Archive for the ‘Las Vegas Conventions’ Category

Vegas Cops Cracking Down on Cheap Water Sales

by , Jul 5, 2012 | 12:08 am

The man anxiously spies over the side of a pedestrian footbridge near Bally’s, searching for police officers patrolling the Strip on a blistering summer day.

He is a lookout for unlawful vendors selling bottles of water to hot and thirsty tourists. His cellphone rings constantly as his fellow street peddlers call for status updates on where police officers are. This time, it’s his jumpy business associate worried about police busting a nearby vendor.

“Calm down, man, I’m watching,” the man tells his business partner Monday.

He won’t give his name as he chats about his eight-year stint selling water bottles on Las Vegas Boulevard South and how he has been arrested three times in that period for doing business without a license. He said he can’t get a business license because Clark County government doesn’t view his operation as legitimate.

“We’re not selling drugs or ripping people off,” the man said. “I do it for a living to get food for the family.”

More…


The Return of the Las Vegas Local

by , Jun 17, 2012 | 12:00 am

According to the latest Nevada State Gaming Board report, gaming revenues in Nevada rose nearly 6.2% in April. And as Chris Sieroty noted, high-end baccarat was a key driver for the state’s performance as well as the Strip’s 7.5% revenue boost.

High-end baccarat gets a lot of attention because it is seen as a barometer for the health of the Chinese economy. But by focusing on the high-end metrics, analysts are missing the resurgence in the low-end, locals, market.

The Local Rebound

The Strip’s gains were dwarfed by two of Clark County’s smaller gaming markets. In April, gaming revenues in North Las Vegas, cited as one of the ten worst-run cities in America, were up 42.3%. Downtown gaming revenues also got a nice 25.0% bump, aided in part by the reopening of the Plaza last September.

You won’t find too many baccarat whales Downtown or in North Las Vegas. What you will find are slot-playing locals. Slot revenues rose 53.3% in North Las Vegas and up 34.7% Downtown. Local-centric Station Casinos offered more evidence of a home-grown rebound, posting its best earnings in three years.

No Thanks to Tourists or Poker

Better gaming revenues gains were not the result of more visitors to Las Vegas. April was the first month in roughly two years to see a drop in visitor volume. According to the latest Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority report, visitor volume was down 0.9%. Hotel and motel occupancy was down 1.2%, while convention attendance dropped 4.9%.

Gaming revenues were also not helped by poker. Card game revenues in April were down 0.6% in the state, down 8% in Clark County and down 10.9% on the Strip. Unlike visitor volume, the drop in poker is not a new phenomenon. Poker’s waning revenue stream is a continuing trend, which we covered here in detail.


WSOPotty Break?

by , May 31, 2012 | 3:39 am

This was an easy one to predict. It’s still too early in the 2012 WSOP for investigators to conclusively determine what was behind Urinalgate. Was it a simple oversight, boys-club misogyny, or just an early-Series example of the heartless Caesars corporate empire at work, with suits looking at bottom line numbers — well fuck, women are only 3 percent of the field, so what’s the problem? — and forgetting that customers are more than just numbers in a database.

(And some of whom can get downright pissy on Twitter!)

rio ladies bathroom wsop las vegas

Two men enter, one man leave.

The team from Caesars Interactive Entertainment, in alliance with the Rio Convention Center, reverted back to a separate but equal bathroom policy after an early morning executive confab yesterday. Nice spin about how responsive they can be. But did any of you go in the formerly ladies room? I did (how could I not? It was a chance to see part of the Rio that I had never seen) and I can tell you this wasn’t a hard decision for the WSOP. IF you took a pee in there (the left side) it became an obvious no-brainer as the men who walked into the ladies room, myself included, wandered toward the back only to briefly think, “Huh, where are the urinals?”

Oh right, women’s room, duh.

More…


Vegas is Changing…Again

by , Mar 22, 2012 | 3:49 pm

There are times when a gambler yearns for a fresh start, when past losses magically disappear. You could also say that the gambling city of Las Vegas is built — and rebuilt — on the idea of fresh starts. Rooms are gutted and names are changed at a frenetic pace, all with a goal to wipe the slate clean.

