NGCB Extends Online Poker Licenses of 6 Nevada Casinos

Last week the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) granted six casinos an extension for their online poker licenses according to the Las Vegas Sun. None of the six casinos have launched an online poker product at this point. Under Nevada law, companies that are approved for online poker licenses were required to launch their software within a set amount of time. These recently granted extensions give the following six companies an additional six months to submit their software to the NGCB for testing:
Boomtown Reno Truckstop
Grand Siena (Reno)
LV Golden Nugget
MGM Resorts
Z4Poker
Boyd Interactive Gaming Even with the extensions don’t expect a sudden rush of sites to launch in the coming months, as the extensions do not necessarily mean all of these companies are even working towards launching online poker sites in Nevada anytime soon. The extensions will give a site like Z4 (which has been working towards launching an online poker site) the additional time it needs, and it will also allow the other companies a few extra months to observe the industry, including how the interstate compact with Delaware affects the Nevada industry when it is expected to go into effect this summer. What’s the holdup? Given the small market size and the muddied waters brought on by the possibility of a federal ban on online gambling, it now appears that most companies in Nevada are now taking a wait and see approach, evidenced by the words of Ellen Whittemore, an attorney representing MGM Resorts, who told the Las Vegas Sun that the MGM, “was continuing to monitor” the industry. Jeff Silver, a lawyer for Carson Station and Max was a bit more blunt in his remarks, stating that an online poker room needs 500 players to be viable (I’m not sure where Silver came up with this number) and called the Nevada online poker industry “a loser” according to the Las Vegas Sun article. Online poker traffic in Nevada The Nevada market has proven to be small — even taking into account the state’s small population of 2.8 million — and barely capable of supporting Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com at present. The average online cash-game traffic for all three online poker rooms in Nevada is hovering below 200 players according to www.pokerscout.com; a number that would rank Nevada’s online poker industry in the low 30’s worldwide, below online poker providers like Sky Poker, Enet, and OnGame France. For comparisons sake, PokerStars average cash-game traffic over the same period of time is 21,000 players according to PokerScout.com, and sites like iPoker, Full Tilt, partypoker, and 888 have 15-20x the traffic of the entire Nevada industry. Revenue reports don’t support further growth Beyond the small market and limited room for growth, there is also the matter of the long-awaited revenue reports released by the NGCB in March which showed the Nevada online poker market generating less than $1 million a month in revenue; $824,000 in February 2014, and $8.5 million since launching in April of 2013. This number that will likely further frighten other potential providers, considering the initial cost of an online poker license in Nevada is $500,000, with a yearly renewal fee of $250,000. That expenditure is on top of the 6.75% tax on gross revenue they must pay. Considering the current cumulative traffic of the three online poker rooms operating in the state and the current revenue being generated, it doesn’t appear that Nevada has the liquidity to support more than one online poker room, let alone a half-dozen more, so these extensions may be more for show than anything.

