Gamblepalooza – What A Weekend!

Gamblepalooza is done.  Mark & Dr. Mike are returning to San Diego, others returning to Cincinnati, Chicago, and New Jersey. Cousin Vito & Mikey9’s are back in CT to get this week’s report on it.  And Eric Rosenthal and Ed O’Connor are probably preparing to share their expertise for one of many interviews or articles up next.

I am so happy to have met some great people.  Not only great in terms of gambling knowledge and experience, but really friendly people.

Highlights:

Lots of craps was played.

The Centrale meet-up in the Fox Tower was a wonderful time to drink and chat.

I finally met two couples from Connecticut who follow NETimeGambling.

The Keno Breakfast was a lot of fun at the Veranda Cafe. The only win I had all weekend!

The Group Slot Pull – those are $100 Wheel of Fortune Slots.

The Group Slot Pull  – even though we didn’t win, it sure was fun and brought the 40+ of us together in the High Limit Slot room – to the dismay of the Foxwoods staff.

Meeting with the original ZorkFest Gang- Jay & his wife, Han, Michelle (and others I’m sure I forgot)

Special Thanks

Cousin Vito & Eric Rosenthal – for getting the first get-together started  and planned including the great room rates for a weekend. Great job gentlemen.

Amanda & Ianna – we all know who the foundations are behind the above, previously mentioned characters.

Foxwoods & Staff – a great group of people who gave this group the service and amenities one would expect from a first class resort.

I hope it happens again next year.  Meanwhile, next in our sites is  ZorkFest 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada – Memorial Day.

Trio Report – St. Paddy’s at Borgata

You might have noticed this past week’s NETimeGaming posts were fewer than usual, especially the weekend. There was a good reason – we were in Atlantic City! Here is our Trip Report.

Fly Borgata

Fly Borgata has changed the way we enjoy Atlantic City.  Instead of a 6 hour drive from CT, it’s a 35-45 minute flight.  We love flying in a small junket from different places in New England on Fly Borgata. We have flown from Bedford, MA., Providence, RI., and Hartford, CT. – all great times. It usually consists of flying Fridays, and returning Sundays, with two night free and $50 free slot play for qualifying players. If you are a qualified MLife member at Borgata, Check it out at Fly Borgata.

Hotels

The Borgata complex.

Our NETG trio stayed in both the original hotel and the WaterClub hotel. Both are excellent, with WaterClub a little further off the beaten path – quieter, own pool and spa. Walking down the short hallway to the casino, with high end retail shops, feels like an another MGM property – Aria. Great amenities, great stay.

Casino & Gaming

We had varied success. Miguel did not have his usual “Bu-fah-looo” success. We noticed lots of new slots, including Fort Knox Cleopatra, Bonus Bonanza, and new slots from Everi, IT, IGT. Borgata still offers plenty of full pay JOB video poker, even at the quarter denomination. Binbin was the big winner with two big VP hits with an Aces quad w/ kicker and quad 3’s w/ kicker at $1 denom- sweet!

St Paddy’s Day

The real reason for our venture south was to celebrate Miguel’s favorite holiday – St. Patrick’s Day. Amphora Lounge had scrumptious Irish options, as well as there usual fine culinary fare. Amphora continues to be one if the top VIP lounges in AC.

One of our highlights was the Gypsy Bar Bash upstairs, with great bands, outstanding eats, and of course, plenty of Guinness stout. Numerous entertainers walked around the those of us in attendance. It was a party atmosphere with lots of space. Add to that theregalia and music from the Red Hot Chili Pipers, a professional bagpipe corps, and you have one of the most festive Irish Holidays ever. If you visit next year, I highly recommend it.

Dining

The Bread and Butter is one of the best casual dining in AC. Breakfast sandwiches are delicious a less expensive choice than the buffet. Bert recommends the chicken salad sandwich for lunch, includes lots of chicken on their outstanding walnut raisin bread. And while the brunch at the buffet is expensive, it’s very good. Two omelet stations, and intriguing foods such as candied bacon and strawberry eclairs. Miguel recommends Chop & Toss salads downstairs under the poker room at The Marketplace. Huge, fresh salads like their Thai Chicken salad are faves, as well as the option to make your own with whatever protein combo you’d prefer. And not one, but two great ice cream/gelato options – Ben and Jerry’s, and housemade delectables from the Borgata’s award-winning Executive Pastry Chef (and former Executive Pastry Chef for the White House), Thaddeus DuBois, including gelato, sorbet and ice cream.

Conclusion

Fly Borgata is great.  There is a reason why Borgata is always crowded and full of excitement and great gambling – it’s the best in AC.

We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Binbin

Wynn, MGM, Bridgeport & MMCT – Questions Abound

Over the last few days, news reports have made my mind spin.  While so many headlines have come from different angles, they all seem related to NETimeGambling interests.  Our coverage of New England Casinos news this week has noticeably been missing, but not on purpose. You see, we could report all the news that you have read about already, but it’s too early for comprehensive coverage. The past week’s headlines could actually turn the entire southern New England gambling landscape upside down. Covering this takes careful perspective and consideration.

However, it hasn’t stopped me from thinking about all of it – past, present, and future. Random thoughts running rampant.  Now, I need to share before my head bursts.

Billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn steps down as chairman and CEO of Wynn resorts, amidst allegations of sexual misconduct.

Steve Wynn with his rendition of Wynn Boston Harbor

It’s sad to think that these allegations go back so many years. The “good old boys” network of covering for each other in entertainment and political fields is now being uncovered in the casino industry.

