Posts Tagged ‘Caesars Interactive Entertainment’

July 7, 2013

Caesars Exec Readies Ship for Next Online Wave

Garber anticipates decade of growth for internet gaming, commerce

photo: Samantha Clemens / Las Vegas Review-Journal

photo: Samantha Clemens / Las Vegas Review-Journal

Life is about to get more complicated for Caesars Interactive Entertainment CEO Mitch Garber.

He wouldn’t have it any other way. With the World Series of Poker nearing the end of its six-week run at the Rio, Garber’s attention will focus on launching the tournament’s pay-to-play regulated online gaming website in Nevada.

Caesars Interactive — a Montreal-based subsidiary of casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. — is also moving forward with online gaming prospects in New Jersey. The casino operator owns one-fourth of the Atlantic City gaming market.

Garber’s division also handles Playtika, Caesars expanding free-play social gaming operation.

Meanwhile, Garber’s duties will soon include CEO of Caesars Growth Partners, an entity created by Caesars Entertainment as a growth oriented business.

Anything else?

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June 18, 2013

Caesars Reacquires WSOP Freeplay Game from EA Sports

CIE planning for expanded social platform

Caesars Interactive Entertainment announced it was forming a social poker development studio to expand the free-to-play World Series of Poker game through its Playtika division.

The Montreal-based subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment, which owns the World Series of Poker brand, will add a social gaming format of the tournament to its free-to-play slot machine, casino game and bingo franchises.

Caesars acquired Playtika a few years ago to expand its social gaming platform.

A Montreal-based team of 19 employees will form the core of Caesars Interactive’s studio. The plan is to expand and enhance the features and functionality of the current World Series of Poker game.

Playtika is responsible for all of Caesars Interactive’s social and mobile games assets.

Caesars Interactive acquired certain World Series of Poker game assets and intellectual property from Electronic Arts (EA).

Under the agreement, EA transferred global rights and ownership of its World Series of Poker game for mobile devices and Facebook to Caesars Interactive, ending a previous licensing agreement.

Financial terms of this transaction were not disclosed.


June 13, 2013

Nevada Online Poker Rivalry Brewing

WSOP.com and Ultimate trade barbs over early slip-ups

Sometimes karma can bite you in the butt.

World Series of Poker Executive Director Ty Stewart [recently] experienced that pain.

Recently, Stewart made light of early troubles that befell Ultimate Poker, the first legal pay-to-play online gambling website in the U.S., which launched April 30.

First, Ultimate was caught using an unlicensed and much maligned service provider to identify new players. Then, a glitch in the website caused two 9 of spades to appear on the flop in a game of hold’em.

“I think the market is ready for a first-class product,” Stewart told Case Keefer of the Las Vegas Sun while touting the World Series of Poker’s planned Nevada-based pay-to-play website.

Last week, the World Series of Poker suffered its own glitch. The unlicensed website briefly went live, letting players gain access to the pay-to-play area.

Caesars Interactive Entertainment, which owns the World Series of Poker, caught the mistake, shut down the site, and notified Nevada gaming regulators.

The laughter you’re hearing emanates from the corporate headquarters of Station Casinos, majority owner of Ultimate Gaming, which operates Ultimate Poker.

More…


May 27, 2013

WSOP Dot Com Countdown

@OPReport's Online Poker Bulletin

From OnlinePokerReport.com for the week of May 27th

STORIES TO WATCH THIS WEEK

#1. WSOP.com did not launch real-money poker last week as rumors suggested they would. But it’s a safe bet they will be launching the actual WSOP this week – on May 29th, to be exact. WSOP officials have indicated a desire to run online satellites to the 2013 Main Event (which starts July 6th). If that remains their goal, then there’s a pretty small window remaining for launch.

#2. Massachusetts is returning to the issue of online poker only weeks after a House attempt to insert regulated online poker into the budget was killed at the last minute. Now GOP members of the State Senate are trying the same trick . We should learn the fate of their attempt sooner than later as the clock winds down on MA’s budget process.

#3. Illinois closes their current legislative session at week’s end. It seems unlikely that an online gambling measure will reappear and progress to law before the close. But stranger things have definitely happened. And the larger issue of gambling expansion remains in play during the last days of the session, which could potentially produce prodigious bursts of activity in Springfield.

+ THE WEEK THAT WAS

OPR OUTPUT

The latest edition of poker news podcast Rabbit Hunt, hosted by myself and Mark Gahagan (and sponsored by CardRunners) is now available on iTunes.

