The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, came to a climax last week with a pact reached by the 200 attending nations to come into effect in 2020 that seeks to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees before the end of the century. Despite not being as legally binding as some would have wished the first agreement of its sort in history has been greeted with enthusiasm by many world leaders including Barack Obama who called it “the best chance to save the one planet we have.”
Donald Trump, still leading the polls in the race to be the Republican nomination in the US Presidential race in 2016, earned the ire of all quarters last week by calling for a ban on all entrance to the United States for Muslims. Instantly condemned by both his opponents and fellow Republicans alike Hillary Clinton called it “reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive” whilst rival for the nomination Jeb Bush called Mr. Trump’s position “unhinged”.
Saudi Arabia finally allowed women to vote in elections last week holding the first to be open to both female voters and candidates. Despite being unable to meet male voters during their campaigns, the segregation of polling stations and numerous bureaucratic obstacles 900 women stood for election although few are expected to gain office with only 10% of votes cast by women. However Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi was elected in Madrakah to the Mecca municipal council.
In sport Conor McGregor took just 13 seconds to knock out opponent Jose Aldo to take the featherweight title in Las Vegas at UFC 194. “Precision beats power, timing beats speed.” Said McGregor after the bout that ending Aldo’s 18 fight unbeaten run, will Conor be able to match it? You’ll have to read our daily news pages to find out, but in the meantime lets take a moment to glance back over some of the big news stories we covered over the last seven days.
Meanwhile police are investigating the source of 100,000 Euro that was discovered floating down the Danube in Vienna last week. A boy found the money and retrieved the mainly 100 and 500 Euro denominations from the water, and with Austrian law allowing him to keep 10% immediately and claim the full amount after a year if the rightful owner does not come forward he’s a lucky chap. Whilst the money’s origin is not yet known police have ruled out money laundering.
1. Ronda Rousey took her first interview since her knockout loss, in which she described her long road to recovery and her desire for a Holly Holm rematch.
2. Oscar Espinosa’s patertinty claim was verified by DNA test results, now Ruben Vazquez’s case is to be settled.
3. Arnold Peralta was shot dead in his hometown while on holiday before international football match vs Cuba.
4. The draw for the round of 16 in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League competition was made in Nyon.
5. Arguably the hottest fixture at the Euro 2016 group stages will be England entertaining Wales in group B.
According to the state’s Gaming Control Board, Nevada gaming revenues fell in August, for the third month in a row.
Though Nevada gaming revenues still maintain an overall 1% increase comparing to last year, the results of 2015 June, July and August show a drop from the 2014 numbers. Certain areas of Las Vegas, namely the Strip, obviously has a problem, while other parts of the state produced a considerable growth.
According to online gambling news, issues related to baccarat are the main reasons behind the decrease in Nevada gaming revenues. The Strip had a 4.7% drop in August, while Nevada gaming revenues in total declined 1.4% comparing to the same month in 2014.
Baccarat along the Strip had a 16% decline in August comparing to the corresponding month last year. Gaming analysts Steven Wieczynski argued that this fall is due to the economic problems in China, causing Chinese players losing willingness to wager on baccarat. He said, “At this point, given the swirling macroeconomic uncertainties in China, we expect the Strip baccarat business to remain under pressure indefinitely.”
According to the numbers and gambling facts, slot players started to take over the Las Vegas Strip. While slot revenues grew in the area by 12%, table games declined 16%. It seems that many customers of casino table games rather visit the downtown casinos instead, where overall casino revenue produced a 15% growth.
North Las Vegas and the Boulder Strip also reported considerable increase, 21% and 30% respectively, contributing to the overall picture of Nevada gaming revenues, that is on almost 1% increase in 2015. Meanwhile Strip casinos reported a nearly 2% decline for this calendar year.
Cameron McKnight, gaming analyst for Wells Fargo Securities suggested that young people rather visit the Strip for partying than for gambling during these months. He said, “We note that the summer is skewed toward the leisure segment. In our view, the softness in gaming volumes is reflective of the current leisure customer increasingly younger, international and nightlife-oriented versus gaming focused.”
Nevada gaming revenues obviously do not include accommodation, clothing, food and drink incomes, which are major contributors for properties located in the area. Las Vegas is slowly becoming more of a party destination than a gambling capital.
Gambling is still big in the area, and it will be until US gambling laws in other states legalize the business. However, there are less and less gamblers in the younger generations who are attached to land-based casino gambling. They rather go to online poker rooms or online casinos for a gambling experience, not to mention online sports betting sites and now there are the daily fantasy sites as well.
Just check out Bovada Casino, if you’d like to know what a top US online casino looks like! After that, maybe you won’t plan to go to Las Vegas anymore to play your favourite casinos games either. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but this doesn’t mean that there is no legal online gambling outside Vegas…
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.”
In Burkina Faso protestors in the capital Ouagadougou threw out their President of 27 years after he tried to extend that via a constitutional change. They set fire to the parliament building and the army had to step in to “restore order”. Protestors then took to the streets again to ensure the army didn’t turn peace keeping into a coup, the situation remains tense and disagreement amongst opposition leaders could prove problematic.Problematic is a word all too easily applied to space travel last week as both NASA and Virgin Galactic lost craft to accidents. NASA Antares rocket dramatically exploded shortly after lift off whilst Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic suffered a catastrophic failure during a test flight that left one pilot seriously injured and the other dead. Early reports cite a malfunction of the descent mechanism may have caused it to prematurely deploy resulting in the tragedy.
