Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Casino News Daily
Borgata Casino Ready to Offer Sports Betting on First Day It Becomes Legal in New Jersey

Atlantic City’s highest grossing casino resort, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, is ready to begin offering sports betting on the very day the provision of that service is legalized by New Jersey lawmakers, officials for the property said Tuesday.

The Borgata already features a facility for betting on horse racing and casino officials revealed plans to rename it as The Race & Sports Book once sports betting becomes legal in New Jersey. The venue will also open a separate sports betting facility, the plans for which are being finalized by owners.

The Borgata is owned by Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant MGM Resorts International. The hotel and casino resort has long been Atlantic City’s most profitable property. It generated gaming revenue of $803.6 million in 2017. In comparison, Harrah’s, the second highest grossing casino in the city, reported revenue of $363.7 million last year.

Commenting on the recently lifted federal ban on sports betting and his casino’s plans, Borgata President Marcus Glover said Tuesday that the property is uniquely positioned as Atlantic City’s only one to be featuring a race book already. Mr. Glover added that Borgata’s owner, MGM, has years of experience in operating sports betting in Nevada, which will help them launch their sports book in New Jersey.

It was also understood that the Borgata has been readying itself for the decision of the US Supreme Court for quite some time and has been crafting its strategy for operating a sports betting business at the existing resort to make sure it would be launched in due time.

Sports Betting in New Jersey

New Jersey has actually been the state to push most actively for the annulment of the long-standing federal ban on sports betting. The US Supreme Court decided to review the state’s case last year and ruled on it last week.

Under the ruling, it is now up to each individual state to determine whether it should legalize sports betting within its borders. Prior to last week, sports betting was prohibited everywhere across the United States but Nevada and three more states.

With New Jersey being a backer of the legalization of sports betting, the actual introduction and implementation of a regulatory framework is not expected to come upon any major stumbling blocks. It is believed that the state’s sports betting law could be passed by legislators and enacted by early June.

Almost all of Atlantic City’s operational casinos have said that they would offer sports betting once the activity becomes legal in the state. It is also important to note that its two new casinos – Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino, both slated to open doors on June 28 – are too planning to feature sports betting.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Las Vegas casino workers vote for strike action on June 1

las-vegas-casino-workers-strikeLas Vegas casinos are bracing for a summer of strife after unionized workers voted to go out on strike on June 1.

On Tuesday, roughly 25k members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 voted 99% in favor of a citywide strike as early as June 1, when 50k workers’ current union contracts with 34 Vegas casino resorts are set to expire.

Culinary Union secretary-treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline called a strike “a last resort,” saying workers want to reach a new agreement but are prepared to hit the picket lines if there’s no agreement by June 1.

The unions, which represent everything from bartenders to porters to guest room attendants, are seeking (among other things) greater workplace safety and protection from sexual harassment (even if Steve Wynn has left the building). The unions also want a “fair share” of the casinos’ “enormous anticipated cash flows and Trump tax windfalls.”

Apart from a desire for better pay and benefits, one of the workers’ main concern is being replaced by machines. Argüello-Kline said the union supported “innovations that improve jobs, but we oppose automation when it only destroys jobs. Our industry must innovate without losing the human touch.”

MGM Resorts operates 10 of the 34 Vegas properties facing a potential strike action, while Caesars Entertainment is next on the list with eight venues. Both companies issued statements following Tuesday’s vote insisting that they expect a resolution before any strike action.

Other potentially affected Strip properties include the SLS Las Vegas, the Westgate, the Tropicana, Treasure Island and the Stratosphere, while ten downtown Vegas properties are also set to be targeted.

In 2002, casinos faced a similar strike threat but a new deal was worked out the same day workers were scheduled to walk off the job. A 1984 strike was more acrimonious and more damaging, lasting over two months before labor peace was restored.

If there’s an upside to the strike threat, it’s that it doesn’t involve frontline gaming staff (croupiers, dealers), although gamblers will likely face a much longer wait than usual to get a drink delivered to their table.

The post Las Vegas casino workers vote for strike action on June 1 appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

World Casino News
Cherry CEO arrested on suspicion of insider dealing

Swedish gaming group Cherry confirmed in a Tuesday, May 22, 2018, statement that its Chief Executive Officer, Andres Holmgren, is the current subject of a Swedish Economic Crime Authority investigation. In a brief press release, the online casino operator stated, “[Cherry] has been informed that the Swedish Economic Crime Authority has initiated an investigation for […]

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Atlantic City casino profits fall as two more casinos prep openings

atlantic-city-casino-profits-fallAtlantic City casinos reported reduced profits in the first quarter of 2018, making next month’s arrival of two more casinos the last thing the market needs.

Figures released Tuesday by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission show the state’s seven casinos generated combined revenue of $599.2m and gross operating profit of $123.6m in the three months ending March 31.

Both figures represent declines from the same period last year, with revenue down 3.2% and operating profit falling 11.7%. All seven venues were in negative revenue territory, led by Caesars, which fell 16.5%. The profit plunge was largely due to two operators – Caesars and the market-leading Borgata – which were down 38% and 27%, respectively.