Also on OPR last week: Does the UIGEA apply to bitcoin gambling , Sounding the Iovation alarm, andInternational Gaming Awards accuses critic of tax evasion.

PICKS

#GoodRead – Brad Polizzano surveys the tax models being considered by regulated U.S. markets. And@Grange95  dives into why the ACC was so quick to sling mud at Stars.

More from Chris Grove: @OPReport / Google +

Posted by at 10:00 am

May 20, 2013

Nevada Governor Working on Web Poker Compacts with Other States

Texas on the shortlist for legal online play?

Brian_SandovalGov. Brian Sandoval said Thursday he has held preliminary talks with other state governors on partnering with Nevada on Internet poker.

Sandoval didn’t name the states but gaming sources said Texas could be a target.

Sandoval, a Republican, supported Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s brief run for the GOP’s presidential nomination last year. Also, the Texas Legislature is considering the Poker Gaming Act of 2013, which would make it legal in the state to play poker online.

“I’ve talked with a few governors and I’m introducing the concept of compacting,” Sandoval said following a tour of the new corporate headquarters in Las Vegas for BMM International, one of two laboratories that tests gaming equipment for Nevada regulators.

“It’s very much in the early stages and we have a great opportunity because we have the infrastructure and other states have the players,” Sandoval said. “I’m hopeful we’ll continue to talk.”

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May 8, 2013

Caesars Restructures Company with “Growth Oriented” Spin-off

WSOP big-boss Garber to oversee new operation

CaesarsLogoCaesars 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.”

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March 18, 2013

Empire (State) Poker Returns?

@OPReport's Online Poker Bulletin

From OnlinePokerReport.com for the week of March 18th …

3 STORIES TO WATCH THIS WEEK

#1. The Revolution Network is dealing with two unresolved stories – one regarding lengthy payment delays to a skin and one regarding a possible software bug related to hole cards – as the Lock-fronted network continues to lose ground.

#2. Empire (State) Poker: NY’s tentative step toward regulated online gambling will thrive or die between now and April 1st, the deadline for the state’s budget. Gov. Cuomo seems open to the idea, but we should get a good sense of what support the initiative actually has in the days ahead.

#3. IL and PA. This week could pass with no movement in PA, where a few soft deadlines for the introduction of an online gambling bill have come and gone. But the pressure for legislative progress on the larger issue of casino expansion is significant in IL and should result in a quicker timetable for online poker – one way or the other.

+ THE WEEK THAT WAS

RECENTLY FROM OPR

A quick FAQ on Full Tilt repayment. And Marco Valerio’s interview with Salim Adatia, CEO of GLI Interactive – the company behind software testing in Nevada. Plus an update to my Illinois FAQ to reflect last week’s changes to the bill’s “bad actor” clause.

PICKS

#GoodRead – The New York Times has a good write up of the uncertain environment surrounding daily fantasy sports. Much of it should sound familiar to followers of online poker.

@Follow – @Pokeraddictnet. Often first to news on U.S. facing rooms + regulatory developments at the state level.

Posted by at 11:42 am

March 11, 2013

The Euros are Coming!

Nevada gives thumbs up to 888 to provide WSOP, TI, and WMS with online poker

888 logoThe Gaming Control Board spent almost two hours Wednesday delving into the background of European online gaming operator 888 Holdings, which is seeking an interactive Nevada gaming license.

After recommending that Gibraltar-based 888 be approved the state’s 20th interactive license, the three control board members spent all of five minutes discussing Treasure Island’s request to hold the state’s 21st interactive license.

“I don’t have any questions, unless you want me to make some up,” Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett told Treasure Island attorney Frank Schreck.

It took board member Shawn Reid longer to read the license conditions into the public record than it did to approve Treasure Island.

Why?

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January 28, 2013

Caesars Chief Speaks on Online Gaming Hopes

Technology advances coincide with social developments

How will the worlds of social gambling and real-money gambling collide once regulation becomes a reality in the U.S.? Marco Valerio recently sat down one of the people who will have a front-row seat for that intersection, Caesars Interactive Entertainment CEO Mitch Garber, for a wide-ranging interview covering poker and gambling issues both local and global.

Below you’ll find a few of the highlights from their conversation:

More…

Posted by at 11:35 am

January 24, 2013

NBC Heads-Up Championship Returns

Good matchups, but does it signify anything more?

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth arrive for the NBC Heads-Up draw party, even though Negreanu opted out to spend the weekend with friends.

