State Attorney General Luther Strange claimed DFS in Alabama illegal and sent letters for daily fantasy sports operators DraftKings and FanDuel demanding to stop their respective businesses in the Heart of Dixie.
After declaring DFS illegal in Alabama, AG Strange ordered DraftKings and FanDuel to stop their real money operation in the state by May 1. He argued that real money daily fantasy contests qualify as illegal gambling according to Alabama gambling laws.
Latest gambling news quoted Strange, saying, “As Attorney General, it is my duty to uphold Alabama law, including the laws against illegal gambling. Daily fantasy sports operators claim that they operate legally under Alabama law. However, paid daily fantasy sports contests are in fact illegal gambling under Alabama law.”
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) April 6, 2016
According to Alabama gambling laws, illegal gambling also occurs when somebody makes a wager on a contest of chance, even if skill is involved. Strange argues that skill is needed to assemble a fantasy sport team indeed, but the bettors have no control over the performance of their fantasy players. Any unforeseen event like an injury can influence player performance, so these contests rely on chance and therefore was claimed DFS in Alabama illegal gambling.
A star player for Boston University (BU) has been banned for the season following a university hockey gambling scandal.
Following a university hockey gambling investigation, a junior forward for the BU men’s hockey team named Nick Roberto has been banned for the season. According to sports gambling news, another player on the same team is rumored to have been involved as well.
BU will not disclose details of the scandal, saying in a statement that: “Beyond confirming that Mr. Roberto will not play for the Boston University hockey team this season, federal privacy laws prevent us from discussing his status.”
BU said that the initial investigation—which took place last season—was spurred by “rumors that a BU hockey player had engaged in gambling.” The university did not waste any time launching a search into the matter.
“Although the rumors did not involve gambling on either college or professional hockey games, we nonetheless immediately conducted a thorough investigation and turned the results over to the appropriate authorities at the NCAA. Based on that investigation, the NCAA made its own findings and took remedial action, and we would refer you to that organization for further information,” explained BU.
Per NCAA gambling laws, any collegiate player who is found betting on a sporting event—regardless of whether the gambling is done in person or online, or whether the game is collegiate or professional—is subject to a suspension of one year minimum.
Said Silver on FiveThirtyEight’s Hot Takedown podcast: “My view is that daily fantasy should be a regulated industry in New York and elsewhere, and I think ultimately that should be a decision for the voters.”
Silver is the first head of a major sports league to comment on the ongoing DFS controversy, and the most outspoken advocate of legal sports gambling. He made his opinion first known in October, when he told ESPN that the NBA is not considering “withdrawing or backing off our relationship with the [DFS] industry”, and that “it’s something that we’re deeply engaged in on the broader subject of daily fantasy-slash-sports betting.” He also had written a New York Times piece about why sports betting should be legalized shortly after entering into an equity deal with FanDuel.
The most pressing question in American gambling laws right now is whether DFS is a game of skill, or of chance. Silver declined to discuss whether he believes that DFS constitutes as gambling or not, but did say that the legalization and regulation of both DFS and sports gambling would be in the best interest of major sports leagues.
Said the NBA commissioner: “One of the reasons I’ve been pushing to legalize sports betting is not because that I’m necessarily an advocate of sports betting, it’s because all the research shows that it’s a multi-hundred-billion dollar business just in the United States right now.”
“In terms of the integrity of the sports league, it’s only bad news for us when it continues to remain underground… [to] the extent there are fantasy sites or flat-out betting sites, where consumers identify themselves by putting credit cards in and then can be tracked the same way the stock market can track buying and selling, then that’s much healthier for the leagues.”
Holly Holm caused quite a surprise by delivering the Ronda Rousey upset loss in Melbourne that was the first in the career of Rowdy.
Many punters suffered big money losses and many won big and followers of sports scores news were stunned all over the planet. And the Ronda Rousey upset loss was very painful for land-based and online sportsbooks in Australia and all over the world.
Virtually all the US bookies recorded losses as Holm, who was a 8/1 underdog before the fight, delivered the disastrous last attack. Amongst the losers, MGM sportsbook became the biggest looser. The majority of the punters were backing the underdog, and this caused a six-figure loss to the bookie.
— Aaron Cullen (@Eire247) November 15, 2015
Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s agent and trainer revealed that they also cashed out quite an amount thanks to the odds that were so high. He said,”We made a lot of money. And thank you, Vegas, for putting the odds up like that. We got into some really good money. We got into six figures, I’ll put it that way.”
The Ronda Rousey upset loss shook Las Vegas quite heavily. However, some interesting results in Sunday’s NFL games helped them to recover quickly. Nine NFL underdogs managed to get away with a win in Sunday’s games.
For land-based and online sportsbooks in the US it was again the best Sunday in the season after their previous record in week 9. Bookies made the biggest money on the Detroit Lions beating heavy favorites Green Bay Packers. This helped Las Vegas and other US sportsbooks considerably to recover after the Ronda Rousey upset loss costed them big.
This was the second NFL weekend in a row that tricked US bettors in states where gambling laws allow the operation of land-based and online sportsbooks. However, next week there will be a list of cool NFL matchups that might help punters to make some money on professional football.
NCAA rules against fantasy football threatens participating athletes with a year of suspension.According to Oliver Luck, the executive of the college sports organization and father of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, entry-fee daily fantasy sports qualify as sports gambling, which is prohibited for NCAA players. This means that athletes playing fantasy games for money violate the organization’s gambling laws. They will automatically lose one year of their eligibility if caught playing DraftKings or FanDuel.
Like the NFL and unlike the NBA and the MLB, NCAA strongly opposes sports gambling. But the amateur sports organization went one step further recently. They declared that entry-fee daily fantasy sports are also a form of sports gambling.
Though the major leagues all embraced these games – or just did not act to prevent them growing – NCAA has a firm stance against the matter. They argue that it is a threat towards the integrity of the game and amateur players are far more vulnerable like their pro colleagues.
Since there is big money in this business, it is obvious that at some point it will worth it for someone to try to influence the result of college sports scores to make some cash. The majority of the NCAA athletes have no shot at professional careers at all. So, why not try to earn some extra income towards the end of their college careers?
A survey from 2004 found that 1.4% of college athletes changed their performance in order to influence the result of a game. According to a 2012 survey, 4.6% of college players were approached by outsiders for confidential information. The latest big point-shaving scandal in NCAA basketball from 2004 to 2006 also emphasizes the threats towards the integrity of college sports.
Taking all this into account, it is no wonder that NCAA rules against fantasy football are the same as against traditional forms of sports gambling. However, many experts of gambling facts consider this as an outdated and hypocritical approach. Labeling all this as gambling and prohibiting it, won’t solve the problem.
A few players might get caught and would be handed a year suspension, but this thing is so widespread, that it won’t avert athletes from playing. The 2012 survey that was mentioned above, found that 50% percent of NCAA athletes played fantasy sports. It was three years ago, and these games grew massively since then…
The NCAA want to ban college games from the catalogues of daily fantasy sports sites. Though this would be a better solution, it is hard to see happening anytime soon. And even if they would be able to get a gambling regulation like this implemented, all this would continue in illegality…
New Jersey lawmakers are in a hurry to add a referendum to the November ballot that would permit operating more casinos in the state outside Atlantic City. On paper they have time until August 3, however, as a summer holiday is coming in legislation and the process is problematic, they have to achieve that in the following days. In the meantime the state Assembly approved a package of bills to help the declining Atlantic City and its casinos, while billionaire Carl Icahn was permitted to acquire Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. However he might shut down the facility eventually if he loses his battle against the casino workers’ union.
In order to include it to the November ballot, New Jersey politicians have to push the bill that would legalize casinos in the state outside Atlantic City in the following days. According to blackjack news, the administration has time until August 3 to bring the topic in, however their time is cut short by the summer break and the process won’t be an easy one either.
There is an ongoing debate about how many casinos should be approved to operate by the gambling laws and where to put them in New Jersey. Assembly Speaker Vincent Pireto revealed he supports enabling up to three casinos, which doesn’t mean that all three will be built.
Mayor Ras Baraka and fellow local politicians want one in Newark. Baraka said, Casinos are coming to North Jersey and if Newark doesn’t get it, another city will and they will net the benefits.” Meadowlands and Jersey City reportedly might be other locations for possible gaming facilities.
