18
May

Wynn & China on Two Way Hard Three

In case you missed it, I posted a piece yesterday on Two Way Hard Three talking about Wynn Resorts and China:

In today’s flurry of email headlines (which continue whether I’m in the office or not) I read a blurb saying that Wynn Resorts “has become”; a Chinese company. Certainly this is no surprise to Wynn. I remember him saying that as far back as 2005, though then it was more along the lines of, “One day Wynn Resorts will be a Chinese company.”

Of course, this is getting press now since it’s being coupled with his criticisms of the Obama administration, but looking at the numbers, it’s clear that Wynn Resorts has been a predominantly Chinese company for quite some time.

via Wynn’s a Chinese company, now more than ever | Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog | from ratevegas.com.

Check it out, if only for the neat little charts. I managed to cut out one step in producing those charts, so I’m pretty excited about them.

18
May

Downtown as an example in the LVBP

A while ago I posted that report on Nevada gaming revenue trends from 1984 to 2010. I decided to write an extended opinion piece about one facet of that report for the Las Vegas Business Press (not the Las Vegas Journal-Business Review):

In general, the past quarter century has been good for Nevada gaming: revenues increased by 231 percent from 1984 to 2010, outpacing the inflation rate for the period (about 116 percent).

Downtown Las Vegas casinos, though, haven’t shared (collectively) in that bonanza. Since 1984, revenues have increased by only 10 percent, not even close to keeping up with inflation.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Downtown LV has lesson for gaming: adapt or ail.

I think what has happened to Downtown Las Vegas (and much of Northern Nevada) is what’s in the process of happening to Atlantic City. I had an nice email exchange with Wayne Parry of the AP about Atlantic City’s prospects that continues some of these thoughts–hopefully it will turn up in a piece he’s working on. I might post my thoughts here, too.

5
May

Goin’ mobile in Vegas Seven

This Thursday I have a new Green Felt Journal in Vegas Seven. It’s about the implications of William Hill’s growing footprint in Nevada sports betting, which I think is noteworthy:

With all of the sound and fury stirred up by the recent “Black Friday” indictments of three online poker operators, some major news that’s bringing Nevada a bit further into the future and a bit closer to the mainstream of sports betting in the rest of the world has gone largely unheralded.Last month, William Hill, a London-based bookmaking giant that claims 25 percent of the competitive market in the British Isles announced plans to acquire both American Wagering—the owner of Leroy’s, a chain of 53 sports books, 19 betting kiosks, and a Lovelock casino—and Club Cal Neva, a betting chain with more than two dozen outlets, primarily in Northern Nevada. This week, William Hill also bought Brandywine Bookmaking, parent of Lucky’s race and sports books.

via Goin’ mobile | Vegas Seven.

I think there’s a real battle brewing between Cantor and Lucky’s/Leroy’s/Club Cal Neva/William Hill for control of the Las Vegas sports book market.

Both companies have visions for how to increase the size of that market, but they’re a little different. Even though Leroy’s is getting its smartphone/tablet apps out first, from what I’ve seen it’s a much more traditional company in terms of approach and product than Cantor’s-Cantor’s CEO Lee Amiatis doesn’t even like the term “sports betting,” preferring “sports trading,” showing his company’s history in the financial markets.

Whoever “wins” (and I’d say there’s plenty of room in the market for both companies and approaches), the way Nevadans bet on sports is going to change over the next year.

3
May

Nevada’s destiny and online poker

If you’re not completely sick of opinion pieces about online poker, here’s my two cents, from the Las Vegas Business Press:

The recent Black Friday indictments in which federal prosecutors charged three of the world’s biggest online poker providers with fraud and violating the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act have rocked the poker world. In addition to the immediate questions the indictments raise about where the now-former American players of Ultimate Bet, Poker Stars, and Full Tilt will play, they suggest that the time has come, at last, for Nevada to lay its cards on the table and get serious about online gambling.

Online gaming will come; Nevada should lead it

I’d be really interested in hearing what other people thing about this: to me, Nevada-based companies should really be taking a more vigorous public role in the discussion of online poker. It’s certainly an issue that every Nevadan should be interested in.

29
Apr

Baccarat and gaming win in the LVBP

In this week’s Las Vegas Business Press, I look at what the continued reliance on baccarat means for Nevada:

Since the second quarter of 2010, the fortunes of the Las Vegas Strip — and, by proxy, of Nevada’s gaming industry — have been tied to baccarat. The game’s had a presence in Nevada since the 1950s, and has been a steady offering for top-tier casinos since the 1970s, but with slot play wilting and midlevel table play suffering, baccarat has risen to unprecedented heights. February’s results confirm what we’ve known since last summer: with baccarat as king, Nevada gaming is more of a game of chance than ever.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Volatile baccarat can’t reliably lift gaming win.

This isn’t really new–I just saw that I never published this. Still, it might be a fun read. Enjoy!

28
Apr

Old-School New Media in Vegas Seven

A little while ago, I had a really interesting conversation with J Barnard, who does a whole range of things at the Casino Royale. I thought he had a really interesting story, so I decided to share, via Vegas Seven:

It’s not easy for the little guy on the Las Vegas Strip these days. Of course, the little guy’s still a casino that makes millions of dollars each year, but compared with the megaliths owned by the big boys (MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment), places such as the Casino Royale are the neighborhood corner store.

via Old-School New Media | Vegas Seven.

It’s a quick piece, so you’ve got on excuse for not reading it.

22
Apr

Another Shade of Blue in Vegas Seven

Keeping my finger on the pulse of Vegas entertainment, I decided last week to check out the official unveiling of the Blue Man Group interactive statue and write about it for Vegas Seven:

Last Wednesday, with a T-shirt slingshot and plenty of Twinkies, a new colossus had its formal debut on the Strip. In front of Fashion Show mall, a 15-foot statue of the Blue Man Group both trumpets the famous show at the Venetian and serves as a quirky attraction in its own right, allowing passers-by to see themselves on screen.

via Another Shade of Blue | Vegas Seven.

Speaking of blue, this might be the coolest thing ever:

I’d like to see a casino show based around that aesthetic.

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.