If you haven’t been to Vegas lately, these are some of its latest reincarnations:

On May 15, 2011, the Sahara closed its doors. At the time, there were no plans for the Rat Pack’s former home. But in November, the Clark County Commissions approved plans to renovate the property. Alas, the roller coaster will not live to see another day.

The Las Vegas Hilton is now LVH- Las Vegas Hotel and Casino: The hotel, located near the convention center, lost its Hilton franchise in January. The LVH is currently being run by a court approved receiver while Goldman Sachs proceeds with its foreclosure of the property.

Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel changed its name the D Las Vegas. The “D” apparently stands for “Downtown,” “Detroit” (hometown of the Stevens brothers who now own the property) and/or CEO Derrick Stevens’ nickname “D.” The new owners are also kicking in $15 million to renovate the old Fitz.

O’Shea’s celebrated one last Saint Patrick’s Day before it closes its doors on April 30, 2012. But this Strip casino owned by Caesars Entertainment will rise again. The new O’Shea’s will open as part of the Linq project, due for completion sometime in mid-2013.

Wynn Resorts has a restaurant named Okada, named after a one-time (?)  partner in the casino. But Steve Wynn and Kazou Okada have been embroiled in an epic feud. As a result, the restaurant will be renamed Ohtaki and will include some changes to the menu.

Steve Wynn also cut ties with chef extraordinaire Alex Stratta. Needless to say the Wynn’s restaurant Alex has disappeared and will be replaced with a new nightclub named Climaxx.

The Lady Luck closed in 2006 for renovations. But financing collapsed and the lay dormant for years. But the downtown casino and hotel is now scheduled for a rebirth as the Downtown Grand in April 2013.

The Playboy Club at the Palms is closing in June 2012. Will the rabbit warren be reincarnated?  The Vegas odds are in its favor.


Quick Weekend Link-Dump

by , Mar 3, 2012 | 5:38 am

Every week I open tab after tab and occasionally star a website intent on sharing it with you in some sorta blog capacity … hopefully before my browser crashes. So in an attempt to keep tabs on the poker-industry, here’s a grab-bag of relatively new (to me at least) and noteworthy sites to visit because either they’re really good or I owe someone a favor.

PokerFraudAlert.com

    — Former Neverwin/Donkdown bandmate (and WSOP bracelet winner) Todd Witteles is going solo to be a crusader for clearing out the scumbags in poker. (And Dan Druff doesn’t need-no fancy “blog” or “forum” software to do it!)

LegalPokerSites.com — These guys hustle to stay on top of poker-related legal matters across America and worldwide … and provide a thorough rundown of the newsbuzz should a certain site’s editor need to catch up with what’s been going on!

StackemCoaching.com — Yet another training site … but this one (led by John Kim and Joe Tehan) focusses on live play and offers coaching via audio lessons and live sweats with their stable of pros. Their students (and coaches) make up many of the local grinder thugs, and thus SEC is shaping the way a certain sect of Vegas player handles their chips these days.

IGamingNorthAmerica.com — Politicians, regulators, and gaming industry nerds executives descend upon Planet Hollywood over the next few days for a boutique confab with Oscar Goodman introducing Caesars’ chief bean-counter to deliver the keynote. Who woulda ever guessed such a policy-wonk road show like IGNA (with panels on taxation modeling, regulatory timelines, internet security, and liquidity paradigms) would be such a hot ticket in 2012?

StupidBetz.com — Possibly in preparation for the inevitable legalization of making semi-obscene jackass-style prop bets online … or maybe just to encourage stupid behavior for money … this site pays out “stupidbuckz” for people to eat bugs, shave heads, and stick tongues in mousetraps.


Casino Corporations Hooking Up at Epic Pace

by , Feb 20, 2012 | 4:30 am

There’s a corporate rush like something that hasn’t been seen for a while in the casino industry — to secure and develop poker-related assets. After the Department of Justice’s quiet reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act, and subsequent political buzz it created , corporate gaming partners jumped into bed together faster than you can change a relationship status on Facebook.

• Kentucky-based horse racing and casino company Churchill Downs acquires the assets of Bluff Media.