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth arrive for the NBC Heads-Up draw party, even though Negreanu opted out to spend the weekend with friends.

NBC’s $25,000 buy-in National Heads-Up Poker Championship invitational tournament is decidedly made-for-television .

The draw party Wednesday night felt like little more than a chance to hobnob with the who’s who of televised poker and online wunderkinds, from Brunson to Hellmuth to Jungleman and ZeeJustin.

But after a Black Friday-induced hiatus, some in the poker world say the return of the event to the Caesars Palace poker room signals a step forward for poker in the U.S.

Caesars Entertainment Interactive, which recently acquired a license to operate online poker in Nevada, presented its wsop.com as part of the event for the  first time since the tournament began in 2005.

Mori Eskandani, the producer of the show, called it ‘good news’ for the industry that NBC wants poker back.

The matches start Thursday afternoon, and they’ll crown a champion on Saturday.

This year, Phil Hellmuth, who arrived to the party Wednesday night in his dictator coat, squares off against Mike Sexton in round one. Daniel Negreanu, meanwhile, has opted out to spend the weekend with friends. That made room for David “Doc” Sands, who put up something of a fit after he didn’t get a direct invite.

Anyway, here’s how the bracket shapes up for the first round. First place is $750,000. Anyone else got Jennifer Tilly going all the way?

Posted by at 5:41 pm

December 13, 2012

Caesars Group Moving Forward with Regulatory Nod in Nevada

WSOP Online ready for real-money action

CaesarsLogoA World Series of Poker real money website based in Nevada took a step forward Wednesday.

The Gaming Control Board tentatively approved Caesars Interactive Entertainment to operate online poker in Nevada.

The company, the interactive arm of the Caesars Entertainment Corp., manages the promotion and advertising aspects of the annual World Series of Poker.

Caesars Entertainment general counsel Michael Cohen told the board during a meeting in Carson City that the Nevada website would be run as a World Series of Poker brand.

If approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission on Dec. 20, Caesars would become the 17th company granted an interactive gaming license to offer online poker to players who are physically within the state’s borders.

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September 7, 2012

Is Caesars Bound for Bankruptcy?

Financial analyst says WSOP spinoff could be in the cards

Fitch Ratings Service said Wednesday it downgraded its view on Caesars Entertainment Corp. from stable to negative, hinting that the casino operator could look at Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a method to restructure its sizable debt.

Another option could include spinning off the Caesars Interactive Division as a separate public company. Caesars Interactive oversees the World Series of Poker.

“The outlook revision reflects Fitch’s heightened concern regarding (Caesars) near-to-medium term cash burn rate and potential covenant compliance pressure,” Fitch analyst Michael Paladino wrote in a report to investors. “These factors, combined with previously expressed concerns about weakening relative asset quality due to constrained capital reinvestment, more than offset the positive credit impact from recent transactions executed to push out its debt maturities meaningfully.”

More…


September 1, 2012

Is Online Poker’s Window of Opportunity Closing?

Casinos say Nevada jobs at risk without federal bill to validate intrastate regs

What seemed like a tremendous decision for the gaming industry nine months ago – the re-evaluation of the Federal Wire Act of 1961 – may not be so advantageous for Nevada unless Congress takes steps to enact Internet poker legislation.

A window of opportunity that could place Nevada at the center of the potential U.S. Internet gaming market is closing quickly, and some in the gaming industry worry that lack of federal action could cost the state tax revenues and casino customers, while making Nevada subservient to less-regulated states.

“There are different standards for gaming regulation in one state versus another,” Station Casinos Vice Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta said. “We know some companies will shop for the lowest common denominator. We could start seeing bets being taken away from Nevada.”

The U.S. Department of Justice on Dec. 23 reversed a 50-year-old interpretation of the Wire Act, saying the law covers only sports wagering. Legal experts said the decision frees individual states to let online operators offer poker and traditional casino games such as slot machines and blackjack if the play doesn’t cross state lines.

It’s been estimated that U.S. gamblers spent as much as $26 billion annually gambling online before federal prosecutors indicted the operators of three of the largest Internet poker websites in April 2011. Closing those sites, which had violated federal law by accepting wagers from the U.S., effectively walled Americans off from the online gaming universe.

Now, states dealing with tight budgets are looking at that huge, untapped Internet market and are increasingly open to allowing – and taxing – it. Lawmakers in several states are in various stages of adopting regulations to allow full-scale online gaming.

