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New York casinos still struggling; del Lago debt crisis looms

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 02:04 PM PST

new-york-casinos-struggling-del-lago-debtNew York's upstate commercial casinos continue to perform below expectations, and one of them is likely facing a debt restructuring just to stay afloat.

This week, the New York Times reported on the 2018 performance of New York's four upstate commercial casinos, whose licenses were issued in late-2015. The last of the four, Empire Resorts’ Resorts World Catskills, opened to the public in February 2018.

The Rivers Casino in Schenectady was the state's ‘star’ performer, reporting gaming revenue up 19% to $152.5m in 2018. However, the property didn't open until February 8, 2017, meaning its 2018 figures had five additional weeks in which to goose the gains. Even then, the 2018 figure is less than three-quarters of what its operators projected while pursuing their gaming license.

Tioga Downs in Tioga Country was also up for the year but it too was delivering only about 72% of its projected revenue. Resorts World Catskills projected its first full-year revenue would exceed $277m by the end of 2019 but the property managed only half that number in the 11 months it was open last year.

The del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County reported revenue of $149m in 2018, up only $2m from the previous year and 57% below the property's original projections. On Thursday, Moody's Investor Service warned that the property, which also opened in February 2017, would likely have to restructure its debt or default on its annual fixed charges of around $50m.

This is the second time that Moody's has issued a warning about del Lago's fate. In January 2018, Moody's downgraded the property's outlook to 'negative' based on its initial year revenue coming in $100m below projections. Moody's latest note warned that "without further equity investment of some type … Lago will require a restructuring that involves some level of impairment."

Some modest help may be on the way if New York regulators issue regulations allowing the state's casino operators to offer sports betting. The casino legislation the state approved in 2013 included sports betting language and the del Lago property inked a prospective sports betting technology deal with DraftKings last July. It’s now a race to see whether sports betting or the rumored restructuring gets here first.

The post New York casinos still struggling; del Lago debt crisis looms appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino sold to mystery shopper

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 12:40 PM PST

atlantic-city-ocean-resort-casino-soldAtlantic City's Ocean Resort Casino (ORC) has been sold to an as-yet unidentified buyer just six months after the property (re)opened.

On Wednesday, rumors swirled that ORC owner AC Ocean Walk LLC, which is majority-owned by Colorado developer Bruce Deifik, was on the market, despite Deifik having only acquired the property 12 months ago and the property having just opened its doors six months ago.

On Thursday, news broke that the rumors were true, although we may have to wait a while longer to discover the identity of ORC's mystery shopper and how much they paid. Deifik paid $200m when he acquired the then-shuttered Revel in January 2018.

The new owner(s) reportedly plan to inject an additional $70m into ORC, which appears to have struggled to attract a sufficient volume of guests and gamblers to make its operations sustainable in the long run. The Associated Press reported that the $70m will fund a new buffet, additional hotel suites, gaming floor improvements and more entertainment options.

Deifik said he and his family, who will retain a small, non-controlling interest in the property, wanted to thank ORC's employees for "their tireless work to bring our property to life and put it on track to become the best gaming property in New Jersey." Deifik added that the new $70m cash injection "will put this property on an exciting path to growth."

Deifik's use of the word 'best' to describe ORC may be subjective, but ORC's current growth path is entirely negative. The property reported its third straight month of declining gaming revenue in November, and its slots and table revenue ranked dead last among AC's nine licensed brick-and-mortar operators. It was only the property's thriving new sportsbook that allowed it to surpass Bally's on November’s overall gaming revenue chart. (December’s numbers are due Friday.)

ORC's new owners will need to be licensed by state gaming regulators, so we can safely rule out Glenn Straub as the buyer. Straub, who acquired the mothballed Revel for $82m in 2015, lost interest in the AC casino market when he learned he would have to submit to the standard invasive vetting that all prospective gaming license holders must undergo.