  • Will it stop the casino in Boston Harbor from still built and becoming the jewel of New England’s casino landscape?  Emphatically “No!”
  • Will the Massachusetts Gaming Commission take the charge and investigate the lies Steve-o made to Cosby and the MGC?  If they have any integrity they will – something that was questionable in the way the license was handled in the first place.
  • By the way, the state Gaming Commission said the omission of mentioning the $7.5 million settlement paid to a woman by Wynn in 2005 in the gaming license application is “critical” to the commission’s review and decision whether or not to approve. How should Mohegan Sun feel about such an unfair process of choosing Wynn over their Revere casino application.

Future Of Proposed East Windsor Casino In Doubt

Proposed MMCT joint venture casino between CT’s Mohegan & Pequot tribes

The fed’s delay, influenced by MGM adding itself to the MMCT lawsuit defense, has seemingly turned the tables on the Pequot and Mohegan joint casino in East Windsor. The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs had 45 days to approve or deny the changes to Connecticut’s gaming compact with the tribes. But, recently, the Trump administration advanced an interesting argument that may even cause the extinction of the East Windsor Casino project even as demolition is scheduled for the casino site. In a motion filed on Monday, government attorneys called for the removal of the Pequots from the case. They contend the tribe’s new casino deal is not subject to “mandatory deadlines — or any deadlines at all” at the federal level, all of which proves true and stops the tribe of Foxwoods fame to be deleted from the MMCT suit.

  • My first response was MGM will do anything to protect its MGMSpringfield project.  It shows me that rumors of questionable success and an unsure feeling about MGM does exist. If you were sure the product you were peddling was so great, why try to kill off all competition?
  • How could Foxwoods not see this coming? Not realizing this snafu was serious enough to put the 3rd casino project in jeopardy could start tribal hostilities between the two tribes once again – dating back to 1637 when the Mohegan’s were originally part of the Pequot tribe, but gradually became independent and allied with English colonists in the Pequot War.

Revoke East Windsor license and set up competition in Bridgeport?

Supporters of a casino in Bridgeport rolled out a bill this week, to revoke the East Windsor license granted last year and replace it with a competition for proposals for a single casino costing at least $500 million. The bill calls for bids by Jan. 1, which would have to include a deal with a city or town, complete with a referendum, anyplace in Connecticut.

Distance from Bridgeport to Resorts World, less than 60 miles away.

  • Why Bridgeport?  Well, before the tribal pacts were made Mohegan and Pequot Tribes, Wynn and Trump saw Bridgeport as a perfect site with proximity to the Big Apple. But, then Governor Weicker made the agreement with the tribes for sole gambling rights. Trump, Wynn, and Bridgeport probably still haven’t forgiven the state of CT.
  • Why Bridgeport?  Because MGM, who has found a new city for financial promises, can’t build a casino anywhere in CT that is within a 90 mile radius of Springfield, according to their licensing agreement.
  • Why Bridgeport? It will open up a bidding war for the first commercial casino in the Nutmeg State, with developers required to meet specific requirements, including: A minimum of 2,000 people to be directly employed at the facility, $500 million minimum total investment for Commercial Casino Gaming Facility, $50 million nonrefundable license fee due before construction, 25% of the annual gross gaming revenue on both Slots and Tables, and additional 10 percent of the annual gross gaming revenue from the operation of video slot machine games to fund Educational Cost Sharing grants for distribution to municipalities.
  • Guess what – NETG suggested rebidding 2 years ago.  Only it was to add more money to the state coffers like Massachusetts did – all those application fees add up!  Then, turn around and do what you want anyway. Ask Rush Gaming and CET Gaming how The MGC choices stack up in their eyes.

MGM is quite the instigator!

Casino.org says, “Although Connecticut’s two tribal operators believe it’s part of a very elaborate bluff, an artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino, which the gaming operator says will bring 2,000 permanent jobs and a tax revenue stream of $316 million per year, has been created and presented to the state’s power brokers. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

It all began with CT’s reaction to MGM Springfield. MGM was not happy that Connecticut would acquiesce to their competition. Lobbyists infiltrated the MMCT process in choosing a site, and continued to lobby against it when East Windsor was chosen. Then another tactic – trying to get the Schaghticokes tribe federal and state recognition. That didn’t happen, so it was on to  Bridgeport.  I guess MGM is seen as the Golden Ticket to needy groups and cities.

MGM sure has a lot of money to stop CT’s “slot-box.”

Yep, that’s what they called it, even though it will be close in size, casino area, and gambling offered – with a full casino, unlike Plainridge Park in Plainville Massachusetts. MGM could stand for “Money Gone Mad” if referring to expenditures to battle the MMCT venture. Check this out:

  • MGM spent more than $3.8 million in TV and radio ads and lobbying state agencies and lawmakers, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Attorney General George Jepsen. The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegans’ joint venture spent less than $1.2 million.
  • MGM hired a Washington lobbyist to focus on the Department of the Interior and the White House, paying Ballard Partners $270,000.
  • Lobbying totals: Mashantucket Pequot Tribe/Foxwoods $77,850; MGM Resorts International $3.8 million; MMCT Venture, (East Windsor tribal casino) $1.2 million; Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority $178,702; Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Kent $158,194
  • MGM Resorts International’s growing investment in Connecticut lobbying; 2015 — $172,937; 2016 — $1,224,440; 2017 — $3.8 million  *Source: Office of State Ethics

What will Southern New England’s gaming look like by 2020?

Your guess is as good as mine. Questions abound:

  • Could we see one or two commercial casinos rise up in Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford?
  • How many will be operated by MGM?
  • Will Caesars Entertainment make an appearance in CT?
  • Will CT’s tribes extend to Bridgeport? East Windsor?

Too many questions.  Now my head really hurts.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see…………we all will.

Binbin

 

 

CT Casinos Should Take Note of Atlantic City’s Future

The Atlantic City shore.

