Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

April 14, 2013

The Man Who Lost $127 Million

Opinion: Responsible Gambling and the Duty of Care

Robert Turner OP-ED

Robert Turner

OP-ED

Putting a 24-hour casino in every home comes with great responsibility. Ensuring a safe, responsible gambling experience should be of paramount importance. Online gambling companies talk incessantly about revenue, but it is everyone’s responsibility–from regulatory bodies to operators, from governments to the citizens themselves–to require that all proper consumer protections and safeguards are in place before online gambling can go live. It is imperative that all stakeholders in online gambling be well versed not just in its benefits but in its pitfalls as well.

Perhaps one of the most dramatic illustrations of what happens when a gaming company puts revenue before responsibility is the case of Terrance Watanabe who is reported to have lost most of his personal fortune recklessly gambling in Las Vegas. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal published December 5, 2009, “During a year-long gambling binge at the Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in 2007, Terrance Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million. The run is believed to be one of the biggest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history.” While Steve Wynn is reported to have barred Watanabe from his casino for compulsive gambling, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. welcomed him and derived 5.6% of its Las Vegas gambling revenue from him that year.

This case showed such an egregious lack of sound business judgment on the part of Harrah’s, now Caesars Entertainment, that the company was fined $225,000 by New Jersey regulators in March of this year. Gary Thompson, Director of Corporate Communications for Caesars Entertainment said, “Because of the confidential settlement agreement we reached with Watanabe, neither he nor we can make any official comment.” However, he points out that Caesars hired an outside agency to investigate the situation and made procedural changes deemed necessary to prevent recurrences.

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Posted by at 1:00 pm

February 28, 2013

Crotchety Billionaire Problems: Adelson Sues Reporter for Libel

WSJ poker writer assisted with offending article

SheldonAdelsonLas Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson has sued a Wall Street Journal reporter for alleged libel over the way he was described in a December article concerning his company’s legal battle with its former Macau operations chief executive.

According to the newspaper, Adelson filed the lawsuit Feb. 22 in Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance and is seeking “damages, including aggravated, exemplary and special damages.”

The article ran under the headline “Fired Executive Rankles Casino Industry” in the U.S. edition of the newspaper and appeared in overseas editions as well as online.

The article compared Steven Jacobs as “a 6-foot-5-inch-tall Ivy League graduate who colleagues say rarely curses,” with Adelson, described as “a scrappy, foul-mouthed billionaire from working-class Dorchester, Mass.”

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January 28, 2013

Las Vegas Sands Cuts off International Money Transfers

High-roller convenience curtailed amid DOJ investigation

LasVegasSandsNevada’s top gaming regulator said Friday his agency was aware of changes Las Vegas Sands Corp. implemented to its compliance procedures and expected other companies, both inside and outside the gaming industry, would take similar steps.

Las Vegas Sands, which operates casinos in Macau and Singapore, as well as The Venetian and Palazzo resorts on the Strip, halted the execution of international money transfers for its high-end customers, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The moves came as the casino operator faces scrutiny from U.S. and international regulators, people familiar with the matter told the newspaper.

Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts Ltd. are both being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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December 12, 2012

Welcome (Back?) to America

Inside Gaming: PokerStars effort to buy Atlantic City casino raises many questions

The idea that online gaming giant PokerStars would buy the struggling Atlantic Club Hotel-Casino in Atlantic City brings additional intrigue into the ongoing Internet gambling legalization debate.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that PokerStars is negotiating to purchase the Boardwalk property from private equity group Colony Capital for less than $50 million.

This part is not a surprise. For that price, acquiring the casino originally built by Steve Wynn in the 1980s as the Golden Nugget and most recently operated as the Atlantic City Hilton is practically a steal.

One question, however, supersedes all others. Can PokerStars which agreed to pay $731 million to the federal government in August to settle a nine-count criminal indictment actually gain licensing approval from the ultra-strict New Jersey gaming regulators?

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July 1, 2012

One Drop to the Rest of the World

WSJ on million-dollar buy-in tourney

Before Black Friday, the poker world seemed to avoid the economic calamities faced by the rest of the world. I’m sure that made the ROW just love all those players seen on ESPN Full Tilt & PokerStars TV. Now, lest we be seen in the same way as the rest of the world when it comes to money, we have One Drop — that holy fugk big event that arguably changes multiple paradigms in the poker world moving forward.

Here’s Alexandra from the Wall Street Journal trying to explain the concept to people who have a hard time thinking of even a $1,500 buy-in as a small event:

Posted by at 3:04 pm

October 29, 2009

New Steam for Anti-UIGEA Measures?

I kinda thought interest in pushing through the Barney Frank bill (in 2009 at least) had waned … but the Wall Street Journal has an article on the tens of billions available to US coffers by lifting the perceived (if not ill-conceived) online gambling ban, theoretically keeping “our issue” on the table:

Bill Lifting US Online Gambling Ban Seen Raising $42B In Rev

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Posted by at 12:32 pm

January 5, 2009

Shocking: Gambling Takes a Hit During Tough Economic Times

Oh, And Someone Still Thinks Poker is a Fad

Straight from the mainstream press, the gambling industry has fallen on hard times, following the trend of…well…just about every other industry there is. According to Bloomberg, Atlantic City has seen a significant drop in revenue for the second year in a row. New casino projects are on hold or canceled, and thousands of casino employees in AC have lost their jobs.

In the article, one expert predicts that Atlantic City will continue to sink:

James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, said the casino industry is vital for the economy of southern New Jersey and for the tax revenue it generates.

“It’s possible Atlantic City is past its peak,” said Hughes, who predicted the situation may worsen next year. “It could never go back to its past glory. It’s a much tougher game now.”

But another analyst predicts a recovery in 2010:

The U.S. gaming industry will “remain under significant pressure in 2009, with a recovery unlikely until 2010,” Michael Paladino, a Fitch Ratings analyst in New York, said in a Dec. 16 report.

In other news, the Wall Street Journal reported that gambling in general is in a downward spiral that will never be the same. *Insert Debbie Downer sound here.* In fact, one survey specialist who clearly doesn’t follow poker trends at the University of Pennsylvania thinks that A) poker is a fad, and B) it has peaked.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that ESPN’s poker-tournament coverage has become ensconced in the culture, card-playing for money among college-age youth declined in 2007 for the first time, according to a survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. “The fad has peaked,” survey director Dan Romer said.

Ummm, Mr. Romer, please note that that ESPN card-playing thingie to which you referred enjoyed its most righteous numbers ever just last month. Methinks we need another survey.

Posted by at 12:57 am