How Anti-Online Gambling Legislation Could Be A Win-Win For Everybody

It’s hard to predict what will come of the proposed online gambling ban that has been introduced in Congress by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). The Restore America’s Wire Act bills were introduced into the House of Representatives and the Senate on Wednesday, and the architect of these pieces of legislation, Sheldon Adelson, has been unequivocal in calling for a comprehensive ban, but is this really the case? If a piece of online gambling legislation is going to make it through both houses of Congress, and receive the signature of the president, it’s going to take a number of amendments and compromises, and in the end Adelson’s war against online gambling may see both sides come out victorious. The path in the Senate If this bill is going to pass (in some form, but certainly not as written) its toughest road will be in the senate. The bill is expected to be sent off to the Judiciary Committee where both Lindsey Graham and two of the bill’s three co-sponsors are members, Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Lee (R-UT). Interestingly, there is only a single member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who represents a state with legalized online gambling, Chris Coons (D-DE). However, both senators from Minnesota, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar are on the committee, and Minnesota has recently enacted online lottery sales. Minnesota radio also made headlines last week due to a misinformation filled online poker debate. The bill already carves for certain carveouts, including horse racing (considered to be an olive branch for Kentucky Senator and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) and fantasy sports, and will likely need to strengthen its language concerning online lotteries to make it through the committee. The Reid factor If this is a serious attempt to strengthen and clarify the Wire Act, and not simply posturing in order to court Adelson campaign donations, the Judiciary Committee will almost certainly have to address online poker in the bill, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he wants an online poker carveout in any legislation of this type, and might introduce a competing bill doing just that. We should know if Graham, Feinstein, and the rest of the committee are serious about this legislation based on the inclusion or exclusion of online poker. It should be noted that Senator Graham has already floated the idea of an online poker carveout: Appeasing Delaware and New Jersey Another potential amendment to keep an eye out for is a grandfather clause for Delaware and New Jersey, allowing them to continue to offer online casino games. This is not only important to gain support and votes, but this would also ease the concerns of the state’s rights wing of the Republican party, a group that could also be reached with an opt-out clause for any carveouts that are included in the bill, essentially allowing each state to choose its own destiny. What a passable bill would look like Here is what a passable ban on online gambling would look like in my opinion:
Include a poker carveout
Grandfather in Delaware and New Jersey’s online gambling industries
Allow states to “opt-out”
Call for companies to relocate to the US and hire US citizens (an idea stolen from John Mehaffey)
Ban all casino games and sports betting Why it’s a win for everyone With the above amendments the Poker players Alliance and online poker players get precisely what they want, federal legislation legalizing online poker. The AGA benefits mostly by putting the issue to bed and reuniting their members, as well as seeing an expansion of online poker. The Christian conservative wing will certainly not be thrilled with the carveouts and grandfather clauses, but it’s still a win as it bans many forms of online gambling. State’s rights advocates will see the grandfather clause and the ability to opt-out as 10th Amendment victories. Fiscal conservatives concerns beyond tax and licensing revenue could be strengthened by mandating US companies and US jobs. What about Adelson? Sheldon Adelson would appear to be the loser in this scenario, but I have to wonder if this is precisely the outcome he wanted all along? Was his call for a ban on everything, simply an instance of leveraged bargaining (you start high and I start low) where he was more than willing to allow online poker to seep through, as this will not detract from his brick & mortar properties. Is online poker merely his bargaining chip? Did Adelson focus on poker knowing it would rile up an organized contingent of poker supporters who will fight tooth and nail to keep online poker legislation moving forward, while taking everyone’s eyes off his real target; online casino games? If the above bill I outlined is passed by Congress I would be extremely happy, and I think most others would as well, but if Adelson had started with “I’m ok with online poker,” the AGA and PPA may have pushed for more, especially considering we already have New Jersey and Delaware to point to. Obviously this all speculation on my part, but it does make sense. The reason this theory makes even more sense in my mind is that Adelson was quite quiet when Nevada (a state where he owns a casino) passed online poker legislation in 2011. Adelson seemed to only get excitable about iGaming when Delaware and New Jersey went live with comprehensive online gambling. Perhaps Adelson only sees online casino games as a potential competitor for his brick & mortar properties; after all, it was during the online poker boom that land-based casinos were thriving. Furthermore, it would explain the somewhat amateurishness of Adelson’s and CSIG’s anti-online poker campaign thus far. From the laughable collusion and terrorism connections, to sending an obviously disinterested Andy Abboud out as the messenger, to Cold War style web videos, to paltry social media campaigns, it’s clear that Adelson’s money is not being spent wisely… but maybe that’s the whole point. If this is Sheldon Adelson’s angle we may in fact see legislation similar to the proposed Reid / Kyl bill from 2012 passed. Poker players will get exactly what they want, and the anti-online gambling crowd can claim a major victory, stopping the scourge of online gambling at Delaware and New Jersey … it’s a win-win for everybody.

Nevada Online Poker Review: Adelson Gains Support in Reno, Traffic Slides, and more