I like Atlantic City.  I stopped going because of the drive (6 hours from my CT home) and because it was getting so sad to see the downward trend from the 2007 recession. It started in 2006 when the Sands was closed & raised. I liked the Sands, a smokey old casino with that long entrance from the Boardwalk.  Alas, it was only a precursor of the downward spiral taking place in the next 10 years.

Now, in 2018, I’m am encouraged. While AC’s emergence will take time, the future looks promising and may not bode well for Connecticut’s casinos.

Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun continue to bring loyal fans from New York & New Jersey to their properties. The only competition at the same level is Borgata.  But excitement & hope are on the horizon for the Jersey Shore.

A Look Back

Let’s visit the past five year casino timeline in Atlantic City, courtesy of ACPrimeTime.

  • February 7, 2012: Claridge casino closed (bought by CET, hotel only)
  • April 2, 2012: Revel opens
  • Feb 24, 2014: TJM Properties buys Claridge from Caesars, creates non-gaming hotel
  • Jan 13, 2014: Atlantic Club closes (still closed, vacant)
  • Aug 31, 2014: Showboat closes (reopened as low quality hotel only)
  • September 2, 2014: Revel closes
  • September 16, 2014: Trump Plaza closes (still empty)

News in the past year or so has been very encouraging. In the Marina, MGM purchased the rest of Boyd Gaming’s half of Borgata. The sole owner of the best and most profitable casino in AC now provides for a distinctive connection to Nevada, as well as MGM’s blooming East Coast portfolio with National Harbor in D.C., and MGM Springfield to be the second completed Massachusetts casino.

Marina news doesn’t stop there.  Harrah’s AC has continued to expand for the convention market, and Landry’s purchase of the Trump Marina property has made the now Golden Nugget an improved player.

A Busy Boardwalk, not so long ago.

A Busy Boardwalk, not so long ago.

But the Boardwalk?  How is it doing?

NETG predicts huge strides will be made on the Boardwalk. While Atlantic Club, Trump Plaza and Showboat casinos remain closed and empty (Showboat reopened as low quality hotel only last year), recent news and progress has produced an enthusiasm Atlantic City hasn’t felt in years.

The Tropicana Casino & Resort Atlantic City is a luxury hotel, casino, and spa resort that has raised the bar with night clubs and the Quarter – the largest non gaming expansion in the history of Atlantic City, featuring world-class dining options, an array of red-hot entertainment and nightlife venues, chic retail establishments, and a luxuriant spa facility.

CET (Caesars Entertainment) has renovated Bally’s casino, and has turned Wild West into a millennial hangout successfully with the philosophy of “five-dollar table games and “low-priced, fun” drinks. Still, CET has a way to go to attempt competing for revenue with Borgata. But with my new Diamond Card status for CET casinos (Thank You Michael Trager & TravelZork!) I was able to enjoy some of the higher level of Caesar’s amenities, and I have to say it was great.

Resorts, now run by Mohegan Sun Gaming, has almost renovated all of its run-down hotel rooms, as well as the casino area with new additional food options. Just a reminder – if you have a Mohegan Sun Momentum Card, you are able to use Momentum points for dining, etc at Resorts AC.

As they say in those infomercials, “Wait, there’s More!”

The biggest news of 2017 was Hard Rock’s purchase of the Taj Mahal. From renovation to completion, it is expected that the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will create over 3,000 jobs for Atlantic City and provide an ongoing and significant impact to the local and regional economies as well as the revitalization of Atlantic City. It is planning to open this summer (2018).

The biggest news of 2018 already has been the purchase of Revel. The property will be re-branded as the Ocean Resort Casino by its new owners. Together, Hard Rock & Revel could give Borgata  literally a run for their money.

Connecticut Casinos Need to Push Forward

Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun Hotel

Concerning AC’s rise in relevance, no other casino properties in New England have more to lose the the Pequots at Foxwoods and the Mohegans. No one depends on New York And New Jersey’s mid-to-high rollers as much as Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.  Continued diversification is required by both.  Mohegan Sun’s projects at this time include the Mohegan Sun Exposition Center, bringing Mohegan Sun’s offerings to over 275,000 square feet of meeting space – the largest expo space along the New York-Boston I-95 corridor and more expansion highlighted in our post “Mohegan Sun Continues History of Expansion With New CEO.”

Grand Pequot Tower Casino

Foxwoods addition of the only covered Tanger Outlets in the country has been very successful. It has also gone a different path to attract guests – thrill rides.  With two thrill rides in place, a zip line and a race track are in order for 2018.

While New England’s large casino/resorts begin to battle it out – Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, MGM Springfield, Wynn Boston Harbor, and yes, even Twin River Casino/Resort with its new hotel – Atlantic city might just have a presence in their rear-view mirror.

Binbin

Special Thanks to Michael Trager and Darryl D. McEwen at TravelZork & Craig & Kyle at Due For A Win, the Atlantic City Podcast, for keeping me update on all Atlantic City News.

 

New England Casinos – 5 Top Stories of 2017

2017 was the year that we finally started to see the future of casino gaming in the northeast. Pennsylvania is adding more casinos. New York will complete it’s 24th casino with Resorts World Catskills in 2018. Atlantic City is showing signs of recovery with the addition of Hard Rock Casino in the former Trump Taj – and just maybe Revel will be bought, renovated and opened. And, New Jersey continues to lead the fight in the world of online gaming legislature and country-wide sports betting.

In New England, things have certainly ramped up. Only one word comes to my mind when someone mentions casinos in New England – Expansion. Expansion in Massachusetts with two new casinos by 2019, expansion in Rhode Island with a new hotel and casino in Tiverton, new expansion in Connecticut, however, at this time we still don’t know exactly how much.

So, here’s a look back at 2017 in New England – casino style.

