June 18, 2013
DOJ to Scheinberg on company efforts to buy NJ casino: GL
With Black Friday cases winding up, Mark Scheinberg could make out as the biggest winner in the poker universe.
The chief executive of online gaming giant PokerStars agreed to forfeit $50 million to federal prosecutors to rid his himself of a two-year-old complaint filed by the U.S. government.
In a settlement agreement this week with the Department of Justice, the money being paid by PokerStars CEO Mark Scheinberg is based on allegations contained in the April 15, 2011, complaint filed by federal prosecutors against PokerStars as part of the government’s “Black Friday” crackdown on illegal Internet gaming operations.
“The agreement is not in response to any action that had been brought against Mark and contains no admission of wrongdoing, culpability or guilt on his behalf,” PokerStars spokesman Eric Hollreiser said in an emailed statement.
Last July, PokerStars accepted a $731 million forfeiture to the federal government to end the company’s legal battle with prosecutors.
Three senior officers of PokerStars were charged in April 2011 with bank fraud, money laundering and running an illegal Internet gambling enterprise.
The Justice Department absolved the company of any wrongdoing in accepting Internet wagers from American customers. PokerStars also wasn’t prohibited from entering legal U.S. gaming markets.
March 3, 2013
Trump Sells for Cheap, Revel Goes Bankrupt, MGM Waits to Step out of Penalty Box
Atlantic City can’t catch a break.
The gaming market has seemingly been covered by dark clouds for much of the past six years. Last week’s announcement that Revel, the Boardwalk’s newest resort, was filing for bankruptcy less than a year after opening, didn’t shock anyone.
Bad news has become expected.
Atlantic City gaming revenues have declined more than 40 percent over the last six years. The Boardwalk suffered through labor strife, competition from resorts in neighboring states, casino closures, stalled investments and the recession.
When Hurricane Sandy washed ashore in October, shutting down portions of the Boardwalk for as long as to a week, several analysts quietly wondered whether the freakish storm was a warning sign from above.
February 18, 2013
Regulatory dispute stemmed from connections to Chinese gambling kingpin
MGM Resorts International, which gave up its ties to Atlantic City’s casino market nearly three years ago to settle a dispute with New Jersey gaming regulators, is seeking to regain a piece of the action.
The Las Vegas casino giant, which still owns 50 percent of Atlantic City’s market-leading Borgata, petitioned the New Jersey Casino Control Commission on Monday to reinstate the company’s gaming license in Atlantic City.
In a statement, MGM Resorts officials said the company “would welcome the opportunity to once again be an active, contributing member of the New Jersey gaming marketplace.”
MGM Resorts placed its Borgata ownership in trust in 2010 following settlement of a complaint filed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
The agency said MGM Resorts’ joint-venture partner in Macau, Hong Kong businesswoman Pansy Ho, was unsuitable because international law enforcement alleged casinos controlled by her father, billionaire Stanley Ho, were influenced by Chinese organized-crime triads.
January 31, 2013
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.
January 2, 2013
Gaming stocks end 2012 on high note
What fiscal cliff?
Gaming stocks were oblivious to investor worries that the lack of a year-end agreement in Congress to avoid wide-ranging tax increases and spending cuts would push the economy over the edge.
The sector closed out 2012 on a positive note in December.
Of the 12 gaming companies followed by Las Vegas financial adviser Applied Analysis, 11 showed marked increases in their average daily stock prices during the month.
Eight of the companies finished 2012 with a higher average daily stock price than in 2011.
Applied Analysis principal Brian Gordon told the firm’s clients Monday in a research report that investors believed a compromise would likely take place in Congress concerning federal revenue enhancements and other measures.
December 19, 2012
Limited development projects, Internet poker debate will occupy gaming in 2013
The Linq won’t be confused with CityCenter.
Then again, analysts have said the last thing the Strip needs right now is another massive hotel-casino complex. The Las Vegas gaming market is still in economic recovery mode after the recession sent gaming figures crashing back to 2004 levels.
Through September, Strip gaming revenues have increased 2.5 percent over the same nine months of 2011, lending some to speculate that the market is slowly coming back.
This brings us back to The Linq.
As 2013 unfolds, the $550 million nongaming Linq is one of three Strip construction projects expected to heat up during the year.
December 17, 2012
Preparing for Texas Hold'em's real-money future
Social gaming giant Zynga Inc. filed an application for a preliminary finding of suitability with Nevada gaming regulators [last] week as the San Francisco-based company looks to break into real money online gambling.
The company, which makes free-play social games such as Words with Friends, FarmVille and Mafia Wars, has been hinting at finding a way to jump into the potential U.S. regulated online gaming industry. The company operates the free-play Zynga Poker.
Zynga Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle said in a statement that his company is looking beyond Nevada. Zynga recently signed a partnership agreement with European online gaming giant Bwin.party to provide games that can be played for real money online by the company’s customers in the United Kingdom. The first games are expected to launch next year.
December 4, 2012
Casino companies seeing shaky stock prices
Concerns over the looming fiscal cliff added increased volatility to an already shaky gaming sector.
Average daily stock prices for eight of the 12 casino operators and slot machine manufacturers followed by financial consultant Applied Analysis tumbled in November.
Boyd Gaming Corp. and Caesars Entertainment Corp. experienced double-digit percentage declines in their average daily stock prices despite events that what many analysts termed as good news.
Overall, the stock price dip contributed to a 10 point decline in the Applied Analysis Gaming Index, which accounts for more than 300 different market variables. It finished at 420.52.
