Las Vegas Raiders?
God, I hope so!
In an Article from CBS Sports, it appears that there is some degree of support from NFL owners with respect to a Raiders move to Las Vegas:
It would seem that, what was once the major problem of Vegas’ perception as a, ‘Gambling town,’ is no longer something that would stand in the way. Why not? If we take a look at the spread of Legalized and Regulated Gambling on a state-by-state basis, then we see that there are a few cities that now have full-on Commercial Gambling that did not when they first had their NFL team.
Philadelphia, for one example, is home to a couple of casinos and Detroit is also home to multiple casinos. Pittsburgh Steelers fans can hang out at Rivers Casino after a game, and there are casinos in Cincinnati and Cleveland, as well. I’ll save everyone from me going across the map and pointing out cities that now have casinos (Kansas City is just another example) but suffice it to say that a gambling presence in a city should not be the major hurdle that it was once perceived as being.
One question is whether or not a stadium could keep itself full for all of the team’s Home Games, as Jeffrey Lurie was quoted as asking in the CBS Article:
“"I'd be open to it. My only question is, is it a really good NFL market? I'm not totally worried about a lot of other things. I am more worried, is it a great market for the NFL? I don't know enough about that. I never thought about it much before. It has to support 70,000 every weekend."”
Personally, I do not think that will be a problem. While Vegas is something of a transient city with respect to its residents, not only is there the possibility of Las Vegans embracing their own team, but let us not also forget that Vegas remains one of the major travel destinations in this country. That is absolutely true for leisure and business travellers alike, so to me, it stands to reason that a Las Vegas team would be capable of drawing a fairly impressive Away crowd for its games. Do I necessarily think that everyone would plan a trip to Las Vegas around their team’s schedule, perhaps not, but certainly some of them would!
Furthermore, is it not possible that casinos would buy up many of the tickets looking to comp them to some of their better customers? In my opinion, that stands to reason and could also be an effective marketing tool when a team from a particular guest’s city comes to town. RFB, (Room, Football and Beverage) anyone?
New Casinos a Threat to Atlantic City?
We mentioned in last week’s News and Notes that Carl Icahn is a bit hesitant to put the full amount that he originally promised back into the Trump Taj Mahal until he determines what the result is of a November measure to allow for new casinos to be built in New Jersey that would be situated close to New York City, a city from which Atlantic City gets many of its visitors.
A Monmouth University Poll found an even split between those who would be in support of the new casinos and those who would be against them, and Fitch Ratings suggested that as many as four Atlantic City Casinos would be vulnerable if Gross Revenues drop off by differing amounts for Trump Taj Mahal, (obviously) Resorts, the Golden Nugget and even Bally’s.
While I would like to see all of the casinos in Atlantic City stay open, I’m afraid I cannot, ‘Talk out of both sides of my mouth,’ I have always been in favor of Legislation that allows casinos to open wherever they choose to do so and cannot back off of my steadfast position because it is convenient for me to do so. It’s kind of like Dolph Lundgren’s character, Ivan Drago, said of Apollo Creed in Rocky IV, “If he dies, he dies.”
That may seem cold, but I am all about casino competition, and competition happens in any other industry, as well. New grocery stores open, old ones close. New hotels (without casinos attached, I mean) open, old ones go under. It’s fundamental circle of life stuff we’re talking about, here, and it should not suspend itself for the benefit of Atlantic City.
Besides, I’m Mr. Convenience Gambling Video Lottery Slot Parlors Everywhere, (because that is a REALLY, REALLY smart thing for states to do) so it is difficult for me to argue with an entire state opening up a few more casinos.
In the end, we shall see what happens, but Construction and Development represent jobs that pay pretty well, so unless someone is conceptually opposed to more casinos, then the question on every voter’s mind should simply be, ‘How does this affect me, personally?”
Don’t misunderstand me, I’ve got a touch of hypocrisy in my blood when it suits me. I voted, ‘No,’ on a measure to allow Ohio to have its casinos because I worked at a hotel on the West Virginia border at which I would have several people stay on weekends (from Columbus, Cincinnati or Zanesville) to visit a casino in West Virginia. I voted, ‘No,’ on that measure because I figured losing those guests to closer casinos would not be beneficial to the hotel.
With that said, if it had no effect on me personally, I absolutely would have voted in favor of the casinos! Personally, other than the fact that I fully support them being regulated by a state Gaming Commission, I think they should be able to open up wherever they like without a vote...just like any other business.
Boyd Sells Share of Borgata
While we are on the subject of Atlantic City, it would be remiss of me not to mention that Boyd Gaming has sold its share of the Borgata Casino to MGM. Given Boyd’s recent acquisitions in Las Vegas Locals’ Markets, it appears that they have some faith in the Las Vegas Market, though why they would sell their stake in Atlantic City’s highest grossing casino (by far) remains a mystery to me.