The New Jersey state Assembly approved five laws to help the declining Atlantic City. Their eight casinos now can make payments instead of taxes for 15 years in order to let them know how much they owe precisely. An education aid had been also granted for the city, as well as improved insurance and retirement benefits for casino workers.
A couple of other bills will help Atlantic City to pay its debt and to develop further, gambling law news reported. “This bill and the entire package was introduced to stop the immediate bleeding in Atlantic City and the surrounding region,” explained Atlantic County Democrat member of the Assembly, Vincent Mazzeo.
He added, “Casino closings coupled with large refunds due to casinos by the city have created dire challenges for the city.” Four casinos in Atlantic City were closed last year and New Jersey locals might vote in November about approving casinos to be built outside America’s Favorite Playground.
While lawmakers are working on how to save New Jersey’s gaming industry, billionaire businessman Carl Icahn was granted to purchase the Atlantic City Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort from bankruptcy court by the Casino Control Commission. Icahn also holds another gaming facility in the city already, the Tropicana Casino and Resort.
Taj Mahal’s debts toward him are exceeding USD 290 million and he only has to trade that in exchange for getting control of the company. He also plans to invest USD 100 million according to online mobile news, though he might decide to close the casino down if he loses the battle against the number one casino workers’ union in Atlantic City.
Icahn clashed with the union after he abolished health insurance and pension plans made in last October by the casino’s parent company with the permission of a bankruptcy judge. However if the final decision goes against him, forcing him to restore the benefits, he might just shut Taj Mahal down for good.
Cleveland takes one from the Warriors at home.
In the last match up, both teams were a bit nervous. Finally Cleveland put their experience to work and they got a substantial lead. Golden State didn’t dent the lead until the 2nd quarter, but Cleveland was still able to beat the Warriors at the half. The Warriors would have to work in the next half. Cleveland’s defense forced the Warriors to perform individual by splitting them up. Luckily, the Warriors are a skillful team. The lead switched several times as the game ended up going into overtime. No Cavalier was able to score in overtime as Golden State went on to dominate the rest of the game making gambling news.
Both teams tried to get something in and Clay Thompson was able to put one in. James shot an airball as Warriors drove back up and Andrew Bogut tried to deliver and failed. Finally after two more transitions, Cleveland got it in. James finally got one in at 8.26 in the quarter. Klay drilled in a three pointer as he started to get hot. After a second a foul, Thompson was now getting cold and had to sit down.
The Warriors were building a bit of a league on the Cavaliers as they tied to isolate on offense. After a few transitions a behind-the-back pass by the Curry to Barbosa in the corner is wide open as he drained a three-pointer giving the Golden State an eight-point lead. Timothy Mozgov tried to close the lead and ended up on the line as he tied the game. An 8-0 run by Cleveland put them in the lead.
The 2nd quarter is on the way as both sides were making mistakes. James committed the 4th team turnover as Thompson did more damage. Lebron finally put up a rare three-pointer and it goes in. At 6.02 Thompson was still putting it in the hoop as a quick one by bench player James Jones brought it to within one. Anybody watching live sports news would be “on edge” with the tightness of the spread.
Jones continued on the next transition scoring eight points in 10 minutes and putting Cleveland ahead. A Warrior Alley Oop pass to Andre Igadowa as he put it in end Cleveland’s 13-2 run. With 2.15 minutes left, Curry got in his first three-pointer. Cleveland still held on to a three-point lead. The action picked up towards the end as shots were being made back and forth. Cleveland ended the half with a two-point lead.
Cleveland continued to press on Golden State and applied pressure as the Warriors tried to break into the two point lead but with no avail. After three failed three-point attempts. Curry was able to get the rebound and went up the paint and did his thing to make two more from in the paint. This wasn’t the kind of game you’d want to wager on individual performance within gambling laws or otherwise.
Cleveland, who missed their last 10 shots from the field, finally got one in from Mozgov. Regardless of Warriors moments, Cleveland and company were still up by two. A double-team on Curry caused a rare turnover it making it 10 for the team. Lebron brought the ball down the court and drew the a third Thompson foul in the paint. Thompson soon redeemed himself with another three-pointer making it 20 for him.
Thompson started the 4th quarter with a three-point in the first minute to tie the game up at 62-62. Matthew Dellavedova made two strong. Clay Thompson sunk another crazy shot and then drew his fourth foul. Lebron sinks his second three-pointer of the game. Tristan Thompson and J.R Smith are crucial in defense. Lebron received a hard foul and as a result the Cavaliers got to rest for couple a minutes and put in a two free throws.
At 14 team fouls, any mistake Golden State makes puts Cleveland on the line. J.R Smith shot a three-pointer making their largest lead at 10 points. Lebron put in his third three-pointer of the game. The Cavaliers defensive adjustment worked brilliantly. Although Curry suffered the worst performance of the playoffs, the Warriors still managed to get into overtime where they lost by Dellavedova and his free throws 95-93.
The Houston Rockets will be forced to make history. They will attempt to be the first NBA team in history to come back from a three-game deficit to win a conference final. They have been in four elimination games in the playoff. The Rockets lost to the Warriors in seven out of seven games this year. But making gambling news, the Rockets have already done it once already to get to this game. Although the Warriors have played well, Houston hasn’t been able to capitalize off of the few mistakes that Golden State has made. After such a humiliating defeat, the Rockets would have to repeat what they’ve already done. A 128-115 Houston victory was a good start.
nba.com Harden will have to deliver again to keep Rockets alive
Well this game started to look like a possible repeat of game three. All that energy Houston had almost went against them as they missed on the first two drives up court. After 9-0, Coach Steve Kerr called a time out to talk and break the Rocket momentum. The Rockets ended up looking very hot while the Warriors were 1-8 from the field. The whole Houston team came to play and made it rain before Harden made a single point.
In the first 27 Rocket points, Harden had yet to contribute. A couple of free throws finally put Harden into it. Josh Smith also had an excellent contribution to the offense. The Golden State defense, distracted by Harden, allowed the rest of the Rockets to dominate. After the first quarter, five Rocket players had made at least one three-pointer. That sports stat alone could’ve earned someone a gambling bonus.
The first quarter, 75% shooting and at 45-22, was the highest scoring quarter by Houston all season. Coach Steve Kerr replied to the question concerning his team by saying “they’ve scored 45 points in 12 minutes. We have many problems.” Dwight Howard got the ball in good faith and he was able to contribute while having a sound inside presence defensively.
bleacherreport.comRockets vs. Warriors: Analysis, Predictions for Western Conference Finals Game 5
Jason Terry and Curry were still impressive as the Warriors stayed in the game. Klay Thompson, for Golden State finally showed a pulse in the second quarter. At 5.52 in the second quarter Curry, in mid air going for a block, fell over Trevor Ariza and landed on his head creating shock and awe among the crowd. After seven minutes on standby, Curry got up to cheers by the Houston Crowd.
As Kerr tries to keep it together for his team in Curry’s absence, the Warriors went on a run cutting the 25-point lead to 13. The 8-0 run by Golden State was without Curry’s presence. Harden was a bit docile at that moment with the Rocket team shooting at 65%.
The Warriors were within 12 of the Rockets until Trevor Ariza got the foul and finished a four-point play. Leandro Barbosa responded with 3-pointers that kept Golden State alive.
Thompson’s 16 points put a serious dent into the Rockets lead. In the second half, Josh Smith continued his run of 7-7 shots. The Warrior’s Draymond Green who was consistently putting up points was perhaps the strongest factor during Curry’s absence. Harden’s 16 points in the third quarter made a statement that nothing, including Curry’s return to the floor, was going to stop Houston.
houstonpress.com NBA Western Conference Finals, Game 4: Rockets 128, Warriors 115-4 Winners, 4 Losers
The Warriors were able to cut the lead to a solid 10 points while Harden was on the bench. Klay Thompson drove in a three-pointer and got Golden State within 7. Harden was slowly heating up while Curry showed more steam. A Rockets 7-0 run forced Coach Kerr to call another time out for the Warriors. Josh Smith had a solid performance.
Both teams had a combined 34 three-point shots which set a new record in playoff history. Those who waged for the Rockets deserved their money earned within the confines of gambling laws. James Harden, who ended with a 45-point game, spoke of his team’s performance “We had to do a better job at being consistent. And tonight it showed.”
