@HowardStutz's Inside Gaming
The locals gaming market has suffered enough.
Gaming revenues produced by casinos in North Las Vegas, along the Boulder Strip, in Henderson and throughout unincorporated Clark County are down a collective 2.6 percent through April.
By comparison, during the first four months of 2013, gaming revenues have climbed 4.7 percent on the Strip and 1.8 percent statewide.
It long has been predicted that neighborhood casinos would be the last to recover as the Southern Nevada economy slowly ascends after bottoming out in 2010.
Amid all the doom and gloom, however, two analysts in the past week said they sense a rebound could take hold in the locals gaming market in the second half of the year.
WSOP big-boss Garber to oversee new operation
Caesars Entertainment Corp. said last week that it will spin off its interactive gaming business, Planet Hollywood and a planned casino in Baltimore into a separate company owned in part by the casino operator, the company’s stockholders and private equity firms Apollo and TPG.
Apollo Management and TPG Capital are expected to invest a combined $500 million in cash into Caesars Entertainment as part of the deal, which would create a “growth-oriented entity” controlled by Caesars Acquisition Co., a company created to facilitate the transaction.
Caesars Interactive CEO Mitch Garber will serve as CEO of the acquisition company and continue in his role with the interactive division, which owns the World Series of Poker.
In a statement, Caesars Entertainment, which has long-term debt of more than $20 billion, said the transaction would allow the company to fund growth opportunities in “a less levered and more flexible vehicle.”
But vision begins to emerge in fight for big state's gaming dollars
A new push for gaming expansion in Texas drew muted commentary from analysts Tuesday.
They have been down that road before.
A Texas state senator said this week that he has support for legislation to bring 21 large and small casinos to Texas and create a state gaming commission.
Casino expansion bills surface routinely in the state’s biannual legislative sessions, but the measures have universally failed.
Union Gaming Group Managing Director Bill Lerner doesn’t see much difference with the latest proposal, which calls for a state constitutional amendment to expand gaming.
“The issue of bringing casinos to Texas has been around for quite some time, but we haven’t heard much optimism around potential passage,” Lerner told investors. “There are notable detractors against gaming expansion.”
2-to-1 says it happens anyway, so why shouldn't Vegas be allowed to play?
In Europe, it’s known as novelty betting. Bookmakers from Paddy Power to William Hill post odds and take bets on a variety of activities, from who looks good to win the Nobel Prizes this year to whether Prince Harry’s next girlfriend will be a blonde or a brunette and who might host the Oscars in 2014.
Paddy Power’s favorite to host the Oscar’s next year is Justin Timberlake at 2-to-1 . The odds are 8-to-11 that Harry’s next girlfriend will be a blonde.
But what produces increased publicity if only modest handle for British bookmakers is betting on U.S. politics. And oddsmakers and gaming industry analysts in Las Vegas said that if successful, a Nevada state senator’s efforts to legalize betting on politics will produce more notoriety than revenue.
Nevada casinos collect $10.8 billion in 2012
Nevada’s casino industry posted its third straight annual gaming revenue increase in 2012 as the industry continues its modest recovery amid a sluggish economy.
Analysts noted the results were helped by high-end baccarat play, the game that has bolstered the industry’s bottom line since Las Vegas companies began doing business in Macau in 2004.
Statewide, casinos collected $10.86 billion in gaming revenue in 2012, a 1.5 percent increase over $10.7 billion in 2011.
“We are slowly increasing revenues,” said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. “We are still 15.5 percent below the peak in 2007, but we are gradually moving in the right direction.”
Nevada gaming revenues were $12.8 billion in 2007, Lawton said. On the Strip, gaming revenues increased 2.3 percent over 2011 with casinos collecting $6.2 billion, marking a second straight year revenues topped $6 billion.
It hasn’t been the best of times for Atlantic City.
The question now is whether intrastate online gaming is the panacea that revives the Boardwalk.
Union Gaming Group managing director Bill Lerner believes the state’s Internet gambling bill sitting on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk could benefit the two Las Vegas gaming companies that own Atlantic City’s largest resort.
But the bill, which would allow Atlantic City casinos to operate a full catalog of online games — not just poker — would have different results for Boyd Gaming Corp. and MGM Resorts International.
The Borgata, which is now 50-50 owned by Boyd and MGM Resorts, is the market leader in Atlantic City — collecting roughly 20 percent of Atlantic City’s $3.05 billion in gaming revenues in 2012 — and figures to hold the same role in a potential Atlantic City Internet gambling space.
Gaming Labs ready as Nevada Net poker nears
A move by Nevada gaming regulators to have independent testing laboratories certify gambling equipment could result in new technology reaching casino floors more quickly.
It also could mean the state’s move into Internet poker might happen on a faster pace.
Last week, slot machine makers Bally Technologies and International Game Technology were licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission to supply potential Internet casino operators with the systems to conduct, manage and monitor online gambling.
The technology Bally and IGT executives said they would use in Nevada is already in use in Europe, where online gaming is already legal in some jurisdictions. However, the technology still needs Nevada certification. The systems should be familiar to Gaming Laboratories International and BMM International, the two private labs registered by the Gaming Control Board on Thursday to test equipment for Nevada.