Several Nevada gaming companies are on the verge of offering in-state online poker, but they foresee trouble ahead if their market is limited only to players in the sparsely populated Silver State.

And not only are they concerned about missing out on poker profits, they fear gamblers who can play online at home won’t bother traveling to Las Vegas’s tourist-dependent resorts.

More…


April 4, 2012

Cleveland Cavs Owner Buys into Caesars Online Gambling

Gilbert puts his money where your mouse is

Prediction: there will be a WSOP-Cleveland this year … or maybe a WSOP-Cincinatti next year … if not both. The Caesars poker empire has made no bones about its expansionist desires … and now the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, through his company Rock Gaming, has bought a $61 million stake in the Empire’s online division, Caesars Interactive Entertainment, parent company to the WSOP, according to filings with the SEC.

Neither Gary Loveman nor Mitch Garber could be reached at Caesars to confirm or deny the rumored buzz Pokerati was hoping to start on this one — that Cleveland is the new Pennsylvania.

Colorful urban blight probably had something to do with Dan Gilbert’s success in bringing casinos (and thereby partnership with Caesars) to Ohio right around the time Harrah’s Interactive was born and Caesars’ online poker/gambling strategy became more official.

Though the grand opening was delayed a few weeks, the Caesars-operated Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland begins taking brick-and-mortar bets May 14.

Posted by at 4:50 am

March 13, 2012

Is the Price of Poker Going Up?

Statistical Cost Survey for the 2012 WSOP

Vegas was hit hard by the bursting housing bubble and recession. As a result, WSOP-bound poker players found travel and lodging bargains over the past few summers. But with these and other ancillary economic factors in flux, 2012 could prove to be more challenging for frugal gamblers … unless you are an alcoholic vegan who flies no frills with no checked bags, rents a condo instead of getting a hotel room on (or near) the Strip, and opts out of any $1 million buy-in events. Then you should be OK.

Gas prices: If you’ve filled your gas tank lately, you know you’re paying more for a gallon of gas. On average, gasoline prices are running 7.8 percent higher than they were this time last year. If you’re planning a cross-country drive, you can anticipate some additional expense. Check out the gas prices by region here.

Airfares: Airlines are fairly efficient at passing on higher jet fuel costs to their passengers. Surprisingly, airfares to Vegas are substantially lower this year. Use Expedia’s “Trend Tracker” to see how much lower your route is this year over last. Low cost carriers have added flights to Vegas in the past year, keeping a lid on airfares. Spirit Airlines has added 119 weekly flights into Vegas since last year and Allegiant enjoy Air has added 32 flights per week — while higher cost carriers have cut back. Airport statistic geeks will McCarran’s monthly flight activity reports.

Hotel Rates: When MGM’s City Center opened in December 2009, it dumped more than 4,000 hotel rooms into an already saturated market. But the slow and steady economic recovery has been taking up some of the slack. As a result, the average daily rate (ADR) for hotels is higher this year. According to their latest financial statements, the ADR for MGM Strip properties is $127, up 10.4% from last year. The ADR for Caesars Entertainment’s Las Vegas properties is up 8.3 percent to $9.  The Wynn’s ADR is up 15.2 percent over last year, coming in at $242.

Condo/House Rentals: House and condo rental prices are marginally lower this year, according to the latest from HUD’s Fair Market Rents Data Set. If you and your friends are heading out for a prolonged WSOP stay, you might consider a short-term house rental. But be careful. Rental scams in Las Vegas involving foreclosed properties are not uncommon. Read this article to learn more about these scams.

Food and Beverage Prices: Overal, food and beverage prices are up 4.2% since last year. It’s especailly bad if you lived off hamburgers (up 10.6%) and coffee (up 15.4%). Vegans, however, will save this year (fresh fruits and vegatables are down 0.1%). And its not too bad for alcoholics. Stocking the bar at your condo will only be 2.1% more expensive this year. You can check out the BLS CPI report for more details.

WSOP Buy-Ins: If your goal is to play the most expensive event at the WSOP, you are going to have to fork over much more than last year. Last year’s $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship looks like a bargain compared with this year’s $1 million “Big One for One Drop” event. If $1,000 and $1,500 buy-in events are more your speed, however, you are in luck. The 2012 WSOP schedule includes two additional events in the weekend-warrior price range. Less good news for the frugal: juice is still 10 percent for these events (7 percent for entry fees and 3 percent for tournament staff).

Posted by at 12:36 pm