Applied Analysis principal Brian Gordon said mixed results in third-quarter earnings reports announced by several gaming companies contributed to the slide.
November 17, 2012
If legal internet gaming is the answer, then what is the question?
Black plus white generally equals grey, or at least gray.
arrest questioning of Norbert Teufelberger in Belgium on Tuesday seems as good a time as any to post about something that may seem obvious to many but still gets asked often enough (and perhaps too often): how to build an Internet gaming business that’s onside the laws of the jurisdictions in which it operates.
The detention of Teufelberger, co-CEO of Bwin.Party, concerns the continued operations of a publicly traded online gaming company in Belgium and its presence on that country’s so-called ”blacklist.” Bwin.Party is “whitelisted” in other jurisdictions, and contends Belgium’s laws restricting foreign-based operators run afoul of European Union law. But with that matter yet to be resolved, people are already wondering what Belgium’s legal interpretations mean for Bwin.Party’s licensing prospects in Nevada — and its partnership with US casino companies, MGM and Boyd Gaming. (On that subject, I defer to @BrianPempus‘s tweets, comments, and queries.)
But the Teufelberger-Belgium affair raises the question I still get asked all the time: What jurisdictions should I stay away from if I’m an Internet gaming operator?
November 5, 2012
Bwin.party on track for 2013 approval
Three more companies, including a subsidiary of MGM Resorts International, are a step closer to joining 13 other gaming companies participating in the Nevada’s growing online poker industry.
The state’s Gaming Control Board on Thursday recommended licensure for MGM Online LLC, as well as boutique firms Z4Poker LLC of Las Vegas and Cams LLC of Los Angeles.
The Nevada Gaming Commission will consider the applications at its Nov. 15 meeting.
MGM Resorts told regulators it plans to establish a play-for-fun website by March. The company already operates myVegas, a social media gaming site with 350,000 monthly visitors.
October 22, 2012
Boyd Gaming, Station Casinos, Golden Nugget ready for internet play
Three companies were granted interactive gaming licenses by the Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday as the lineup for the state’s potential online poker market grew more crowded.
Commissioners licensed Boyd Gaming Corp. the Golden Nugget ownership and Fertitta Interactive – which includes the owners of Station Casinos and operators of Ultimate Fighting Championship – to launch online poker websites as soon as the technology is approved.
The website can be accessed only by people age 21 and older playing on computers or mobile devices within Nevada.
Boyd Gaming Executive Vice President Bob Boughner told gaming commissioners the company believes online poker in Nevada will be a $180 million a year business and would damage the state’s live poker business.
October 6, 2012
Next stage could mark US re-entry for BwinParty
Boyd Gaming Corp. and Station Casinos, fierce competitors in the locals casino market, could soon take their rivalry to the Internet.
Affiliates of the two companies were tentatively approved Wednesday to operate online poker websites within Nevada’s boundaries by the Gaming Control Board. The Nevada Gaming Commission will take up the matter Oct. 18.
The companies may launch their poker operations at different times. The sites can be accessed only from computers and mobile devices within Nevada’s borders.
Boyd Gaming officials said they will wait until the company’s online partner, bwin.party gaming, is licensed by state gaming regulators. Ultimate Gaming, a subsidiary of Fertitta Interactive, which is controlled by the founders of Station Casinos, plans to launch a Nevada gaming site as soon a technology achieves the various levels of approval.
August 22, 2012
South Point and Bally working B2B for next gen of interactive gaming
For a guy who just recently learned how to answer and send an email, Michael Gaughan is about to have one of the most technologically advanced gaming operations in the city.
The South Point recently installed Bally Technologies’ iView Display Manager on 2,480 of the casino’s 2,600 slot machines. The system will be installed on the casino’s 120 bar-top machines by the end of the month.
The iView system offers both the South Point and its slot machine customers a variety of marketing features and options. Players, using a touchscreen slot machine display, can sit at the machines and order drinks, book show tickets and make reservations at South Point restaurants. The casino can market its events and offer various promotions through the system.
“There is a lot we can do with this system that we’ll be rolling out soon,” Gaughan said.
July 23, 2012
OP-ED: It's time to tear down the Echelon eyesore
Here’s a better idea than Boyd Gaming Corp.’s plan to spend $4 million on palm trees, landscaping and facades to hide a shuttered $4.8 billion development on the Strip that has sat unfinished since 2008 and is one of the boulevard’s biggest eyesores.
Just tear it down.
The fact is Boyd’s original concept for the CityCenter-like Echelon project – five hotels of various sizes, a large casino, 750,000 square feet of convention space, 30 restaurants, 300,000 square feet of retail and entertainment amenities, all covering 87 acres – is not going to happen.
Not in this lifetime.
February 20, 2012
There’s a corporate rush like something that hasn’t been seen for a while in the casino industry — to secure and develop poker-related assets. After the Department of Justice’s quiet reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act, and subsequent political buzz it created , corporate gaming partners jumped into bed together faster than you can change a relationship status on Facebook.
• Kentucky-based horse racing and casino company Churchill Downs acquires the assets of Bluff Media.
• Caesars Entertainment extends its partnership with 888 Holdings.
• MGM, Boyd Gaming, and BwinParty looking for a wild poker three-way.
• Vegas-based ShuffleMaster dangling diamonds in front of OnGame Network.
• Pinnacle Entertainment in acquisition talks with newly formed Epic Poker League.
• Golden Nugget partners up with ChiliGaming for online poker.
What’s next? Will Pokerati be getting a bid from Palms Casino Resort?