There is a lot going on in US online poker these days, especially in Nevada where it’s ground zero for the battle over online gambling being waged by Sheldon Adelson; a battle that has recently been kicked into overdrive, as the casino magnate now has a collection of politicians, lobbyists, and as you’ll see below fellow casino owners on his team. In this installment of the Nevada Online Poker Week in Review we’ll start off by discussing Adelson’s newest ally before moving on to other topics, including, a report by PokerFuse.com detailing how Nevada’s current online traffic matches their population; when we can expect the Nevada / Delaware online poker compact to go live; as well as this past weekend’s tournament results, current traffic numbers, and the latest gossip from Nevada. Atlantis owner Farahi comes out against online gambling We are living in strange times people, strange times. On Tuesday the owner of the Reno based Atlantis Hotel and Casino, John Farahi, came out against online gambling according to Jon Ralston’s Ralston Reports column. What’s so strange about that? Farahi and the Atlantis applied for and received an online poker license in Nevada! Farahi is the second casino owner with online licenses to come out against online gambling, the first being Steve Wynn. However, Farahi’s objections differ from Wynn’s, with Wynn seeing a bleak economic forecast for online gambling while Farahi is objecting to online gambling on moral grounds—basically echoing Sheldon Adelson’s complaints. Farahi told Ralston he was 100% (adding a hyperbolic 1,000% for emphasis) against online gambling: Nevada traffic on par with projections An interesting article on PokerFuse.com last week details how the current traffic levels in the Nevada online poker market are right on par with what should be expected based on the state’s population. PokerFuse.com used data from pokerscout.com to determine Nevada’s average traffic at 65 players per million residents, which is similar to other regulated markets around the world, where traffic ranges from 55-67 players per million. The article goes on to explain that while Nevada may be near its peak, there is still room for growth in New Jersey. The article is very interesting, and shows just how detailed the analysis already is (most people would probably assume this type of data is speculative) in regulated markets. Nevada / Delaware compact timeline Nevada and Delaware are hoping for a summer launch of their online poker compact according to an article by Howard Stutz. In addition to presenting a potential timeline for the interstate agreement, the article goes on to say that Nevada has been in talks with New Jersey, and both Nevada and Delaware are hoping more states join down the road. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed WSOP.com saw a solid traffic increase for its $15k guaranteed tournament this week as attendance went from 80 players to 96 week-over-week. With a prize-pool of nearly $20,000 it was former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow who took down the event—or maybe it was just some random player using TimTebow for a screen-name, which isn’t as good a story but seems more plausible.
TimTebow – $5,472.00
scross – $3,168.00
brokefinger – $1,920.00
mlawson – $1,536.00
Luck_Equity – $1,324.80
bk1048 – $1,132.80
pgreazy19 – $940.80
cantfakeit – $652.80
SuGaRay71 – $518.40 Another week means another seat to the World Series of Poker Main Event was handed out, and this time around it was “dicma” who won his way into the world’s largest tournament, winning the $215 Qualifier to the 2014 WSOP Main Event ran on Saturday. With just 42 players the tournament had a nice overlay as well, $1,400.
dicma – $10,000 WSOP Main Event seat The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker The $10,000 guaranteed at Ultimate Poker had 88 players, producing a nice overlay of nearly $2,000. One beneficiary was Ultimate Poker Pro William Reynolds who finished in 4th place:
gothunder – $2,900
chrisz19 – $2,000
Nani’s Dad – $1,500
William “ReynoldsXO” Reynolds – $1,000
unlvrebel74 – $800
IH8Donk$ – $600
luckboxbryan – $500
Gametime – $400
DonkeyFish32 – $300 Traffic trends in Nevada Cash game traffic dipped a little bit more this past week as WSOP.com dropped to just 95 average cash-game players while Ultimate Poker’s cash-game traffic dipped to just 65 average players according to www.pokerscout.com. South Point’s Real Gaming is still averaging 0 players. This is somewhat troubling considering the sites were combining for about 200 players just a few weeks ago. The word on the street MGM’s Murren wants AGA to chill Another Howard Stutz article that is of interest this week was MGM Chairman Jim Murren calling on the AGA to settle down with their online poker rhetoric. According to the article, Murren wants the AGA to focus on its more historical fights where the association is in complete agreement, and leave the online poker fight to the recently created C4COP. “I don’t want the AGA to find itself mired in a tremendous amount of controversy and infighting,” Murren said in an interview this week. “I feel like the Internet has become too divisive a topic when there are so many other topics we want to put forward where we can all agree.”

