The big question going around the water cooler at Nevada-based casinos is, “Are we back?” The state just published official documents showcasing its annual revenue for 2011 and it is the second year in a row that it has gone up. Analysts were also quick to point that these results are not just reliant on Baccarat play, the popular casino game that lifted this industry’s performance throughout the recession.
Throughout the state, the casinos collected over $10 billion in casino gaming revenues in 2011. This is a 2.8 percent increase over the total in 2010, as well as the biggest jump for the Nevada industry in four years.
On the Las Vegas Strip alone, casino gaming revenues went up by 5.1 percent. These casinos made $6.068 billion. It was the first time the casinos along the Strip made over $6 billion since 2008.
Subtracting the Baccarat figures from the mix, casinos throughout Nevada had a 2.4 boost in casino gaming revenue, which has not been seen since the year 2007.
Michael Lawton, a senior research analyst over at Gaming Control Board said that this is a very broad recovery. While it is not double digits, it is steady and gradually climbing, which is what casinos want to see.
The highest amount of revenue earned in 2010 did not come from Baccarat but actually slot machines. In 2011, casinos in Nevada saw their revenues increase by 1.5 percent from all slot machine wagering. In 2010, revenues from slot machines were actually down by 2.7 percent
So the question is again, is Nevada back on the scene?
Chad Beynon, a gaming analyst for Macquarie Securities said that these numbers are a very good indication that spending is growing. Joe Greff, a gaming analyst for JP Morgan noted that it is the belief that JP Morgan’s Nevada casino gradual recovery thesis will remain intact going into 2012.
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All avid online casino enthusiasts know that April 15 signals Black Friday in the industry. It was the day that Full Tilt Poker was almost completely decimated by the United States federal government along with other online gaming websites, including PokerStars, Ultimate Bet Poker, and Absolute Poker. While PokerStars and Ultimate Bet Poker have been able to rise from the ashes of that day, Absolute Poker still remains closed and Full Tilt Poker hangs in complete limbo with no assurances which way it will go.
However, according to some of the latest news in the industry, Groupe Bernard Tapie, a French investment company, is going to be purchasing the assets from Full Tilt Poker for approximately $89 million from the United States Department of Justice. Looking to the future, if the Alderney Gambling Control Commission does decide to issue Full Tilt Poker a gaming license, it could be back up and running as early as the first of March of this year. The commission was the one that originally suspended the license after Black Friday had occurred in the United States.
One of the latest things to hit the news with this store is that a number of professional poker players that had sponsored the website, including Phil Ivey and Barry Greenstein, and owe money to the online poker room are making threats to sabotage Groupe Bernard Tapie acquisition of the website. Groupe Bernard Tapie is not looking to acquire the debt, even though a few people have stepped forward to pay what they owe. This has in effect stymied the acquisition. Laurent Tapie has stated that the majority of the money that is owed by professional poker players needs to be paid off for the acquisition towork. Furthermore, players in the United States will only be refunded if the takeover is complete.
Looks like another standstill in this never ending drama.
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The Isle of Capri Casinos Company is currently being sued by an 87 year-old woman from Illinois after she hit a $42 million jackpot playing slots, which was actually nothing more than a computer malfunction.
This occurred on July 2, 2011 when the woman was playing on the Miss Kitty slot machine at the Waterloo, Iowa-based Isle Casino. While she was playing, the bells and lights started going and the staff came over to congratulate her on her win. But, it was soon after that the staff noticed something was not right because the top payout of the slot was only $10,000 but it had said she won $41,797,550! The casino informed her it was a computer error and she would not be winning any money.
These errors are quite rare. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission noted that they only investigate maybe one or two of these slot malfunctions every year across the entire states. There have also been stories of other players around the United States thinking they won big but it was only a malfunction in the slot machine. One recent one was Bill Seebeck who was playing at the Tampa, Florida Seminole Hard Rock Casino and the slot said he won $166 million, which in fact, he did not.
After the incident at the Isle Casino, the casino sent the slot machine to Gaming Laboratories International to be analyzed. It was then noted that it was “highly likely” that it was a communication board error causing the false bonus.
However, this is not stopping the woman from Iowa. Just last week her attorney filed suit claiming consumer fraud and breach of contract. The attorney is also preparing the argument that the Isle Casino did not regularly act upon any of the programming updated that were available for this slot machine.
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On Friday, January 27, a floor collapsed at the site of a brand new casino being erected in Cincinnati, Ohio, sending a number of workers sliding into the ground. There is at least one worker with serious injuries and more than a dozen more who were hurt.
The floor collapsed before 8:00 A.M. as the crew was starting to pour some concrete into a section of the floor of what will be the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati. The co-developer Rock Gaming LLC, Steve Rosenthal, mentioned that this incident occurred weeks after an accident of a similar variety occurred at a casino being built in Cleveland by the same exact developers.
