. Therefore, you might as well take advantage of that medium in some way, mainly through the variety of sites offering live updates, feature stories, and even play-by-play Podcasts. Not that I'm biased, but Casino City has the best World Series of Poker feature coverage, including live reporting on the first day and each of the last four days.

The reason the 2006 WSOP Main Event is so appealing is size of the tournament and the massive amount of money in the prize pool. While many poker aficionados claim that thousands of players are bad for poker because they increase the amount of luck required; I completely disagree.

I say the bigger the tournament, the better. It's American. Supersize me, XXXL, presidents wearing 10-gallon cowboy hats - we like things big here in the states so make the field 10,000 people and we'll all be happy.

There was a time when televised poker was one of those shows where you'd be flipping by the channel and think to yourself.this might be worth watching. Now, it's simply must-see-TV.

Fortunately, I'll be at the actual event covering each exciting moment live for Casino City Press (HAHA your job sucks), but if I wasn't going to be in Vegas, you bet your last chip I'd be paying whatever it costs to see the final table live on pay-per-view.

No, ESPN is not paying me to say this. I'm serious. I believe the World Series of Poker Main Event has taken on the significance of the Superbowl, the World Cup, or even the United State Curling Championship.this thing's going to be huge.

Here's what it's going to look like.

1.) Around 8,000 players will compete for the WSOP No-Limit Hold'em World Championship bracelet. There are so many people clamoring to get in this thing, they may seat up to 500 alternates per day.

2.) The event will start with four "heats." Each day, WSOP officials will seat 2,000-2,500 people and play until only 800 people remain. Once it's down to 2400 players, WSOP officials will hold another two heats, this time with 1600 players each day, played down to 700. From there the players will combine into one field and play down to a winner.

3.) Every professional you've ever heard of will be playing in this one, plus a whole bunch of great players you've never seen before.

4.) Phil Hellmuth predicts around 500 competitors will be under the age of 24, meaning more than 1/8 of the field will have a chance to break his record of the "youngest player to ever win the Main Event." It remains to be seen if Hellmuth is correct, but either way, this promises to be one of the youngest fields in recent memory.

5.) The final table will air on pay-per-view August 10th at 12 p.m. PST. Additionally, Phil Hellmuth will be hosting a radio broadcast live from the final table. It should be a very interesting show, especially if he makes the final table.

Friday, July 28, 2006

EGC Reports Kansas Lottery Order

 

Electronic Game Card, Inc. (OTCBB: EGMI), the creator of the Electronic GameCard, notes the positive press comments on June 25th 06 regarding Kansas Lottery's re-order of its battery-powered Super 7's game and is pleased to confirm it is supplying the Electronic GameCards to Kansas Lottery through its joint venture with Scientific Games Corp. According to the reports the battery-powered "Super 7's" instant-winner game has been "flying off the shelves," with the game "approaching sellout after just five weeks of retail sales". As a result, Kansas Lottery has made a full re-order. Kansas Lottery Executive Director Ed Van Petten was reported as saying: "We anticipated a positive response to the game, but the sales and positive feedback from our players have gone beyond our expectations." Kansas is the second US state lottery to introduce an electronic GameCard based game using the Company's products under the joint venture with Scientific Games Corp. In June, it began statewide sale of its first 120,000 Super 7 Electronic GameCard game.

"Many lotteries have been seeking a new vehicle to allow them to push their retail price points for instant tickets above $5 or $10. The Electronic GameCard has proven to be that vehicle" says Daniel Kane, Senior Vice-President of EGC. "Examination of the player response certainly points to a solid player acceptance of both real extended play and the perceived value of the EGC product. Other lotteries can rest easier and order with confidence now that the GameCards have proven themselves in two jurisdictions."

Electronic Game Card is also pleased to confirm that it has made its first sales of electronic GameCards for use in commercial promotions to the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit and to the native American Santa Ana Star Casino north of Albuquqerque in New Mexico.

Options Woes Unlikely for Gaming Companies

 

Nevada's gaming companies probably won't become ensnared in Wall Street's latest scandal involving stock options because of the heavy and transparent regulation they are subjected to by state regulators, industry officials and experts speaking on background said. Executives for major gaming companies all declined to comment about the possibility of their companies coming under scrutiny for possible backdating or spring-loading of stock option grants, but the head of the state's Gaming Control Board said his agency is not aware of any such practices in the gaming industry. The executive director of a nonprofit research organization agreed that the industry's argument makes intuitive sense, but noted there is no data to corroborate it. With 10,000 publicly traded companies in the United States and only a few dozen under active investigation so far, the apparent innocence of gaming firms could be a statistical coincidence, said Corey Rosen of the National Center for Employee Ownership.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining whether companies have timed granting stock options to good and bad corporate news to help boost executives' compensation. Most of its interest has been aimed at the technology industry, which generally uses stock options more heavily to compensate its executives and employees than other industries.

Dennis Neilander, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said state regulators are not aware of any federal investigations into gaming companies' stock option practices.

To date, Nevada officials have not been notified by the SEC or the U.S. Department of Justice of any such on-going investigations, Neilander said.

In some instances, the SEC would contact Nevada regulators and ask for their assistance with such an investigation, he said.

State gaming regulators also would be notified whenever the SEC was ready to wrap up a criminal or civil investigation involving gaming licensees, he said.

Any conviction or plea agreement involving stock option grants would be grounds for revoking the license of a gaming operator, Neilander said.

A fraud conviction involving options grants also could result in lengthy prison terms and multimillion-dollar fines, gaming officials said.

The recent federal investigations have centered on companies that have backdated their options to periods when their companies' stock prices were low and likely to increase.

But an SEC spokesman also confirmed that the agency has been looking into possible instances of so-called spring-loading, when companies schedule an option grant ahead of expected good news or delay it until after it discloses business setbacks that are likely to send shares lower.

There are also cases of bear options, when companies issue options after they know bad news is about to come out, confident in the knowledge stock prices will subsequently increase.

Amid allegations of financial abuses involving backdated stock options, the SEC issued new rules Wednesday, requiring public companies to publish additional information detailing their top executives' total compensation.

They will also be required to show the values of any options at the time they are granted.

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said in a statement that options are a legitimate form of compensation but stressed that investors need a clear picture of executives' pay.

Cox has said in public statements his agency is very interested in both kinds of options abuse, but he acknowledged that it could be difficult to prove an improper connection between the timing of news and option grants.

In both cases, the idea is to increase the value of the option to the recipient in a way that is not evident to the board of directors, shareholders, workers or the public.

Sarbanes-Oxley, the corporate law enacted in the wake of Enron and other financial scandals, was supposed to clean up this kind of conduct.

But Rosen said corporate finance is following the map of campaign finance.

"The law only added incentives to find other ways around (standards of ethical conduct)," he said.

"The problem is we'll fix this, or some people will think it's fixed, and (companies) will just find another way around it," Rosen said.

Rosen said so far this year, about 60 companies have been tagged in investigations by the SEC or federal prosecutors for their options grants.

He said most of these are high-tech companies, a industry in which stock options are favored as way to motivate executives and reward them for a company's success.

The investigations have sparked a flurry of shareholder lawsuits, but none yet in Nevada, gaming officials said.

Cash System, Riverwind Casino Sign Deal

 

Cash Systems, Inc., a provider of cash access solutions for the gaming industry, announced today that it has entered the Chickasaw Nation's newest gaming facility, Riverwind Casino. Cash Systems provides the casino with a complete line of cash access services including the all-in-1 atm, credit card cash advance, debit card cash advance and check cashing. Riverwind Casino, located in Norman, Oklahoma, opened on July 17, 2006 and includes 2,300 electronic gaming devices and 50 table games throughout 219,000 square feet of space. Riverwind Casino is one of 15 gaming centers owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation. Michael Rumbolz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cash Systems, said "Riverwind Casino is a beautiful facility that will further elevate the gaming market in Oklahoma. Today's announcement reflects our commitment and dedication to product innovation and customer service, which continues to strengthen our relationships with important customers like the Chickasaw Nation."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hard Rock Battles Mold Problem

 

As reported by the Miami Herald: "A beauty store and a restaurant at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino complex near Hollywood are battling ugly mold problems -- so severe that seven of the boutique's employees have gotten sick. "The beauty store, The Body Shop, shut its doors for renovations July 5. "The restaurant, Tequila Ranch, whose kitchen shares the wall where the Body Shop has its ceiling-to-floor mold problem, closed for renovations on July 17. "Nance D'Agostino, assistant manager of The Body Shop, which sells natural skin and bath products, said that she and six other employees have become sick from the mold the store has had since March 2005. "Neglect and, later, improper cleaning treatments, just made the problem worse, she said. ".Seminole Paradise workers broke into the back wall of the store this spring and unearthed a grisly sight, D'Agostino said. ".Michael Bloom, president of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, said there is no evidence of mold anywhere else in the complex..."

Navajo Nation Gets Support

 

As reported by the Independent: "The Economic Development Committee and the Intergovernmental Relations Committee approved a Navajo Nation position statement Monday calling for defeat of House bill 4893, which would restrict off-reservation gaming. "The statement was to be presented to Congress after gaining IGR approval. "Navajo Nation Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan said, 'H.R. 4893 is the bill that proposes to amend Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Section 20 deals with land in trust for off-reservation gaming. The Navajo Nation's proposed statement is in general opposition to the specific point of the bill.' ".According to the position statement, the Navajo Nation has carefully monitored current congressional efforts to amend the IGRA 'and hereby voices its opposition to one provision of H.R. 4893.'."

New Force Patrolling Casinos

 

As reported by the Times-Mail: "The deeper Indiana gets into the gambling business, the more it will need top-notch security officers in casinos. "Gov. Mitch Daniels has taken a good first step in taking Indiana State Police troopers out of the gambling houses and putting them back into communities and on highways, where they best serve their fundamental roles. "The second step - filling slots for security officers who work for the Indiana Gaming Commission - is well under way. "...Indiana's state police officers have earned a reputation for integrity, no matter whether they are patrolling highways or working in casinos. The new force, working under the gaming commission, is on the right start to earn that same level of respect.

Online Gambling Bill Likely Delayed

 

As reported by Reuters: "A bill to outlaw most forms of Internet gambling appears unlikely to win U.S. Senate passage before senators begin a month-long recess on August 4, two Republican leadership aides said on Tuesday. "They said backers of the legislation were trying to build support for it and resolve differences as the Senate focuses on other legislative matters and gets ready for a summer break. "The bill was not among the priorities outlined by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, during a session with reporters on Tuesday in which he laid out measures he hopes to wrap up before the August vacation. ".Backers of the legislation had hoped to swiftly push it through the Senate this month after the U.S. arrest of David Carruthers, the former chief executive of U.K.-listed BETonSPORTS, on charges of racketeering and conspiracy."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

McCain Bill Hits Snag

 

As reported by the Arizona Republic: "An Indian gaming reform bill sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that would bar tribes from establishing casinos off of their reservations has hit a snag, with more than a half-dozen senators putting a "hold" on the legislation. "McCain's bill (SB 2078) was a response to the scandals involving convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff's nefarious dealings with tribes. The proposed legislation addresses instances in which tribes work with developers to locate casinos off ancestral lands, where developers would otherwise be restricted from developing casinos. "The Senate Indian Affairs Committee, headed by McCain, already has approved the legislation. But other senators, some anonymously, are now seeking to block the bill, which would impose the strictest regulations on Indian gaming since Congress approved the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. That act opened the door to the flood of tribal casinos. "McCain needs to find 60 Senate votes to overcome the opposition. That would procedurally release the bill from the holds placed by senators trying to block it. ".Only four tribes nationally have off-reservation casinos. But the exemption would protect more than 44 off-reservation applications filed prior to the deadline, including three by Arizona-based Indian tribes."

BetonSports CEO Ousted

 

As reported by the U.K. Telegraph: "Internet gambling company BetonSports has removed David Carruthers from his job as chief executive following his arrest in the United States on charges related to an alleged racketeering conspiracy. "The company said that yesterday 'the contract under which David Carruthers acted as CEO of the company was terminated'. ".BetonSports said: 'Clearly while he remains in the custody of the US Government he is unable to perform his duties. Further the company has been unable to speak directly with Mr Carruthers.' "Mr Carruthers, BetonSports founder Gary Kaplan and nine other former executives of the online betting company have been charged with racketeering conspiracy, transmission of wagers, mail fraud, tax evasion and other charges in a 22-count indictment."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Johnston, Ajax Try to Block West Warwick Casino

 

As reported by the Providence Business News: "The Town of Johnston and its prospective casino partner, Ajax Gaming Ventures LLC, are the latest parties to seek to block a November statewide referendum on the competing West Warwick-Narragansett Indian Tribe casino proposal. "They filed a lawsuit late Friday in U.S. District Court, Providence, asking the court 'to restrain the [R.I.] Secretary of State from placing on the statewide ballot . the Resolution passed by the R.I. General Assembly for a Casino in West Warwick to be owned and operated by the Narragansett Indian Tribe and its 'chosen partner.' ' ".Their July 21 complaint alleges that the proposed amendment conflicts with the U.S. Constitution, violating the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the law and the First Amendment right to participate in the political process."

Online Poker Distances Itself From Sports Betting

 

At the World Series of Poker tournament at the Rio, operators of Internet gambling sites are hosting swank hospitality suites to promote online poker games. Potential customers are invited to learn the ropes by playing free games where no money changes hands. But promotions can no longer be found for online sports betting, which is being targeted by the U.S. government because it is illegal in this country. So goes the convoluted, controversial business of Internet gambling. The country's biggest Internet gambling conference was supposed to have started Sunday as a welcome back of sorts for the man who has become the industry's public face. But Calvin Ayre, the only man to appear on the cover of Forbes' "Billionaires" issue and in People's "Hottest Bachelors" issue in the same year, won't be posing with leggy models or mixing with celebrities as planned at Wynn Las Vegas. Ayre is founder and chief executive of Bodog.com, an Internet casino and sports book located in Costa Rica that has become one of the most advertised online betting operations in the United States. Ayre canceled his conference after the arrest last weekend of online sports book operator David Carruthers at a Texas airport. Carruthers runs BetonSports PLC, a company that launched a successful public stock offering in London in 2004 and owns several online sports books and casinos.

Insiders say the action is more evidence of a growing divide between the flourishing world of online poker and its black sheep cousin, sports betting - an activity with strong roots in organized crime.

The Department of Justice says it doesn't distinguish between types of Internet gambling. It's all illegal, the government says, under the federal Wire Act - a rule designed to combat Mafia-run bookmaking operations in the 1960s.

Internet casinos and poker sites are different from their sports-betting counterparts, some legal experts say.

At least two courts have upheld the position that sports betting is illegal based on the Wire Act, the primary federal rule on gambling. But one of those decisions also said the Wire Act applies to sports betting and not other forms of gambling.

That 5th Circuit Court decision in 2002 is one of the chief reasons that online poker sites and advocates are breathing easy even after the surprise arrest of Carruthers on 22 counts, including violation of the Wire Act.

The Toronto-based Interactive Gaming Council, the biggest trade group for online casinos, about three years ago dropped members who took sports bets from Americans. The trigger was a bill moving through Congress similar to the Internet gambling prohibition that recently passed the House of Representatives and now faces scrutiny in the Senate.

Even if the Justice Department doesn't end up targeting poker-only sites, poker advocates say the BetonSports indictment is a disturbing development in a libertarian-minded industry that generally dislikes government intrusion.

Online poker players in Nevada already are breaking the law and getting away with it. Nevada law prohibits the accepting and placing of bets with operators that aren't licensed here. While offshore casinos would argue they aren't based in Nevada or processing bets here, Nevada regulators disagree.

State officials are reluctant to prosecute offshore companies - a monumental task that's viewed as the job of the federal government - nor do they have the stomach to prosecute individual poker players.

Several sites, including Bodog.com and ParadisePoker.com, are in the complicated situation of owning online sports books in addition to their Web-based casino and poker rooms.

Ayre started Bodog.com as a sports betting site in 2000. The site has ballooned into a major poker and casino game enterprise.

The Canadian was feeling confident at last year's convention, saying his business isn't subject to U.S. regulation and is licensed and regulated in Costa Rica and the United Kingdom, which is developing online betting rules.

His fearless attitude remains intact even as he called off his event and jumped on a plane to Asia. (His philanthropic foundation is setting up a sanctuary in Vietnam to protect bears from the underground practice of farming bile from bears' livers - one of several far-flung charitable causes he is pursuing .)

"The actions taken by the authorities (against BetonSports) have nothing to do with our organization; we are simply acting prudently for all concerned," Ayre said in a statement.

Bodog canceled the event after getting flooded with calls from concerned conference attendees after the Carruthers indictment, he said.

Ayre is moving the conference abroad but plans to continue hosting charity events in the United States, which in years past have included celebrity-studded parties in Hollywood and Hawaii.

One legal expert says he would be wise to stay out of the country for the foreseeable future.

"I think the liability (for sports book operators) is open and shut," said Joseph Kelly, a law professor and Internet gambling expert at State University of New York at Buffalo and a speaker at last year's Bodog conference.

Meanwhile, Bodog's hospitality lounge - which promotes the company's poker site and makes no mention of sports betting - is open and ready for entertaining at the Rio. So is the lounge for ParadisePoker.com, a site owned by a publicly traded company in London that also runs a sports betting operation here.

An after-hours party - a highlight of the Internet gambling conference - will still go forward at the Venetian's Tao nightclub Tuesday, with appearances by television celebrities and singer Vince Neil of the band Motley Crue.

As online poker's estimated 23 million-player base continues to grow, the Poker Players Alliance, a Las Vegas-based lobbying group that formed a few months ago with the primary purpose of combating an online betting ban under way in Congress, is gaining membership and some measure of respect.

The alliance claims more than 40,000 members and to be attracting hundreds more since the House of Representatives passed an Internet gambling prohibition two weeks ago aimed at capturing all casino games, including online poker, under the Wire Act's net.

"Just putting the word 'Internet' in front of poker shouldn't make the game or people behind it suspect," said Michael Bolcerek, an amateur player and president of the alliance. "A lot of (legislators) will privately agree with you, but publicly will take a political stand."

Jeff Simpson Sees Dangerous Trend in Nevada's Inaction on Growing Online Action

 

Nevada gaming regulators need to get tough, in a hurry. The state's Gaming Control Board takes great pride in being strict enforcers of the rules that govern Nevada gambling. And they are - for the most part. But the meteoric growth of the poker business has blinded the gaming industry's cops, and they seem unable to deal with the new realities that have accompanied the rise of Internet poker. Playing poker online for money is illegal in Nevada, according to state law, and the federal government says it is illegal everywhere in the United States, a stance the online poker business hopes the courts will overturn. Nevada gaming regulators originally took a tough stand against Internet poker. They forced prospective gaming license applicants to sell their ownership stakes in online casinos. They prohibited poker tournaments in state casinos from licensing online poker rooms to conduct official satellite tournaments that send winners to play in Nevada events. They did so because almost every top Web poker room accepts bets from the United States, including Nevada. Regulators considered the poker Web sites to be lawbreakers. That was when the online poker business was still relatively small. But after Tennessee accountant Chris Moneymaker parlayed his $40 PokerStars satellite victory into a (non-officially sanctioned) entry into the 2003 World Series of Poker championship event at Binion's Horseshoe and took down the top prize of $2.5 million, the online business exploded. Online poker sites ran countless commercials on the dozens of hours of televised poker shows available each week.

The revenue stream fueled more poker TV shows. With Moneymaker's win and the TV exposure, Web poker boomed, as did revenue in Las Vegas poker rooms and the tournaments they held.

The World Series of Poker championship event drew 839 entries in 2003, a number that jumped to 2,576 in 2004, 5,519 last year and is expected to reach 8,000 or more this year.

Those skyrocketing numbers have been driven by online sites.

One week ago PokerStars held a single online satellite tournament that will send an incredible 234 players into this year's WSOP $10,000-entry championship event. Dozens of other sites will send thousands more entrants.

What I find astonishing is that the Gaming Control Board allows the properties hosting major poker events to ally themselves so closely with poker Web sites that invite players to break the law.

At the WSOP, now under way at the Rio, Harrah's sold official hospitality rooms just steps away from the poker competition to several online poker rooms: Doyle's Room, Bodog and Ultimatebet. Other sites rent luxurious suites at the host hotel, the Rio.

. . .

From the felt tops of the WSOP poker tables, which feature a PartyPoker logo, to World Series media director Nolan Dalla, also a top spokesman for PokerStars, the incestuous relationship between legal Nevada casino poker and illegal online poker has never been clearer.

Harrah's can get away with the close partnerships because the online operators use their Web sites' "dot net" suffix, meaning that they call themselves by the names of their "educational" sister sites that offer free play instead of poker for money.

Ultimatebet.com, where you can bet, with a wink becomes Ultimatebet.net, where you can't. So Harrah's isn't technically partnering with illegal operators, and regulators aren't technically allowing a rule-breaking partnership.

Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander says the distinction between the dot-coms and the dot-nets matters and that regulators don't see a problem with the dot-net marketing at the WSOP.

He's wrong. The dot-net distinction shouldn't make a difference. Nevada casino operators shouldn't be partnering with illegal online casino operators - or their shadow sites.

It's time for Nevada regulators to say enough is enough and prove they still have the backbone to stand up to the big money of online casinos.

Lasseters Online Gives Away Trip

 

The World's first government licensed and regulated Internet Casino, Lasseters Online, is giving one lucky new player and their chosen companion, an unforgettable trip to Australia, valued at approximately US$15,000. The competition is only open to players who have never previously deposited at Lasseters, but existing players are being urged to refer their friends and relatives to the site, in the hope that they may earn themselves a seat on the plane. Lasseters' spokesperson, Andrew Housego believes it would be the fair thing to do. "If I was to refer a friend to Lasseters and they happened to win a US$15,000 holiday to Australia, I'd like to think that I'd be their first choice to accompany them". Many thousands of people have registered at Lasseters since they began operating over 7 years ago, with a number of them yet to make a deposit to their account. These lucky players are still eligible to participate in the competition and if they have forgotten their login details, they need not be concerned. Lasseters' Customer Support team will provide them with any assistance they require to access their account and earn their chance to win the trip.

The competition concludes on the 31st of August 2006, so time is running out to enter. Mr Housego has revealed that it is well worth the effort. "The majority of competitions conducted on the Internet attain many thousands of entries with no requirements for entry, offering all concerned a very remote chance of winning. However, as players are required to make a deposit of $50 or more to qualify for this competition, the number of entrants is restricted to serious players, representing tremendous odds for those who take the opportunity to enter."

To earn your chance to win the Australian Adventure of a Lifetime, simply visit www.lasseters.com, register for cash play and make a deposit of US$50 or more. Terms and Conditions apply and can be viewed at the New Player Promotions page. In addition to this amazing competition, Lasseters also offers its new players a 100% bonus up to US$100 on each of their first 5 deposits.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Lawyer: Carruthers' Arrest IgnoresTrade Issues

 

The surprise airport arrest of a prominent UK internet gambling executive this week is a counter-productive application of US law that ignores complex international trade issues, says Larry Gaydos, partner in the White Collar Defense/Antitrust Practice Group at Haynes and Boone, LLP. "Selectively targeting foreign businessmen who are respected in their own country to sensationalize the issue is unfair to the individuals and our friends in the international community," says Mr. Gaydos, who has extensive experience in white collar criminal defense, foreign trade, and general criminal matters. "Long-term, it may also have adverse consequences on US business. If the tables were reversed, I am sure the US would be outraged." Along with the recent extradition of three UK bankers to face Enron- related charges in Houston, the arrest of BetOnSports.com executive David Carruthers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport Sunday night has prompted many in the UK business and legal communities to cry foul. As the New York Times pointed out this week, "Now, many fear that the same controversial extradition treaty could be used to force British online gambling executives to stand trial in the United States." Understandably, gaming stocks on the London Stock Exchange have been severely impacted.

But, Mr. Gaydos says, the two cases are actually quite different in legal foundation. The British banker extraditions involved wire fraud, but encompassed conduct that would be a crime in most countries. The supporting FBI affidavit used in the extradition proceedings properly sets out a "probable cause" case, he says.

The Carruthers arrest, however, is problematic because the activity involved -- online gambling -- is legal in the UK.

"The issues involved are complex international issues involving trade and broader issues about the international policing of the Internet," Mr. Gaydos says. "The many problems associated with both these international issues require international solutions. The US attempt to do an end-run through a publicized arrest like this is legitimately perceived as arrogant and probably counter-productive to the mutual international goal of solving a growing problem."

Secretary Responds to Pennsylvania Board Decision

 

Budget Secretary Michael J. Masch released the following statement today after the Gaming Control Board voted unanimously to approve the administration's financial solvency plan for the board's 2006-07 operations: "I am very pleased that the board voted to accept the administration's funding plan, which will ensure that the board can continue its important regulatory work and bring long-awaited property tax relief to the residents of Pennsylvania. "The commonwealth will begin to see revenue from gaming when the board completes its licensing activities. Gaming revenue will be used to provide property tax relief for Pennsylvanians, which has been the commitment of Governor Rendell since he campaigned for office. "The original gaming appropriation was $36.1 million. Under the agreement approved today, $6.6 million of that appropriation that had been allocated to the Department of Revenue will now be reallocated to the Gaming Control Board. In addition, $3.8 million of the original appropriation that had been allocated to the Pennsylvania State Police will be reallocated to the Gaming Control Board. As required by Act 71, the legislation that authorized gaming in the commonwealth, all these funds will be fully repaid when gaming revenues become available.