South African football weathered a tragedy of its own last week as Captain of the national team, Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead at his girlfriends house after intruders broke into the Johannesburg property. His funeral at the Moses Mabhida Stadium was attended by his teammates from the Orlando Pirates and tens of thousands of supporters. Police already have a suspect in custody and he was charged with the killing on Friday.
Elsewhere in football the weekend saw a Manchester derby in the English Premier League, and as is usual with these high-tension clashes the game saw some ugly moments including the sending off of United’s center-half Smalling who seemed to forget he was playing football, and in the end, Man City got the only, and decisive goal, will things be so clear cut this week? Find out on our daily news pages, but for the time being lets look back at what made our headlines last week.
1. If you thought you knew everything about James Packer’s new VIP casino at Barangaroo, guess again. The government and the investor have been keeping secrets from the public.
2. Things just aren’t working out for New Jersey lawmakers, who tried to find a way around the nationwide sports wagering ban. America’s biggest sports leagues have scored a point in their battle against betting, and the ball is now in judge Shipp’s court.
3. A famous conman known for selling fake weight loss products has gotten himself into trouble by running an international betting scheme that brought him a fortune.
4. The FBI might have screwed up its own case against an Asian betting ring that operated in Las Vegas during the FIFA World Cup, by using illegal methods to gather evidence.
5. GamblingResults found the best five Halloween promotions. Online gambling websites prepared scary-tempting offers past weekend.
6. The FBI is trying to beat criminals at their own game and it’s not working. Alleged gambling kingpin Paul Phua could get away with his illegal betting operation because FBI agents didn’t stick to the rules during their investigation.
7. The government leadership of Malta settled on Eden Leisure Group as the potential bidders for casino license.
Meanwhile Tim Cook, CEO of Apple came out of the app-draw and announced he was proud to be gay, and the diplomatic relationship between Israel and the US dove to a new all-time low after an unnamed official from the Obama White House was quoted as saying “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit.” A move that has been seen as incendiary by the generous of spirit and as the insult it is by everyone else. Will there be more name calling this week? Keep up to date with our daily news pages.
After cutting off Internet access three Las Vegas luxury villas, FBI agents impersonated repair technicians to get inside and collect evidence.
Against the recommendation of an assistant U.S. attorney, Kimberly Frayn, the FBI went ahead with its plans and pretended to be repair technicians in order to get inside the villa. But lawyers representing four of the eight men charged in the case have filed a motion to dismiss all evidence collected that day. The prosecutor supposedly told FBI agents that “it was a consent issue.”
Under American laws, authorities need a warrant before searching a property, so defense lawyers challenged the actions described in detail by online gambling news, which were part of an investigation on an illegal sports betting operation.
If authorities don’t have the written permission, the person whose property is being inspected must first waive his constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. Otherwise, the evidence should not be used in trial, because it was improperly collected.
Fox News: Federal agents impersonated computer technicians to collect evidence in sports betting probe, lawyers say
FBI agents in Las Vegas had referred questions about their plan to the local US Attorney’s Office. Spokeswoman Natalie Collins said prosecutors were aware of the allegations, but declined to make any comments while the trial was pending.
According to American newspapers, the Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account, where it posted personal information and photos taken from the phone of a woman who had been arrested in a cocaine case. The idea was to trick her friends and associates into revealing incriminating information.
On another occasion, the FBI sent a fake news story to a suspect in a bomb-threat case, hoping he would click on the link thus allowing investigators to track down his location. The FBI had attributed the story to the Associated Press, causing the agency to react and describe the actions as “unacceptable”, claiming they undermined the publication’s credibility.
As for the gambling case, the criminal complaint revealed that the eight men came to the attention of authorities in June after requesting “an unusually large amount of electronics equipment and technical support” at their hotel. An electrical engineer working for the Las Vegas hotel said the equipment “appeared to be set up for an illegal gambling operation.”
FBI investigators tried to get into their apartment to gather evidence, but a former federal prosecutor, Mark Rasch, said the tactics they resorted will most likely not stand up in court. “Police are allowed to use a certain kind of subterfuge, but what they can’t do is create a certain kind of circumstance,” he said.
South China Morning Post: Dramatic FBI video shows how agents tricked their way into Paul Phua’s villa for gambling bust
Newspapers got their hands on 30 minutes of audio and video recordings of the FBI’s action plan to bust what appeared to be an illegal online betting operation in Las Vegas. The video was filmed through a lapel camera and shows how agents tricked their way into the villas where an alleged Asian gambling kingpin and his team were staying.
According to the defense, FBI agents shut off Internet access to Paul Phua Wei-seng’s villa at Caesars Palace, and then gained access to it by impersonating repair technicians. This is how authorities managed to collect the evidence used against the accused.
In the video obtained by the press, investigators are working on a set of code words to use while they were inside. One agent who adopted the name “Sam” – which he also used “for other stuff” in the past – is shown working on his cover story. The images briefly show another conversation about how investigators should dress.
“If you put on that shirt, you have to look the part. Go all the way,” said Mike Wood, a technician working for Caesars. He was advising Nevada Gaming Control Board Agent Ricardo Lopez before he entered one of the suites, on July 4. Lopez went back to the villa on July 5, when he pretended to fix an internet outage for several minutes.
Defense lawyer Thomas Goldstein described the operation as an “illegal search” and challenged the evidence in court.
CardsChat: Paul Phua Sports Betting Raid FBI Tactics Questioned by Legal Team
The FBI suspected that the eight men who rented villas at Caesars Palace were breaking the state’s gambling laws by running an unlicensed betting operation. Investigators spent two days working with the hotel’s computer contractor and the Nevada Gaming Control Board on shutting down their Internet access.