The Warriors will return to the NBA finals for the first time in 40 years.
It isn’t gambling news that betting on James Harden can at times be a gamble. It’s hard to imagine that coming of a 45-point game, Harden would have the worst performance of the whole year. It’s one thing to make only 2 shots in 45 minutes, but to allow Klay Thompson to score 20 points is another matter. Even though Harden and his beard may count as two people, one man doesn’t lose or win a game. Stephen Curry, coming off a head injury, had 26 points and eight rebounds and help form Harrison Barnes as well. The Golden State Warriors will go to the NBA finals for the first time in 40 years to take on Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
usatoday.comWarriors finish off Rockets, advance to NBA Finals
Similar to their game 3 victory, Golden State took advantage of the poor Rockets shooting. Harden wasn’t the only poor shooter for Houston as the team shot collectively 35%. Despite the numbers, the Rockets had a decent chance to win this game. The Warriors got off to a slow first quarter start and the Rockets weren’t shooting well enough to take advantage of it.
Dwight Howard contributed early and attacked everything in the paint on both sides while putting up eight points and two blocks. Curry was the first Warrior to shoot a three pointer almost at the end of the quarter. Still Houston was up by five at the end of the quarter. With those sports scores, any punters at this point might have been hopeful if they wagered on Houston
The second quarter however was a different story when the Warriors started to warm up.
The Warriors were forced to miss 21 out of 27 shots including seven out of eight three pointers. The Rockets still could’ve made the lead further as the Warriors had seven turnovers. Since Harden had five turnovers alone, he helped the Warriors stay in the game and get ahead by the end of the first half.
sbnation.com Rockets vs. Warriors 2015 final score: 3 things we learned as Golden State advanced to the NBA Finals
Unfortunately Howard couldn’t manage to get into a groove with his post ups. Klay Thompson was able to finally heat up an sank in three 3-pointers which became the catalyst of Golden State’s 13-2 run. At that point the game looked as though it had hope as both teams elevated their play. Josh Smith was able two ace a pair of 3-pointers while Howard made a statement with a two-handed slam.
Golden State was able to hold on to the eight point lead they built up at the half. Thompson, who put in the first five points for the Warriors in the third quarter, picked up his fourth foul. Coach Kerr couldn’t change for a sub so Thompson stayed in the game until he picked up a fifth foul two possessions later. Thompson and his hot hand would have to sit down for the remainder of the game.
Meanwhile the Rockets got scoring opportunities from going to the free throw line. Unfortunately it was Smith who couldn’t take advantage on his attempts. The Warriors were making their own array of turnovers. Even Stephen Curry was missing otherwise open shots. It seemed as though this game became more of a contest to see who could get out of their funk first. That would be Golden State.
news.yahoo.comWarriors eliminate Rockets, end 40-year NBA Finals drought
Getting tighter on defense was probably the best thing Golden State could do because it caused the Rockets to turn over the ball giving opportunities to players such as Curry who exploded and gave more assurance to those waging within gambling laws. Jason Terry’s ten points kept the Rockets in the game at the end of the third quarter. Houston was able to reduce their nine-point deficit down to six.
An injury to Thompson’s ear, via a knee to the head, put Thompson out of the game. With any good team, including Golden State, when one player is down another one can come in to take their place. Barnes was able to score nine consecutive points extending the Warriors lead to 15 points. Although Brewer led a surge of his own, the Rockets couldn’t disrupt the Warriors game.
Curry and Company will do what hasn’t been done since legendary Rick Barry and his bunch did it 40 years ago. With James’ unprecedented five consecutive trips to the Fianls with two different teams, history will be made regardless. Harden, with 13 turnovers said “tried to do a little bit too much and turned the ball over and gave them easy baskets in transition. This isn’t where we wanted to end at. Next year we want to be better and we will.”
Monmouth Park is a historical racetrack in New Jersey. After a change of directory the Shore track has seen an increase of revenues. However to continue on the path to success it would be necessary for the gambling regulations in the state to change. The allowance of gambling would not only be beneficial to the horseracing industry but it would increase the tax income of the whole state.
NJ.com: Why Monmouth Park officials believe outlook for N.J. horse racing industry is brighter than ever
Dennis Drazin an advisor of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association sees the horseracing of New Jersey as a good investment. Being the official management consultant of the Monmouth Park racetrack he is very much involved in all decisions made. From the order of events on the Opening Day to the season long advertising decisions.
This weekend is the start of the racetrack’s 70th season and it is more popular every day. Drazin told gambling news that Four years after the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority gave its approval for the NJTHA to operate Monmouth Park the track has already brought profit.
“Coming in on heels of having two straight years of better attendance and increased handle, I think we’re going to have a very strong season and I’m looking forward to being able to offer world-class racing at Monmouth Park,” were his words regarding the upcoming season.
Lobbyists are trying harder than ever to bring legal sports betting to racetracks and casinos in New Jersey. However the ruling will be announced at the end of May, the earliest. Drazin said that their goal is to be able to offer real sports betting in time for the football season this year.
NorthJerset.com: Horse racing: Monmouth Park opens Saturday, awaits ruling on sports betting
With 70 years behind its back Monmouth Park is standing strong in a dying business. This weekend’s opening day is just as feared by the owners as it is awaited. Although it seems like nothing could stand in the way of Monmouth Park’s success, in the world of thoroughbred racing there are no shortcuts and it is hard to stay in the game.
This is the fourth season of the racetrack with the New Jersey Horsemen’s Association in charge. As much as the change of directory seems to be guiding the Shore track toward success it gives a good reason to think about the future. The marvelous improvements in just these short few years suggest a great increase in the following years.
A crucial part to embracing the horseracing scene in New Jersey would be to change current gambling laws in the state. The U.S. Court of Appeals is expected to make a decision by the end of June, the latest. The Third Circuit ruling about the future of sports betting in Jersey could be business changing for the whole industry.
While waiting for the decision to be made man Monmouth is improving itself. Their team of trainers was joined by Gerald Bennett who ranks second in the Tampa Bay Downs trainer standings. Joe Bravo who is returning after a season in New York said; “There’s no place like Monmouth.”
USA Today: Monmouth Park close to breaking even fiscally
The positivity of the operators of the New Jersey shore thoroughbred racetrack is very reassuring. According to latest gambling news their expectation for Monmouth Park to either break even or to make a profit is based on the last three years books. Dennis Drazin made it clear at the he track’s season opening news conference that the best years are just ahead of them.
Although gambling is a rising industry the regulations in the state of New Jersey don’t allow it to increase. Raymond Lesniak who had been lobbying for the legislation of gambling said this might be the last push. He expects help from Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Republican Gov. Chris Christie in order for a positive decision to be made this year.
“I hope they understand we are losing hundreds of millions of dollars to other states by not having casinos in north Jersey and that some of those revenues can be reinvested in Atlantic City and our racetracks to keep both of those industries from withering on the vine because that’s what is happening now,” Lesniak said.
He also said that if the bill passed in November it would still take at least two years for casinos to open in the northern side of the state. The reason for such delay is that the legislature would have to write new regulations and prize sites. The encouragement of sports trading clubs and other gambling related activities could help the state to a higher income.
In 2014, Macanese gaming revenue decreased 2.6% to $54.4 billion. This is the first nose-dive of profits ever to be recorded, in 11 years, since 2002, when gambling laws liberated the casino market to competition. Revenues plunged 30.4% cent to $9 billion in the last month of 2014, making it the seventh straight month that profits have been waning.Macau, the largest gambling hub in the world, has seen its revenues steadily decline at an alarming rate last year. Analysts and gambling operators alike are speculating if the global recession is the main cause or is Jingping’s clampdown on illegal money laundering the main cause for concern.The Sidney Morning Herald: James Packer among billionaires hit by $100 billion Macau casino losses
The Chinese government crackdown on corruption in the gambling stronghold of Macau has left a whopping $100 billion hole in the market value of the six Macau casino stocks in 2014. The campaign, including the fight against debit card scams, impacted negatively on gambling activities. This has caused the gambling hub to experience its very first slump in gambling returns since 2002.