"Last month, members of the General Assembly joined together to pass the Governor's historic property tax reform measure. After years of debate on the issue, real property tax relief is now within reach. Continued efforts by the Gaming Control Board will bring gaming revenues to the commonwealth, and full property tax relief will be a reality."

Critics: Oregon Governor Sets Bad Precedent

 

As reported by the Register Guard: "Governors wield what amounts to a veto pen when it comes to off-reservation casinos. "Just ask the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes, which tried in 2004 to win the approval of Colorado Gov. Bill Owens for an off-reservation casino near Denver's airport. Owens said no, and that was that. "In Oregon, Gov. Ted Kulongoski has agreed to let the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs replace its Central Oregon casino with one in the Columbia River Gorge town of Cascade Locks. He signed a compact last year with the tribe that allows the casino, while securing environmental and labor safeguards plus millions of dollars for a college scholarship fund. "While the governor and the tribes insist that such a move sets no legal precedent, others say it sets a precedent of the political sort. ".Kulongoski and Warm Springs leaders reject the notion that the Gorge casino creates the 'if-you-let-one-tribe-move...' quandary that critics portray it to be. ".'It's not a precedent because nobody else is going to come forward with the same fact pattern,' said David Reese, Kulongoski's legal counsel."

Harrah's Ad Questioned by Officials

 

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank J. Williams and Governor Carcieri have both called into question a pro-casino advertisement that ran this week. "Williams and other justices raised concerns about the full-page color ad by Harrah's Entertainment and the Narragansett Indian Tribe, saying it might be misconstrued as an official court communication or that the judges took a position on the casino question. "When Governor Carcieri's office was asked about the ad, his spokesman went further calling it 'blatantly false advertising.' "The ad, purchased in The Providence Sunday Journal, has a large photo of the state's main courthouse and in big bold letters says: 'The Supreme Court Agrees: The People Have the Right to Vote.' "However, that's not quite true. "The court declined last week to rule on the constitutionality of a November ballot question asking voters to approve a West Warwick casino. Sidestepping the issue, the court said Carcieri, who brought forth the challenge, had no standing to do so."

Seneca Dodges Taxes on Payouts

 

As reported by the Buffalo News: "The Seneca Nation of Indians is shielding its members from paying millions of dollars in federal income taxes on their personal share of tribal casino profits. "The nation claims no taxes are due because the money is tied to a tax-free lease settlement the tribe struck in Salamanca 12 years before it opened its first casino. "A newsletter to members of the tribe, along with land transaction records and Seneca filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, spells out a complex scheme the Seneca Nation is using to avoid federal taxes on $75 million in casino bonuses individuals will receive this year and next. "The two congressmen who sponsored the 1990 Seneca Settlement Act for its Salamanca leases say the legislation was never intended to help the Senecas acquire land for casinos or avoid paying federal taxes on gambling profits. "And the Internal Revenue Service suggests the money paid to individual Senecas might very well be taxable.

"At issue are the $4,500 payments that will be sent to each of the tribe's 7,200 enrolled members this year and the $6,000 they will be paid next year.

".Federal law requires that taxes be paid on per capita payments to tribal members from their casinos, and IRS regulations require both tribes and their members to report this money as income.

"But Seneca leaders say the nation is exempt from those requirements because the millions of dollars they are paying tribal members do not come directly from gambling revenues."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Station Square Project Gets Local Support

 

As reported by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "A South Side community group has decided that the best bet for Pittsburgh's slot machine casino is right in its back yard. "At a news conference yesterday, the South Side Local Development Co. threw its support behind the bid by Forest City Enterprises to build a casino at Station Square. "The endorsement came in conjunction with an agreement reached between the developer and the nonprofit group under which Forest City pledged to provide money for community-related programs and initiatives. "As part of a state tax credit program, Forest City would give $150,000 a year for 10 years to the South Side group for community projects if it gets the casino license, or $50,000 a year for five years if it doesn't. "In exchange for the contributions, the developer could be eligible for tax credits of 70 percent under the Neighborhood Partnership Program, assuming the arrangement is approved by the state's Department of Community and Economic Development."

Casino Queen Named in Two Lawsuits

 

As reported by the Madison Record: "The 'home of the loosest slots' was named in two separate Jones Act suits filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court on allegations that the riverboat gambling facility failed to provide two employees safe places to work. "The first suit against Casino Queen filed July 10 on behalf of Jacob Strangle, claims he sustained severe and permanent injuries while in the performance of his duties on Aug. 16, 2002. ".The second suit filed three days later claims bartender Benjamin Snyder injured his right shoulder on Dec. 10, 2004, while performing bartending duties. ". In April, The Illinois Appellate Court ruled that employees who work on the Alton Belle Casino are 'seamen' and can sue for damages under the Jones Act, a statute that provides a means for recovering legal damages for maritime workers."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Casino Winnings Stolen from Car

 

As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "Lady Luck smiled upon, and then deserted, a Philadelphia man when he won about $20,000 in a casino and then had the money stolen, police said Thursday. "Kamish Patel, 38, of Philadelphia, won a large sum of money early Wednesday morning at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, police said. At about 7 a.m., he went to hide the cash in his vehicle parked in the casino garage. "When Patel returned to the car at about 2:20 p.m., he saw that the window had been smashed and the money stolen, police said."

Mountain View Casino Owner Dies

 

As reported by Pahrump Valley Times: "Mountain View Casino owner John McCaw, late of Pahrump, died suddenly in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino. He was 50 years old. "McCaw had been battling Hodgkin's lymphoma for a year, and his death from pneumonia was the result of complications from his chemotherapy treatments. ahrump Valley Times McCaw had just returned to Nevada from Bradenton, Fla., where he had recently relocated in order to be closer to the spring-training home of his beloved Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team."

PartyGaming Remains Bullish

 

As reported by the U.K. Guardian: "The online gaming group PartyGaming today brushed aside concerns raised by the arrest in the US of a British executive from a rival company as it reported soaring revenues. "PartyGaming, owner of the world's largest online poker site, PartyPoker, said the drop in share prices in online betting companies following the indictment of BetonSports presented acquisition opportunities. "Mitch Garber, PartyGaming's chief executive, told Reuters: 'I've had a very strong M&A (mergers and acquisitions) focus in my previous life and Martin (finance director Martin Weigold) and I have been looking at companies,' he said. 'Any time price becomes more attractive, I guess deals become more attractive.' "As for the turmoil that has engulfed rival BetonSports following its indictment by the US justice department, Mr Garber said: 'The characteristics of the indictment are very far away from what PartyGaming does.'."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Smoking Ban Didn't Hurt Stanley Leisure

 

As reported by the Scotsman: "Stanley Leisure, Britain's biggest casino operator, said today that its business in Scotland had not been affected by the smoking ban. "As the company posted a near doubling in annual profit, it said the ban on smoking in enclosed public places, introduced in March, 'has not had a material effect on our four casinos in Scotland'. "Stanley, which has three of its 41 casinos in Edinburgh, including Cascades in Leith, said it made a pre-profit on continuing operations of £31.9 million in the year to April 30, a rise of 97 per cent on the previous year on revenues that were two per cent higher at £224.8m. "But the company said the start of the current year had been hit by a double whammy of a number of big wins at its London casinos and Italy's success in the World Cup, which had affected its international betting unit. ".Chief executive Bob Wiper described the performance as 'satisfactory' in what he said had been ;a strategically important year' ."

Aiming High on Paradise

 

The Beach nightclub on Paradise Road would be razed and a 600-room high-rise tower and casino would be squeezed onto its 1.25-acre site under a development plan that won initial approval from county officials this week. With hotel rooms for tourists and condominiums for homebuyers, the as yet unnamed mixed-use project would meld the traditional Las Vegas gaming resort with the valley's still-expanding Manhattanization housing trend. "It'll be a true hotel with 300 rooms rented by the night and 300 resort condominiums," said Greg Borgel, the land-use consultant working on the project for Three Sixty Five, the partnership group that owns The Beach. Documents filed with Clark County show Three Sixty Five principal Rick Tuttle and his partners also plan a 20,000-square-foot casino and an 18,000-square-foot restaurant and lounge area in the 39-story building. Borgel said the proposed tower is not too large a development to place on less than 2 acres. "That's the new style," he said. "Up instead of out and big projects on small pads." Since the condo tower trend began about three years ago, many projects have won municipal approval only to fizzle without adequate financing. But Borgel said the investment Three Sixty Five has made on architectural planning, consultants and other pre-deveopment costs indicates the group is serious about building.

"This is a real deal," he said.

The Clark County Planning Commission on Monday unanimously approved lifting a height restriction to allow the proposed tower's 490-foot height, but county commissioners must still sign off on the project next month.

In recommending approval, county staff members noted that the project site on the southwest corner of Paradise and Convention Center Drive is near the Strip and seems a sensible area for future extension of the gaming resort corridor.

Although operated as a dance hot spot, The Beach already has a gaming license.

Industry analysts said developing the available locations along Paradise into full-scale casinos seems to be the next, logical step for gaming development.

"When there is a limited amount of space on the Strip, you start looking for the best convenient location just off the Strip," Morgan Joseph gaming analyst Adam Steinberg said. "If done properly, the potential is there."

Steinberg likened Paradise Road to the development on West Flamingo Road, where the Palms, Rio and Gold Coast casinos operate.

Redevelopment on the Strip could also affect Paradise Road. Any remodeling of the Sahara and Riviera, two large Strip casinos that are for sale and have automobile access from Paradise, could affect that location.

The former Wet 'n Wild water theme park is on 27 acres accessible from both the Strip and Paradise. Its owner, Archon Corp., has entered a deal for its sale, but the deal is not expected to close for another year. Plans call for a hotel-casino on the site.

Also, the Las Vegas Hilton, Paradise Road's prime tenant, sits on a 59-acre site. Colony Capital, which owns the Las Vegas Hilton, has said it was exploring a master plan for the location.

The Beach has fewer than 20 slot machines, which are managed by slot machine route operator Herbst Gaming. The nonrestricted gaming license, however, has been in place since before The Beach opened in October 1995, allowing the location to maintain its gaming status.

Owners will have to go through a licensing process to place a full Las Vegas-style casino on the site.

"If the location is grandfathered in, at that point it would suitable for a casino," Gaming Control Board member Mark Clayton said. "Whoever operates the casino would be subject to our general background check for licensing."

Before becoming The Beach, the facility housed two the ill-fated ventures.

The DaVille Casino opened in 1974, but was never operated as a casino with the operators never able to obtain licensing.

The location was sold in 1991 to two British brothers, who spent more than $9 million to open Sport of Kings, a stand-alone race and sports book with an emphasis on horse racing. The facility also included slot machines.

However, a drawn-out battle to win a gaming license kept the facility closed until it eventually opened in October 1992. The Sport of Kings never gained much of a following and the race book closed in December 1993.

Three Sixty Five's Tuttle and his partners bought the site for $3.9 million in March 1995 and remodeled the building into The Beach.

Although Piero's Italian restaurant is adjacent to The Beach, Borgel said the new tower will not physically affect the popular eatery's building.

Desert Diamond Casino Names New GM, President

 

As reported by the Tuscon Citizen: "The Tohono O'odham Nation has a new casino boss to oversee construction of the new Desert Diamond Casino on Nogales Highway as well as the tribe's entire gaming operation, the tribe announced this morning. Scott Sirois started July 10 as chief executive of the Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise after five years as general manager of the Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Lake County, Calif., about two hours north of San Francisco. "While at Robinson, Sirois oversaw several expansions to the tribal casino, including the construction of a resort, hotel and conference center. "Sirois comes on board in Tucson in the early stages of construction of a new $120 million Desert Diamond casino, hotel and conference center on Nogales Highway to replace the so-called "tent" casino that has no hotel. ".The Tohono O'odham hope Sirois' arrival brings stability back to the tribe's casino operations."

Stanley Leisure to Bid for Licences

 

As reported by icLiverpool: "Liverpool gaming group Stanley today confirmed it will bid for all 17 new casino licences under the 2005 Gambling Act. "The government is considering applications for eight small, eight large and one regional 'super' casino around the UK. ".Under the previous 1968 Gambling Act, Stanley was granted three new casino licences, including one in its Dale Street headquarters, and five that are being progressed."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

B.C. Government Wins Big with Lottery

 

As reported by the Vancouver Sun: "Chances are you're dreaming of winning the jackpot if you blow a few dollars on the lottery, and that dream will die when the numbers are drawn -- at least until the next chance. "Much surer bets are that the individual who sold your ticket will make money, along with three levels of government, numerous non-profits and everybody else involved in every facet of British Columbia's $2.26-billion government-controlled gambling industry. ".Prizes to lottery and bingo winners accounted for $641.5 million or about 31 cents of every dollar wagered in the 2005-06 fiscal year, according to the B.C. Lottery Corp.'s annual report released Monday. The lottery gave B.C. 14 instant millionaires over that time (13 of the 14 collected $2 million or more).

"But the biggest winner was the B.C. government. It scooped up $914.4 million, or about 45 cents of every dollar, up $103 million from the previous year. Lottery retailers and casino and bingo service providers divvied up $483 million, about 23 cents of every dollar, up from $409 million in 2004-05.

".In addition to $32.9 million in GST revenues, Ottawa collected $8.3 million from B.C. under a long-standing agreement with the provinces on the withdrawal of the federal government from the lottery field."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Looking In On: Gaming

 

Harrah's Entertainment isn't saying much about its plans to redevelop its center Strip properties. Details are expected this fall. In the meantime, Strip watchers have some free advice. For starters: Don't mess with Caesars Palace, arguably the world's best-known casino. It makes sense for Harrah's to tear down its time-warped, low-rent Imperial Palace, but elegantly middle-aged Caesars still is the opulent flagship and will stand up admirably to a new wave of ultrahip Strip developments. While access to the mazelike property could be improved and its old-fashioned Strip frontage better exploited, Caesars doesn't need a makeover a la MGM Mirage's $7 billion Project CityCenter. "Caesars is probably going to have its best year in the last 10 years," said Andrew Zarnett, a bond analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities. "Every day they wake up and think, 'How can we make this property better.' And the incremental cost of making it better is a lot more profitable than building a new resort from scratch.' "

The property has tumbled through various owners and has grown topsy-turvy but it "will always have a place in Las Vegas at the mid to high end" as long as the company continues to pump money into the property, Zarnett said. "People just love that brand."

Second piece of advice: Don't mess too much with cash cows Harrah's or Flamingo, either. Yes, they could use some cosmetic surgery but, based on the legions of slot players who flock to the hotels, the two properties are still alluring and there's no need to go under the knife - ahem, wrecking ball - to seduce young hipsters.

Harrah's base "is Middle America," Zarnett said. "It isn't the elite top 20 percent or the bottom 20 percent. They have a wide base in the middle."

Jeffrey Compton, a Las Vegas casino consultant, gives Harrah's a bit more credit than that. "Harrah's is very comfortable catering to the upper-middle class," he said. "They're not after whales, but they are moving up. They're good at upgrading their properties. They're not ones to buy a property and let it rot."

With dramatic developments up and down the Strip, it's time for Harrah's to look into the mirror and prepare for its next close-up.

. . .

Just when you think the argument about whether poker is a legitimate sport has played itself out, the tedious debate has resurfaced. A Washington man is waging an uphill battle with Nevada regulators to legalize pari-mutuel betting on poker and, for that matter, billiard tournaments.

The discussion turned downright silly at the board's July meeting.

Attorney Louis Czoka, representing Washington lawyer Harry Platis, struggled to explain before the board why poker is different from, say, chess, backgammon and bridge. Poker, he explained, is more similar to target shooting and curling because it involves controlled body movements. And still, poker is not a far cry from traditional sports, either, because it requires stamina.

"You're not just playing your cards, you're playing your opponent," Czoka said.

True enough, though any poker pro knows an amateur with lucky cards is tough to beat, just as the odds of winning have gotten a lot longer as tournaments attract the masses.

Czoka also didn't win any points with former Las Vegas FBI boss and state Gaming Control Board member Bobby Siller, who said he didn't see many similarities between shooting guns and playing poker.

Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander acknowledged that the sports betting regulation is vague and should be tightened up. If read broadly, casinos could offer betting lines on just about anything, he said.

And what's so wrong with that? Where there's a hobby, there's a fan and a bet to be made, which means more tax money, right?

"I was in a local establishment, and they had these hermit crabs on a table," Neilander said, implying that betting was in process. "They put helmets on them or something like that."

Board member Mark Clayton suggested that his biggest fear would be watching grown men bet on dominoes, video-game tournaments and even Candyland board games.

"Where do you draw the line, Mr. Czoka?" Clayton said.

Hopefully not between Candyland and the hermit crabs.

. . .

What's old is new again on the Strip, where developers are trying to snap up the last remaining parcels for luxury development.

At a recent Gaming Control Board meeting, the general manager of the Barbary Coast half-jokingly referred to the 200-room property as a "boutique" hotel.

It may not look anything like the tony Mondrian in Los Angeles or the swank Delano in Miami Beach, Fla. But the property - which sits on the busy intersection at Flamingo Road and the Strip - is nevertheless sitting on a redevelopment gold mine.

The Barbary Coast opened in 1979 and looks its age, with a cavelike interior and plenty of worn carpet.

But that doesn't matter to Harrah's Entertainment, which is vying to purchase the old dame as part of a master-planned redevelopment of its center Strip properties next door.

If Harrah's decides it doesn't need the Barbary Coast to complete its project, Boyd Gaming Corp. can maintain the property's status as one of the Strip's smallest - uh, make that boutique - hotels.

Ohio Senator Renews Fight Against Gambling

 

As reported by the Chronicle: "U.S. Sen. George Voinovich said Monday he's ready to battle again with gambling proponents who want to expand legalized gambling in the state but warned that this time the foe is much stronger. "Voinovich, who opposes putting any proposal for slot machines in Ohio on the Nov. 7 ballot, told reporters and editors at The Chronicle-Telegram the costs of gambling far outweigh any benefit. ".Horse racetrack owners and others are pushing the proposed Learn and Earn amendment to Ohio's constitution, which would allow slot machines at each of Cleveland's seven race tracks, the Nautica Entertainment Complex and Tower City. If approved, the machines will generate an estimated $2.3 billion annually with $700 million of that earmarked for college scholarship programs. "But Voinovich cautioned voters that only people running the slot machines will benefit in the long run because of the money those billions of dollars that will be lost in state revenue, and therefore programs."

WSOP Update - Day 23

 

Phil Hellmuth's second legitimate chance to capture his record-tying tenth WSOP bracelet ended in continued frustration Monday as the poker superstar again watched a first time WSOP champion take home the hardware. Scott Clements, who went into the $3,000 WSOP Event #24 Omaha High-Low final table as the chip leader, led wire to wire. The Mount Vernon, Wash. native has cashed twice in previous WSOP events, including an Omaha event earlier this Series and the 2005 WSOP Main Event. His win yielded him $301,175. To secure his first major victory, Clements had to battle through an experienced final table, besting three WSOP bracelets holders and decades worth of WSOP final table experience.

Second place finisher Thor Hansen has been a staple at the WSOP since 1988 when he won his first gold bracelet playing 7-Card Stud. Since that time, Hansen has added another bracelet (2002, Ace to 5 Lowball), made 14 final tables, and cashed in 31 events. So far in the 2006 WSOP, Hansen has cashed three times.

Poker veteran Brent Carter, who has two bracelets, 14 final tables, and 35-cashes in his WSOP career, finished in third place.

Hellmuth was the final table's main attraction, but after an early series of bad hands, Hellmuth busted in sixth place. His play in WSOP Event #24 was good enough for his fourth cash in the 2006 WSOP and another $48,576 in prize money. Hellmuth now had 53 cashes in the WSOP all-time, adding to the record he set earlier in the series.

The Young Keep Getting Richer

One day after Jeff Madsen became the youngest WSOP champion in history, 21-year old Seattle, Wash. native Ian Johns won his first gold bracelet in WSOP Event #23, a $3,000 Limit Hold'em event.

Johns won $291,755 for defeating 340 players. Before Monday, his largest poker victory to date was a 14th place finish at a minor event in the 2006 Fourth Annual Five Star Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Vegas.

Johns began playing poker online with a $50 bankroll. After watching his money dwindle down to $6, he told his wife Mandy Twiggs-John that he would quit playing if he lost the rest. He never did and now he is a WSOP champion.

Because Johns is from a state that recently made online gambling a felony, he has changed his focus to land-based poker, a move that seems to be working out so far for the budding young player.

"It's ridiculous," Johns said about the Washington state law. "I have not played online poker since June 7th (when the law went into effect). We will probably be forced to move because of the law."

Jerrod Ankenman, who is the co-author of the upcoming poker book "The Mathematics of Poker" with two-time 2006 WSOP bracelet winner William Chen, finished second to Johns in a one-sided heads up match.

Johns went into the final pairing with a sizable chip lead and never let up.

Ankenman received $150,586 for his second-place finish and his success, combined with Chen's, will likely result in an even better return when the book is released.

Final Table Set for the $2,000 WSOP Event # 25 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout

For those not familiar with a shootout format, players must defeat everyone at their table before advancing to the next round. Players continue to advance by winning their tables until only 10 players remain. Once that occurs, final table play begins.

Everyone playing at the Event #25 final table will begin with 200,000 chips. Professionals Roland de Wolfe and David Pham will enter with the most experience.

A regular on the World Poker Tour (WPT), de Wolfe won the WPT Grand Prix de Paris in Season Four and placed third in the WPT Championships at the Bellagio this spring.

Pham has one WSOP gold bracelet (2001 S.H.O.E), three WSOP final tables and 11 WSOP cashes.

But everyone who qualified for the final table had to defeat each of the competitors at their previous tables, competition that included some of the biggest names in the sport.

Chad Layne outlasted tournament poker superstar Kathy Leibert in a classic heads-up bout to earn his spot. David Bach had to defeat eight players, then play David Singer heads-up for his seat and Pham had to beat Mike Sexton to make Day Three.

Here are the final table participants for Event #25. Play will begin again today (July 18) at 2 p.m. PST.

Dustin Woolf

David Bach

Jason Dewitt

Roland de Wolfe

Adam Kagin

David Pham

Jerald Williamson

Jeff Heiberg

Charlie Sewell

Two Omaha Events Move to Day Two

Event #300

WSOP officials added another Omaha event to the tournament schedule yesterday. Event #300, a Pot-Limit Omaha with rebuys tournament, began Monday (July 17) with 158 participants and is now down to 18. Professional high stakes player Chau Giang leads the remaining players with 150,400 chips. Sherkhan Farnood is in second place with 112,000. The rest of the field, which includes Eric Froehlich (bracelet winner in 2005) and Rafi Amit (bracelet winner in 2005, four cashes and one final table in 2006 WSOP), has less than 100,000 chips remaining.

Event # 25 $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha

Of the 506 players who entered Event # 25 on Monday (July 17) only 16 players remain. Rafael Perry, who finished 15th in the $50,000 Horse event Saturday, has the most chips with 129,000.

Today's Event

Event #26, a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event, begins today (July 18) at noon. According to live blogs, the Amazon Room of the Rio all Suites Hotel and Casino is packed with players. Expect a large field in this event.

Casino City's WSOP Mid-Series Awards Column

 

With half of the 2006 WSOP already in the books, Casino City reporters Aaron Todd and Ryan McLane are ready to hand out their inaugural "Keys to the City" Awards, this round for the best of the best in first-half WSOP performances. As a leading provider of international poker news, Casino City has been following the WSOP from our home office in Newton, MA and live from the Amazon Room at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. We have closely monitored the action and are confident our selections represent the best of the best in the 2006 WSOP, including The Male and Female Most Outstanding Players as well as the Most Consistent Players. The awards take into account all of the action up to and including WSOP Event # 24.Look for Casino City's "Key to the City" awards again in August, immediately following the conclusion of the 2006 WSOP Main Event.

Male MOP - William "Bling Bling" Chen - (2 bracelets, $786,129, 2 FT, 5 Cashes)

Relatively out of nowhere, Bling Bling has taken the 2006 WSOP by storm, capturing two gold bracelets and cashing in three more events. While one win might be a fluke, two is the sign of a solid player and Chen looks like he may be a force to reckon with in events and years to come. Known as a mathematical wizard, Chen will have several more chances to tie Phil Ivey and Ted Forrest for most bracelets in a single WSOP (3). Our WSOP first-half Most Outstanding Player "Key to the City" Award goes to this Lafayette, PA native.

Honorable Mentions

Chip Reese - (1 Bracelet, $1,784,640, 1 FT, 1 Cash) Is arguably the best all-around-cash-game player in the world. Won the largest mixed-game tournament in WSOP history, the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E event.

Jeff Madsen - (1 Bracelet, $758,500, 2 FT, 2 Cashes) In his first WSOP, the 21-year old is making his appearances count, becoming the youngest player in WSOP history to win a gold bracelet. Placed third in his first WSOP final table.

Allen Cunningham - (1 Bracelet, $635,352, 1 FT, 3 Cashes) The WSOP Player of the Year in 2005 won his fourth gold bracelet this year, making him one of four players to win four before turning 30.

Female MOP - Claire Miller - (1 Bracelet, $247,814, 1 FT, 1 Cash)

If you are a 61-year old grandmother and you defeat 1,184 of the world's top senior poker players, you automatically get our vote for Female Most Outstanding Player. Won the $1,000 Event #19 Seniors No-Limit Hold'em Event, despite facing a final table that included Ron Rose and Jon "JV" Vorhaus, both poker authors and formidable players.

Honorable Mentions

Mary Jones Meyer - (1 Bracelet, $236,094, 1 FT, 1 Cash) Won the Ladies World Championship (Event # 15).

Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier - (0 Bracelets, $177,678, 1 FT, 2 Cashes) Finished fifth in the $5,000 WSOP Event # 9 No-Limit Hold'em tournament.

Most Consistent Player - William "Bling Bling" Chen -

Not surprisingly, Casino City's Most Outstanding player halfway through the 2006 WSOP is also our most consistent competitor. He's two for two at WSOP final tables and has cashed in five tournaments, including 61st in Event # 2, which at the time (June 27th) was the second largest land-based poker tournament ever played.

Honorable Mentions

Andy Bloch - (0 Bracelets, $1,112,707, 2 FT, 4 Cashes) Narrowly missed winning the most exciting and grueling WSOP tournament in history ($50,000 H.O.R.S.E Event #20). Has two final table appearances and four cashes so far, plus he earned style points for taking a penalty to ensure WSOP officials used unmarked cards during the opening rounds of the H.O.R.S.E event.

Carlos Juan Mortensen - (0 Bracelets, $191,426, 2 FT, 4 Cashes) He's so focused in the 2006 WSOP, he told tournament officials that he would enter the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E tournament, even if he was playing the final table of Event #17, which started after the H.O.R.S.E event began.

Phil Hellmuth Jr. - (0 Bracelets, $490,356, 2 FT, 4 Cashes) Coming off a dismal 2005 WSOP, Hellmuth seems focused in 2006, trying to claim his record-tying 10th gold bracelet. Of all the big names competing in this year's series, he's played the best.

Phil Ivey - (0 Bracelets, $846,444, 2 FT, 3 Cashes) A fan favorite, Ivey has not disappointed so far this year, finishing third in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E tournament and second to Sam Farha in Event #12.

John Hoang - (0 Bracelets, $255,822, 2 FT, 3 Cashes) With little recorded WSOP history to speak of, Hoang has burst onto the WSOP scene early in 2006, making two final tables including a second place.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tribal Casino Helps Revive City

 

As reported by the Buffalo News: "The steel frame of an 11-story building rises dramatically at the foot of a steep hill along the Southern Tier Expressway, right next to a new eight-story parking garage that is, for now, the tallest building in Cattaraugus County. "The structure that will become the permanent home of the Seneca Allegany Casino won't be completed until the end of the year, but casino gambling already has helped pull this city at the edge of Allegany State Park out of a decades-long decline. "A 48,000-square-foot temporary casino opened two years ago in what will become an entertainment center once the new 64,500-square-foot casino and its 220-room hotel are open. "While Niagara Falls has been slow in getting its share of profits from the Seneca Nation of Indians' first casino, Salamanca has begun to plan for its casino revenue, the next installment of which is estimated to be in the $4 million to $5 million range. ".The Seneca Nation said the Allegany casino spent more than $14 million with local vendors and suppliers in its most recent fiscal year. "The casino generated $143.2 million in net revenue and $34.7 million in net income between September 2004 and 2005, according to nation filings with the federal government, and net gambling revenue for the six months ending March 31 was $69.9 million..."

BetonSports CEO Detained in US

 

As reported by Bloomberg: "Betonsports Plc, a London-based Web gambling company licensed in jurisdictions including Antigua, said Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers was detained in the U.S. The shares dropped as much as 24 percent. "The company is working to clarify the grounds on which the CEO was held by federal authorities as he changed planes, a Regulatory News Service statement released today shows. He was traveling to Costa Rica from the U.K., said Betonsports, which gets most of its business from running a book on sports including American football and also offers Internet casino games and poker. ".The shares slid as much as 35 pence to 112 pence in London and were down 12 percent at 130 pence at 2:31 p.m. local time. Sportingbet, the Web bookmaker that owns Paradise Poker, declined 43.5 pence, or 13 percent, to 280.75 pence. PartyGaming Plc, the largest Internet poker company, dropped 4.5 pence, or 4.1 percent, to 104.5 pence. ".Carruthers worked for about 25 years at bookmaker Ladbrokes before joining Betonsports in June 2000. The company raised 54.6 million pounds in an initial public offering in July 2004 and has expanded with acquisitions as well as signups of new customers..."

Arizona Lottery A Good Bet

 

As reported by the Arizona Republic: "It was created in 1981, backed by businessmen looking for a tax break. "Twenty-five years later, the Arizona Lottery has made hundreds of people millionaires while awarding $2.9 billion in prizes. It has contributed more than $1.8 billion to state and local projects and programs, far surpassing the annual revenue hopes of that original group of businessmen. From new roads and bus shelters to programs for neglected children and funding for state parks, lottery dollars have touched the lives of nearly all Arizonans. ".Unclaimed prizes fund the entire budget for the state's Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, program, which provides volunteers to work with abused and neglected children in state custody. The state's General Fund gets a big chunk, more than $37 million a year. "And the Heritage Fund, which supports the Arizona Game and Fish and State Parks departments, gets $20 million each year. With deep cuts in parks funding in recent years, the Heritage Fund has played a critical role in supporting the department, said public information officer Ellen Bilbrey. For example, lottery money paid for about one-fourth of the cost to develop Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson."

Ex-Champ Wins Horse Play

 

The poker world has changed significantly in the nearly 2 1/2 decades since Chip Reese captured the gold and diamond encrusted bracelet for winning an event at the World Series of Poker. Early Saturday at the Rio, the Las Vegas resident -- a 1991 inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame -- rejoined that community in epic fashion. Beginning shortly after 2 a.m., Reese, 55, and fellow poker professional Andy Bloch staged a record 7-hour, 12-minute head-to-head matchup at the final table of the World Series of Poker's HORSE event. When the back-and-forth tussle was over, Reese won his first World Series title since 1982 and his richest paycheck ever in tournament competition -- more than $1.78 million. His last championship, 24 years ago, was worth $92,500. Back then, only a few hundred players competed in the World Series of Poker. Today, fueled by the Internet and televised poker events, close to 30,000 players will enter the 2006 competition and millions will follow online and on ESPN. Saturday's first-place prize was the highest payout in World Series of Poker history for any event other than the no-limit World Championship Texas hold'em match. The championship bracelet makes three in Reese's collection, although he's not really sure what happened to the other two. "It's pretty nice," said Reese, admiring his new piece of jewelry. "Actually, I think one year that I won, they gave me a watch. I occasionally play in big events at the Venetian and Bellagio, but this is the biggest payday I've ever had in tournament play." Reese had to earn that reward, mostly through lack of sleep.

The three-day HORSE tournament, which had a World Series of Poker record buy-in of $50,000 and attracted 143 players, consisted of five different poker games that rotated every 40 minutes, with the stakes increasing roughly every three hours. Games included Texas hold'em, Omaha, razz, seven card stud, and seven card stud high-low split/eight or better for low.

No-limit Texas hold'em was the only game played during the 12-hour final table, which began with nine players just before 10 p.m. Friday.

The competition's second day, which started with 127 players, lasted longer, beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday and ending at 9 a.m. Friday.

Reese began Friday night in first place, holding almost $1.8 million in chips of the $7.15 million tournament pot. He had to face down some hefty competition, who collectively owned 27 championship bracelets.

Two previous World Poker champions, Doyle Brunson (1976 and 1977) and Jim Bechtel (1993), also reached the final table, along with tournament veterans Dewey Tomko, T.J. Cloutier, Bloch, and Phil Ivey, who has a strong following via televised poker and the Internet.

Brunson, seeking a record 11th World Series of Poker bracelet, seemed to be the sentimental favorite of the audience, which packed the Rio Pavilion's small bleachers and stood 10 rows deep around the ESPN television cameras that surrounded the final table.

"Heck, I had sentiment for Doyle," Reese said. "We all want to see him win that 11th bracelet. He's an amazing player. I knew going in there were going to be some great players at the final table. I just hoped to be one of them."

Brunson, who had the second-highest amount of chips coming in, busted out in eighth place shortly after midnight. He was soon followed by Tomko. Bloch eliminated Cloutier, and Reese ended Bechtel's night by 1:30 a.m. A half-hour later, Ivey was on the sidelines.

When heads-up play began, Bloch held a $90,000 lead over Reese in chips, but that figure grew steadily during slow play over the next four hours.

By 6:15 a.m., Bloch had a better than 5-to-1 lead in chips over Reese.

"I had never played heads-up with Chip before, so I was trying to read him and he was trying to read me," said Bloch, a professional poker player since 1992 who holds two electrical engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree from Harvard.

"That's probably a reason the play was so slow," he added.

Reese nipped away at Bloch's lead and won two significant pots in the next hour, twice doubling his chip total. By 7:15 a.m., Reese took a $350,000 lead, increasing it to almost $1.2 million in the next 20 minutes.

But Bloch wasn't discouraged. Within 40 minutes, he battled back, winning several large pots and regaining a $1.4 million lead by 8:37 a.m.

However, the end was in sight 20 minutes later. Bloch, with a pair of nines, called Reese when he went all-in holding a king of diamonds and six diamonds. The flop and river cards gave Reese a flush and a commanding lead of more than 6 to 1 in chips.

Bloch bet his last $300,000 on a nine-high; Reese won with ace-high.

"I was really impressed with the way Andy played heads-up," Reese said. "I just got lucky on some of the cards I drew. He had several opportunities where he could have won it."

Bloch, who was seeking his first World Series of Poker bracelet, won more than $1 million for second place.

"I'm sure I'll feel pretty good about how I did after I've had a chance to sleep," he said. "I think we both just grew tired and made the moves that we did."

This was the first time a HORSE event was added to the 45-event competition. World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, who has likened the poker tournament to a professional sports league, said HORSE was the event's all-star game, coming at the halfway point.

"You saw the best poker players in the world over these past few days, the all-stars of our sport," Pollack said. "I thought going in that we would get 65 to 75 players. So 143 was amazing. In our off-season, we'll look at the HORSE event and see how we can make it better."

World Series of Poker Communications Director Gary Thompson said HORSE was added at the request of long-time poker professionals. The players thought competition at different games with a buy-in five times any previous amount was a needed event.

"We have a player's advisory committee, and they were unanimous at including this event into the schedule," Thompson said. "When we checked with other players, they were also unanimous in us having this event. The players thought the event showcases their skills across a variety of games."

Some players, however, thought the final table should have been the HORSE format, rather than no-limit hold'em, including Brunson, considered the game's godfather.

"We played HORSE for two days, and I think it cheapens (the event) by playing hold'em on the last day," Brunson said before the final table. "We were asking for this big game, and I'm glad it was added, but the final table should have been HORSE, not hold'em."

Both Reese and Bloch agreed with Brunson but understood that hold'em translated better to a television audience. ESPN is scheduled to show the HORSE event in late October.

Thompson said ESPN insisted that hold'em be the game at the final table, while several players questioned said that Harrah's Entertainment, which owns the World Series of Poker, made the final call.

An ESPN representative could not be reached.

HORSE attracted a poker all-star roster. Former World Series of Poker champions Johnny Chan (1987, 1988), Phil Hellmuth (1989), Huck Seed (1996), Chris Ferguson (2000), Carlos Mortensen (2001) and Greg Raymer (2004) took part, as did well-recognized professionals Mike Sexton, Mike Matusow, Annie Duke, Todd Brunson, Jennifer Harmon, Erik Seidel, Lyle Berman, Gabe Kaplan and Daniel Negreanu.

None finished among the top 16, which split the total prize pool of almost $6.9 million.

This year's World Championship event, in which Harrah's officials expect to draw more than 8,000 players at $10,000 a buy-in, begins July 28 at the Rio with a four-day opening round.

Participants will play down until nine players remain, who will compete at the final table on Aug. 10.

Australian Joseph Hachem collected $7.5 million for becoming last year's world champion. Harrah's officials expect the 2006 winner to take home more than $12 million.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Workers Return to Mississippi Casinos

 

As reported by the Biloxi Sun Herald: "The Crescent City School of Gaming & Bartending has reopened to train workers as the Coast rebuilds with a bigger casino industry than it had before Hurricane Katrina. "The storm left 17,000 resort workers without jobs, including card dealers, but the number of employment opportunities could potentially double within the next three years. "Casino companies have put rebuilding, expansion and new resort plans on a fast track so their resorts will be open by Dec. 31, 2008, the deadline to qualify for federal tax incentives to spur redevelopment after the hurricane. "With Beau Rivage and Grand Casino Biloxi reopening next month, there is already high demand for craps dealers and floor supervisors. "More blackjack dealers and bartenders will be needed as Island View, the Silver Slipper and Hollywood casinos open next. Employment is projected to reach 12,000 by year's end. "Plans have also been announced for brand new properties in DeLisle, Diamondhead, Biloxi and D'Iberville."

Wandsworth Bans Casinos

 

As reported by the Wandsworth Guardian: "Las Vegas will not be coming to Wandsworth after licensing bosses agreed to ban casinos. "The Gambling Act 2005 has produced the possibility of allowing casinos to open, creating more jobs, trade, tourism and presumably more gambling. "But Wandsworth Council's licensing committee has banned casinos a decision rubber-stamped by the executive on Monday because it was against the borough's residential make-up. ".Licensing chairman, Councillor Stewart Finn said: 'We do not think, as a predominantly residential borough, there would a great deal of need for that sort of business."

Republican Candidate Used Fake Name at Casino

 

As reported by the Norwich Bulletin: "Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Alan Schlesinger said he was simply trying to be left alone while gambling at Foxwoods Resort Casino when he got a Wampum Rewards card with a fake name. "Schlesinger said Thursday that he got the card in the early 1990s when he played blackjack occasionally. He said dealers constantly asked him if he wanted a card and he finally broke down and got one to avoid the questions. ".Schlesinger said he used the fake name Alan Gold to protect his privacy because the casino was controversial in the area. He said he also didn't want to receive marketing promotions from the casino by mail."

Pittsburgh Applicants Commit to Arena Funding

 

As reported by the Pittsburgh Business Times: "Two applicants for Pittsburgh's lone casino license joined Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. in committing in writing to contribute to building a new arena for the Penguins, Allegheny County chief executive Dan Onorato said Thursday. "Forest City Enterprises, which wants to build a casino at Station Square on Pittsburgh's South Side, and Don Barden's PITG Gaming LLC, which has plans for the North Shore, agreed to make 30 annual, $7.5 million payments to go toward building an arena for the NHL team if they win the slots license. "Those groups joined Isle of Capri, which pledged $290 million toward the arena if it wins the license for its plan to build a casino, hockey arena and residential development in Pittsburgh's Hill District."

Oregon Study Criticized by Commissioners

 

As reported by the Oregonian: "A draft environmental study for the proposed Cowlitz Tribe casino and resort near La Center came under fire Wednesday from Clark County commissioners. "County officials are racing to get their comments in to the Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Portland by a Friday deadline. "Clark County is critical of the casino study on 63 specific points ranging from understating traffic impacts to adequacy of public water supplies, from where the casino will find nearly 3,000 workers with gaming experience to saying sales tax won't be collected. The county also said the study excludes impacts to most of the nearby urban areas. "The $2 million study was done by a Sacramento consulting firm selected by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Cowlitz Tribe must pick up the costs. ".'This draft EIS (environmental impact statement) unfortunately does not adequately describe the alternatives (to a full casino-resort) or their impacts,' says a cover letter prepared by county planners for Commission Chairman Marc Boldt. ".The environmental study offers six alternatives, developed after talks with the tribe, that range from the large casino-resort concept to an business park."

Arizona Group Pickets for Higher Wages

 

As reported by the Arizona Star: "A union-led group is picketing for higher wages and benefits for construction workers at a casino-hotel project on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. "Members of Carpenters Local 1506 stood in front of the Desert Diamond Casino, 7350 S. Nogales Highway, near a 20-foot-long banner that said 'Shame on Desert Diamond Casino, Labor Dispute.' "On Wednesday and Thursday, the group members passed out fliers, criticizing Desert Diamond Casino, the Tohono O'odham Nation, Kitchell Construction and Universal Wallboard Corp. for paying 'substandard' wages and lobbying for better health-care and pension benefits for construction workers. ".The union plans to stay at the job site until contractors and the tribe agree to demands, said Phil Evans, a union representative."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

UK Minister Touts Gambling's Benefits

 

As reported by the icBirmingham: "Gambling could be an 'enhancement to the quality of life' if it was brought into the mainstream, a Government Minister said yesterday. "Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport and Gambling, said the majority of adults who enjoyed gambling should be allowed to bet in a well-regulated environment. ".Mr Caborn was speaking at the official opening of the Gambling Commission's new Birmingham city centre headquarters. ".He said: 'Seventy-four per cent of the nation has gambled. The vast majority of adults want to drink and gamble, and as long as you do not abuse it, it can be an enhancement of the quality of life. ' ".The Commission will regulate all gambling Britain other than The National Lottery and spread betting. "It is one of the first public bodies to move out of London as part of the government's Lyons Review on the relocation of public bodies."

Foxwoods Still Committed to Mississippi Site

 

As reported by the Biloxi Sun Herald: "According to the project manager for the redevelopment of the Broadwater Hotel site, Foxwoods Development Co. has not pulled out of its deal to build a casino there. "Mark Calvert, of investment banking firm Cascade Capital, said Foxwoods' 60-day exclusive window to conduct due diligence ran out within the last 10 days. Foxwoods is looking at an approximately 16-acre site on the 261-acre property being developed by W.C. 'Cotton' Fore and Roy Anderson III. ".An official at Foxwoods declined to comment, referring questions to the tribe's public-relations office in Connecticut. Phones messages left there were not returned Wednesday afternoon. "The tribe had previously touted a plan to invest $400 million or more in Biloxi. ".Officials had said the casino here would operate like non-Indian casinos in Mississippi, paying the same taxes and being subject to the same rules and regulations."

BlueGenie Gaming Names New Execs

 

BlueGenie Gaming S.A has appointed two new executives to lead its foray into the fast growing internet gaming space. Robert Evans joins the company as senior vice president and chief marketing officer, effective Sept 18. Mr. Evans formerly served as president of online gaming entertainment company Nine.com for 2+ years until its sale to Leisure & Gaming plc earlier this year. Evans will provide strategic, hands-on direction of the company's overall marketing efforts, including brand stewardship, Internet marketing and loyalty marketing programs. He will report to Robert Moran, president and chief operating officer. Also added to the staff was Mr. Chris Calisto as CFO. "Chris has a tremendous finance related background as a partner in his former private equity company Golden Triangle Capital as well as his own firm Calisto & Company." says Moran. Mr. Calisto will handle all financial related aspects of the company. "Mr Evans differentiated himself from the competition with an incredible action oriented vision of our marketing concept which was fundamental to Blue Genie's overall branding strategy," said Mr. Moran His proven leadership and management experience both in and out of the gaming industry will help us create even more compelling reasons for gamblers to visit our new site and take advantage of our products and services rather than those of our competitors."

I am thrilled about joining BlueGenie" says Mr. Evans. "they have a vision so unique to what is offered in the space right that I am simply ecstatic to be a part of it."

BlueGenie expects to launch in 3rd quarter of 2006 with casino and poker products, and a bingo product in the 2nd quarter of 2007 pending completion of funding and a favorable internet gaming prohibition vote now heading to the Senate. " Our analysts say that with only about seven or eight weeks left for this newly merged House bill to wind itself through the various Senate committees, is not enough time for the bill to progress further" says Moran

"I am very excited about coming into the space after witnessing first hand the growth of the industry from an investment advisor point of view" says Calisto. We continue to believe that full passage into law is very unlikely, and would look to continue our fund raising efforts to meet our projected 3rd quarter launch date" he concludes

Mohegan Tribe Reconsiders Slot Casino

 

As reported by the Pennsylvania Times-Leader: "The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority is likely to decide in the next several weeks whether to proceed with its Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs slot machine casino project. "Pulling the plug on the planned $505 million complex could allow the Mohegans to exercise a clause in their purchase agreement with Penn National Gaming that allows a giveback between July 1 and the date a gaming license is issued. The Mohegans paid $280 million for the 400-acre property in January 2005 and since have invested millions more in renovations to create a temporary casino. "Downs President Robert Soper said Wednesday that the state Gaming Control Board has indicated the first conditional licenses would be issued Sept. 28 at the earliest.

".The Mohegans are questioning their commitment after the state Department of Revenue ruled that each of the state's proposed 14 casinos must pay an annual $10 million tax to its host municipality, nearly $8 million more than they had anticipated.

"Legislation that allows slot machine gambling set the local tax share at 2 percent of gross revenue, up to an amount equal to half the host municipality's 2003-2004 budget, not to exceed $10 million. That amounts to about $2.2 million the casino would pay to Plains Township. But the law is written to make each operator pay $10 million, said Stephanie Weyant, a Revenue Department spokesperson.

".Under the legislation, state and local taxes were to total 55 percent, Soper said, but with the $10 million flat charge, taxes could reach 63 percent for the Downs.

"He said the higher tax could jeopardize the casino's financial success. The tribal gaming authority board now must decide whether to proceed as planned, abandon the project, scale it back or challenge the tax rate in court."

Iowa Casino Expansion Approved

 

As reported by the Des Moines Register: "Betting by Minnesota gamblers has been so brisk at the Diamond Jo Worth Casino in north-central Iowa that state gambling regulators approved plans today for a major expansion project costing more than $20 million. "During its first three months since opening, the casino has drawn 335,000 customers who have left behind nearly $17 million. Those figures are more than twice as much as industry researchers had forecast, Diamond Jo General Manager Jesus Aviles told the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. "...More than 70 percent of the customers are coming from Minnesota, he added. ".The Diamond Jo Worth Casino has 11 table games, plus 513 slot machines that are the most profitable of any of Iowa's 15 state-regulated gambling operations, state records show. Each of the Diamond Jo Worth's slots are winning an average of $342 per day from gamblers, who are often waiting to play in lines three to four persons deep behind each machine.

"The casino, which is owned by Peninsula Gaming of Dubuque, opened in early April in an agricultural-themed $40 million gambling complex.

".The plans approved by state regulators on Thursday include 30,000 additional square feet of space that will provide room for 300 additional slot machines, 11 more casino table games, a 190-seat buffet, and a larger entertainment area. Aviles said he hopes construction can be completed later this year or early next year."

New Jersey Casino Authority Head Arrested

 

As reported by the New Jersey Star Ledger: "Vincent Giblin, chairman of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, was arrested Sunday night in Spring Lake after his wife called police and reported a domestic dispute, authorities said. "Spring Lake police arrested Giblin a few blocks from his Vroom Avenue home, where he was stopped in his car by officers in a neighboring municipality, according to Capt. Marc Evangelista. Giblin was charged with simple assault against his wife and ordered not to have contact with her or return to his home until after a July 19 court appearance. "Giblin's three-year term as chairman of the CRDA, the powerful agency that collects and distributes casino taxes for economic development and community projects both in Atlantic City and around the state, ended in June. Earlier this year, he said he would seek reappointment to his $23,000-a-year post by Gov. Jon Corzine. ".Giblin is scheduled to answer the simple assault charge, which carries a maximum sentence of six months, on July 19 in Spring Lake Municipal Court."

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Iowa Casino Opens Ahead of Schedule

 

As reported by the Lone Tree Reporter: "The Riverside Casino and Golf Resort will open ahead of schedule and just in time for the Labor Day holiday. "With construction nearly finished, the carpeting down and the machines on the floor, workers are rushing to complete the finishing touches on the entryway and other small projects, said Cheryl Goode, Marketing Director. "A private gala is planned on August 31 for 2,000 VIPs and investors to sample the food, music and excitement offered inside the upscale gaming and lodging facility. The general public will be welcomed afterwards with a Grand Opening Weekend hosting live entertainment and celebrity appearances. "The 58,000-sq.-ft. casino will have 24 black jack tables, four craps tables, two roulette tables and a poker room."

WSOP H.O.R.S.E Finale Simply Amazing

 

The adjective amazing comes to mind. Exciting, intriguing, riveting, all those descriptors work. Hell, I'll just say it, the 2006 World Series of Poker $50,000 H.O.R.S.E tournament will have the most exciting final table ever played. Statistics alone prove this point. Combined, the final nine players in WSOP Event #20 have three WSOP Main Event Championships, two WPT Championships, 27 WSOP gold bracelets, 116 WSOP final table appearances and more than a century's worth of high-stakes poker experience. If you move beyond the statistics it gets even better. Imagine this heads up match: Doyle Brunson versus Phil Ivey, the greatest player ever versus the heir apparent. Think of it terms of this.Jack Nicholson versus Tiger Woods, Michael Jordon versus Lebron James, Babe Ruth versus Barry Bonds, heck, I'll even go there - Muhammad Ali versus Mike Tyson. And that's just one match-up. Pick any of the legends sitting as this table and you have a true poker fan's dream. The threesome of Brunson, Chip Reese, and TJ Cloutier make up a trifecta of players that basically made the sport. Even though the game has changed since their heyday, these guys continue to dominate, raking in bracelets and money in waves. If you like history, it's about to be written. Pick two of those three players and you have the greatest WSOP heads-up pairing ever.

Then, there are the others guys. Andy Bloch may be the best poker player to never win a gold bracelet. In one day, Bloch could sit atop the Pantheon of Poker and shed any doubts about his place.

Jim Bechtel is the 1993 WSOP Main Event Champion. Dewey Tomko has 20 WSOP final table appearances and three gold bracelets. Poor David Singer and Patrik Antonius. Even though they are two of the rising stars in a rising sport and have endorsement deals that would make anyone jealous; experience-wise, they're lightyears behind. Yet, if either of them win tonight, they instantly become the greatest player in the sport.

My final point of intrigue- it's a mixed game event, a chance for the cream of the crop to rise out of the WSOP No-Limit Hold'em mire. To thrive in an event that switches games at every level takes true talent, true mettle, and true lasting power.