At the time of the news conference, Rosenthal said that they were not able to determine what was the cause of the floor collapse and was still investigating.
Inspectors from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) are working alongside with local investigators to see what caused the accident. Developers are saying that work will not resume on the construction site until all the authorities are saying that it is safe to go back to work.
This new casino is under development by Rock Gaming LLC in a partnership with developer Caesar’s Entertainment. This is the same exact team that was supported a casino project in Cleveland when the garage on the site partially collapsed mid-December. A section of the garage’s parking deck gave way as concrete was then being poured. Luckily, no one was injured.
Rosenthal is stating that there is no connection what-so-ever between both collapses, other than both taking place in Ohio. The construction management companies on the projects are different; as well there are different contractors as well as different areas and sites. Also, the concrete pouring as on schedule and there was no acceleration within the schedule.
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The United States Senate Committee on Economic Development, Technology, and Agriculture is currently in discussion in regards to two bills that will enable casino gambling on all three islands in the United States Virgin Islands. One bill would allow for casinos to be built in the territories of St. John and St. Thomas, while another one would allow a free standing casino to be built in Christiansted on St. CroixThe one bill would amend the current Casino and Resort Control Act to allow casino gaming on the islands of St. John and St. Thomas. Senator Carlton Dowe, the sponsor of the bill said that it is now time for the United States to explore new sources of potential revenue.
The bill to build a casino in Christiansted comes from a private/public sector proposal by the Christiansted Renewal Group. this proposal calls for the building of a casino, along with an adjacent parking garage, center for culture, fine dining restaurants, and improvements in public infrastructure, such as security cameras and new lighting to be placed along the current boardwalk. The project is not looking for government funding as the developers are currently planning to invest approximately $20 million into this project. This project will increase tax revenues as well as call for infrastructure improvements and increase job opportunities. The developers will benefit by receiving financing that is government-backed for the project.
Many local businesses are in support of this new project. One boardwalk restaurant owner stated that the town of Christiansted is currently “dying” and that many businesses are feeling the pressure of a lack of tourism. It is possible that a new, thriving casino is just what is needed to bring the vibrant area back to life and entice more visitors to come to the island.
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Horse races, car races, and even turtle races in some areas, nothing has more panache and some really crazy odds than the United States presidential race. With the a majority of the primaries completed, and candidates dropping out, many people are placing their bets to see who the front runner will be…and make a little bit extra cash on the side!
Currently, a majority of online sports booking websites have Mitt Romney as the favorite to challenge current president Barak Obama in the presidential elections in 2012.
Sports booking websites have Romney listed as a 1-5 favorite for the republican candidate for presidency. This puts Romney ahead of the likes of other candidates, including Rick Santorum (8-1), Ron Paul (12-1), Newt Gingrich (14-1) and recent dropout Rick Perry (50-1).
While current president Obama is the 8-11 favorite to win a second term as presidency, putting him ahead of Romney by 6-4, the odds of a Republican candidate winning the presidential elections in 2012 is now even at a number of sports booking websites.
Since the 2008 elections, there are now even more ways to bet on the current presidential election sweeping the United States. With the new inclusion of mobile gambling, more people are placing their money where their votes are, so to speak. Some sports booking websites even allow men and women to place their bets for the presidential elections via text message if they do not have internet available for their phone.
Some analysts are stating that watching how the betting works is a great way to see where people are lying in terms of who they are going to vote for in the next election. We will see!
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When Singapore set out with its goal of creating some of the most expensive casino resorts in the world, many of the experts felt that this would be a huge failure. The experts felt that with Singapore’s conservative native, it couldn’t be any more different than the Las Vegas Strip, commonly referred to as Sin City. However, the tides have turned and what was once the biggest gambling center in the world is not being upstaged by the small city of Singapore.
In 2011, it is believed that the two casinos in Singapore has received more in gambling revenues than all 39 casinos on the Strip in Las Vegas. And Singapore does not have “just two casinos,” but two massive integrated resorts that house a variety of attractions, allowing their profits to surge past the $1.5 billion mark. They are now some of the most profitable places around the globe.
These casinos have also greatly benefits the tourism sector in Singapore. In 2010, when the casinos opened, the percentage of visitors arrival rose to 20 percent while visitor expenditures when up 49 percent. The growing number in visitors can easily help create an explanation on why the revenue numbers are so high.
What is one of the differences between the casinos in Singapore versus the casinos in Las Vegas? Many experts attribute this new “Singapore model” to the fact that the government of Singapore planned out the casino development, whereas growth in Las Vegas was not expertly planned, but by entrepreneurs (and some of them mob-related) who had a dream and wanted it to come true as quickly as possible, and with no exact planning.