Australian billionaire James Packer, and other gambling operators, such as his joint venture partner’s father Stanley, or yet still anti-online gambling campaigner Sheldon Adelson, have all their casinos in a rut. Meanwhile analysts converge and discuss what all this could mean for the world’s largest gambling resort and its fortunes.
The Hong Kong exchange recently revealed in online mobile news, that all six Macau casino stocks listed a combined loss in market value amounting to $92 billion, in the 12 months up to December 31. The parent company Crown Resorts has 33.6 per cent of the joint venture and Ho another 33.6%.
Melco Crown alone lost a whopping $8 billion in market capitalization during last year. The fall represents a 35% decline in stock value just a year after the company’s value doubled, when gambling revenue increased 19% per cent.
However, the current decline in market capitalization has left the company opting to withdraw from the Hong Kong exchange, citing difficulties in raising funds and the need to limit share trades. Crown Resorts, said it was determined though to stick it out in the NASDAQ listings.
Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands’ subsidiary, Sands China, fared even worse. It hit a record low market capitalization of all the six stocks, with a mere $26 billion in profits. 40% loss in stock value was reported in 2014. Stanley Ho’s SJM Holdings, came out a little less scathed, with a 52 % loss in value, representing a market capitalization decline of $7 billion.
Channel News Asia: Melco Crown to delist in HK after Macau revenue slump
Hong Kong businessman Lawrence Ho and, James Packer, son of the defunct Australian media and gambling magnate, Kerry Packer, have communicated, in the latest gambling news that Melco Crown Entertainment has had its first plunge in profits ever, in Macau.
Melco Crown’s City of Dreams resort complex stock would be removed from the Hong Kong stock exchange in order to save costs and for practical reasons. For, to carry the listing would demand ‘additional ongoing regulatory compliance obligations and such requirements involve significant additional costs’.
The company went on to say that for now a solution hasn’t been found to increase profits even with a market capitalization of close to US$14 billion. However it also stated that it would keep its security on the official register of the NASDAQ in the US. Friday, 2 January, 2015 shares closed at a low 4.88% at US$24.16.
The ex-Portuguese colony reported on January 2 that gambling yields went down 2.6% year-on-year to US$44 billion last year. This has been the only decline since yearly numbers were made available to the public as of 2002.
Macau, China’s only legal casino gambling hub, relies heavily on high rollers from mainland China. However, big spenders are being scared off by the anti-corruption campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his government to clamp down on Chinese officials accepting bribes. This has resulted in a slowdown in the mainland economy which directly affects casino earnings.
The Sidney Morning Herald: Packer’s Melco Crown set to quit Hong Kong Stock Exchange
Melco Crown Entertainment whose Macau casino is jointly owned by James Packer’s Crown Resorts and Macau gaming mogul Lawrence Ho has revealed that it will pull out of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange because of the immense pressure to raise money and limit share trades. However, it will remain on the NASDAQ, where its ‘shareholders are far more active’.
The company says it hopes that this move will not adversely affect the asset value or earnings for each share. It explains its actions by citing that “Appropriate opportunities to raise additional equity in Hong Kong have not arisen and maintaining the listing requires additional ongoing regulatory compliance obligations and such requirements involve significant additional costs and administrative burden”.
Crown Resorts who owns 33.6 % of the company and Ho, the same, now have to contend with decreased numbers of gamers from the mainland. Macau, which was once swarmed with eager punters who had just a little more than the China welfare lottery from mainland China, have had better days since public records started to reveal gambling revenues in 2002.
Chinese government’s campaign against illegal cash flow between the gaming hub and its officialdom has been blamed for the crisis at hand. Just last year October Crown Resorts hoped for a turnaround but come year end the chief executive, Rowen Craigie, admitted that “market conditions in Macau did weaken during the fourth quarter of financial year 2014”.
Some analysts speculate that gambling revenues may pick up by 10% in 2015, others think a decline of 9% is more likely to happen. Given the current worldwide financial crisis, the actual outcome will be like that of the toss of a coin – no one really knows.
This year’s World Cup in Brazil brought joy and excitement for sports fans and millions of dollars in profit for wagering companies, but it also created the perfect opportunity for illegal betting syndicates to thrive.
Two major scandals – Peter Foster’s Sports Trading Club and a suspicious betting operation led by Wei Seng Phua from his rented villas at Caesars Palace – are still under police investigation, but it’s not all bad news. For the fantasy sports industry, 2014 was a great year, with significant growth and promising perspectives.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most significant events that happened in the sports and wagering industry this year.
GamingZion: The Birth of Fantasy Sports Spawns Billion Dollar Industry
Fantasy sports have become increasingly popular over the past decade. At least in the US, where sports betting is illegal – online or otherwise. There are only four states where local players can legally wager on sports, but not via the internet. But players have found a way around these rules and discovered a new way to quench their thirst for gambling.
Fantasy sports are games where users take on the role of make-believe owners of professional sports teams. And what sports fan wouldn’t want to take a shot at managing their own football, basketball or baseball team? The options are endless.
Last year, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association made $11 billion in revenues. And while some play as a hobby, with their friends or coworkers, others enter that very grey area of American gambling laws and turn it into a fantasy sports betting operation.
ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS Sports, and the NFL are fully aware of how profitable this industry is becoming. The NFL itself has invested a lot of money in hi-tech platforms that support fantasy football league requirements.
Forbes: Will ESPN, Yahoo! Or CBS Buy This Fantasy Sports Startup?
According to Forbes, major companies like ESPN , Yahoo! and CBS could enter the fantasy sports scene in the future. The investors may be joining well established names like FanDuel and DraftKings, created in 2009 and 2012 respectively. But since it would take a long time to build a reputation, buying existing platforms makes more business sense.
Dan Ziernick, one of the most successful daily fantasy sports players has decided to invest in developing his own platform, to compete with FanDuel and other websites which have helped him earn win about $3.5 million throughout his career. This is how FantasyUp was born. The new platform’s major selling point is a no-rake policy which will remain in effect until April 1, 2015.
“The big vision in this industry is that the players like ESPN, Yahoo! and CBS, are going to enter this space once legalities of online gambling clears up,” Ziernicki said. “What we’re really focusing on is being the technological company for the future. To be able to process large amounts of data in real time. We are not there yet, but we are already able to handle the biggest daily fantasy sports day ever.”
The players believe another three to five years will pass before big names like ESPN or Yahoo will get into daily fantasy sports, but he is convinced that, by then, his platform will be a in the right place for a potential acquisition.
Sydney Morning Herald: Peter Foster implicated in international betting scam
Notorious conman Peter Foster was arrested at his luxury property near Byron Bay and could lose millions of dollars, after police found evidence linking him to an illegal operating ring called the Sports Trading Club. It is believed that he ran the business while hiding from authorities.
According to a police source, Foster had six mobile phones and several computers in a home office, which he used to operate a betting syndicate that claimed to be based in London, Sydney and Hong Kong.
The source added: “It doesn’t matter what they claim on their website, Fosters’ home in Byron Bay was the headquarters. This is another massive scam that is only coming to light now. It will collapse like a house of cards.”
Sports Trading Club, also known as STC Sports Trading Club and The Sports Trading Club Partnership accepts money from high-paying clients and “invests” it in international sports betting. This July, the company claimed to have made $150 million by backing Germany to win the World Cup.
Review Journal: International mob-connected ring linked to illegal World Cup betting at Caesars
Shortly after the World Cup in Brazil ended, the police have shut down an alleged multimillion-dollar illegal sports betting business operated from three villas at Caesars Palace. Authorities believed the ring was run by Malaysian and Chinese nationals and led by poker player Paul Phua. Police said his son, Darren Wai Kit Phua, was also involved.
In a criminal complaint, Las Vegas FBI Agent Minh Pham claimed Wei Seng Phua was “known by law enforcement to be a high-ranking member of the 14K Triad.” His lawyer denied these claims.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Frayn wanted to keep both father and son under arrest, saying they were threats to flee, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Bill Hoffman ordered their release, imposing several restrictions including a $2 million bail. Phua also had to put up his $48 million private jet as collateral.
Phua was arrested on similar grounds on June 18 in Macau, where he and 20 other people were accused of running a large gambling ring that accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal bets.