1. MGM SPRINGFIELD

The City of Springfield, MA is preparing for a renaissance in jobs, revenue and entertainment with the opening of MGM Springfield. It’s going to be a different brick-and-mortar casino than previous MGM projects. It could be the single most important project in Springfield history, raising the Rose City up from the ashes.

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance

MGM Springfield Casino Entrance, Main Street to the left,

 

MGM Springfield – What City Improvements Can We Really Expect?

MGM Springfield – An “Urban” Casino

MGM Springfield Releases New Details with Local Flavor

MGMSpringfield Resort Success is Crucial For Springfield

 

2. MOHEGAN SUN CONTINUES TO DIVERSIFY AND EXPAND

 

Kathleen McWilliams, a reporter for the Hartford Courant, reported the Mohegan Tribe’s plan for the former Norwich Hospital site in Preston CT, (just across the river from the casino), would be made into a dozen amenities, including an indoor water park, a senior living center and a sports complex. This huge plan also includes include outdoor and indoor entertainment attractions, a large performing venue, time share units, retail, an RV park and marina. The plan includes restaurant space, a convenience store and gas station. A large project such as this is completely opposite from the trend in casino projects in size and dynamics. Not essentially connected to the casino part of the Tribe’s operations, it will be an overwhelming list for the town of Preston, CT.  In addition, on the casino campus, Mohegan Sun is again expending, this time in conference space.

Mohegan Expo Center, with Earth Hotel upper left.

 

Mohegan Sun News – Plans for Norwich Hospital Site and Mohegan Expo Center

3. FOXWOODS 25th ANNIVERSARY

Foxwoods celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary.  For 25 years, starting with a small bingo hall and the help of then Governor Weicker, Foxwoods has continued to be a country-wide phenomena. It is the largest casino property by square feet, it is the second largest casino area, and it includes the only covered, indoor Tanger outlet in the country. Gaming renovations have included two stadium gaming areas, offering $1 blackjack (3/2), and the continuation of one of the best poker rooms in the country. A more comprehensive move towards non-gaming amenities have included the addition of thrill rides, a zip line and race track for 2018, new restaurants, and additional night-club options. The celebration has gone on most of the year, with many giveaways and events. Here is coverage of New England’s first casino in 2017.

Foxwoods 25th Anniversary – Part 1- The Path To The Top

Foxwoods 25th Anniversary – Part 2 – The Celebration

4. MAINE’S THIRD CASINO PROPOSAL FAILS

Once again, Maine had supporters for a third casino in York County.  Once again, it was defeated. Maybe it was the fact that it seemed like a legislative scam, or that the backers could not be trusted. It started in February and continued along a sleazy path until it’s defeat in November.

Maine’s Third Casino – The Ultimate Scam Allowed by No Legislative Policy

Today’s the Day – The Vote for a Third Maine Casino

5. MGM / CT – THE BATTLE GOES ON

Shall we really re-kindle all of the MGM vs. MMCT news?  Well, it did monopolize much of the gaming news in both Massachusetts and Connecticut.  I guess I have to compare it to our country’s political climate – just nasty. Then there is the possibility (little to none) of a Bridgeport Casino by MGM?  or  MMCT?  or anyone else – as long as the CT agreement with the Pequots & Mohegans  is nullified. Whoo-wee, here are the top posts concerning the I-91 Battle of the Border.

The Old Showcase Cinemas, East Hartford, CT

The Old Showcase Cinemas, East Hartford, CT

East Windsor is Chosen By MMCT for CT Casino

MGM, Massachusetts, Provide Answers to Connecticut’s Casino Mess

MGM Has Mastered the Art of the Stunt – David Collins

Casino.org says, “Although Connecticut’s two tribal operators believe it’s part of a very elaborate bluff, an artist’s rendering of the proposed MGM Bridgeport casino, which the gaming operator says will bring 2,000 permanent jobs and a tax revenue stream of $316 million per year, has been created and presented to the state’s power brokers. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

MGM Bridgeport Casino – All The Angles

Other news included:

New Hampshire once again considered a casino, and looked into internet gaming, but nothing has yet to come of it.

Twin River Management Group finally made its plans for Rhode Island.  After Tiverton’s approval of a new TRMG Casino/Hotel in it’s town, and after they had already purchased Newport Grand, TRMG will move it’s Newport operastion to Tiverton.  They will also build a hotel at it’s flagship property in Lincoln, RI.

New England Casinos will be Increasing the number of casino Hotel Rooms By Over 30% by 2019.

Plainridge Park Casino & Raceway, a slots-only casino, continued to make progress in attracting guests and increasing revenue.

MGM Springfield is ahead of schedule for its 2018 opening. 2017 showed major progress in Springfield’s best hope for economic success.

Wynn Boston Harbor broke ground and in progressing towards a 2019 opening with great anticipation throughout the region.

Oxford Casino in Oxford Maine, finished their hotel on the premises and added another dining option – the Ox Pub.

WOW, WHAT A YEAR!

Living in such a small part of the country with such a vibrant casino industry that is gettiing on it’s feet again after the 2007 recession certainly makes my job easy.  Next year? – more expansion, more excitement, and more bickering from the Connecticut shoreline to downeast Maine.  Happy New Year everybody.

Foxwoods Pub Crawl Tonight

“The 12 Days of Christmas” is a well-known Christmas Song that has had its parodies and performances for over 250 years.  A cumulative song, it tells of the additional next day of Christmas celebration.

Well, be careful if you approach Foxwood’s 12 Bars of Christmas Pub Crawl the same way. You might plan to stay over, or have that Uber or Lyft phone number available.

It’s exactly what it boasts to be, property wide.  The participating bars are below. Ticket prices are $20.  The date and time? – Dec 15, 6:00PM

PLEASE NOTE – For your safety, there are some items that guests are prohibited from bringing inside of the Fox and Grand Theaters. Please Check the website for more information.