The fact that Deifik was able to find a buyer for ORC could represent the triumph of optimism over common sense. The $2.4b Revel declared bankruptcy before its first birthday in 2013, reopened briefly before filing for bankruptcy again in 2014, after which the property lay dormant for nearly four years. That really should have been sufficient time in which to determine whether the venue was built on the site of an old Indian burial ground, which would explain a whole lot about the property’s fortunes.

The post Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino sold to mystery shopper appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

Poland’s sports betting turnover jumps 55% in 2018

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 10:18 AM PST

poland-sports-betting-turnoverPoland's licensed online sports betting operators now control nearly half the country's market, a significantly higher slice from just one year ago.

On Thursday, Sport.pl quoted data from Poland's Ministry of Finance indicating that Polish-licensed bookmakers' land-based and online turnover hit PLN5.1b (US$1.37b) in 2018, a 55% rise over 2017's PLN3.3b and triple 2016's PLN1.7b.

The Ministry has yet to publish these figures on its own site, and the report didn't break out separate online turnover figures. The report did claim that Polish-licensed bookmakers snared a 48% share of 2018's online betting market, eight points higher than at the end of 2017. Prior to the implementation of Poland's new online gambling regulations in April 2017, estimates of Polish-licensed operators' share ranged as low as 10%.

The locally-licensed market share improvement is at least partly attributable to the Ministry issuing seven new online betting licenses in 2018, bringing the total number of Polish-licensed online options to 14, although some of these new licensees have yet to launch their Polish-facing sites.

Local operator STS reportedly claimed a 47.1% share of Poland’s regulated online betting market last year, while the Polish subsidiary of Czech operator Fortuna Entertainment Group claimed a nearly 34% share. Totolotek – which Intralot is attempting to acquire – ranked third with 7.3% and forBET placed fourth with 4.4%, with all the other licensees splitting the remaining 7.3%.

The Ministry of Finance's blacklist of internationally licensed online gambling operators serving the needs of Polish punters without Poland's permission currently stands at 5,414 domains, about 150 or so more than mid-December’s tally.

On Monday, the Ministry issued a reminder to telecom operators and payment processors of their respective obligations to block blacklisted domains and refuse to process financial transactions for any site whose domain appears on the register. The Ministry further warned that failure to uphold these obligations exposes telecoms and processors to fines of up to PLN250k ($67k) per infraction.

The post Poland’s sports betting turnover jumps 55% in 2018 appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

GAN, FanDuel eye Pennsylvania, W. Virginia online gambling

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 09:06 AM PST

gan-fanduel-online-gambling-sports-bettingOnline gambling technology provider GAN has expanded its existing relationship with Paddy Power Betfair's FanDuel brand to target online opportunities in two US states.

On Thursday, the UK- and Ireland-listed GAN announced that it had signed "a material long-term deal" with the FanDuel Group that will see GAN provide FanDuel with a platform for "rapid deployment of Internet casino and account services for Internet sports betting in Pennsylvania and West Virginia."

GAN already supplies technology to the New Jersey-licensed operations of PPB's Betfair brand, which came under the FanDuel Group umbrella following PPB's acquisition of FanDuel's US-facing operations last year. Last April, GAN and PPB extended their New Jersey deal for another "multi-year" period.

GAN's new five-year FanDuel pact includes the latter company agreeing to license GAN's US Patent, which involves linking companies' land-based loyalty programs with online gambling accounts. Last year, GAN engaged an outside law firm to pursue US companies GAN believes are infringing on its intellectual property rights.

Pennsylvania has yet to launch any online gambling or sports betting sites, although both products are expected to arrive sometime this year. West Virginia saw the launch of its first digital sports betting products two weeks ago and FanDuel has vowed that its local betting partnership with the Greenbrier Resort will soon extend into the digital arena.

GAN CEO Dermot Smurfit hailed the contract extension as "a significant milestone in GAN's US evolution," leaving the company "very well placed to capitalize" on new US opportunities.