The only problem that the Singapore casinos face is collecting credit extended to the players as gambling debts are not enforceable in China. There is the inherent risk that a player will not provide money to pay their debt. Therefore, these uncollectable debts often need to be factored right into the financial statements of the casino operators.
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In 2011, Macau casino gambling revenue increased by 42 percent, bringing it to a high of $33.47 billion. This is in large part due to the increasing traffic of very wealthy Chinese from the mainland who come to Macau, a Chinese territory, to play in the casinos. Unlike the rest of China, where casinos are banned, they are quite in fashion in Macau, which is what brings many Chinese in
This total revenue is said to be approximately five or six times more than what the gamblers in Las Vegas or Singapore casinos were believed to have spent throughout the 2011 calendar year. PricewaterhouseCoopers did the estimates and also made note that the Macau casino industry will most likely double its total revenue by 2016. According to Aaron Fischer the head of Asian consumer and gaming research at CLSA, a brokerage firm based in Hong Kong, no one expected the market in Macau to grow as quickly or as much as it did. Everyone was expecting possibly a 20 percent growth, and that was seen as very bullish at the time.
The Macau boom in their gaming industry sharply contrasts that of venues in the United States, like Las Vegas, where there has been some slight suffering due to declining revenues, the result of the current global downturn. While the Chinese are not immune to the current economic downturn, the average gambler in Chine tends to place bets up to ten times more than an American counterpart
Approximately 16 million Chinese men and women from the mainland visited the Macau casinos during the 2011 calendar year, which is a 20 percent increase over 2010. Currently, Macau is now looking into ways to expand their transport links as well as accommodation facilities to take in the rise of all the mainland visitors. There is presently a new railway to decrease travel time, a bridge, and ferry services. Macau International Airport receives a number of flights from Shanghai and Beijing. As for accommodation, in 2012, the Sands Cotai Central is listed to open their doors, boasting an additional 5,800 rooms.
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An independent research firm, Spectrum Gaming Group, that services a number of clients, both public-sector and private-sector around the world, listed some of the top trends to be monitored in 2012 in regards to the worldwide casino industry. Here are some of the top trends:
- New casino plans for 2012 will emphasize mid-scale, sensible sizes and design as all gaming companies begin to emphasize a return on investment in the current soft economy.
- A number of major gaming operators in the United States are going to continue to scout undeserved international markets, such as Asia, for the development of new major gaming resorts.
- Land-based casinos in the United States are going to continue to prepare for capitalization of internet poker when it is finally made legal in the country. When legalization does occur, a number of offshore operators will be eager to sign deals with land-based casinos in the United States.
- Social networking websites and electronic gaming are quickly heading up to be the “next big thing” in casino gaming.
- Competition throughout Las Vegas is going to continue to accelerate within the local markets as the housing and employment markets remain weak. Meanwhile, casino operators along the strip are going to push their focus on property enhancements and debt restructuring rather than consolidation and new developments.
- Legalization of gambling in states like New Hampshire, Kentucky, and other states reluctant to start building casinos, may push to fruition as these states are looking for additional revenue streams to boost their state’s economy. On the flip side, states where there is limited casino gaming will pursue opportunities for expansion, such as states like New York and Florida.
- There will continue to be an increase in regional casino competition as slot parlors, racinos, as well as Native American Casinos continue to expand and provide additional upscale amenities. This will place additional pressure on destination casino resort cities, such as Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
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Phil Hellmuth, 47, an eleven-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, recently went back home to Madison, Wisconsin to host the second annual Hellmuth’s Hold’em – a charity event he does with Agrace HospiceCare.
Starting December 17, the proceeds from the tournament (as well as a silent auction as a raffle raffle), are going to the Agrace HospiceCare, a non-profit organization devoted to providing physical, spiritual, and emotional care to patients as well as their families dealing with life-shortening medical conditions throughout southern Wisconsin.
Two big prizes at the charity event this year include a 2012 World Series of Poker event seat and a Zimbrick Honda CR-V LX two year lease. Everyone is excited about signing up for this charity event.
There will be a lot of big name professional poker players also on hand on this event to provide a bit of extra support. These people include Annette Obrestad, Tony “D1rtyR1v3r” Nardi, Dewey Weum, and Eric “Basebaldy” Baldwin. Also at the event will be a number of local celebrities who will be moving from table to table and socializing with all the participants at the charity Texas Hold’em game.
Last year, a number of big name people came to participate in the game, including former New York Giants member Derek Engles, Casey FitzRandolph, an Olympic gold medalist in speedskating, Jerry Kelly, a professional golfer, as well as Mark Johnson, member of the 1980 Olympic ice hockey team.
240 people played last year and just about $140,000 was raised for the charity. Hellmuth is definitely looking to beat those numbers this year. So far, the organizers of the event are anticipating over 400 players for this year’s event.
The two day event is going to be located at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Town Center
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