“No other New Jersey online casino licensee has even eclipsed the $5 million threshold. The Golden Nugget’s pace-setting is the result of solid management, a strong platform and its willingness to innovate, such as the launch of live-dealer games.” — Steve Ruddock, on the Nugget’s record-setting $7.3 million January Internet-gambling haul.
We never thought of Sheldon Adelson as a big online guy but the Las Vegas Sands CEO felt it imperative to let the Hong Kong Stock Exchange know that Parisian Macao had racked up over five billion social-media impressions to date. That’s not all. Some 92 million tourists and locals patronized Sands China properties in 2017 — a 25% increase. And, just in case the Macao government reads things like SEC filings, he made a point of saying, “Sands China has now invested approximately US$13 billion to deliver on our promise to help Macau in its economic diversification and its continued evolution into the world’s leading business and leisure tourism destination.” Aside from the anomaly of Adelson using ‘Macau’ instead of his preferred spelling (‘Macao’), the notable thing is that he’s singing a serenade to the government that’s bound to appeal.
This should just get better for Adelson, as aforesaid guvmint is Continue reading
With concession renewal lurking around the 2020 corner, this might seem a risky time for MGM Resorts International to open a $3.4 billion casino in Macao. But MGM China CEO Grant Bowie says, “The concession renewal will not be determined by how successful we are at running casinos, it’s how successful we are at diversifying and allowing Macao to become more than just a gaming town.” Or, as boss Jim Murren put it, “We feel we’re the kind of company that the government would like to see here,” and MGM Cotai has a $13 million art collection to prove it. MGM met its self-imposed Chinese New Year deadline but not without compromise: only 23 of the gaming tables are new, not imported from MGM Grand Paradise. Also, only 500 hotel rooms are open, albeit booked solid. At peak, the resort is to have 1,390 hotel rooms available, but that’s a bit down the road. In the meantime, guests can busy themselves admiring the resort’s cutting-edge architecture.
Bowie knows the high stakes involved, telling assembled media the new megaresort was “vital in terms of the process of concession renewal.” It’s been an agonizing, five-year process, with many a setback on the way. Bowie finessed the question of a soft opening, saying, Continue reading
Posted in Atlantic City, Carl Icahn, Columbia Sussex, Cosmopolitan, Dining, Entertainment, Harrah's, Macau, MGM Mirage, The Strip, Tropicana Entertainment, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Unite-Here, Wynn Resorts
Business was afire — literally — at the Tropicana Atlantic City after a meth lab in one of the hotel rooms caused a blaze and led to the evacuation of four floors. This wasn’t how owner Carl Icahn wanted to make headlines, I’m sure. Suspect Michael Pillar, the pride of Whiting, New Jersey, was charged with maintaining a drug production facility, possession of methamphetamine and criminal mischief. Ya gotta watch out for that criminal mischief. It’ll get you every time. Two man and a woman briefly got away as the fire consumed a bed and bathroom, were apprehended on the street but were released without any charges being filed. “Only a few rooms were affected by the fire. Hotel rooms have been professionally inspected, and cleared to Continue reading
Posted in Aristocrat, Atlantic City, Carl Icahn, Cirque du Soleil, CityCenter, Law enforcement, MGM Mirage, Palms, Sexual misconduct, Silverton, Station Casinos, Steve Wynn, The Strip, Tropicana Entertainment, Wall Street, Wynn Resorts
“What a difference a blizzard makes. When people are stuck in their homes by more than a foot of snow, and temperatures are dipping into single digits, they don’t come to Atlantic City.” — New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman Jim Plousis, explaining last month’s 12.5% falloff in casino revenue.
Gambling in Louisiana was a bit off the pace last month, down 4% ($187 million). Most of that was due to a terrible Baton Rouge market, tumbling 21%, while Lake Charles (+2%) remained immune. New Orleans (-2%) and Shreveport/Bossier City (-5%) were victimized to a much lesser degree. Pinnacle Entertainment took it hard, down 10%, led by an 18.5% plunge at L’Auberge Baton Rouge ($12 million). Boomtown New Orleans slipped 2% ($9 million) and Boomtown Bossier ($4 million) was off by 8%. Not even flagship L’Auberge du Lac was bulletproof, sliding 8% to $23 million. Golden Nugget snuck past L’Auberge with a 23.5% gain and $25 million gross. Elsewhere in the market, Isle Grand Palais declined 8.5% to $8.5 million (really) and Delta Downs was down 3% to $14 million.
