Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Casino Executive Based In Las Vegas Not A Fan Of Online Gambling; Competitor Is Pro Online Casino - Poker, by Greg Tingle - 8th December 2011

World's Richest Casino Exec Not So Keen On Online Casinos, Poker...

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You may not of heard of this cashed up gambling and property tycoon, but he's happy to share his thoughts on online gambling, especially when it comes to his U.S turf. No, it's not Donald Trump, Steve Wynn or even Richard Branson. Meet Sheldon Adelson.

Adelson is by all accounts the world's wealthiest casino executive and top dog of the industry's largest publicly traded company, says he is against online gambling because he doesn't believe available technology is good enough at the moment to prevent young people from making wagers on the Internet, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Adelson's sharing his personal viewpoint is just that - personal - rather than a formal stance taken by his firm that owns and operates casino-resorts in Las Vegas, Macau, Singapore and Bethlehem, Pa., Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese said.

Reese advised Adelson hasn't spoken with the company's board about his position, nor has the board decided an online gambling plan.

"It's a personal observation of concerns about technology," Reese said.

The opposition comes at a time when numerous other operators, including Caesars Entertainment Corp and MGM Resorts International, have backed an industry push to legalize online poker and let established land based casinos offer the service in the U.S. MGM Resorts International even went as far as to ink a deal with world's leading igaming firm Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.

Poker, which involves a combination of skill and luck (as ruled in legal cases), now huge on the internet (see World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker), has been illegal online for real money since a 2006 law was brought in and ruled against igaming operators from providing games by preventing financial institutions from processing funds for the majority of online gaming.

The land based casino sector has swayed over the years from anti online gambling to largely pro online gambling, of course, with them getting some of the financial rewards. The bricks and mortar casinos have seen some of their punters go online to bet, with the traditional casinos missing out of the action. It's unclear how much revenue traditional casinos are down, thanks to online casinos, but a Media Man spokesperson said "Online casinos have cost land based casinos in the U.S and elsewhere, many millions, if not billions of dollars. Vegas and Atlantic City land based casinos are down. People still like to bet and the internet serves them well, be it for poker, casino, sports betting or slots".

The American Gaming Association, the leading U.S gaming lobby group, has switched from a neutral stance to pro actively pursuing federal legislation that would allow for legalization and regulation of online poker. Online poker could be a lead in to online casino games.

Frank Fahrenkopf, CEO of the American Gaming Association, said he met with Adelson on Monday and Adelson advised him he'll oppose legislation to legalize online poker on U.S soil.

"Sheldon has long had concerns about this issue, and it is perfectly within his right to make this decision," Fahrenkopf said in a statement. "However, the AGA, at the direction of our board of directors, will continue to support federal legislation to allow states to license and regulate online poker."

The online gambling industry is not seeking to legalize other games like blackjack, craps and slots online. Those games are a different kind of animal because players wager against the house. In poker, players wager against each other and operators take a fee from each pot in exchange for hosting the game. Of course if online poker becomes totally legal in the U.S, this may lead to online casino games also becoming totally legal in the states.

The matter of online poker has heated up among players and casino executives in the past 12 months. U.S. Senate Majority Leader last year pitched a blueprint to legalize poker that fell short without legislation being introduced. Last April, three of the largest online gaming operators who offered online poker in defiance of the law had their websites seized and executives indicted by the U.S. Justice Department, accused of financial crimes including fraud and money laundering for disguising payments for gambling funds as transactions for things like flowers and golf balls. The day it all went down, including sites going down et al, is known in igaming circles as 'Black Friday'.

After the indictments, the estimated $6 billion U.S. online poker market dived overnight, leaving many players unable to access funds in online poker bankrolls.

Then, with the "big three" poker websites closed out of the U.S, the American Casino Association became more active in urging lawmakers to close loopholes and draw up better regulations.

One thing is for certain. Online poker and online casino players are not going to want to stop playing the games they love. Players are mainly sticking to brands they know and trust with some of the leading contenders being PartyPoker.com PartyCasino.com PKR.com World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker.

Australian casino mogul James Packer's Crown Casino has the 'Aussie Millions Poker Championship' coming up in Melbourne this January and providers such as PartyPoker.com are even offering qualifying poker matches, where players get to 'Win a seat to Aussie Millions'. Bwin.Party's World Poker Tour is also broadcast of American and Australian pay television, which online helps fuel the popularity of online gambling.

Fahrenkopf advised his casino association wants federal legislation that allows U.S states to decide whether to offer poker to its residents, keeps youngsters from gambling online and lets law enforcement shut down illegal operators.

If you enjoy a punt, please bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

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Donald Trump says US should legalize Internet betting...

Donald Trump has witnessed lots of money side slipping him, and he's hoping that situation changes soon.

The real estate, gaming and entertainment tsar, and founder of an Atlantic City casino company says the US should legalize internet gambling. The company that bears his name, Trump Entertainment Resorts, is moving forward with plans to establish an online betting venture... just as soon as it is legal to do so.