AC’s casinos were on a roll in 2017, with combined profit for the year rising nearly one-quarter from 2016, but the market suffered repeated bouts of inclement weather earlier this year that brought the gravy train to a screeching halt. Hotel occupancy was down 3.2 points to 77.9% in Q1, as customers apparently chose to stay home and patronize the state’s licensed online gambling sites (which set revenue records during Q1).

Weather aside, the Q1 numbers would have been much worse had that same pie been shared among nine operators, as it will be divided after June 28, when both the Hard Rock Atlantic City (the former Trump Taj Mahal) and the Ocean Resort Casino (the former Revel) open to the public.

The casinos hope to get some extra juice from the launch of legal sports betting, which is expected to happen by mid-June, assuming there are no glitches with the legislation soon to be voted on in both the state Assembly and Senate.

The MGM Resorts-owned Borgata began building its own sportsbook last November in anticipation of the Supreme Court striking down the federal betting ban, which came to pass last week.

On Tuesday, Borgata President Marcus Glover told the Associated Press that the property was still finalizing plans for its sportsbook but would rename its existing race betting facility as The Race & Sports Book and begin taking sports wagers “as soon as regulatory approvals are in place.”

There could be a slight hitch in the Borgata’s plans, given that the Senate bill seeking to regulate wagering contains a clause prohibiting a raft of sports-connected individuals – including a “team owner” – from having any interest in a sports betting operation. MGM Resorts owns the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces team.

This clause could similarly trip up Tilman Fertitta, owner of both the Golden Nugget casino and the NBA’s Houston Rockets. Ditto for Caesars Entertainment’s three AC casinos, given that Caesars is owned by the Apollo Capital Management hedge fund, which is partially controlled by Joshua Harris, owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and partial owner of UK footballers Crystal Palace.

If we were Harris, we’d find some excuse for Apollo to lend New Jersey some money, as it did with Trump adviser Jared Kushner, and maybe this whole ownership issue will magically disappear, like that SEC probe into Apollo’s activities did right after the Kushner loan.

The post Atlantic City casino profits fall as two more casinos prep openings appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

World Casino News
Instant Win Gaming Ltd agrees content deal with Sky Betting and Gaming

Online instant-win games supplier Instant Win Gaming Limited has announced that its titles are now available to players at bingo sportsbook, SkyBingo.com, for the first time following the signing of a deal with fellow British firm Sky Betting and Gaming. According to an official press release published by European Gaming Media and Events, United Kingdom […]
Casino News Daily
Nigerian Lawmakers Scold Local Lottery Commission for Regulatory Failures

The Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) has faced the criticism of the local House of Representatives, with the latter blaming it for its failure to impose effective regulation of the sector.

According to local lawmakers, it was the Commission that was responsible for the failures in implementing the sector’s regulation efficiently, which on the other hand resulted in Nigeria losing an amount estimated at more than ₦1.493 trillion. The NLRC, on the other hand, has blamed lack of efficient regulation in the industry for the unsatisfactory revenue amount generated by the sector.

As far as the sector’s performance is concerned, Bello Maigari, the acting National Lottery Trust Fund’s Executive Secretary shared that the trend of the sector failing to meet its revenue target has been going on for several years now. According to Mr. Maigari, who spoke before the House Committee on Inter-Governmental Affairs, the revenue target of ₦1.5 trillion could hardly be reached by the sector, which was only able to generate approximately ₦7 billion in 13 years.

Considering the estimated high potential of the local market, the 5-year cumulative returns amounting to a little over ₦7 billion, which was found completely unacceptable for the sector. Mr. Maigari also shared his regret that the Nigerian lottery industry’s revenue growth was hurt by foul practices, conflict of interest, etc.

New Legislation Needed by the Sector

For the time being, there are a total of 21 operators who offer licensed lottery products across the country, after their operating licenses were given the green light by the President Muhammadu Buhari. The Nigerian House of Representatives has already threatened the operators that were found guilty of not paying the amount due to authorities by withdrawing their licenses.

The Executive Secretary of the National Lottery Trust Fund further noted that the lack of proper regulation in the country has been beneficial for the lottery and gaming operators there. Mr. Maigari further reminded that according to some industry experts, the Nigerian lottery sector is actually the most attractive market on the territory of Africa.

According to estimates, the lottery has made a significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) not only of Nigeria but also of other countries in Africa. For the time being, approximately 7.5 million Nigerian citizens were betting on lotteries on a daily basis. The number of Nigerians engaged in sports betting operations every day amounted to approximately 22 million.

Lanre Gbajabiamila, the Director General of the NLRC, also shared his opinion of local lottery legislation, saying that the fact that Nigerian laws on the matter were not up-to-date with the contemporary state of the market, which was also the reason why inadequate legislation has contributed to the slow growth of the sector. Still, Mr. Gbajabiamila explained that the Commission is aimed at helping the sector reach international standard, despite there was a lot of work to be done in terms of renewal of the already existing laws.

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