In other GAN news, the company announced a new long-term deal with Czech gaming operator Synot Group shortly before Christmas. The deal will see GAN distribute six Synot-designed casino games to the US market through GAN's GameSTACK online platform. GAN expects all six titles to go live before the end of 2019.

The post GAN, FanDuel eye Pennsylvania, W. Virginia online gambling appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

Twin takes on FAST TRACK CRM

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 07:09 AM PST

11 January 2019, Malta – Twin has become the latest online casino brand to sign up for FAST TRACK's innovative CRM product.

Twin takes on FAST TRACK CRMFAST TRACK has a proven track record of delivering fully managed services to iGaming companies and has recently started offering its CRM solution as a standalone product.

Twin is one of the first brands to take a step towards what FAST TRACK CEO, Simon Lidzén, has called 'the future of CRM'.

'We share FAST TRACK's vision of how easy CRM should be and believe this partnership will allow our CRM team to fulfil their mission of providing an unmatched casino experience to our players,' Marcin Jablonski, Chief Brand Officer at Twin, said.

FAST TRACK CRM is the first CRM tool designed specifically for the iGaming industry and is already being used by popular casino brands including Metal Casino, Ikibu, Casino Calzone and Cashmio.

It runs on real-time data and allows CRM teams to manage all aspects of communications and rewards in one place.

This increased efficiency creates a scalable workflow that cannot be achieved with the traditional, manual process of dragging and uploading lists across multiple systems.

'We are really excited to have Twin on board. They were ready for a new way of working with CRM and we are happy to support that with FAST TRACK CRM.' Simon Lidzén, CEO of FAST TRACK, said.

FAST TRACK will be attending ICE London next month with members of the team on hand to talk to delegates about its powerful CRM tool.

If you would like to arrange a meeting, email sales@fasttrack.com or visit stand number N9-140 during the expo.

About Twin:

Twin was launched in 2017 to provide casino lovers with a continuously improving player experience. The Twin team takes pride in their delivery of a 'twinning' combination of industry-leading innovation while keeping a simple, intuitive user interface.

About FAST TRACK:

Founded in 2016, FAST TRACK is an award-winning iGaming technology and service provider, with a vision of simplifying the online casino business. FAST TRACK provides managed operational and technology services, building leading casino experiences such as Metal Casino, Ikibu and Casino Calzone. FAST TRACK recently started a new business unit to deliver auxiliary services, the first being the only CRM tool built for iGaming.
https://www.fasttrack-solutions.com/
https://www.fasttrack-solutions.com/crm
sales@fasttrack-solutions.com

The post Twin takes on FAST TRACK CRM appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

New info emerges on Caesars’ illegal sports bets in New Jersey

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 05:50 AM PST

Last September, Caesars Entertainment got caught up in the sports gambling craze in New Jersey and became a little too excited. It allowed a few bets on college football games, an activity that is still prohibited in the state. Once the wagers were made known, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) swooped in to slap the company on the wrist (although it more than likely just felt like a feather) and new information has now surfaced related to the illegal wagers.

New info emerges on Caesars' illegal sports bets in New JerseyAccording to NJGamblingSites.com, information received through a public records request helps to build a timeline of events surrounding the bets. On November 20, the Deputy Attorney General of New Jersey, Jennifer K. Russo-Belles, sent a letter to Caesars, addressed to the company's VP and Chief Counsel N. Lynne Hughes, that points to "numerous instances of noncompliance."

Russo-Belles details how Caesars allowed gambling on a game between universities Rutgers and Kansas, stating, "While CIE's [Caesars Interactive Entertainment] Las Vegas Trading Team noticed the game had been incorrectly loaded and removed it from availability within an hour of its posting; CIE's New Jersey Trading Team did not. It was not until the division notified CIE's New Jersey Trading Team on Sept. 14, 2018, four days later, that CIE voided the bet."