But they did not stop here. FBI agents impersonated repair staff to convince the customers to let them inside the apartments, and they even recorded what they found inside. The videos were the main evidence used to obtain the arrest warrant against the eight defendants.
Lawyers did not know how authorities had managed to get inside the suites until they overheard an official talk about cutting the Internet access. “They were trying everything they could to get inside without a warrant,” defense attorney Thomas Goldstein told reporters. Four out of the eight defendants have challenged the FBI’s actions in court.
Paul Phua and his son Darren were among those arrested. They were all charged with operating an illegal sports betting operation. Officials said Paul Phua is a high-ranking member of the 14K Triad, one of the world’s largest organized crime syndicates. Among gamblers, he is well-known for playing in high-stakes poker games in Macau, as well as in tournaments.
The poker community has supported the accused, and players Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl even offered $2.5 million towards Phua’s and his son’s bonds.
Just when everyone thought Ben Affleck’s blackjack adventures were long forgotten, the actor admitted to counting cards.
Until recently, the Hollywood movie star refused to comment on rumors that suggested he was addicted to gambling. Now Ben Affleck says he wants to clear things up once and for all, offering to talk about why he was kicked out of Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas, how much he gambles and what his wife Jennifer Garner has to say about it.
Yes, he counted cards when he was at the casino, he admitted; but apart from blackjack, he is not interested in betting on sports scores and doesn’t gamble “at all”. All news about him being addicted to casino games were made up, the actor added. He also denied rumors about his wife threatening to leave him because of his habit of playing blackjack.
The actor is now at the center of attention in the latest online blackjack news, after openly talking about how casinos refuse to allow good players to sit down at the blackjack table.
Daily Mail: ‘That’s all bulls***!’ Ben Affleck says wife Jennifer Garner has no plans to leave him over his gambling
Ben Affleck has recently denied what several tabloids and newspapers wrote months ago, that his wife Jennifer Gardner was at the end of her tether after he was kicked out of a Las Vegas casino for counting cards.
In a recent interview with Details magazine, the actor fumed: “See, that’s tabloid s***. That’s all bulls***. They completely lie.”
At the end of April, Ben Affleck was caught counting cards at a Las Vegas blackjack table, and tabloids suggested Jennifer was considering leaving him because he was gambling too much. However, the new Batman has assured fans that his wife is neither unhappy with their marriage of nine years, nor about to divorce him.
ABC News: Ben Affleck Admits to Counting Cards in a Casino
Referring to the incident that took place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas earlier in April, when Ben Affleck was banned from the blackjack table, the 42 year-old actor had no trouble admitting that he counted cards while playing the game.
“That is true,” he told Details magazine. “I took some time to learn the game and became a decent blackjack player. And once I became decent, the casinos asked me not to play blackjack.”
“I mean the fact that being good at the game is against the rules at a casino should tell you something about a casino,” he continued. “There’s a lot of hospitality, backslapping, when they think you’re gonna come in and dump money, and if they think you might leave with some money, it’s like, ‘You know what? Why don’t you try craps or roulette?”
The actor also denied rumors suggesting he was addicted to gambling: “I get to correct the impression that there’s something wrong with it or that it demonstrates some, like, compulsive activity.”
“I don’t bet on football games, and I don’t gamble at all, really, outside of that. But I knew with blackjack that there’s a way you can improve your odds. And so I started trying to learn. And then I just got to a point in my life where I’m like, ‘If I’m going to do something, I’m going to try and do it really well.’”
While counting cards is not illegal, casinos frown upon it because the strategy helps players lower the house edge and significantly increases their chances of winning.
“I will say this: There were a number of casinos that said, ‘Hey, you can’t play blackjack here. We know you count cards. But, you know, you’re welcome to come, do whatever you want, see a show, have dinner. We’ll comp ya. Play roulette, we know you don’t play craps, but hang out, we still want your presence and business.’”
People: Ben Affleck Sets the Record Straight About Gambling Rumors
After it was reported that Ben Affleck was a problem gambler and that his wife Jennifer Garner was considering leaving him because of his bad habit, the Hollywood actor is not holding back in expressing how he feels about tabloids and the rumors they spread.
The movie star is determined to set the record straight about stories claiming that his wife Jennifer Garner was fed up with his gambling, after Affleck was reportedly banned from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
“That’s tabloid s–––. That’s all bulls–––,” he told Details. “They completely lie … My only hope is that people with any common sense recognize that those stories are false.”
The 42-year-old actor clarified that he was not banned from the venue, but simply asked to refrain from playing blackjack, a game he became skilled at.
“I wish I could say they were afraid of me in every capacity. But they only said, ‘No blackjack.’ I mean, the fact that being good at the game is against the rules at the casinos should tell you something about casinos,” he added.
Furthermore, Affleck insisted that blackjack is the only casino game he plays: “I had always liked blackjack. I don’t play any other games of chance. I don’t bet on football games, and I don’t gamble at all, really, outside of that.”
Until July 14, the 2014 World Series of Poker will be the main attraction in Las Vegas. All eyes are on the world’s best poker players, as they battle it out for poker’s most coveted bracelets. This year’s edition of the tournament is already proving to be the largest ever, with the senior’s event drawing a record number of players.With more than 4,400 players joining the game, the total prize pool added up to almost $4 million. Dan Heimiller managed to make his way to the top, winning his second bracelet and a prize of $627,462. Read more about the 2014 WSOP here:
CardPlayer: Dan Heimiller Wins World Series of Poker Seniors Event and Second Career Bracelet
This year’s tournament drew the largest seniors event field in WSOP history. A total of 4,425 players paid the $1,000 buy-in, hoping to get a bigger share of the $3,982,500 prize pool. However, only three notable players made it to the top. David Tran and Dennis Phillips tied for 5th place; Dan Heimiller fought 58-year-old Iowa firefighter Don Maas for the title and won.