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Ultimate Poker Deals 30 Millionth Hand; A Look Back at Year 1

Right now in New Jersey, partypoker is counting down to their 30 millionth hand dealt and running a $40,000 promotion to celebrate the milestone, but another licensed US online poker provider has already reached this milestone, Ultimate Poker, which reached the milestone earlier this week. Of course, Ultimate Poker’s accomplishment isn’t quite as impressive as the one partypoker is working up to, considering Ultimate Poker is counting both New Jersey and Nevada in their calculation, the latter of which has been up and running for nearly a year. In my opinion, Ultimate Poker has been the most enigmatic of the first wave of US online poker rooms, with the site excelling in terms of promotions, marketing, and customer service, but coming up short when it comes to their actual product. Overall, UP does a lot of things really well, but they also have some issues that seem to be deal-breakers amongst the online poker community. Still, in my opinion Ultimate Poker has the highest ceiling of any of the US sites, but that being said, the window is starting to close. Ultimate Poker software Ultimate Poker’s main problem thus far has without doubt been the site’s inferior software. UP decided to build their online poker software in-house (buying the software development company CyberArts in 2011 to handle the cumbersome project of creating an online poker room) and foregoing a partnership with an already established provider. The reasoning behind this decision was likely to avoid splitting revenue with what Ultimate Poker deemed an unnecessary collaborator, and this may turn out to be a very wise decision down the road; provided Ultimate Poker can weather their early software shortcomings without falling into irrelevancy. Thus far Ultimate Poker has released one significant software upgrade, and while the upgrade fixed a number of problems with the software it still lacks many of the features their competitors offer and online poker players expect. Ultimate Poker marketing On the other hand, Ultimate Poker’s marketing efforts have been innovative, fairly well-publicized, and well-received. This is something the site had to get right, considering Ultimate Poker was an original brand that needed to be marketed — Ultimate Poker has very little brand connection to Station Casinos or even the Ultimate Fighting Championship. From Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) tie-ins to their usage of the internet and their sponsored pros like Antonio Esfandiari, Jason Somerville, and Terrence Chan, Ultimate Poker has done a better-than-expected job of getting their brand out to the public, but more work certainly needs to be done, especially in New Jersey. My one real criticism of Ultimate Poker’s early marketing efforts is the lack of marketing in New Jersey, which falls at the feet of both Ultimate Gaming and their New Jersey partner the Trump Taj Mahal. Ultimate Poker promotions Ultimate Poker did an excellent job of creating a player-friendly VIP Rewards Program which is the backbone of an online poker site’s entire promotional offerings. UP has also been very creative with their other promotions, particularly their NO-verlay promotion that they ran in New Jersey, which turned one of the site’s greatest weaknesses into a strength. Unfortunately these promotions haven’t had any type of staying power, and even though these promotions have been popular and well-received while they are running, they’ve had little to no impact on the site’s traffic numbers in the long-run. What to expect from Ultimate Poker in year 2 Ultimate Poker is rumored to be prepping another major software upgrade, and this should certainly be the company’s #1 priority in 2014, as it would seem that without a significant software upgrade the site is going to find it harder and harder to compete as Nevada’s market becomes even more crowded, and UP is already falling into irrelevancy in New Jersey. I’m also anticipating that Ultimate Poker will ramp-up their cross promotions between Station Casinos, the UFC, and the Trump Taj Mahal to create a stronger tie-in between the brands. One of the things I’m eagerly awaiting to see is how Ultimate Poker (and the other US online poker rooms for that matter) market during the World Series of Poker tournament series that kicks-off in late May. The WSOP was the catalyst for the Poker Boom, and during the “years of plenty” online poker rooms used the WSOP like Coca Cola, GoDaddy, and Doritos use the Super Bowl.

Nevada Online Poker Review: Reno CEO’s About-Face on Internet Gambling, Revenue Numbers Finally Released

