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pacomartin
pacomartin
Joined: Jan 14, 2010
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April 28th, 2010 at 10:13:26 PM permalink
Many of you know that the Wizard started a simple website to post mathematical solutions to general problems (some dealing with gaming). He expanded it into his Wizard of Odds site before he resigned from the federal government.

The Wizard is more interested in the player side of gaming, but the business decisions are always fascinating.

I am thinking of trying to start a website where people can read and discuss the business of gaming. Lots of people interject their comments in the newspaper, and fantasies of owning a casino are fairly common. Many comments are predictable rants, but some people have good ideas.

EXAMPLE STORY

Goldman Sachs is in the financial news a lot because of their investigation by the SEC. In 2009 Goldman took a loss of $1.76bn from all its real estate principal investments. GS was the last company to make a purchase of over a billion dollar in Southern Nevada (in March of 2008). They bought the four aging casinos from Carl Icahn (Stratosphere, Two Arizona Charlie's, and the Aquarius in Nevada). Even considering the massive real estate speculation on the strip, this purchase price seems hugely inflated. The land value (roughly 90 acres under the four casinos was assessed at $76 million by Carl Icahn) Goldman Sachs assessed the land at roughly $750 million which was the principal part of the $1.3 billion that they paid for the company. The Stratosphere has 17 acres of undeveloped land north of the current casino, but that increase in value is a per acre price that rivals the most expensive land purchase on the strip (The New Frontier across from the Wynn).

Carl Icahn took the $1.3 billion he made selling properties he bought for $300 million, and has bought 9 casinos so far, plus the unfinished Fountainbleau for about $350 million. He was trying to take over the Trump casinos with some of the rest of the money. He may yet weigh in on Station's Casinos, or the Riviera, or the Rio.

UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE
Sometimes mathematicians do see some thing that other people don't. In talking to a seasoned and respected gaming reporter, she commented that she thought that Slots-A-Fun had dropped below $1 million for the year. Although not a large casino, it still has a number of tables and a few hundred slots. One craps table downtown, makes almost a million dollars in one year. I was surprised that she was unable to ballpark revenue after looking at stats for so many years. However, reporters are often reporting other people's analysis. I told her that the casino that had dropped below $1 million was probably Greek Isles casinos which has roughly 100 slot machines. One licensee with as few as 20 slot machines has managed to break $1 million in one year, but the Greek Isles casino would never be visited by anyone other than hotel guests, and the hotel only has 200 rooms.

The article on which casinos make over $72 million a year in my website would be difficult for a nonmathematician and non-computer programming. It involved adding millions to billions of combinations of square footages, to try and match an average value in a yearly report. By doing this, you can determine which casinos are in the over $72 million category. I was surprised the Circus Circus (CC) was the strip casino that fell off the over $72 million list last year. I just assumed it would be Imperial Palace. CC still made $200 million in overall revenue (includes Adventuredome). MGM MIRAGE only reveals aggregate casino revenue for the entire company (not for individual regions or individual casinos).

FACTOID
The three smallest casinos (in terms of gaming positions at tables and slots) that made over $72 million in FY2009 were all Harrah's casinos (Reno, Laughlin, and Imperial Palace). The largest casinos (using the same criteria) that failed to make the list were Circus Circus, Stratosphere, and Silverton Casino in southern Vegas urban area. The most prestigious casino that did not make $72 million was Hard Rock Casino. They recently redid their entire casino to match the new hotel rooms and luxury suites. They are clearly hoping to enter in the class of the other Strip casinos.

PROTOTYPE
I just put this prototype together last night. I'm not a website designer so I admit it is crude. Tell me what you think or offer suggestions, please.
Prototype web page
gambler
gambler
Joined: Jan 11, 2010
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April 28th, 2010 at 10:38:24 PM permalink
I noted that all of the articles listed on your webside quote this Frank Martin fellow. Coincidence?

On a serious note, I have always enjoyed the articles, comments that you have posted here, so I would definately be interested in a website you create that has casino/gambling related business news. However, in all honesty, I am not sure how much appeal it would have with the general public. People in the industry would find it interesting, and it might be a good website for you to direct reporters or people who might want to hire your service.

You may want to make it a Frank Martin blog site where the public can comment as opposed to a forum. Just my 2 cents.
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
Joined: Nov 9, 2009
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April 29th, 2010 at 3:22:32 AM permalink
You could possibly have a respected website visited by the industry, but have no advertising income. Clearly there are other people who run such websites.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
pacomartin
pacomartin
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April 29th, 2010 at 4:03:10 AM permalink
Partly I did it because the reporter suggest that I post my fiscal forecast a few weeks early. That way if she does a story there will be no doubt that I published my forecasting before the event.

Private analysts do publish their forecasts, as do corporate executives in their SEC documents.

