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.
State gaming regulators cautioned the casino industry Monday about the use of Google Glass by customers, saying the wearable computers could be used as a cheating device by gamblers.
In a memo published last week on the Gaming Control Board website, Enforcement Division Chief Jerry Markling said casinos were encouraged “to prohibit the wearing and use of Google Glass, or devices with similar capabilities, while on the gaming floor or while playing any gambling game.”
Recently, casinos in several states said they were blocking customers from using Google Glass, which is designed to be attached to eye glass frames.
Caesars Entertainment Corp., and MGM Resorts International have already said they were prohibiting customers from using Google Glass while on the casino floor.
Google Glass has the ability to display information, take pictures, record video, and transmit and receive data via the Internet.
In its one-page memo, Markling said while there is nothing illegal regarding possession or wearing the devices, “the potential for inappropriate and/or illegal use in a casino does exist.”
The control board cited poker or table games where the users of Google Glass could share card information between players, which would give them an unfair advantage or allow them to cheat.
The first three months of 2013 have sparked cautious optimism for the economic recovery of Nevada’s casino industry.
A new report for March appears to build on that trend.
Statewide gaming revenues grew 7.04 percent in March to $914.8 million, the state’s second-straight monthly increase. On the Strip, gaming revenues grew 13.13 percent to $507.6 million, the second straight double-digit increase .
For the first three months of the year, statewide gaming revenues are up 2.6 percent. Strip gaming revenues are up 6.7 percent.
Following release of the figures Friday by the Gaming Control Board, analysts told investors they wanted to see more than just three months of Strip gaming revenue totals before deeming the patient fully cured.
Gov. 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.”
State gaming regulators are looking into the relationship between 2-week-old Internet poker website Ultimate Poker and an unlicensed service provider used to identify new players.
In an email, Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said gaming agents are working with officials from Ultimate, which is majority owned by Station Casinos.
Over the weekend, Ultimate Gaming, parent of Ultimate Poker, said in a statement through a spokesman that on Thurday , it “discontinued” using services from Iovation. The company according to poker news resources, was linked to a 2008 online cheating scandal that brought down Ultimate Bet, which is not related to Ultimate Poker.
Burnett said Iovation was not a registered service provider with Nevada but the company’s services were utilized by CAMS, an Nevada-approved service provider.
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.
Two high-profile incidents and the fast-approaching summer months led state gaming regulators and Las Vegas police to issue a stern warning Thursday to hotel-casino operators: Keep a close watch on your nightclubs and pool parties or face disciplinary action for any illegal activity.
In a memorandum from Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett and Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, resort leaders were told they are responsible for any criminal conduct in their venues, even if a nightclub, ultra lounge or day club is operated by a third-party vendor.
“Recent investigations have not only shown a lack of enforcement effort to curtail criminal activity on the part of patrons, but that venue staff have played an active role in condoning and/or facilitating the criminal activity,” Burnett and Gillespie wrote.
In an interview, Burnett said last month’s shooting and ensuing multicar wreck on the Strip, which left three people dead, played a large role in the notice to gaming licensees. The grisly, pre-dawn shooting had its origins in a dispute at the Aria valet area.
UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research put out some data collected from NGCB’s Gaming Revenue Reports that paints a rather interesting picture of the poker world over the past 20 years. The chart you can see here — showing the number of poker rooms, the number of tables, and total rake — pretty much tells the story of poker … and I couldn’t help but want to graph it!
What I’m not sure of is whether or not these numbers include tournament entry fees or represent only cash game collections. But either way, even with the WSOP finding creative ways to report definitive growth year over year, I’m fairly certain the shape of both graphs would look pretty much the same.
Representatives of Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings wanted to assure the Nevada Gaming Commission that the company, which operates legal Internet gaming websites in Europe, would comply with the state’s regulatory structure.
After the company spent almost two hours earlier this month making its case to the Gaming Control Board, the commission needed less than an hour Thursday to unanimously approve 888 for an interactive gaming license.
“Much has been put on the record in regards to 888,” Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Pete Bernhard said. “All my concerns have been addressed.”
The company, which was found suitable in 2011 as a business partner with Caesars Entertainment Corp. to operate World Series of Poker-branded websites in Europe, will partner with Caesars on interactive gaming in Nevada.
Gaming revenues in January fell 12.4 percent statewide and 18.7 percent on the Strip based on a challenging comparison to figures produced by Nevada’s resort industry a year ago.
The Gaming Control Board said Friday that Nevada casinos collected $909.2 million from customers during January, down from $1.038 billion a year ago. On the Strip, casinos won $507 million, compared with $623.5 in the same month of 2012.
January 2012 was the state’s first billion dollar gaming revenue month since September 2008 – a 40-month drought – fueled by the lucrative Chinese New Year holiday celebration.
This year, Chinese New Year, and the high-end baccarat play associated with the event, fell into February.
Because Chinese New Year moves around the calendar, gaming analysts said the combined two-month figures provide a better reading.
The 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.
Amazing how fast the system can work when they want it.
Opinions vary about the impact of the new law including how soon and how effective the systems will be without opening up their games to other states. Success will depend on the size, diversity, etc of the player base and this law allows Nevada to negotiate with other states to offer internet poker. Even more companies are now lining up in Nevada to get in the game and hopefully other states follow along.
Smarter people than myself will be posting here soon with their thoughts.
Photo: Theresa Danna-Douglas /University of Nevada, Reno
Bill Eadington never built a billion-dollar Strip resort. He never managed a riverboat casino or a gambling hall of any size. Eadington never created a new table game. He never developed an innovative slot machine.
Yet, the influence Eadington carried inside and outside gaming circles during his 44-year academic career as an economics professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, went beyond measure. He founded the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at UNR.
Dozens of gaming industry professionals owe their careers to Eadington. Emerging gaming markets sought out Eadington’s research and advice as a consultant on issues related to regulation and law, public policy, and legalization.
He paved the road for academics in other disciplines, such as sociology and history, to study gaming.
We’ve got two One Drop events … the Little One for One Drop — for players thirsty for charity action in a small four-figure range … and the Medium One for One Drop, aka the High Rollers event for a $111,111 buy-in.
Other than that, on quick scan it seems to be a lot more big-field no-limit hold’em … maybe with a few gimmick Savage Tournament knock-off events (ante-only, re-entry, etc.) thrown in for good measure. But lest you accuse Caesars Interactive of not being able to jump on a trend du’jour … there’s also an Open Face Chinese Poker exhibition event.
62 bracelets (I can’t remember, is that a lot or a little?) over 48 days, May 29-June 15. Final nine resuming in November.
You can expect at least 50,000 poker players to end up with broken dreams … and probably a few dozen shattered marriages to boot! But hey, so long as Caesers keeps it fun, players keep coming back for more … and it’s like every year you have a whole new crop of 21-year-olds coming of age!
(Of course there the battle is with Zynga, which has a unique advantage of being able to market their soon-to-be gambling Texas Hold’em social poker game — and slot machines — to 13-year-olds. Seriously, give it 5 more years …? NGCB stamp of approval pending.)
You probably can also expect continued Cold War with PokerStars. Because for all the positive spin that goes along with an official tournament schedule announcement, and for all the hype of rags-to-riches jackpot dreams — they’re calling one $1,500 event “The Millionaire Maker” … the press release makes 0 (zero) mention of Chris Moneymaker on the 10th anniversary of his historic WSOP run. But hey, with or without the marketing power of PokerStars’ World Champion Everyday Joe Pro, the WSOP has done a good job over the years of keeping their brand at center of the poker universe burning bright — almost like a supernova! — particularly during the dead heat of Las Vegas summers.