Even though the debate over online gambling continues to rage on (Sheldon Adelson was apparently very sincere when he proclaimed he was going to fight online gambling to the bitter end) the most talked about stories coming out of Nevada over the past week has been in regards to the recent revenue numbers for February, which for the first time included the state’s online poker numbers. In this installment of the Nevada Online Poker Review we’ll breakdown those revenue numbers for both land-based and online gambling; we’ll also discuss the CEO of the Atlantis Reno, John Farahi’s newfound opposition to online gambling; and we’ll fill you in on the latest tournament results, traffic numbers and gossip coming out of Nevada including potential strike by a union with 37,000 members. Farahi explains new stance on online poker Last week we brought you the news via Jon Ralston that Atlantis Reno owner John Farahi had come out against online poker in the state. In detailing Farahi’s opposition I brought up the interesting angle to the story explaining how the Atlantis Hotel and Casino (under the name Monarch Casino and Resort) had applied for and received an online poker license in Nevada. As Ricky Ricardo would say; someone has some splaining to do! Farahi was willing to explain his new position, as he spoke with the Reno Gazette Journal recently, and in an article published on Monday explained his flip-flop on the issue. “We used to be for it, but we found out poker is being used as a tool to jar the door open to wide-open online Internet gaming,” Farahi told the newspaper, right before launching into Sheldon Adelson’s talking points almost verbatim: “How do you control a person who comes home from work and blows the paycheck?” Farahi said. “Or someone not 21 years old?” Farahi isn’t the only casino owner to change his stance on online gambling. Earlier this year Steve Wynn came out against online gambling, but unlike Adelson and Farahi, Wynn wasn’t worried about the morality of the industry, his concerns were almost purely economic, as he said he just didn’t see a feasible revenue stream from the fledgling industry. Nevada casino revenue plummets in February The most recent revenue figures for Nevada’s gambling industry showed a steep decline in year-over-year revenue for the month of February. Actually, a decline is probably not a strong enough term to describe the near 14% drop the report revealed. The hardest hit area was the Las Vegas Strip, where revenue was down some 20% year-over-year (nearly $700 million in 2013 and just over $550 million in 2014) while Downtown Vegas showed a slight boost in revenue, with revenue increasing about 3%. The revenue figures may not have been what the industry was hoping for, but it may not get quite as much negative attention as it normally would as the report also contained Nevada’s much anticipated online poker revenue for the very first time. Online poker revenue numbers As mentioned in the previous header, for the first time since its launch in April of 2013 we are finally able to see the revenue numbers from Nevada’s online poker industry. The reason for the long wait was because Nevada regulators came up with the arbitrary threshold of needing three online poker sites before they would release the revenue data, and with the recent launch of South Point Poker’s Real Gaming in February the Nevada market reached three providers — WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker being the other two. As far as the numbers went, they were pretty much in line with what analysts expected to see, as total revenue since launch was $8.5 million. Unfortunately, the NGCB did not break down the revenue by operator, so the best we can do is speculate based on the information in the report and the traffic data available. Weekly Guaranteed Tournaments in Nevada WSOP.com Sunday $15K Guaranteed 89 players registered for the $215 $15k Guaranteed at WSOP.com this past Sunday, creating a total prize-pool of $17,800, with a player using the screen-name “cantfakeit” taking home the largest share, pocketing just over $5,000 for the win. There was one well-known player at the final table, as Christina Lindley finished in 6th place.
cantfakeit – $5,073.00
naifliest – $2,937.00
aggie69 – $1,780.00
rprops – $1,424.00
PaulDewald – $1,228.20
Christina “lindeyloo” Lindley – $1,050.20
fbpoker – $872.20
Villain – $605.20
jchak – $480.60 WSOP Main Event Satellite Another Nevada online poker player has punched their ticket to the World Series of Poker Main Event, as the WSOP.com player “orono” won this week’s satellite tournament. There was an even larger overlay ($1,600 compared to last week’s $1,400) than last week as one less player registered for WSOP Main Event qualifier this week.
orono – $10,000 WSOP Main Event seat The $10K Guarantee tournament at Ultimate Poker This week the $10,000 guaranteed at Ultimate Poker saw a nice increase from last week’s 88 registrants, as 103 players showed up this past Sunday to partake in the event. the 103 entries still wasn’t enough to reach the guarantee, but fell short by only about $600.
VegasPlayer $2,893.10
DonkeyDik $1,811.90
Thekat $1,361.40
Honey Badger $910.90
maddogjim $730.70
Gametime $550.50
JCarver $370.30
Gerald $280.20
allinallen $190.10 Traffic trends in Nevada Over the past week traffic at WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker ticked up ever so slightly, as average cash-game traffic at WSOP.com rose from 95 to 100 players, while Ultimate Poker had a similar increase, going from 65 to 70 players according to www.pokerscout.com. South Point’s Real Gaming online poker site continues to be a non-factor with average traffic still sitting at 0. The word on the street Culinary Union OK’s strike One of the strongest unions in Nevada, the Culinary and Bartenders Union, has voted to strike against 10 Las Vegas casinos according to multiple outlets. All 10 of the casinos are located in the Downtown area, and includes landmarks like the Golden Nugget, Binions, El Cortez, and the Four Queens. The Union has reached an agreement with Las Vegas Strip properties. What is the reason for the strike? It seems the two sides are at an impasse (the current contract expired in June of 2013), and the union has now cut off contract talks with the sticking point being health care.