From a financial point of view, South Africa’s casinos are doing very well. As the most popular form of gambling in the country, these businesses are raking in as much as R17 billion every year. But while the land-based casino industry is still the most profitable, competition is getting heated as other forms of gambling are growing at a rapid rate.
This week, accounting firm PwC released a detailed report on how the gambling industry could evolve in the following few years. The document takes a closer look at casinos in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya and speculates on the trends the industry could follow between this year and 2018.
PwC’s predictions are not too optimistic. As the country’s economy is slowing down, its gambling market will face the same slowdown, the accounting firm said.
BusinessDay: Bingo and sports betting make inroads into casinos
In its report, PwC studied the growth prospects for casinos, as well as limited payout machines, bingo, sports betting and lottery games in South Africa. The country has 37 land-based casinos, which made a total of R16.5 billion profits last year. The industry has grown on a year-to-year basis, but only by a modest 0.6%.
Last year turnover increased 4%, a drop from the 7.6% growth in the previous year and the smallest profit made since 2009.
“We expect continued slow growth in SA over the next two years,” the accounting company said. “We then look for a pick-up in growth in each country as economic conditions improve. Some casino operators in certain locations believe that the slowdown in 2013 was due in part to growing competition from electronic bingo terminals, limited payout machines and sports betting shops, which are becoming more prevalent,” said the report.
Meanwhile, bingo operations have generated 67.5% increased revenue last year, while limited payout machines grew 17.8% and sports betting by 9.1%. According to online gambling news, bingo is the smallest category, with revenue of just R732 million, but the industry is constantly growing. Sports betting went up 18.5% and horse racing grew 4.6%, and PwC expects sports wagering to overtake horse racing in the next five years.
Charl Faurie, a spokesperson for SA’s Casino Association, said the association does not see alternative forms of legal gambling as a threat. However, illegal gambling operations are having a negative impact on the industry.
“The rapid increase of illegal online gambling is of particular concern to us as we estimate billions of rands are lost in tax revenue per year which has an obvious negative economic effect on the country. Casa is taking specific actions to address this threat beginning with a mass-media awareness campaign which will launch in the next few months,” Faurie said.
GamingZion: Online Gambling Sites in South Africa Could Be Banned
For years, politicians have been discussing changing the country’s gambling laws, as the industry expected them to regulate the online casino market. But recent news said authorities were considering doing the exact opposite: banning internet gambling in South Africa.
In addition to this, the media said lawmakers are also talking about setting limits on the number of electronic bingo machines and forbidding dog races. While these measures are just in the form of a proposal at the moment, if the draft becomes law all hope of having legal online casinos in the country will be lost.
Of course, not all officials agree with the proposal. Geordin Hill-Lewis, Member of Parliament (DA) and Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry believes it will cost the state more to enforce the law, than to legalize internet gambling. But others note that the number of problem gamblers has increased in recent years, and so has the level of indebtedness.
In addition to forbidding online gambling, South Africa authorities want to introduce licenses for the horse racing industry, in hopes that this measure will make gambling less accessible.
CityPress: Davies tackles gambling board’s mismanagement
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies suspended members of the National Gambling Board (NGB) on allegations of maladministration, wasteful spending and corrupt activities. The agency’s activities will be investigated by authorities, to find out if the accusations are true.
The board is normally responsible for overseeing the gambling industry and regulating South Africa’s multi-billion-rand market. Davies noted that the suspension was a precautionary measure, after an alleged contravention of the Public Finance Management Act through “failing to prevent irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and making overdraft on the entity’s bank account without the approval of the minister of finance”.
The board is accused of breaking the National Gambling Act by “allowing members whose term of office had expired to continue participating in the board’s activities and representing the NGB”, and there was a mention of “apparent corrupt activities” regarding the National Central Electronic Monitoring System, as well as “unlawful appointments of staff”.
Members of the board were also accused of intimidation, bullying and getting rid of evidence, which is why Davies decided to suspend them until the investigation is over.
A federal judge intervened to temporarily block New Jersey’s plans to allow sports betting at the state’s racetrack and casinos.
State lawmakers have been trying to find ways to bring sports betting to New Jersey for years, but it looks like all attempts are destined to fail. A few weeks ago, officials passed a bill allowing licensed casinos and racetracks to accept wagers.
After Governor Chris Christie signed the document into law and Monmouth Park said it was ready to start taking bets last Sunday, professional sports leagues challenged the decision in court, asking the judge to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent this from happening.
U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp decided to grant the request made by the National Football League, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and other sports groups, but did not rule on the merits of the issue yet. A full hearing will be scheduled in the future.
A spokesman for Christie emphasized that the restraining order is temporary and added: “We continue to have full confidence in the strength and appropriateness of our position as we move forward in the litigation.”
USA Today: Judge: New Jersey can’t launch sports betting
Latest gambling news announce that a federal judge decided not to allow casinos and racetracks in New Jersey to start taking sports bets. In his ruling late Friday, US District Court Judge Michael Shipp put in place a temporary restraining order to prevent state operators from offering such services last week.
Monmouth Park was planning on giving its bookmaking operations a test run on Sunday, when it would have accepted bets on NFL games, but the court said Governor Chris Christie can’t launch sports betting in the state for now.
Monmouth Park officials were expecting about 10,000 people to rush to the track this Sunday to bet on Jets-Bills, Eagles-Cardinals, as well as on other NFL games. The track was going to open as early as 7 am, in order to allow visitors to place wagers on the Lions-Falcons game played in London at 9:30 am E.T.
But the NFL and other American sports leagues have filed a complaint asking the judge to stop state operators from taking bets immediately, invoking a 1992 federal law restricting sports betting to Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana.
A final decision will be made only after a full hearing, but for now the judge has issued a restraining order stopping Monmouth Park from going ahead with its plans. Attorneys representing the racetrack have argued that the business won’t survive without this new source of revenue.
NESN: Judge Grants Leagues’ Request, Stops N.J. Sports Betting Temporarily
Following a request from four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA, a federal judge issued a restraining order preventing New Jersey operators from taking sports bets for now. The request was made by the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA, who went to court over a new bill signed by Governor Chris Christie, allowing casinos and racetracks in the state to offer betting services.
Under current gambling laws, Nevada is the only state allowed to offer betting on individual games at local bookmakers. Delaware also offers multi-game parlay pools, requiring players to pick several games correctly before winning any money.
“More legal gambling leads to more total gambling, which in turns leads to an increased incentive to fix plaintiffs’ matches,” Shipp said in court last Friday, adding that sports betting in New Jersey “would engender the same ills” that lawmakers sought to combat when they came up with the 1992 federal law.
Attorneys representing the sports organizations have argued that the leagues would suffer irreparable harm if such offers were available in the state. The lawsuit will proceed and the court will schedule a full hearing, but Shipp said a temporary restraining order was necessary to make sure that the matter is properly debated in court first.
Wall Street Journal: Judge Blocks Bid to Legalize Sports Betting in New Jersey
A previous attempt to overturn the sports betting ban and allow New Jersey players to bet on sports failed, and officials are not sure what will happen next. For now, Nevada continues to remain the only state where sports betting is fully legal. Delaware has a few similar operations, but the state only offers multi-game parlay pools.
While Atlantic City casinos said they would wait for the judge’s decision before starting any bookmaking operations, Monmouth Park Racetrack had originally planned to begin sports betting this weekend. The venue’s plans were put on hold by the restraining order.
Dennis Drazin, the operator of Monmouth Park, wrote in a recent statement: “While we are disappointed not to be able to start this Sunday, we are confident that sports betting will be coming to New Jersey in the very near future.”
While preventing the racetrack from starting its new operations, Judge Shipp also requested the five plaintiffs to put up a $1.7 million bond, to cover New Jersey’s potential revenue losses should the state eventually win the argument. The judge also said the temporary restraining order only applies to sports scores at events run by the four leagues and the NCAA.
Authorities will work together with online gambling companies licensed in Malta, to reduce the impact of Britain’s latest policies.
Now that the new British gambling laws have come into force, imposing an additional license fee and – starting December 1 – a 15% point of consumption tax on overseas operators, authorities in Malta have promised to help reduce the financial blow for locally-licensed gambling companies.
During a seminar organized in preparation for the Malta iGaming Summit, Parliamentary Secretary José Herrera promised that the government will work together with the local internet gaming industry to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.