However, the trading team for CIE Las Vegas "had failed to send out notifications when it discovered the illegal listing because it was unaware of New Jersey's compliance standards." That led to the manager of CIE's hub operations, Jeff Davis, to send an internal memo to CIE staff in which he emphasized that it was "illegal to offer New Jersey collegiate games for sports betting."

That should have been the end of the conversation, but it isn't. Eight days later, CIE once again allowed gambling on a football game between Monmouth and Princeton on its SG OpenBet Platform. This was a double whammy for Caesars, as both colleges are in New Jersey and the competition also took place inside the state. Fortunately for Caesars, no wagers were collected during the 90 minutes that gambling was open.

When the NJDGE realized that Caesars had conducted a few transgressions, allowing gamblers to place wagers on college games, it wanted to make sure the company understood the severity of breaking the laws. It issued a fine to the casino giant, which reported net income in 2017 of $4.85 billion, that the company more than likely recuperated in less than two minutes. Caesars was ordered to hand over a paltry $2,000 to the NJDGE.

The post New info emerges on Caesars’ illegal sports bets in New Jersey appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

CoinPoint continues its global expansion by signing new deals in the Asian iGaming market in 2019

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 05:49 AM PST

It's a beginning of a very successful year for CoinPoint Group INC. CoinPoint is a leading multinational premium digital marketing agency, with outstanding place on the global blockchain and crypto map since 2013.

CoinPoint continues its global expansion by signing new deals in the Asian iGaming market in 2019CoinPoint a well-known partner within the iGaming business, as it has helped dozen of igaming companies achieve amazing results and exponential growth in their business, while first integrating blockchain into their model and helping operators position themselves better in the market.

Asia, being the major and one of the biggest markets in terms of iGaming for all sectors including live dealers, sports betting and table games, is in a dire demand for new technologies and solutions and also professional and experienced partner to advice on the right marketing approach in such a dynamic and demanding industry.

Denitza Alexieva, Head of Marketing of CoinPoint Group INC. underlines:

Asia is a complex market and our clients recognized they needed a professional agency with global experience and a strong network of local partners. CoinPoint has been in this market since 2013 and it helped numerous platforms, providers and operators implement crypto solutions throughout the years. We see Asia as the leading market to implement blockchain technology into iGaming businesses. We at CoinPoint keep bestowing our blockchain and crypto knowledge to them, so that they can keep up the pace with the latest blockchain trends.

Nowadays and further down the road into 2019, CoinPoint is, and will be, working more with Asian clients and partners to present, implement and monetise blockchain solutions, together with dApps technologies, advanced acquisition channels, hosting and CDN prioritization, new age of gaming solutions, P2P sports betting and many more.

If you are interested in discussing our capabilities and outreach in Asia, you can contact us on sales@coinpoint.net and follow us on https://medium.com/@coinpointagency.

The post CoinPoint continues its global expansion by signing new deals in the Asian iGaming market in 2019 appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

Macau to be saved by the whales in 2H 2019

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 05:15 AM PST

The whales may be swimming away from Macau casinos during the first half of 2019, but they will return during the latter half of the year. This is according to Instinet, the stockbroking division of Japan-based Nomura.

Macau to be saved by the whales in 2H 2019Instinet analysts Harry Curtis, Daniel Adam and Brian Dobson predict that Macau's gross gaming revenue (GGR) is going to take a hit in the current half, but things will even out later in the year. The analysts write, "Consensus expectations are for (7.5 percent) VIP compression in the first half of 2019 and up low single digits in the second half, so there would be upside to estimates (and probably sentiment) if it stays flat or declines only low single digits while mass expands mid- to high-single digits."

They further state, "Based on November and month-to-date December results, there should be upside to our kitchen sink 2019 (10 percent) VIP estimate."