• Caesars Entertainment extends its partnership with 888 Holdings.

• MGM, Boyd Gaming, and BwinParty looking for a wild poker three-way.

• Vegas-based ShuffleMaster dangling diamonds in front of OnGame Network.

• Pinnacle Entertainment in acquisition talks with newly formed Epic Poker League.

• Golden Nugget partners up with ChiliGaming for online poker.

What’s next? Will Pokerati be getting a bid from Palms Casino Resort?

More…


Nevada Gaming License for Sale – Only $5,000?

by , Oct 6, 2011 | 10:54 pm

One guy I was hoping to find at G2E this year but did not was this guy …

nv license plate gaming g2e

I don’t remember his name and certainly not his email address … but I met him last year at the same conference, where he was trying to sell his Nevada Gaming license … plate! I seem to remember him saying something about acquiring it back in the 90s. And I recall he was asking $5,000 — for the set! Or maybe that’s what he paid for it, and definitely wanted more? I know I’ve got those notes somewhere … but guessing if he wasn’t trying again to sell them this year he musta found a buyer?

nevada gaming license

I’ve heard it can be kinda cut-throat in the high-risk-high-reward Nevada license plate futures market.

Just a few days ago, someone put up a Nevada REALTOR license (plate) on Craigslist for $3,000 obo.


#G2E Podcast: “The Inter- vs. Intra-state Divide”

by , | 9:27 pm

After hearing AGA and Big Casino big dogs barking up a big game about coming federal poker legislation, Mike went to a G2E session offering an almost opposite perspective on the “inevitable” future of fully legalized online poker in the US.

Attorney Tony Cabot moderated a debate between I. Nelson Rose and Martin Owens, two venerable internet gaming counselmen who’ve been following the legalities of internet poker (worldwide) since long before the DOJ knew the names Isai Scheinberg, Ray Bitar, et al.

Episode 2: Giddy-up? “The Inter- vs. Intra-state Divide”
[audio:/tao/g2e-2011-inter-intra-state.mp3]

Rose took the strongest position that the federal iPoker legislation stirring up so much excitement is going nowhere … at least not before we see state-by-state legalization … kinda like what happened in the Washington DC, only less sketchy and corrupt?

It’s all about the money, Rose and Owens say. Supposedly horse racing — with maybe a little Powerball lottery mixed in for liquidity’s sake– is where we’ll find the model for the intrastate internet poker … 7-year timeline for laws to populate across the continent … Keep your eye on Iowa as the dark horse in this race.


“Federalist Poker”

by , Oct 5, 2011 | 5:32 pm

Have a listen to the premiere episode of Pokerati “all up in” @G2EVegas. Still workshopping the title … but come along for the ride as I find a sucker friend and colleague to fill me in on what’s been going on at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

In this first episode, Mike, aka Lavigne in Austin aka @AustinML, discusses a session titled:

Online Gaming: The Legal Landscape, Part 2

download
[audio:/tao/g2e-2011-aga-online.mp3]

It featured Frank Fahrenkopf from the AGA, Caesars’ DC powerhouse Jan Jones (the former mayor of Las Vegas is recipient of this year’s lifetime achievement award), a lobbyist for companies looking to do business with licensed casinos, and a guy representing Native American interests. Here why they all seem convinced that intrastate online poker is going nowhere, but interstate online poker is right around the corner.

Some of you probably remember Mike Lavigne. He’s not much of a player (lol), but the former Texas state director of the PPA and fellow co-founder of the Texas Poker PAC, has been part of Pokerati since way-back. And with my government and public relations cronie in town for G2E … well, it made me think we needed a cheap knock-off of Tao of Pokerati, obv — not just to keep me posted, but to let the busy people out there doing real work get a taste of the wonk-fest and sales orgy going on at the Sands Convention Center this week.

G2E is arguably the biggest annual confab of gaming industry brainpower in the world … and though some may find it hard to get interested in a Las Vegas convention that doesn’t even include a poker tournament … what goes on here will be affecting your poker (and overall casino) experience in the future whether you like it or not.