CardPlayer has described Heimiller as “one of the quirkiest players on the tournament circuit”. The poker pro has won his second career bracelet and pocketed his biggest cash prize so far – $627,462. Heimiller’s total tournament earnings now add up to $4.7 million.
“Back in 2002, it wasn’t for as much cash, so that makes this one a lot more important,” Heimiller said about his first win. “It was also a smaller field and wasn’t as prestigious back then. It was a great feeling, but this one feels extra spectacular because it was for such a big prize.”
ESPN: Heimiller outlasts 4,425 in Seniors
The 2014 WSOP schedule includes some spectacular events, such as the $1 million buy-in One Drop, the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship, the $25,000 mixed-max and the Main Event. But the $1,000 buy-in Seniors Championship always gets a lot of well-deserved attention. This year, the event drew a massive field of 4,425 players over the age of 50.
Dan Heimiller proved he is not ready to retire from poker just yet, by making his way to the final table and defeating his rival Don Maas heads-up. Maas won his first cash prize at the WSOP. The 58 year-old is captain of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. For Dan Heimiller, winning the event meant grabbing his second WSOP bracelet and taking home $627,462 in cash.
PokerUpdate: Dan Heimiller Wins WSOP Seniors Title
PokerUpdate offers a detailed account of the largest Seniors Event in WSOP history, which started out with more than 4,400 players. At the beginning of the third day, there were only 32 players left; a couple of hours more and the number was reduced to 10.
One of the players at the final table was Dennis Philips, who finished third place 2008 Main Event and came in second in the Seniors Event in 2012. The poker pro seemed confident that he could get a better result this year, but in the end he came in 5th, winning a prize worth well over $150,000.
Donald Maas, David Smith and Dan Heimiller were the last three players standing, with Maas having more chips than the other two combined. Heimiller knocked Smith into 3rd place, claiming his chips and leaving him with a $279,412 cash prize. With a chip advantage of about 3:1, the player managed to eliminate Maas, who earned $388,054 for his efforts. Heimiller became champion and claimed his second WSOP bracelet, as well as over $600,000 in cash.
Bluff Heimiller Scores the Eagle While Kitai Wins Third Bracelet
Sunday was a big day for players who participated in the 2014 WSOP. The schedule included seven tournaments and two ceremonies, and Bluff offers a detailed account of each and every event. Davidi Kitai beat Gordon Vayo, taking the big prize at the Six-Max event and securing his third bracelet.
Meanwhile, the Seniors Championship started at 11 am and took 12 hours to go from a total of 32 players to the final three. The Golden Eagle Trophy ended up in Dan Heimiller’s hands, who held the chip lead with 4,140,000. Throughout his career, Heimiller sat at 60 final tables and won 8 of them. This is his second WSOP bracelet.
The $10,000 Razz Event was another popular competition on the schedule, with 12 players remaining in the game by Sunday. David Bach started out well, as chip leader, but he was soon eliminated and came in 8th. Daniel Negreanu was really hoping to win his seventh WSOP bracelet, but ended up finishing in 10th. The title went to George Danzer, who defeated Shack-Harris to win his first bracelet and the $294,792 prize.
CardsChat WSOP Day 13: Danzer, Kitai, and Heimiller Collect Gold
CardsChat also offers a thorough report on the 13th day of this year’s WSOP, which brought three players some impressive cash rewards and new bracelets. Davidi Kitai, a Triple Crown winner, has won his third WSOP bracelet. George Danzer is at his first, and Dan Heimiller took home his second one.
It wasn’t a good day for James Woods, one of the celebrities present at WSOP; the poker pro started to experience chest pain while he was playing. It is believed that the pain was caused by heart problems and the player was transported to the hospital by ambulance. Later that day, he tweeted that the incident was in fact caused by food poisoning.
From out of nowhere it seemed like the United States, and the rest of the world for that matter, fell into a huge whole of economic depression about 2 years ago. It came and it seems that its still here, but in sunny Las Vegas profits are once again on the rise.
Business Week: Vegas Casinos Revenue Up 8.3%, First Gain in 2 Years
For the first time in about 2 years, gambling revenue in Las Vegas rose 8.3 % in November. Nevada’s Gaming Control Board said proceeds on the Strip rose to $473.8 million. Revenue for all of Clark County, including downtown Las Vegas, gained 6.9 % to $750.8 million, according to the board.
Vegas resorts have slashed room prices and increased special offers to spur demand. Daily room rates in October 2009 were $99.59 on average, down 14% from 2008, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
December 2007 was the last time gambling revenue increased, and then it rose less than 1%. New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission says Atlantic City gambling proceeds fell 9.8% last month.
Market Watch: Nevada gambling revenue up for first time since 2007
Good news came from Nevada, Tuesday, when state regulators reported an increase in gambling revenue for November, the first monthly rise in almost two years. Silver State casinos reported $873.2 million for the month, up 4.4% from November 2008. On the Las Vegas Strip, revenue increased more than 8% to $473.8 million.
Other jurisdictions reporting increases include North Las Vegas, the Boulder Strip and parts of Washoe County. The rest of Nevada was down by anywhere from 1.7% in downtown Las Vegas to almost 27% in South Lake Tahoe.
The total win on table games statewide jumped 17% to just more than $308 million, largely due to a better than doubling of the take from baccarat on the Strip. Slot-machine revenue was down slightly to $547 million.