Meet the host Gavin from KISS 95.7 FM at the Celebration Zone at 6pm to kick off the crawl Annual Holiday Pub Crawl. Try special holiday themed cocktails across 12 bars and restaurants on property and then finish your evening at Centrale in Fox Tower with a DJ, Dancing and Prizes, including a $100 Sugar Factory Gift Card and tickets to great shows like Criss Angel, Chris Young, The Record Company, Walk Off The Earth, Foreigner, and Steve Winwood.

Tanger Outlet, Foxwoods

Put on your tackiest, ugliest sweater and enter to win a $100 Tanger Outlets Gift Card, so you can buy yourself a new sweater!
What’s more, $10 of the admission ticket is donated to the United Way to help give local families a little extra under the tree.

So put on your Santa Hat and enjoy the crawl food and drink specials at The Celebration Zone on the Great Cedar Concourse and these locations:

Halo Bar

Atrium Bar

Cedars Steakhouse & Oyster Bar

Centrale in Fox Tower

Sugar Factory

David Burke Prime

Guy Fieri Kitchen & Bar

High Rollers Luxury Lanes

Red Lantern

Scorpion Bar

Shrine

BTW – Don’t take the word “crawl” literally!

Binbin

ZorkFest AC Was A Blast!

ZorkFest in Atlantic City.

The Atlantic City shore.

It was a wonderful weekend in New Jersey. So informative, with the friendliest group of people I’ve ever met.  Let me share the many great times we enjoyed.

First of all, I was so surprised to hear that so many people knew of NETimeGambling. I had no idea our little website wasn’t as small after all. (It brings a smile to me inside and out.)  The people I met were friendly, accepting and brilliant in the fields of gaming, Casino Rewards, and Travel Reward programs.  Everyone was so respectful, each with a little eccentricity and nerdy interest in these fields, and so many with expert knowledge.  I learned so much that my brain hurt (but in a good way).

Michael Trager and the TravelZork Team.

The man with a vision, Michael Trager

Eric, Coach Kitty, Angeline, Seth, David, Jeff……what a team.  This maiden voyage of ZorkFest was so well run and offered incredible classes, that many of the gambling enthusiasts didn’t even leave to play in the Bally’s AC casino! Michael Trager’s vision of the event paid off. His hospitality, generosity and expertise made it wonderful success. The quality of every session at ZorkFest was unbelievable. For those who weren’t able to attend, or chose not to, the good news is that ZorkFest 2018 is already being planned.

By the way, I won a Diamond Caesar’s Entertainment Players Card!  I was able to check out the Diamond lounge three times. It was a large area full of tables, free food and drinks, small fireplaces, great design with floor to wall windows with a beautiful view of the boardwalk, beach and Atlantic City ocean view.  The bar was almost as long as the “LongBar” at the D in downtown Las Vegas. Thank you TravelZork. Other perks included free valet parking, pass lines, and an immediate appreciation by the Bally’s staff.  Wow, it felt great.

Bally’ Atlantic City

Bally’s AC – it had been over five years since visiting Bally’s, never mind staying over.  The room in the Dennis Hotel was spacious clean, and met all our needs. I would stay there again – comped of course.

Bally’s Casino – the casino seemed completely different from the old boardwalk casino I would play very little in.  It was kinda dumpy, but now has a fresh look, with lots of new machines, a brighter tables area, and a more modern feel. My first attempt to gamble was Friday afternoon at Lobby Bar.  I didn’t stay long, since the pay tables were terrible.  I assumed that Video Poker was bad throughout the property.  Thanks to CoachKitty from the TravelZork Team for leading me to full-pay Jacks or Better.  There was also full-pay bonus poker on a Triple Play progressive (both at the quarter level).  Thanks to vpFree2 for the information on full-pay denominations and locations in the casino.

It All Came Down To The Peeps

I met so many players, podcasters, and professionals interested in certain aspects or areas of the gaming and travel industry that I felt blessed to be there.

Cousin Vito, our MC.

Cousin Vito – our MC fit the bill. The voice and owner of the best new gambling podcast for the recreational gambler, Cousin Vito Casino Podcast, did a great job starting us off.  Bravo!  And having quality time with his sidekick Cousin Mikey and Mrs. Cousin Vito (Amanda) made a true trifecta of fun.

Tony Snyder – from the 360Vegas podcast, was as entertaining as he is on the show.  Although he had a tough battle with a bull in Bally’s Wild Wild West, he still provided a great time.  Thanks for the “cee-gar” Tony.  I brought the rest of it home.  Is there such a thing as bronzing a cigar?

Tony Snyder, of 360Vegas podcast.

Craig was there from Atlantic City’s own podcast “Due For A Win.”  I’m sure he will have coverage of the event on his (and the other host Kyle’s) next podcast.  It was great meeting the guy behind the mic of a great podcast.

Jullian of the new VegasConfessions podcast was visiting the east cast from Vegas. Thanks Jullian for the upcoming documentary of ZorkFest I.  Your video will prove valuable to all of who attended this year when we view it in your suite in Vegas five years from now.

To Phil, Jay, Bryan, Amanda and Luke – great meeting you. I’m glad to have made some new friends.

Eric Rosenthal knows Caesars Total Rewards inside and out.

Eric Rosenthal – you are the most knowledgeable Rewards person I have ever known.  Your sessions were so interesting and thought provoking that it has changed my view of comps at gaming establishments forever.

Finally, Michael Trager – the most fascinating world traveler I ever met.  Your interest and effort in producing an outstanding event such as ZorkFest, to accompany the website TravelZork, Is greatly appreciated. You made a new and exciting event that will double and triple in the coming years.  Thank-you for the idea and the perseverance to make it a tremendous success.

