Archive for the ‘Inside Gaming’ Category

Nevada GCB Investigation of Cantor Gaming Stuck in Mud?

by , Aug 22, 2013 | 9:16 am

Michael Colbert, caught up in a major New York sportsbook bust, has brought the heat on Cantor Gaming.

The case against Michael Colbert, for his alleged role in internet sports betting malfeasance, has brought the Nevada heat on his former employer.

A state investigation of sports book operator Cantor Gaming, launched after a company official was indicted for his alleged involvement in an illegal bookmaking and money laundering operation, has gone radio silent.

That doesn’t mean the matter has been swept away — not by any stretch.

Sources confirmed last week the Gaming Control Board’s inquiry into Cantor is moving forward, albeit at a slow pace.

Agents are trying to determine to what extent Mike Colbert, Cantor’s former sports book director, had with the betting operation, which was associated with offshore Internet wagering sites.

Investigators also are trying to determine if any of the illegal bookmaking allegations can be linked to Cantor. The state-licensed sports book operator was not a target of prosecutors, nor was the company even mentioned in the New York-based indictment.

After the inquiry opened, Cantor instituted damage control measures. The company distanced itself from Colbert, immediately severing ties with the oddsmaker.

Cantor went about its business. The company operates eight Las Vegas race and sports books — The Venetian, Palazzo, M Resort, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Tropicana, Silverton, Hard Rock and Palms — poker rooms, and manages a line of mobile gambling products.

However, Colbert has suddenly resurfaced.

Cantor officials can’t be too happy about this turn of events.

Colbert, 33, was the most prominent name among the 25 individuals indicted in October by New York authorities on allegations of ties to the illegal betting ring. Law enforcement alleged the operation yielded payouts of $50 million over an 18-month period.

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Adelson Lashes out at MGM, Caesars

by , Aug 13, 2013 | 10:08 pm

Having navigated MGM Resorts International through almost four years of turbulent economic waters, Jim Murren has grown used to hearing negative comments from haters and detractors.

What surprised Murren, however, were some recent vitriolic remarks directed at his company from a competing corporate office down the street.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson used his quarterly earnings conference call to blame Caesars Entertainment Corp. and MGM Resorts for driving down hotel room rates along the Strip, thus, diminishing Adelson’s earnings in Las Vegas.

Adelson claimed the industry-leading long-term debt carried by Caesars ($23.7 billion) and MGM Resorts ($13.1 billion) affects the way they do business, such as lowered room rates to drive up occupancy.

“I don’t necessarily blame them,” Adelson said. “I suppose if I were in that position, I might do the same thing.”

In an interview following MGM Resorts’ quarterly earnings conference call last week, Murren, MGM’s chairman and CEO, said his company and Caesars have a better understanding of how Las Vegas works these days than Adelson does. Las Vegas Sands drew 86 percent of its quarterly revenue from Asia.

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Caesars Surpasses Zynga in “Social” Casino Space

by , Jul 16, 2013 | 12:14 pm

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With WSOP.com in play and in more poker players’ pockets, Zynga finds it tougher to bring players to their tables.

The Empire put a hit on the Mafia and buried the farm.

Two years after Caesars Entertainment Corp. perplexed Wall Street by acquiring social gaming operation Playtika, the casino giant has moved past rival Zynga Inc. to the top of the business model.

Social casino games are free to play on the Internet, through Facebook and other platforms. Customers have the option of paying a nominal fee — often less than $1 — to acquire thousands of gaming tokens to increase their virtual bankroll.

Apparently, those pennies add up.

One Wall Street analyst estimated social gaming is now worth $1.2 billion worldwide in annual revenues.

Caesars Interactive Entertainment, a subsidiary of the casino company that controls Playtika and the World Series of Poker, now owns a large chunk of that market.

Playtika’s Slotomania brand — slot machine and bingo-like games — is fueling the effort, which sent Zynga, owners of Farmville, Mafia Wars, Words with Friends, and a platform of casino games, including Zynga Poker, into second place.

“Social casino gaming has essentially gone from being a nonexistent sector a few years ago to one of the most popular gaming genres on desktop and mobile (devices),” Adam Krejcik, managing director of Eilers Research, recently wrote.

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Vegas Locals Casino Market Showing Signs of Economic Rebound

by , Jul 12, 2013 | 2:38 am

The locals gaming market has suffered enough.

Gaming revenues produced by casinos in North Las Vegas, along the Boulder Strip, in Henderson and throughout unincorporated Clark County are down a collective 2.6 percent through April.

By comparison, during the first four months of 2013, gaming revenues have climbed 4.7 percent on the Strip and 1.8 percent statewide.

It long has been predicted that neighborhood casinos would be the last to recover as the Southern Nevada economy slowly ascends after bottoming out in 2010.

Amid all the doom and gloom, however, two analysts in the past week said they sense a rebound could take hold in the locals gaming market in the second half of the year.

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State by State by State by …

by , Jun 28, 2013 | 12:41 pm

No one can say for certain how much New Jersey’s online gaming market will actually be worth.

State regulators, lawmakers, casino industry insiders and Wall Street analysts have estimated Internet wagers could generate as much as $1.2 billion in gaming revenues in the first year — roughly 40 percent of what Atlantic City’s 12 casinos collected in 2012.

That’s one reason Internet gaming providers have hopes for a seat at the table.

The state has outlined an aggressive schedule. Regulations have been drafted and the Casino Control Commission wants to see cards in the air — or on computer screens — by Thanksgiving.

New Jersey has restricted operation of online gaming to Atlantic City’s casinos, which have until June 30 to line up their website technology partners. The state set a July 29 deadline for completed applications to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Anyone missing the deadlines could be sidelined until next year.

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Don’t Expect a Nevada Lottery Any Time Soon

by , Jun 19, 2013 | 6:29 am

Let’s halt one rumor before it gains traction.

Scientific Games Corp.’s $1.5 billion acquisition of slot machine manufacturer WMS Industries doesn’t mean a statewide lottery is headed to Nevada.

New York-based Scientific Games provides lottery systems and equipment to U.S. states, Canadian provinces and foreign governments. The company was actively seeking to acquire a traditional slot machine vendor when the buyout was announced in February.

It wasn’t about bringing a lottery to Nevada.

That said, Wall Street, which was skeptical about the deal, is starting to find some comfort with the transaction.

Scientific Games is paying $26 per share for WMS, roughly 59 percent above the slot maker’s closing stock price on Jan. 31.

When the buyout was announced, both WMS and Scientific Games officials said the transaction would provide $100 million of synergistic cost-savings between the merged companies.

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PokerStars CEO Pays $50 Million for Clean Bill of Legal Health

by , Jun 18, 2013 | 12:54 pm

With Black Friday cases winding up, Mark Scheinberg could make out as the biggest winner in the poker universe.

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.

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Nevada Online Poker Rivalry Brewing

by , Jun 13, 2013 | 9:55 am

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.

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