Back to Physical Tickets in Illinois
Illinois was the first State to offer online draw ticket sales, having first authorized the process in March of 2012. While the process has garnered 68 million dollars in lottery revenues since then, (a tidy little sum when one considers the presumably low cost to implement) Legislative inaction has resulted in the March 25th deadline for the extension of the online lottery system to be missed.
Despite Legislation being introduced last year that would have permanently extended the games, the State Legislature failed to act as they cancelled a meeting on the matter that was scheduled for Thursday. The State Legislature is now on recess until April, so the maligned online lottery program will presumably be suspended from March 25th until it is finally acted upon by the State. It is difficult to say how soon the State will take action even after they reconvene.
Georgia Joins the Non-DFS Fray
Georgia is the most recent State, joining New York, Mississippi, Texas, Vermont, Illinois and Hawaii to declare Daily Fantasy Sports Wagering patently illegal within its borders. The result is hardly a surprise considering the VERY unambiguous Georgia case law stating that wagering is illegal on a game of chance, even though there be some level of skill involved, if the person doing the wagering is not themselves a contestant and stands to lose something of value.
In other words, a perusal of the statutes and surrounding case law (prior to being shut down by the State) would make it very clear to DFS sites that they could not offer their games in the State of Georgia in the first place. It is very unlikely that the DFS companies particularly care about such statutes, however, as none of them are making any moves to operate legally in the one State that has said they could provided they get proper licensing, Nevada.
More Resort Fees!
I've written two Articles pertaining to MGM's decision to charge for parking at most of its properties, but there are other ways to get into the wallets of Las Vegas visitors who even manage to avoid that. Five of the Caesars properties, Caesars Palace, Nobu, Cromwell, Paris and Planet Hollywood, are increasing their resort fees (upon which tax must also be paid) to $32 per day.
Unfortunately for Vegas visitors, these resort fees are all but inescapable as only the highest of the high rollers are able to avoid them, and the fees are often charged even on, "Comped," rooms. How long will it be until all of the Strip property hotel rooms advertise rates of $5-$10 per night, but have resort fees that are well over $100?
Although, since the company chooses whether or not to waive the resort fees behind otherwise comped stays, I think I finally understand the endgame behind these resort fees. Originally, I thought they made no sense because they were just supplementing the room rate whereas a company could simply increase the room rate and the next result would be the same. Unfortunately, I think the endgame may have been the ability to comp rooms and still make something on them, which is what they seem to be increasingly doing.
Taj with a Chance?
Carl Icahn, through his company Icahn Enterprises LP, has finally fully purchased Atlantic City's Trump Taj Mahal casino. This once proud paragon of Atlantic City gambling has been maligned throughout the last several years routinely placing in the bottom in Atlantic City gambling revenues. The result is that the once-mighty Taj Mahal has emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection and is (hopefully) ready to start negotiating with Union Leaders to reach a long-term deal for employees of the property.
Many of you following the Atlantic City gambling scene may recall that a big sticking point in whether or not Icahn would continue to prop up the Taj Mahal was the elimination of health insurance and pension benefits. Since then, it has been reported by quite a few players that employee morale (unsurprisingly) was at a serious low, and in addition to the cuts, nobody really knew how long the casino would survive.
Fortunately, the casino seems to have at least achieved some semblance of stability with this emergence from Chapter 11, and hopefully, a deal will be struck that also secures the future of the employees of the property, as well.
Vegas Strip Revenue Down for January
The Las Vegas Strip experienced a decline in gambling revenue of 7.72% compared to an average decrease of 2.87% for Nevada, as a whole. Considering the Las Vegas Strip still accounted for 57.53% (rounded) of the gaming revenue for the entire State of Nevada, the fact that the rest the State (taken as a whole) is down less than 5% of the declines for the Strip means it did quite well, overall.
This decline was led by sports betting and Table Games as slots were actually up a little bit (less than one percent) for the month of January compared to last year.
One possible factor being cited is the fact that the Super Bowl was played on February 1st last year as opposed to February 7th this year. Many of the gamblers who tend to come to the Las Vegas Strip for the Super Bowl usually make an entire weekend, if not week, out of the event, so it has been speculated that February numbers may actually look a little better compared to last year. Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the gaming board, also pointed out that the event schedule this year was softer, in general.
Personally, I'm going to suspend reading too much into this until the February numbers come out compared to last year.