May 14, 2013
Says balance needed to ensure integrity, business investment
As chief regulator for New Jersey’s struggling casino industry, Matthew Levinson has an interesting balancing act.
The Casino Control Commission must ensure the market is free of corruption. At the same time, turning away potential investment could be viewed as counterproductive.
Levinson, 33, was appointed to a five-year term as the commission’s seventh chairman in August by Gov. Chris Christie.
In less than eight months on the job, he has experienced the gaming market’s financial ebbs and flows, the weeklong closure of casinos in October because of Superstorm Sandy, the emergence of online gaming giant PokerStars as buyer of a struggling Boardwalk casino, and the application of MGM Resorts International to regain its gaming license that it surrendered in 2010 after a stipulated agreement with the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Also, New Jersey lawmakers approved legislation allowing Atlantic City casinos to offer Internet gaming, and Christie has pushed the casinos to allow sports wagering, a move being fought in federal court.
May 1, 2013
So hmm, Vegas casinos generate in month about what Stars paid DOJ ...
A calendar shift that moved the lucrative Chinese New Year holiday into February sent Nevada gaming revenues soaring, contributing to the largest single-month total ever for the Strip.
Nevada casinos collected $1.073 billion in gaming revenues during February, a 15.1 percent increase compared with the same month a year ago according to figures released Wednesday by the Gaming Control Board.
The statewide gaming revenue total was the highest monthly amount produced by Nevada casinos since December 2007.
On the Strip, gaming revenues hit a record $696.1 million, a 31.2 percent increase.
“While February saw the timing benefit of a strong Chinese New Year, we think results still came in ahead of expectations,” Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Chard Beynon told investors.
The record figures were the result of high-end baccarat play associated with the 10-day Chinese New Year holiday. In 2012, the Chinese New Year was in January. In 2013, the holiday fell into February. As a result, gaming revenues in January declined 12.4 percent statewide and 18.7 percent on the Strip.
April 24, 2013
Sports arena part of the package
MGM Resorts International will spend $100 million to transform land along the Strip and surrounding the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts into an outdoor plaza and pedestrian mall with trendy shops, restaurants and a public park.
The plaza will serve as a gateway into a 20,000-seat sports arena, which the company will build behind the two resorts with national arena developer AEG.
The facades of New York-New York and Monte Carlo will be renovated as part of the retail, dining and entertainment district. The development will include several eateries, nightlife venues and entertainment attractions new to Las Vegas.
MGM Resorts announced the development today . Some initial construction has begun, and the company expects the retail and restaurant complex to open by early 2014.
“Our vision is to dramatically change the sidewalk along the Las Vegas Strip, creating an area that will greatly enhance the area and create an energy that you find in the world’s great cities,” MGM Resorts Chairman Jim Murren said in an interview.
April 10, 2013
$3.9 billion in just a month
Any predictions of a slowdown in Macau’s gaming market are long forgotten.
The Chinese gaming enclave shattered the region’s monthly gaming revenue record in March, with casinos collecting more than $3.92 billion from gamblers during the month.
The figure eclipsed the previous one-month record of $3.5 billion in gaming revenues, which was set in December. The March total accounted for a 25.4 percent increase over the amount casinos collected in March 2012.
The monthly results were released Tuesday by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The March total is the best year-over-year growth rate since January 2012, when gaming revenues increased by 35 percent.
Las Vegas Sands Corp., MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd. are the three American casino companies operating in Macau.
March 26, 2013
$100 million Hakkasan to open April 18 at MGM Grand
One of the Strip’s most expensive nightclub projects will debut next month.
Angel Management Group announced the opening schedule Tuesday for the Hakkasan Las Vegas at the MGM Grand.
The $100 million construction project removed the location of Studio 54 at the front of the hotel-casino for the development of a five-level restaurant and nightclub, that will offer indoor and outdoor views of the Strip.
The construction project expanded the space and redeveloped the front of the MGM Grand, which is owned by MGM Resorts International.
The Hakkasan nightclub portion of the facility will open April 18. The 10,000-square-foot nightclub will include different experiences and celebrity entertainment, including electronic music headliners Tiësto, Calvin Harris, deadmau5 and Steve Aoki.