Binbin415 from NETimeGambling.com

Curtain Call – an Explanation for Those Who Had No Clue What This Post Was About

If you read the entire post, and still don’t understand, then you must plan to attend next year. December possibly, and maybe in Las Vegas. ZorkFest features sessions on the combination of two worlds – travel Rewards (hotel, airlines, etc), the gaming industry, and the connections between both.

So, I will just say to all of you who didn’t attend this year

“see you at ZorkFest 2018”

Binbin

 

 

Mohegan Sun Continues History of Expansion With New CEO

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, Uncasville, CT

Mohegan Sun has been planning for the future. Expanding its portfolio to include non-gambling amenities has been in progress for years, knowing that competition will soon increase in New England. Where else but at its flagship property in Uncasville, CT to introduce the latest expansion.

Mohegan Sun is expanding its convention space by building an $80 million exposition and convention center. According to Kenneth Gosselin of the Hartford Courant, “the 240,000-square-foot venue will open in the summer of 2018 and will help the tribe compete for larger tech industry shows, golf shows, home shows, motor sports and hunting and fishing shows. The convention and expo center also will allow Mohegan to expand shows already hosted by the casino such as Terrificon, the comic convention.”  The expo and convention center also will include a ballroom, 18 meeting rooms, a boardroom with an outdoor terrace and kitchen.

The new convention center is going to be HUGE!

“This new conference center will help us solidify Mohegan Sun as not just the premier conventions destination, but the premier resort in the Northeast region,” Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown reported.

 

Expansion is nothing new to the Mohegan Tribe. Here is a history of its portfolio diversification:

Mohegan Sun Pocono, Pennsylvania

Mohegan Sun Pocono, Pennsylvania

  • On January 25, 2005, Mohegan Sun acquired its first gaming venture outside of Connecticut with its $280 million purchase of the Pocono Downs Racetrack Pennsylvania. Mohegan Sun renamed the property “Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs” and began a major expansion, operating the first slots casino in the state of Pennsylvania in November 2006.
  • Project Horizon included the addition of a third casino before the project was terminated due to the recession in 2008
  • In August 2012, the tribe announced an agreement to take over management of the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey

    Resorts in Atlantic City accepts Momentum Dollars for all amenities

    Resorts in Atlantic City accepts Momentum Dollars for all amenities

  • In 2014, the tribe entered into franchise agreements with Smashburger, Arooga’s Grille & Sports Bar, Jersey Mike’s Subs and purchased a wood pellet production plant in Peebles, Ohio, from the Pennington Seed Company. Also in 2014, the Mohegan Tribe, under the subsidiary Mohegan Holding Company, founded KÔTA, a premium provider of digital technology solutions for copying; scanning; sending and managing and producing print, document workflow and visual communications–all from the industry’s most reputable manufacturers and vendors.
  • The Earth Hotel was opened in November of 2016, adding over 300 rooms.
  • Finally, Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), headquartered in Uncasville, Connecticut announced late last week that the company plans to break ground on the Inspire Integrated Resort adjacent to the Incheon International Airport in South Korea before the end of the year. (2017)

    Casino Resort near Airport. Project is licensed in Korea.

New CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment Mario Kontomerkos said the company’s expansion from two properties to seven (including the joint casino venture with Foxwoods in East Windsor, CT) over the last half decade has been key to its emergence from a financial predicament following the Great Recession.

“Continued expansion of non-gaming facilities are definitely in our future,” Kontomerkos said.

Not to be forgotten us the agreement the Mohegan Tribe reached with the town of Preston for an ambitious plan to buy and redevelop the property on the Thames River for office, retail, entertainment, recreation and possibly housing. Construction would start within three years and be finished in five years. It is expected to set the offerings of the Mohegan Tribe apart from the rest of New England’s Casino/Resorts, as well as resurrect the town of Preston financially.

The Norwich hospital site in Preston, to be developed by Sun. In the far top, Mohegan Sun sits.

The future still looks bright for Mohegan Sun.

Bin

 

Maine’s Third Casino A Bad Bet

Maine’s third try at a casino in York County will not be the charm.

York County, Maine om the Mass & NH borders where the third Casino in Maine is proposed

York County, Maine om the Mass & NH borders where the third Casino in Maine is proposed

I must admit, covering another casino proposal in Maine is much like covering the NFL’s Buffalo Bills – so much promise for the season, but a championship is just never going to happen.

In this episode of “As The Maine Casino Turns,” we find a growing optimistic sentiment that Maine can enjoy the profits of a third casino and keep revenue in the state from going south to Massachusetts.

Rebecca Foster’s OpEd in CentralMaine.com, “Casino success that benefited Bangor can happen in York County,” praises the presence of Maine’s first casino saying, “By virtually any measure, the Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway has been a tremendous success…..What has worked for Maine and Mainers for more than 10 years can work once again — this time, in southern Maine.”

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

According to Casino.org, “A study conducted by Florida-based consulting firm Evans, Carroll & Associates claims the casino would generate 2,767 construction jobs and 2,165 permanent employment opportunities, $6.1 million in lodging revenue in the first year, and at least $45 million in tax revenue.  The economic analysis was funded by lobbying organization Progress for Maine, the main supporters of the casino.” On Nov. 7, voters across the state will have the chance to weigh in and vote yes on Question 1 for a third Maine Casino.

Ethics Trouble Again?

However, in June, the Maine Ethics Commission voted unanimously to investigate the $4.3 million ballot initiative in support of building a casino in York County. Once again, Shawn Scott emerged as the fundamental party of this casino push. Refusing to give Mr. Scott and his sister Lisa Scott, being investigated by the ethics committee, more coverage than they deserve, I’ll lead you to Casino.org’s article Controversial Maine Casino Backer Finally Surfaces, Hires ‘Firm Behind Brexit’ if you are interested in more information.  However back to “As the Maine Casino Turns.”