Forecaster have to live their predictions. One well known forecaster predicted the Colony Capital made a wise investment in paying $1.3 billion for the Stratosphere and the other 3 properties. He went so far as to suggest that they level the current hotel (keep the tower) and build an entirely new complex. I think there was solid evidence (if you knew where to look) that indicated that it was unlikely for the company to maintain their level of revenue. While I don't say that I could have predicted the 1/3 drop in revenue caused by the depression, I think that there were indicators that went back as far as late 2006 that even the modest increases forecast by the corporation before it was sold were impossible.

Although the people that ran up MGM-MIRAGE STOCK after the February strip revenue was released probably didn't think there would be back to back 30% increases in February and March, but looking at the underlying structure of the revenue growth, I concluded that March could drop dramatically.
boymimbo
boymimbo
Joined: Nov 12, 2009
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April 29th, 2010 at 6:02:18 AM permalink
Hmmm...

My thought is that you post some very interesting stories from your own point of view and that you do enough research to come up with some observations that may not be obvious to the rest of the industry and provides value to them (though I sometimes don't agree with your conclustions). I am not sure if you are out to make a buck, gain some credibility, or both. Sometimes things fall in your lap... you start off in one career and end up somewhere else because of a lucky break or because a hobby turns into a job.

From what I've seen, alot of your work is published or picked up by local news organizations and I am not sure whether you get paid to provide that analysis (hopefully, you do).

The Wizard would probably tell you that running a web site full time is an expensive deal and requires alot of work to keep it organized and up to date. Good web sites are indeed not easy to maintain. Bad websites on the other hand are very easy to maintain. If you run a website you'll want to run a good one and you may have to hire a webmaster to set up the site for you especially if you are not proficient in html.

The answer to the question really depends on your objectives in life. If you are just publishing articles as a hobby as an alternative to your day job then I think a blog is appropriate.

If you are looking for a career in gaming analysis and hope to get picked up by a company to work for them in gaming (and haven't done so yet), then you have to gain more credibility, and have to keep your best work private so that people pay for your work (such as your forecasts). If that is the case, I would start both a web site with a blog with your current observations, links to other gaming stories, and a subscription or private side where professionals pay to see your best work and analysis.

Hope this helps,
Tim
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
gambler
gambler
Joined: Jan 11, 2010
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April 29th, 2010 at 9:04:14 AM permalink
Boymimbo has some very good thoughts and ideas. One good point raised was, "What's your motivation?" Based upon your answer, you will have a different looking website.

I think it will be very tough if your goal is to make money through advertising on your website. However, if you are hoping to use it to gain credibility to land other jobs or opportunities, go for it. And of course, if it is mostly for fun then make sure that you do it because it makes you happy.
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
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April 29th, 2010 at 10:39:46 AM permalink
I have to agree that "What's the motivation?" needs to be addressed before we can answer the original question.

There were lots of graphics that didn't load. Why? There are also grammar and punctuation errors, as well as at least two HTML errors.

But it looks great for a prototype.
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ ————————————————————————————————————— Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
Wizard
Administrator
Wizard
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April 29th, 2010 at 10:52:09 AM permalink
Take it from me, running a web site is very time consuming, and it is very hard to turn a profit. In your case, I think your motive should be to plug other business interests you have, not making a profit on the site itself. Then again, you never know what site will be the next YouTube or eBay. If you like, I could add a section to this page dedicated to the business end of gambling, and let you be the official or unofficial moderator.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
pacomartin
pacomartin
Joined: Jan 14, 2010
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April 29th, 2010 at 10:58:21 AM permalink
Thanks, it helps me think about what I need to do. In the Navy we would hire groups that would run tests on the websites where they would bring in focus groups and see what their reaction was. Based on their report we would re-organize the web page to conform to their understanding, and not ours.

I have a paper published in Journal of Space Craft and Rockets that I show to potential employers. The abstract says:
This paper describes a Godunov method applicable to tactical missiles in steady supersonic flow. The scheme
is cast in a finite-volume formulation using a mesh generated by a multiple-zone procedure. The bow shock is
fitted using the information contained in the Riemann problem. Surface pressures are determined using a
method of characteristics analysis that degenerates near shocks or expansions to the oblique shock or Prandtl-
Meyer expansion relations. The scheme is applied to body-alone and finned configurations and calculations are
completed without the use of artificial viscosity or special procedures.
They usually tell me "that's nice".

I was looking for improved credibility, not advertising sales.
Wizard
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Wizard
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April 29th, 2010 at 11:50:03 AM permalink
Quote: pacomartin



I have a paper published in Journal of Space Craft and Rockets that I show to potential employers. The abstract says:
This paper describes a Godunov method applicable to tactical missiles in steady supersonic flow. The scheme
is cast in a finite-volume formulation using a mesh generated by a multiple-zone procedure. The bow shock is
fitted using the information contained in the Riemann problem. Surface pressures are determined using a
method of characteristics analysis that degenerates near shocks or expansions to the oblique shock or Prandtl-
Meyer expansion relations. The scheme is applied to body-alone and finned configurations and calculations are
completed without the use of artificial viscosity or special procedures.
They usually tell me "that's nice".



Spoken like a true rocket scientist.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.

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