21
Apr

Updated 2004-2011 poker study up

While answering questions about the impact of the Black Friday indictments on Nevada poker, I thought I’d take a look at what impact previous interdiction attempts (the passage of UIGEA, the implementation of UIGEA) had on Nevada poker. So I compiled a month-by-month summary of Nevada’s poker results for the past seven years. Because I didn’t want to keep all of the fun to myself, I turned my table into a little Center for Gaming Research report that you can now enjoy:

From 2003-06, Nevada poker saw an unprecedented boom, with revenues nearly tripling. From roughly the summer of 2006 to the summer of 2007, revenues then stabilized, showing continued small increases. Following a major jump in June 2007 (coinciding with an earlier start for the World Series of Poker), revenues then declined steadily. Since July 2007, poker revenues have increased year-to-year only five months out of forty-three.
In general, poker has, since 2006, become steadily less profitable for Nevada casinos. The win per table has fallen dramatically to early 1990s levels. The large number of tables, however, indicates that it is still an amenity that many choose to provide, though it does not produce significant revenues on its own.

Nevada Poker, 2004-2011

If you want to read my analysis based on the report, check out this Two Way Hard Three post.

21
Apr

Behind the reels in Vegas Seven

There’s a Green Felt Journal in today’s Vegas Seven, focusing on what many slot players don’t see:

To most players, slot machines are only screen deep. The spinning reels are what’s important. But there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that makes the action possible. Without back-end systems to track play and account for payouts, those slot machines would be very expensive ornaments. Through fiber-optic cable and data drops, a series of networks connects slot machines to each other, to master systems, and even to software that lets managers analyze the casino in real time. Though invisible to the players, these systems are absolutely essential.

via Behind the reels | Vegas Seven.

I actually could write a book about all of the stuff that goes on at Bally’s–I toured their facility last week and was very impressed by both the sophistication of the technology and the scale of what they’re doing.

19
Apr

Talking about Steve Wynn talking about Mirage at TWHT

Sometimes I like to share things that I find while plumbing through the archives, just because. Yesterday I did just that at Two Way Hard Three:

Working on my lecture for tomorrow about Las Vegas gaming in the 1980s and 1990s, I wanted to go back to some of the original sources. So I’ve been browsing through the archives quite a bit.

I found a press release issued on November 14, 1989 titled “MIRAGE RESORT SETS NEW DIRECTION FOR LAS VEGAS.” For those keeping score at home, that’s 8 days before the Mirage’s grand opening

via From the archives: SW talks Mirage, 1989 | Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog | from ratevegas.com.

It’s always neat to see how people thought (or hoped) things were going to turn out, and compare it to how they actually did. Ten years from now we’ll be able to do this with CityCenter.

14
Apr

My take on Kerkorian leaving at Two Way Hard Three

I wrote a quick review of some of Kirk Kerkorian’s earlier history in Las Vegas for Two Way Hard Three this morning:

Kirk Kerkorian is stepping down from his position on the board of MGM Resorts International in June. It’s a significant milestone for Las Vegas gaming, since he’s one of the few remaining links with pre-corporate gaming.

via Kerkorian leaving marks end of era | Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog | from ratevegas.com.

You could make the argument that Kerkorian is the most pivotal figure in Las Vegas gaming history. I’m not sure that it’s entirely accurate to say that, but it’s definitely an argument I’d listen to.

8
Apr

Thoughts on the February numbers in Two Way Hard Three

In addition to the statistical reports I’ve written in my official capacity, I’ve got a few thoughts I’d like to share about what the numbers mean over on Two Way Hard Three:

Every month, Revenue Day is always a bit of a mixed blessing for me. It means a lot of fairly frenetic number crunching (at least by the standards of academia), but also a chance to share my thoughts on what’s happening in the gaming industry. I’ve been mulling over the numbers since about 6:45 this morning, and here’s where I’m at right now.

via Thoughts on the February NV gaming numbers | Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog | from ratevegas.com.

I’ve now spent about ten hours thinking, calculating, and writing about the February numbers. Glad the weekend’s almost here.