Shawn Scott, on the right, with attorney Courtesy Herald Press

The casino is actually being touted as an entertainment center, more than just a casino with slot machines and gaming options. This will feature a concert venue, space to hold community events, and more.  I guess it will mimic those other “non-casino, entertainment” venues in New England, like Wynn Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, Foxwoods, and Mohegan Sun.

Recent History Says “No”

Do we need to remind “Mainiacs” of the previous history in York County, documented by NETimeGambling?

  • From 2016 – “Maine residents have already shown resistance to a third casino in their state – even after a study a few years ago concluded another casino in York County might be feasible.  But, much like we have seen in New Hampshire, a third Vegas-style casino in Maine has been an on-again, off-again proposition – mostly off.” – Maine Casino Proposal – Again?
  • From January, 2016 – “…are they (Maine) so naive to think that it isn’t too late to compete against Wynn Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and New York States northern casinos? – Additional Maine Casino Gambling – Too Much, Too Little, Too Late
  • From 2015 – “Remember when Maine was thinking about more casinos two years ago with the immediate success of the Oxford Casino?” – Maine Casinos – Have They Lived Their Best Days Already?

The Bottom Line

Progress For Maine wants casino legislation

Maine deserves the benefits of another casino – more jobs, boosting neighboring economy, increased tourism, and increased state revenue. Trying to compete on the scale of Wynn Boston Harbor, only an hour away from York county, won’t do. Those wanting a resort/casino experience already drive down I-95 to Connecticut. This proposition by the “Progress For Maine” lobby group just seems shady, at best. Residents should back this proposed vote in November if the majority want it.  After the brief history of the previous years, and the slow progress of it’s two casinos, I’d say Maine is good with two casinos.

NETG Alternative Proposal

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino, Plainville, MA

Instead of a large casino to compete with Wynn, NETG believes a convenience casino, similar to Plainridge Park Casino in Massachusetts, would get the benefits from gambling York County in looking for.  Table game players, VIP’s, will still frequent Wynn, but the low-to-mid rollers who prefer to stay closer will visit that venue – with or without the entertainment center and convention space.

If you want the gambling revenue, build something that will work in the long run, and don’t compete with the big boys. Just sayin’…..

Bin

 

 

7 Most Viewed “Casino”Posts in August at NETG

It’s been a few weeks since we looked back at previous the week’s previous posts and highlights.  So, this morning, I will highlight the best of August, in case you missed anything on vacation. But first, some gambling humor:

In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the casino roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number.” —Gambling Joke By Stephen Wright (courtesy of ThrillofGambling.com )

SO, HERE ARE THE TOP “LUCKY 7” POSTS FROM AUGUST

7)Slot Machines – When to Play Max Bet

One of the most debated topics regarding slot machines, and video poker, concerns max bet, specifically when should I hit that bet max button. Max Bet or Maximum Bet is the highest amount of coins or credits you can play in a single spin.

 


 

6)Casino Comps & Your “Average Daily Theoretical

Ever wonder how the casino you visit decides on what comps to give you? My comps continued to be menial – “minion’s comps” I call them until I found out about Average Daily Theoretical – the average amount that a gambler losses per day for a certain gambling activity…..


 

5)Three Suggestions to Slot Machine Players

Have you wondered why it seems harder to win at your favorite casino?  Here are three tips.


 

4)Massachusetts More Worried, Not Mohegan Sun, About New England’s Casino Share

Still getting noticed after posted two years ago.  For related posts, check out: Massachusetts, MGM Springfield, is Still Worried About Their New England Casino Share


 

#3)Daily Bus Transportation to Our New England Casinos

It seems getting to our 7 casinos in four states is on the minds of our followers.  It will only get more involved with the addition of MGM Springfield & Wynn Boston Harbor!

 

#2)COMPARING ALL 7 NEW ENGLAND CASINOS – From our Menu Pages & Archives


 

AND THE MOST REVIEWED POST IN AUGUST:

5 Things You Need to Know About New Foxwoods Rewards Club

Have a great week. – Binbin

 

Paid Parking at Casinos IS Different From Other Entertainment

I can’t understand the acceptance of paid parking at casinos in Las Vegas.  Sure it’s going to happen sooner or later, but to accept the premise of it so easily, rattles me to the core.

This is not an indictment of MGM, even though it has a middle school tone to say “well, they started it!”  To accept it’s happening is inevitable, but to compare the casino industry to all other forms of entertainment is false. Let’s visit the rationale for free parking.

On the Strip, it’s paid parking at all MGM, Caesars properties, as well as Cosmopolitan. Atlantic City has had paid parking for years, but at $5 and free pass for next garage.

WELL, EVERYBODY ELSE DOES IT!

If you visit other entertainment venues – stadiums, concerts, amusement parks – parking is paid for, and many times at a high price.  So why not when you visit a casino?  This is what the mayors of major cities, owners of professional sports and now casino operators are citing for reason that a tradition of free parking at casinos should change.

According to the annual Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority poll, in 2016, the average bankroll for a 3 1/2 day trip is barely over $600, or $200 per day.  According to one Strip operator, staying at a mid-level casino/resort will cost about $20 per day of your stay.  That is 10% of the average bankroll spent on parking at the hotel you are staying at!  Most hotels have free parking when you stay in them, don’t they?

WHY IS CASINO PAID PARKING DIFFERENT?

Here’s why:

When you pay for the parking at these venues, those behind the entertainment give you exactly what you paid for.  But a casino’s entertainment (gambling) involves the “House Edge.”  Remember the house edge?  It refers to the fact that when you enter the casino, visitors who gamble are already losing money for their visit, the question is how much.