The company says it wants to get in on the ground floor of the internet gambling industry, and is close to selecting a joint venture partner to run an online gambling operation. The idea is to be well-placed and ready to go as soon as such activity is legalized in the United States.

"It should be approved here," Trump told news media. "An awful lot of money is leaving the U.S. that should and could stay in this country."

Trump Entertainment, which includes Donald Trump and daughter, Ivanka, and the Avenue Capital hedge fund, would own 10% of the new business venture.

Donald Trump advised the key to success in the online gambling market is having the best brand.

"We think we have the hottest brand there is, the Trump brand, my personal brand," he said. "We think it's going to do phenomenally well."

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Trump Entertainment said it has "determined that such a joint venture represents the most advantageous way for the company to participate in opportunities in online gaming at minimal cost to the company."

No cost estimates were given, and Robert Griffin, the company's CEO, declined to comment Thursday. But in March, after Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill passed by New Jersey lawmakers that would have allowed Internet betting solely within New Jersey's borders, Griffin said the money lost to offshore operators should benefit New Jersey.

The new law would seen New Jersey become the first state in the nation to allow Internet betting.

"Currently, millions of Americans engage in online gaming with illegal offshore operators, and do so with no oversight, no regulation or no consumer protections," Griffin said at the time. "It makes sense for the state of New Jersey to regulate this activity, enforce strict standards to ensure games are fair and safe, and in turn be able to collect tax revenue instead of having those dollars and the jobs they support leaving New Jersey and going illegally overseas."

Christie advised he vetoed the law fearing it was unconstitutional and could lead to an explosion of betting parlors throughout the state. By law, gambling in New Jersey is restricted to gaming hotspot Atlantic City.

But a New Jersey lawmaker is asserting that individual states in fact have the legal right to offer in-state Internet gambling within their own borders.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, wrote in July to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asserting that New Jersey and all other states can legally offer online betting within their borders.

Lesniak said he will introduce legislation in November to address the prime concerns expressed by Christie.

The filing said the company, Donald and Ivanka Trump, and Avenue Capital have signed an agreement authorizing the joint venture once it becomes legal, and that prohibits any of them from seeking other online gambling ventures through May 2012.

Atlantic City is in the midst of a nearly 5-year revenue slump brought on by increasing competition from casinos in neighboring states, and worsened by the continuing unsteady economy. It's also speculated that many AC businesses have not adapted well to the internet medium.

Just a few online gaming companies that are understood to be interested in coming to business terms with Trump include Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, Richard Branson's Virgin Games and PKR. Most experts see Bwin.Party as the best bet, as they don't have any outstanding issues with the US Department of Justice, and have been playing by the rules (law) for many years, while other gambling companies continue to go after U.S players.

Internet gambling is legal in many countries, with the U.S being a glaring exception.

Media Man is following up.

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Casino And Gaming Stock Report: Australia And New Zealand, by Greg Tingle - 5th November 2011

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Australian land based casinos continue their entertainment push, with big name celebrities and more expensive casino re-vamps in the works. The share market continues to react to the political hotbed that is the Aussie casino and gambling industry. Southern neighbour, New Zealand, is also prone to gaming being quite the punching bag. Can't wait to the next election. How about you?

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8 percent to 4,321.3 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.6 percent to 3,301.22 in Wellington.

Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. (EGP AU) rose 1.3 percent to A$3.83 after the owner of four Australian casinos had its rating raised to “hold” from “sell” by Adam Alexander, an analyst at Goldman Sachs Australia Pty.

Sky City Entertainment Group Ltd. (SKC NZ) rose 0.3 percent to NZ$3.40 after the New Zealand casino owner agreed a NZ$185 million ($144 million) seven-year banking facility to repay U.S. private placement debt of around NZ$250 million.

Tabcorp Holdings Ltd. (TAH AU) declined 0.7 percent to A$2.80 after Australia’s biggest owner of betting shops was cut to “sell” from “hold” at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which said earnings may stall in the next two years on higher license costs and a "lack of positive catalysts."

The Late News...

European gaming giant Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, along with PKR and Virgin Games, are all understood to be keen to officially enter the Australian market. Bwin.Party has done some good warm up work on the political and business side, including now offering online poker players to win a seat at James Packer's annual poker championship in Melbourne 'Aussie Millions'. The Media Man agency has been filing regular reports here and on portals such as Casino News Media, Gambling911 and Poker News Daily are following suit. Mr Packer is understood to be pleased with the lead up news stories on the 2012 'Aussie Millions', at a time when Crown appear to be welcoming any balanced and especially positive coverage of Crown with open arms. Sydney's 'The Star' is also having a poker tourney, with much less fanfare than that of Crown. Any would be James Bond poker players out there? Comon' sport, try your luck and tell 'em the Media Man agency sent you.

*the writer owns shares in Crown Limited
*the writer is a member of The Star's 'Absolute Rewards' program

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