Hotel rooms that were $300 are typically running at half that, squeezing margins in a business that’s traditionally high priced. These low room rates are attracting leisure travelers long priced out of the high-end resorts, keeping occupancy levels from falling as far as other key measures, but pressuring other revenues.
Analyst, Bill Lerner, commented, “multiple restaurateurs that we have spoken with are experiencing growth in key metrics such as covers and average checks,” and when that is combined with “overall Las Vegas visitation momentum … we are more confident that 2010 will represent the positive inflection in Las Vegas.”
ABC News: Nev. Casino Winnings up for 1st Time in 23 Months
November gambling revenue in Nevada rose for the first time in roughly two years, as casinos won nearly $873.2 million from bettors. The 4% rise in revenue from last November was the first increase after 22 months of declines.
State revenues collected in December topped $57 million, up 28.3% from $44.4 million last year. Taxes paid on casino winnings account for about 30 % of the state general fund. The control board said the state collected $313.2 million in the first 6 months of the fiscal year, down 5.1 % compared with July-December 2008.
November’s results benefited from baccarat on the Strip and the Nov. 14 Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto boxing match at the MGM Grand. Revenue at Downtown Vegas casinos was down 1.3 %, while North Las Vegas and the Boulder Strip saw double-digit increases.
Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and is Nevada’s largest county, was the only county in the state with a year-over-year increase in monthly revenue.
A few years ago, 25-year-old Jack Ellwood was an economics and mathematics course at Bristol University. Today, he calls himself a professional poker player, and judging by his annual earnings, it seems that he is very good at his job.
Ellwood has won more than $1.4 million this past year playing poker, and about a million of that is pure profit. Originally from Newcastle, England, he now travels around the world playing in casino blackjack tournaments – this year alone he has played in Las Vegas, Barcelona, Cannes and Vienna. He also makes quite a lot of money playing at online poker sites, and is currently ranked the 12th best internet poker player in the world.
“I still can’t quite believe how well I have done,” said Ellwood. “It all changed last February when I came second in a tournament in Manchester and won £37,500. That was my big break, and it left me with more money to buy into tournaments with big prize pots.”
So far, his biggest win was $500,000 which he earned playing in an online poker tournament.
Ellwood doesn’t regret leaving university to peruse a career as a poker player. “It beats a nine to five job and being my own boss and jetting round the world is amazing,” he says. “When I dropped out to play poker I think my mum was a bit shocked though.”
Two new names now appear on the list of the world’s top poker pros. The Poker Hall of Fame announced Tuesday that Erik Seidel and Dan Harrington have been picked to be recognized for their outstanding poker achievements.
An induction ceremony will be held on November 8 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The induction will coincide with the festivities surrounding the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, which is the richest tournament in the entire world of poker.
Erik Seidel is an eight-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner. He is considered to be one of the world’s best tournament poker players. His most notable achievement was his runner-up finish to poker pro Johnny Chan at the 1988 WSOP – a game that was reproduced in the movie “Rounders”. Over more than four decades of play, Seidel has amassed an impressive $10 million in career wins.
Dan Harrington, easily spotted at the tables in his trademark green Red Sox hat, is most famed for his 1995 WSOP main event win. He also made it to the Main Event table in 2003 and 2004, which in itself is a very impressive feat. Harrington has enjoyed more than $6 million in lifetime wins. His most recent achievements include a series of poker strategy books entitled “Harrington on Hold’em” which some consider to be among the best strategy guides available.
The Poker Hall of Fame was established in 1979. With the two 2010 inductees this exclusive club will contain a total of 40 members, only 18 of which are still alive.
It’s shuffle up and deal time: The World Series of Poker has begun in Las Vegas with 7,319 entrants, the second-largest pool ever assembled for the world’s biggest poker event. Yesterday alone, 2,391 players entered, as Thursday marked the last day to buy in for $10,000.
Based on entrants, the total prize pool will be $68.8 million and the top prize is a huge $8.94 million; the top 747 finishers will win prizes. Last year, there were 6,494 total entrants for a prize pool of $61 million and a $8.55 prize for the winner Joe Cada, youngest ever to take this tournament.
As always, some celebrities were on hand to try their hand at a few poker hands, including Jason Alexander, Emmitt Smith, and Shannon Elizabeth, just to name a very few.
Though the peak number of participants set in 2006 was not reached, the numbers are up 12% on last year. Alexander was enthusiastic to an Associated Press reporter, to whom he said “I’m glad people are feeling like the economy’s back enough that they can do [play in the World Series of Poker]. It wasn’t because the interest in poker went away, so I have to assume people weren’t willing to speculate.”
Most observers also factor in an overall drop in attendance since 2006, as after the tournament the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed, thereby discouraging many online poker rooms from accepted U.S. players – and getting them into the World Series of Poker.
The gambling industry is one that continues to blossom exponentially. Originally, Las Vegas was considered to be the gambling capital of the world. Macau passed it in popularity after just a few short years and Japan is starting to look like a promising venture for some of the world’s larger gambling operations.
The Street: Las Vegas Sands Bets on Japan
Las Vegas Sands plans on expanding its Macau-based Sands China into Japan, which it predicts could become Asia’s largest gaming market. Sands has already been approach by local gaming firms in Japan.
Gaming is still week in the U.S. and Macau has been the focus of casino operators. In the first quarter Sands Macau, which has three casinos in the Chinese gambling enclave, saw its profit quadruple to $110.5 million from $26.7 million just one year ago.
Revenue at Sands China shot up 24% to $944 million from $761.7 million in the year-ago period. Overall, Macau posted a record 70% surge in gaming revenue in April to $1.76 billion. And it appears the gambling hub could be on track for another record month.