Simple House Edge

Simple House Edge

When you go to a concert in a major city, usually the paid parking is taken care of by a different entity other than the entertainment itself, not those supplying the entertainment. But check out this scenario:

How would you feel if after paying for parking, paying for food, paying for drink (yes that’s coming to a casino near you also, my friends) that you sat down only to realize that the ticket you paid for might not be for the entire show and encore!  At any given time with your $50 ticket, an usher would come over and ask for more money (added bankroll) or you were done watching this show. Would you buy that ticket knowing ahead of time you had a chance of only seeing 75-80% of the show (penny slots), 90-98% of the show (video poker, table games) or missing the last song & encore?

That’s the difference.  Free parking, as well as free drinks, was part of the balance for gamblers dealing with the house edge. Remember, the second you enter a casino, YOU ARE AT A DISADVANTAGE!

It’s not enough that the house advantage continues to bite at the ankles of the casino’s patrons, casinos are using more tactics to nickel and dime us to our bankroll’s quicker death – 6/5 Blackjack, three zero roulette, carnival games with high house advantage, diminishing video poker pay tables, lower slot payouts, less free odds in craps – WHEN WILL IT STOP?

JUST TAKE UBER OR LYFT

Taxi line at Las Vegas McCarran Airport to take you….wherever.

When I visit Las Vegas, I rent a car.  Many people do.  For over twenty years, I have navigated my way around the Strip, I-15, and around the surrounding communities like Summerlain, Henderson, and North Las Vegas.  For $200  I get a car for 5 days, I get control of my life and control of what casino to visit – and how long.  Go ahead, wait for your ride-share, pay twice – or even thrice a day that I do and tell me it doesn’t come close to the same price for the week.  One taxi ride is the cost of one day rental for me – and I don’t have to depend on a smelly car and high prices to take me where I want to go.

But paid parking? Another attempt to keep you there, to pay for your…..well everything……and entertain yourself gambling at the house edge.  The longer you stay, the longer the house edge works against you, the more your pay for parking, and the more you kid yourselves that “it’s OK, everyone else is doing it.  It’s the price you pay for entertainment.”  Hey, Mr. Oblivious, go read above in this post about HOUSE EDGE!

CASINO INDUSTRY RATIONALE

Finally, I will end with an explanation of paid parking by a well-known casino……. I mean resort…….giant who happens to own casinos across America.  If you figure out who it is, please keep in mind the rest of the casino industry is looking to follow suit.  And I’m not “lion.”

Parking at Cosmopolitan, or is it MGM? Caesars?

“At (fill in the name), our goal is to provide convenient, safe and secure parking for all of our guests. We are investing in new parking technologies that create a better parking experience for visitors to any of our Las Vegas resorts. These investments will ensure that our facilities are bright, clean and easier to navigate than ever before. Whether you are visiting for a few hours or for a few days, parking at any of our (fill in the destination) resorts should be easy and convenient for all.”

With a show of hands, how many of you feel that all the money collected in parking at America’s casinos is being collected with the casino “guest” in mind?   Raise your hands nice and high……..

Hmmm, not many……just what I thought……….

 

Binbin

NETime Gambling’s Sunday Summary

It’s been a few weeks since we looked back at previous the week’s previous posts and highlights.  So, this morning, I will highlight the best of May, in case you missed anything. As always, I include some pics or humor or thoughts for the day.

SO, HERE’S WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED!

Monday, May 1st – 13 Essential Gambling Websites

Mark Gruetze

Mark Gruetze of the Tribune-Review, or Trib-Live, posted an article about websites for Gambling fans. NETG highlighted his picks with a few additions of our own.

Monday, May 8th – Cousin Vito’s Casino Podcast

A great podcast. His purpose is all about maximizing the experience for the recreational gambler.  “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Monday, May 15th – New England Casinos Increasing Hotel Rooms By Over 30%

There are only 3 Resort/Casinos that have hotels connected – Foxwoods (2266 rooms), Mohegan Sun (1600 rooms with the addition of the Earth Tower), Hollywood (152 rooms). Within the next two years, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine will add hotel rooms increasing the total number of casino hotel rooms by over 30%.

Connecticut State Capitol

Thursday, May 19th – Connecticut’s Third Casino – Four Links to the Latest Spin

More updates concerning the battle of CT’s third casino, from different points of view.

Tuesday, May 23rd – Mohegan Sun – Stadium Table Games Report

I made a short visit to Mohegan Sun Sunday to play and review stadium gaming, where 30-40 players can play at individual stations at the same time, but with only one dealer per game needed……

Plainridge Park Casino

Plainridge Park Casino

Tuesday, May 30th – Plainridge Park Casino Exceeding All Expectations

Plainridge Park continues to improve its footing in the New England Casino landscape. From its opening two years ago to now, Plainridge Park, in Plainville, Massachusetts, has pushed to make the first Massachusetts casino a successful one.

Finally, at the beginning of June:

June 2nd – Craps Quiz – How Much Do You Really Know?

Speaking of craps…….

 

GAMBLING HUMOR

It’s 8:00 AM at a gambling casino. Two bored dealers are waiting around for someone to walk up and try their luck at the craps table. A very attractive lady comes in and wants to bet twenty-thousand dollars on a single roll of the dice. The dealers agree.
She says, “I hope you don’t mind, but I feel much luckier when I’m bottomless.”
With that she strips naked from the waist down, and rolls the dice while yelling, “Mama needs a new pair of pants!”
She then begins jumping up and down and hugging each of the dealers. “YES! I WIN! I WIN!”
With that she picks up her money and clothes and quickly leaves. The dealers just stare at each other dumbfounded. Finally one of them asks, “What did she roll anyway?”
The other answers, “I don’t know. I thought YOU were watching the dice!”

 

Have a great week. – Binbin