There is one problem. Taking away from perhaps the greatest tournament ever played is the structure of the final table. After battling the game's toughest field through both a sunset and a sunrise, the mixed game experts will now finish the tournament playing ESPN-friendly No-Limit Hold'em.

My associate Aaron Todd, who is covering the event live for Casino City, called the switch to No Limit Hold'em a sham job. He's a nice guy. I'm going to call it a freaking joke. When Aaron said the players should boycott the final table and tell ESPN to shove their rule change, he bordered on Poker Prophet. Again, I'll take it one step further. I think they should stand around the table refusing to play until they change the rules, and they should do it in style - by flipping off the cameras (to avoid the F-Bomb penalty).

It's bad enough that the tournament started with used decks and marked cards. It's a travesty that WSOP officials ended Day One far too early Wednesday, only to watch as the tournament ran so long on Thursday that they contemplated making it a four-day event. The final table controversy only proves the WSOP has tried everything they can to ruin this tournament, and couldn't.

Regardless of the flaws, I'll still be glued to the riveting live blogs and Internet reports. The statistical appeal, the exciting drama, and the lure of watching poker history unfold is unfortunately far too intriguing to let a ridiculous rule keep me from watching.

Simply put - it's going to be amazing.

Macau Casino Bets on Japanese Customers

 

As reported by the Japan Times: "The massive Venetian Macao casino resort is set to open in 2007, and there are hopes that this mega resort, which will feature one of the biggest convention centers in Asia, will lure Japanese who are doing business in China. "It is being built by Venetian Macao Ltd., a unit of U.S. casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp., and is based on the same concept as the famous Venetian in Las Vegas. "'We see this as being very important in terms of a shop window either to sell to China or to buy from China,' Frank McFadden, chief operating officer of Venetian Macao, said in a recent interview. "McFadden expects Japanese businesspeople will come and attend conferences and exhibitions held at 'Asia's Las Vegas' due to its proximity to mainland China. ".Currently, Japanese account for less than 1 percent of total visitors to Macau, though the number is rising in line with overall growth. In the January-April period, the number of visitor arrivals totaled 7.12 million, up 19.6 percent from a year earlier, and 62,833 of them came from Japan, up 18.6 percent, according to government data.

"Given the company's estimates of 38 million visitor arrivals in 2010 based on assumed annual growth of 5 percent from 18.7 million in 2005, McFadden sounds optimistic also about Japanese visitors.

"Fewer Japanese are coming to Macau now because there are no direct flights and no reasons for business tourists to come because there are no conferences, exhibitions or big conventions, McFadden said.

"For tourists on long weekends, Macau airport is already discussing direct flights with two Japanese airlines, he noted, 'So people can quickly come to spend weekends in Macau.'."

Online Companies Overhaul Accounting

 

As reported by the UK Financial Director: "The most powerful companies in the online gambling industry have agreed to undertake a collective overhaul of their company reporting in a move aimed at standardising the sector's disparate accounting. "At a special summit held in Gibraltar last week, PartyGaming, 888 Holdings, Ladbrokes, Sportingbet, CryptoLogic and Carmen Media Group agreed to implement a universal set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that will provide comparable reports in the sector. "The largest groups will now disclose their cost per player acquisition, real money sign-up takings, unique active players and yield per unique active player. "Analysts said the move from the leading internet gambling companies marked a huge stride forward for the industry. ".The host of the KPI summit, Martin Weigold, the group finance director of PartyGaming, said that the agreement would enhance 'understanding of the industry'.."

GoldenPalace.com Launches Rodman Slots

 

GoldenPalace.com, the online casino famous for outrageous and innovative advertising ideas, has launched a slot machine that is a tribute to one of their biggest and most recognizable spokesman, the one and only Dennis Rodman. The NBA legend and notorious bad boy has helped GoldenPalace.com with several ad campaigns, including participating in the Running of the Bulls to help raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. The reels of the Dennis Rodman slot machine are pictures of some of his most famous stunts and appearances. The game itself is an exciting 5-reel slot with twenty paylines, a bonus mini-game, and is available in multiple languages and currencies. Early feedback from Golden Palace customers is enormously positive; players love the new slot and rave that it is a great new spin on the classic slot machine theme. "We are very pleased with how the Dennis Rodman Slots turned out," said GoldenPalace.com CEO Richard Rowe. "Dennis has always been a huge draw wherever he goes and we expect any game themed after him to have the same appeal. We'd like to thank Dennis for this great opportunity to create an excitingly unique game." Established in 1997, GoldenPalace.com is one of the pioneers of the online casino industry. Their software offers over 90 casino games, the world's leading multi-player poker room, and mobile gaming capability which allows players to enjoy the Golden Palace games anytime anywhere.

WSOP H.O.R.S.E. Tournament Down to Nine after 17 Hour "Day Two"

 

The 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament may turn out to be the toughest test of poker skill and endurance in the history of the game. Play began at 2 p.m. PST yesterday afternoon with 127 players starting the day, and at 17 hours later, the field was winnowed down to the final nine.And what a nine. The final table has combined for 27 WSOP bracelets and 116 final table appearances. Ten of those bracelets belong to Doyle Brunson, who will be looking to become the first player in WSOP history to score his 11th tonight.Patrik Antonius, Jim Bechtel, Andy Bloch, T.J. Cloutier, Phil Ivey, Chip Reese, David Singer and Dewey Tomko will join Brunson in a battle for the gold bracelet tonight starting at 9 p.m. PST.A brief look at each player, organized by chip count ...

Name - Chip Count

1. Chip Reese - $1,756,000 (Two bracelets, 12th WSOP final table) Reese owns two WSOP bracelets, with both coming in Seven-Card Stud over 20 years ago. But don't let his recent lack of bling fool you. Reese doesn't play in many tournaments, preferring the action in cash games to tournament structures. Reese will be a definite threat to take the title, especially with such a strong chip lead.

2. Doyle Brunson - $1,227,000 (10 bracelets, 23rd WSOP final table) The Main Event champion in 1976 and 1977, Brunson has been called "The Godfather of Poker." Brunson won his first six bracelets in a four-year span in the 1970's, but has experienced a rebirth of sorts, claiming two titles in the last three years, including one in H.O.R.S.E. in 2004.

3. Andy Bloch - $934,000 (Fourth WSOP final table) Best known for his work with the MIT Blackjack Team, Bloch is also an accomplished poker player. He made it to the final table in Seven-Card Stud and Razz in 2001, and is making his second appearance at a final table this year after finishing eighth in a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event.

4. Phil Ivey - $885,000 (Five bracelets, 14th WSOP final table) Ivey is a serious contender, with one mixed-game title already among his five WSOP bracelets. This year, Ivey claimed more than $200,000 with a second-place finish in the $5,000 Omaha Hi/Lo event. It's no surprise that Ivey has advanced to the final table; he has won WSOP bracelets in Pot Limit Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo, and S.H.O.E.

5. Jim Bechtel - $841,000 (One bracelet, Seventh WSOP final table) The 1993 Main Event champion, Bechtel is a consistent player who always seems to be in the money. While he doesn't play as many events as some of the other WSOP big names, this event marks the fifth time Bechtel has cashed in the 2006 WSOP.

6. David Singer - $745,000 (Sixth WSOP final table) Known for wearing a ring on nearly every finger while he plays, Singer is also known as an outstanding No Limit Hold'em player. Singer finished ninth in the 2003 Main Event and may benefit the most from the change in format to No Limit Hold'em tonight. Singer is a regular on the World Poker Tour and has done well in shorthanded No Limit Hold'em events throughout his career.

7. Dewey Tomko - $438,000 (Three bracelets, 21st WSOP final table) Another great all-around player, Tomko is looking for his first WSOP bracelet since 1984, but don't let the gap between titles mislead you. Tomko finished second to Carlos Mortensen in the 2001 Main Event and this marks the third time he has finished in the money in the 2006 WSOP.

8. T.J. Cloutier - $351,000 (Six bracelets, 37th WSOP final table) Cloutier has made more final tables in the WSOP than any other player, breaking out of a tie with Men "The Master" Nguyen with his 37th final table appearance tonight. Cloutier claimed his sixth WSOP title in a $5,000 Hold'em event last year. Despite a 20-year track record of solid results, a finish in the top two would give Cloutier his largest payday to date.

9. Patrik Antonius $13,000 (First WSOP final table) The only non-American in the final nine, Antonius has done quite well on the European Poker Tour, winning two titles in 2005. The Finn is making his first WSOP final table appearance, though he has already cashed in two events this year.

Friday, July 14, 2006

TigerGaming.com Sponsors Children's Charity Event

 

Popular online cardroom TigerGaming.com proudly announces that it is to sponsor a charity Texas Hold'em tournament with proceeds going to the Brandon-Jonathan Teresi (BJT) Foundation in Quebec, Canada. The BJT Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for research in finding a cure for a rare condition called Mitochondria Disease that primarily affects young children. The charity event is to be held on August 18th, 2006 at Riviera Réception & Congrès and the schedule is as follows: 6:30 pm Registration, Cocktails and Practice Tables Open 7:30 pm Tournament Begins Player fee: $150.00 in advance (or $200.00 at the door) I ncludes: $1,000.00 Chip Stack Cocktails, Entertainment and 2 Drinks Re-Buys: $30.00 for $1,000.00 Chips (1st hour only) Add-On: $60.00 for $3,000.00 Chips (During break, one per person) The tournament's grand prize is a seat to the 2007 World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament in Las Vegas worth approximately $15,000. Starting July 17th, online satellite tournaments will be held daily at TigerGaming.com with a $15+$0 buy-in for a chance to win a seat at the charity event's Hold'em tournament.

The BJT Foundation TigerGaming.com Charity Texas Hold'em Tournament will also feature comedian Joe Cacchione and plenty of fun, pampering and shopping for the ladies. All proceeds will benefit the Genetics Department of the Sainte Justine's Hospital.

Only people 18 and over are eligible for tickets.

Qualify for a seat in TigerGaming.com's daily 10-handed tournament tables running July 17th - August 15th.

Michigan Tribe Gets More Support

 

As reported by the Grand Rapids Press: "The City Council is joining other governmental groups in showing support for an Indian tribe's casino plans. "Council members voted 6-1 to file an amicus brief in support of the Gun Lake Band of the Potawatami Indian Tribe in a 2005 lawsuit. Opponents of the tribe's plans for a 193,500-square-foot casino sued the U.S. Department of Interior, seeking to stop the federal government from putting 145 acres in Wayland Township in trust, a move that would allow the tribe to open the casino. ".Wayland Township, the Allegan Area Chamber, the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Barry County Chamber of Commerce also have filed amicus briefs in support of the tribe."

Colorado Tribal Casino Plans Move Ahead

 

As reported by the Durango Herald: "The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is moving forward with plans to build a new casino, hotel and convention center just north of Ignacio, with a planned spring 2008 opening. "The tribe announced Tuesday its go-ahead for the development, which includes a 45,000-square-foot casino with up to 700 slot machines, 20 table games, a 200-seat bingo hall, a 24-lane bowling center, day-care facilities, multiple restaurants and administrative offices. "The total development, located northeast of the intersection of Colorado Highway 172 and County Road 517, is expected to encompass approximately 300,000 square feet. It also will include a 150-room hotel with a pool and sun deck, retail space and a small fitness center. ".Plans also call for walking paths, an amphitheater for powwows and other cultural events, and a miniature golf course."

New Home for UK Gambling Commission

 

As reported by the BBC News: "The Gambling Commission, which regulates the industry in the UK, is opening its new headquarters in Birmingham on Thursday. "The commission is one of the first public bodies to move to the city after the government's Lyons review on the relocation of public bodies in 2004. "Up to 200 jobs will be created when the Victoria Square office becomes fully operational later this year. "Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport and Gambling, is attending the opening.."

Progressive Gaming, DEQ Systems Sign Deal

 

Progressive Gaming and DEQ(TSX VENTURE:DEQ.V) announced a joint cross licensing agreement aligning their table game side betting and jackpots strategies. This non-exclusive agreement grants DEQ a global license to sell their G3 table system for multiple side bets, variable pay tables and jackpots in the U.S. and several other countries where Progressive Gaming's patents are recognized. Russ McMeekin, Progressive Gaming's CEO and President stated: "We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with DEQ and anticipate that this agreement will be rewarding for both companies. DEQ and their products have been well respected globally and we anticipate that they will continue to thrive. The G3 table system's ability to offer multiple side bets and variable pay tables has been a proven success and we look forward to bringing this technology to our customer base."

Earle G. Hall, DEQ's CEO stated: "Our vision for the G3 table system is to become the world standard for electronic side betting. The Progressive Gaming patents give us the possibility to reach this goal as we now have the capacity to integrate our technology using their patents on any approved table game in the world."

This agreement will give DEQ the right to manufacture the G3 table system in a progressive jackpot configuration in Canada for shipping worldwide. In those jurisdictions where DEQ has not or does not intend to distribute side betting systems, Progressive Gaming may choose to distribute the G3 product for DEQ on a non exclusive basis. DEQ shall also have the right to sublicense the acquired PGIC rights licensed to existing and future distributors of DEQ's technology and to other table game content companies. This agreement will take effect on September 1st 2006.

WSOP H.O.R.S.E. Final Table Format a Disgrace

 

Later this week, nine outstanding poker players will face off in arguably the most prestigious final table in poker history. Too bad the final day will be a sham.After some top professional players got tired of playing in an escalating number of No Limit Hold'em tournaments at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) while watching other "less popular" games disappear, some of them asked tournament officials to add a prestigious, mixed-game event.Their response was Event # 20, a $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament that began yesterday afternoon. Using his experience from stints with NASCAR and the NBA, World Series Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack has compared the event to an all-star game. The comparison is fitting; one hundred and forty-three players are dueling it out in this mixed-game championship, and the tournament field is a who's-who of top professionals.It will take an exhausting effort and a great deal of focus to get to the final table, as it's unlikely that any player could make it without being an expert in all five disciplines.

However, when the players reach the final table, they can throw all that work and knowledge out the window, because at that point, the game will switch to No Limit Texas Hold'em.

Apparently, tournament directors don't believe that a television audience can handle the nuances of Omaha Hi/Lo and Stud-based games.

If it's fair to compare poker with traditional sports, then let's continue that comparison. Imagine if the NFL had a rulebook for the regular season and opening playoff rounds, but when it came time for the Super Bowl, the rules changed from NFL rules to NCAA rules. Sure it's the same game, but when the clock stops on every first down and pass interference penalties are only 15 yards, it will obviously change the way it's played.

Perhaps even more appropriate, compare the tournament to the Olympic decathlon. Often called the world's greatest athletes, decathletes amass points based on their performance in 10 events over two days. It might make great television to have the top five athletes advance to a final and decide the gold medal winner solely on the results of a 100-meter dash, but would it be fair?

"If you took a poll of the H.O.R.S.E. players here today, about 95% of them would tell you they would prefer to be playing the mixed game at the final table," said ESPN analyst Norman Chad on the first day of the tournament.

It isn't fair to the players OR the fans to change the game in the middle of a tournament, especially one this historic.

Tournament directors are facing intense pressure from the players to rethink the format for next year, and Pollack has hinted that the issue would be examined before next year's WSOP.

"We don't profess to have all the answers, and in fact I think we need to keep innovating every year to keep it fresh," Pollack said. "We'll stick with the things that work, and we'll change what doesn't."

But next year isn't good enough. I hope the final nine stand around the table, refusing to sit until the tournament remains a H.O.R.S.E. game. No matter how television-friendly they try to make the format, no one is going to watch an empty poker table.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

House Approves Online Casino Billing Ban

 

As reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal: ".On Tuesday, U.S. House members took a step toward banning online poker and other forms of Internet gambling. Lawmakers voted 317-93 to approve a measure that would prohibit banks and credit-card companies from paying off debts incurred on gambling Web sites. ".Before the House vote Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., one of the bill's chief sponsors, argued on the House floor that the legislation could help 'purge the smear on the Congress' left by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. "Abramoff lobbied against the bill in 2000 on behalf of an online lottery company. "However, this year's version included an exception for online lotteries.

"The U.S. Senate would need to pass similar legislation before the bill could become law.

".The efforts to ban Internet gambling is a blow to millions of Americans who go online to bet on poker, casino games and sporting contests each year, critics say.

".About 70 million Americans now play poker and about 23 million of those people play online, according to the Poker Players Alliance.

"The group has lobbied heavily against the House bill. The alliance argues the measure would infringe on Americans' personal freedoms by requiring banks and credit card companies to monitor their cardholders' online transactions."

Groups Upset with Referendum Challenge

 

As reported by the Providence Journal: "One day after Gov. Donald L. Carcieri and Atty. General Patrick C. Lynch asked the Rhode Island Supreme Court to grant an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of the casino referendum that would put the issue of a Narragansett Indian casino to the public vote in November, officials from state and local governments as well as special interest groups are disappointed with the news. "Carcieri and Lynch have asserted that the referendum to establish a Harrah's/Narragansett casino in West Warwick suffers from two constitutional flaws: first, that it may inappropriately give the Town of West Warwick and casino operators the constitutional right to own and operate a casino and second, that it gives only West Warwick veto power over a potential constitutional amendment. According to Carcieri and Lynch, the first flaw would violate sections of the state's constitution which assert that passages of constitutional amendments must be made by a majority of voters at an election, not a veto by any one group or municipality. The second flaw, the West Warwick veto provision, could possibly violate two sections of the state constitution which require majority rule.

".Casino proponents, on the other hand, seem to feel as though this is a ploy by Carcieri to keep the vote away from the people. Carcieri himself had challenged the constitutionality of a Rhode Island casino in general in 2004, thus creating the need for the referendum. In a press release offered by Rhode Islanders for Jobs and Tax Relief, Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas of the Narragansett Indian Tribe, who also serves as Chairman of Rhode Islanders for Jobs and Tax Relief, expressed his disappointment in Carcieri's decision to challenge the referendum."

Betcorp Delists from ASX

 

As reported by the Australia Age: "Dual-listed internet gaming firm Betcorp Ltd will quit the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and make its primary listing in the United Kingdom in a bid to stimulate greater interest from investors. "Betcorp, which listed on the ASX in May 1999, announced on Wednesday that it would delist from the ASX on October 31, in favour of the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (AIM). "Betcorp was admitted to the AIM in March this year. ".About 47 per cent of Betcorp's issued shares are held outside Australia, and the Betcorp board said shareholders' interests would be better served by focusing on the UK listing. ".Betcorp shares were 30 cents lower at $3.80 on Wednesday."

Grand Barge Set on Fire By Sparks

 

As reported by the Sun-Herald: "A mid-morning fire in the remains of Grand Casino Gulfport's barge was caused by sparks as demolition workers were cutting on it, said Fire Chief Pat Sullivan. "A lot of coin wrappers remained inside the barge, but there's no telling what other debris was left inside after Hurricane Katrina, according to Sullivan. "Firefighters brought three trucks to the beachfront barge to put out the fire that sent a plume of smoke drifting upwards..."

H.O.R.S.E. Tournament is "All-Star" Event of 2006 WSOP

 

On Wednesday afternoon, a new era began at the World Series of Poker (WSOP).Event # 20 at the 37th annual competition, a $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. tournament, is perhaps the most star-studded poker tournament in the history of the game. Like every other WSOP event, anyone can front the cash to enter, but the massive buy-in, the largest in World Series history, has reduced the number of amateur players that have been clogging each WSOP event in recent years. Every table is jammed with a murderer's row of pokers most famous names."We pack a full sports season into 48 days," said WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. "There's a beginning, an end, now there's a middle, and that's typically an all-star (game) for other leagues."

A quick look at the tables confirmed Pollack's assertion that this event is the WSOP's All-Star tournament, as did the number of spectators, who were crowded four deep along the rail. Barry Greenstein, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Andy Bloch and David Grey were all sitting at the same table as play began, and that was just the beginning.

Phil Ivey was seated with John Juanda and Greg "Fossilman" Raymer at one table, while across the convention floor at the Rio, Eli Elezra, Jennifer Harman, Phil Hellmuth and Steve Zolotow were also facing off in early action.

One hundred and forty-three players have ponied up the buy-in, which is five times larger than any previous WSOP event, with the first place prize at nearly $1.8 million. Second place will also net over $1 million, and 16 players will cash in the event, with finishers 14-16 earning $137,280.

"When I got here last year, I heard from a lot of top players that there was some interest in an event that would have a little greater sense of exclusivity," Pollack said. "This tournament is our answer to that request. I would have been pleased if we had 75 players turn out, so we're thrilled."

The players are taking it very seriously, with Carlos Mortensen stating that he planned on entering the event even if he had made today's final table in Event #17, a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em tournament, despite the fact that both tournaments are at the same time.

Most players were openly confident about their chances as play started -- they are poker players, after all. Mike Matusow was on the phone with a bookmaker, wandering around the tables to let everyone know the odds in Vegas books for various players to win. Many players shouted out to Matusow, trying to find out where they stood in the hierarchy, with most saying the bookmakers had set their own odds for too long.

Event # 20 is a three-day event, with the first two days spent whittling the field down to nine. The final table, which will be broadcast on ESPN, will be taped on Friday, and will consist only of No Limit Texas Hold'em.

WSOP H.O.R.S.E. Notes

 

The $50,000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) H.O.R.S.E. tournament generated a great deal of fan interest on Wednesday, and early on there was plenty for observers to talk about.After noticing that several cards were marked, Andy Bloch bent the cards and asked the dealer to take the deck out of play, and action which resulted in a 10-minute penalty. Minutes later, Annie Duke did the same thing, but was given no penalty."The worst thing I've seen is that a card gets marked and we ask them to switch it and they just take it out and put it in at another table," said two-time WSOP champions Scott Fischman, during the first break. Fischman's table went through at least two decks before finally getting a clean setup. "Basically, I think that's what most people are complaining about. They just need to give us new decks."The problem was temporary, however, as the decks were replaced with brand new decks soon after the problem was discovered.

"It was a mistake," said WSOP spokesman Gary Thompson. "We go through decks pretty quickly. There were supposed to be new decks at each table prior to the start of the event, and somehow some used decks got mixed in there."

While some of the cards were marked, it does not appear that anyone had intentionally marked the cards to gain an advantage in the event, since the damage to the cards was likely done prior to the tournament.

"There's a lot of people that bend them too hard, and then there's a crease in there and then you can see it when it gets pitched out," Fischman said.

ESPN analyst Norman Chad believes that the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event is the most challenging tournament at the WSOP.

"This is the best event," Chad said. "I was not happy when they got rid of it last year. A lot of us always thought that the actual Main Event should be this event because you've got to play well in five different games, so it's more of a test of how good a player you are than just playing No Limit Hold'em."

While many participants in WSOP events earn their buy-in through WSOP-run satellites, only two of the 143 entrants did so for the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. On Tuesday night, the WSOP ran a $1,000 H.O.R.S.E. mega-satellite with unlimited rebuys for the first two and a half hours.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bodog.com Member Wins WSOP Bracelet

 

Team Bodog pro David Williams, the 26-year-old Texan who rocketed into stardom two years ago with his memorable runner-up finish at the 2004 World Series of Poker, has captured his first bracelet in poker's showcase event. Williams bested a field of 478 players to take the top prize in Event No. 10 of the 2006 World Series of Poker, the $1,500 Seven-Card Stud tournament. He earned $163,118 for the wín. "This is the greatest day of my life," Williams said. "I came so close to winning a bracelet in 2004 in the Main Event, and I've been thinking about this moment ever since. It's even better than I expected." "David continues to prove he's one of the best poker players in the world, and I'm sure this is just the first of many more WSOP bracelets he'll wín over his career," said Calvin Ayre, Bodog.com's Founder and CEO. "To have a title this early in this year's WSOP is exciting for all members of Team Bodog, and we're anticipating many more victories."

On his way to victory, Williams faced a final table filled with some of poker's most decorated and seasoned tournament pros, including poker legend Johnny Chan, who was gunning for his 11th WSOP bracelet, and "Miami" John Cernuto, a three-time WSOP winner. Also among the final eight were Jack Duncan, a 2002 world champion in Pot Limit Omaha, and John Hoang, an experienced tournament ace.

Williams, though, quickly took command at the final table on Friday with aggressive play against the veterans, gaining the chip lead early and never looking back. He eventually found himself heads-up against Hoang for the title with a sizable chip advantage, and after a little more than two-and-a-half hours of heads-up play, Hoang was severely shortstacked and forced to go all-in on 5th street with an ace high. Williams, with just a pair of fours, called and the small pair proved to be all he needed for the wín and career first bracelet.

Williams has now won a total of $3,670,823 in three WSOP appearances, earning him the distinction of being the youngest player on the World Series of Poker's "Top Ten" All-Time Money List. Williams ranks seventh on the list just behind poker greats Phil Hellmuth and T.J. Cloutier. Fellow Team Bodog member Josh Arieh, who has won two WSOP bracelets, is ninth on the list with $3,188,590 in earnings.

With his Seven-Card Stud wín, numerous final table appearances in Texas Hold'em events and a first-place finish in H.O.R.S.E. this past May at the World Series of Poker Circuit in Las Vegas, Williams has established himself as one of the top all-around poker players in the world. In just the past two years, the Team Bodog phenom has earned more than $5 million in tournament winnings.

Joining Williams and Arieh on Team Bodog for this year's World Series of Poker is the latest member of Bodog's pro team, Evelyn Ng. More than 500 other players who qualified through online satellite qualifiers at Bodog.com are competing for Team Bodog. Two online qualifiers from Team Bodog have already made a final table this year - Thomas Hunt of Las Vegas finished fourth in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em ($160,659) and David Solomon of Austin , Texas , finished sixth in $2,500 Short Handed No-Limit ($68,277). The WSOP started on June 25 and runs through Aug. 10.