Casino operators aren’t just limiting their Asian expansion to Macau. Last month, Sands opened the first part of its $5.5 billion hotel-casino in Singapore. The company expects the Singapore casino could earn $1 billion annually. MGM has also said that it is looking into other gaming markets, including Vietnam.
Reuters: Sands China bets on Japan; sees strong Q2
Macau-based Sands China, the world’s second-most valuable casino operator, has its sights on expanding into Japan, which it predicts could become Asia’s largest gambling market.
Expanding in Asia beyond Macau has become important for casino operators such as Sands and Wynn Resorts, which worry about Beijing’s erratic travel restrictions on mainland Chinese visiting Macau, the only place in the country where casino gambling is legal.
Japan has long debated legalizing casino gambling and could make a decision soon as it looks to the example of Singapore, which recently opened two major casino resorts. Sands China’s parent Las Vegas Sands opened its $5.5 billion Singapore casino resort, the world’ second-most expensive, late last month.
Japan has made slow progress on allowing casinos, partly due to fears they could trigger social problems.
If Japan moves to legalise casino gambling, the first casino could open by around 2014-15, said Jacobs, who was chief executive of an international management services firm before he joined Las Vegas Sands in March last year.
Channel News Asia: Marina Bay Sands targeting Southeast Asian market
The $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands integrated resort is betting its chips on the Southeast Asian market. The region is expected to account for over a third of its business in Singapore, according to Sheldon Adelson, the
chairman of its parent company Las Vegas Sands.
He said the company is also considering building integrated resorts in Europe and Japan.
The Marina Bay Sands resort, which was partially opened on Tuesday, April 27, is expected to break even in just 5 years.
Marina Bay Sands will be targeting primary markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. Combined, these countries will make up some 40 per cent of Marina Bay Sands’ business (10 per cent each from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand; and 8 per cent from Vietnam). China will account for about 6 per cent of its business.
Adelson added: “Asia could use 5 or 10 Las Vegases fully built out with 140,000 rooms each. That would give you from 700,000 to 1.4 million rooms for destination resorts for people all over Asia to go to. And in my opinion, you will never saturate the market.
The former president of one of the world’s most successful gambling operators MGM Mirage Global, Lloyd Nathan, has been asked to run a new Vegas style casino resort which will operate 130 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Bloomberg Business Week: MGM’s Nathan to Run First ‘Vegas Style’ Viet Casino
Asian Coast Development Ltd. hired Lloyd Nathan, the former president of MGM Mirage Global Gaming Development, to run the first Vegas-style casino in Vietnam. Asian Coast has a 50-year license to build a $4.2 billion casino and resort 130 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam will be compete with neighboring resorts Macau, the world’s biggest gaming hub.
In an e-mail Nathan said, “The 16 countries in close proximity to Vietnam comprise almost 2/3 of the world’s population, but only 5% of the world’s licensed gaming establishments.”
The casino will be off-limits to the nation’s 86 million people. Singapore’s first casino opened on February 14 at the Resorts World Sentosa project. The government charges locals a $72 admission fee.
The new beachside Vietnamese resort will include 550 rooms, 90 gaming tables and 500 slot machines initially. The development is licensed for up to 180 tables and 1000 slot machines, he said.
The Associated Press: Development firm hires MGM Mirage’s Nathan as CEO
Officials say an MGM Mirage executive has left the casino company to lead a Canadian firm working on a $4.2 billion casino development in Vietnam.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based Asian Coast Development Ltd. named Lloyd Nathan its chief executive and appointed him to its board.
Nathan was previously president of MGM Mirage Global Gaming Development and had been involved in the Ho Tram Strip project for the Las Vegas-based company.
Officials say the Ho Tram Strip is being developed on 420 acres along more than 1 mile of beachfront land on the South China Sea.
Reuters: UPDATE 1-MGM-branded casino planned for Vietnam resort area
Asian Coast Development Ltd says that it has named Lloyd Nathan, former president of MGM Mirage’s global gaming development, chief executive officer of the new project in Vietnam. The Vancouver-based investment group has hired Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage to operate the $400 million, 1,100-room resort, which will be called the MGM Grand Ho Tram.
Asian Coast, which holds a 50-year investment license from the Vietnamese government, said overall plans call for a $4.2 billion project that will encompass five resorts, two of which will include gambling. The license allows 180 table games and 2,000 electronic games (such as slot machines), split between the two casino properties.
China’s Macau, the only place in the area where gambling is legal, surpassed Las Vegas several years ago to become the world’s largest source of gambling revenue. MGM has a joint-venture project in Macau, and rival Wynn Resorts this week opened its second casino-resort in the Chinese enclave.
Australian internet entrepreneur Daniel Tzvetkoff was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday, and is being held on charges of money laundering and gambling conspiracy. Tzvetkoff founded an online payment processing company called Intabill a few years ago, but prosecutors allege that he used shell companies to cover up the source of more than $500 million in online gambling funds. Tzvetkoff faces 75 years in prison if convicted.
News.com.au: Fallen online tycoon Daniel Tzvetkoff faces 75 years jail
Internet entrepreneur Daniel Tzvetkoff is facing 75 years in a US prison after being charged with laundering $584 million. The 27-year-old was placed under arrest in Las Vegas on Friday and has been detained facing a bail hearing.
Ipswich-born Tzvetkoff made a mark for himself in 2008 when he founded the online payment processor Intabill, which helped US gamblers fund their online accounts. Because of his involvement with the company, Tzvetkoff faces charges of money laundering, gambling conspiracy and bank fraud conspiracy.