The British Government has recently introduced new laws for the gambling sector. Overseas companies are now required to obtain a UK licensed if they want to cater to British players. In addition, starting December 1 companies will have to pay more taxes to the UK Government.
Malta Independent: Government ready to help online gaming sector face overseas threats
In his speech, Herrera noted that the Lotteries and Gaming Authority in Malta has improved its ties with its British counterpart, but he added that he was disappointed to hear about the measures imposed by the UK Government.
“In our opinion, such steps may not only go against the principal guarantees of the EU treaties but could also lead to a further fragmentation of the sector, to the detriment of consumers,” he told those present at the seminar.
Nevertheless, the new laws have come into force, so the parliamentary secretary announced that the Government in Malta would strive to protect its gambling industry, even on an international level.
“We are ready to work hand in hand with operators to reduce, as much as we can, the impact that such legislation can have. Malta is proud of the regulations it provides to the sector, through which consumers are protected,” he added.
MaltaChamber.org: Parliamentary Secretary Hon Dr José Herrera assures the Malta Chamber’s Remote Gaming Business Section that Malta will “implement attractive measures to consolidate the industry” to make Malta “the number one jurisdiction in the world”
At a business breakfast hosted by the Remote Gaming Business Section (RGBS) within The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry this July, Parliamentary Secretary José Herrera presented a few projects and initiatives of the Remote Gaming Executive Committee.
According to Herrera, 52% of all gaming income in 2013 was generated by the remote betting industry. Online gambling news also reported that the industry accounts for 12% of Malta’s GDP, employing more than 8,000 people. The Parliamentary Secretary said authorities would review the current regulations and introduce changes to make Malta a centre of excellence within the industry.
RGBS Chairman George Debrincat said: “I am delighted that we have been able to create a forum which enables us to have a positive dialogue with all the stakeholders and we are grateful to the Chamber and to Malta Chamber President Mr David Curmi for their support.”
“Our industry is part of the business mainstream in the Maltese Islands, important for jobs and economic contribution as well as for the world-class skills and infrastructures that are naturally attendant with it. For Malta to remain ahead of its counterparts, we all need to pull together, and that is part of what the RGBS is working on.”
Malta Today: Malta staunchly opposed to ‘unnecessary’ regulation of gaming industry
Malta has taken a stand against the new regulations announced by the British Government. In a speech at the EY Gaming Tax Seminar, Parliamentary secretary for competitiveness and economic growth Jose Herrera suggested that the UK’s restrictions on overseas gambling operators are “beyond what is necessary”.
For the past years, British players were free to access any number of licensed gambling sites, whether they were operated from within UK borders or from abroad. But as of November 1, companies that want to cater to local players must obtain an additional licensed from the UK Gambling Commission, pay a new license fee and – from December 1 – pay additional taxes too.
“Malta’s regulation is a strong one, based on years of experience,” Herrera said at the seminar. “We will continue to maintain that restrictions, imposed beyond what is necessary, are contrary to the principles guaranteed by the Treaties of the European Union.
“Malta has always been of the view that such a national approach to an international industry leads to fragmentation of the market, which is ultimately detrimental to the industry itself as well as consumers.
“Malta is doing everything in its power to protect this industry at an international level. We are here to listen to the industry. There must be compliance with established principles and law, but we constantly work to resist moves detrimental to business,” he added.
The Lotteries and Gaming Authority has issued 401 licenses this year, a 25% increase from last year’s 321 permits. The number of registered companies has also increased by 17%, from 220 last year to 258 at present.
The regulator has taken steps to make the licensing process faster. Processing time has been reduced by 50%. A company can now obtain a remote gambling license in about two and a half months.
“Malta is a major player in the global remote gaming industry. Our solid reputation has been instrumental in bringing about growth. And we will continue to be responsive to the needs of the industry,” Herrera maintained.
Everyone was wondering why Chris Morris would buy a dying casino, but the businessman has big plans for the Jupiters in Townsville.
Founder of Computershare, Morris told reporters his dream was to create an exciting new package for all tourists to enjoy, and Jupiters will play an important role in his plan.
According to the latest gambling news
, he is looking to get more international tourists to come to the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree and the outback, by building a small resort complete with a gambling venue.
“Having the casino allows you the cash flow to do other things,” he explained.
Australian gambling companies have been targeting mostly Asian high-rollers and Echo Entertainment and Crown Resorts have even fought over a casino spot in Brisbane and a proposed $8 billion casino project in Cairns.
But Chris Morris is planning on focusing his attention and investing all his efforts in Townsville to draw more locals, not just foreign visitors. There are several direct flights to the regional centre and the businessman plans to take advantage of this.
Business Review Weekly: Why Rich Lister Chris Morris bought ‘worst-performing casino in Australia’
The Business Review Weekly has estimated Morris’ fortune at $700 million. The businessman built a reputation by working in the tech industry. He co-founded ASX-listed share registry business Computershare, but nowadays he’s focusing mostly on tourism.
His tourism and entertainment company, Colonial Leisure Group, owns 15 businesses, including a pubs, a brewery on Margaret River and the Daintree Eco Lodge located in north Queensland. With the Jupiters deal sealed, the total amount invested in Queensland over the past three years reaches $100 million.
In addition to these businesses and properties, Chris Morris recently bought an outback cattle station, Mount Mulligan, and owns Orpheus Island Resort plus a Queensland helicopter charter company.
While he opposes the idea of installing pokies in pubs, Morris says offering these gambling machines in casinos is okay, arguing that “people make a conscious decision to go to casinos.”
The Australian businessman doesn’t have much experience in the gambling industry, but he believes the Jupiters casino has “huge potential”, which is why he brought Brad Morgan on board, who recently ran SkyCity Entertainment’s Darwin casino.
The Australian: CLG pays $70m to snap up Jupiters
The private company owned by Chris Morris, the founder of Computershare, has offered $70 million to buy Echo Entertainment’s Jupiters Townsville casino. The deal was struck through ANZ Corporate Advisory.
The price of the casino equates to 10 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for the previous financial year. The new buyer is looking to invest money in redeveloping the casino, to make it part of a large-scale integrated resort.
John Redmond, managing director at Echo, said: “Recent performance of Jupiters Townsville has been positive. However, given the scale of operations and the size of the local market, we saw more limited expansion opportunities, and therefore strategic fit, with the group’s other assets.”
The company would make an $8 million pre-tax profit on the $70 million sale.
A statement by Colonial Leisure Group added: “We are excited about the opportunities and synergies this acquisition represents. Combining our extensive expertise in hospitality management and ability to further invest, we will develop Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino into a leading regional resort, improving the operational and financial performance of the property.”
MyWealth News: International high rollers drive Echo’s earnings higher
According to a financial report released at the end of October, Echo Entertainment said it expects its normalized earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to reach between $245 million and $260 million in the first half of the 2015 financial year. The figure reflects a 31% increase from the previous year.
The current financial year has already brought the company a revenue of $216 million, a 78% rise compared to the previous year within its international VIP rebate business, which was “breaking previous records” according to chief executive Matt Bekier. Between 2010 and 2013, Echo’s VIP business has expanded by 224%.
“The positive trading momentum generated in 2H FY14 continues to prevail. We are experiencing good demand in all properties, especially in domestic electronic gaming,” he said.
But Echo has bigger plans in Australia. Taking advantage of the country’s favorable gambling laws, the company recently submitted a proposal to develop a multi-billion dollar resort at Queen’s Wharf Brisbane. Echo was shortlisted for the location along with rival casino developer Crown Resorts.
“In terms of the Brisbane bid, we can’t yet disclose the details of what we are proposing to build, or the scale of the tourism, economic or job-creation benefits to Queensland,” Bekier said. “But let me assure you that we have put forward a responsible offer that delivers a truly iconic precinct.”
First, it was Macau that reported decreased gambling revenues due to a shrinking pool of big spenders, and now Singapore is dealing with the same problems.
As Chinese authorities started a campaign to crack down on corruption earlier this year, high-rollers are staying away from casinos. There are two glitzy casino resorts in the country and they both used to have special VIP tables reserved for their most loyal – and most generous – customers. Now they’re both struggling without them and things are beginning to get ugly between the two competitors.