The analysts published their forecast this past Monday, providing guidance on the mass- and VIP-gaming segments of Macau's casino industry. They added that year-on-year growth for GGR for the VIP segment has remained flat, or dipped into the red, during each of the past six months.

Three leading junket operators in the city – Suncity Group, Guangdong Group and Tak Chun Group – have been able to maintain capital liquidity; however, demand has been "more conservative due to uncertainty given the backdrop of weaker property and stock markets." Casino games that are now being offered online from the Philippines are also working against Macau casinos' GGR.

The analysts further point out that cuts in Wynn Resorts' profits have hurt the local industry. They state, "Investor concerns intensified in November, when Wynn Resorts Ltd presented its initial pessimistic thoughts on 2019, implying that the premium segment could be down 10 percent to 15 percent … Since then, November GGR rose 8.5 percent (helped by a high hold) and December came in better than expected at plus 16.6 percent. VIP in the fourth quarter will probably be flat, while mass revenues may lift over 15 percent."

There is a bit of good news to come out of the investor note, however. Instinet says that exposure to stocks of the casino companies in Macau offer a better combination of risk and reward among the gaming, cruise line and lodging companies. They explain, "The reason for such GGR growth in the face of China deceleration is that Macau is undersupplied like Las Vegas was during the recessions of 1991 and 2001. For 2019, we expect much better stock price performance and multiple expansion for Macau operators with ramping properties."

The post Macau to be saved by the whales in 2H 2019 appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

Kambi launches on-property Sportsbook at Parx Casino in Pennsylvania

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 05:03 AM PST

Following a thorough two-day testing phase, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has given Kambi and Parx Casino the green light to officially open the sportsbook today, 10 January – a decision which means Kambi now powers three of the state's four live sportsbooks.

Kambi launches on-property Sportsbook at Parx Casino in PennsylvaniaThe Parx Casino sportsbook opening comes ahead of a busy weekend of sporting action, which climaxes on Sunday evening with local NFL side and reigning Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles travelling to current Super Bowl favourites New Orleans Saints.

As well as being able to watch the game at the sportsbook, patrons can place their bets via seven teller windows or at any of the 45 Kambi-powered betting kiosks located within the sportsbook space, throughout the casino floor and in the Parx Poker Room.

Further, Parx has leveraged Kambi's innovative Bring Your Own Device technology to launch Betslip Builder – a mobile app which enables players to fill out their bet slip when on the move and create a QR code to be scanned prior to reaching a cashier. Betslip Builder will streamline the bet placement process during busy periods and fast moving games.

With the Parx Casino sportsbook up and running, attention turns to launching additional Kambi-powered sportsbooks at Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment's South Philadelphia Turf Club and Valley Forge Turf Club, with the former expected to be ready for regulatory testing next week.

In addition, a Parx-branded online sportsbook will be launched as and when the PGCB elects to fire the starting gun on mobile wagering in the state.

Max Meltzer, Kambi Chief Commercial Officer, said: "We're very excited to have launched our on-property sportsbook at Parx Casino, a brand which shares our commitment to providing unique and exciting wagering experiences to players.

"Today's unveiling marks Kambi's fourth bricks and mortar sportsbook launch in less than three months and cements our position as the leading online and on-property sportsbook supplier in the burgeoning US market."
Matthew Cullen, Senior VP of Interactive Gaming and Sports at Parx Casino, said: "Parx Casino is thrilled to launch legalised sports betting on property this week, and to do so with such a high-quality product from Kambi is particularly exciting.

"Parx is expanding its portfolio of offerings to give patrons the absolute best of all types of legalised gaming, and sports wagering is just the latest stage in enhancing our customer offering."