The US Attorney’s Office alleges that Tzvetkoff helped illegal internet gambling companies to launder about $540 million into offshore accounts. Tzvetkoff’s company duped US banks (which have bans on internet credit card gambling) into believing the gambling transactions were just ordinary transactions.
According to the indictment, Tzvetkoff even created dummy companies British Virgin Islands, complete with fake websites and random names, which were used to hide the source of funds he was processing.
ABC News: Businessmen charged over illegal online gambling transactions
United States authorities are charging former Queensland businessman Daniel Tzvetkoff with four offences relating to illegal online gambling money transactions. The 27-year-old entrepreneur was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday.
An indictment has already been presented to the Federal court in Manhattan, which is charging Tzvetkoff money laundering offences.
The US Justice Department alleges Tzvetkoff processed around $500 million in online transactions between US gamblers and internet gaming websites. The company disguised the financial data so the transactions appeared to be unrelated to gambling.
Tzvetkoff’s Las Vegas-based lawyer Mace Yampolsky says he appeared in court on Friday already, and that this initial apperance will continue on Wednesday.
“Obviously, right now, he’s pleading not guilty. He’s innocent until proven guilty,” Tzvetkoff’s laywer saidsaid.
“At this time, I have not seen any of the government’s proof.”
Reuters: U.S. charges Australian with laundering $500 mln
United States prosecutors arrested an Australian man in Las Vegas on Friday, and are holding him on charges of money laundering, alleging that he helped move funds between gamblers and illegal online gambling websites.
Daniel Tzvetkoff, 27, is being accused in a New York court of processing gambling proceeds and covering up their source, making them appear legal to banks. The operation has been running since early 2008.
Tzvetkoff created dozens of shell companies for use in his scheme, whcih he once wrote was “perfect,” prosecutors say.
Tzvetkoff is being charged on four counts, including bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to operate and finance an illegal gambling business. If convicted on all accounts, he faces up to 75 years in prison.
Gambling revenue in the great gambling state of Nevada has been all over the place over the last couple of months, but most notably in the gutter relative to the past. I bit of hope has once again been pumped into the system in that February gambling resulted in revenue gains being in the double digits.
The Associated Press: Nevada casino winnings jump 14 percent in February
According to casino regulators, special events in February attracted gamblers to the Las Vegas Strip and helped push statewide gambling winnings up almost 14%. The Gaming Control Board said casinos’ winnings went up to $946.6 million, compared with last year’s $831 million.
The increase was driven by the Strip, where casinos won around $568 million. It’s the largest increase in casino wins on the Strip since November 1999. February’s statewide posting is the largest monthly casino win increase since December 2006 and the first double-digit increase since July 2007. Las Vegas Strip casinos account for roughly 50 percent of statewide gambling revenues.
Casinos in northern Nevada’s Washoe County reported winning $60.9 million, up 2.7 percent for the first monthly increase in 32 months, Streshley said. In Reno, the $43.9 million was an increase of 4 percent.
Reuters: Casino shares up as Nevada gaming revenues rise
MGM Mirage and other casino operators’ shares shot above their year highs on Thursday after Nevada posted a double-digit percentage increase in gaming revenues for February.
On Thursday, The Nevada Gaming Control Board announced that total gaming revenues were up to $946.6 million in February, up 13.9% from the same month a year ago. Gaming revenues on the Las Vegas Strip came to nearly $568 million for the month, up 32.9% from the year earlier.
In a note to clients J.P. Morgan analyst, Joseph Greff, said:”We think results were helped by the timing of Chinese New Year,” which was celebrated in February this year as opposed to January for last year.
MGM Mirage shares were up 8.8 percent to $14.53, above their previous 52-week high of $14.25. Rival Las Vegas Sands gained 5.9 percent to $24.29 and Wynn Resorts shares were up 5.4 percent to $86.04.
Bloomberg Business Week: Las Vegas Strip Casino Revenue Soared 33% in February
Las Vegas Strip gambling revenue jumped 33% in February as baccarat play by Chinese New Year’s revelers boosted winnings. Strip revenue hit $568 million from $427.4 million in 2009 according to Nevada’s Gaming Control Board.
All Nevada’s casino revenue climbed 14% to $946.6 million. Monthly proceeds for Clark County, which includes downtown Las Vegas as well as the Strip, grew 16% to $827.8 million. The Chinese New Year is an important event in Las Vegas because visitors stay longer and spend more than average.
MGM Mirage jumped $1.38, or 10%, to $14.73 at 4:15 p.m. in the New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest advance since September. Las Vegas Sands gained $1.30, or 5.7%, to $24.23. Wynn Resorts Ltd. added $4.57, or 5.6%, to $86.23 on the Nasdaq.
Records from December 2009 indicate that the gambling business is once again on the rise. Though revenues fell in comparison to the year before, December was the second straight month on the rise after many months of decrease.
The New York Times: Gambling Revenue Rises in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Strip gambling revenue rose a solid 5.9% in December for the second consecutive month and may be a fresh sign that the casino slump might be coming to an end. According to Nevada’s Gaming Control Board, the amount in bets that Vegas casinos won climbed to $502.2 million in December from a year earlier. Revenue for the entire year declined 9.4%.
Las Vegas Strip Casinos won $5.55 billion last year, down from $6.13 billion the year before. Resort operators in Las Vegas slashed room prices and created special offers to encourage visitors to come, as companies canceled conventions and consumers spent less.
Winnings for all Nevada casinos dropped 3.2% to $859.3 million in December. Monthly proceeds for Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, slid 2.4 % to $753.2 million, according to the board.