Ongame Exec Joins eCOGRA Board

 

Andrew Beveridge, CEO of online gambling standards and player protection body eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, has announced the appointment of Anders Lantz to the eCOGRA board of directors. Lantz is Chief Security Officer at turnkey online poker and casino provider Ongame e-Solutions AB in Sweden, one of the industry leading software companies supporting the eCOGRA initiative, which provides players with a better and safer gaming experience through improved operational efficiency and customer care at online poker and casinos. As a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Lantz has extensive management experience in information technology auditing, governance, compliance testing and security; financial control and system development and security. Prior to joining Ongame, he held management positions with a major management consultancy and international auditing companies.

Ongame is a turnkey provider and poker network owner with the major operator PokerRoom.com as its best known subsidiary. Ongame itself was acquired earlier this year by betandwin, an Austrian publicly listed company and one of the world's leading providers of online gaming entertainment.

"The highly relevant professional experience that Anders has acquired in a brilliant career makes him a valuable asset for the IT and auditing responsibilities of the board," Beveridge said.

Commenting on his appointment, Lantz said: "The players regard safety and fairness as their highest priorities, and it is vital that we demonstrate that we can provide this. Having standards like eCOGRA's eGAP is crucial for the industry, and I regard my appointment and background in auditing as a perfect opportunity to positively influence the future development of secure and efficient online gaming entertainment."

Gambling Addict Stole £1m From Employers

 

As reported by the Daily Telegraph: "An online gambling addict stole more than £1 million from his employers to pay for betting sprees, forcing the company to go into liquidation and lay off staff, a court heard yesterday. "Bryan Benjafield, 23, an accounts administrator earning £16,000 a year, exploited his position at a building firm to transfer money to his bank account then into his Ladbrokes internet account. "He spent up to £7,000 a day, placing bets on sports of every kind, including horse racing and football matches, and on internet poker and other online casino games. "Colleagues in the open plan offices of Charminster Ltd, of Dorchester, Dorset, frequently saw him hunched over his computer screen and thought he was hard at work. But they discovered that he had been siphoning off as much as £187,000 a month.

"...The offences came to light when Customs and Excise contacted the company because of an unpaid VAT bill. An investigation found that Benjafield had been taking money from the account used to pay tax bills and that it was almost empty.

"...Det Con Paul Carpenter, of Dorchester police, said: 'This was a horrific breach of trust and was theft on a massive scale'..."

WSOP Update - Day 15

 

He is arguably one of the best players this century and only the most hardcore poker fans would even recognize him if they were playing at the same table. Allen Cunningham, the newest World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, has now accumulated four WSOP titles since 2001, a mark that puts him in elite company. Even with that success, his quiet and unassuming nature makes him hard to find in poker's superstar ranks. The silent champion is currently tied for sixth on the all-time WSOP gold bracelet leader board and is showing no signs of slowing down. Since 2000, Cunningham has made 13 final tables, proving his abilities both before the 2003 poker boom and after. Monday's Event #14 victory is Cunningham's second bracelet in No Limit Hold'em. The other two came in stud and No Limit Deuce to Seven. His range is quite unique, having made final tables in events ranging from the popular No Limit Hold'em to the true test of poker ability - the HORSE events.

The final table of the re-buy tournament Monday included some of the toughest tournament competitors in poker, most notably "Captain" Tom Franklin (1999 gold bracelet winner), Tim "The Razor" Phan, and Andy Bloch arguably one of the best players to never win a bracelet.

Also challenging Cunningham was John Hoang, who already made a final table in the 2006 WSOP, coming in second to David Williams in last week's 7-Card Stud event.

Cunningham outlasted them all, defeating first-time WSOP final table participant David Rheen in a three-hour heads-up match. The hand that took the tournament was an A-Q offsuit, strong enough to catch an Ace on the river and earn Cunningham $625,830.

The 29-year old Cunningham is one of only five players to win four gold bracelets before reaching the age of 30. The other four were Stu Ungar, Phil Hellmuth Jr., Layne Flack, and Phil Ivey, all some of the best players to ever sit at a poker table.

All-Time WSOP Gold Bracelet Leader Board

1.) 10 Bracelets - Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan -10

2.) 9 Bracelets - Phil Hellmuth - 9

3.) 7 Bracelets: Bill Baxter, Johnny Moss, Erik Seidel

4.) 6 Bracelets - TJ Cloutier, Men "The Master" Nguyen

5.) 5 Bracelets - Bones Berland, Chris Ferguson, Jay Heimowitz, Layne Flack, Phil Ivey, Stu Ungar, Ted Forrest

6.) 4 Bracelets - Mickey Appleman, Bobby Baldwin, David Chui, Artie Cobb, Allen Cunningham , Tom McEvoy, Scotty Nguyen, Puggy Pearson, Amarillo "Slim" Preston, Huck Seed

New Ladies Champion

On Monday, Mary Jones Meyer won the largest and richest women's poker tournament in history, collecting her first gold bracelet and a prize totaling $236,094.

The 1,128 women who entered the $1,000 WSOP Event #15 Ladies World Poker Championship comprised a record field. The previous mark was set in 2005 when 601 entered the women-only event.

Last year, Jennifer "The Unabombshell" Tilly, an Oscar nominated actress turned poker player, won the prestigious title. This victory arguably boosted the popularity of an event once shunned by any serious female players.

Using her win to boost her poker image, Tilly embarked on a year-long tour of the biggest tournaments in poker and played in the Poker Superstars Championship Series, a popular television program made up of the biggest names in the sport.

Meyer's popularity doesn't quite equal Tilly's, especially considering this is her first major tournament win, but the humble champion is quite aware that she accomplished something special thanks to her special someone.

"I definitely owe this tournament to my husband's training," Meyer said after the tournament. "He taught me many things about poker and we play together all the time. It was definitely a team win."

The final table was an eclectic mix of female participants, emphasizing poker's international and generational appeal. The player ages ranged from 24-50 with seven states and two countries represented. There were also two expectant mothers playing in the final nine, a first in WSOP history.

Although the prestige and the money are both pluses for Meyer, the moment was what she relished the most. Even with her bubbling excitement, she was careful enough with her words to put things in perspective.

"This is the second-happiest moment of my life," Meyer said, with her arms tightly wrapped around her husband.

Final Table Set for WSOP Event # 16 - $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha

The final nine are ready to rock and roll today (July 11) in the largest Omaha tournament played so far at the 2006 WSOP. A field of 218 of the best Omaha players on the planet has been whittled down to a group that includes both WSOP and World Poker Tour (WPT) regulars.

Mickey Appleman, who is down on chips but never out of any WSOP tournament, leads in experience at the final table. Appleman owns four WSOP gold bracelets, his last coming in a 2003 Pot Limit Hold'em event.

Near the chip leader is crowd favorite and WSOP gold bracelet owner Hassan Habib. After two-days of solid play, Habib has a hefty stack of chips and is considered the favorite to win. He has made the final table in several enormous tournaments, including two WPT World Championships and 2000 WSOP Main Event.

The event's defending champion is Rafi Amit who happens to have made the final table once again. Amit has the gold bracelet and the experience necessary to win, but if he's to make it two-in-a-row, he'll need to do so from the short stack.

Also competing is WPT regular Lee Watkinson who has come in second twice in $10,000 WPT events. Watkinson will be vying for his first major title after several near victories in both the WSOP and WPT.

Here are the final table participants and their chip counts -

Jani Vilmunen - $485,000

Hasan Habib - $349,000

Mike Guttman - $283,000

Mark Dickstein - $212,000

Lee Watkinson - $207,000

Nick Gibson - $207,000

Thomas Wahlroos - $168,000

Mickey Appleman - $102,000

Rafi Amit - $99,000

State Isn't All-In On Poker-Player Betting

 

You're probably not sharp enough to qualify for the World Series of Poker final championship event as a player, but Nevada is considering allowing you to get a piece of the action anyway - by betting on the players. Step up to the window, folks, and buy a $2 ticket for Chris Moneymaker to win, place or show in the finals of Texas Hold 'em. That's the idea being pushed by an attorney who wants to give bettors in Nevada an opportunity to get in on the poker action at a time when players are achieving stardom and televised tournaments are hotter than ever. Such betting is illegal, but commonplace among bookies. Poker insiders say state-approved betting on poker championships would generate a wealth of wagering by casual players who follow poker but don't have an opportunity to play in the big tournaments. Biggest among them: the World Series of Poker's championship event, which starts July 28 and will attract more than 8,000 people who will plunk down $10,000 each for a shot at fame and fortune.

Promoters can expect that betting on top-rated poker players could tap the same kind of passions that drive football fans to bet on teams led by their quarterback idols. Bettors wagered $95 million in Nevada casinos on the Super Bowl this year - the biggest gambling day of the year.

Just as sports betting picks up in playoff events, "interest would be really strong for the big branded tournaments like the World Series of Poker as more people have a stake in what's going on," said Anthony Curtis, a poker player and publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor newsletter for gamblers.

But one regulator has already nixed the idea on the basis that Nevada law only allows betting on traditional sporting events.

Regulators fear that opening the door to poker tournaments could usher in betting on a host of other noncasino games, from checkers and darts to Monopoly.

"Are we opening a Pandora's Box?" asked Mark Clayton, the state Gaming Control Board member who denied the initial request.

Attorney Harry Platis has appealed Clayton's decision to the full, three-member Control Board, who will hear a presentation from Platis at a meeting Wednesday. Platis may also appeal the Control Board vote to the five-member Nevada Gaming Commission, which meets later this month.

Another concern is how the tournaments would be monitored and what kind of sanctioning bodies would be on hand to oversee the events.

While collusion is a concern with any gambling game, the idea that players can win or lose poker games to benefit bettors has more recently gained steam in the poker world. Many poker officials say the concern is overblown and that casinos have ways of detecting colluding teams or false plays.

Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said he isn't leaning one way or the other on the application, which should be debated by all of the board members because it would mark a significant departure from the status quo.

The attorney general's office also will be analyzing the request to see that it doesn't jeopardize Nevada's exemption from federal law prohibiting sports bets, he said.

Platis isn't involved in the casino or poker business and isn't fronting for anyone, his attorney says. His idea to allow pari-mutuel, or group betting on the outcome of poker and billiard tournaments, appears to be unique.

Internet casinos, which are off-limits to U.S. gamblers but enjoy widespread popularity among Nevadans and gamblers worldwide, opened the door years ago to betting on poker tournaments. They set long-shot odds on individual players - bets that are more like lotteries than casino games because of the hundreds to thousands of players in each tournament and the importance of luck, which has allowed unknowns to win the top prizes in recent years.

Pari-mutuel betting - in which gamblers' wagers are pooled and paid out to winners - is common in horse racing, dog racing and jai alai. Instead of betting against the house, as with most casino games, pari-mutuel bettors are wagering against one another. The fewer gamblers who bet on the winner, the larger their share is of the winning pot.

By offering pari-mutuel bets, Nevada casinos wouldn't risk their own money by setting odds. Instead, they would take a rake off the top of the pot, as they do with racing events.

If they win permission to engage in pari-mutuel betting on poker events, Nevada casinos would finally be able to tap a revenue source that for now has gone to illegal bookies who attend poker championships and take wagers on individuals and teams of players.

It wouldn't be the first time the nation's gambling capital has opened the door to new forms of betting. Nevada has pushed the envelope in many areas to make it easier for people to place wagers, such as allowing wireless wagering on casino floors and casino games in nightclubs and other venues that charge admission.

World Series of Poker owner Harrah's Entertainment could gain the most from the betting rule because it would like generate a surge of interest among tournament watchers. A Harrah's official said the company had no comment on the application but is interested in the outcome.

Mixed Games Provide a Welcome Challenge

 

Jas, who drives 45 minutes from Plymouth to Boston to play in our weekly poker game, invited us to come down to his place to play outdoors last Saturday afternoon. Since he offered to feed us hamburgers and keep our beer cold, we jumped at the opportunity to get out of the city for a day and play cards under the blue sky.After we had been playing cash games for a few hours, we decided to shift gears and play a tournament. At my urging, we abandoned the format we generally follow -- a medium stack No Limit Hold'em tournament -- and instead decided to play a deep stack mixed game tournament. I suggested we model the tournament after 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Event # 20, a H.O.R.S.E. tournament which begins at the Rio tomorrow. After some bartering, the group decided to eliminate the "E" and play "H.O.R.S."

H.O.R.S.E. consists of five different poker variations, including Hold'em (H), Omaha Hi/Lo (O), Razz (R), Seven-Card Stud (S), and Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better (E). All games are limit varieties, and after a set time period, the game moves from one variety to the next in a cycle, with the stakes increasing with each cycle through the games. For WSOP Event # 20, that time period will be 40 minutes. For our Saturday afternoon game, we played each game for only 10 minutes.

We each started with $30,000 in chips and played the WSOP structure, simply eliminating the Seven-Card Stud Eight or Better round.

I ended up finishing third out of seven people, winning back my buy-in. The tournament took more than four hours to complete, and honestly, it was the most fun I've had playing tournament poker for quite some time.

There was a wide ebb and flow to the chip lead, and players who were short stacked had time to make comebacks. The top two players chopped the pot after I busted out, and Steve, the chip leader when the game finished, made the most remarkable comeback after being down to $8,000 chips with betting levels at $1,500/$3,000.

While we play a wide variety of games during the cash game portion of our weekly game, we almost always end the night with a No Limit Hold'em tournament. Tournament poker requires you to shift and change your strategy in a way that a cash game does not. It was interesting and challenging to do that with four different games instead of just No Limit Hold'em. The only thing I would have done differenlty is to extend the time period for each game, as we often only had enough time for three or four hands of each game before switching to the next game.

Today, I arrived in Las Vegas to cover Event # 20. I can't wait to watch top pros playing battling in the largest buy-in event in World Series history. I can't wait to see who comes back from an early set back to make a run at the title. But more than anything, I'm glad to get a break from the endless barrage of No Limit Hold'em tournaments.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sun Ray Casino Fined

 

As reported by the Farmington Daily Times: "The State Gaming Control Board fined SunRay Park and Casino $7,500 for failing to notify state officials a 'key executive' faced criminal charges in December 2003. "The board issued the citation May 6, after former executive and local businessman Bernard Strunk, agreed to cut his ties as an executive with SunRay for five years. "'Mr. Strunk voluntarily got out of the gaming business about a year ago. He decided to pursue other endeavors,' said Strunk's attorney Jack Fortner. 'Whatever the gaming commission did wouldn't have mattered.' "…The Gaming Control Board sought to revoke Strunk's certification for oversight of the casino June 22, 2005, after he failed to notify the state within 10 days he faced criminal charges, state documents show. Strunk also faced an undisclosed fine. "…Gaming employees and management officials must be certified by the state, said Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Carla Lopez. Strunk's management role at SunRay required a Certificate of Finding of Suitability…"

NYRA Touts Plans

 

As reported by the New York Times Union: " Saratoga Race Course will remain the same, while Belmont Park will have video lottery terminals and retail space under the New York Racing Association's plans for winning renewal of its state franchise. "With the opening of the track's summer meet less than three weeks away, NYRA President Charles Hayward briefed the Saratoga County Racing Committee Thursday on what's happening in the bids for running the Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct tracks. He also urged the county supervisors to lobby state leaders on the equine industry's importance to the local economy. "Sitting in a trackside conference room as workers prepared the track grounds for the July 26 opening, Hayward lobbied the supervisors, explaining that NYRA still is the best option for operating the three tracks and keeping the local horse industry strong.

".The VLTs at Aqueduct and those proposed for Belmont will provide a revenue stream. Hayward said Belmont's spacious grandstand could house VLTs as well as unspecified retail operations.

"NYRA's plan also looks at partnering with the state's off-track betting corporations or buying them outright."

Looking in on: Gaming

 

It's the thick of summer in Las Vegas, which means pool parties amid bikini-clad servers, afternoon boozing at extended happy hours and ¦ free kiddie movies and video games at the Four Seasons? Bucking the Sin City image, the upscale, nongaming hotel has entered its fourth year of a family promotion that includes reduced rates for kids staying in a separate room and a package of perks to keep the young 'uns happy while Mom and Dad gamble. Other Strip operators say they're not interested in luring families and won't be offering similar deals anytime soon. "We are operating an entertainment business that is oriented toward adults," Harrah's Entertainment spokesman David Strow said. "We're pretty adamant about that."

The Four Seasons is attached to Mandalay Bay but doesn't have its own casino. The hotel has a following among business travelers who bring their families along on business trips that carry over into long weekends. The chain is known for being family-friendly year-round, greeting the little ones with M&Ms and other gifts.

Family bookings are already ahead of last year, roping in new customers with regulars, Director of Marketing Kathy Van Vechten said.

"We indoctrinate the little people early," she said.

. . .

The results from Harrah's annual survey of casino gamblers are in, and they suggest that, by some measure, gamblers are a bit more sophisticated - and less religious - than nongamblers.

People who said they gambled in casinos last year are richer, better educated and more trendy than their nongambling counterparts, according to data collected from telephone polls and interviews with more than 16,000 people by two research firms. The polling had a margin of error of about 2 percent. The survey, one of two major industry-funded gambler profiles, is intended to dispel myths about gamblers and has been a longstanding irritant to casino foes nationwide.

This year's survey says gamblers are more likely to have tasted various ethnic foods, used new technology, redecorated their homes and taken long trips, among other consumer-friendly activities.

Gamblers aren't much more heathen or hedonistic than the rest of the population, Harrah's contends.

Forty-four percent of gamblers said being a good parent coincided with their personal expression of success, compared to 40 percent of nongamblers.

Both gamblers and nongamblers volunteered time for social causes at the same rate, though a greater percentage of gamblers said they donated money to a social good.

Religion has always been a sticking point for the casino industry, whose most vocal critics are those who believe gambling - no matter how fancily it is packaged - is a sin. Harrah's didn't emphasize the results of several religion questions in their survey, which could be construed negatively.

About 24 percent of casino gamblers polled said "being true to God" coincided with success versus 38 percent of nongamblers.

Nongamblers seem more religious than gamblers. About 39 percent of gamblers said religion was very important in their lives, and 41 percent said it was fairly important. Among nongamblers, 49 percent said religion was very important and 32 percent said it was fairly important. One-fourth of U.S. adults - some 52.8 million people - visited casinos to gamble last year, the survey said. That's down from the estimate of 53.4 million people who visited casinos in 2003.

. . .

The shutdown of Atlantic City's 12 casinos last week wasn't the first time New Jersey casinos have closed.

When Atlantic City casinos were legalized in 1976 and opened in 1978, they were required to shut down their floors in the wee hours of the morning to discourage binge gambling. New Jersey didn't introduce 24-hour gambling until 1991. By then, Nevada was ushering in a wave of modern megaresorts.

Dan Heneghan, the spokesman for the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, was then a casino reporter at the Press of Atlantic City when he wrote that New Jersey's casinos "may never have to close their doors again."

Ironically, Heneghan was looking up that very article for a reporter just before he was furloughed from his job Wednesday morning - one of tens of thousands of public and private employees who aren't getting paid during the budget impasse.

Missouri Casino Results Mixed

 

As reported by the St. Louis Business Journal: "President Casino and Harrah's St. Louis Casino and Hotel in Maryland Heights were the only Missouri casino in the St. Louis area to post a revenue gain in June, the Missouri Gaming Commission reported Monday. "The President Casino posted the largest revenue increase in June at 10 percent from the previous year's month, as its admissions declined 4 percent from June last year. "...Harrah's posted a 7 percent increase in revenue to $26.35 million in June, compared with $24.56 million in the same month last year. "...[The Ameristar Casino-St. Charles'] revenue dropped 1 percent to $24.31 million in June compared to $24.45 million in June 2005..."

WSOP Update - Busy Weekend at the Series

 

With four gold bracelets awarded in two days, its was a busy weekend at the World Series of Poker with many new faces receiving their first WSOP pay-outs and some known faces finally grabbing WSOP gold. Event # 12 $5,000 Omaha High-Low 8/OB Sam Farha earned his second gold bracelet after a more than a decade without a WSOP victory. To grab the title, Farha had to go through poker phenom Phil Ivey, instantly making this heads up battle one of the most intriguing clashes of the 2006 WSOP. The midnight start made the gallery a little thin at the $5,000 Omaha High-Low 8/OB Event # 12 final paring, but those who stayed were treated to a classic. Farha became a household poker name in 2003 when he battled Chris Moneymaker in an epic Main Event final table. Although he came in second, Farha's well-dressed, slick-haired, unlit-cigarette demeanor made him an instant poker star.

Although he's cashed in only one event since that time (2005 WSOP Main Event), he does lay claim to one gold bracelet, winning an Omaha event in 1996. Saturday changed his recent WSOP luck and that win coupled with another cash already this Series proves the high stakes cash game player might be well on his way to tournament stardom.

Ivey, who has been the main attraction for the rail birds since the WSOP began, had the loudest cheering section as he sought his sixth bracelet. With five titles already on his mantle, the 27-year old Ivey is already one of the most decorated tournament players of all-time.

The performance of both Farha and Ivey is that much more impressive considering the 265-player Event #12 field was filled with some of the world's top tournament players.

With Chris Ferguson, Mike Caro, Andy Bloch, and Gavin Smith making the final 26 players, Event #12's final participants had 11 gold bracelets and one World Poker Tour title between them. That does not include the millions won at high-stakes cash games and the countless final table appearances in the biggest poker tournaments worldwide.

Event # 10 $1,500 7-Card Stud

Another former WSOP Main Event runner-up finally won his first gold bracelet at the $1,500 7-Card Stud WSOP Event #10.

David Williams, best known for his $3.5 million second place finish to Greg "Fossilman" Raymer in the 2004 WSOP Main Event, secured his first WSOP bracelet, giving credence to the claim that he's one of poker's brightest young stars.

Besting a final table that included Johnny Chan (10 gold bracelets) and "Miami" John Cernuto (3 gold bracelets), Williams won the first 2006 WSOP stud event. Known for his No-Limit Hold'em skill, it was surprising to many that Williams would have his breakout win in stud.

"I play a lot of mixed games against some very good players," Williams told WSOP officials. "I play with Chau Giang, David Singer, Mike Wattel, and top players who really know the game. I picked up some of the things they do, and that has really helped me."

Although Williams is a favorite among poker fans and autograph seekers at the 2006 WSOP, the majority of those watching the Event #10 final table were waiting to see if Chan could grab a record-breaking 11th gold bracelet.

One day after watching Phil Hellmuth's attempt to tie Chan and Doyle Brunson's career mark of 10 WSOP victories in Event #9, Chan was trying to make his own poker history by becoming the first player to reach 11 wins.

It wasn't meant to be for Chan who went into the day severely short-stacked. He ended up finishing in seventh place, outlasting only one other player.

To come in first, Williams had to go through John Hoang, who almost led the tournament from start to finish. Finally giving up the chip lead right before heads up play, Hoang battled Williams for three hours before succumbing to the 26-year old.

For Williams, the chance to finally erase the "runner-up" image that often accompanies a second place finisher in the Main Event was something he didn't take lightly.

"It's really all I have thought about or cared about," Williams said. "I wanted it so bad I changed my daily activities to put myself in a much better position to win. Now, I am so happy I feel like crying. I'm fighting back the tears right now. It's the best I've ever felt in my life."

Event #11 $1,500 Limit Hold'em

While the best players in the world were taking their shot at the $5,000 Omaha High-Low 8/OB event, a field of unrecognizable faces was battling in the second Limit Hold'em tournament of the 2006 World Series.

One of those faces can now call himself a champion.

Bob Chalmers, a 59-year old business consultant from Vancouver, British Columbia bested 700 players to earn his first bracelet and $258,344.

"What I realized from playing at this final table is that it takes a lot of work to win," Chalmers said. "Sure, some luck helps. But it's really hard work. There was not a time when I was not thinking of my stay at the final table as like working. It seemed like a long time. The easy thing for me was to understand that (winning) was going to happen in just a hand or two, but it rather would be a process that took a long time - so I looked at it that way."

Although the final table represented a good mix of solid poker players, the casual fan would have trouble identifying many of the participants who were competing at their first WSOP final table.

Doug Sabb, the only final table player who had won a gold bracelet (1997) or had any WSOP final table experience, arrived as the short stack and made a run at the title with a few double ups, only to suffer a brutal final half hour that erased his stack and landed him in fifth place.

Event # 13 $2,500 No Limit Hold'em

Max "The Italian Pirate" Pescatori arrived at the final table of Event #13 several minutes late. Even though he was playing in the biggest event of his poker career, Pescatori wanted to watch his beloved Italian soccer team play in the World Cup finals against France.

The decision paid off. Pescatori was there to see Italy win its fourth World Cup on penalty kicks, then made it to the Amazon Room of the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in time to win his first WSOP gold bracelet. He collected $382,389.

"Nothing can beat this. For me, this is incredible," Pescatori said. "I told all my friends that they have to watch for Italy to win the World Cup and then afterward to cheer for me on the Internet to win here at the World Series. This is the greatest day of my life."

When the tournament was down to just three players, the chip leader and 2005 WSOP $1,000 Shootout winner Anthony Reategui had Justin Pechie outchipped 4-1 and Pescatori outchipped 7-1.

Reategui, who was the favorite to win against two first-time WSOP final table participants, had already knocked out three consecutive players and was well on his way to victory.

Pechie was crippled after Pescatori called Pechie's large river bet with only King high, good enough to beat the stone-cold bluff. When Pechie next entered the pot, he did so by going all-in with sixes, only to find that Pescatori had pocket eights. Both men hit their set on the flop, but Pescatori had the better three-of-a-kind and to emphasize his reemergence, he hit quads on the river.