In New Orleans, Harrah’s New Orleans still proves that fears of the effect of a smoking ban were unfounded as it continues to dominate the market with Continue reading
Posted in Boyd Gaming, Churchill Downs, Economy, Eldorado Resorts, GLPI, Harrah's, Internet gambling, Isle of Capri, Kazuo Okada, Louisiana, Missouri, Pinnacle Entertainment, Politics, Sports, Steve Wynn, Tilman Fertitta, Tropicana Entertainment, TV, Wall Street, Wynn Resorts
Just when everything seemed settled into a comfortable groove in Atlantic City, January revenues fell off the table, down 12.5%. The silver lining, if it qualifies as that, was that online revenues ($22 million) climbed 17%. Golden Nugget, with 33% market share, far outdistanced its closest competitor, Borgata, with 19%. For someone who was initially baffled by the Atlantic City market, Tilman Fertitta has figured it out with a vengeance, Not even Borgata’s terrestrial gambling was spared: Its $53.5 million was an 11.5% decline, with slots revenue of $35 million down 9% on 7% lower coin-in. Borgata tables ($16 million) tumbled 17%, as players wagered 10% less. No casino was spared in the downturn: Tropicana Atlantic City ($23 million) and Resorts Atlantic City ($11.5 million) stanched the bleeding best, off 6%. Grind joint Bally’s fared best in the Caesars Entertainment trio, down 9% with $13 million. Caesars Atlantic City fell a near-catastrophic 23%, grossing Continue reading
Posted in Animals, Atlantic City, Boyd Gaming, Culinary Union, Current, Dan Gilbert, Detroit, Economy, Eldorado Resorts, Greenwood Racing, Harrah's, Internet gambling, Isle of Capri, MGM Mirage, Mohegan Sun, Neil Bluhm, North Las Vegas, Penn National, Pennsylvania, Pinnacle Entertainment, Sheldon Adelson, Station Casinos, Tilman Fertitta, Tropicana Entertainment
In Florida, the clock is running fast on a court order that the state reach an agreement with the Seminole Tribe or kiss at least $250 million (possibly as much as $400 million in proposed legislation) goodbye forever. Part of the problem is that Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran (R, below) and state Sen. Bill Galvano (R, left) are tied to Jeff Soffer‘s apron strings, and Soffer wants to move the Mardi Gras Casino & Racetrack gaming license to Miami Beach, at best, Broward County at worst. Genting Group, which is saddled with expensive Miami real estate it purchased several years ago on the presumption that resort casinos were coming, would like to see a return on its investment, too.
Florida’s lower house would prefer to cut the Gordian knot in a simple fashion, ratifying the new Seminole compact and deregulating DFS. The Senate bill is more convoluted, with some concessions to the tribe but with provisions it will find unpalatable, such as legalizing “designated-player” (i.e., banked) card games across the state, which the Seminoles say tramples on their compacted monopoly on such games. The Senate bill also contains a complicated Continue reading
Posted in Atlantic City, DFS, Florida, Genting, Horseracing, Internet gambling, New York, Politics, Racinos, Seminole Tribe, Taxes
Whew! For a while it was looking as though MGM Grand Cotai wouldn’t make it out of the starting blocks in time for Chinese New Year. However, the megaresort opened yesterday, with room to spare before the all-important holiday. Architecturally the most striking of all the Macanese casinos, MGM now has to prove itself in the business department, especially after being hobbled by a governmental allocation of only 125 table games, plus 52 imported from the peninsula. (MGM can draw on the supply at MGM Grand Paradise, but that’s a limited pool of 427 tables.) With 1,972 rooms, Grand Cotai triples MGM’s inventory of hotel rooms in the enclave and, in the frills department, boasts 28 Qing Dynasty carpets as part of its decor.