The resorts are run by American casino operator Las Vegas Sands and Malaysia’s Genting Resorts. The former reported a 34% drop in VIP volume at its Marina Bay Sands resort, while the latter is expected to post a similarly painful slide in its third quarter financial report.
When combined, casino profits in Singapore reach $6 billion per year, and big spenders account for about half of this revenue. As gambling laws don’t allow casinos in China, players usually flee to destinations like Macau or Singapore. But in the first half of 2014, the number of Chinese visitors was down 30% to 871,000, and profits followed the same downward trend.
Business Insider: The Battle For Singapore’s Shrinking Pool Of High-Rolling Gamblers Is Getting Ugly
Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, chief executive of Las Vegas Sands, has accused its rival of offering overly generous incentives and credit to draw high-rollers to its Resorts World Sentosa.
During a company earnings call last month, Adelson said: “Maybe one day, they will get used to competing on the basis of a quality product, if they ever build one, and they won’t have to buy the business.”
Tan Hee Teck, president of Genting Resorts, admitted that the company’s casinos in Singapore will be facing some financial difficulties during the next few months or possibly even longer.
“I suppose some operators may not want to admit it, but at least from our side, we believe that the situation will continue to be quite challenging at least for the next 6 to 12 months,” he said.
Ever since they opened in 2010, these two casinos have been reporting billion-dollar revenues, mostly based on business brought in by Chinese high-rollers, a category of players which came to be vital to the success of these gambling venues.
In a note published on October 31, Fitch Ratings wrote: “Growth in Singapore gaming revenue has stalled, and is likely to contract slightly in 2014 with macroeconomic and political factors in China being the principal cause.”
TheStar: S’pore casinos brace for battle as VIP volumes fall
The two gambling venues in Singapore have been trying to rely less on casino revenue and push to earn more from entertainment, conference facilities, hotels and shopping. But even so, gambling brings in 80% of total profits for both Las Vegas Sands and Genting Resorts. They both boast profit margins of about 50%, the highest in the casino industry.
One way to lure more foreign high-rollers to a casino is to offer credit. With Singaporean players, this strategy doesn’t work because the state has set stricter rules for locals. Sometimes casinos also use commission, a small rebate on the amount of money they’ve spent.
Terence Tay, a former general counsel for Genting Singapore who now runs a consultancy explained: “Credit checks can be very fast for some gamblers – in 15 minutes or so you can probably get approval for US$1mil, and with US$1mil you can still roll up to US$8 or US$9mil.”
This plan sometimes backfires, as credit collection can turn out to be tricky. Singaporean casinos are already waiting on hundreds of millions of dollars to be repaid by gamblers who lost huge amounts of money. And the majority of these players are based overseas, so recovering the cash is even more difficult.
For Genting, “trade and other receivables” – which represents the money owed by customers – has seen a 61% rise since June 2012. In the quarter ending July 2014, player debt stood at S$1.2 billion. Total revenue has increased 7% in the same period.
Vicky Melbourne, head of industrials for South-East Asia and Australasia ratings at Fitch said: “What’s going to be the greater challenge to the Singapore operators, and certainly more longer-term, is that across the region, there’s a lot more political momentum to legalize casinos.”
The Straits Times: Luck running out for Singapore’s two casinos?
Earlier this year, UOB Kay Hian analysts have pointed out that Singapore’s casino market reached saturation in 2012. A year before that, total gaming revenue had reached a record amount of $7.92 billion; after that, it started to decline and went down 8.3% to $7.26 billion in 2012. It wasn’t until last year that casinos have started to recover, but the rebound was modest – just 3%.
Core earnings are also stagnating, with Marina Bay Sands earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) coming in at US$1.5 billion in 2013, compared to US$1.4 billion the year before. Net profit was higher during its second quarter, but VIP and mass-market business was declining.
For Genting Singapore, EBITDA dropped from $1.35 billion in 2012 to $1.15 billion in 2013. Analysts concluded the resort has reached its full growth potential. According to online gambling news, this was partially because of the local Government’s heavy regulation of the casino industry, which imposes a $100 entry fee for Singaporean players and punishes companies for marketing their services to locals.
After winning GBP1 million at the lottery, a young couple from Basingstoke will finally get the honeymoon they’ve been dreaming about.
Booking a trip to Australia – that’s the first thing David and Sam Mackie will be spending their lottery winnings on. The couple just won the new EuroMillions Mega Friday draw last week, allowing them to take a much-deserved vacation for the first time since they got married two and a half years ago.
David and Sam, who have two young boys, have already started to plan their trip. Since they got married, they haven’t even had a chance to get away for a honeymoon. They’ve been together five years and their last vacation was a week in Cornwall, but now the pair can finally afford to go somewhere special: to Australia. And since Sam is expecting another baby, they also made plans to buy a new house.
The surprising win comes after a chance purchase, on Halloween. It’s usually Sam who buys the ticket, but this time David opened the computer to find the National Lottery website opened, so he went ahead and entered the EuroMillions draw. According to online gambling news, he received good news the morning after.
ITV: Young couple finally get honeymoon after £1m lotto win
David received an email saying there was good news waiting for him and urging him to check his account. “I usually joke that I am off to check my million when I get the email, but this time I didn’t. I just said to Sam I was off to look at my GBP3,” he said.
He logged on and checked his balance, but it was the same as the day before. In an interview with local reporters, he admitted it took him some time to notice the message which said he had won GBP1 million.
The 32-year-old IT manager said: “This is an amazing opportunity and the more we found out about the trip, the more we realized what a big deal it was. I have been to Australia a couple of times but recently only got abroad for stag weekends. Sam has only ever been on a plane to Leeds, it really is a once in a lifetime chance and I already have the forms to apply for passports for Sam and our boys.”
The pair considered Las Vegas for a honeymoon trip, but since family comes first they didn’t afford it. “We are really family orientated and now being able to share this trip with our children will be even better,” David explained.
David said his wife didn’t believe him when he gave her the good news. She checked the account herself and saw the message was still there, but it wasn’t until they called Camelot – the company authorized to operate the lottery service, under British gambling laws – that it all started to feel real.
Herald Scotland: Delayed honeymoon for lottery pair
A young couple will finally have their honeymoon after winning GPB1 million in the new EuroMillions Mega Friday draw. David and Sam Mackie got married two and a half years ago, but have not even been on a honeymoon or on a trip abroad. The family from Basingstoke, Hampshire will finally be taking a vacation to Australia, together with their two sons.
David, who works as an IT manager, told reporters: “I called my wife but she didn’t believe me. Once she saw my face, and I think I was shaking by this point, she decided to check. We both logged off and back on again to the account and the message was still there. I then had to wait 15 minutes to call Camelot and that was when it started becoming real.”
Mrs. Mackie is currently on maternity leave and the couple will also buy a house for their expanding family. They already signed the paperwork for a new development which they had previously considered, but had been unable to afford until now.
“They had been going quickly and there were only a few plots left. Luckily the one we wanted was still available and we got it. It is amazing to be in that position. I stress about mortgages and money and it is completely life-changing to not to have to worry any longer,” David explained.
Western Daily Press: Euromillions Jackpot: Tickets for new Mega Fridays 25 x £1million prizes and getaways to Makepeace Island released next Friday and last Friday of every month
The National Lottery is launching “mega Fridays”, a new EuroMillions lottery game which will create 25 millionaires. On the last Friday of every month, players will have a shot to win once-in-a-lifetime prize and multiple GBP1 million guaranteed rewards.
In addition to the jackpot prize, the first launch draw will give lucky players the chance to take home one of the 25 available GBP1 million prizes. There is also a private getaway up for grabs, taking the winners themselves and seven other people to Makepeace Island in Australia.
“Next week promises to be hugely exciting for EuroMillions players here in the UK. There’s a chance to win one of 25 guaranteed GBP1 million prizes and we’ll be giving each winner a head start on the millionaire lifestyle with a once in a life time getaway to their own private island,” a National Lottery spokesperson told reporters.
“As well as the chance to win life changing prizes, EuroMillions players also help contribute to the GBP33 million players raise for National Lottery projects every week.”
Sponsorships offered by betting companies without a UK license must come with a disclaimer.
After the court rejected the Gibraltar Betting and Gambling Association’s request to overturn new UK gambling laws, authorities are now going after British sports clubs and teams that closed sponsorship agreements with unlicensed betting companies.