8
Apr

Vegas Box in Vegas Seven

I got an email a few weeks ago from Gena Marler, co-owner of the Vegas Box, asking me if I’d like to share news about her company on this blog. I thought it was an interesting idea, and I’m always in favor of giving start-ups some attention, so I decided to write a Green Felt Journal about it. It was published in yesterday’s Vegas Seven:

Although gaming revenues continue to sag, nongaming spending in Las Vegas is showing a slight rebound. Numbers recently released by the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority show upticks in expenditures on food and drink, transportation, shopping and entertainment for 2010. The proprietors of The Vegas Box, a start-up geared toward frequent Vegas visitors, are hoping that now might be the time to start a business that capitalizes on people’s love for Vegas—and convenience.

via What Happens in Vegas Goes in The Vegas Box | Vegas Seven.

There was a thread on the VegasTripping board about this, too, with some skepticism. But I think it’s a service that might appeal to frequent Vegas travelers. I know when I visit relatives I like to have a stash of toiletries, etc, on hand, and I can see how it would be nice to have this when you visit Vegas, too.

So much of the Vegas casino news is dominated by the big operators that it’s nice to be able to focus on smaller-scale, but still interesting, stories.

8
Apr

Caught in the Crossfire in Vegas Seven

Everyone’s been talking about the “Dotty’s issue” here in Vegas, so I thought I’d focus on an aspect that hasn’t received as much press–the moratorium that was in effect from December to April on new taverns. Here’s my Vegas Seven article:

The debate over the “Dotty’s model” of a gaming tavern—an establishment with no kitchen, no beer on tap and an emphasis on slot machines—has divided the gaming community. Is Dotty’s owner Craig Etsey a clever entrepreneur, or a slot arcade operator who should be forced out of business?

via Caught in the Crossfire | Vegas Seven.

I got a little imaginative with the subheads for this one. For the second one, you’ve got imagine those crashing Townshend power chords to get the full impact.

On a serious note, I think that this one is headed to the courts. For the County Commission to put operations that have been licensed for 15 years out of business by fiat seems like the sort of thing that’s begging for judicial review.

5
Apr

Gaming evolving to web/mobile in LVBP

I’ve got a new piece up in the Las Vegas Business Press about how the current debate over legalizing online gaming in Nevada is really informed by the past development of gaming in relation to technology. But I don’t think it’s as boring as it sounds:

With the current debate over Assembly Bill 258, which would legalize online poker in Nevada, we’ve been hearing a great deal about how online is the future for gambling. But getting involved with online gambling really isn’t such a dramatic departure from the past. Gambling has always evolved. And, for the past 80 years, Nevada has evolved along with it.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Technology keeps pushing betting, now toward Web.

I really think it’s a question of when, not if Internet gaming is legalized. With our current economic and fiscal position, the phrase “there’s no time like the present” comes to mind.

31
Mar

Find DT’s hidden casino in Vegas Seven

Here’s a Vegas Seven story I had a lot of fun writing, about Downtown’s analog to the Cosmopolitan’s “hidden” pizzeria: a hidden casino:

By now, everyone’s heard about the Cosmopolitan’s secret pizzeria. There’s no sign, and it’s down a hallway decorated with LPs, but they do serve a tasty slice. Apparently, a lot of people have discovered something similar downtown—a “secret casino” with no hotel rooms, no entertainment, no restaurants, no loyalty program and no marketing offers.

via Open Secret | Vegas Seven.

I came up with the idea while I was interviewing people for the Loosening up Downtown story and noticed that, despite having significant barriers to entry, the Plaza’s casino was drawing players.

31
Mar

The Big Finish in Vegas Seven

It’s Thursday, so there’s a new Vegas Seven out. I’ve got two pieces in this one. Here’s the first, about betting on the Final Four:

March might be mad, but it’s also pretty lucrative for Las Vegas sports books. Most of the big casinos make betting on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament the centerpiece of a gambling vacation for the guys (and about 95 percent of them are guys—there’s still a heavy masculine slant to the party). The first extended weekend, in which 48 games are played over four days, is the busiest for most Nevada sports books. But Final Four weekend’s no slouch, either.

via The Big Finish | Vegas Seven.

Very frenetic stuff.