For Once, A Casino Construction Project Is Running Right On Schedule

Roughly one year from today, MGM Springfield Casino will open its doors to the public. According to recent reports that puts construction of the casino project on schedule, including the 3,400 space parking garage, which chould open with the casino proper. As seen in the video below, the ambitious $1 billion casino project is beginning to take shape in the Western Massachusetts city of Springfield: A peek inside the MGM Springfield Casino Even though the $2.4 billion Wynn Boston Harbor will cost more than double what the MGM Springfield will, the MGM casino is going to be a major destination resort. The property will feature:
3,000 slot machines and 100 table games
A 250-room, four-star hotel
A 3,375-space attached parking garage
Eight restaurants, dining options, and bars
26,000 square feet of retail space
Entertainment options including a bowling alley and cinema
54 residential units repurposed from existing historical buildings on the site MGM’s location could draw visitors from all around One of the big advantages for the MGM casino is its western Massachusetts location. It may not have the built-in population base Wynn’s Boston project possesses, but the Massachusetts casino does sit at the crossroads for drivers travelling to and from Boston, New York City, Hartford, and beyond. Driving time from city:
Hartford, Connecticut – 30 minutes
New Haven, Connecticut – 1 hour
Providence, Rhode Island – 1 hour and 30 minutes
Boston, Massachusetts – 1 hour and 45 minutes
Albany, New York – 1 hour and 30 minutes
New York City, New York – 3 hours Employment opportunities When the doors open, the casino will employ some 3,000 people from an anticipated 125,000 applicants. That’s on top of the roughly 2,000 construction jobs the project created. These jobs are sorely needed in Springfield, which boasts one of the higher unemployment rates in Massachusetts at 6.9 percent. That’s nearly double the average in Massachusetts (3.9 percent), and more than double Boston’s unemployment rate of 3.3 percent. Among the staffing needs at the MGM Springfield are:
600 dealers and croupiers for blackjack, poker, and other games
80 cashiers to work the casino cages
A 200-person strong security team
150 culinary artists for the properties numerous dining venues

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New Hampshire’s Lottery Makes Massachussets A “Dead Duck”

Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg didn’t mince words on Tuesday, when she said the Massachusetts Lottery is “sitting here like dead ducks,” as New Hampshire prepares to roll out keno and online lottery games in early 2018. Massachusetts should be very concerned, considering six of the top 10 keno retailers in Massachusetts are within 10 miles of the New Hampshire border, according to Colin Young of Statehouse News. Goldberg has been a vocal advocate of online lottery in the Bay State. She recently noted the need to modernize the lottery. Goldberg wants to bring in new players capable of replacing the ever-aging existing lottery demographic. Goldberg’s advocacy went so far as to propose legislation earlier this year. “Between the impending arrival of casinos, increasing competition from daily fantasy sports, the overall shift to online versus point-of-sale transactions, and our aging Lottery demographic, we have no choice but to pursue new solutions,” Goldberg said in December 2016. Beaten to the punch by New Hampshire Despite Goldberg’s cheerleading, online lottery efforts in Massachusetts regressed in 2017. The Senate passed a bill that would have authorized online lottery sales near the end of the 2016 session. However, it eventually died in the House of Representatives. Its progress left supporters feeling optimistic that similar legislation would pass in 2017. That never came to pass. Instead, Massachusetts watched its northern neighbor sprint past the finish line ahead of the Bay State. In July, New Hampshire legalized online lottery and keno sales. The expectation is the NH Lottery will eat away at Massachusetts’ lottery revenue, causing a “double-hit” according to Goldberg. As Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney told the Lottery Commission on Tuesday: Will Massachusetts act in 2018? On the lottery front, 2017 was a wasted year in Massachusetts. The state now finds itself playing catch-up instead of being the first New England state to offer online lottery sales. Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, and Kentucky already authorized and offer online lottery to their residents. The hope is the legislature will get the message and act quickly in 2018. State Comptroller Thomas Shack summed up the situation: On a related note, the Massachusetts legislature should also consider these arguments as they waffle on MA online gambling. Instead of waiting for a neighboring state to legalize online poker and/or casino games, Massachusetts, and its burgeoning casino industry, would be better served being a first-mover in the region. Photo by dennizn / Shutterstock.com

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What Do A Maine Casino And The Brexit Movement Have In Common?