Reategui relinquished the chip lead to Pescatori, but looked as though he might take back the lead when both men went all in on a 10-7-6 flop. Reategui, who held top pair, was relived to see Pescatori had only a gut-shot straight draw with his J8 suited.

Unfortunately for Reategui, Pescatori hit a jack on the river to steal the victory. Much like in Germany several hours earlier, there were plenty of Italian fans in the audience with something to cheer about.

Crowd favorite Mike "The Mouth" Matasow also played at this final table, but remained relatively quiet despite his boisterous and infamous reputation. When asked after the event why he was so subdued, Matasow told WSOP media officials that he wasn't feeling very well during the match. Matusow finished in seventh place.

Normally Crazy Event Dubbed "Tame" in 2006

Typically one of the most exciting events of the recent World Series competitions is the $1,000 No Limit Hold'em Re-buy tournament, a chance for the game's top professionals to square off against players with large bankrolls.

Normally the strategy in these events is to take advantage of the re-buy period and amass as many chips as possible. Often, players bring stacks of re-buy chips with them to the table and continually go all-in until they are comfortable with their chip stacks. If they lose with this strategy, they always have the re-buy option.

In 2004, poker superstar Daniel Negreanu set the re-buy tone with an amazing 23 re-buys. His reasoning on the re-buy option is simple - the person with the most chips after the re-buy is more than likely the favorite to win. With some professionals plopping down $10,000 on a tournament, $1,000 plus a few add-ons is no big deal when a gold bracelet is at stake.

This year, things are tame. There were 752 entrants into the event and only 1670 add-ons and re-buys, well under the normal total. As for Negreanu, he bought into the event several times and accumulated a large stack, but didn't make it out of round two. Neither did Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, who according to live WSOP blogs led the re-buy charge with double-digit-wallet dips.

Here are the final table chip counts. Play begins today (July 10) at 2 p.m. PST.

Tom Franklin - $590,000

Tim Phan - $551,000

Steve Wong - $295,000

John Hoang - $274,000

Allen Cunningham - $233,000

David Rheem - $170,000

Andy Bloch $163,000

Alex Jacob - $106,000

Everett Carlton - $86,000

Women's Event Draws Record Numbers

The success of Oscar nominated actress Jennifer Tilly in the 2005 WSOP Ladies Event may have had something to do with the record number of participant in the 2006 version of the tournament.

In total, 1,128 women entered Event # 14 on Sunday. Last year, the same event drew a then-record 601 players even though it is often considered an afterthought compared to the larger-payout events that allow both men and women.

Tilly, known to mainstream America as an actress, learned to play poker from her boyfriend, Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, a popular and often unpredictable player who has had much success on the World Poker Tour. Her poker success has arguably attracted large numbers of new women to the sport, especially after she became a WPT winner in the 2005 Ladies Invitational Tournament.

Her association with Laak has landed her the nickname the "Unabombshell." Although she competed in this year's event, Tilly was unable to defend her title against the record number of women. She is playing in many more events this year, although to date she has not cashed.

Laurie Scott is the current chip leader with $175,500 chips closely trailed by Sue Luckenbaugh with $173,000 chips.

Play in the Ladies Event begins again today (July 10) with 26 players and will be continued until there is a winner.

LiveHive Systems Appoints CFO

 

LiveHive SystemsTM, a leading provider of real-time event wagering solutions for the online gaming industry, today announced that it has appointed David Brennan as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Brennan brings 20 years of financial experience to the company and will direct all activities related to corporate financing, corporate reporting and internal operations. Prior to LiveHive, Mr. Brennan was a Principal with Solowave Investments, a Canadian based private equity firm. During his five years at Solowave, Mr. Brennan was involved in a number of transactions and was seconded to Sirific Wireless in the position of Vice President, Finance. Prior to Solowave, he was Associate Vice President of Finance for PixStream Incorporated, which was acquired by Cisco Systems in December 2000. Mr. Brennan previously worked as senior manager of investor relations for the Bank of Montreal. He obtained his Chartered Accountant designation during his nine-year career with Coopers & Lybrand, now PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Having someone with David's financial acumen and operational experience on board gives us confidence that the internal operations of the company will be well looked after as we grow our customer base and penetrate new markets," said Dave Bullock, President, LiveHive Systems. "The fact that he has spent a significant amount of time in senior executive roles at rapidly growing high-tech companies, combined with his venture capital and public market experience, will enable LiveHive to maintain its leadership position in this market."

"In a short period of time, LiveHive has secured some of the biggest and most recognized online sportsbooks as customers," said David Brennan, Chief Financial Officer, LiveHive Systems. "As the company enters its next phase of growth, I am happy to be implementing the processes and structure necessary to ensure our customers and our customers' customers are well served for many years to come."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Arkansas Mayor Won't Support Casino

 

As reported by the Fort Smith Times Record: "Fort Smith Mayor Ray Baker said Thursday he is "deeply concerned" about a proposed riverfront casino. "The United Keetoowah Band has purchased 10 acres north of the River Park events building along the Arkansas River where the tribe wants to build a casino. "The tribe has made application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place the land in trust, which must be granted by the BIA before the tribe could seek permission from the National Indian Gaming Commission to operate a casino. "During an anti-gambling rally at the River Park events building on Thursday, Baker called on The Westphal Group investment company, which sold the property to the Keetoowah Band, to move in other directions of development. ".Baker said he was not speaking for the city board of directors or the city administration, but out of personal concern as mayor.

"Dr. J.P. Bell, a member of The Friends of Fort Smith, told those in attendance at the rally that Bennie Westphal, chief executive officer of The Westphal Group investment company said he wouldn't bring a casino to Fort Smith if local residents oppose it.

".But so far, Westphal said he feels a majority favors the casino based on his personal interactions and a poll conducted by a local television station that he said shows Fort Smith residents favor the casino by a 2-to-1 margin."

BC Casino Denied Liquor License

 

As reported by the Goldstream Gazette: ".Plugging the slots while downing a beer is still a no-go at Victoria's only casino after View Royal refused to support its bid for a new liquor licence Tuesday. "View Royal council lauded Great Canadian Casinos as a good corporate citizen, but unanimously denied its application to sell and serve drinks on its gaming floor. "Council opposed the application for varying reasons, but left the door open to future applications in its ruling, saying it couldn't support a licence 'at this time.' "The B.C. Liquor Control and Licencing Branch has the final say on a licence, but said it wouldn't move without View Royal's consent. The Town holds another trump card: existing zoning doesn't allow for a liquor-primary licence on the land. ".Howard Blank, Great Canadian Casino's spokesperson, said the 35,000-square -foot casino will try again with different ideas, including how entertainment venues might be incorporated into the 'limited footprint" of the property.'."

Mississippi Casino Site Expected to be Approved

 

As reported by the Clarion Ledger: "The Mississippi Gaming Commission is expected to approve a site for a casino in D'Iberville today during a called meeting. "West D'Iberville Development LLC has requested approval of a site that is west of the I-10 bridge and on the Back Bay of Biloxi. 'I'm recommending approval,' said Larry Gregory, executive director of the Gaming Commission. ".Richard Rose, D'Iberville city manager, said the city would welcome a casino on the Back Bay. ".Residents, planners and others who met in design charrettes to brainstorm about rebuilding the Mississippi Gulf Coast voiced support for putting casinos in mixed-use developments along the water front in D'Iberville, Rose said."

New Jersey Budget Stalemate Ends

 

As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "New Jersey's budget stalemate finally ended Thursday, giving hope that casinos and state services would reopen by Saturday. "On the sixth day of a state government shutdown, Assembly Democrats relented on their opposition to Gov. Jon S. Corzine's 1 percent sales-tax increase on the condition that at least half the revenue goes to deliver $5 billion in property-tax relief over the next 10 years. The sales tax would increase from 6 percent to 7 percent. ".Beyond that, most details of the $30 billion spending plan were still being worked out Thursday night. Still unclear is whether the state will extend casino taxes set to expire this year or impose a fee for rural policing. "While much work remains, Corzine said at an afternoon news conference that he expected both houses to approve a budget 'between the next 24 to 36 hours.' If they do, state gaming inspectors could return to the floor of Atlantic City's 12 casinos by late today or early Saturday. ".For casino workers, the lost wages may never be recouped. Corzine said he favored restoring pay to state workers, but no decisions had been made."

Purple Lounge Offers Chance at Norway Tour

 

The countdown has begun. Set to sizzle through the summer months of August and September, the qualifying tournaments for the Norwegian FHM/Purple Lounge Poker Tour started in earnest this month with sponsor Purple Lounge offering ten opportunities to win a free seat on the tour. The freeroll tournaments, held at 20:30 BST, spanned over a period of four weeks giving players the option to choose in which tour stop they wanted to play. From Bergen to Stavenger, they simply entered the appropriate freeroll tournament and won their seat at that tournament. The tour has generated a great deal of interest in recent weeks in both the UK and in the Norwegian market, with coverage by TV2 and all the popular print magazines. This is in no small part due to the uniqueness of the event itself. More than just your average tournament, The Norwegian Purple Lounge/FHM Poker Tour has launched itself onto the circuit with a dazzling extravaganza of entertainment events from live shows to themed activities. What's more, the all girl, FHM glamour model card-dealing team, led by feisty Nordic beauty Aylar, have lent an irresistible twist to the dealing of cards.

"This is certainly a tremendous addition to the poker tour circuit, with Purple-Lounge.com again raising the bar in glamour and fame stakes of poker," purred cyber siren and spokesperson for Purple Lounge, Tara. "Confirmed qualifiers for the event included poker titans such as Jenny Woo, and an extremely talented body of worldwide Purple Lounge players all playing to win this new title. We are very excited."

Tour stops include Frederikstad. Lillehammer, Kristiansand, Sandefjord, Tonsberg, Stravenger, Haugeund, Bergen, Trondheim, and Oslo, where the final will take place on the 15th of September.

New Allegations Hit Prescott's Office

 

As reported by 24 Dash News: "John Prescott's future was under further scrutiny today amid fresh allegations that his office assisted billionaire Philip Anschutz's bid to run a super-casino in the Millennium Dome by scuppering a rival application in Southend-on-Sea. "Emails have come to light purporting to show that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister tried to scupper a rival super-casino application by planning officials from Southend-on-Sea Council. "They came as the Tories accused Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell of ignoring allegations that Mr Prescott breached the Ministerial Code by visiting billionaire Philip Anschutz's ranch. "Pressure on Mr Prescott showed no sign of relenting, despite the Deputy Prime Minister's insistence yesterday that he would not quit."

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Casino Du Liba Talks Delayed

 

As reported by the Lebanon Daily Star: "Prime Minister Fouad Siniora postponed Cabinet discussions on the sale of government shares in Casino du Liban until next month in order to avoid more political tension, sources said Thursday. ".In comments made upon his arrival at the temporary Cabinet headquarters in Beirut, Siniora said the issue of Casino du Liban had been postponed pending further discussions."

Seneca Casino Holds Job Fairs

 

As reported by the Buffalo Business First: "The Seneca Allegany Casino has set a series of informational and job fair forums to line up new workers for its soon-to-open hotel and expanded Salamanca casino. "The forums will be held in a number of venues, ranging from the University of Pittsburgh's Bradford, Pa., campus to Erie Community College's south campus. The events are scheduled from July 12 through Aug. 8, plus another series of job fairs at the casino itself that will run through Aug. 30. "The casino is looking to hire at least 450 workers for its expanded gaming operations and 220-room hotel. ".Job fairs at the casino are set for July 19 and 20 and Aug. 2, 3, 15, 16 and 30."

Sparks Casino Vote Delayed

 

As reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal: "After hours of testimony stretching into this morning, the Sparks Planning Commission delayed a vote on whether a casino could be part of the Lazy 8 resort development in Spanish Springs. A motion and second to deny the casino was withdrawn after Community Development Director Neil Krutz told the seven commissioners that would require staff to develop justification for the action. When Assistant City Attorney David Creekman suggested the panel postpone a vote due to the late hour, the audience groaned,. ".The audience of about 200 had dwindled to about 60 by the time the commission adjourned after 1 a.m. More than 30 witnesses testified.

".Getting an amendment could be more difficult after recent changes regarding tourist-commercial zoning in Sparks. The council voted Dec. 12 to change the areas where tourist commercial development could take place, restricting it to near Interstate 80 and the Truckee River.

"Tierra Del Sol plans include about 315,000 square feet of development with an 18,000-square-foot casino, 200 hotel rooms, movie theater and restaurants.

"The developers have agreed to give $300,000 to the city for affordable housing and propose a 4,800-square-foot community services building."

Isleta Casino Opens Fun Connection

 

Isleta Casino and Resort and the 2005-06 NBA Development League Champion Albuquerque Thunderbirds invite you to attend the Grand Opening celebration of Isleta's new Fun Connection. Grand Opening ceremonies will include a celebrity challenge featuring local and national celebrities who will compete in several events including fishing, bowling, golf, laser tag, billiards, and a slot machine tournament on Saturday July 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to stick around and sample everything the Fun Connection has to offer. Celebrity competitors will include Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers and UNM Lobos), Michael Cooper (Albuquerque Thunderbirds, LA Lakers, and UNM Lobos), Dennis Johnson (Austin Toros and Boston Celtics), Holly Holm (WBA Welterweight Champion), and many more. After completing their celebrity challenge, these local heroes will sign autographs and mingle with select fans. Thunderbirds 2006-07 season tickets are already on sale and can be purchased at abqtbirds.com or at Thunderbirds Front Office. For premium or group seating call the Thunderbirds office at (505) 265-DUNK.

The D-League continues to develop talent from across all disciplines for the NBA's 30 teams and the entire NBA umbrella. This season, 19 NBA teams assigned 29 players to D-League affiliates. There were also 18 GATORADE Call-Ups from the D-League to the NBA. Additionally, every referee hired by the NBA since 2002 has worked in the D-League, while coaches, athletic trainers and front office executives are also being developed.

The NBA D-League is composed of the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (N.M.), Anaheim Arsenal (Calif.), Arkansas RimRockers (Little Rock), Austin Toros (Texas), Bakersfield Jam (Calif.), Colorado 14ers (Broomfield), Dakota Wizards (Bismarck, N.D.), Fort Worth Flyers (Texas), Idaho Stampede (Boise), Los Angeles, Sioux Falls Skyforce (S.D.) and Tulsa 66ers (Okla.).

Designed to help grow the sport of basketball both domestically and internationally, the league also offers fun, family entertainment at affordable prices.

VLT Opponents Hold Rally

 

As reported by the Washington Post: "Opponents of a campaign to bring video lottery terminals to the District said yesterday that the introduction of large-scale gambling to Anacostia would stunt economic growth and increase crime in an area that has struggled for decades to improve its image. "As cars whizzed by and bulldozers worked in the background, politicians wearing suits, ministers carrying bullhorns and teenagers worrying about the future held a rally in the historic neighborhood to deliver the same message: Nothing good could come from more gambling. ".The rally was meant to disrupt a political action committee's petition drive to obtain more than the 19,000 signatures required to put an initiative on the November ballot. If approved, the Video Lottery Terminal Gambling Initiative of 2006 would allow its backers to put an undisclosed number of slot machines near Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road SE. The initiative would allow similar sites to be established across the city. "In 2004, an effort by entrepreneur Shawn Scott to bring up to 3,500 video lottery terminals to Northeast Washington was upended by widespread election law violations that included forged and improperly collected signatures."

House Expected to Hold Online Gambling Debate

 

As reported by Reuters: "The full U.S. House of Representatives is expected to debate next week legislation that would attempt to ban Internet gambling, a $12 billion-a-year industry that gets half its revenue from American gamblers, two Republican lawmakers said on Thursday. "The legislation to be debated blends two versions of bills that have been offered by Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, the two said in a statement. "Leach's bill has been approved by both the House Financial Services Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. It has broad support among conservative and religious activist groups, who want to keep gambling out of easy reach of minors. "The anti-gambling bill is expected to be debated by the full House as early as Wednesday, a legislative aide said. "However, it remains unclear whether the Senate will pass similar legislation as Congress scrambles to finish its work before the November general elections."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Las Vegas Casino Behind Others in Orchestra Support

 

As reported by the Las Vegas Business Press: "Las Vegas' casino industry sets the pace for people's entertainment dollars, but when it comes to supporting symphony orchestras, it may be trailing the pack. "When J.L. Nave III was executive director of the orchestra in Baton Rouge, La., he was able to count on the city's riverboat casinos for an influx of funds. ".Similar largesse is apparently not to be had from Vegas' casinos. Slot giant IGT has given the Las Vegas Philharmonic $3,000 some years. Boyd Gaming, whose former president, Don Snyder, is heading up the drive to build a performing arts center, is rumored to have donated $5,000, and Harrah's Entertainment has ponied up a like amount. Both Snyder and Harrah's communications czar, Jan Jones, are among those casino execs whose ears LVPO Executive Director Philip Koslow has found sympathetic.

"The MGM Voice Foundation has given $1,250 toward the youth concert series with which LVPO Music Director Hal Weller and Koslow hope to cultivate the audience of tomorrow. Of casino industry support in general, Koslow said, 'we're working to cultivate that to be more substantial.'

"In-kind support is coming in the form of hotel rooms that MGM Mirage will be donating for the 2006-07 season, Weller's last as music director. As in Baton Rouge, personal ties facilitated other in-kind donations. The Tropicana Hotel & Casino supplied room nights when LVPO supporter Barbara Gomes was on its board. Philharmonic co-founder Susan Tompkins' late husband, Andy, was an owner of the Lady Luck hotel-casino downtown, which did the LVPO's bookkeeping in the orchestra's early years."

Many Thai Bettors Expected to Default on Bets

 

As reported by the Thai Nation: "About one in five people who illegally gambling on football are likely to default on their bets, and leave total debts of around Bt6 billion, according to a Kasikorn Research Centre survey released yesterday. "Referring to crime records in the aftermath of previous football tournaments, the survey predicted an increase in both petty and serious crimes, ranging from theft, to battery and assault and even murder associated with debt collection. ".The Bt6-billion estimate is thought to be approximately 16 per cent of the total amount of bets placed on World Cup games across the country. "The survey found that gamblers were less likely to pay back debts to close friends (51 per cent), than sums owed to bookmakers."

GSA Releases New Standards

 

Working to bring interoperability of communication standards to the gaming industry; the Gaming Standards Association (GSA) has released its Multicast Transport Standard. The standard specifies and describes the transport mechanism used to send messages from protocols like GSA's Game-to-System (G2S) and System-to-System (S2S). The new standard is available for free download today at GSA's website. The standard supports message broadcast i.e.: the same message can be sent from one host to many devices at once. Multicast messaging capability represents a clear advantage for uses such as updating progressive signs, as it allows for a reduction of network traffic as compared to using a point-to-point protocol for this type of communication.

Line Robichaud, principal software analyst for GSA member company GTECH and chair of GSA's Transport Committee said, "GSA's G2S and S2S protocols define messages. What has been needed is a standard that clearly defines how broadcast messages will be sent, and the Multicast Transport Standard does just that."

The next task for GSA's Transport Committee is a point-to-point specification for individual messaging.

Sportsbook.com Offers World Cup Final Odds

 

Despite an earlier than expected exit by the US men's national soccer team in this year's FIFA World Cup, Americans are still interested in 'the beautiful game'. Bettors at Sportsbook.com, the world's largest online sportsbook and casino are wagering on the outcome of what should be a thrilling finale between Italy and France this Sunday in Berlin, Germany. Odds makers have listed the Azzuri as a narrow 2.71 favorite to win the final game and bring home the country's fourth World Cup. Italy, who beat Germany earlier this week in an emotional semi-final match-up, is getting enormous support from bettors in the US and has received 71.2 per cent of total wagers placed on the game. Although France's odds sit slightly below the Italians at 2.97, Americans are not confident that Les Bleus will triumph over Italy as they have only received 7.8 per cent of all wagers, despite France's historical dominance of Italy in previous World Cup encounters, including a quarter-final loss in 1998 and a second round defeat in 1986. The rest of the money is resting on a tie should neither team win the Cup in 90 minutes of regulation time.

"Italy and France have given blood sweat and tears just for the opportunity to win a World Cup for their country, and you can guarantee that soccer fans around the US will be watching to see who brings it home." said Alex Czajkowski, Marketing Director at Sportsbook.com. Everybody bets, and with all of the wagering options available at Sportsbook.com, customers get the chance to bet on all kinds of World Cup action, like who will score the first goal of the game, what will the exact score be, or how many total goals will be scored."

Pennsylvania Board to Hold Hearings

 

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hold Licensing Hearings on the two applications it received for Category 3 gaming licenses in Harrisburg on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006, Chairman Tad Decker said today. The hearings, which will be open to the public, will take place in the Auditorium of the State Museum Building, 3rd and North streets, Decker said. "After the success of our public-input hearings, the licensing hearings mark the beginning of a new, key phase of the application-review process, one in which Board members will take an active role in questioning applicants on issues related to their suitability for licensure," Decker said.

The Category 3 licensing hearings schedule is:

- 1 p.m. Woodlands Fayette (Farmington)

- 3 p.m. Seven Springs Farm, Inc. (Champion)

Under Act 71 of 2004, the Gaming Control Board is authorized to license 14 slot-machine gaming facilities across Pennsylvania. Seven Category 1 licenses are authorized for horse-race tracks; five Category 2 licenses are authorized for standalone slots facilities - two in Philadelphia, one in Pittsburgh and two at tourism-enhanced locations across the state; and two Category 3 licenses are authorized for existing resorts.

The Gaming Control Board is considering 22 applications for the 14 licenses - six for Category 1 licenses; 14 for Category 2 licenses, including five in Philadelphia, three in Pittsburgh and six for tourism-enhanced locations; and two for Category 3 licenses.

The Board expects to act on conditional Category 1 license applications in September 2006, and on Category 2, Category 3 and permanent Category 1 applications in December 2006.

The Board previously announced that hearings for conditional Category 1 applicants will take place in Harrisburg on Aug. 7-9.

WSOP Update - Day 13

 

Hellmuth Denied Tenth Gold Bracelet Day 13 of the World Series of Poker proved unlucky for poker superstar Phil Hellmuth as his quest for a record-tying tenth gold bracelet ended with a fickle river. Competing heads up against Jeff Cabanillas at the WSOP $5,000 No Limit Hold'em Event #9, Hellmuth's 5h-4s looked good when the flop came 6d-4d-3h.However, Cabanillas had eleven outs for a win and six more outs to tie with his 5d-3d and quickly called the former World Champion's all-in bet. When the dealer dropped a Jd, Cabanillas had his flush and his first gold bracelet. Before Thursday, Cabanillas had never cashed in a WSOP event or placed in a major tournament. Heads-up play took nearly four hours to complete. Cabanillas began the heads up portion with the lead, but the two combatants traded the top stack several times in the first hour. Hellmuth won three consecutive large pots halfway through the competition to take a 2-1 lead.

Hellmuth continued to grind Cabanillas down until about an hour to go. Hellmuth flipped after Cabanillas chased him down to the river and caught a pair of fours according to live blogs, and "The Poker Brat" never recovered.

The crowd around Hellmuth was immense as he attempted to capture his tenth bracelet. Even his sometime friend, sometime nemesis Mike "The Mouth" Matasow stopped by to see if his buddy could tie the record.

Given the Hellmuth presence and the variety of personalities in the Event #9 final group, it was easily the most exciting final table players so far in the 2006 WSOP major events, drawing an even bigger audience than Joe Hachem's run in the Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em event.

Solid professional player Quoc Al "Vinny" Vinh went into the final day as the chip leader, but was quickly dismissed, finishing in ninth place.

Crowd favorites Marcel "The Flying Dutchman" Luske and Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier, both terrors on the European and International poker scene, finished a respectable fourth and fifth respectively, leaving Cabanillas, Hellmuth, and Eugene Todd to battle it out for first.

Todd, who has top-25 finishes in both WSOP and major World Poker Tour (WPT) events, was the next player out, sent to the rail when Cabanillas' pocket Tens allowed him to call Todd's all-in raise. Todd received $233,872 for third.

Another Star-Studded Final Table

One day after WSOP spectators were treated to the most exciting final table of 2006, they will once again have a group of eight to cheer about today at 2 p.m. PST.

Johnny Chan, the poker legend who is tied with Doyle Brunson for the most WSOP bracelets with 10, is once again at a WSOP final table. He will try for his eleventh bracelet at the final table of Event #10, a $1,500 7-Card Stud tournament.

Chan won his tenth bracelet in 2005 to take the all-time WSOP victory lead, only to watch Doyle Brunson tie his record later in that series to knot the lead at 10. After fans cheered on Hellmuth's attempt to tie Chan and Brunson, they will now get the opportunity to see if Chan can stand alone at the top.

Chan will have much work to do Friday afternoon if he hopes to break the record. He is currently the short stack. Of his ten bracelets, only his 1994 win came in stud.

Day one chip leader John Hoang continues to lead the event. His $170,000 in chips has him comfortably ahead of young poker superstar David Williams. Williams has $142,000 chips. This is his first final table since he came in second place to Greg "Fossilman" Raymer in the 2004 WSOP Main Event.

Also vying for the 7-Card Stud title is crowd favorite "Miami" John Cernuto. Cernuto has three WSOP gold bracelets, his last coming in 2002 when he captured an Omaha title. He has one other stud bracelet (1996) and has made dozens of WSOP final table appearances in his illustrious poker career. Cernuto was nearly finished several times before the final eight was decided, but he survived multiple all-in bids to earn his spot and now has a comfortable average stack.