As expected, management of the casino will be fully handed to MGM and the property is expected to integrate its player loyalty database into the larger MLife.
Anyway, given Borgata’s position in the market, I think this move (the sale is for $900 million) makes a ton of sense from MGM’s standpoint, I just don’t see what Boyd Gaming has to gain as a result of this transaction, other than the immediate cash that they do not seem to need, obviously.
In any event, it will be interesting to see how this transition will play out. Perhaps the Borgata will start charging for parking now, too.
If you did not have a chance to catch the special deal on movies going on in Ohio last month, then there is good news for you, the free ticket promotion at some of the cinemas is going on for another month, albeit unexpectedly! This could be your chance to relive some of the Classic Movies that you enjoyed in your childhood, if you haven’t already.
New York Raises on Online Poker...Barely
The Senate Bill S5302-B passed the New York Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee chaired by the drafter of the bill, John Bonacic, by a vote of 9-0. While this is the only time an Online Poker Bill has made it out of committee, that is no reason to get excited as that is merely the first step to get a bill passed.
John Bonacic is also the chair of the Committe and he had drafted a previous bill that once had a, ‘Bad Actor,’ clause that would have prevented an operator who took any wagers from any resident of the U.S. as of 2007 from being licensed. The, ‘Bad Actor,’ clause has been removed from the bill which calls for up to ten Online Poker sites to be licensed and regulated by the State in exchange for an upfront fee of 10 million dollars and 15% of their gross revenues. To be quite honest, I’m not sure I would even want to jump on that deal…
Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not this bill will even make it out of the Finance Committee, let alone the New York Senate at-large, and even then it would have another Legislative House in which it must pass after the expected Amendments to the Bill...there are always Amendments to every bill.
Either way while there are other states that are closer in the process of newly legalized Online Gambling in one form or the other, such as Pennsylvania who would end up with something similar to New Jersey, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
The Showboat is Reopening...Kind Of
Developer Bart Blatstein has announced that about 65% of the property’s 1,300 rooms will be reopening in July, and the property will still be called The Showboat. This developer believes that Atlantic City has potential as a tourism market if it is successful in diversifying its offerings rather than essentially being a town more-or-less strictly for gamblers.
One can assume that Blatstein may later pursue the possibility of operating a casino in The Showboat and may just be holding off on making that kind of investment in a, ‘Wait-and-See,’ mode to see what comes of the November vote to authorize two North New Jersey Casinos. Another possibility is that he is waiting to see what comes of the former Revel which is owned by Florida Developer Glenn Straub.
The Showboat was kind of interesting for awhile because a deed restriction by Caesar’s was put in place preventing the property from opening as a casino, however, a previous deed restriction prevented it from opening as anything other than a First Class Hotel & Casino. Effectively, The Showboat could not reopen as anything due to these deed restrictions.
The State Senate stepped in and overwhelmingly passed a Bill that would eliminate these restrictions, but the Bill was viewed as Unconstitutional by the General Assembly which caused it to fail there. At this time, it is unclear how The Showboat is simultaneously complying with both deed restrictions or if the assumption is that nobody will act on the restriction that prevents it from opening as something other than a casino.
There are all kinds of reasons that I believe Caesar’s should just go ahead and lift its deed restriction on the property, primarily my objection to what Caesar’s seems to believe are proper business practices in other regards. (read: screw them) In addition to that, though, The Showboat was actually independently profitable at the time that it closed, so Caesar’s essentially put a couple of thousand people out of work in order to shift business to its other properties, and in so doing, again, closed a profitable establishment.
Daniel Negreanu Documentary Now on Netflix
Daniel Negreanu’s Documentary, ‘Kid Poker,’ is now available on Netflix for those interested. I am definitely going to carve out a little time in my schedule to watch it over the next week, or so, and will be putting out a Review of it in the next two weeks. Of course, Negreanu is one of my favorite Poker players and I have spent a good deal of time watching his Webcasts and YouTube videos. Once again, the Documentary is available right now for those of you who want to beat me to it, or if not, I’ll be sure to let you know whether or not it was any good.
Casinos Are Not the Only Place for Casino Robberies!
I swear that I wouldn’t find this funny if this guy wasn’t wearing an honest-to-God horse mask:
But, it’s a horse mask for crying out loud, so I couldn’t help but laugh.
As you can see, a home poker game (with a heck of a professional looking set up) was robbed in Boulder, Colorado just a couple nights ago. Apparently, one man was armed with a wooden paddle while another had a gun and the owner of the home believes it was an inside job by someone who would know that the pots got pretty big. In his words, “Do I rob a 7-11, or do I go rob Dave’s poker game?” Dave also believes that the criminals were not very professional, apparently the horse left his wooden paddle behind.
A horse mask!!!
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