For enquiries, please contact:
Gerard Starkey
Kambi Head of Content
+44 (0) 7720 496 788
Gerard.Starkey@kambi.com

About Kambi
Kambi is a provider of premium sports betting services to licensed B2C gaming operators. Kambi Group plc is listed on First North at Nasdaq Stockholm. Our services encompass a broad offering from front-end user interface through to odds compiling, customer intelligence and risk management, built on an in-house developed software platform. Kambi's 23 customers include DraftKings, Rush Street Interactive, ATG, Kindred Group, 888, LeoVegas, Mr Green and Napoleon Games. Kambi employs more than 600 staff across offices in Malta (headquarters), Bucharest, London, Manila, Stockholm and Sydney.

Kambi utilises a best of breed security approach, with guiding principles from ISO 27001. Kambi is eCOGRA certified. Kambi Group plc is listed on First North at Nasdaq Stockholm under the symbol “KAMBI”. The Company’s Certified Advisor is Redeye AB.

About Parx Casino
Parx Casino® is owned and operated by Greenwood Racing, Inc. and is the #1 revenue generating casino property in Pennsylvania. Parx Casino® is conveniently located 20 minutes
north of center city Philadelphia, I-95 exit 37 or PA Turnpike exit 351 (westbound), exit 352 (eastbound) on Street Road in Bensalem Bucks County. Parx features over 200,000 square feet of gaming; 3,270 slot machines and 148 live table games; 40 poker tables; live racing & simulcast action; Parx Grill, an upscale signature restaurant; Foodies quick service dining; Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab House and Sports Bar; Jax sports bar; Circle Bar; Bambu Noodle House; The Lucky Cheese ~ gourmet grilled cheese eatery; XLounge, luxury casino lounge and complimentary parking for over 5,000 cars. In January 2018, Parx debuted a $50M expansion that included the 1,500 seat live entertainment venue, Xcite Center; Liberty Bell Gastropub, farm-to-fork inspired menu; Oliveto, New York City style pizza and Italian Classics; Parx Poker, new custom built private poker room. For more information on Parx Casino®, visit www.parxcasino.com.

The post Kambi launches on-property Sportsbook at Parx Casino in Pennsylvania appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.

Harris out, ex-city attorney tapped to head Nevada Gaming Control Board

Posted: 10 Jan 2019 04:56 AM PST

There's a new Governor in Nevada, and he's making changes. The Nevada Independent reports that freshly sworn in Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak will be appointing Sandra Douglass Morgan as the new chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) when current chairwoman, Republican Becky Harris, finishes her term on January 27.

Harris out, ex-city attorney tapped to head Nevada Gaming Control BoardMorgan was previously the city attorney for North Las Vegas, and was the first African-American city attorney in the state of Nevada. She left that role to work as director of external affairs for AT&T.

In a statement, Governor Sisolak showed confidence in Morgan's ability to carry out the role for the four year term. He said, "Sandra's extensive experience and record of leadership shows that she is not only qualified to chair the Nevada Gaming Control Board, but that she will excel at it as well."

Becky Harris, the first woman to serve as chairperson for the NGCB, only held that role for one year, but an eventful one. Days into her tenure, the Steve Wynn sexual harassment allegations came to light. In response, Harris mandated that license holders report annually to the NGCB on the topic of harassment. Harris only served as chairwoman for 1 year as she was appointed to replace former chairman A.G. Burnett, who resigned the role.

Social media reaction to the appointment was swift, with many Facebook commenters criticizing the new Governor for not re-appointing Harris to another term, feeling she did very well considering the Wynn controversy. It's not exactly a surprise though, as it should be expected that a Democrat Governor would want a chairperson from his own party.

Sisolak recognized Harris' contributions, saying, "I want to thank Becky Harris for her service during her time as chair, and to recognize the incredible milestone her tenure marked as the first woman chair of the board as well as her commitment to combating sexual harassment and discrimination in Nevada's gaming industry."

There will be one more appointment to come, as board member Shawn Reid has said he does not wish to be re-appointed when his term expires later this month.

The post Harris out, ex-city attorney tapped to head Nevada Gaming Control Board appeared first on CalvinAyre.com.