A proposal to bring a casino to York County, Maine faces an increasingly uphill battle. Advocates of the southern Maine casino are ramping up their lobbying ahead of a November ballot referendum. According to the Associated Press, Progress for Maine PAC, a group supporting a southern Maine casino, spent over $4 million just to get the initiative on the ballot. More recently, they cut a check for $80,000 to the Washington, D.C.-based firm Goddard Gunster. The firm played an instrumental role for Brexit supporters. Thus far the firm is only working on modernizing the group’s social media and website platforms. However, Goddard Gunster’s role could increase down the road. Campaign comes under scrutiny The casino campaign seems to need the firm’s expertise. Efforts to bring a casino to York County have run into multiple snags. According to the Maine Public: There are additional concerns regarding the exclusivity the proposal gives to a single developer. “The only developer who would be allowed to build is Shawn Scott,” the AP reports. Scott is a familiar name in Maine casino gambling. In 2003, he brought gambling to Maine in the form of a Bangor racino. Because of the perceived hidden finances, and the no-bid deal given to Scott, the York County casino campaign is currently under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission. At the forefront of the investigation is Scott’s sister, Lisa Scott. Scott had her financial record subpoenaed over accusations that the campaign hid funding sources. Can Goddard Gunster make a difference? Leaders of the Brexit movement hired Goddard Gunster to assist with its campaign. The efforts eventually led to the United Kingdom voting to exit the European Union. The surprising victory increased Goddard Gunster’s reputation. Many saw the firm as an integral part of Brexit’s passage. According to the Maine Public, Goddard Gunster “claims a 90 percent success rate in referendum campaigns – including a 2012 victory in which it aligned with the beverage industry to beat back Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large soda containers.” However, not only is the Maine Casino already facing an uphill battle, the road is likely to grow more challenging as more opposition groups appear too. Speaking on background, an attorney hired by Churchill Downs told the Maine Public “it will soon launch its bid to oppose Scott’s ballot campaign – Question 1 on the November ballot.” Penn National is likely to oppose the measure too. The company runs the Bangor slots parlor as well as Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts, which is roughly two hours away from the proposed casino site. And of course, there will be the usual backlash from the anti-gambling religious right and other groups.

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Take A Sneak Peek At Wynn Boston Harbor Casino’s Progress

In a 10-minute video sent to Red Card members, Wynn Boston Harbor President Bob DeSalvio provided a look at the $2.4 billion resort casino’s progress. It also shows what to expect when the 33-acre, three-million square foot project is done. Here’s what DeSalvio had to say in the video. A new opening date As construction progresses, the official opening of the casino is coming into focus. First it was summer, then June, and now, according to DeSalvio, Wynn is targeting June 24, 2019 for its ribbon-cutting ceremony. Even though it will boast hundreds of hotel rooms, room availability is going to be an issue, especially early on. As such, hotel booking will be available a full 12 months before the casino opens its doors. Water shuttles As DeSalvio points out in the video, Wynn Boston Harbor is in Everett, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston proper. The casino will sit on the waterfront, where the Mystic River flows into Boston Harbor. Wynn is certainly taking full advantage of this location. According to DeSalvio, Wynn purchased three 24/7 water shuttles that will transport people from downtown Boston, the seaport, and the financial district to the casino. Construction progress The building is currently a five-story infrastructure. However, DeSalvio said they plan to add about a floor a week. Hopefully crews will cose the entire building by the end of the year. That’s no small order. Wynn Boston Harbor is a 3.1 million square-foot project that boasts a 12.5 acre footprint. There are currently 750 construction and trade workers working on the site working on, among other things:
700 5-Star guest rooms
Meeting and convention space
3,000-car parking garage Odds and ends
The Jeff Coon Popeye sculpture Steve Wynn bought for $28 million in 2014 that’s currently located at the crossroads of Wynn and Encore in Las Vegas will move to the Wynn Boston Harbor lobby.
Wynn Boston Harbor will open with 12 restaurant and dining options. DeSalvio said these options will run the gamut: fine-dining, casual, a sports bar, an oyster bar, a buffet, and more.
The property will have an 8,000 square-foot, yet-to-be-named nightclub/ultra-lounge on the mezzanine level.
DeSalvio hinted at outdoor waterfront amenities. He didn’t explain what these would be, so they could be anything from outdoor restaurant seating and wedding and venue space, to pools and a landscaped walking path.
A 20,000 square-foot. five-star spa, rivaling the spas at Wynn and Encore in Las Vegas, is part of the plan.
DeSalvio said the company has met with high-end retailers. Visitors to Wynn Boston Harbor can expect a fine retail experience.