March 19, 2013
Wynn Looks to Expand Its Casino Base with High-Luxe Toronto Resort
A Las Vegas-based gaming company has sent a letter to Toronto’s city manager expressing its interest in building a luxury casino-resort.
Much of the public debate on this issue has centered around a false choice between an outdated big-box slots model and no casino, Gamal Aziz, president and COO of Wynn Resorts Development, wrote in a two-page letter.
I am writing you to make it clear that we would offer another option, Aziz wrote. That is to create a luxury resort and spa experience that will confirm Toronto as a major global tourist and convention destination, one that will integrate seamlessly into the urban fabric of the city while standing out as an architectural asset.
The letter was sent March 4. A copy was obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday. Aziz said Wynn Resorts would work closely with the city to find an appropriate location.
March 12, 2013
Investors bullish for web casino futures
Approval of Internet gaming bills in Nevada and New Jersey less than a week apart helped fuel investors’ interest in the gaming industry during the last half of February.
The largest beneficiary was Caesars Entertainment Corp.
Nevada and New Jersey began implementing online gaming websites directed at customers gambling on computers or mobile devices within state borders.
Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Nevada’s interactive gaming bill Feb. 21 after less than one day of debate. Not to be outdone, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed his state’s online gaming bill Tuesday after state lawmakers approved changes suggested by the governor when he vetoed the initial legislation.
Caesars owns four of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos. In Las Vegas, Caesars operates 10 casinos on or near the Strip.
But the company also owns the popular World Series of Poker.
March 9, 2013
$3.4 billion in February; a boon to Vegas casino companies
Macau casinos collected $3.4 billion in gaming revenues during February, a 12 percent increase compared with a year ago, according to figures released Friday by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
For the first two months of 2013, Macau gaming revenues are up 9.4 percent over the same period in 2012.
Last year, Macau collected a record-setting $38 billion in gaming revenues.
RBC Capital Markets gaming analyst John Kempf told investors the February results “were encouraging” after the start of the Chinese New Year celebration during the month was slower than anticipated.
“It is likely that VIP volumes increased post Chinese New Year as the players avoided the crowds and extended their holiday past the typical seven to 10 days,” Kempf said.
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 22, 2013
Improving your poker life, blowing your poker mind
Our little low-stakes show continues to take shape. In this episode Andrew talks about making the shift to daytime play, Dave looks for Presidents Day booziness at his tables, and I learn too much about Planet Hollywood after not taking a proper piss break during the iGaming North America conference going on upstairs.
Also this week: Our favorite Vegas grinder poker apps, with a special look at the new addition of MGM Resorts to Bravo Poker Live; a preview of the upcoming Wynn Classic and its opening $250k guarantee; a $10k early morning freeroll at the Palms; and various jackpot promos and bonus offers that may or may not be floating your boat any particular casino’s way.
All this (more or less) for only some 30ish minutes of your time!
Vegas Grinders 1.2
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.
February 12, 2013
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.
February 5, 2013
MGM Resorts International entered into a partnership with a Canadian real estate developer to bid on, build and operate a hotel-casino complex in downtown Toronto.
In a statement, MGM Resorts Chairman Jim Murren said the 50/50 joint venture with The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Ltd. gives the Las Vegas-based casino giant a partner with extensive Canadian development experience.
In Cadillac Fairview we are partnering with the industry leader in developing high quality properties across North America and a company with whom we share a common vision for the development of an iconic integrated resort in Toronto,” Murren said.
MGM Resorts, along with Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Caesars Entertainment Corp., are exploring a potential casino development in Toronto. The Ontario Lottery Corp. has selected Toronto, Canadas largest city, for a single casino destination. But the concept still needs the approval of city leaders and residents.
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 21, 2013
Fact-finding jaunt to China deemed "a complete success"
Nevada’s three Gaming Control Board members traveled to Macau [last] week in an effort to re-establish the relationship with their regulatory counterparts in the world’s largest gambling market.
Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett characterized the trip as a “fact-finding’ mission and called the series of meetings, including talks with law enforcement officials in Hong Kong, “a complete success.”
He said the relationship between Nevada regulators and Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – often referred to at the DICJ – had not been very strong in recent years.
“We’ve established a good rapport with the DICJ and will lead to a good era of cooperation and discussions amongst the two agencies,” Burnett said late Thursday. “We were well-received and, as with all things in Asia, these relationships take time to nurture.”