Bloomberg Business Week: Vegas Strip Gambling Rises for Second Straight Month
Las Vegas Strip revenue seems to be coming out of one of the worst 2 year slumps its ever seen when analysts take Decembers figures into consideration. Nevada’s Gaming Control Board announced that strip proceeds climbed to $502.2 million in December from a year earlier. Revenue for the full year declined 9.4 %. Baccarat winnings led the casinos gains, particularly at Aria casino.
The Las Vegas Strip won $5.55 billion in gambling revenue over the last year, down from about $6.13 billion in 2008. Resort operators were forced to make special budget deals to encourage tourism and it appears that their efforts paid off. Some times less really is more.
Nevada’s State casino revenue dropped 3.2% to $859.3 million in December. Monthly proceeds for Clark County, which includes downtown Las Vegas and the Strip, slid 2.4 % to $753.2 million, according to the board.
According to the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, roughly 36.4 million people visited Las Vegas last year, a 3% decline from 2008. Convention attendance tumbled a nasty 24% and average daily rates at Vegas hotels dropped 22% to $92.93.
KXNT: Gaming Revenues Show Record Decline
Nevada gaming revenues dropped 10.4% in the year 2009, the largest annual decline in state history. State Gaming Control Board figures show casinos netted about $10.3 billion last year, compared with $11.6 billion in 2008. It’s the lowest single-year total since 2003.
Las Vegas Strip casino revenues were off by 9.4% last year, and Clark County as a whole saw a decrease of 9.8%. In what might be a modest sign for optimism, new figures show Strip casino revenues increased in December for the second straight month in a row. Weak gaming numbers continue to drive the state’s budget shortfall, and total gaming tax revenues are down by more than 5% for the first seven months of the current fiscal year.
A Las Vegas based company called Cantor Gaming recently introduced a mobile gambling device that lets patrons of participating casinos wager on sporting events and play games like blackjack and baccarat while wandering around the casino property. Credits are purchased ahead of time, and a special security chip that players keep in their pocket makes sure no other users can access their device. It is quickly catching on, and Cantor hopes to expand the system throughout Vegas over the next few years.
The New York Times: In Las Vegas, Sports Books in a Pocket
In the past, sports bettors in Las Vegas had to line up at sports book windows and pay cash for paper tickets in order to place bets. At the M Resort, things work a little differently, and betting is happening through hand-held devices not much bigger than an iPhone.
The new technology comes from Cantor Gaming, and lets gamblers wager on sporting events from anywhere in the casino. Live betting is also available, letting gamblers wager on the outcomes of events as they happen.
Casino operators love the new system. “All of a sudden, these same people who were betting once or twice a game at the beginning of a sporting event can place wagers every minute if they want,” says Anthony A. Marnell III, chief executive of the M Resort. “Having this technology changes the entire equation for everyone involved.”
Bettors must still hand cash over to ticket writers, but the money gets converted electronic credits that show up on the wireless hand-helds, called eDecks (or in some places, PocketCasino). These devices can be taken almost anywhere in the casino. The only restriction is that bettors cannot use them while playing table games.
All eDeck users must obtain a plastic card with an ID chip embedded in it. The eDeck will only work within a few feet of that chip, so no other bettor can pick up the device and wager on another user’s account. The devices were approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission in 2008, but are only now being rolled out to casinos.
Vegas News: Cantor Gaming Launches Mobile Gaming Throughout The Venetian and The Palazzo
Cantor Gaming announced yesterday that the PocketCasino, available at The Venetian and The Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas, is now offering casino games in addition to live sports betting. The PocketCasino lets gamblers play casino style games in most areas of the resorts, including the casino, bars, lounges and restaurants.
Cantor Gaming launched the PocketCasino sports betting system in September at The Venetian Race and Sports Book and Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. PocketCasino now also gives players access to games such like blackjack, video poker and slots. These games offer special propositional bets that calculate odds dynamically based on the cards dealt.
President and CEO of Cantor Gaming Lee Amaitis said, “The inherent flexibility of the mobile platform provides a new type of social gaming experience, where a group of friends can sit together yet all be playing different games: blackjack, poker, slots or baccarat. And for casino operators, mobile gaming has shown it can convert traditionally non-gaming areas of the property into revenue-generating areas, resulting in incremental income for the property.”
Robert Goldstein, president and COO of The Venetian and The Palazzo, added, “Pocketcasino gaming is the perfect way to enjoy the excitement of casino without missing the fun your friends are having at the bar, lounge, or in one of our amazing restaurants. It’s a multitasker’s dream come true.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Sports bets at your fingertips
A live, mobile betting system called “PocketCasino” recently debuted at The Palazzo and The Venetian casinos in Las Vegas. It lets bettors place live wagers on sport events, like whether a team will make the next goal. Standard bets are also offered, like point spreads and money lines on selected games.
Las Vegas-based Cantor Gaming introduced it in the spring at M Resort during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Gregg Layman, a Palazzo patron from Panama, works for an online gambling website. Palazzo found the PocketCasino system to be similar to what online sportsbooks are offer.
“This is going to grow in popularity,” Layman said. “I wish I could use it from home.”
Another casino patron, Danny Tubiolo of New York, is hooked on the new system. “It’s fun to bet if a kicker will make or miss a field goal,” he said.
Mark Goldman, director of race and sports at the two casinos currently offering the PocketCasino, said that interest in the product is steadily increasing. “We have ambassadors working the room, handing out information,” says Goldman. “Once people understand it, it’s pretty easy to use. I think it adds to the excitement.”
Customers check out the devices, place money on a special account. When finished, gamblers return the device and cash out. The device is active throughout the casino.
Cantor is the first company to bring hand-held wagering devices into Las Vegas casinos.