Here are the chip counts heading into Friday's final table -

John Hoang - $170,000

David Williams - $142,000

Ivan Swertzer - $118,500

Jack Duncan - $106,000

"Miami" John Cernuto - $86,000

Mitchell Ledis - $42,500

Matt Hawrilenko - $32,000

Johnny Chan - $26,500

The Stars Continue to Shine as Event #12 is Down to the Final 26 Players (Omaha High-Low 8/OB)

You may have heard or a name or two still battling for the WSOP Event #11 $5,000 Omaha High-Low 8/OB. Rail birds still in attendance when WSOP officials called it quits at 4:21 a.m. PST Friday were treated to a cast of famous professional players worth watching.

When play begins again today (Friday) at 3 p.m. PST, Season Four WPT Player of the Year Gavin Smith will try and hold his chip lead against the likes of Sam Farha, Phil Ivey, Michael O'Malley, Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Andrew Black, and Mike Caro.

Combined, this field has 11 gold bracelets, one WPT title, and dozens of final table appearances in the biggest poker tournaments ever played. Whether a spectator is looking to snap a couple of celebrity pictures, or merely seeking out top-notch poker, WSOP Event #11 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino will be the place to be.

The event began at 2 p.m. PST Thursday and didn't get down to the money until nearly 14 hours later. The smallest field so far at the 2006 WSOP didn't keep the professional from playing, most likely choosing this smaller event to take a break from the top heavy Hold'em schedule.

WSOP Event # 11 Down to 40 Players ($1500 Limit Hold'em)

While most of the top professional players were beating each other up at the Omaha tables Thursday afternoon, 701 players opted for the Limit Hold'em event running just a few tables away.

The casual poker observer will have a hard time recognizing any of the names left in this event, but the play was solid, lasting for nearly 12 hours.

Joe Sebok, the son of high-stakes poker professional and poker author Barry Greenstein (Ace on the River), is the biggest name left in the field. He currently resides tied for third place with 55,000 chips, just $2,000 chips away from the day one leader Bobby Law.

The top tier of the tournament is close with Bob Chalmers and Bob Bartmann also within $2,000 chips of Law.

Play in event #11 begins again today (Friday July 8) at 2 p.m. PST.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Manitoba Plans Casino Feasibility Study

 

As reported by the Ontario Business Edge: "The Manitoba government is looking at whether there should be more Aboriginal casinos in the province. "The province's gaming control commission is going to hire a company to conduct a market study, to see whether the idea is feasible. ".Commission spokeswoman Liz Stephenson says the study will examine whether more casinos could help Aboriginal economic development, as well as the province's tourism industry."

Beijing Online Gambling Rings Busted

 

As reported by the Shanghai Daily: "Police in Beijing have tracked down four online football gambling rings and captured 24 people involved since the World Cup tournament in Germany started last month. "In the latest case, police caught a man surnamed Guo, who they say is the general agent on the Chinese mainland for an overseas gambling company. ".Police say online gambling the ring organized in June involved more than 17 million yuan (US$2.12 million)."

Oregon Tribe Applies for Off-Reservation Casino

 

As reported by the Wilsonville Spokesman: "There's been all kinds of talk about all kinds of casino proposals in the Portland area. "But never one so close to home. "The Klamath Tribes of Oregon have asked the federal government for the right to build an off-reservation casino on an unspecified 153-acre site just south of Wilsonville, in rural Aurora. "A tribal representative said the Klamaths were prompted to file due to pending federal legislation seeking to curtail off-reservation gaming. "Local leaders believe the application is an attempt to revive a 'mega casino' proposal circulated late last year by Eugene developer Wayne Johnson.

"That plan proposed to combine a 200,000 square foot casino, hotel and convention center with an expanded Langdon Farms Golf Club to create a world-class 'destination resort.'

".The Klamaths would need to sign a compact with the governor of Oregon before developing a casino in Aurora.

"Only one tribe, the Warm Springs Tribe, has been given permission to build an off-reservation casino in Oregon."

Hong Kong Racing Continues to Slide

 

As reported by the Thoroughbred Times: "The Hong Kong racing season concluded on Sunday with approximately $7.73-billion in total handle, a 4.3% decrease from the 2004-'05 season and the continuation of a ten-year slide. "Ron Arculli, chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, pointed to the handle figures in emphasizing the importance of a bill that would reform the way Hong Kong racing is taxed. ".Arculli is leaving the Hong Kong Jockey Club after four years as chairman."

Poker Pros Lurking Around WSOP Satellite Tables

 

Even if you're not planning on playing in one the featured events of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), there's still a chance to face a familiar professional if you decide to play in the satellites or cash games. Poised around the rails of those tables are televised pros, eager to grab the buy-in money needed to enter the bigger tournaments. If you're lucky (or unlucky, depending on your goal), these players might even sit down with you and play a hand or two. One willing professional is Ron Rose, the 59-year old World Poker Tour (WPT) and WSOP Champion who relishes the opportunity to play at the WSOP, but doesn't really care to throw down the hefty money needed to enter.

"The way I figure it, if I can't beat 10-players and earn the buy-in, I'm probably not good enough to win anyways, so why waste the money?" Rose said.

Rose has never paid full price for his Main Event entry and rarely pays the whole buy-in for his entries into the smaller events. The veteran player said he normally wins the money he needs in one or two tries, good enough to ensure his chances at the big money for fractions of their potential cost. He is not the only player to employ this tactic, as most entrants into the WSOP events come via satellite, but he is probably one of the method's biggest supporters.

"Tournament poker is about beating the other players," Rose said. "Satellites are a great way to see if you have what it takes."

Rose has proven he has what it takes. The businessman turned professional poker player basically used his Internet business success as a satellite into the sport. Using the healthy bankroll he earned after selling his start-up company, Rose took up poker to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a professional.

Touring the United States and Europe in the early part of this decade, Rose first found fame in 2001 at the Aviation Club in Paris, earning the title of Best Overall Player by winning three tournaments in one week.

A well-rounded player, Rose won two Omaha tournaments and one Limit Hold'em tournament that year, only to return in 2002 and take home a No Limit Hold'em title. He likes all types of poker, but tournaments are his forte.

He continued to play solid poker after Paris, winning the 2002 Omaha Hall of Fame Poker Classic in the states, but he didn't get his big television break until the WPT stated airing episodes in 2003. In the sixth WPT telecast, Rose was featured at the final table with Andy Bloch, Phil Ivey, Layne Flack and the winner, Howard Lederer.

After a couple of tough hands, Rose finished sixth at that table. However, later in the year he won the Reno Hilton World Poker Challenge, a feat that netted him nearly $200,000 and a coveted WPT title. Due to the popularity of the upstart WPT, he virtually became a household name overnight.

His most impressive victory is probably his least known. When the WPT aired the "Battle of Champions" opposite the Superbowl Pre-game Show, Rose proved he belonged with the games top pros, solidifying his standing in the tournament poker community.

If you add the WSOP gold bracelet Rose won in summer of 2003 at the no Limit Hold'em Seniors event, Rose won and cashed in more major tournaments in a one year span than most players do in a lifetime.

"Playing professionally was always a dream of mine," Rose said. "I love the competition in tournament poker and so far it's been good to me."

Although he considered retiring from poker to pursue other life goals, Rose is back on the scene in 2006, ready to take a run at the biggest prize pool in tournament poker history.

His journey will begin with the satellites. As of Friday, June 30, Rose had won a couple smaller satellites and pocketed several coveted WSOP $500 tournament entry chips. He said he's slowly building a bankroll that will allow him to put down the money needed to play for the bracelets.

He plans to play in the No Limit Hold'em Seniors event on July 12, the tournament he won three years ago. He also plans to qualify for the Main Event through the $1,000 satellites offered daily until the Main Event begins in late July.

But if you're looking to play with Rose while he's trying to earn his seat, there are a few things you should know.

Although many players in the satellites bargain at the end to ensure a piece of the winner-takes-all prize pool, Rose is reluctant to do so, especially if he has a lead. He's there to win and he believes deals often kill the spirit of the satellite tournament.

"I will make a deal if the offer is beneficial to me," Rose said. "But I never bring it up, I leave that to my opponent."

He also plays for keeps. Poker is like a business to Rose and although he's extremely personable away from the felt, when seated at the table, he's not your friend. Guard your chips carefully; Rose said he plays every satellite like it's the Main Event.

If your goal at the World Series is to come play against the professionals, but you're not looking to play in the grueling three-day events, your best bet is at the satellite tables. Chances are, you'll run into a familiar face like Ron Rose. Just don't get too attached to your chips.

WSOP Update - Day 12

 

The Winner of Event # 8 - $2000 Omaha High-Low 8/OB Zack Zwerner, founder of the biggest bingo enterprise in America and former high-level casino executive, is the latest gold bracelet winner at the 2006 World Series of Poker, (WSOP) capturing $341,426 after three grueling days of Omaha High-Low 8/OB. The victory was the 59-year old Zwerner's first at the WSOP and the first time he'd ever cashed in a WSOP event. Zwerner hadn't played in a WSOP event in nearly 15 years, but was inspired to play the event once again when his 21-year old son took a serious interest in the sport. His largest victory before Wednesday was a sixth place finish in a $1000 Omaha Hi-Low Split tournament at the 2000 L.A. Poker Classic to win $3,015. "My son started crying, he was so happy," Zwerner told WSOP officials after driving home to show his two grown sons the gold bracelet. "When I saw him crying, well I started crying too." It took 28 minutes of heads-up play featuring multiple all-ins before Werner's Ah-8d-7c-4h caught both a flush and the low to defeat second-place-finisher Rusty Mandap. Mandap received $176,813 for his efforts.

The final table featured a mix of professional and amateur players, including poker superstar Daniel Negreanu, who entered the final nine as the favorite, but exited unceremoniously in seventh place. This was Negreanu's second final table appearance in the 2006 WSOP.

Down to the Final Table in Event # 9 - $5000 No Limit Hold'em

Phil "The Poker Brat" Hellmuth is currently in third chip position behind leader Quoc Al "Vinny" Vinh and Marcel "The Flying Dutchman" Luske heading to the final table of Event # 9.

Final Table Chip Positions

Quoc Al "Vinny" Vinh - $784,000

Marcel Luske- $458,000

Phil Hellmuth Jr.- $461,000

Isabelle Mercier- $301,000

Jeff Cabanillas-$275,000

Douglas Carli- $273,000

Eugene Todd- $240,000

Thomas Schreiber- $200,000

Dan Smith- $117,000

Hellmuth is vying for his tenth gold bracelet, a total that would tie him for the all-time lead with poker legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan. Hellmuth already broke the "In the Money" record of 49 cashes earlier this Series.

This is Hellmuth's third cash of the 2006 WSOP, brining his career total to 52. Berry Johnston and Men "The Master" Nguyen are in second with 49 cashes. Neither player has cashed in 2006.

Vinh, who according to live blogs has been verbally battling with Hellmuth since they began playing at the same table, is coming off a solid 2005 WSOP where he finished 2nd in a $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament and cashed in a $1,500 Razz event.

Luske, a fan favorite who sports his sunglasses upside down in tense moments, made a name for himself in the 2004 Main Event with his table antics, appearance, and singing, as well as his 10th place finish. The Flying Dutchman is a staple in the European poker community and cashed four times in the 2005 WSOP.

Although Event # 9 has the most interesting mix of professionals at this year's WSOP, Thursday's biggest attraction may be Isabelle "No Mercy" Mercier, winner of the 2004 World Poker Tour Ladies Event and a nominee for the 2006 European Rookie of Year title. She is only the second female competitor to make a final table in this year's WSOP. This is her second finish in the money in 2006.

End of Day One at Event # 10- $1,500 7-Card Stud

The first Stud tournament of the 2006 WSOP drew only 478 participants. Despite the small field, it took WSOP officials 15 hours and 22 minutes to narrow the group down to the money. Beginning today at noon (July 6), 40 players will battle for tomorrow's coveted eight final table seats.

John Hoang (79,000 chips) has a commanding lead over young-gun David Williams (second with 55,300 chips) and the rest of the competition. Hoang has one WSOP final table appearance, placing 4th in a $2000 Stud event in 2004.

David Williams, who finished 2nd to Greg "Fossilman" Raymer in the memorable 2004 WSOP Main Event and netted $3.5 million, has cashed only twice before in WSOP events, but is a staple on the WPT circuit and considered one of the better young players in the world. His tournament winnings in 2006 exceed $600,000 to date.

Johnny Chan, the all-time leader in WSOP victories with 10 (tied with Doyle Brunson), is lurking the background in twentieth position with $12,600 chips. Only one of Chan's bracelets has come in 7-Card Stud (1994). Chan won his tenth bracelet in 2005 to take the all-time lead, only to watch Brunson tie his mark days later.

Other Notable Chip Positions

12. Jim McManus $20.3 k

15. Humberto Brenes $16.8 k

37. David Sklansky $2.2 k

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lawrenceburg Agrees to Gambling Proceeds Deal

 

As reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal: "One little-noticed detail of the deal to bring a Honda assembly plant to Greensburg could have significant implications for Harrison County and other places that get money from riverboat casinos. "The city of Lawrenceburg, home of the Argosy Casino, has agreed to provide $10 million of its gambling proceeds toward the $100 million in infrastructure improvements that will be made to benefit the plant and future economic growth in the region. "This was Gov. Mitch Daniels' idea and it's a move he hopes will quiet criticism that casino communities -- and Lawrenceburg in particular -- are reaping too much benefit from their gambling boats. ".Last year, some Republicans in the House and Senate drew up plans to redistribute some of the money that local communities receive from the casino. ".But Lawrenceburg, which has the biggest revenue casino and by far the most lucrative of these development agreements, has not in the past shared its money. That caused big problems at the General Assembly, where lawmakers from districts with no casino and no source of ready cash were prepared to nab some for either the state budget or their own communities."

One Caesars Supervisor Cleared, Second Guilty of Spying on Women

 

As reported by the Press of Atlantic City: "A former surveillance supervisor at Caesars Atlantic City has been cleared of charges he spied on attractive women in the casino through the building's surveillance system, but a second supervisor faces a suspension of his gaming license for 20 days under a decision released Friday by the Casino Control Commission. "The ruling found no evidence that former supervisor Robert Swan violated any state gaming regulations while he worked the graveyard shift at the casino in early October 2004 and clears him of punitive action by the commission. "However, the ruling also found that former supervisor James Doherty, also in early October 2004, did violate regulations as he used the casino's video surveillance equipment to track and focus on female casino workers. The decision recommended his gaming license be suspended for 20 days, pending approval of the full commission.

"...The state Division of Gaming Enforcement brought charges against Caesars, charging that four surveillance workers at the casino had used the casino's surveillance system to spy on and stalk attractive females on the casino floor in early October 2004, often zooming in on the women's anatomy. The DGE charged that by doing so, the employees had compromised the required security at the casino by diverting resources from actual security requirements..."

Future of Grantville Track Clearer

 

As reported by the Patriot News: "The uncertain future of the slot-machine casino that Penn National Gaming Inc. will build at its Grantville racetrack became a little less uncertain this week. "A deadlock over slot-machine suppliers was finally broken by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The board decided to license slot machines statewide, instead of regionally as one board member had insisted in a stalemate that threatened to result in a yearlong delay in issuing casino licenses. "The board's decision on Wednesday lifted Penn National stock by $3 a share at one point. But there is a long way to go before slot-machine play can begin in Grantville."

Scottish Smoking Ban Sees Bingo Takings Fall

 

As reported by Ireland Online: "One of the UK's biggest bingo chains today said revenues had fallen 14% in Scotland following the introduction of a smoking ban. "Mecca Bingo, which is owned by Rank Group, experienced a 6% drop in admissions, while spend per head was 9% lower in the 13 weeks since smoking was banned in public places north of the border. "...In the early weeks of the ban in April, Mecca said it was likely players were taking smoking breaks between games rather than spending on other attractions, such as slot machines. "A ban on smoking in public places in England and Wales is due in the summer of 2007. Established in 1961, Mecca was acquired by Rank in the early 1990s and now has around five million members and 117 sites..."

Party Gaming Eyes Rival

 

As reported by the UK Times Online: "The world's largest internet poker company, Party Gaming, is in talks to acquire Gamebookers, the online sports-betting company, for about £50m. "A deal would be the first acquisition for Party Gaming since it floated a year ago. An announcement could be made in the next two or three weeks. "Gamebookers, founded in 1998, is currently owned by Trident Gaming, an Isle of Man-based firm which also controls Betbug, a person-to- person betting site. It bought Gamebookers in July 2005. ".Gamebookers is licensed in Antigua, but also has a UK bookmakers' permit. Party Gaming is regulated by Gibraltar."

Gala Expected to Top Biggest Firm List

 

As reported by the Scotsman: "Britain's love affair with shopping and gambling is reflected in the latest league table of the country's biggest private companies. "Gala, the betting and bingo firm, is expected to take top spot ahead of the department store group John Lewis Partnership, whose three-year reign as the biggest firm ended last year when it was toppled by Coral Eurobet. "Gala's £2.18bn acquisition of Coral last October created a group with combined sales well north of £6bn. "The sales figure is comfortably higher than that of John Lewis, which reported turnover of £5.1bn ex-VAT. The Coral deal also turned Gala into Britain's biggest private equity owned business. ".Now in its fifth year, and published today, the table ranks Britain's 100 biggest private companies by latest sales and this year gambling firms and retailers feature among the biggest in the country. BetFred is among the bookies in the list and Bet365 makes its first appearance."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Zendex Launches Casino Video Gaming Board

 

Zendex Corporation announces a special purpose single board computer aimed specifically at the gaming market. The ZXE-855 is a full-function dedicated gaming platform that can deliver the rich visual gaming experience that people now expect in casinos. At the same time, it allows the system manufacturer to configure the board in order to optimize speed, power consumption or cost. To allow a choice between performance and cost, many systems are designed with one or two processor choices. Zendex found a way to provide numerous speed, power consumption and cost options. For example, the ZXE-855 with low power Intel [INTL] Celeron 4 processor and Intel 855 chipset can be run at 600MHz for lower power consumption, lower temperature rise and higher reliability. Typical power consumption at 600MHz is 35W. Alternatively, the Intel P4 processor and 855 chipset will run at 2GHz for greater performance. Still other options are available to minimize system cost. The highly-adaptable VGA video ports will drive two 1600 x 1200 resolution displays. Behind the video outputs are dual VGA outputs with up to 64MB of shared memory.

For graphically intensive and memory-hungry applications, the board can accommodate up to 1GB of DDR DRAM that is considered sufficient for 99% of all applications

The regulatory agencies often demand that casino video games include redundant mass storage, and the ZXE-855 supports a wide array of mass storage devices. It features 2 UDMA 100 ATA channels supporting up to 4 ATA devices (i.e. 4 hard drives) or 4

Compact Flash memory type I headers on the ATA Bus. The ATA bus can also support an ATAPI CD ROM drive, Disk on Module (DoM) or Multi Media Card (MMC). There are also sockets for EPROM or other non-volatile memory devices.

Cooling fans are a problem in gaming applications. They are more failure-prone than non-mechanical devices and produce audible noise. Zendex designed the ZXE-855 for convection cooling (no fan) in all speed-power-cost configurations.

The ZXE-855 mates to a passive backplane, the ZXE-855BP. The backplane allows quick insertion and removal of the main gaming board and provides I/O connectors that allows the system to interface with bill acceptors, card readers, voucher printers, and monitors. The backplane is configured with numerous I/O ports including six USB 2.0 ports, one 10/100 Ethernet port, five RS-232 serial ports, two RS422 serial ports and one TTL serial port. In addition, the ZXE-855 main board includes 40 general purpose inputs and outputs.

The user has many operating system choices, including Microsoft [MSFT] Windows® XP, 2000, XP Embedded and Linux. Zendex can modify the proprietary BIOS software to suit the user's needs or to include additional security features.

Most computer systems provide only signal-level audio outputs which must be amplified before it can be applied to a speaker. The ZXE-855 provides an AC97® amplified stereo audio output which can be directly connected to speakers, saving the cost and complexity of external amplification.

An unusual feature not normally found on products like this is an on-board thermal monitor. While the board itself is designed to run 24/7 without fan cooling, the system configuration might include other heat-generating devices that could necessitate a fan. The on-board thermal sensor provides a digital temperature output which can be accessed over the Intranet via the 10/100MB/sec Ethernet connector. A large array of games with this feature can be monitored from a single location.

The Ethernet interface allows similar games to be interconnected, so that one person can play against another, or against an entire room full of people. Also, the Ethernet interface enables remote system monitoring and management. In the event of a problem with any game, a warning can appear at a monitoring location.

The ZXE-855 is designed to operate from a single +12V or +15V supply. Power consumption is nominally 35W, and varies by configuration. The ZXE-855 measures 12" x 9-1/4" x 2". The low profile is especially useful in desktop games, where cabinet size is limited.

Commenting on the new board, Howard Czapla, Zendex CEO, said "We designed this board based on 10 years of experience building similar boards for the gaming industry. It includes the features that most gaming system manufacturers are looking for. We anticipate that companies using the ZXE-855 board will have a significant advantage over our competitors."

Zendex is a full-service provider of PC/104+ and other single board computers, embedded processor boards, multi-function boards, CIMbus, Multibus and iSBX modules, industrial enclosures and custom systems. Zendex recently celebrated 25 years in the embedded systems industry.

Meal Program Rules Reconsidered

 

As reported by the Detroit Free Press: "Free casino meal coupons will flow to back to Greektown restaurants, some of which have been cut off for months, as gaming regulators eased their rules Thursday. "The Michigan Gaming control Board voted 4-1 in a special meeting to rewrite its rules concerning Greektown Casino's $8.7 million complimentary meal program. ".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."

Coventry Bid Snubbed

 

As reported by icCoventry: "Coventry's campaign to get back in the running for Britain's first supercasino has suffered a major blow. "Politicians from the city have been lobbying to get it back on the shortlist vying to host the only pilot super-casino in the UK. "But last night regional development agency Advantage West Midlands snubbed Coventry and backed a rival bid for a glitzy supercasino at the National Exhibition Centre. ".Coventry cabinet member for regeneration Dave Arrowsmith said today: 'We are very disappointed and surprised that, at this very late stage, Advantage West Midlands has decided to support a proposal for the NEC site, which may or may not happen.'."

Barstow Bid Rejected

 

As reported by the Desert Dispatch: "An Assembly committee Wednesday rejected a bid by two Indian tribes with reservations far from Barstow to open casinos in that economically depressed town after representatives from several Inland gaming tribes testified against the proposal. "The vote by the Assembly Governmental Organizational Committee marked the latest instance of lawmakers rejecting gaming compacts negotiated by the Schwarzenegger administration. "Legislative approval is required for the deals to be enacted. "The vote almost certainly dooms chances for side-by-side Barstow casinos run by the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians of San Diego County and the Big Lagoon Rancheria of Humboldt County. A final vote breakdown was not available Wednesday night.

"The bid for the two casinos, which was crafted by Gov. Schwarzenegger's negotiators last year, drew opposition from Inland tribes and others who said it would violate federal law and break promises California tribes made to voters when they approved Indian gambling here more than six years ago. The two out-of-town tribes said the deal was their best avenue to economic development.

".Lawmakers left open the possibility of changing the pacts to allow the tribes to put a casino in another part of the state.

".Schwarzenegger spokesman Darrel Ng said the governor was disappointed by the panel's action."

Venetian Chefs Honored by Exclusive Culinary Society

 

In recognition of their outstanding contributions and accomplishments in the hospitality industry, especially at The Venetian's exclusive Paiza Club, Chef Simon To and Ken Wong were inducted into Les Amis d'Escoffier Society of China. Known for their professionalism and excellent reputation within the Asian and American Hospitality field, the Society selected Chef To as Honorary Chairman for his achievement in the culinary arts and Ken Wong as Honorary Chairman for his outstanding service in hospitality. In a ceremony held at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong on June 21, 2006, Mr. Pascal Escoffier, chairman of the Escoffier Foundation; Sir Henry Schielein, Founder and Chairman; Johnny Yuen, Chairman Asia Pacific and Dr. Christian Rassinoux, Chairman USA, Chef To and Ken Wong were presented with The Society's Commandeur Membership Medal.

"The Paiza Club was established as an exclusive retreat for our most discerning customers, regardless of which Las Vegas Sands property they visit. Chef To and Ken Wong have contributed to this ideal with superior service and cuisine," stated William P. Weidner, president and COO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., parent company of The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. "Congratulations to both, they have set exemplary standards and deserve the accolades bestowed by their peers. We look forward to many more great years together."

The Paiza Club is an exclusive Las Vegas Sands Corp. brand currently operating at The Venetian in Las Vegas and the Sands Macao. The Paiza Club will be featured at Las Vegas Sands newest resorts -- The Palazzo, The Venetian Macao and The Marina Bay Sands(TM) upon their opening. Membership to Paiza is select, and by invitation only, offering the world's elite the ultimate in luxury and indulgence.

Chef Simon To, a Paiza Club chef since its inception in 2004, has 35 years of experience cooking Asian cuisine. Originally from Hong Kong, he specializes in Canton and Szechwan styles and is considered a Dim Sum master. Chef To has served his signature dishes all over the world including France, Hong Kong and Canada and was recently awarded the coveted Bleu Ribbon award from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

Ken Wong has been the Director of the Paiza Club in Las Vegas since its premiere in 2004. Born and raised in Hong Kong and educated in Toronto, Canada, Mr. Wong has extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry, and was integral in the successful opening of two hotel casinos in Canada and the United States. With his 15 years in the hospitality business he has perfected the art of blending both American and Asian standards of excellence and continually strives to find new ways to enhance the guest experience at the Paiza Club.