The UK Gambling Commission is now asking that all adverts promoting operators without a British permit include a message saying their services are not available for UK players. Since the regulator did not include any clear instructions in its letter to sports governing bodies, clubs and teams are not sure how to approach the issue.
The new rules created a lot of confusion. Should logos on posters or flyers include an asterisk to a disclaimer? Do they need to mention this on players’ T-shirts too? For now, these questions remain unanswered.
PokerNews: UK Gambling Commission Warns Sports Teams About Deals with Unlicensed Operators
Nick Tofiluk, the director of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), sent out a letter to all sports governing bodies in the country, to warn them about the dangers of closing sponsorship deals with betting companies that did not apply for a UK license, as requested by the new regulations which came into force on November 1.
“You may be aware that all remote gambling operators selling into the British market, whether based here or abroad, will be required to hold a Gambling Commission license to transact with British based consumers,” Tofiluk wrote.
“We are aware that in some cases commercial partnership arrangements (which include sponsorship) are in place between sports clubs or bodies and remote gambling operators who do not hold a Commission license,” he continued.
In its letter, the regulatory body adopted a firm position on the matter, stating: “Those operators cannot in our view advertise their betting services without both making it clear in the product as advertised and in reality that betting is not available to those in Britain.”
As a consequence, such adverts will have to be accompanied by a disclaimer, and sports teams that don’t follow these rules risk being prosecuted.
“This letter seeks to draw to your attention the risks to sports clubs and bodies of maintaining such relationships”, the letter said, clarifying that those “risks” include committing an offence by breaking the law, as well as jeopardizing the state’s efforts to combat match fixing and betting corruption.
OutLaw.com: Regulator’s approach risks future of British sport sponsorship deals with offshore gambling providers, say experts
Law experts say the new guidance issued by the UK Gambling Commission could complicate things for sports clubs and teams looking to close shirt sponsorship deals with foreign-based betting companies.
Gambling law specialist Susan Biddle of Pinsent Masons, the firm behind Out-Law.com said she could “foresee practical problems if the requirement that the prohibition on play by British consumers has to be made ‘clear in the product as advertised’ means the prohibition has to be made clear as part of the advertisement or sponsorship itself.”
“For example, would players’ shirts, replica shirts and stadium boards which carry a sponsor’s logo each have to include an asterisk to a disclaimer somewhere else on the shirt or board?” she asked.
“Such a requirement would seem in practice to mean that sponsorship or other advertising by unlicensed offshore remote gambling operators will not be possible even if as a matter of practice they can achieve 100% successful blocking of British consumers,” the lawyer explained.
GamingZion: New British Gambling Laws Come into Force
Despite all the controversy, the new British gambling laws came into force on November 1, after the Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association’s (GBGA) attempt to overturn the Government’s decision in court failed last month.
The new regulations and the upcoming 15% point on consumption tax coming this December have scared away some betting companies, who preferred to withdraw from the British market.
As of November 1, online gamblers can bet on sports scores using websites that have received approval for a continuation license. Remote operators have to apply for UK permits and pay an additional tax, regardless of where they’re located and even if they already hold a valid license in another jurisdiction.
“The Government announced that this law was introduced with the express intention of addressing concerns it said it had about the protection of consumers. The measures introduced through this Act are neither reasonable nor proportionate to achieving that goal and are likely to have adverse consequences for consumers,” the GBGA wrote in a statement, a few months ago.
The introduction of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 will be followed by an increase in taxes. Starting December 1, the Government is changing its rules for General Betting Duty (GBD), Pool Betting Duty (PBD), and Remote Gaming Duty (RGD). The changes will affect both offshore casino and sportsbook operators, as well as betting shops across the country.
According to the UK Government’s website: “Gambling activities are currently taxed on a ‘place of supply’ basis. This means that if you’re supplying gambling from the UK, you pay tax on all your gross gambling profits. Operators supplying UK customers from outside the UK pay no UK gambling taxes.”
Macau has had a few rough months during and after the World Cup in Brazil, but its streak of bad luck reached its peak in October.
When June reports showed a 3.7% year-on-year drop, industry experts blamed it on the World Cup sports betting craze and said things would pick up. Then revenues came in at just $3.6 billion in July, showing a 3.6% drop from the same period last year and they said Macau needs a bit more time to get back on track.
But as Chinese authorities continue their crackdown on casino corruption, an initiative which scared away a number of VIP customers, things have gotten serious. In October, total casino revenue fell by 23.2% in October compared to the same month of 2013.
The city’s gaming authority said total revenue was at 28 billion Macau patacas ($3.5 billion) this October, marking Macau’s worst financial performance since the gambling hub started recording such data in 2005.
Despite its recent downward trend, Macau continues to be the world’s largest gambling centre, way ahead of Las Vegas. The bad news is that the region relies heavily on casino revenue –mostly on the money spent by high-rollers – which seems to be on the decline. Moreover, it’s the only area where China allows casinos, a type of entertainment otherwise forbidden under the country’s gambling laws.
Reuters: Macau Oct gaming revenues fall 23 pct, drop worst on record
October was the worst month for Macau’s casinos and the fifth consecutive month of declines. Industry representatives blame it on China’s passive war on corruption, as well as on a decline in the number of tourists and a general slowing of economic growth, which makes people spend less on gambling.
“It is worse in October than it was before October,” Steve Wynn, chief executive of Wynn Macau, told a recent earnings call. “I don’t know if it is a squall or if we are in the rainy season, or how long it will last, but we are still very bullish on Macau.”
The American casino developer has started construction on another Macau project – a $4 billion integrated resort, which includes a lake and air-conditioned gondolas.
According to online gambling news, about 80% of Macau’s revenues rely on gambling, but China’s two-year anti-corruption battle has taken its toll on the local casino industry. Big spenders are now avoiding the area and choosing other destinations where they can freely spend their money. Profits from VIP customers accounted for just 56% of total revenues in the third quarter, which was a new low for Macau.
Las Vegas Sands chief Sheldon Adelson said these trends are cyclical. “It is only a matter of time before the cycle reverses itself. No one has ever suggested that the behavior of Chinese and Asian people, which has been established over a 3,000-year history, is going to change.”
Wall Street Journal: Macau Gambling-Revenue Drop Divides Investors
Making smart investments in casino stocks used to be pretty simple. Investors would just choose those companies that had bigger exposure in Macau, knowing that those were the names with the best prospects. Things have changed now that Macau has had its fifth straight month of revenue declines.
Hong Kong-based Central Asset Investments portfolio manager Armand Yeung said: “We were short. Now we’re just staying away from it.” Though valuations have become more reasonable and dividend yields are attractive, “there’s still a lot of debate”, he added.
When an analyst casino magnate Steve Wynn if he thought things were getting worse in Macau, he replied: “Oh, well, that’s an easy question. It’s worse in October than it was before October. So if you’re asking what is the nadir of our experience, it is current.”
Wynn added that Beijing’s efforts to combat corruption in Macau “has put a lot of the wealthy businessmen in the fox holes.”
Credit analysts are expressing concerns about Macau expansion plans, claiming that casinos will not be able to repay their debts if the slowdown in revenue continues.
Forbes: Macau Casino Revenue Falls, VIPs Blamed, Investors Rejoice
Figures released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau showed a 3.7% decline in year-on-year revenue in June, with profits dropping to 27.2 billion Macau patacas or $3.4 billion. Industry representatives claim it was caused by a 20% drop in VIP attendance.
This was the first time when Macau’s monthly revenue fell since June 2009, which marked a low point for the city’s casino sector. Union Gaming Research Macau analysts Grant Govertsen and Felicity Chiang pointed out that from the decline in 2009, “Macau went on an unprecedented run [with] tripling of GGR from approximately US$15 billion in 2009 to US$45 billion in 2013.”
Between 2008 and 2009, Macau’s problem was mainly a matter of politics, with an overlay of economic factors. It could be the same this time around, as the 20% drop in VIP revenue is believed to be caused by President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign in China.
On the other hand, a report released by Morgan Stanley Asia in June cited economic factors from the mainland, while others blamed it on the World Cup, which Union Gaming conceded “could be responsible for a few hundred basis points of the VIP decline.”