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WSOP Circuit Sending A Jolt Through Foxwoods This Weekend

The Northeast gambling world is currently invaded by poker players from across the country, as the World Series of Poker Circuit is back at Foxwoods Resort Casino from Aug. 17 – 28. The series boasts nine preliminary events, each costing either $365 or $580 to enter. There is at least one re-entry available in every tournament, including the $1,650 buy-in Main Event. There are also two postlim events, including a $3,250 High Roller tournament. Preliminary schedule The first nine tournaments on the main schedule take place before the Main Event. They are:
Event #1: $365 No-Limit Hold’em – 1 Re-Entry (Thursday, Aug. 17, 11 a.m.)
Event #2A: $580 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry (Thursday, Aug. 17, 5 p.m.)
Event #2B: $580 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry (Friday, Aug. 18, 11 a.m.)
Event #2C: $580 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry (Friday, Aug. 18, 5 p.m.)
Event #2D: $580 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry (Saturday, Aug. 19, 11 a.m.)
Event #3: $365 No-Limit Hold’em – Turbo, 1 Re-Entry (Saturday, Aug. 19, 4 p.m.)
Event #4: $580 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max – 1 Re-Entry (Sunday, Aug. 20, 12 p.m.)
Event #5: $365 No-Limit Hold’em Monster Stack – 1 Re-Entry (Monday, Aug. 21, 11 a.m.)
Event #6: $580 No-Limit Hold’em – 1 re-entry (Tuesday, Aug. 22, 11 a.m.)
Event #7: $365 Omaha 8 or Better – 1 Re-Entry (Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2 p.m.)
Event #8: $365 No-Limit Hold’em – 1 Re-Entry (Wednesday, Aug. 23, 11 a.m.)
Event #9: $365 No-Limit Hold’em – Unlimited Re-Entry (Thursday, Aug. 24, 11 a.m.) There are two other tournaments on the main schedule that are scheduled for Day 2 and Day 3 of the Main Event:
Event #11: $3,250 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller – 1 Re-Entry (Sunday, August 27, 5 p.m.)
Event #12: $365 No-Limit Hold’em – 1 Re-Entry (Monday, August 28, 11 a.m.) A ladies event (Friday, Aug. 25), a seniors event, and daily tournaments are also on the schedule during the series. The WSOPC Foxwoods Main Event The Main Event begins on Friday, Aug. 25, with Day 1 flights on Friday and Saturday:
Event #10A: $1,675 No-Limit Hold’em MAIN EVENT – 1 Re-Entry (Friday, Aug. 25, 12 p.m.)
Event #10B: $1,675 No-Limit Hold’em MAIN EVENT – 1 Re-Entry (Saturday, Aug. 26, 12 p.m.) The tournament features a $500,000 guarantee, but that number will almost certainly not come into play. Last year, the Main Event had 460 entries, creating a prize pool of $690,000. The 2016 WSOPC Foxwoods Main Event winner was Julian Sacks, who took nearly $150,000 along with his Circuti Gold Ring back to his home in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Here’s a look at the complete final table results from last year: 1st: Juliam Sacks – $148,350
2nd: Travis Stams – $91,770
3rd: Jeremy Meacham – $66,930
4th: Johanssy Joseph – $49,680
5th: Muhammad Abdel-Rahim – $37,260
6th: Sean Carlson – $28,428
7th: Long Tran – $22,080
8th: Vinh Dang – $17,250
9th: Ronald Baker – $13,800 Cash games will be busy Throughout the series you can expect the busy Foxwoods poker room to be even busier than usual. With so many players in town, and tournaments starting as early as 11 a.m., the games will be running around the clock. You’re also likely to find the stakes being played at many tables to be higher than usual.