Borgata Opens $200 Million Expansion Project

 

Boyd Gaming Corporation and MGM Mirage (NYSE: MGM) today announced the opening of its public space expansion at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, located at Renaissance Pointe in Atlantic City. The newly opened expansion is anchored by three new signature restaurants led by Bobby Flay, Michael Mina and Wolfgang Puck and adds additional casino games, an 85-table poker room, and a second nightclub experience called mur.mur. Borgata's next expansion is already underway and will include a second hotel adjoining the property. The Water Club at Borgata is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter 2007. The second hotel will feature approximately 800 guest rooms and suites with its own porte cochere and entrance, along with four swimming pools and a spa in the sky.

William S. Boyd, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming, commented on the opening, "We began working on this expansion only five months after we opened Borgata in 2003. We believe this will add considerably to Atlantic City's revitalization as an overnight destination with an abundance of entertainment options."

Terry Lanni, MGM Mirage Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, noted, "We're very excited about how the public has embraced Borgata. These new amenities will further enrich the Borgata experience and herald a new era for Atlantic City as a center for dining, entertainment and leisure on the East Coast."

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sportsbook.com Posts Pirate's Odds

 

On July 7, Johnny Depp will reprise his Academy Award(R) nominated role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The highly anticipated follow-up to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is expected to draw large crowds across the U.S. during its opening weekend. Sportsbook.com, the world's largest online sportsbook and casino, has posted odds on the film's opening weekend U.S. gross suggesting the sequel will surpass the success of the first Pirates. The first Pirates movie grossed more than $305 million in the U.S. and today, industry experts are predicting even higher box office returns for the sequel. Casting Johnny Depp in the lead role certainly helps. Since the start of his film career in the early 1980s, Depp's movies have grossed over $2.5 billion worldwide. The return of heartthrobs Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley alongside Depp adds to the star power of Pirates 2. The film's director is Gore Verbinski, whose directing credits include the first Pirates of the Caribbean and The Ring.

According to the latest betting trends from Sportsbook.com, bettors are expecting Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest to eclipse Superman Returns, the season's first major release, at the box office. More than 97% of bets have been wagered on Pirates 2 to gross more than $90 million during its opening weekend, compared to just over 23% of bets wagered on Superman Returns, opening today, to earn more than $89.5 million during its opening weekend.

Sportsbook.com continues to offer bettors the exciting new option of wagering on the opening weekend gross of major film releases throughout the year along with exclusive industry background information to help bettors make their choice. "Box office battles are a blast to watch." said Alex Czajkowski, Marketing Director, Sportsbook.com. "Everybody bets and movie buffs love to wager on the fortunes of Hollywood's self-proclaimed blockbusters. It will be fun to see whether Pirates 2 can beat the Man of Steel."

Magna Denies Merger

 

Magna Entertainment Corp. today reported that it has become aware that CGTV Media Group, Inc./Casino Gaming Television, Inc. ("CGTV") may be making representations to certain prospective investors to the effect that CGTV and MEC's subsidiary HorseRacing TV, Inc. ("HRTV") have reached an agreement regarding the terms of a merger of CGTV and HRTV. Despite CGTV's claims, there is no formal binding agreement in respect of any proposed merger between CGTV and HRTV, and no such merger is currently under consideration by MEC or HRTV.

Hollywood Sportsbook Offers MLB Odds

 

Hollywood Sportsbook features odds on the MLB game between the Boston Red Sox and the Florida Marlins on June 30th 2006. It seems as if all the Marlins have hit well during the teams' current hot streak, and catcher Miguel Olivo is no exception. Olivo had his biggest game of the season Tuesday, hitting two homers and driving in five runs in Florida's 8-5 win. With the win, Florida sailed to its eighth consecutive victory at home. While the Marlins are getting more and more comfortable playing at Dolphin Stadium, there seems to be no stopping the Red Sox these days. Tuesdays' case study was the NL East-leading Mets, who where cut down by 15 Boston hits in a 9-4 Sox win. Now, these two great teams loaded with superstars will battle in front of a sold-out crowd at Dolphin Stadium on Friday night at 7:35 p.m. (ET) and Hollywood Sportsbook proudly features odds on the event.

Hollywood's Media Relations executive, Alejandro Gomez, was quoted saying - "The Sox plated seven of their nine runs with two outs, providing the impetus for Boston's 9-4 victory over the visiting Mets. With the win, Boston is now a perfect 7-0 on homestand and all 10 of its wins in the team's longest streak since 2004 have come in interleague play."

"On the other hand, the talented young Marlins, who are 14-4 in their last 18 home games, have been improving so much lately. They certainly have made major improvements since being 20 games under .500. I think there is a chance that they could be a .500 team and they can reach the playoffs this season. They just need to make a push," added Mr. Gomez.

Hollywood Sportsbook is eager to provide you with a convenient and secure environment through which you can enjoy your recreational sports betting; they are currently offering sports betting lines for the game mentioned above. It's really easy to contact them via phone or internet from anywhere in the world. You can get started by opening your account within 5 minutes of verification of your funds. Three easy steps: Register, Deposit and Play. It's that simple!

PaddyPowerPoker.com, Neteller Team Up

 

paddypowerpoker.com has teamed up with Neteller, one of the world's leading online funds transfer services, to offer its poker players a secure and convenient e-wallet service. The Neteller account allows customers to load, withdraw and transfer funds instantly to and from paddypowerpoker.com, as well as to and from other Neteller customers. The account takes just a few minutes to set-up and uses the latest military-grade encryption to transmit sensitive information, and stores it in a secured data center. Highly redundant systems and regular backups make certain players' transaction histories remain safe. With over 2.5 million customers around the world and more than $7.3 billion in transactions processed in 2005 the company is one of the world's most respected online funds transfer services. It is publicly quoted on the London Stock Exchange. paddypowerpoker.com regrets that it does not currently accept players from the US.

Neteller account holders may have to confirm they are not US residents before any payments are processed. This procedure may take up to 36 hours. However, Neteller account holders can contact poker{at}paddypowerpoker.com to speed up the process.

Day At the Track Signs 100th Partner

 

With the signing of its 100th Race Track Partner in less than 18 months, Day At The Track is the fastest growing Account Deposit Wagering company in the pari-mutuel wagering industry. Shawn Egide, President and Co-Founder said, "We are very pleased with the continual growth of our Network of Race Tracks. Combined with a 300% increase in Live Streaming content, we offer a wagering experience that is winning players over around the globe." Mike Goerner, CTO and Co-Founder added, "With the upcoming release of our 2.0 Interface, and it's feature rich services, we continue to provide our players with the best technology in the industry." Day At The Track also completed a record month in May for handle; 50% above its previous best.

Scientific Games Wins Contract

 

Scientific Games has been awarded a contract to replace the legacy sports betting system of Norway's state-owned Norsk Tipping. The contract, tendered through a competitive public procurement process, is valued at approximately $8.4 million over five years. The new sports betting engine will work in parallel with Norsk Tipping's legacy MasterLink System, conform to WLA (World Lottery Association) standards, and add the ability to handle bets from agent terminals. Norsk Tipping sought a system that would be compatible with its current sports games operations and scalable enough to meet the demands of its Statement of Direction and Development Road Map for new games and features. Scientific Games will manage the transition, including installation, testing and final delivery of the solution from its offices in Stockholm and Vienna.

"We see sports betting as a source of growth for lotteries worldwide and have developed the tools to enable them to bring these kinds of games online efficiently, without the need to replace legacy systems, and to add new games and services on demand" said Lorne Weil, Chairman and CEO of Scientific Games. "We look forward to working with Norsk Tipping and to assist them in setting a sports betting standard for the world."

"To better serve our customers, we want a more flexible sports betting system, offering both speedier turnaround and the power to offer new game formats," said Reidar Nordby Jr., President and CEO of Norsk Tipping. "Scientific Games was able to give us that with their new Sports Betting System, connecting to our new state-of-the-art integration platform."

Norsk Tipping is Norway's leading gaming company, wholly-owned by the Norwegian state, with revenues of $1.4 billion in 2005. The company's main objectives are to provide the Norwegian people with responsible games and entertainment and at the same time ensure a secure and long-term profit for the beneficiary organizations, divided equally between the sports and culture sectors. The company operates the games of chance, Lotto, Viking Lotto and Joker; the games of skill Tipping and Oddsen; and the scratch game Flax. In addition, the company operates the TV game, Extra, on behalf of the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

PinnacleSports.com Releases Hot Dog Eating Contest Odds

 

The ultimate contest pitting man against frankfurter, Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has been a staple on America's birthday since 1916. With the "Super Bowl of competitive eating" only days away, PinnacleSports.com today released odds on the world's most famous eating contest and lists reigning five-time champion, Takeru Kobayashi as an overwhelming favorite to successfully defend his title. The largest sportsbook on the Internet, PinnacleSports.com has expanded its sports betting menu into the competitive eating arena by posting several betting options on the most intense 12 minutes of eating to be witnessed this year. The greatest eater in history and world record holder at the Nathan's event, Takeru Kobayashi has been installed as an overwhelming favorite at 1/3 odds (i.e., win $1 for every $3 bet) to capture the Mustard Yellow Championship Belt for the sixth straight year. PinnacleSports.com believes Joey Chestnut, who devoured 50 hot dogs in qualifying, will present the biggest challenge to Kobayashi, listing him with the second-best odds to win the contest at 3/1. Sonya Thomas may appear slight in stature, but proved her bite is bigger than her bark with a second place finish in 2005 by devouring 37 dogs, and at 21/1 has the third best odds to win this year's event.

"When people discuss individual dominance in sports they usually mention Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles or Tiger Woods' 10 major championships, but Kobayashi's consecutive win streak at Coney Island is equally impressive," said Simon Noble of PinnacleSports.com. "Although Joey Chestnut is having an amazing year on the competitive eating circuit and set a new American record with 50 hot dogs, it's unlikely he'll be able to unseat the great Kobayashi. Champions respond under pressure, and like Jordan and Elway before him, Kobayashi is the most clutch performer in eating history."

In addition to calculating odds on who'll win the contest, PinnacleSports.com has created several other betting options on the world's most prestigious eating competition. Although the oddsmakers favor the winner consuming at least 50 hot dogs and buns at 5/8 odds, they believe Kobayashi's world record of 53 1/2 frankfurters will be safe for at least another year, listing a new standard being set as a 9/4 underdog. Bettors may also wager on unique over/under lines on the number of hot dogs the three favorites will eat in this year's contest. The over/under line for Kobayashi's total has been set at 50 hot dogs and buns, while Chestnut's total is 45 and Thomas' has been set at 37.

PinnacleSports.com has also created unique match-ups between eaters participating in this year's event.

Retiree Wins Record Slot Jackpot

 

A 65-year-old retiree visiting the Isle of Capri Casino in Biloxi hit a $12.4 million statewide MegaJackpot(R) while playing a popular Wheel of Fortune(R) $1 slot machine Thursday evening, and in doing so, the winner -- who wishes to remain anonymous -- set a world record for this particular slot system. "This is the first time I have ever played a Wheel of Fortune(R) slot machine," said the stunned winner after IGT technicians and Mississippi State Gaming officials verified the jackpot. "I visit the Isle of Capri several times every year, but usually blackjack is my game." From the Isle of Capri Casino's perspective, the world record MegaJackpot(R) gives a huge boost to the Gulf Coast and its gaming destinations, which are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina 10 months ago. "It is wonderful to see that gaming has returned to the Mississippi Gulf Coast with two substantial payouts at the Isle in the past six months -- one for $8 million and now another for $12.4 million. The largest Wheel of Fortune winner in the world right now is an Isle of Capri player," Les McMackin, Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc., senior vice president of marketing, said. "The remarkable payouts along the Mississippi Gulf Coast by out-of-town visitors are a clear sign that tourism is returning."

The Georgia man was in town with family making their usual visit to the Isle of Capri to visit the Gulf Coast to stay and play at their favorite casino. After experiencing bad luck at the blackjack tables, the winner decided to take a break and try something new. The winner witnessed another patron hit a $400 bonus round jackpot on another Wheel of Fortune(R) machine and decided to spend some time on one as well.

After placing $100 into the Wheel of Fortune(R) machine and playing about $40, the Isle of Capri patron became Mississippi's latest MegaJackpot(R) winner.

"I thought I had won $12,000," the winner said, "not $12 million! Wow, it's really hard to believe!"

The winner said he plans to spend some of the prize money on his children and grandchildren, but he doesn't think it will change his life too much. "Retirement has been pretty good to me already," he said.

The win was the largest jackpot in the world on the Wheel of Fortune(R) dollar progressive and is the third largest jackpot in the state of Mississippi. This is the ninth MegaJackpots(R) grand prize awarded in Mississippi this year, bringing the state's total to more than $29 million.

The "Wheel of Fortune(R)" jackpot is paid when a player plays the maximum bet ($3 on the $1 game) and lines up all three winning symbols on the appropriate pay line. After the jackpot is verified, the Wheel of Fortune(R) meter on the $1 machine is reset at $800,000. Wheel of Fortune(R) is one of 18 Mississippi MegaJackpots(R) systems operated by IGT.

Gaming Transactions Retains Prestige Asia

 

Gaming Transactions, Inc. a developer and provider of online games and services for the online entertainment and gaming industries announces it has retained Prestige Procurement and Networking Services (Prestige Asia) to manage the Global Investor Relations program. The Company's central licensed games portal, keno.com , is a destination online gambling property where players may participate in a number of gambling and online gaming fixtures. keno.com is licensed to Keno.com Ltd. (UK); a wholly owned subsidiary of Gaming Transactions Inc. Sutida Suwunnavid of Prestige Asia said, "Gaming Transactions Inc has great growth potential in Asia, both in the area of online and mobile gaming" Gaming Transactions Inc. has always viewed Asia as a prime market, being able to take that step should significantly impact revenue and profits in the coming year. The online gaming market in China is expected to grow by 28 percent this year with revenues reaching US$970 million according to new figures from iResearch. This would put China just ahead of Korea's US$960 million in online game revenues.

It's also interesting to note the rapid expansion of Internet use in China. Another report from eMarketer, China Online, delves into the incredible potential for the online market in the country. There were more than 111 million Internet users in China in 2005 and that number is expected to exceed 180 million by 2010.

Mohegan Sun Patron Wins Jackpot with $1.25

 

Leo Kraimer of Delray Beach, Florida, bet 125 pennies and won a jackpot of $417,319.00 on the Loco Loot Slot Machines at Mohegan Sun on Thursday, June 15th. Manufactured by Aristocrat, the Loco Loot Slot Machines were introduced in the Northeast at Mohegan Sun. 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 240acres along the Thames River in 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, and an intimate Cabaret Theat re; and a 34-story luxury hotel, featuring 1,200 guestrooms and suites, premier meeting and convention space and a world-class spa.

Mohegan Sun Names New VP

 

Mohegan Sun announced today that Lisa Stevens has been appointed Vice President of Casino Marketing. In this position, she will be responsible for the implementation and operation of Mohegan Sun's Player Development and Executive Host departments and their marketing programs. Stevens brings over 20 years of experience in casino player development. She joins Mohegan Sun from Argosy Gami ng Company in Alton, Illinois where she was Corporate Director of Player Development. While at Argosy Gaming Company, Stevens was responsible for establishing Player Development Department standards for six Regional Casinos and created proprietary software and reports that focused on patron's actions, stated preference and profitability. Prior experience includes positions at Grand Casino Tunica and Tropicana Casino & Resort. While at the Tropicana Casino & Resort she started the Slot Player Development department and increased revenues and profits. Stevens graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland with a degree in Behavioral and Social Science.

She currently resides in Westerly with her husband Adam Morton.

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 in 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, and 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.

California Casino Proposal Rejected

 

A California legislative committee late Wednesday dealt a blow to the prospects of side-by-side tribal casinos opening in Barstow, but proponents of the venture some 120 miles from the Nevada border aren't ready to fold. The Assembly Governmental Organizational Committee, after a daylong hearing in Sacramento, rejected a bid by two Indian tribes to operate twin casinos near Barstow's outlet malls off Interstate 15. The tribes, one from San Diego County and one from Humboldt County, have signed compacts with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, but deals need to be ratified by both California state houses. "We're disappointed, but the fight is far from over. We look at this as a temporary setback," said Jason Barnett, a spokesman for the Big Lagoon Rancheria tribe. "We're reviewing our legal options, but we have every intention of taking this back and seeking some sort of compromise. We believe this is the best deal for the state, for the city of Barstow and for the tribes."

Under a plan unveiled last year, the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians from San Diego and the Big Lagoon tribe of Humboldt would build twin casinos on 47 acres in Barstow.

Compacts were signed in September that would allow the state to collect one-quarter of the profits earned by the casinos. The tribes would be allowed to have up to 2,250 slot machines each with table games.

Barstow officials said the twin casinos are expected to provide 3,700 jobs and add at least $175 million annually to the local economy.

"This is not a death knell for the project and we'll continue to move forward," said John Rader, public information officer for the city of Barstow. "The city leaders who attended the hearing were not surprised given the difficulty in the process. If off-reservation casinos were easy to get approved, they would be everywhere."

The estimated $160 million joint venture is controversial because it would give two Indian tribes without any ties to the Barstow area land for a casino. The move, which has been dubbed "reservation shopping" by critics, has happened throughout the United States because it allows Indian tribes without land the same opportunities for economic development as tribes with large reservations.

A third tribe, which also wants to put a casino in Barstow, opposed the issue in front of the legislative panel. The Chemehuevi Band, based in Lake Havasu near the California-Arizona border, has historical ties to land in Barstow.

In a statement, the Chemehuevi tribe said it was supportive of the legislative committee's actions.

Several Indian tribes with large casinos in Southern California testified against the twin-casino proposal. Richard Milanovich, chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, which has two casinos in the Coachella Valley, said the deal could set a bad precedent because neither tribe has an ancestral claim to the land.

He also objected to the language in the compacts.

Barstow leaders testified the two-casino proposal would be an economic lifeline and representatives from the Big Lagoon and Los Coyotes tribes said the Barstow deal would help lift them out of poverty.

"About 30 percent of Barstow residents receive some sort of government assistance," Rader said. "We believe we'll eventually be able to overcome the opposition from the wealthy gaming tribes."

The Big Lagoon tribe's Northern California reservation is considered environmentally sensitive by the state. Los Coyotes struck an agreement for the casino site in Barstow because the tribe's land in far northeastern San Diego County cannot be developed.

Schwarzenegger's gaming negotiators proposed the unusual partnership to Barstow and Los Coyotes as a way to end a long-running lawsuit between the state and Big Lagoon.

"The governor feels that he negotiated compacts that were a benefit to the tribes, the state and local communities," Schwarzenegger spokesman Darrel Ng told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. "Should the tribes request it, he will comply with federal regulations and negotiate with them in good faith and he always has."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Gulfport Has a New View

 

Gulfport will witness the return of gaming with a sensational new view - the Island View Casino Resort. Gulfside Casino Partnership acquired the Grand Casino Gulfport property from Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. in March, 2006. Extensive construction for Phase I is currently underway and the doors are set to open September, 2006 to unveil a grander, significantly more spacious and state-of-the-art resort. Phase II plans have been approved and will include even more resort amenities, including an expanded casino floor and celebrated fine dining; all of which are to be revealed in March, 2007. Rick Carter, one of the co-owners, said the name was inspired by the view. "I was standing in one of the hotel rooms, looking out over the Gulf and saw Cat Island. I thought it was the most beautiful view of the Gulf," said Carter. Cat Island, a national park visible from the property site, is a haven for wildlife and has been added to Gulf Island National Seashore National Park.

Rick Carter and Terry Green will come back bigger and better to fulfill their commitment to Gulfport and the Gulf Coast Community.

The Island View Casino Resort will offer first-class amenities including over 500 newly designed hotel rooms and an impressive, 83,000 square foot gaming floor. With a diverse range of restaurant choices, including an 8,200 sq ft, 350 seat buffet with live action food stations, coupled with the coast's most innovative new dessert bar, Island View will have something to suit almost anyone's tastes.

Upon completion of Phase I, Island View Casino Resort will employ approximately 800 staff members and will provide an additional 500 positions at the grand opening. "The support we have received in Gulfport enabled us to operate a successful casino in the past, and because of it, we will continue to give our support back to this community," says Rick Carter. Island View Casino Resort is a property deeply rooted in the community and its landscape and will provide much needed employment for area residents, along with a commitment to local businesses for goods and services.

Gulfside Casino Partnership is the company of long-time friends and natives of Gulfport, Mississippi, Rick Carter and Terry Green. The partnership began in 1993 with the opening of one of the first casinos in southern Mississippi, Copa Casino. The Copa Casino, a local casino based in Gulfport, was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Two Casino Workers Killed in Blast, Fire

 

As reported by the Spokesman Review: "Two Coeur d'Alene Casino maintenance workers died Thursday morning in an explosion and fire in a large shipping container that may have been used to store fireworks. "Donald S. Hanson, 56, of Fairfield, Wash., and Richard E. Stokes, 49, of Rockford, Wash., are missing and presumed dead, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. "Sheriff's Capt. Ben Wolfinger said the men appear to be victims of 'a tragic accident,' but the cause of the explosion and subsequent fire was not determined. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting in the investigation. "Wolfinger said an autopsy will be performed next week, and dental records will be used to positively identify both victims.

".Authorities received a 911 call about 8:43 a.m. reporting a fire and explosion in the metal container about 300 yards from the northwest corner of the casino hotel. Fire crews arrived to find the fire had spread to a nearby pickup truck, which was used by the two workers and owned by the casino, Wolfinger said.

".The casino, owned by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, employs about 800. It was not evacuated, and casino operations continued as normal."

Schwarzenegger Threatens Casino Closure

 

As reported by the San Diego Union Tribune: "Just weeks after extending an olive branch to the state's most powerful Indian tribes, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to try to shut down six of their casinos - including two of the largest in San Diego County - in a dispute over how their slot machine numbers are tallied. "In a letter this month from his top lawyer, Schwarzenegger rejected a proposed compromise from Sycuan, Barona and four other tribes, warning he would seek a court order to revoke their gambling compacts unless they remove the machines in question or tally them as the state insists. "The move has tribal officials questioning why Schwarzenegger would launch what could be a major battle over a device that, as of now, accounts for only a small sliver of California's $7 billion Indian gaming industry.

".Schwarzenegger spokesman Darrel Ng said that after a year of negotiations, the governor is convinced that some tribes are using slot machines with multiple seats to exceed the slot limits of state gambling agreements, or compacts.

".In response to Schwarzenegger's edict on multistation machines, Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro and the alliance group chairwoman, Lynn Valbuena of San Manuel, both issued brief prepared statements, saying they remain hopeful of resolving the dispute. A Morongo spokeswoman said Chairman Maurice Lyons considers the governor's stance 'disproportionately hostile.'."

Rhode Island Casino Ballot Debate Begins

 

As reported by the Providence Journal: "The battle over the November casino referendum has begun. "Since late May, the debate has been dominated by the Las Vegas-based Harrah's Entertainment and Harrah's-affiliated advocacy groups with names such as 'CompeteRI' and most recently, 'Rhode Islanders for Jobs and Tax Relief Inc.' "Yesterday, an anti-casino coalition group that counts among its members former state economic development director Michael McMahon, former Attorney General James O'Neil and former Providence College basketball coach and Big East athletic conference founder Dave Gavitt, officially announced its arrival on the battlefield.

"Headed by the blunt-spoken Richard Oster, retired chairman of Cookson America, the new group known as 'Save Our State' (S.O.S.) is hoping to raise at least $3 million for a campaign "that will focus on educating voters as to why the proposal is such a bad deal for Rhode Island."

".But Angelique Pirozzi, campaign manager for the Harrah's-financed 'Rhode Islanders for Jobs and Tax Relief' sought to dismiss the new anti-casino group as a front for the two big Connecticut casinos: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

".There was no immediate response from Foxwoods, but Chuck Bunell, chief of staff to the Mohegan tribe, said: 'That is unequivocally false. We have not been approached by anyone asking us to get involved.'."

Man Complains Over Missing Ticket

 

As reported by the Herald Sun: "A man who claims he was unfairly deprived of a $1.2 million Tattslotto win has taken his campaign against Tattersall's to VCAT. "Jemal Abdelrehim partly blames the gambling operator for his loss, alleging it denied him information and stymied investigations into his belief that his winning ticket was stolen. "Mr Abdelrehim agreed yesterday to supply documentation to Tattersall's in a brief directions hearing in which the company said it wanted the case summarily dismissed. "Outside the tribunal, Mr Abdelrehim said he bought two System 10 tickets at a shop in East Melbourne near his flat. "It was for the $16 million Tattslotto draw No. 2165 on April 20, 2002 with a Division One prize of $1,230,769.24. "He had not checked the tickets but when he returned to the shop the Monday week after, the shop assistant who sold him the ticket said he had expected him because they had been notified someone bought a Division One winning ticket.

".He said when he searched for his ticket he could not find it in his clothing, apartment or at work.

".He claimed that when he rang Tattersall's to report his claim no one returned his phone call.

"When Mr Abdelrehim contacted police, who made inquiries with Tattersall's, they were told that his ticket was a Quick Pick rather than System 10, and the matter could not be traced further."

Wembley Plans Scrapped

 

As reported by the Wembley and Kingsbury Times: "Plans to build a super casino and city academy school in Wembley appear dead in the water as a new administration takes charge of the borough. "A Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition took charge of Brent at Monday night's council meeting, and promised to withdraw both applications in its policy programme for 2006 to 2010. "Council officers have been preparing to carry out a public consultation on a super casino which would cost up to £25,000. But Brent Council's new leader, Paul Lorber, wants the application made to central government withdrawn immediately, stopping the consultation from going ahead."

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