“Based on the numbers we are seeing, the reservations we have got, it was very important for us to open before [Chinese New Year],” MGM China CEO Grant Bowie. As Reuters added, with regard to the timing, “Macau’s January numbers stormed past expectations with a 36 percent year-on-year jump, the 18th gain in a row, on demand from big whale gamblers and mom-and-pop mass punters.” Much of the future of the two MGM casinos will depend on Continue reading
Posted in Economy, history, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Macau, Massachusetts, MGM Mirage, Missouri, Ohio, Politics, Regulation, Sexual misconduct, Steve Wynn, West Virginia, Wynn Resorts
“There are often times when I would like corporate statutes and law to comply with what we believe socially, but it doesn’t. It insults me personally that all over America there are people sitting on boards with a CEO who is a sexual predator, but unless it affects the stock price, they don’t care.” — Northern Illinois University Assistant Professor of Law Carliss Chatman on the action (or lack of it) from the Wynn Resorts board to Steve Wynn‘s sexual predation.
“Is this legislature capable of setting a course and sticking with it?” That’s the very legitimate question posed by the editorial board of The Day, with regard to the Lege’s rather addled behavior on whether to stand by the satellite casino it authorized in East Windsor or entertain overtures from MGM Resorts International. “There are several problems with following MGM down this primrose path,” opined The Day. “MGM’s sincerity in building a Bridgeport casino is much in question. The company has been telling investors it is not planning more casinos in the United States. MGM is asking state lawmakers to believe it would make another massive investment not terribly far from Springfield to tap a New York market already saturated.”
The paper points out that Fairfield County already voted down a casino, albeit two decades ago. Noting that tinkering with the current tribal compacts imperils Connecticut‘s 25% slot-revenue share, The Day describes MGM’s endgame as Continue reading
Posted in Election, Foxwoods, Hard Rock International, Harrah's, International, Japan, Macau, MGM Mirage, Mohegan Sun, Politics, Regulation, Sexual misconduct, Singapore, Taxes, Wynn Resorts
Even as Steve Wynn was on his way out at Wynn Resorts, the casino he bested for the Boston-area gaming concession, Mohegan Sun, was launching a legal counterattack. It demanded that Wynn Resorts’ license be pulled and the project awarded to Mohegan Sun. That would certainly solve one worry: Who’d take on the $2.4 billion project if Wynn Resorts is deemed unsuitable to operate in Massachusetts? A Mohegan legal brief argued that “the deck was stacked from the start. The entire licensing proceeding was infected with bias toward Wynn, thus the Court must vacate the entire process, and order MGC to begin the process anew.” Replied the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, “That the commission’s licensing decisions were somehow ‘shot through with bias’ towards Wynn is pure fiction.” Local alarmists are arguing in favor of keeping Wynn in place, contending that the $2.4 billion Wynn Boston Harbor could stand empty for as much as 10 years.
In Macao, the company is in much better shape vis-a-vis Continue reading
Posted in Animals, Cordish Co., Greenwood Racing, International, Macau, Massachusetts, Mohegan Sun, Ohio, Penn National, Pennsylvania, Sexual misconduct, Sheldon Adelson, Steve Wynn
“[I]n practice, the United States is alone among developed countries in insisting that while human rights are of fundamental importance, they do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying from a lack of access to affordable healthcare, or growing up in a context of total deprivation … at the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the USA, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power. With political will, it could readily be eliminated.” — United Nations Special Rapporteur Dr. Philip Alston, on the subject of extreme poverty in America.
Wynn Resorts took a step closer to being taken over or sold off in pieces last weekend. Ex-CEO Steve Wynn submitted a letter saying that the now-famous 2010 stockholders’ agreement which binds Elaine Wynn’s shares with his was “invalid and unenforceable as a matter of law.” According to Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli, “Right now, the announcement means nothing. The ball is now in Ms. Wynn’s court as it is up to her to decide if she would like to abolish the Agreement. While Ms. Wynn has wanted to dissolve of the agreement for some time, it is possible that she changes her position with the Court, in which case, the two parties would essentially swap sides of the same argument. If she maintains her existing position, the Court is likely to dismiss the issue and the Stockholders Agreement would then be terminated.” He added that Mr. Wynn has made it clear he has no intention of selling down his position in the company. However, decoupling the voting rights of Elaine Wynn‘s shares from him his own would probably make it harder for him to thwart a sale of the company that he built. (And the wolves are on the prowl.)