The Future of Online Poker (as per the AGA)

by , Sep 28, 2011 | 4:59 pm

The 11th annual Global Gaming Expo kicks off next week in a new location, the Sands Convention Center, in Las Vegas. Of all the gaming expos worldwide (there seem to be about two a month these days) G2E is one of the big ones (if not THE big one) … not just for vendors hawking comfortable casino seats and slot-machine rides, but also for the sessions in which casino industry leaders gather to chat about everything from gaming technology to online regulation to Indian nations to rewards programs.

Check out the lineup for G2E ’11 here.

Just got the press release about what AGA/G2E chief Frank Fahrenkopf plans to speak on in his media address: (Yay. Looking forward to it.)

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE CASINO INDUSTRY, ONLINE POKER TO BE
KEY TOPICS AT FAHRENKOPF’S ANNUAL G2E MEDIA BRIEFING

Preliminary Topline Results of Major Economic Impact Study to be Unveiled

Also got word that this year G2E has very clear “no audio or video recording” rules for their extra-informative sessions. (Crap, there go Pokerati’s plans for recording as many as possible and sharing them with you and others who didn’t pay to attend.)

Either that wasn’t policy last year or I mighta missed the memo. (Oops?)

From Pokerati’s vast archive of yet-to-be-seen-or-heard content … have a listen to Fahrenkop’s 2010 G2E media pow-wow. And hear, now with the benefit of hindsight, what the AGA leader had to say about how some wanted to work with (or against) online poker sites such as Full Tilt and PokerStars … and what the vision was (and presumably still is) for a combination of state and federal regulations being the future path for legalized online gambling in the US.

AGA’s “new reality” (circa 2010): 1. Doing the Macau-rena; 2. “Hey Harry, pull my finger!”; 3. Poker (only) face.

MEDIA BRIEFING: Frank Fahrenkopf at 2010 G2E
40:22

[audio:https://pokerati.com/av/Fahrenkopf-G2E-X.mp3]

More…


Grey Friday?

by , Apr 29, 2011 | 12:41 pm

Not everyone is calling it “Black Friday”. For Euros who opted out of the US in ’06 and mighta started believing that coulda been a wrong decision, it was “White Friday”.

The DOJ’s virtual handcuffing of Full Tilt and PokerStars two weeks ago not only neutered two industry giants (who made billions in North America while others sat on the sidelines), but also supposedly leveled the playing field worldwide for US-abstainers who supposedly found it harder to compete in Europe or anywhere against companies benefitting from the vast liquidity American players provided.

Thus the inaugural iGaming North America conference in Las Vegas next week is kicking off their new-era industry confab with a special session called Assessing ‘Grey Friday’ and the Expected Fallout … get it? Black + White = Gray Grey.

Should be interesting to hear from gaming industry insiders who’ve never appeared on Poker After Dark or in Day 1 chip counts speaking about “the road to regulation”, as per the theme of @iGamNA‘s shindig.

Check out the lineup here. You’ll see both Stu and I are serving on panels. @GamingCounsel‘s gonna be schoolin’ about Canada …

  • Mapping Canada’s Future in Online Gambling
  • … while I’m a panelist for the closing session:

  • The New Challenge for Online Poker – Playing the Hand That’s Been Dealt
  • There’s no live-stream as far as I know, but I’ll be sure to report back as influential industry experts (and a token blogger) assess the important questions moving forward … for me probably starting with, do I need to get a tie?


    Pokerati Mincast: Zynga Poker Girl FTW!

    Zynga Pokercon Vegas Weekend

    by , Mar 18, 2011 | 12:30 pm

    The Zynga Pokercon is underway at the Palms. Right now some 500 people are packed in to an upstairs ballroom attending “Zynga U” — a mini poker boot camp for Zynga players — with Annie Duke as the lead professor. I think they’re at the part where she teaches them why Q4 is a bad starting hand against a raise and a re-raise in early position.

    Perfect time for me to “work the hallways” … also perfect time to kick off my experimental “Pokerati Mincast” — a super-short audio and/or video taste of what this weekend is all about.

    Sure enough, I found this lovely lady (I thought she was selling cigarettes) who was kind enough to explain to me one of the “games” they have here for players this weekend.