Adds Santarelli, “Ms. Wynn has to agree to the proposal, and while likely, we don’t believe it to be Continue reading
“We continue to believe that Mr. Wynn’s quintessential strength lies in his resort design abilities. So much so that his resorts have demonstrated superior performance under the management of others, i.e. Bellagio, and thus would hold their value in an [merger-and-acquisition] scenario, which admittedly is more likely given Mr. Wynn’s departure.” — Gabelli & Co. analyst Adam Trivison, attempting to see into the post-Steve Wynn future.
Gaming & Leisure Properties met with Wall Street analysts this week and it had the future of Wynncore on its mind. “While GLPI remains open to doing Las Vegas asset transactions, they view the risk profile as considerably higher given the volatility and maintenance capital expenditure requirements,” wrote Deutsche Bank‘s Carlo Santarelli. “CEO Peter Carlino made a vague reference, to we believe, Wynn Las Vegas, noting that they are unlikely transaction participants if ‘expectations are anywhere near what I’ve kinda heard'” That doesn’t mean GLPI isn’t in a buying mood: “Management noted that tax reform should aid future transactions as it provides several benefits, as well as clarity.”
In the meantime, GLPI is buying Belterra Park and Penn National Gaming‘s Plainridge Park, and renting them back at $7 million and $25 million, respectively, which seems Continue reading
Posted in Ameristar, Boyd Gaming, Centaur Gaming, Charity, Economy, Eldorado Resorts, Full House Resorts, GLPI, Harrah's, Indiana, Majestic Star, Mandalay Bay Massacre, Massachusetts, MGM Mirage, Penn National, Pennsylvania, Pinnacle Entertainment, Racinos, The Strip, Tribal, Tropicana Entertainment, Wall Street, Wynn Resorts
More than the trouble (and cost) it takes to replace it, experts conclude. Another reason for keeping the founder’s name on Wynn Resorts is one that he would not find flattering: “I think the impact on Wynn Resorts will be short-lived, in part because I doubt most people link these resorts with Steve Wynn or are even aware of him,” opined Stanford University marketing professor Itamar Simonson. Ouch! Even if people had no idea of who Steve Wynn is, his casinos still had brand equity. Donald Trump‘s hotels have performed well despite his numerous peccadillos — although the name “Trump” was the kiss of death for an Atlantic City casino going back at least 10 years. There it meant a third-rate, shabby gaming experience. College of Southern Nevada Women’s Alliance Co-chair Sondra Cosgrove argues that keeping the Wynn name won’t resound well with Millennials, who gravitate to properties with value systems familiar to their own. Even so, it’s going to take a lot more than skywriting by UltraViolet to convince Wynn Resorts’ board that their company’s name is tainted.
UltraViolet might not want to place too much hope in the younger generation, whose reactions Continue reading
Posted in Atlantic City, Charity, Cretins, Donald Trump, Genting, Japan, Marketing, Massachusetts, Politics, Regulation, Sexual misconduct, Steve Wynn, The Strip, Wall Street, Wynn Resorts
“[Steve] Wynn’s tone-deaf statement about the resignation is telling. ‘In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity,’ says Wynn. You didn’t find yourself anything, Mr. Wynn. You caused this. You’re not a victim. The victims are victims. You’re not a victim of the media or even your ex-wife. You did despicable things. For decades.” — Vital Vegas author Scott Roeben on the collapse of Wynn’s house of cards.
If the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohicans feel they’ve been screwed they’re right to do so. Connecticut legislators, in a classic white-man-speaks-with-forked-tongue move, are proposing to tear up the bill that gave Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino a satellite casino in East Windsor. In its place, a bill would be introduced to breach the current gaming compact by designating Bridgeport as the site for a third casino and opening bidding to all comers. This is MGM Resorts International‘s wet dream. Rationalized state Rep. Chris Rosario (D), “The process will let every developer with an interest — whether it is MGM or the tribes or anyone else — give it their best shot. It is a process that is consistent with industry best practices, and it’s best for Connecticut.” Rhapsodized state Rep. Ezequiel Santiago (D), “With its strategic location right in the center of the transportation hub including highway, rail, bus and ferry, Bridgeport is uniquely poised to become an entertainment center that can attract patrons far and near.”
While Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) withheld comment, his spokeswoman allowed that “we have consistently stated that we should aim to Continue reading
Posted in Economy, Foxwoods, Internet gambling, MGM Mirage, Mohegan Sun, Neil Bluhm, New York, Pennsylvania, Politics, Taxes, Tribal